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So after this conversation had gone on for some time, water for the hands was brought round; and then again Ulpian asked whether the word χέρνιβον, which we use in ordinary conversation, was used by the ancients; and who had met with it; quoting that passage in the Iliad—
He spoke, and bade the attendant handmaid bring
The purest water of the living spring,
(Her ready hands the ewer (χέρνιβον) and basin held,)
Then took the golden cup his queen had fill'd.
But the Attic writers say χερνίβιον, as Lysias, for instance, in his speech against Alcibiades, where he says, “With all his golden wash-hand basins (χερνιβιοις) and incense-burners;” but Eupolis uses the word χειρόνιπτρον, in his Peoples—
And he who runs up first receives a basin (χειρόνιπτρον),
But when a man is both a virtuous man
And useful citizen, though he surpass
In virtue all the rest, he gets no basin (χειρόνιπτρον).
But Epicharmus, in his Ambassadors for a Sacred Purpose, uses the word χειρόνιβον in the following lines:— [p. 644]
A harp, and tripods, chariots too, and tables
Of brass Corinthian, and wash-hand basins (χειρόνιβα),
Cups for libations, brazen caldrons too.
But it is more usual to say κατὰ χειρὸς ὕδωρ (water to be poured over the hands), as Eupolis does say in his Golden Age, and Ameipsias in his Sling, and Alcæus in his Sacred Wedding: and this is a very common expression. But Philyllius, in his Auge, says κατὰ χειρῶν, not χειρὸς, in these lines:—
And since the women all have dined well,
'Tis time to take away the tables now,
And wipe them, and then give each damsel water
To wash her hands (κατὰ χειρῶν), and perfumes to anoint them.
And Menander, in his Pitcher, says—
And they having had water for their hands (κατὰ χειρῶν λαβόντες),
Wait in a friendly manner.

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