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Bill Thayer

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 p1169  Article by James Yates, M.A., F.R.S.,
on pp1169‑1170 of

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

TRUA, dim. TRULLA (τορύνη), derived from τρύω, τόρω, &c., to perforate; a large and flat spoon or ladle pierced with holes; a trowel. The annexed woodcut represents such a ladle, adapted to stir vegetables or other matters in the pot (Schol. in Aristoph. Av. 78), to act as a strainer  p1170 when they were taken out of the water, or to dispel the froth from its surface (Non. Marcell. p19, ed. Merceri). The ladle here drawn was found in the kitchen of "the house of Pansa," at Pompeii.

An engraving of a ladle, called 'trua' in Latin.

The trulla vinaria (Varro, L. L. V.118, ed. Müller) seems to have been a species of colander [Colum], used as a wine-strainer (Cic. Verr. IV.27; Hor. Sat. II.3.144). Though generally applied to these domestic and culinary purposes (Eupolis, p174, ed. Runkel) the trulla was found to be convenient for putting bees into a hive (Col. de Re Rust. IX.12). It was also commonly used to plaster walls (Pallad. de Re Rust. I.13, 15), and thus gave rise to the verb trullissare.​a [Paries.]

Fellows (Exc. in Asia Minor, p154) explains the Eastern method of using a kind of colander in washing the hands. It is placed as a cover upon the jar [Olla], which receives the dirty water. This may therefore be the trulleum, which the ancients used, together with the basin and ewer, to wash their hands (Non. Marcell. p547, ed. Merceri).

Thayer's Note:

a plaster: By a further extension, in Late Latin we find trullus used to mean a plastered chamber, often one built as a false dome and plastered over to look like a real one. One such chamber in the imperial palace of Constantinople gave its name to two church councils "in Trullo" (less properly, "of Trullo"); and in the southern Italian region of Puglia, trulli are still the name of certain small conical buildings, usually plastered on the inside; see for example these good photographs of the famous trulli of Alberobello.

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Page updated: 28 Oct 17