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CATAPIRA´TES

CATAPIRA´TES (-er or--a; καταπειρητηρίη, Hdt. 2.5, 28), a sounding lead. It consisted of a small piece of unwrought lead fastened to twisted cord. The lead was covered with grease, so that specimens of the kind of bottom might attach to it. See Lucilius, 3.32 (p. 16, ed. L. Müller): “Hunc catapiraten puer eodem deferat unctum Plumbi pauxillum rudus linique mataxam.” The unit of measurement in soundings was a fathom (ὄργυια): see Hdt. 2.5; Act. Apost. 27.28. “To sound” is βολίζειν; and by βολὶς in the sense of a sounding-line the Schol. explains μολύβδαινα, in Il. 24.80. The fact that it was hung from the prow (see picture in Guhl and Koner, p. 317) will not justify the alteration of catapiraten, the best-attested MS. reading, in Lucilius to cataproraten, which has no sufficient authority. (See L. Müller, l.c.

[L.C.P]

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