previous next

CON´GIUS

CON´GIUS a Roman liquid measure containing six sextarii (Carm. de Pond. 72), or the eighth part of the amphora. It was equal to the CHOUS of the Greeks, 3.283 litres (Hultsch), or about 5.76 pints.

There is a congius in existence, known as the Farnese congius, but now at Dresden, bearing an inscription which states that it was made in the year 75 A.D., according to the standard measure in the Capitol, and that it contained, by weight, ten pounds. (Imp. Caes. Vespas. vi. T. Caes. Aug. F. iiii. Cos. Mensurae exactae in Capitolio, P. X.; see also Festus, s. v. Publica Pondera.) This congius is one of the means by which the attempt has been made to fix the weight of the Roman pound. [LIBRA] That liquids varied much in weight, and that the weight of rainwater was the most uniform, was known as early as Dioscorides (fr. 9, p. 766; fr. 14, p. 777, ed. Kühn; cf. Carm. de Pond. 98 ff.). The greater exactness of distilled water and the variations caused by temperature were of course unknown to the ancients.

Cato tells us that he was wont to give to each of his slaves a congius of wine at the Saturnalia and Compitalia (de R. R. 57). Pliny relates, among other examples of hard drinking, that Novellius Torquatus of Mediolanum obtained a cognomen (tricongius, a nine-bottle man) by drinking three congii of wine at one sitting (H. N. 14.144).

Congius. (Dresden Collection.)

(On this, as on other weights and measures, the chief authority is Hultsch, Metrologie, pp. 90, 99, ed. i. = 114, 125, ed. ii. For the Carmen de Ponderibus, see Weber, Corp. Poet. p. 1371, or better Hultsch, Script. Metrol. p. 88 ff.; for discussions on its authorship, Teuffel, Röm. Lit. § 444, 2.)

[P.S] [W.W]

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: