The patera, also known as a sauce pan in modern scholarship, is widely found throughout the Roman Empire from the 1st-4th centuries A.D. It is thought that the main function was the service of liquids, which is supported by the predominance of the bronze examples often being paired with strainers and ladles. Its use as a cooking utensil has also been suggested. The silver examples traditionally are adorned with decorative elements along the handle, including highly ornate figural compositions. For an analysis of the type and a chart of the development of the handle shape, see pp. 145ff. in Strong, Greek and Roman Gold and Silver Plate.