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Salinum

p1004 Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p1004 of

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

SALI′NUM, dim. SALILLUM, a salt-cellar. Among the poor a shell served for a salt-cellar (Hor. Sat. I.3.14; Schol. ad loc.): but all who were raised above poverty had one of silver, which descended from father to son Hor. Carm. II.16.13, 14), and was accompanied by a silver plate, which was used together with the salt-cellar in the domestic sacrifices (Pers. III.24, 25). [Patera.] These two articles of silver were alone compatible with the simplicity of Roman manners in the early times of the republic (Plin. H. N. XXXIII.12. s54; Val. Max. IV.4 § 3; Catull. xxiii.19). The salt-cellar was no doubt placed in the middle of the table, to which it communicated a sacred character, the meal partaking of the nature of a sacrifice. [Focus; Mensa.] These circumstances, together with the religious reverence paid to salt and the habitual comparison of it to wit and vivacity, explain the metaphor by which the soul of a man is called his salillum (Plaut. Trin. II.4.90, 91).º


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