previous next

“Let us, then, now,” as Plato says in his Philebus, “pray to the gods, and pour libations to them, whether it be Bacchus, or Vulcan, or whoever else of the gods it may be, who has had the honour of having our cups mixed for his sake. For there are two fountains by us, as if we were cupbearers to mix the wine: and a person might compare a fountain of pleasure to honey; but the fountain of wisdom, which is a sober and wine-eschewing spring, to that of some hard but wholesome water, which we must be very earnest to mix as well as possible.” It is, then, time for us now to drink wine; and let some one of the slaves bring us goblets from the sideboard, for I see here a great variety of beautiful and variously-ornamented drinking-cups. Accordingly, when a [p. 667] large cup had been given to him, he said,—But, O boy, draw out and pour into my cup a liquor with not quite so much water in it; not like the man in the comic poet Antiphanes, who, in the Twins, says—
He took and brought me an enormous cup,
And I pour'd into it unmixed wine,
Not to the honour of a boy, but all
My cups, and they were numberless, I quaff'd
To all the gods and goddesses of heaven.
Then, after them, I drank twice as much more
To the great goddess and the noble king.
So do you now, O boy, pour me out something stronger; for I do not prescribe to you the exact number of cyathi.1 But I will show you that the words κύαθος and ἀκρατέστερον (wine with less water in it) are both used: and then, too, I will give you a lecture about cupbearers.

1 The cyathus held the twelfth part of a sextarius, which was about a pint; and the Romans who wished to preserve a character for moderation used to mix their wine in the proportion of nine cyathi of water to three of wine. Poets, who, according to Horace, were good for nothing till they were inebriated, reversed these proportions:—

Tribus aut novem
Miscentur cyathis pocula commodis.
Qui Musas amat impares,
Ternos ter cyathos attonitus petit
Vates. Tres prohibet supra
Rìxarum metuens tangere Gratia,
Nudis juncta sororibus.—Hor. iii. 19. 11.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Kaibel)
load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: