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In its primary sense, cella means a store-room, of which the following were the principal descriptions: cella penaria or penuaria, where all kinds of provisions (penus) were stored, especially those of which a stock was laid in for a long time; cella promptuaria, promptuarium, or promum, the larder, where meat and other things required for immediate consumption were kept; cella olearia, the magazine of an olive-yard in which the oil was stored, and which, according to the treatises on farming, ought to be lighted from the south, that the oil might not be chilled in winter; while the cella vinaria should have a northern aspect, to avoid excessive heat and great changes of temperature. The cella vinaria described in the ancient authors is the store-room of a vineyard, in which the new wine was kept in dolia or cupae, while older wine was put into amphorae and matured in the apotheca. The cella vinaria was partly underground (Becker-Göll, Gallus, iii. 51, 422). The cella vinaria of a wine-merchant was discovered in 1789 under the walls of Rome. It was raised a little above the level of the ground, and divided into three compartments, the first ornamented with arabesques and a mosaic pavement, the second unpaved and containing a row of very large dolia two-thirds imbedded in sand, while the third was a narrow gallery, six feet high and eighteen feet long, with various earthenware vessels, also partially sunk in the sand and ranged in double rows against each wall. (See Dolium.) The slave to whom the charge of these stores was intrusted was called cellarius, a rationibus cellae, promus, promus condus, or procurator peni; under him was the subpromus.


Any number of small rooms clustered together. Thus the word was applied to the dormitories of slaves ( Hor. Sat. i. 8.8), to the bedrooms of an inn, and to the

Slave Cellae. (Rich.)

vaults of a brothel (Petron. 8, 4). A brothel is also called cella inscripta, because the price of each inmate was inscribed on the door (Mart.xi. 45, 1). The porter's lodge or janitor's office is called cella ostiarii (Petron. 29) or cella ianitoris (Vitell. 16).


In the baths the cella caldaria, tepidaria, and frigidaria are respectively those which contained the hot, tepid, and cold baths. See Balneae.


The interior of a temple was also called cella. See Templum.

hide References (3 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Petronius, Satyricon, 29
    • Petronius, Satyricon, 8
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 11.45
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