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p984 Raster

Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p984 of

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

RASTER or RASTRUM, dim. RASTELLUS, RALLUS, RALLUM (ξυστήρ), a spud (κάτρινος); a rake, a hoe. Agreeably to its derivation from rado, to scrape, "Raster" denoted a hoe which in its operation and its simplest form resembled the scrapers used by our scavengers in cleansing the streets. By the division of its blade into tines or prongs, it assumed more of the form of our garden-rakes, and it was distinguished by the epithets bidens and quadridens (Cato de Re Rust. 10) according to the number of the divisions.

The raster bidens was by far the most common species, and hence we frequently find it mentioned under the simple name bidens (Juv. III.228). This term corresponds to the Greek δίκελλα, for which σμινύη was substituted in the Attic dialect (Xen. Cyrop. VI.2 §34, 36; Aristoph. Nub. 1488, 1502, Aves, 601; Phryn. Eclog. p302, ed. Lobeck; Plato, Repub. p426F; Tim. Lex. Plat. s.v.). The bidens was used to turn up the soil, and thus to perform on a small scale the part of a plough (Plin. H. N. XVII.9 s6). But it was much more commonly used in the work called occatio, i.e. the breaking down of the clods after ploughing (Virg. Georg. I.94, 155). [Agricultura.] Hence it was heavy (Ovid. Met. XI.101). The prongs of the bidens held by the rustic in the woodcut at p849 are curved, which agrees with the description of the same implement in Catullus (LVI.39). Vine-dressers continually used the bidens in hacking and breaking the lumps of earth, stirring it, and collecting it about the roots of the vines (Virg. Georg. II.355, 400; Col. de Re Rust. III.13, IV.14, Geopon. V.25). In stony land it was adapted for digging trenches, whilst the spade was better suited to the purpose when the soil was full of the roots of rushes and other plants (Plin. H. N. XVIII.6 s.8; Suet. Nero, 19). [Pala.] Wooden rakes were sometimes used (Col. de Re Rust. II.13).

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