1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Libo
LIBO, in ancient Rome, the name of a family belonging to the Scribonian gens. It is chiefly interesting for its connexion with the Puteal Scribonianum or Puteal Libonis in the forum at Rome, dedicated or restored by one of its members, perhaps the praetor of 204 B.C., or the tribune of the people in 149. In its vicinity the praetor’s tribunal, removed from the comitium in the 2nd century B.C., held its sittings, which led to the place becoming the haunt of litigants, money-lenders and business people. According to ancient authorities, the Puteal Libonis was between the temples of Castor and Vesta, near the Porticus Julia and the Arcus Fabiorum, but no remains have been discovered. The idea that an irregular circle of travertine blocks, found near the temple of Castor, formed part of the puteal is now abandoned.
See Horace, Sat. ii. 6. 35, Epp. i. 19. 8; Cicero, Pro Sestio, 8; for the well-known coin of L. Scribonius Libo, representing the puteal of Libo, which rather resembles a cippus (sepulchral monument) or an altar, with laurel wreaths, two lyres and a pair of pincers or tongs below the wreaths (perhaps symbolical of Vulcanus as forger of lightning), see C. Hülsen, The Roman Forum (Eng. trans. by J. B. Carter, 1906), p. 150, where a marble imitation found at Veii is also given.
- Puteal was the name given to an erection (or enclosure) on a spot which had been struck by lightning; it was so called from its resemblance to the stone kerb or low enclosure round a well (puteus).