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Bill Thayer

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 p528  Ferculum

Unsigned article on p528 of

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

FE′RCULUM (from fer-o), is appeared to any kind of tray or platform used for carrying anything. Thus it is used to signify the tray or frame on which several dishes were brought in at once at dinner (Petron. 35; Plin. H. N. XXVIII.2); and hence fercula came to mean the number of courses at dinner, and even the dishes themselves (Suet. Aug. 74; Serv. ad Virg. Aen. I.637; Juv. I.93, XI.64; Hor. Sat. II.6.104; Mart. III.50, IX.82, XI.31).

The ferculum was also used for carrying the images of the gods in the procession of the circus (Suet. Jul. 76) [Circus, p287A.], the ashes of the dead in a funeral (Suet. Cal. 15), and the spoils in a triumph (Suet. Jul. 37; Liv. I.10); in all which cases it appears to have been carried on the shoulders or in the hands of men. The most illustrious captives were sometimes placed on a ferculum in a triumph in order that they might be better seen (Senec. Herc. Oet. 109).

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Page updated: 1 Oct 06