The Ancient Library

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On this page: Crates – Crepida – Crepitaculum – Cretio Hereditatis – Crimen


place in the fteyapw was in the most honourable part of the room, at the farthest end from the en­trance, and near the seat of the most distinguished among the guests. (Od. xxi. 145, xxii. 333, com­pared with 341.) The size of the crater seems to have varied according to the number of guests ; for where their number is increased, a larger crater is asked for. (II. ix. 202,) It would seem, at least at a later period (for in the Homeric poems we find no traces of the custom), that three craters were filled at every feast after the tables were re­moved. They must, of course, have varied in size according to the number of guests. According to Suidas (s. v. Kpar^p) the first was dedicated to Hermes, the second to Charisius, and the third to Zeus Soter; but others called them by different names; thus the first, or, according to others, the last, was also designated the Kpar^p ayaOov dai-/xoz/os, the crater of the good genius (Suidas s. v. AyaOov Aaipovos: compare Athen. xv. p. 692, &c. ; Aristoph. Vesp. 507, Pa*, 300), KpaTTjp vyieias and fjieraynrrpis or fAerdj/nrTpov, because it was the crater from which the cups were filled after the washing of the hands. (Athen. xv. p. 629, f. &c.)

Craters were among the first things on the em­bellishment of which the ancient artists exercised their skill. Homer (II. xxiii. 741, &c.) mentions, among the prizes proposed by Achilles, a beauti­fully wrought silver crater, the work of the ingeni­ous Sidonians, which, by the elegance of its work­manship, excelled all others on the whole earth. In the reign of Croesus,, king of Lydia, the Lace­daemonians sent to that king a brazen crater, the border of which was all over ornamented with figures (£w§ta), and which was of such an enor­mous size that it contained 300 amphorae. (Herod, i. 70.) Croesus himself dedicated to the Delphic god two huge craters, which the Delphians believed to be the work of Theodoras of Samos, and Hero­dotus (i. 51) was induced by the beauty of their workmanship to think the same. It was about 01. 35, that the Samians dedicated six talents (the tenth of the profits made by Colaeus on his voyage to Tartessus) to Hera,, in the shape of an immense brazen crater, the border of which was adorned with projecting heads of griffins. This crater, which Herodotus (iv. 152) calls Argive (from which we must infer that the Argive artists were celebrated for their craters), was supported by three colossal brazen statues, seven cubits long, with their knees closed together.

The number of craters dedicated in temples seems everywhere to have been very great. Livius Andronicus, in his Equus Trojanusj represented Agamemnon returning from Troy with no less than 3000 craters (Cic. ad Fam. vii. 1), and Cicero (in Verr. iv. 58) says that Verres carried away from Syracuse the most beautiful brazen craters^ which most probably belonged to the various tem­ples of that city. But craters were not oiily de­dicated to the gods as anathemata, but were used on various solemn occasions in their service. Thus we read in Theocritus (v. 53, compare Virgil, Eclog* v. 67) :—"I shall offer to the Muses a crater full of fresh milk and sweet olive-oil." In sacri­fices the libation was always taken from a crater (Demosth. dq Fals. Legal, p. 431, c.Lept. p. 505, c. Mid. p. 531, c. Macart. p. 1072 ; compare Bekk. Anecdot. p. 274. 4), and sailors before they set out on their journey used to take the libation with


cups from a crater, and pour it into the sea. (Thucyd. vi. 32 ; Diodor. iii. 3 ; Arrian, Anab. vi. 3 ; Virg. Aen. v. 765.) The name crater was also sometimes used as synonymous with crirXiov, situla, a pail in which water was fetched. (Naev. apud Non. xv. 36 ; Hesych. s.v. Kpcmjpes.)

The Romans used their crater or cratera for the same purposes for which it was used in Greece ; but the most elegant specimens were, like most other works of art, made by Greeks. (Virg. Aen. i. 727, iii. 525 ; Ovid, Fast. v. 522 ; Hor. Carm. iii. 18. 7.) [L. S.]

CRATES (rapo-os), a hurdle, used by the ancients for several purposes. First, in war, espe­cially in assaulting a city or camp, they were placed before or over the head of the soldier to shield off the enemy's missiles. (Amm. Marc. xxi. 12.) From the plutei, which were employed in the same way, they differed only in being without the covering of raw hides. A lighter kind was thrown down to make a bridge over fosses, for examples of which see Caesar, B. G. vii. 81, 86. By the besieged (Veget. iv. 6) they were used joined together so as to form what Vegetius calls a metella, and filled with stones : these were then poised between two of the battlements ; and as the storming party approached upon the ladders, overturned on their heads.

A capital punishment was called by this name, whence the phrase sub crate necari. The criminal was thrown into a pit or well, and hurdles laid upon him, over which stones were afterwards heaped. (Liv. i. 51, iv. 50 ; Tacit. German. 12.)

Crates called ficariae were used by the country people upon which to dry figs, grapes, &c., in the rays of the sun. (Colum. xii. 15, 16.) These, as Columella informs us, were made of sedge or straw, and also employed as a sort of matting to screen the fruit from the weather. Virgil (Georg. i. 94) recommends the use of hurdles in agriculture to level the ground after it has been turned up with the heavy rake (rastruin). Any texture of rods or twigs seems to have been called by the general name crates. [B. J.]

CREPIDA (KprjTris\ a slipper. Slippers were worn with the pallium, not with the toga, and were properly characteristic of the Greeks, though adopted from them by the Romans. Hence Sue­ tonius says of the Emperor Tiberius (c. 13), Depo- sito patrio habitu redegit se ad pallium et crepidas. As the cothurnus was assumed by tragedians, be­ cause it was adapted to be part of a grand and stately attire, the actors of comedy, on the other hand, wore crepidae and other cheap and common coverings for the feet. [baxea ; Soccus.] Also whereas the ancients had their more finished boots and shoes made right and left, their slippers, on the other hand, were made to fit both feet indif­ ferently. [Isid. Orig. ix. 34.) [J. Y.]

CREPITACULUM. [sistrum.]


CRIMEN. Though this word occurs so fre­quently, it is not easy to fix its meaning. Crimen is often equivalent to accusatio (Ka,Trjjopia) ; but it frequently means an act which is legally punish­able. In this latter sense there seems to be no exact definition of it by the Roman jurists. Ac­cording to some modern writers, crimina are either public or private; but we have still to determine the notions of public and private. There was a want of precise terminology as to what, in common

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