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PETO´RRITUM

PETO´RRITUM or PETORITUM, a four-wheeled carriage, which, like the ESSEDUM was adopted by the Romans in imitation of the Gauls (Quint. 1.5, 57; Plin. Nat. 34.163; Gel. 15.30). Its name is with probability derived from the Celtic petvar or petwar, “four,” and rit, “a wheel.” Festus (s. v.) observes that petor meant “four” in Oscan and in Aeolic Greek. There is no reason to question this statement; but it is probable that Gellius is right in saying that the name as well as the fashion came from Gaul. Ginzrot (who curiously confuses ducenda with ducenta in Hor. Sat. 1.6, 104) asserts that the petorritum was a two-wheeled carriage, on the ground that Ausonius (Ep. 8, 5) uses the expression “imposta petorrita:” he omits to notice that the same author in Ep. 5, 35 writes, “subjuncta petorrita.” In truth, the carriage can be said to be impostum through the yoke as well as through the shafts; and the evidence from Festus, who derives the word from four, is conclusive. It differed from the REDA in being of rougher and commoner construction and in having no cover. From its less luxurious make, it was intended specially (though probably not exclusively) to convey the household of servants on journeys, while the master travelled in a reda (Schol. Cruq. ad Hor. Ep. 2.1, 192). It was perhaps generally drawn by a pair of mules, as in both the passages cited from Ausonius. (Ginzrot, Wagen der Alten Völker, 1.224; Becker-Göll, Gallus, 3.21; Marquardt, Privatleben, 734.)

[J.Y] [G.E.M]

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