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p237 Cantharus

Unsigned article on pp237‑238 of

William Smith, D.C.L., LL.D.:
A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, John Murray, London, 1875.

An engraving of a male, draped but bare-chested, holding up a small 2-handled cup. The cup is a cantharus, a type of Greek and Roman drinking vessel. CANTHARUS (κάνθαρος was a kind of drinking-cup, furnished with handles (cantharus ansa, Virg. Ecl. VI.17; Hor. Carm. I.20). It is said by some writers to have derived its name from one Cantharus, who first made cups of this p238form (Athen. XI p474E; Pollux, VI.96; (Plin. H. N. XXXIV.19 § 25). The cantharus was the cup sacred to Bacchus (Macrob. Sat. V.21; Plin. H. N. XXXIII.53), who is frequently represented on ancient vases holding it in his hand, as in the following woodcut, which is taken from a painting on an ancient vase (Millingen, Peintures Antiques, pl. 53).a


Thayer's Note:

a To improve a bit on this article, see the clear page on the typology of vases in George Dennis's Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria, s.v. Cantharus, which also has another and possibly better derivation of the word; and a second illustration of one elsewhere in the book. (Etruscan rather than Greek or Roman mind you, but pottery forms stayed remarkably constant across the whole civilization.)


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