And in former times the possession of drinking-cups was reckoned a very honourable thing. Accordingly, Achilles had a very superb cup as a sort of heirloom:—
But, mindful of the gods, Achilles wentAnd Priam, when offering ransom for his son, amid all his most beautiful treasures especially offers a very exquisitely wrought cup. And Jupiter himself, on the occasion of the birth of Hercules, thinks a drinking-cup a gift worthy to be given to Alcmena; which he, having likened himself to Amphitryon, presents to her:—
To the rich coffer in his shady tent,
(There lay the presents of the royal dame;)
From thence he took a bowl of antique frame,
Which never man had stain'd with ruddy wine,
Nor raised in offerings to the pow'rs divine,
But Peleus' son; and Peleus' son to none
Had raised in offerings but to Jove alone.1
And she received the gift, and on the bowlAnd Stesichorus says that the sun sails over the whole ocean in a bowl; in which also Hercules passed over the sea, on the occasion of his going to fetch the cows of Geryon. We are acquainted, too, with the cup of Bathycles the Arcadian, which Bathycles left behind him as a prize of wisdom to him who should be pronounced the best of those who were called the wise men. And a great many people have handled the cup of Nestor; [p. 737] for many have written books about it. And drinking-cups were favourites even among the Gods; at all events—
Admiring gazed with much delighted soul.
They pledged each other in their golden cups.2But it is a mark of a gentleman to be moderate in his use of wine, not drinking too greedily, nor drinking large draughts without drawing one's breath, after the fashion of the Thra- cians; but to mingle conversation with his cups, as a sort of wholesome medicine.