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Originally the trunk of a tree with its branches lopped off, left standing in the ground as a stump, or else stuck in the ground. The cippus was sometimes sharpened to a point, and thus used in fortification as a sort of chevaux-de-frise (B. G. vii. 73).


A low column of stone, sometimes round, but oftener rectangular, and used (a) as a mark of the division of land by the agrimensores (q. v.); and (b) as a sepulchral monument, many of these having been exhumed. The illustration here given shows a cippus contained in the Townley collection in the British Museum, and erected to the memory of one Viria Primitiva.

On several cippi are found the letters T. T. L.; that is, Sit tibi terra levis, whence Persius says, Non levior cippus nunc imprimit ossa ( Sat. i. 37).

It was also usual to place at one corner of the burying-ground a cippus, on which the extent of

Sepulchral Cippus. (British Museum.)

the burying-ground was marked, along the road (in fronte), and backward to the fields (in agrum) (Hor. Sat. i. 8, 12, 13). See Sepulcrum.

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Horace, Satires, 1.8
    • Persius, Saturae, 1
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