was apparently a sort of single-headed pick-axe, perhaps
heavier and with a broader head than the ligo,
for Columella (10.72) applies the epithet lata
to the marra: its use for breaking up the hard ground in preparation for
lighter digging and hoeing is sufficiently shown by Col. 10.88 (quoted by
Mayor on Juvenal, 15.166), “mox bene cum glaebis vivacem cespitis
herbam contundat marrae vel fracti dente ligonis . . . tune quoque trita
solo splendentia sarcula sumat angustosque foros adverso limite ducens
rursus in obliquum distinguat tramite parvo.” In Plin. Nat. 18.147
, it is prescribed for
cleaning the ground of weeds too strong and obstinate to be got out by the
hoe, ploughing being the last resource, if the weeds beat even the marra.
The contrast of the marra with the dens fracti
in the passage quoted from Columella suggests that its
head had a smooth blade, not indented or split into two prongs.