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SALI´NUM dim. SALILLUM, a salt-cellar. Among the poor a shell served for a salt-cellar (Hor. Sat. 1.3, 14; Schol. ad loc.); but all who were raised above poverty had one of silver which descended from father to son (Hor. Carm. 2.16.13; Liv. 26.36), and was accompanied by a silver patella, which was used together with the salt-cellar in the domestic sacrifices (Pers. 3.24, 25). These two articles of silver were alone compatible with the simplicity of Roman manners in the early times of the Republic (Plin. Nat. 33.153; V. Max. 4.4.3). The salt-cellar was no doubt placed in the middle of the table, to which it communicated a sacred character, from the offering of the mola salsa to the Lares. [Compare LARARIUM; PATELLA; Becker-Göll, Gallus, 3.398.] In shape the salinum was probably in most cases a round shallow bowl. Probably some of the small silver bowls from Montcornet (Aisne), in the British Museum (referred to under PIPERATORIUM), are salt-cellars.

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

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  • Cross-references from this page (2):
    • Livy, The History of Rome, Book 26, 36
    • Valerius Maximus, Facta et Dicta Memorabilia, 4.4.3
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