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1. A general term, including various forms of dishes different in shape and use, but, as far as can be gathered, a large dish. It should have been originally flat, according to Corssen's view that it is connected with plancus, planus, πλάξ,: but it was also deep (cava, Mart. 11.31) and, so far, like the catinus. The epithet panda applied to it in Virgil (Georg. 2.194) probably has the same meaning. In Hor. Sat. 2.4, 40, it is round and large enough to hold a wild boar; but it is square or quadrangular in Ulp. Dig. 34, 2, 19. Ovid (Ov. Pont. 3.5, 50) describes it as embossed (caelata) and holding fruit, but most frequently we find it used for bringing meat or fish to the table (Hor. l.c.; Juv. 5.80; Plaut. Curc. 323). It is used for incense (Ov. Pont. 4.8, 40; Prop. 2.13, 23). Its use in sacrifices, both for the exta and for incense, may be seen from Verg. G. 2.194, 394; Aen. 8.284, 13.215; Ov. l.c. All passages which give any indication of its material tend to prove that the lanx was always of metal; for the rich, of silver (Hor. Sat. 2.4, 40; Plin. Nat. 33.145, where lances are mentioned weighing from 100 to 500 pounds, and requiring a special officina to make them). In Cicero, Cic. Att. 6.1, 13, the lanx embossed in filigree work (filicata) is opposed to vasa fictilia; but that it was made, if always of metal, sometimes of cheaper metal than silver, is implied by its rustic use in Verg. Georg. l.c. The following lines from Ovid (Ov. Pont. 4.8, 39, 40) are instructive both as to size and relative cost:--

Nec quae de parva dis pauper libat acerra
Tura minus, grandi quam data lance, valent:
and it is noticeable that Pliny (l.c.), speaking of very costly silver plate, uses the word lanx, but in 35.163, when he speaks of pottery made at an extravagant price, he uses the word patina. (Marquardt, Privatl. 654; CATINUS

2. The metal dishes of the balance [LIBRA] were called lances, and sometimes the word lanx (== libra bilanx) was used to express the balance: so Suet. Vesp. 25; Verg. A. 12.725, &c. (Becker-Göll, Gallus, 2.367.)

[J.Y] [G.E.M]

hide References (9 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (9):
    • Cicero, Letters to Atticus, 6.1
    • Vergil, Aeneid, 12.725
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.194
    • Vergil, Georgics, 2.394
    • Ovid, Ex Ponto, 3.5
    • Ovid, Ex Ponto, 4.8
    • Sextus Propertius, Elegies, 2.13
    • Sextus Propertius, Elegies, 2.23
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 11.31
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