dim. DOLABELLA, a tool
consisting of a long handle and a double head, which terminated on one side
in a sharp blade, the edge of which ran parallel to the handle while the
blade of the ascia
was at right angles to the
handle), and on the other side in a pick, which was usually curved (falx,
this form it was used for hewing wood (Curt.
), for pruning, where the pruninghook was not strong enough
(Column. de Arb.
10, 2), for making stockades (Juv. 8.248
; Veget. de Re Mil.
2.25), and for breaking down ramparts and walls (Liv.
; Tac. Hist. 3.20
and 27; Curt. 9.5.19
). It was consequently a tool
familiar to the Roman soldier, as may be seen in the accompanying
illustration (Fig. b
), from Trajan's Column.
For the purpose, however, of excavating or breaking up the earth (Pallad. 2.1
and 3, 3.21), a dolabra
with a straighter pick
appears to have been used, as is shown in Fig. a,
from a relief on a tomb. Of a similar form is Fig. c,
which represents the dolabra used by masons
19.19, 11). The hatchet used at sacrifices (
“scena ab aliis, a quibusdam sacena appellatur dolabra
pontificalis,” Festus, p. 318, M.) and by butchers (Dig. 33
) was also called a dolabra,
is figured here.
Dolabra. (From funeral monument.)
be used, according to Columella, 4.24, for breaking up the earth
round the vines and for pruning. (Blümner, Tech. u.
&c., vol. ii. p. 206.)