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CHYTRA

CHYTRA (χύτρα, χύτρος), a pot, generally of earthenware, for cooking. The chytra was an indispensable utensil, even in the poorest houses, and allusions to it are innumerable in Aristophanes (Aristoph. Ach. 1175; Equit. 745, 1173; Eccl. 845, 1092; Ran. 505 ; Vesp. 828, 938; Pac. 802). Besides being placed upon the fire, in order to boil water or cook victuals, the chytra was used sometimes to carry fire, just as is now done by the modern inhabitants of Greece, Italy, and Sicily (Xen. Hell. 4.5.4; Aristoph. Lys. 297); and another very

Chytra resting on a Chytropus. (Vase in the British Museum.)

remarkable use of these vessels of earthenware among the Greeks was to put infants into them to be exposed (Aristoph. Frogs 1188). Hence the exposure of children was called ἐγχυτρίζειν (Hesych. s. v.), and the miserable women who [p. 1.427]practised it ἐγχυτριστρίαι (Suidas, s. v.). The chytropus (χυτρόπους) was the stand on which the chytra was often placed to be heated (Hes. Op. et D., 748), as seen in the painting on a vase in the British Museum (see woodcut) representing Medea boiling an old ram, with a view to persuade the daughters of Pelias to put him to death (Ovid, Ov. Met. 7.318-321; Hyg. Fab. 24). The pot has a round bottom, and is supported by a tripod, under which is a fire. The ram, restored to youth, is in the act of leaping out of the pot. It was sometimes called λάσανον (Poll. 10.24, 99).

[W.M.L]

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