) was the large
bowl used at feasts for mixing the wine for the whole company. There can be
little doubt that it is as old as communal life, with its common ceremonies
and common feasts; so that we are not surprised to find it among the oldest
people and in the most remote age of each nation. From Assyria (Perrot and
Chipiez, 2.410), Cyprus (the crater of Amathus), Persia (
), we hear of colossal specimens which were used
generally in religious rites, and which bear evidence that even at the time
of their own construction the crater had already had a long history. But
specially, among the Greeks, we find the κρατὴρ
in Hesiod (Op.
744) and Homer, made of
silver (Od. 9.203
) and with a gold rim
), and sometimes of gold
). The prize Achilles
offered for the foot-race was a silver crater, elaborately wrought, holding
six measures, nor was any in the whole world able to surpass it in beauty,
cunningly wrought as it was by Sidonians (Il.
). During the Homeric feasts the κρατὴρ
used to stand at the far end of the men's hall, at
the left-hand side near the ὀρσοθύρη
and Buchholz, Hom. Real.
164). The manner of its use at festivals will be found treated of under CENA
In historical times we find it belonging to every class, rich (e. g. Alexis,
119, Kock; Juv. 12.44
) and poor (Ar.
677; Mart. 12.32
); and used also in religious cult, where
it is generally mentioned in connexion with σπονδαί
505.158), thus referring to the drinking which followed
the libation. So, too, in general festivals we hear o the gods ordering
to be set up in the streets
1072.66); and the
crater was used at funerals (Verg. A. 6.225
and in the mysteries (κρατηρίζων,
313.259). And so we find craters
were a most common kind of dedication in the temples (e.g. C. I.
8; Orelli, 1541), and they are often mentioned as such by
Herodotus: for example, the six golden ones dedicated by Gyges, each
weighing 5 talents (1.14); the gold one weighing 8 1/2 talents 12 minae, and
the silver one holding 600 μετρηταὶ
Croesus dedicated at Delphi (1.51). The monstrous crater carried in the
procession of Ptolemy Philadelphus (Ath. 199b
held the same quantity, and was elaborately [p. 1.561]
adorned with figures about the handles and base, and round the middle ran
a band of gold with precious stones (cf. λιθοκόλλητον
in Eratosth. ap. Ath.
). Other highly-adorned craters are mentioned in Hdt. 1.70
also Ov. Met. 13.681
These great public vessels used to be employed
for mixing wine in on the occasion of festivals, e. g. the Theophania at
Delphi (Hdt. 1.51
), and of important state
ceremonials, e. g. contracting peace and alliance with another state
(4.152). In Virgil (Aen.
9.346) we read of a man hiding
behind a crater. These examples show the enormous size, the costly material,
and the elaborate ornamentation of some of these vessels; but craters were
of all sizes, from these gigantic public ones down to domestic ones holding
a few pints. And as the latter were often
Crater. (Dennis, Etruria, i. p.
humble in size, so too they were often humble in material. We find
them of wood (the πρόαρον
is a κρατὴρ ξύλινος,
), horn (Mart.
), clay (Ov. Met. 8.639
). Craters were used chiefly for
wine, but also for other libations (Soph. O.
; Verg. A.
). We hear of special kinds with distinct names from places, e.
g. Lesbian (Hdt. 4.61
), Argive (Hdt. 4.152
), Laconian (Ath.
); and from individuals, e. g. Thericlean (Alexis, 119,
Kock). For the latter see CALIX
But archaeologists agree that we have not
Etruscan Crater. (Dennis, Etruria, i.
sufficient evidence to identify these different species with the
different kinds of craters which have come down to us. The most ordinary
shapes of the crater are the following. It will
Crater. (Dennis, Etruria, i. p.
be seen that they had a neck of varying size, a broad body, and a
base; also two handles, which were sometimes high up and vertical, and
adorned with flutings, sometimes horizontal and nearer the base.
These are the principal kinds; but perhaps we may class under the head of
those large round-bottomed
vessels which approached in form to the δῖνος,
and which were of the shape of the old mixers of more
simple times. The word crater [CANTHARUS
] is also used of basins for catching the water
discharged by fountains (Plin. Ep. 5.6
, and probably H. N.
It does not appear to have been ever applied to a drinking vessel; but we
in this latter sense
The crater often had a support which was called ὑποκρατήριον, ὑποκρατηρίδιον,
These are frequently mentioned in dedications;
see Boeckh in C. G.
8, p. 20. In Herod, 1.25 it is of iron;
and in 4.152 three brasen kneeling Colossi, seven cubits high. A Latin
inscription of 169 A.D. (Orelli, 1541) mentions a “crateram
argyrocorinthiam cum basi sua et hypobasi marmorea;” and another
(Henzen, 5801) tells of a crater “cum basi bicipite.” Subjoined
are two woodcuts to illustrate the ὑποκρατηρίδιον.
Late Crater, Orvieto. (Dennis, Etruria, i. p. cxi.)
Further, the word κρατὴρ
is applied to
chasms in the ground (Soph. O. C.
, and [p. 1.562]
): e. g. the geysers of the Palici at Syracuse (Macr. 5.19
). Compare the
Late Crater, Perugia. (Dennis, Etruria, i. p. cxii.)
dark mountain lake called the Devil's Punchbowl at Killarney. The
name of Crater was also given to the Sinus Cumanus or Bay of Naples (Cic. Att. 2.8
); compare Cothon at Carthage. Crater, too, was a constellation
(Ov. Fast. 2.226
Besides the works mentioned under CALIX
see Pottier in Daremberg and Saglio.