And so great was the luxury of the ancients in respect of their sumptuous meals, that they not only had cupbearers, but also men whom they called œnoptæ (inspectors of wines). At all events, the office of œnoptæ is a regular office among the Athenians; and it is mentioned by Eupolis, in his play called The Cities, in the following lines—
And men whom heretofore you'd not have thoughtAnd these œnoptæ superintended the arrangement of banquets, taking care that the guests should drink on equal terms. But it was an office of no great dignity, as Philinus the orator tells us, in his debate on the Croconidæ. And he tells us, too, that the œnoptæ were three in number, and that they also provided the guests with lamps and wicks. And some. people called them “eyes;” but among the Ephesians, the youths who acted as cupbearers at the festival of Neptune were called “bulls,” as Amerias tells us. And the people of the Hellespont call the cupbearer ἐπεγχύτης, or the pourer out; and they call carving, which we call κρεωνομία, κρεωδαισία, as Demetrius of Scepsis tells us, in the twenty-sixth book of his Arrangement of the Trojan Forces. And some say that the nymph Harmonia acted as cupbearer to the gods; as Capito the epic poet relates (and he was a native of Alexandria by birth), in the second book of his Love Poems. But Alcæus also represents Mercury as their cupbearer; as also does Sappho, who says—
Fit e'en to make œnoptæ of, we now
See made commanders. But oh, city, city!
How much your fortune does outrun your sense.
And with ambrosia was a goblet mix'd,[p. 671]
And Mercury pour'd it out to all the gods.