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RUTRUM dim. RUTELLUM, a kind of hoe, probably of iron (and so in one reading of Cato, Cat. Agr. 11, “inter ferramenta” ), which had the handle fixed perpendicularly into the middle of the blade, thus differing from the RASTRUM It was used before sowing to level the ground, by breaking down any clods which adhered too long together (Non. Marc. p. 18). This operation is described by Virgil in the following terms, which also assign the derivation of the name: “Cumulosque ruit male pinguis arenae” (Georg. 1.105). See Festus, s.v. Varro, L. L. v. p. 137. The same implement, made of wood, was used in mixing lime or clay with water and straw to make plaster for walls (Cato, Cat. Agr. 128; Pallad. 1.15; Plin. Nat. 36.23.55).

The word rutabulum ought to be considered as another form of rutrum. It denoted a wooden hoe or rake of the same construction, which was [p. 2.568]used by the baker in stirring the hot ashes of his oven (Festus, s. v.). A wooden rutabulum was employed to mix the contents of the vats in which wine was made (Col. 12.20, 4; cf. 12.23, 2).

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

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    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 36.23
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