A Matter of Measurements

While the obsession with the ‘proper pint’ may seem modern, the Ancient Greeks also fixated on measuring their alcohol. Pythagoras, a great Samian mathematician (and, presumably, drinker), created an invention that ensured party hosts and publicans could not be deceived by guests aspiring to inebriation.

His creation was dubbed the Dikiakoupa tou Pythagora (Just Cup of Pythagoras). This mysterious, multi-holed drinking vessel holds its contents perfectly, unless filled past the engraved line, at which point the glass drains completely from the bottom, punishing the glutton!

Today, faithful reproductions, made of colourful glazed ceramic, are sold in Samos gift shops, and are tangible reminders of the Apollon Mean: ‘Everything in moderation’

Text by Chris Deliso, published in Lonely Planet’s guide to Greecec 2010.