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This is a ladle used by the priests in sacrificing to the Roman gods. It is usually found in conjunction with the lituus and a libation jug and indicates that the emperor wishes to recognize or honor the priesthood. Sometimes, this collection of objects indicates that the emperor has held or currently holds the office of PONTIFEX MAXIMVS, or chief priest.

The image is from the reverse of a denarius of Vespasian. The simpulum is the leftmost of these implements, and the lituus is the curved wand on the right. The legend, AVGVR TRIPOT, tells us that Vespasian was one of the Augurs (a brotherhood of priest in ancient Rome who foretold the future). The legend also tells us that he held the office and powers of a Tribune of the People.

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