), a tripod, i. e.
any utensil or article of furniture supported on three feet. More
I. A tripod to receive the λέβης
for boiling meat, &c. [LEBES
] Such a tripod was called ἐμπυριβήτης
Hom. Il. 23.702
; Soph. Aj. 1405
): the scene from the story of
Medea, painted on the vase which is shown in the cut under CHYTRA
Vol. I. p. 426,
illustrates this use. The bronze caldron, however, and its stand were often
made in one piece, and then the whole boiling apparatus was called τρίπους
; Od. 8.434
), but also
(Aesch. [p. 2.893]Fr.
1). Tripods were also used as stands for
mixing-bowls with rounded bottoms (Athen. 4.142
), and then were
called ἄπυροι τρίποδες.
For their use as
prizes in games, cf. LEBES
168; Id. in Baumeister,
II. A bronze altar, not differing probably in its original form from the
tall tripod caldron already described. In this form, but with additional
ornament, we see it in the annexed woodcut, which represents a tripod found
Tripod from Fréjus.
(Spon, Misc. Erud. Ant.
p. 118). That this was intended to be
used in sacrifice may be inferred fiom the bull's head with a fillet tied
round the horns, which we see at the top of each leg.
All the most ancient representations of the sacrificial tripod exhibit it of
the same general shape, together with three rings at the top to serve as
Hom. Il. 18.378
). Since it has this form on
all the coins and other ancient remains which have any reference to the
Delphic oracle, it has been with sufficient reason concluded that the tripod
from which the Pythian priestess gave responses was of this kind. The
right-hand figure in the above woodcut is copied from one published by K. O.
Miller (Böttiger's Amalthea,
119), founded upon numerous ancient authorities, and designed to show the
appearance of the oracular tripod at Delphi. Besides the parts already
mentioned, viz. the three legs, the three handles, and the vessel or caldron
), it shows a flat, round plate,
], on which the Pythia seated herself in
order to give responses, and on which lay a laurel wreath at other times.
The celebrity of this tripod produced innumerable imitations of it (Diod. 16.26
), called “Delphic
tripods” (Athen. 5.199
). They were made
to be used in sacrifice, and still more frequently to be presented to the
treasury both in that and in many other Greek temples (Athen. vi. pp. 231
f-232 d; Paus. 4.32.1
] Tripods were chiefly
dedicated to Apollo (Paus. 3.18.5
); to the
Muses, as connected with Apollo (Hes. Op.
658), and to
Heracles. In this connexion we may note the myth of the rape of the tripod
by Heracles and its recovery by Apollo (Paus.
), which often forms the subject
of ancient works of art (cf. Baumeister, Denkm.
p. 463). The
woodcut in Vol. I. p. 158 shows the tripod as an attribute of Apollo. In
conformity with the same ideas it was given as a prize to the conquerors at
the Pythian and other games, which were celebrated in honour of Apollo
). At Athens the successful
Choragus received a bronze tripod as a prize. The choragic monuments of
Thrasyllus and Lysicrates, the ornamental fragments of which are now in the
British Museum, were erected by them to preserve and display the tripods
awarded to them on such occasions. For the tripod as the emblem of the XVvir, see Vol. I. p. 601.
A tripod, scarcely less remarkable than that from which the Pythia delivered
oracles, and consecrated to Apollo in the same temple at Delphi, was that
made from the spoils of the Persian army after the battle of Plataea. It
consisted of a golden bowl, supported by a three-headed bronze serpent
; Schol. in loc.;
). The golden bowl having been
removed, the bronze serpent, about 15 feet high, was taken to
Constantinople, and is still to be seen in the Hippodrome. The first figure
in the annexed woodcut is copied from Wheler's engraving of it;
(Journey into Greece,
Bronze serpent from Delphi.
Tripod brazier, in the British Museum.
The use of bronze tripods, whether for domestic use or to serve as altars,
evidently arose in a great degree from their suitableness to be removed from
place to place. To accommodate them as much as possible to this purpose,
they are sometimes made to fold together into a small compass, by a
contrivance which may be understood from an inspection of the preceding
woodcut. The right-hand figure above represents a tripod brazier in the
British Museum. A patera or a plain metallic dish was laid on the top, when
there was occasion to offer incense, or a grating, when a vessel to be
heated or kept hot was placed there. Many of these movable folding tripods.
may be seen in museums, proving how common they were among the Romans.
III. For the three-legged table bearing this name, see MENSA