There is another kind called the lettered cup, having writing engraved round it. Alexis says—
A. Shall I describe to you the appearance firstAnd we have seen a lettered cup of this kind lying at Capua in Campania, in the temple of Diana; covered with writing taken from the poems of Homer, and beautifully engraved; having the verses inlaid in golden characters, like the drinking-cup of Nestor. And Achæus the tragic poet, in his Omphale, himself also represents the Satyrs speaking in the following manner about a lettered drinking-cup—
O' the cup you speak of? Know, then, it was round;
Exceeding small; old, sadly broken too
About the ears; and all around the brim
Were carved letters.
B. Were there those nineteen
Engraved in gold,—To Jupiter the Saviour?1
A. Those, and no others.
And the god's cup long since has call'd me,But in this passage we want the final v which ought to have ended the word. Since all the ancients used the omicron not only with the power which it has now, but also when they meant to indicate the diphthong ει they wrote it by o only. And they did the same when they wished to write the vowel ε, whether it is sounded by itself, or when they wish to indicate the diphthong ει by the addition of iota. And accordingly, in the above-cited verses, the Satyrs wrote the final syllable of the genitive case διονύσου with ο only; as being short to engrave: so that we are in these lines to understand the final upsilon, so as to make the whole word διονύσου. And the Dorians called sigma san; for the musicians, as Aristoxenus often tells us, used to avoid saying sigma whenever they could, because it was a hard-sounding letter, and unsuited to the flute; but they were fond of using the letter rho, because of the ease of pronouncing it. And the horses which have the letter ς branded on them, they call samphoras. Aristophanes, in his Clouds, says—
Showing this writing,—delta, then iota,
The third letter was omega, then nu,
[p. 744] Then u came next, and after that a sigma
And omicron were not deficient.
Neither you, nor the carriage-horse, nor samphoras.And Pindar says—
Before long series of songs were heard,And Eubulus also, in his Neottis, speaks of a lettered cup as being called by that identical name, saying—
And the ill-sounding san from out men's mouths.
A. Above all things I hate a letter'd cup,
Since he, my son, the time he went away,
Had such a cup with him.
B. There are many like it.