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PERA (πήρα), a wallet for carrying provisions and a drinking cup, worn either slung over the shoulder and under one arm, or hanging from a belt. It was used by travellers and country-folk (Hom. Od. 13.437, 17.197, &c.), and was part of a beggar's outfit (part of the garb of Telephus, Arist. Nub. 923). In later Greek times it was adopted, along with the beggar's staff (βακτηρία) and rags, as their professional costume by the Cynics (Mart. 4.53, 3, “cum baculo peraque senex:” cf D. L. 6.13; Brunck, Analect. 1.223, 2.22, 28; Auson. Epig. 53). A similar wallet was worn by the sower, who slung it over his right shoulder and under his left arm (Brunck, Anal. 2.215); though a basket (cophinus) hanging from the left arm (cf. vase of Nikosthenes in Berlin Museum: Blümner, Leben und Sitten, iii. p. 150) was used for this as well as the other purposes which the wallet served.

In art the pera is most often seen in representations of Perseus slaying the Gorgon (cf. British Museum Vases, Nos. 548 and 641*). The wallet he wears was given him by the daughters of Phorcys, and is called by Hesiod (Scut. 224), Pindar, and other authors κίβισις, meaning, according to Apollodorus (Biblioth. 2.4, 2, 4), πήρα: the word being explained as Cypriote by Hesychius.


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