in Southern Germany, das Kolter;
, or σφαγίς
), a knife with only one edge, which formed a straight line.
The blade was pointed and its back curved. It was used for a variety of
purposes; but chiefly for killing animals either in the slaughter-house, or
in hunting, or at the altars of the gods. (Liv.
; Scrib. Largus, Comp. Med.
13; Suet. Aug. 9
; Plaut. Rud.
45; Verg. G. 3.492
; Ovid. Fast.
1.321.) Hence the expressions--bovem
ad cultrum emere,
“to buy an ox for the purpose of slaughtering it” (Varro,
de Re Rust.
2.5); me sub
“he leaves me in a state like that of a victim dragged to the
altar” (Hor. Sat.
1.9, 74); se ad cultrum locare,
“to become a bestiarius” (Seneca, Ep.
some of the passages above referred to, it would appear that the culter was
carried in a kind of sheath. The priest who conducted a sacrifice never
killed the victim himself; but one of his ministri, appointed for that
purpose, who was called either by the general name minister,
or the more specific popa
32.) A tomb-stone of a cultrarius
is still extant, and upon it two cultri
are represented [p. 1.573]
vol. ii. p. 640, No. 11), which are
copied in the annexed woodcut.
The name cutter
was also applied to razors (Cic. de Off. 2.7
, 25; Plin. Nat. 7.211
; Petron. Sat.
108) and kitchen knives (Varro, ap. Non. 3.32).
That in these cases the culter was different from those above represented,
and most probably smaller, is certain; since, whenever it
Cultri. (From tombstone of a Cultrarius.)
was used for shaving or domestic purposes, it was always
distinguished from the common culter by some epithet, as culter tonsorius, cutter coquinaris.
Fruit knives were also called
but they were of a smaller kind
), and made of bone or ivory
Plin. Nat. 13.106
; Scribon. 100.83).
Columella, who gives (4.25) a very minute description of a falx vinitoria,
a knife for pruning vines, says that
the part of the blade nearest to the handle was called culter
on account of its similarity to an ordinary culter,
the edge of that part forming a straight line. This culter, according to
him, was used when a branch was to be cut off which required a hard pressure
of the hand on the knife. The name culter,
which was also applied to the sharp and pointed iron of the plough (Plin. Nat. 18.171
), is still extant in
English, in the form coulter,
to designate the same
The expression in cultrum
or in cultro collocatus
) signifies placed in a