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Bill Thayer

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 p330  Comissatio

An unsigned article on p330 of

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

COMISSA′TIO (from κῶμος, Varr. De Ling. Lat. VII.89, ed. Müller), the name of a drinking entertainment, which took place after the coena, from which, however, it must be distinguished. Thus Demetrius says to his guests, after they had taken their coena in his own house, "Quin comissatum ad fratrem imus?" (Liv. XL.7); and when Habinnas comes to Trimalchio's house after taking his coena elsewhere, it is said that "Comissator intravit" (Petron. 65). It appears to have been the custom to partake of some food at the comissatio (Suet. Vitell. 13), but usually only as a kind of relish to the wine.

The comissatio was frequently prolonged to a late hour at night (Suet. Tit. 7); whence the verb comissari means "to revel" (Hor. Carm. IV.1.11), and the substantive comissator a "reveller" or "debauchee." Hence Cicero (ad Att. I.16) calls the supporters of Catiline's conspiracy comissatores conjurationis. (Necker, Gallus, vol. II p235.)

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Page updated: 10 Feb 06