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And with respect to the handles, they tell us that this cup had indeed two handles above, like other cups; but that it had also two more on the middle of its convex surface, one on each side, of small size, resembling the Corinthia water- ewers. But Apelles explained the system of the four handles very artistically in the following manner. He said, tat from one root, as it were, which is attached to the bottom of the cup, there are diverging lines extending along each handle, at no great distance from each other: and these reach up to the brim of the cup, and even rise a little above it, and are at the greatest distance from each other at the point where they are furthest from the vessel itself; but at the lower extremity, where they join the rim, they are again united. And in this [p. 780] way there are four handles; but this kind of ornament is not seen in every cup, but only on some, and especially on those which are called seleucides. But with respect to the question raised about the two bases, how it can be said, “On two firm bases stood the mighty bowl,” some people explain that line thus:—that some cups have one bottom, the natural one, being wrought at the same time as, and of one piece with, the whole cup; as for instance, those which are called cymbia, and the phialæ, and others of the same shape as the phialæ. But some have two bottoms; as for instance, the egg-shaped cups called ooscyphia, and those called cantharia, and the seleucides, and the carchesia, and others of this kind. For they say that one of these bottoms is wrought of the same piece as the entire cup, and the other is attached to it, being sharp at the upper part, and broader towards the lower end, as a support for the cup; and this cup of Nestor's, they say, was of this fashion. But the poet may have represented this cup as having two bottoms; the one, that is to say, bearing the whole weight of the cup, and having an elevation proportionate to the height, in accordance, with its greater circumference; and the other bottom might be smaller in circumference, so as to be contained within the circumference of the larger circle, where the natural bottom of the cup becomes sharper; so that the whole cup should be supported on two bases. But Dionysius the Thracian is said to have made the cup called Nestor's, at Rhodes, all his pupils contributing silver for the work; of which Promethidas of Heraclea, explaining the way in which it was made on the system of Dionysius, says that it is a cup having its handles made side by side, as the ships with two prows have their prows made; and that turtle-doves are represented sitting on the handles; and that two small sticks, as it were, are placed under the cup as a support to it, running transversely across in a longitudinal direction, and that these are the two bottoms meant by Homer. And we may to this day see a cup of that fashion at Capua, a city of Campania, consecrated to Diana; and the Capuans assert that that is the identical cup which belonged to Nestor. And it is a silver cup, having on it the lines of Homer engraved in golden characters.
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