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CORBIS dim. COR´BULA, CORBIC´ULA, a basket of very peculiar form and common use among the Romans, both for agricultural and other purposes. It was made of osiers twisted together, and was of a conical or pyramidal shape. (Varr. L. L. 5.139; Isidor. Orig. 20.9; Cic. pro Sest. 38, 82; Ov. Met. 14.644; Plaut. Aul. 2.7, 4; Suet. Nero 19; Col. 6.3, 5; 11.2, 99). A basket answering precisely to this description, both in form and material, is still to be seen in everyday use among the Campanian peasantry, which is called in the language of the country “la corbella,” a representation of which is introduced in the lower portion of the annexed woodcut. The hook

Corbis. (The upper cut from a drawing at Herculaneum; the latter a basket used by Campanian peasantry.)

attached to it by a string is for the purpose of suspending it to a branch of the tree into which the man climbs to pick his oranges, lemons, olives, or figs. The upper portion of the woodcut (Antichità di Ercolano, tom. iii. tav. 29) represents a Roman farm, in which a farming man, in the shape of a dwarfish satyr, is seen with a pole (ἄσιλλα) across his shoulder, to each end of which is suspended a basket resembling in every respect the Campanian corbella; all which coincidences of name, form, and description leave no doubt as to the identity of the term with the object represented. Like the calathus, which it resembles in shape, it is sometimes employed as a distinguishing emblem of Ceres (Clarac, Mus de Sculpt. pl. 214, n. 33).

[A.R] [J.H.F]

hide References (4 total)
  • Cross-references from this page (4):
    • Ovid, Metamorphoses, 14.644
    • Suetonius, Nero, 19
    • Columella, Res Rustica, 6.3
    • Columella, Res Rustica, 6.5
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