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 p351  Article by Philip Smith, B.A., of the University of London
on p351 of

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

CO′NGIUS, a Roman liquid measure, which contained six sextarii (Rhem. Fann. V.72), or the eighth part of the amphora, that is, not quite six pints. It was equal to the larger chous of the Greeks. [Chous].

There is a congius in existence, called the congius of Vespasian, or the Farnese congius, bearing an inscription, which states that it was made in the year 75 A.D., according to the standard measure in the capitol, and that it contained, by weight, ten pounds (Imp. Caes. VI. T. Caes. Aug. F. IIII. Cos. Mensurae exactae in Capitolio, P. X.; see also Festus, s.v. Publica Pondera). This congius is one of the means by which the attempt has been made to fix the weight of the Roman pound. [Libra.]

Cato tells us that he was wont to give each of his slaves a congius of wine at the Saturnalia and Compitalia (De R. R. c57). Pliny relates, among other examples of hard drinking (Plin. H. N. XIV.22 s28), that Novellius Torquatus Mediolanensis obtained a cognomen (tricongius, a nine‑bottle-man) by drinking three congii of wine at once.

congius is represented in Fabretti (Inscript. p536).

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Page updated: 19 Jun 10