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AUCEPS a bird-catcher, fowler (Ov. A. A. 3.669 ; Varr. L. L. 8.61, and ap. Non. 1, 97), the occupation called aucupium (Pallad. 13.6). The Romans, like the modern Italians, were fond of the flesh of small birds, and caught them in large quantities. In great families slaves were employed for this purpose, forming a part of the familia rustica, but freedmen and poor people also caught small birds, which they sold at Rome in the vicus Tuscus, near the Forum (Hor. Sat. 2.3, 227; cf. Plaut. Trin. 2.4, 7). The fowlers used for catching birds gins and snares (laquei, Pallad. 13.6; pedicae, Verg. G. 1.307), rods tipped with bird-lime (arundines, calami, Mart. 9.54, 3; Petron. 40; Sil. Ital. 7.674; V. Fl. 6.260 seq.; Plaut. Bacch. 1.1, 17; calami aucupatorii, Mart. 14.218) [CALAMUS 6]; clap-nets, held by two parallel rods or poles (amites, Pallad. 10.12; Hor. Epod. 2.33; amites, perticae aucupales, Fest. p. 21, Müller), in connexion with which decoy-(illex) or call-birds, especially the owl (noctua), were used (Pallad. l.c.; Plaut. As. 1.3, 67); traps (transennae, Plaut. Bacch. 4.5, 22; id. Rud. 4.7, 10; id. Pers. 4.3, 10), &c. The time for catching birds was from December to March (Pallad. 13.6); and the birds most frequently mentioned as caught were thrushes (turdi, Pallad. l.c.; Hor. Epod. 2.33; Plaut. Bacch. 4.5, 22). (See Rein, in Pauly, Encyclop. ii.2 s. v.)


hide References (5 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (5):
    • Vergil, Georgics, 1.307
    • C. Valerius Flaccus, Argonautica, 6.260
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.218
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.3
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 9.54
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