an instrument used by the Roman priests
in killing the victims at sacrifices (Suet. Tib.
). 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
) 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
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,
in their case.