previous next

There is also a kind of cup called δακτυλωτὸν, with finger-like handles; and it is called so by Ion, in the Agamemnon—
And you shall have a gift worth running for,
A finger handled cup, not touch'd by fire,
The mighty prize once given by Pelias,
And by swift Castor won.
But by this expression Epigenes understands merely having two ears, into which a person could put his fingers on each side. Others, again, explain it as meaning, having figures like fingers engraved all round it; or having small projections like the Sidonian cups;—or, again, some interpret the word as meaning merely smooth. But when he says, untouched by fire, that has the same meaning as Homer's phrase—
ἄπυρον κατέθηκε λέβητα,
meaning a caldron fit for the reception of cold water, or suitable for drinking cold drinks out of. But by this expression some understand a horn; and about the Molossian district the oxen are said to have enormous horns; and the way in which they are made into cups is explained by Theopompus: and it is very likely that Pelias may have had cups made of these horns; and Iolcos is near the Molossian district, and it was at Iolcos that these contests spoken of were exhibited by Pelias.—“But,” says Didymus, in his Explanation of the play here spoken of, “it is better to say that Ion misunderstood Homer's words, where he says—
And for the fifth he gave a double bowl,
Which fire had never touch'd;
for he fancied that this meant a drinking-cup, while it was in reality a large flat vessel made of brass in the form of a caldron, suitable to receive cold water. And he has spoken of the dactylotus cup, as if it were a goblet that had a hollow place all round the inside of it, so as to be taken hold of inside by the fingers of the drinkers. And some say that the cup which has never been touched by fire means a cup of horn; for that that is not worked by the agency of fire. And perhaps a man might call a φιάλη a drinking-cup by a metaphorical use of the word.” But Philemon, in his treatise on Attic Nouns and Attic Dialects, under the word καλπὶς says, "The dactylotus cup is the same as the two-headed cup into [p. 747] which a person can insert his fingers on both sides. But some say that it is one which has figures in the shape of fingers carved all round it."

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.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: