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CARTIB´ULUM a particular kind of table described by Varro (L. L. 5.125) as frequently seen in the atrium of Roman houses during his boyhood (about B.C. 100). Both the name and the thing were apparently becoming obsolete in his time. It was an oblong slab of marble supported on a single bracket or console (una columella); it stood near the impluvium, and bronze vessels were placed upon it. Such a

Cartibulum. (From Pompeii.)

table has been discovered in more than one house at Pompeii, with a fountain behind it shaped like a cippus or square pillar, and flowing into the impluvium. It has been ingeniously conjectured that this was a survival, in the more [p. 1.368]elaborate Roman house of later times, of the primitive arrangement of the atrium, as at once kitchen and living-room; the cippus, now turned into a fountain, being the ancient focus or domestic altar (Saglio, s. v.). The aenea vasa on the cartibulum will then be, not ornamental bronzes as some have thought, but ordinary cooking vessels [AENUM, CACCABUS]. The engraving represents a marble table of the kind, from the house of the Nereids at Pompeii (Rich); beneath it is a drain or sink, no doubt communicating with the impluvium. Another, figured by Saglio, corresponds less closely to Varro's description, having two brackets.


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