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LAGO´NA or LAGU´NA (also lagoena, lagena, λάγυνος). There is considerable difference about the spelling of this word. Professor Mayor (on Juvenal, 5.29) compares, for the Latin ο beside the Greek υ, the words ancora, storax (στύραξ), nox, mola, cocles [κύκλωψ]. The last of these connexions both Corssen and Curtius disapprove, but there are abundant instances without it. Corssen shows that the Old Latin form to the end of the Republic in inscriptions is laguna and sometimes lagena (in MSS. also lagoena), in the imperial times lagona, as in the annexed engraving. It was an earthenware jug with one handle, a long narrow neck, widened mouth, and swelling body (whence “ventre lagonae,” Juv. 12.60). Its narrow neck is shown also by its use in Phaedrus for the fable of the stork and the fox, and by the lines in the Anthology εἰς λάγυνον: “ στρογγύλη, εὐτόρνωτε, μονούατε, μακροτράχηλε,
ὑψαύχην, στεινῷ φθεγγομένη στόματι.

In fact, it was in shape much like the well-known Orvieto wine-flask, but, if so covered with

Laguna. (Marquardt.)

wickerwork, would be called φλάσκη or φλασκίον (Suid. s. v. πυτίνη). It was used for holding wine, and was set beside the guests (Hor. Sat. 2.8, 41; Juv. 5.29). They were used also in Gaul for beer, as is shown by an inscription on a lagona in the Musée Carnavalet at Paris, “Ospita reple lagona cervesa.” Martial (7.61) speaks of a shop with these vessels hung in a string by the handles (catenatae lagonae).

The illustration (from Marquardt) represents a lagona in the Museum at Saintes, the inscription on which is “Martiali soldam lagonam.” (See Marquardt, Privatleben, 649; Guhl and Koner, Das Leben Griechen und Rom., 160.)


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    • Martial, Epigrammata, 7.61
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