a Roman liquid measure containing six
sextarii (Carm. de Pond.
72), or the eighth part of the
amphora. It was equal to the CHOUS
of the Greeks, 3.283 litres (Hultsch), or about 5.76 pints.
There is a congius in existence, known as the Farnese congius, but now at
Dresden, bearing an inscription which states that it was made in the year 75
A.D., according to the standard measure in the
Capitol, and that it contained, by weight, ten pounds. (Imp. Caes.
vi. T. Caes. Aug. F.
Mensurae exactae in Capitolio, P. X.;
see also Festus, s. v.
) This congius is one of
the means by which the attempt has been made to fix the weight of the Roman
] That liquids
varied much in weight, and that the weight of rainwater was the most
uniform, was known as early as Dioscorides (fr.
p. 766; fr.
14, p. 777, ed. Kühn; cf.
Carm. de Pond.
98 ff.). The greater exactness of
distilled water and the variations caused by temperature were of course
unknown to the ancients.
Cato tells us that he was wont to give to each of his slaves a congius of
wine at the Saturnalia and Compitalia (de R. R.
relates, among other examples of hard drinking, that Novellius Torquatus of
Mediolanum obtained a cognomen (tricongius,
nine-bottle man) by drinking three congii of wine at one sitting (H.
Congius. (Dresden Collection.)
(On this, as on other weights and measures, the chief authority is Hultsch,
pp. 90, 99, ed. i. = 114, 125, ed. ii. For
the Carmen de Ponderibus,
p. 1371, or better Hultsch, Script.
p. 88 ff.; for discussions on its authorship, Teuffel,
§ 444, 2.)