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COC´LEAR (cocleare, coclearium, coclearum ; κοχλιάριον, or better λίστριον [Phryn. 293; Pollux, 6.87, 10.89], κοχλιώρυχον) was a kind of spoon, the bowl of which was usually round, while the handle was narrow and pointed. (The ligula, on the contrary, more nearly resembled our spoons.) The pointed end was used for drawing snails (cocleae) out of their shells, and eating them, whence it derived its name; and the broader part for eating eggs, &c. Martial (14.121) mentions both these uses of the coclear,--“Sum cochleis habilis nec sum minus utilis ovis.” (Compare Plin. Nat. 28.19; Petron. 33.) In the accompanying illustration we give coclearia found at Pompeii (Mus. Borbon. x. pl. xlvi.; Antiq. du Bosphore Cimmérien, pl. 30.5; Schmidt, Antiq. d'Avenches, pl. xxiv.).

Coclearia, spoons. (Museo Borbonico.)

Coclear was also the name given to a small measure like our spoonful. According to Rhemnius Fannius, it was 1/24 of the cyathus. (Cf. Isid. Orig. 16.26, 3.)

[W.S] [J.H.F]

hide References (2 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 28.19
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.121
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