Lewis & Short

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tăbella, ae (nom. plur. TABELAI, S. C. de Bacch. Corp. I. R. 196). f. dim. [tabula].

  1. I. In gen., a small board, a little table or tablet (rare and mostly poet. and in post-Aug. prose): liminis, i. e. the door-sill, Cat. 32, 5: tabella aerea, a brass plate, Plin. 33, 1, 6, § 19: hos (libellos) eme, quos artat brevibus membrana tabellis, little tablets, i. e. small pages, Mart. 1, 3, 3: parva tabella capit ternos utrimque lapillos, small gamingboards, Ov. A. A. 3, 365; id. Tr. 2. 481: pistor multiplices struit tabellas, i. e. thin cakes, Mart. 11, 31, 9.
    Of the basket or cradle in which Romulus and Remus were exposed: heu quantum fati parva tabella vehit, the little bark, Ov. F. 2, 408.
  2. II. In partic. (class.).
    1. A. A writing-tablet: tabellis pro chartis utebantur antiqui, quibus ultro citro, sive privatim sive publice opus erat, certiores absentes faciebant, unde adhuc tabellarii dicuntur: et tabellae missae ab imperatoribus, Fest. p. 359 Müll.: tabellae Imponere manus, Ov. P. 4, 2, 27: abiegnae, id. A. A. 3, 469: litteras tabellae insculpere, Quint. 1, 1, 27: fecit et Libyn puerum tenentem tabellam, Plin. 34, 8, 19, § 59.
      1. 2. Hence, transf., in plur., a writing, written composition, letter, contract, will, etc.: tabellas proferri jussimusRecitatae sunt tabellae in eandem fere sententiam, Cic. Cat. 3, 5, 10: allatae sunt tabellae ad eam a Stratippocle, eum argentum sumpsisse, Plaut. Ep. 2, 2, 68: ex tabellis jam faxo scies, id. Ps. 1, 1, 47: tabellas consignare, id. Curc. 2, 3, 86: tu quidem tabellis obsignatis agis mecum, with sealed writings, Cic. Tusc. 5, 11, 33: publicae Heracleensium, public records, id. Arch. 4, 9; cf. Liv. 43, 16, 13: tabellae quaestionis plures proferuntur, minutes of evidence, Cic. Clu. 65, 184: cur totiens video mitti recipique tabellas? Ov. Am. 3, 14, 31: rasae, id. A. A. 1, 437: nuptiis tabellas dotis ipse consignavit, the marriage contract, Suet. Claud. 29: falsas signare tabellas, forged wills, Juv. 8, 142: laureatae, a letter announcing a victory, Liv. 45, 1, 8.
        Sing. (rare): testimonium per tabellam dare, in writing, Tac. Or. 36: ex tabellā pronuntiare sententiam, Suet. Claud. 15.
    2. B. A tablet for voting, a ballot.
      1. 1. In the comitia, used in electing a magistrate or deciding upon the acceptance of a proposed law: in the former case the elector wrote down the name of a candidate; in the latter, each voter received two tablets, on one of which were the letters U. R., i. e. uti rogas, denoting approval; on the other, A., i. e. antiquo (for the old law), denoting rejection: me universa civitas non prius tabellā quam voce priorem consulem declaravit, Cic. Pis. 1, 3: an ego exspectem, dum de te quinque et septuaginta tabellae dirimantur? id. ib. 40, 96: tabella modo detur nobis, sicut populo data est, id. Phil. 11, 8, 19; cf.: si populo grata est tabella, quae frontis aperit hominum, id. Planc. 6, 16.
      2. 2. In courts of justice; here each judge usually received three tablets; one of which, inscribed A., i. e. absolvo, denoted acquittal; another, with C., i. e. condemno, written on it, denoted condemnation; and the third, with N. L., i. e. non liquet (it is not clear), left the case undecided: cum tabella vobis dabitur, judices, non de Flacco dabitur solum: dabitur de bonis omnibus, Cic. Fl. 39, 99: huic judicialis tabella committetur? id. Verr. 2, 2, 32, § 79: de quibusdam etiam imperitus judex dimittere tabellam potest, give his vote, Sen. Ben. 3, 7, 5: quamlibet austeras de me ferat urna tabellas, Prop. 4 (5), 11, 49; Caes. B. C. 3, 83; cf. Suet. Aug. 33.
    3. C. A painted tablet, a small picture or painting: ea (exhedria) volebam tabellis ornare, Cic. Fam. 7, 23, 3: priscis sparsa tabellis Porticus, Ov. A. A. 1, 71: inveniat plures nulla tabella modos, id. ib. 2, 680: comicae tabellae, Plin. 35, 10, 37, § 114; cf.: cubicula tabellis adornavit, Suet. Tib. 43: Tyrrhena sigilla, tabellas, Sunt qui non habeant, Hor. Ep. 2, 2, 180: Pausiaca, id. S. 2, 7, 95.
    4. D. A votive tablet, hung up in a temple, and on which one acknowledged by writing or painting the favor or aid he had received from a deity: nunc, dea, nunc succurre mihi, nam posse mederi, Picta docet templis multa tabella tuis, Tib. 1, 3, 28: et posita est meritae multa tabella deae, Ov. F. 3, 268: votiva, Hor. S. 2, 1, 33; so Juv. 12, 27: memores, Ov. M. 8, 744.
    5. E. A fan: quos (ventos) faciet nostrā mota tabella manu, Ov. Am. 3, 2, 38.