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CORBI´TAE

CORBI´TAE 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 possunt” (Cas. 4.1, 20). They were noted for their heavy build and sluggish sailing [p. 1.542](Lucil. ap. Non. s. v. Corbitae; Plaut. Poen. 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 modern corvette.

[A.R] [J.H.F]

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