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Lebes gamikos, a vessel that was part of an ancient Greek wedding

The lebes (plural lebetes) was originally a type of ancient Greek pot, a deep bowl with a rounded bottom. It needed a stand, frequently a sacrificial tripod,[1] to remain upright. In classical times a foot was attached, and it was typically used as a mixing bowl in food preparation. One of the English translations of lebes is cauldron.

The lebes gamikos was a wedding bowl with looping handles; it is thought that it stood by the bride's door and may have been used in a purification ceremony.

A metal lebes, especially one made of bronze, was frequently given as a prize in athletic contests and sometimes in dramatic competitions, as recorded by Herodotus (who was himself from Hallicarnassus):

Just as the Dorians of what is now the country of the 'Five Cities' — formerly the country of 'the Six Cities' — forbid admitting any of the neighboring Dorians to the Triopian temple, and even barred from using it those of their own group who had broken the temple law. For long ago, in the games in honor of Triopian Apollo, they offered certain bronze tripods to the victors; and those who won these were not to carry them away from the temple but dedicate them there to the god. Now when a man of Halicarnassus called Agasicles won, he disregarded this law, and, carrying the tripod away, nailed it to the wall of his own house. For this offense the five cities — Lindus, Ialysus, Camirus, Cos, and Cnidus — forbade the sixth city — Halicarnassus — to share in the use of the temple. Such was the penalty imposed on the Halicarnassians.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sayles, Wayne G., Ancient Coin Collecting, Iola, Wisconsin : Krause Publications, 2003. Cf. p.258. "Lebes: cauldron, usually supported on a tripod"
  2. ^ Herodotus, The Histories (ed. A. D. Godley), Book I.CXLIV[1]

Further reading[edit]