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[420] The μελιτοῦττα was a funeral offering, and there seems reason for thinking that it was supposed to be given to Cerberus. Suidas s. v. μελιτοῦττα says, ἰστέον ὅτι μελιτοῦττα ἐδίδοτο τοῖς νεκροῖς, ὡς εἰς τὸν Κέρβερον. Another belief was that it was given to the dogs that accompanied Hecate (v. 257): see Dissen on Tibull. 1. 2. 54. Those who went into Trophonius' cave took it with them as a sop to the serpents, Aristoph. Clouds 507. There may be also a reference, as Heyne thinks, to the drugging of the dragon of Colchis by Jason: indeed a reference to Apoll. R. 4. 152 foll. will show that Virg. has had the whole passage in his mind, though Medea there does not give a cake, but sprinkles drugs over the dragon's eyes. ‘Soporatam:’ see on 5. 855. Turn. 28. 45 wished to read ‘saporatam’ from one or two MSS. of Virg. and of Priscian, who quotes the passage (p. 705 P), honey not being a soporific: but ‘melle et medicatis frugibus’ are to be taken together, and ‘saporatus’ is a word of no authority. The cake is made of honey and wheat (‘frugibus’), with soporific drugs, such as poppy-seed. See on 4. 486, G. 4. 505. The cake is called ‘offa,’ a fragment, as ‘offae’ are frequently said to be thrown to dogs. Cerda comp. Plaut. Mil. 1. 1. 49, where it is used of the broken meat given to parasites.

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  • Commentary references from this page (3):
    • Apollonius Rhodius, Argonautica, 4.152
    • Vergil, Georgics, 4.505
    • Plautus, Miles Gloriosus, 1.1
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