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NASSITERNA was some sort of vessel for carrying water. From the description in Festus (s. v.), that it is wide (patens), with a handle (ansata), and is a vessel “quo equi perfundi solent,” we may imagine something like a stable bucket or pail, especially as no spout is mentioned. Vessels of this shape are figured by Guhl and Koner (448) as kitchen utensils. In Plaut. Stich. 2.2, 28, the nassiterna is used like a housemaid's pail. There seems no good reason for saying, with Rich, that the first part of the word implies a vessel with a spout: still less can we argue from the end of the word that it had three spouts. The first syllable (nass. in Festus; nasc. in the MSS. of Plautus, but corrected by Ritschl to nass.) is from the root of words meaning “to flow” (νάω, νᾶμα, νασμός, &c.; German nass?), and has nothing to do with nasus, though that word very likely comes [p. 2.206]from the same root: the termination may be compared with lanterna, hesterna. Its etymology therefore merely proves that it is something from which water is poured.


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