“But I,” said the Myrlean, "have this to say about [p. 781] the cup:—the ancients, who first brought men over to a more civilized system of life, believing that the world was spherical, and taking their ideas of form from the visible forms of the sun and moon which they beheld, and adapting these figures to their own use in the daily concerns of life, thought it right to make all their vessels and other articles of furniture resemble, in shape at least, the heaven which surrounds everything: on which account they made tables round; and so also they made the tripods which they dedicated to the Gods, and they also made their cakes round and marked with stars, which they also call moons. And this is the origin of their giving bread the name of ἄρτος, because of all figures the circle is the one which is the most complete (ἀπήρτισται), and it is a perfect figure. And accordingly they made a drinking-cup, being that which receives moist nourishment, circular, in imitation of the shape of the world. But the cup of Nestor has something peculiar about it, for it has stars on it, which the poet compares to studs, because the stars are as round as the studs, and are, as it were, fixed in the heaven; as also Aratus says of them—
There do they shine in heaven,—ornamentsBut the poet has expressed this very beautifully, attaching the golden studs to the main body of the silver cup, and so indicating the nature of the stars and of the heaven by the colour of the ornaments. For the heaven is like silver, and the stars resemble gold from their fiery colour.
Fix'd there for ever as the night comes round.