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MARRA was apparently a sort of single-headed pick-axe, perhaps heavier and with a broader head than the ligo, for Columella (10.72) applies the epithet lata to the marra: its use for breaking up the hard ground in preparation for lighter digging and hoeing is sufficiently shown by Col. 10.88 (quoted by Mayor on Juvenal, 15.166), “mox bene cum glaebis vivacem cespitis herbam contundat marrae vel fracti dente ligonis . . . tune quoque trita solo splendentia sarcula sumat angustosque foros adverso limite ducens rursus in obliquum distinguat tramite parvo.” In Plin. Nat. 18.147, it is prescribed for cleaning the ground of weeds too strong and obstinate to be got out by the hoe, ploughing being the last resource, if the weeds beat even the marra. The contrast of the marra with the dens fracti ligonis in the passage quoted from Columella suggests that its head had a smooth blade, not indented or split into two prongs.


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