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CY´MBIUM (κυμβίον, κύμβος, κύμβη) was a kind of small cup, according to Didymus and Nicander (ap. Ath. 481e), not round but long (ἐπίμηκες, which does not mean “high” procera, as Macrobius, Macr. 5.21, translates it), and narrow (στενόν), without handles (χωπὶς ὠτίων). Dorotheus (ap. Ath. 481d) says it belonged to the class of cups which were deep (βαθέων), high (ὀρθῶν), without base or handles. Thus there were two very different shapes of cymbia, agreeing in not having handles; and this diversity of shape may be paralleled by that of the bowls of our wine-glasses, but of course the cymbia had not bases like the latter. They appear to have been constantly employed for drinking unmixed wine from (ἄκρατος, Philemon, 84; Anaxandrides, 3, ed. Kock), and fulfilled the functions of a cyathus in ladling out the wine from the crater into the cups; see Eratosthenes (ap. Ath. 482b), who says that the κυμβίον was a κυαθῶδες ἀγγεῖον. They were much used (Ath. 481-2), but only among the wealthy (Dem. Mid. p. 558.133; 565.158). Though generally employed for wine, yet we find them in Virgil (Aen. 3.65) holding milk. They were made of various valuable materials: chrysoprase (Plin. Nat. 32.113), silver with embossed work (Verg. A. 5.267), and the embossed work

Cymbium. (Panofka.)

was sometimes of gold (Alexis, 95, ed. Kock; Dig. 34, 2, 31, 1), Saguntine clay (Mart. 8.6, 2). The meaning is derived from κυμβη, “a boat” (Soph. Fragm. 129): see Didymus ap. Ath. 481f, Fest. 51. 10, and compare ἄκατος [p. 1.592]and τριήρης, and such usages as our “butter-boat,” &c. For the converse we have γαυλὸς and σκάφη, and “vessel” applied to a ship. The above specimen from Panofka (Recherches, &100.5.75) may possibly be an example of the first kind (cf. Birch, p. 379). The inscription is πρόπινε μὴ κατθῇς, “Drink; do not lay me down.”


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