A.staff or stick, used by the lame or aged, Il.18.416, Od.13.437, 14.31, 17.199, 18.103; “ἰσχὺν . . νέμοντες ἐπὶ σκήπτροις” A.Ag.75; σκήπτρῳ προδεικνύς, of a blind man feeling his way, S.OT 456; “πρεσβῦται . . σκήπτροισιν ἄκασκα προβῶντες” Cratin.126: metaph. of the daughters of Oedipus, ὦ σκῆπτρα φωτός his staffs or supports, S.OC1109, cf. 848:—the Prose word is βακτηρία.
II. staff or baton, esp. as the badge of command, sceptre: in Hom. borne by kings and chiefs, and transmitted from father to son (whence Il.2.101 sqq. is called ἡ τοῦ σκήπτρου παράδοσις, Th.1.9), Il.9.156, Od. 11.569: also borne by heralds, Il.7.277, al.; by speakers, who on rising to speak received it from the herald, 1.234, 18.505, 23.568, Od.2.37; by priests and soothsayers, Il.1.15, A.Ag.1265; later by minstrels, first in Hes. Th.30; “ς. χρύσεον” Il.1.15, 2.268, Od.11.91, 569; wrought by Hephaestus, Il.2.101; “χρυσείοις ἥλοισι πεπαρμένον” 1.245. In oaths or protests it was held up, the gods being called to witness, ib.234, 7.412, 10.321,328; “ὁ δ᾽ ὅρκος ἦν τοῦ ς. ἐπανάτασις” Arist.Pol.1285b12; used as a stick or cudgel to punish the refractory, Il.2.199,265, Pi.O.7.28, S.OT811.
2. as a symbol of royalty, kingly power, etc., Il.6.159, 9.38; τοι Ζεὺς ἐγγυάλιξε σκῆπτρόν τ᾽ ἠδὲ θέμιστας ib.99, cf. 156,298, A.Pr.172 (anap.); τὸ θεῖον Διὸς ς. S.Ph.140 (lyr.): freq. in pl. in this sense, Hdt.7.52; τύραννα ς. A.Pr.761, cf. Eu.626; “ὃς . . σκῆπτρα καὶ θρόνους ἔχει” S.OC425, cf. 449, etc.; “σκῆπτρα χώρας” E.HF1167.
III. = Hebr. Shevet, of the tribes (φυλαί) of Israel, LXX3 Ki.11.13,al.(but in 1 Ki.10.20 sq., φυλή is a sub-division of σκῆπτρον).