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Urna

p1217 Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on p1217 of

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

URNA, an urn, a Roman measure of capacity for fluids, equal to half an Amphora (Hor. Sat. I.1.54). This use of the term was probably founded upon its more general application to denote a vessel for holding water, or any other substance, either fluid or solid (Plaut. Pseud. I.2.24; Hor. Sat. I.5.91, II.6.10; Ovid. Met. III.172).

An urn was used to receive the names of the judges (judices) in order that the praetor might draw out of it a sufficient number to determine causes (Hor. Carm. III.1.16; Virg. Aen. VI.432; Plin. Epist. X.3; Juv. XIII.4); also to receive the ashes of the dead [Funus, p560A]. For this purpose urns were made of marble, porphyry, baked clay, bronze, or glass, of all forms and sizes, some quite simple, and others sculptured in bas-relief, or ornamented in an endless variety of ways.


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Page updated: 1 Oct 06