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RHYTON (ῥυτόν), a drinking-horn (κέρας), by which name it was originally called (Athen. 11.497 b). Athenaeus adds that it was introduced into the statues of Arsinoë by Ptolemy Philadelphus, and this may be seen on the coins of Arsinoë [Dict. of Biogr. ARSINOE]. It is impossible that by ὑπὸ πρώτου [τοῦ] φιλαδέλφου Πτολεμαίου Βασιλέως, Athenaeus can have meant to assert that Ptolemy invented the ῥυτόν, since he himself cites the passage of Demosthenes (Meid. p. 565.158) where it is mentioned. It is probable that the word πρώτου merely distinguishes the earlier Philadelphus from the later (Attalus II.). The oldest and original form of this drinking-horn was probably the horn of the ox, but one end of it was afterwards ornamented with the heads of various animals and birds. We frequently find representations of the ῥυτὸν on ancient vases depicting symposia. Several specimens of these drinkin-ghorns have also been discovered at Pompeii (Museo Borbonico, vol. 8.14, 5.20): representations of two of these are given in the annexed cut.

Drinking-horns from Pompeii.

Etruscan rhyta. (Dennis.)

The ῥυτὸν had a small opening at the bottom, which the person who drank put into his mouth, and allowed the wine to run in: hence it derived its name (ὠνομάσθαι τε ἀπὸ τῆς ῥύσεως, Athen. 11.497 e). We see persons using the ῥυτὸν in this way in ancient paintings (Pitt. d'Ercol. v. tav. 46; Zahn, Ornam. und Wandgem. taf. 90). Martial (2.35) speaks of it under the name of rhytium. (Becker-Göll, Charikles, vol. iii. p. 91; Guhl u. Koner, p. 164.)

[W.S] [G.E.M]

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