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CO´TYLA

CO´TYLA or CO´TULA (κοτύλη, κότυλος, dim. κοτυλίσκη, κοτυλίσκος, κοτυλίσκιον), a kind of cup, the exact shape of which is not easy to determine. That it was of no great size is evident from the earliest use of the word in Homer (πύρνον καὶ κοτύλην, “a bite and a sup,” of the smallest doles of food and drink, Od. 15.312, 17.12; cf. Il. 22.494). Athenaeus, who has separate chapters on the κότυλος (11.478 b) and κοτύλη (ib. d), brings together a farrago of quotations which point to no definite conclusion. From one grammarian, Simaristus, he quotes λεπτὸν ποτήριον, “a small cup,” as a description of κοτύλη: from another, Apollodorus, ποτηρίου τι γένος ὑψηλὸν καὶ ἔγκοιλον. Of course ὑψηλὸν need not imply any great height; it means “of a high and narrow shape,” running to height rather than width. The other adjective, ἔγκοιλον, must mean “with hollow or concave sides;” even Athenaeus would hardly describe a cup as simply hollow. These two epithets, we shall see further on, are not without significance. Athenaeus' other statements are more contradictory: κότυλοι are at first “one-handled,” then they “sometimes have handles;” κοτυλίσκοι are little hollows in a large dish called κέρνος (cf. Liddell and Scott, s. v.); then a κοτύλη has no handle at all, therein differing from a κύλιξ: finally both the κότυλος and κοτύλη are like a deep bath-tub (λουτηρίψ βαθεῖ).

After this it is not surprising that modern authorities differ. Two of the best, Panofka and Gerhard, are at issue which of two closely resembling vessels is a scyphus and which a cotyla (Guhl and Koner, ed. 5, p. 194; the figures p. 190, Nos. 4 and 7). Fortunately two inscribed examples help us to a decision. One of these, found at Corfu, has been figured by Birch (Anc. Pott. ed. 2, p. 375), and is inscribed ΗΕΜΙΚΟΤΥΛΙΟΝ,

A half Cotyla. (Birch.)

i.e. ῾ημικοτύλιον: the other, found at Thespiae and now in the Louvre, calls itself κότυλος and is here given after Pottier (ap. D. and S.). The cup in question is about six inches in height, and its shape auswers to the description quoted from Apollodorus, ῾υψηλὸν καὶ ἔγκοιλον: it bears some resemblance to a CANTHARUS but is of smaller size. These two inscribed specimens favour the conclusion that the ἡμικοτύλιον had one handle, the κότυλος or κοτύλη two; as had previously been conjectured (Panofka,

Cotyla. (From the Louvre.)

3.51, 4.50; Gerhard, Ultime Ricerche, 28; Birch. l.c.). The κοτυλίσκος, it is probable, [p. 1.560]might be with or without handles (Gerhard, Berlins Ant. Bildw. 1.368, No. 46).

Cotyla (in this sense κοτύλη only, not κότυλος) was also a measure of capacity among the Romans and Greeks: in Latin it was more commonly called hemina; in Greek sometimes ἡμίνα or ἡμίμνα. It was the half of the sextarius or ξέστης, and contained 6 cyathi, 0:274 of a litre, or nearly half a pint English (Hultsch, Metrol. 80 ff. 92). Sometimes, though rarely, it is a dry measure (κοτύλην ὕδατος καὶ δύο κοτύλας σίτου, Thuc. 7.87; Hultsch, p. 83).

This measure was used by physicians with a graduated scale marked on it, like our own chemical measures, for accurately dispensing given weights of fluids, especially oil; and in this sense was also called τρύβλιον (Hippocr. 531, 51; Galen, infra). A vessel of horn, of a cubic or cylindrical shape, of the capacity of a cotyla, was divided into twelve equal parts by lines cut on its side. The whole vessel was called litra, and each of the parts an ounce (uncia). This measure held nine ounces (by weight) of oil, so that the ratio of the weight of the oil to the number of ounces it occupied in the measure would be 9:12 or 3:4. (Galen, de Compos. Medicam. per Genera, 3.3; 1.16, 17; 4.14; 5.3, 6; 6.6, 8.)

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