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ψυκτήρ). A vessel for cooling wine or water. It was of various shapes, but probably in general resembled the calathus. (See Calathus.) The name might be given to any vessel in which wine was cooled, even when the process was merely putting in snow, but the contrivance especially so called consisted of a smaller vessel placed within a larger one. Sometimes the wine or water to be iced was placed in the smaller and plunged into the larger vessel which contained snow; sometimes the snow was placed in the smaller vessel and let down into the larger vase of wine. When the wine was sufficiently iced, the smaller vessel was no doubt removed, and the wine ladled out with a cyathus (Athen. xi. 503): we have no reason to suppose that a tap was used, as seems to have been sometimes the case in the Authepsa for hot drinks. See Authepsa.

Iced water, the gelida of Juv.v. 63frigida, Tac. Ann. xiii. 16), which, like the calida, was handed round to mix with the wine, or was used as a drink by itself (Athen. iii. p. 121 e, 122 f), was prepared in a ψυκτήρ as above described (in Mart.xiv. 116, lagona nivaria), and a special term decocta belongs to it, because it was boiled first in order that it might more readily be iced afterwards (Juv.v. 50, with Mayor's note). Pliny says that this decocta was an invention of Nero's (cf. Suet. Ner. 48), and that the water, which had sometime previously been boiled, was placed in a glass vessel and so plunged into a larger vessel of snow, that it might escape any impurities (vitia) of the snow.

The snow for this purpose, or for use in the colus or saccus nivarius, was kept through the summer in pits covered over with chaff and woollen cloths (Plut. Symp. vi. 6). Another method of Antiochus, whereby ὑδρίαι κεράμεαι were placed on straw on the top of the house at night, seems to have been the method of freezing by evaporation which is common in Persia at the present time. See Ussing in Annal. d. Inst. (1849); Beckmann, Hist. of Inventions, iii. 322; Becker-Göll, Charikles, ii. 346; Gallus, iii. 430; Marquardt, Privatleben, 333.

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  • Cross-references from this page (3):
    • Tacitus, Annales, 13.16
    • Suetonius, Nero, 48
    • Martial, Epigrammata, 14.116
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