The Pythagorean Cup

by GreekCellar
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Wine in antiquity was linked to every daily activity as well as to philosophy, as is no doubt evidenced by the famous Fair Cup (or Greedy Cup) built by 5th century philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. Pythagoras’ aim was to make his compatriots realize the sense of measure and that losing it equals the loss of everything won over.

Inside the cup there is a mark embossed which he who drinks should respect, provided he wants to savor its contents. Otherwise, once the liquid rises beyond the mark, the wine slips the cup which has got two holes on its bottom and one in its stem.

In it the cup has a central column which covers a pipe running all the way down to the stem. When the cup is filled through the pipe the wine rises and if the level is respected then the pipe can support the atmospheric pressure and the liquid stays within.

However if the level rises further, the pipe system is filled and there begins the spill through the chamber. The wine empties entirely from the cup as the external chamber of the liquid remains stable whereas the one positioned over the stem empties.

From the longstanding history of wine in Thrace, a myth that stands out is that of Lycurgus, who after being highly disrespectful to Dionysus, widely worshipped in the area, is punished by the gods with a tragic death.

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