A piece of furniture employed by the Romans for bringing upon table the various dishes
comprised in a course (Plin. H. N. xviii.
), and which was placed with its contents upon a table in the dining-room (Petron. 60, 4
). It consisted of a
large covered box or case (whence theca repositorii
, Petron. 39, 3
), either round or square, and
sometimes made of choice woods inlaid with tortoise-shell, and enriched by ornaments of silver
Plin. H. N. xxxiii. 52
; Petron. 35, 2
). The whole case was moreover divided
into a number of stories, one above the other, each of which held a separate tray (ferculum
) furnished with dishes like the dinner-baskets in which a French
restaurateur sends out a dinner to his customers. This is clear from Petronius 36, 1 and 2.
Compare also 35, 1 and 2, where a repositorium
is placed upon the table,
and, after the first division has been removed, another tray containing a different course of
entrées is exposed to view—superiorem partem repositorii
abstulerunt. Quo facto, videmus infra, scilicet in altero ferculo, altilia
etc.— which passage distinctly points out the difference between a repositorium
and a ferculum.