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SECE´SPITA

SECE´SPITA an instrument used by the Roman priests in killing the victims at sacrifices (Suet. Tib. 25). According to the definition of Antistius Labeo, preserved by Festus (p. 348, ed. Müller), and Servius (ad Verg. A. 4.262), it was a long iron knife (culter) with an ivory handle, used by the Flamines, Flaminicae, Virgines,

Secespita. (From a coin.)

and Pontifices. On the annexed coin of the Sulpicia gens, the obverse is supposed to represent a culter, a simpuvium, and a secespita. Its proper purpose seems to have been for opening the body of the victim which had been slain--if a larger victim, with the securis or malleus; if a smaller, with the culter. It is therefore appropriated to the higher order of priests, to whom this function belonged, but who did not themselves slay the victim [SACRIFICIUM]. The sacrifical implements shown below are rightly distinguished (cf. Guhl and

Secespita and cultri. (From the Arcus Argentariorum.)

Koner, 2.320) as (1) a secespita in its sheath, (2) cultri in their case.

[W.S] [G.E.M]

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