merchantmen of the larger class, so called
because they hung out a corbis
at the mast-head
for a sign. (Festus; Nonius, s. v.) They were also termed onerariae;
and hence Plautus, in order to designate the
voracious appetites of some women, says, “Corbitam cibi comesse
4.1, 20). They were noted for their
heavy build and sluggish sailing [p. 1.542]
(Lucil. ap. Non.
s. v. Corbitae;
3.1, 4), and carried passengers as well as merchandise, answering to the
large “felucca” of the present day. Cicero proposed to take a
passage in one of these vessels, which he opposes to the smarter class of
packets (actuariola, ad Att.
16.6). The name survives in the