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PRAEFERI´CULUM was clearly some sort of brazen dish or bowl used in sacrifices, our only definition being, “vas aeneum sine ansa patens summum velut pelvis quo ad sacrificia utebantur” [perhaps in the original utuntur] (Fest. Ep. p. 248): it was part of the apparatus for sacrifice belonging to the state-priests, and was kept in the Regia in the Sacrarium of Ops (Fest. p. 246; cf. Jordan, Topog. i. p. 427). It is strange that, in spite of the distinct sine ansa, many should identify it with the jug with a handle, used for pouring wine into the patera, as shown among the sacrificial utensils, on a relief from the Arcus Argentariorum (so Guhl and Koner, ed. 5, pp. 721, 733). We think Baumeister rightly doubts this (Denkm. p. 1109), and suggests that the shield-like object on the same relief, which is combined with the axe [see cut under SECURIS], is more probably the praefericulum. [The same writer, p. 1384, however, interprets the similar jug (probably the CAPIS), which appears on a coin of Pompey with an augur's staff opposite it, as being a praefericulum.] It may be suggested that its connexion with ferculum indicates its use, whether for offering the firstfruits or the cakes (fercta; cf. Fest. 85, “ferctum, genus libi dicitur quod ad sacra ferebatur, nec sine strue . . . . quae qui afferebant strufertarii appellabantur” ), or, lastly, to carry the mola salsa for the sacrifice of the victim at a state festival (cf. the formula “Jupiter, macte isto ferto esto,” Serv. ad Aen. 9.641). It may be conjectured that the “niger catinus” of Numa (Juv. 6.343) was an ancient earthenware praefericulum.


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