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CISSYB´IUM (κισσύβιον) was a large wooden rustic cup with one handle (Philemon and Neoptolemus ap. Ath. 476f, 477 a), sometimes found mentioned as highly adorned with carvings, and having two handles (Theocr. 1.27). It is mentioned in Homer as belonging to the Cyclops (Od. 9.346) and to Eumaeus (14.78 = 16.52). In shape it was rather deep, like the scyphus (Od. 14.78, compared with 112; Eur. Cycl. 390, Androm. fr. 33; Clitarch. ap. Ath. 477a), which was the cup of rustics (Asclep. ap. Ath. 477d). It somewhat resembled the modern tea-cup (Birch, p. 451). The word is derived from κισσός, and means most probably “made of ivy-wood,” as is the opinion of the Schol. on Theocr. 1.27, of Eumolp. ap. Ath. 477a, of Athenaeus himself (477 d), of Serenus Sammonicus ( “mollibus ex hederae tornentur pocula lignis,” 23.3), and most of the moderns (see Seiler, Wörterbuch des Homeros, s. v.); but Poll. 6.97 and Liddell and Scott (s. v.), followed by Paley on Eur. Alc. 756, consider the name came from the ivy wreaths sometimes found carved round the cup (Theocr. l.c.), and compare corymbatus, hederatus, &c., applied to vessels in this latter sense in Trebell. Claud. 17. Birch (p. 378) leaves the question undecided. But would the rustic Eumaeus and the savage Cyclops have had cups with ornamental carving? Panofka gives a specimen (Recherches, &100.5.76), which is approved by Ussing (p. 127).


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