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Cupa

p374 Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on p374 of

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

CUPA, a wine-vat, a vessel very much like the dolium, and used for the same purpose, namely, to receive the fresh must, and to contain it during the process of fermentation. The inferior wines were drawn for drinking from the cupa, without being bottled in amphorae, and hence the term vinum de cupa (Varr. ap. Non. II.113; Dig. 18 tit. 6 s1 §4). The phrase in Horace (Sat. II.2.123), cupa potare magistra, if correct, would mean, to make the wine vessel the sole magister bibendi; Bentley adopts cupa in this passage, as another form of copa, a hostess, a word connected with caupo: this word occurs in Suetonius (Ner. 27), and one of Virgil's minor poems was entitled Copa or Cupa (Charis. I. p47, Putsch.). In the passage of Horace, however, the reading cupa is only conjectural: the MSS. give culpa, out of which a good sense can be made (see the notes of Heindorf, Orelli, and Düntzer).

The cupa was either made of earthenware, like the dolium, or of wood, and covered with pitch. In the latter case, pine-wood was preferred (Plin. H. N. XVI.10 s18). It was used for other purposes, such as preserved fruits and corn, forming rafts, and containing combustibles in war, and even for a sarcophagus (see the passages cited by Forcellini, s.v.) [Comp. Dolium;º Vinum.]


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