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But the cloth of unbleached linen with which they used to wipe their hands was called χειρόμακτρον, which also, in some verses which have been already quoted, by Philoxenus of Cythera, was called ἔκτριμμα. Aristophanes, in his Cook's Frying, says—
Bring quickly, slave, some water for the hands (κατὰ χειρος),
And bring at the same time a towel (χειρόμακτρον) too.
(And we may remark here, that in this passage he uses the expression κατὰ χειρὸς with reference to washing the hands after eating; not, as Aristophanes the grammarian says, that [p. 647] the Athenians used the expression κατὰ χειρὸς before eating, but the word νίψασθαι after eating.) Sophocles, in his (Enomaus, says—
Shaved in the Scythian manner, while his hair
Served for a towel, and to wipe his hands in.
And Herodotus, in the second book of his History, speaks in a similar manner. But Xenophon, in the first book of his Cyropædia, writes—“But when you have touched any one of these things, you immediately wipe your hands in a towel, as if you were greatly annoyed at their having been polluted in such a manner.” And Polemo, in the sixth book of his books addressed to Antigonus and Adæus, speaks of the difference between the two expressions κατὰ χειρὸς ανδ νίψα- σθαι. And Demonicus, in his Achelonius, uses the expression κατὰ χειρὸς, of water used before a meal, in these lines:—
But each made haste, as being about to dine
With one who 'd always a good appetite,
And who had also but Bœotian manners.
And so they all neglected washing their hands (κατὰ χειρὸς),
Because they could do that when they had dined.
And Cratinus also mentions towels, which he calls ὠμόλινον, in his Archilochi,—
With her hair cover'd with a linen towel,
Token of slovenly neglect.
And Sappho, in the fifth book of her Melodies addressed to Venus, when she says—
And purple towels o'er your knees I'll throw,
And do not you despise my precious gifts
* * * * * * *
speaks of these towels as a covering for the head; at Hecatæus shows, or whoever else it was who wrote those Descriptions of the World in the book entitled Asia,—“And the women wear towels (χειρόμακτρα) on their heads.” And Herodotus, in his second book, says, “And after this they said that this king descended down alive into the lower regions, which the Greeks call αἵδης, and that there he played at dice with Ceres, and that sometimes he won and sometimes he lost; and that after that he returned to earth with a gold-embroidered towel, which he had received as a present from her.”

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