Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A largess or distribution of corn, oil, or wine, or, in later times, of money, among the people or soldiery of ancient Rome.
- n. A coin struck in commemoration of such a distribution.
- n. A present of corn, wine, oil, etc. or later of money, made by a Roman emperor to the soldiers or the people.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. A present, as of corn, wine, or oil, made by a Roman emperor to the soldiers or the people; -- so called because measured to each in a
- Latin congiarium, from congius a liquid measure. (Wiktionary)
“To the _citizens_ of Rome (perhaps 300,000 persons) he presented, in one _congiary_, about two guineas and a half a head.”
“Now there was a practice familiar to those times; that when a congiary or any other popular liberality was announced, multitudes were enfranchised by avaricious masters in order to make them capable of the bounty, (as citizens,) and yet under the condition of transferring to their emancipators whatsoever they should receive; _ina ton dæmosios d domenon siton lambanontes chata mæna -- pherosi tois dedochasi tæn eleutherian_ says Dionysius of Halicarnassus, in order that after receiving the corn given publicly in every month, they might carry it to those who had bestowed upon them their freedom.”
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