Drink like a Greek: water cups

Ancient Greeks drank water and wine.  Beer wasn't popular.

Water was collected each morning from springs, wells, and, occasionally, public fountains, and carried back to the home. The most famous spring in Athens was called Kallirhoe. It was a tradition to wash in the waters of Kallirhoe on your wedding day.

Most cups were as normal-looking as modern ones, but some were works of art.  The pictures left and right are of a cup in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.  It's the sort of thing you would have found in a wealthy house.

And if you think people took their art seriously back then, check out this cup:


Don't ask me how they got it to stand upright.


5 comments:

Botanist said...

No beer? I don't think I'd have survived ancient Greece :)

That last cup reminded me of Austrian schnapps glasses - with a stem but no base, so you couldn't put it down until you'd tossed back your drink.

Gary Corby said...

No beer. If you wanted a beer you had to pop down to Egypt, where they had the best pubs.

Sarah W said...

These are nice, but I think I prefer Phidias' cup.

Could there have been a special stand for the cow cup? Were pieces like this just for show, or were they always used?

Amalia T. said...

The cow looks like it could have rested nose to horns, actually, even if that would have been tilted. I guess they just wouldn't be able to fill it up all the way (or drink the full contents) if they wanted to put it down! It's beautiful though. It's funny because I associate these kinds of animal-bottomed cups with Scandinavia more than Greece.

Gary Corby said...

The Phidias cup is an everyday standard one. These are for the rich guys. It's like this is the tableware you bring out when the in-laws are coming to visit.

That cow is so improbable I have trouble believing it got used much.