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supplĭcĭum (subpl- ), ii, n. supplex; prop. a kneeling down, either as a suppliant or to receive punishment.
I. As a suppliant.
A. In relig. lang., humiliation, a public prayer or supplication, an act of worship (mostly ante-Aug. and in prose after the Aug. period; not in Cic. or Cæs.; syn.: supplicatio, obsecratio): nunc pergam, ut suppliciis placans caelitum aras expleam, Att. ap. Non. 398, 19; cf.: “deos suppliciis, sumptu, votis, donis, Precibus plorans, obsecrans,Afran. ib. 398, 22: “suppliciis votisque fatigare deos,Liv. 27, 50, 5: “non votis neque suppliciis muliebribus auxilia deorum parantur,Sall. C. 52, 29.—
2. Esp., a sacrificing, offering: “nihil ei (Jovi) acceptum est a perjuris supplicii,offering, sacrifice, Plaut. Rud. prol. 25: “in suppliciis deorum magnifici,Sall. C. 9, 2; id. J. 55, 1: “precibus suppliciisque deos placare,Liv. 22, 57, 5; cf.: “quos (boves) ad deorum servant supplicia,Varr. R. R. 2, 5, 10: “tum supplicia dis ludique magni ab senatu decernuntur,Tac. A. 3, 64 Nipperd. ad loc.: “vannos onustas aromatis et hujuscemodi suppliciis congerunt,App. M. 11, p. 265, 3; id. Dogm. Plat. 2, p. 16, 5: supplicia veteres quaedam sacrificia a supplicando vocabant, Fest. pp. 308 and 309 Müll. —
B. Transf., out of the relig. sphere, an humble entreaty or petition, a supplication in gen. (very rare): “Vagenses fatigati regis suppliciis,Sall. J. 66, 2: “igitur legatos ad consulem cum suppliciis mittit, qui tantummodo ipsi liberisque vitam peterent,id. ib. 46, 2.—
II. To receive punishment; hence, punishment, penalty, torture, torment, pain, distress, suffering (class. and freq.; usu. of the penalty of death; syn. poena).
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