[in Hom. Il. 24.304
it is χέρνιβον
), a basin used for holding
the lustral water at a sacrifice; and generally a basin for washing the
hands in. Lat. malluvium.
Pollux (6.92) says
the term χειρόνιπτρον
embraced both jug
) and basin (λέβης
): cf. Serv.
ad Aen. 3.466
, “lebes pro vase capitur, in quod aqua, dum
manus abluuntur, decidit.” The water, whether sacrificial or not,
was called χέρνιψ.
In the state religious
ceremonies, this basin was of gold (Andoc. c. Alcib.
§ 29). The λέβης
in Hom. Od. 1.137
is of silver. For another
example of a silver basin, see Hermann-Blümner, p. 168, note 4. At
private dinners, before the dishes were brought in, servants handed round
water for washing the hand: ὕδωρ κατὰ
1216). This was called ἀπονίζειν
At [p. 1.411]
the end of the meal, too, water was handed
round for a similar purpose (Hermann-Blümner, p. 245). The view of
Ar. Byz. ap. Ath. 408f
, that κατὰ χειρὸς
refers to the washing before dinner, and
to that after dinner, is
disproved, not only by the passages of Homer there cited, but also by the
passages from Philyllius and Menander quoted by Athenaeus a few lines
previously. The water was poured over the hands of the guests in both cases
(Philox. ap. Ath. 409e
). We must remember that the
Greeks and Romans used to eat with their fingers (Hermann-Blümner,
p. 242, note 4; Marquardt, Röm.
308, note 3). At these dinners the jug and basin
were usually of silver, both in Greece, as we have seen, and at Rome (Dig. 34
). The shape was round; both
shallow and deep ones are found represented, and sometimes they had highly
ornamented covers: see the pictures in Saglio, Dict.