A basterna was a kind of vehicle, or litter, in which Ancient Roman women were carried. It appears to have resembled the lectica; and the only difference apparently was, that the lectica was carried on the shoulders of slaves, and the basterna by two mules, according to Isaac Casaubon. Several etymologies of the word have been proposed. Salmasius proposes it to be derived from the Greek βαστάζω (Salm. ad Lamprid. Heliog. 21). A description of a basterna is given by a poet in the Anth. Lat. iii. 183.
The interior was called cavea, 'cage'; and it had soft cushions or beds. The mode of basterna's passed from Italy into Gaul, and then into other countries. Modern coach or stagecoach transportation has its origins in the bastera.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "article name needed". Cyclopaedia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al.
- Smith, William. "Basterna". A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. John Murray: London. 1875.