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CHRYSEN´DETA were metal dishes (lances) used by the Romans for serving up food at table. Martial mentions them several times (2.43; 2.53; 6.94; 11.30; 14.97) as in use by the wealthy, and specially notices mullet as being served upon them. The derivation of the word, and the epithet flava applied to them by Martial (2.43, flava tegunt chrysegndeta mulli), render it probable that these dishes were made of silver, and were adorned (probably on the rim) with ornaments in relief, wrought in gold and attached by means of soldering or riveting. Such ornaments (as explained under EMBLEMIA) were called emblemata and crustae [cf. CAELATURA]. In the Origines of Isidore of Seville (20.4.8) chrysendeta are defined simply as gilded vessels (vasa deaurata), but they must originally have been something more than this, or they would not have acquired the special name of “gold-inlaid” (chrysendeta, χρυσένδετα). There is no good reason for accepting the view of some commentators on Martial that chrysendeta were vessels inlaid with precious stones.

[W--K. W--H.]

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