is “a basket-bearer.” The κάνειον
“a reed” (Ebeling, Horn. Lex.
s. v.), was in the
Homeric times a basket used for putting in bread (Il. 9.217
) or other edibles (e. g. onions, Il. 11.630
) for meals, or the sacred οὐλαὶ
for sacrifice (Od. 3.441
). We find the remains of a feast also placed therein
). The epithets used are
). The latter is in the fairy palace of Circe; but the
Schol. on Ar. Lys.
645, says the κανηφόροι
carried flat dishes all of gold (λοπάδας τινας ὁλοχρύσους
). These were perhaps
Some few golden utensils were
used in state sacrifice: cf. the χερνίβια
in Andoc. c. Alcib.
§ 29, though the usual κανά̀ πομπικά
were no doubt χαλκᾶ
p. 259). One of silver is referred to in C. I.
2855, 19, and one of earthenware in Dion. H. 2.23 (Grimm). At
Athens the κανού̀ν
was used in religious
service only. A particular part of the ceremony seems to have been called
when the basket was carried round the altar (Eur.
926), laid down (Ar. Ach.
taken therefrom. (Cf. ἐξάρχου κανᾶ,
both a bowl (τρύβλιον
) and also a dish made
of cork (φελλώδης τις πινακίσκος,
10.85) or earthenware (Hom. Epig.
). The Roman canistrum
for just the same purposes as the Homeric κανοῦν,
viz. for holding bread (Cic.
; Juv. 5.74
), necessaries for sacrifice (Verg. A. 8.180
; Tib. 1.10
), remains of a feast (Hor. Sat.
2.6, 105). The epithets signify “flat:”
They were, then, flat baskets used, among other purposes, for carrying the
requisites for religious ceremonies. At the Panathenaea they were carried by
grown--up maidens of high birth, who were genuine native Athenians (Harpocr.
s. v.) The annexed cut represents the two canephori approaching a
candelabrum. Each of them elevates one arm to support the basket,
Canephori. (British Museum.)
while she slightly raises her tunic with the other. The sister of
Harmodius was not allowed to carry the basket in a procession, as she was a
Gephyrean (Thuc. 6.56
, compared with Hdt. 5.57
were accompanied by the daughters of metics, carrying umbrellas and seats
(Schol. Ar. Av.
1508, 1549; Aelian, Ael. VH 6.1
). Dressed in splendid and costly raiment and arrayed
with golden ornaments (Ar. Lys.
Boeckh, Pol. Ec.
1.571, 2.142), maintaining too a
stately and dignified attitude, one hand holding the basket supported on the
head, the other slightly raising the dress, they naturally formed a fine
subject for artistic treatment; and so we have notice of special statues of
by Polycletus in bronze
(Cic. Ver. 4.5
) and Scopas in marble
(Plin. Nat. 36.25
). It is possible,
as Saglio remarks (Dict.
1.877), that the κανηφόροι
suggested the idea of the Caryatides
of the Erechtheum, the basket being altered into the capital, a view taken
also by Guhl and Koner (p. 191); but this opinion is combated by Dr. Julius
(in Baumeister's Denkmäler,
&c., s. v.
Erechtheion), on the ground that the Caryatides support, not a basket but a
Doric capital; and fig. 1202 in Saglio's Dict.
reason why we are not to regard all
having been suggested by the κανηφόροι.
Though mostly spoken of with reference to the Panathenaea, yet, as was
natural, we find them in processions to other divinities, both at Athens
(Harpocr. s. v.) and elsewhere: e. g. Zeus in Boeotia (Plut. 2.771),
Dionysus at Athens (Ar. Ach.
) and in India (Plut. 2.1164), Artemis (Theocr. 2.66), Hera (Hor.
1.3, 11), Isis at Delos (C. I.
2298). This inscription, as well as 3602, 3603, shows that at
times public recognition was taken of κανηφόροι
who fulfilled their duty in worthy fashion (καλῶς καὶ ἀξίως