Calvert Watkins1977196notes the following: “Umbrian vitluf beside vetus fiber beside feber pinna beside penna would appear to attest to a widespread if sporadic raising of Italic e to i after a labial.” Vispillo pinna and fiber each have by-forms attested: vespillopenna and feber. (Cf. old s.v. vispillotll s.v. fiber 641.25-27 and tll s.v. pinna according to which “in codd. et pi- et pe- invenitur.”) Only the initial syllable of fiber is in a phonetic environment close to that of vitulus’s initial syllable and the parallel of vitulus with fiber suggests that vitulus may also have been pronounced vetulus.
Cf. Thulin19122457on the Etruscan origin of the demarcation of the sky into regions left and right and Varro L. 7.97 on the left side as the favorable one in taking auspices. A. Ernout (1972 3.130) and N. Slater (2001 196) note the allusions to haruspicy in this passage. Slater (ibid.) further observes that “while the phrases liquido [. . .] auspicio and avi sinistra find parallels elsewhere in Plautus [e.g. Ps. 762 Per. 607] the reading of entrails doesnot.” Hanson (1959 98 n. 67) commenting on the religious imagery speaks of the ritualistic underpinnings of “Epidicus’ colorful promise to ‘disembowel’ his master’s purse on behalf of his love-stricken son” adding that “further weight is in fact given to the religious area of the metaphor by the immediately preceding mention of ‘liquido auspicio avi sinistera’.”