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bulla, ae, f. [root vhal-; Gr. φαλ-; cf. φαλλός, φύλλον], any object swelling up, and thus becoming round; hence,

I. A waterbubble, bubble: ut pluvio perlucida caelo Surgere bulla solet, Ov. M. 10, 734: crassior, Mart. 8, 33, 18; Plin. 31, 2, 8, 12; App. M. 4, p. 145, 7.—Hence,

B. Trop., a bubble, trifle; vanity: si est homo bulla, eo magis senex, Varr. R. R. 1, 1, 1; Petr. 42, 4.—

II. Any thing rounded by art.

A. A boss, knob (upon a door, etc.): jussine in splendorem dari bullas has foribus nostris? Plaut. As. 2, 4, 20: bullas aureas ex valvis, auferre, Cic. Verr. 2, 4, 56, 124 (by such door-studs fortunate or unfortunate days were designated, Petr. 30, 4).—

B. A stud in a girdle: notis fulserunt cingula bullis Pallantis pueri, Verg. A. 12, 942; 9, 359; Aus. Cup. Cruc. 49; Prud. Psych. 476.—

C. The head of a pin in the water-clock, Vitr. 9, 6, 9 sq.

III. Esp., the bulla, a kind of amulet worn upon the neck (mostly of gold), orig. an ornament of the Roman triumphers, in imitation of the Tuscan kings and Lucumones (Plut. Romul. 25; Fest. s. v. sardi, p. 252), but in the more brilliant era of the Romans worn by noble youths, Cic. Verr. 2, 1, 58, 152 (cf. Ascon. in h. l., acc. to whom bullae of leather were hung upon the necks of the children of freedmen); it was laid aside when they arrived at maturity, and consecrated to the Lares, Pers. 5, 30; cf.: Lares bullati, Petr. 60, 8; acc. to Plin. 33, 1, 4, 10, first hung by Tarquinius Priscus upon the neck of his son; cf. also Macr. S. 1, 6, 9 sqq.; Plaut. Rud. 4, 4, 127; Liv. 26, 36, 5; Prop. 4 (5), 1, 131; Suet. Caes. 84; Flor. 2, 6, 24.—From the Etruscan custom, called Etruscum aurum, Juv. 5, 163.—Hence the phrase bullā dignus for childish: senior bullā dignissime, Juv. 13, 33.—It was also hung upon the forehead of favorite animals, Ov. M. 10, 114.