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About the Foundation

Simpulum – Ladle

Antiquity, Europe

In ancient Rome, rituals played a significant role. One of these was libation, the act of offering a god a few sips of a liquid (usually wine, milk or olive oil) mixed with water. This was done several times a day, particularly at mealtimes.

The simpulum plays a crucial role in this ritual. With its large and relatively shallow bowl, liquid can be taken and poured onto the earth or the altar. It is therefore the essential complement to the libation jug. Two hooks on the rim allow the ladle to be hung in the jug. This decorative object from the Alimentarium’s collection is from the 3rd century BCE. The end of the handle has been shaped into a typical motif, the head of a bird; another common motif is the head of a dog or a dog-like creature. Made of bronze, a precious material at the time, this simpulum was most definitely a luxury item.


  • Type: Ladle
  • Place of origin: Italy
  • Materials and techniques: Bronze
  • Date: circa 250 BCE
  • Dimensions: 6.5 x 27.5 cm
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