Isn’t it strange that we believe that people in antiquity were always serious? Well, nothing is less true for recent discoveries reveal that our ancestors had a great sense of humor indeed!
I remember that the
terracotta goblet with a thick rim that contained a small pebble. Consequently,
each time the guest brought this goblet to his lips the pebble started rolling
making a distinctive noise. Your drinking habit did not go unnoticed, of
Just recently a funny drinking cup was excavated in Vinkovci, eastern
which belongs to a series of so-called Tantalus cups. The inner center of the
cup is occupied by Tantalus, a Greek mythological figure who was doomed to stay
in sight but out of reach of food and water. The Tantalus figure of this cup has holes
hidden in its design and as soon as the cup is tipped, the liquid leaks onto
the tunic of the unsuspecting guest. The following picture from the Daily
Mail clarifies the system. Croatia
The example found in
dates from the 4th century AD and could have belonged to Emperor Valentinian I and/or his brother Valens who were born in Vinkovci. Croatia
Another trick is played by the Pythagorean cup which allegedly was invented by Pythagoras of Samos. The principle here is that when the cup is filled beyond a certain level, a siphoning system causes the fluid to be drained through its base. The silver vessel has a central column through which the wine “leaks” from the cup and spills over the unsuspecting drinking guest. This drawing from Wikipedia says more than any description would.
The siphon principle is in fact the granddad of our modern flushing toilets!