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[image ALT: An engraving of a box with carved side panels and four legs in the shape of lion's paws. It is a depiction of an ancient Roman incense box.]

p3 Acerra

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on pp3‑4 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

ACERRA (λιβανωτρίς), the incense box used in sacrifices (Hor. Carm. III.8.2; Virg. Aen. V.745). The incense was taken out of the acerra and let fall upon the burning altar; hence, we have the expression de acerra libare (Ov. ex Pont. IV.8.39; Pers. II.5). [Turibulum.] The acerra represented below is taken from a bas-relief in the museum of the Capitol.

The acerra was also, according to Festus (s.v.), a small altar, placed before the dead, on which p4perfumes were burnt. There was a law in the Twelve Tables, which restricted the use of acerrae at funerals (Cic. de Leg. II.24).


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Page updated: 24 May 03