Sacred Drink

            This is an image of Zeus, sitting by an altar and being being served ambrosia by Ganymedes. It is found on the inside of a kylix, which is a type of cup used by the Ancient Greek people to drink wine at banquets and celebrations.

            In her book The Banquet-Libations of the Greeks, Delight Tolles describes a custom performed at more informal parties, which involved drinking wine from cups dedicated to individual deities, rather than pouring out the wine as a libation. The wine was an offering for a specific god, but instead of being poured out on an altar, it was designated as a sacred drink, and the people passed around the cup and drank from it. Among a few others, Zeus was one of the gods often honored in this way. The wine would be offered to Zeus, then passed around and shared by all. Usually a kylix was used in these situations, perhaps one similar to this kylix which depicts Zeus being served his own sacred drink. Similar to the act of pouring libation, this practice of drinking from these special cups established and developed the people's relationship with their gods through the means of food and drink. It serves as yet another example of ways in which the Ancient Greek people incorporated food and drink into their religion and used it to further establish their close relationship with the gods.