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μύλη). The generic term for a mill. The following varieties may be specified:




manuaria or trusatĭlis (χειρομύλη), a hand-mill, used for grinding wheat, beans, and other farinaceous products. Several of these have been found in the bakers' shops at Pompeii (see Pistor), and all of them show the same general construction.

Pompeian Hand-mills.

The base is a cylindrical stone of some five feet in diameter and one in height, out of which rises a conical projection two feet high, forming the lower millstone (meta). This has an iron pivot fastened at its top. The outer stone (catillus) is formed in the shape of an hour-glass, so that one half fits like a cap upon the conical surface of the lower stone, receiving the iron pivot mentioned above in

Mola Machinaria. (From a marble in the Vatican.)

a socket made in the centre of the narrowest part between the two hollow cones. The grain was poured into the hollow cup at the top, which served as a hopper, and ran gradually down through from holes pierced in it to the solid cone beneath, where it was ground to flour between the outer surface of the cone and the inner surface of its cap as the latter was turned round and round (lapis lapidem terit, Plaut. Asin. i. 1, 16). The turning was done by slaves, with the aid of a wooden bar inserted in each of its sides, for which a

Mola Versatilis. (From a Gem. )

socket was provided. The flour, when ground, fell from the bottom into a receptacle cut round the base.


Mola Buxea. A smaller hand-mill, used for grinding pepper (Petron. 74).


Mola Machinaria or Asinaria. A mill constructed like a hand-mill, but so large as to require an ass, ox, or horse to work it, as shown in the illustration (Cat. R. R. 11, 4).


Mola Versatĭlis. A species of grindstone worked by the foot, as at the present time. The use of it is attested by the engraved gem, from which the illustration is taken; but there is no certain reference to it in the classical writers.

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    • Petronius, Satyricon, 74
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