Pythagoras cup, Pythagorean cup of justice or Fair cup, Greedy Cup, Tantalus cup.
Museum Copy, Ancient Greek Classical Period 485 BC engraved in hand, internally glazed, depicts Greek Goddess, Demeter.
"Goddess of Agriculture, Fertility, Sacred Law and the Harvest"
Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and presides over grains and the fertility of the earth. Although she was most often referred to as the goddess of the harvest, she was also the goddess of sacred law and the cycle of life and death.
Her virgin daughter Persephone was abducted by the god of the underworld, Hades, and Demeter endlessly searched for her, preoccupied with loss and grief. The seasons halted and living things stopped growing and died. At this point, Zeus had to intervene and send his messenger Hermes to the underworld to bring Persephone back and prevent the extinction of all life on Earth.
Hades agreed to Persephone’s relief but gave her a pomegranate as she left. When she ate the pomegranate seeds, she was bound to him for one-third of the year, either the dry Mediterranean summer, when plant life is threatened by drought, or the autumn and winter.
A Pythagoras cup (also known as a Pythagorean cup, a Greedy Cup or a Tantalus cup) is a form of drinking cup which forces its user to imbibe only in moderation. Credited to Pythagoras of Samos, it allows the user to fill the cup with wine up to a certain level. If the user fills the cup only up to that level he may enjoy his drink in peace. If he exhibits gluttony, however, the cup spills its contents out the bottom (the intention being: onto the lap of the immodest drinker).
A Pythagorean cup looks like a normal drinking cup, except that the bowl has a central column in it, giving it a shape like a Bundt pan. The central column of the bowl is positioned directly over the stem of the cup and over the hole at the bottom of the stem. A small open pipe runs from this hole almost to the top of the central column, where there is an open chamber. The chamber is connected by a second pipe to the bottom of the central column, where a hole in the column exposes the pipe to (the contents of) the bowl of the cup.
When the cup is filled, liquid rises through the second pipe up to the chamber at the top of the central column, following Pascal's principle of communicating vessels. As long as the level of the liquid does not rise beyond the level of the chamber, the cup functions as normal. If the level rises further, however, the liquid spills through the chamber into the first pipe and out the bottom. Gravity then creates a siphon through the central column, causing the entire contents of the cup to be emptied through the hole at the bottom of the stem.
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- CAUTION: No Microwave, No Dishwasher - It's best to clean with a dry cloth
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