was a kind of small cup, according to Didymus and Nicander (ap. Ath. 481e
), not round but long (ἐπίμηκες,
which does not mean “high”
as Macrobius, Macr. 5.21
, translates it), and narrow (στενόν
), without handles (χωπὶς
). Dorotheus (ap. Ath. 481d
says it belonged to the class of cups which were deep (βαθέων
), high (ὀρθῶν
without base or handles. Thus there were two very different shapes of
cymbia, agreeing in not having handles; and this diversity of shape may be
paralleled by that of the bowls of our wine-glasses, but of course the
cymbia had not bases like the latter. They appear to have been constantly
employed for drinking unmixed wine from (ἄκρατος,
Philemon, 84; Anaxandrides, 3, ed. Kock), and
fulfilled the functions of a cyathus in ladling out the wine from the crater
into the cups; see Eratosthenes (ap. Ath. 482b
who says that the κυμβίον
was a κυαθῶδες ἀγγεῖον.
They were much used (Ath. 481-2
), but only among the wealthy (Dem.
p. 558.133; 565.158). Though generally employed for
wine, yet we find them in Virgil (Aen.
3.65) holding milk.
They were made of various valuable materials: chrysoprase (Plin. Nat. 32.113
), silver with embossed
work (Verg. A. 5.267
), and the embossed work
was sometimes of gold (Alexis, 95, ed. Kock; Dig. 34
), Saguntine clay (Mart.
). The meaning is derived from
“a boat” (Soph. Fragm.
129): see Didymus ap.
, Fest. 51. 10, and compare ἄκατος
such usages as our “butter-boat,” &c. For the converse
we have γαυλὸς
and “vessel” applied to a ship. The
above specimen from Panofka (Recherches,
may possibly be an example of the first kind (cf. Birch, p. 379). The
inscription is πρόπινε μὴ κατθῇς,
“Drink; do not lay me down.”