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Terracotta Rhyton (Vase for Libations or Drinking)

Greek, South Italian, Apulian, red-figure, rhyton, c. 350 - 300 B.C. Shaped as the head of a dog with a running satyr on the cup.

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Definition: Sacrifice was the essential element of Greek and Roman religious rituals. Sacrifices could be offered for thanksgiving, to ask for something, or to propitiate the gods. Sacrifices could be of meat, other food, or drink. The last are usually called libations. There were various types of animal sacrifice, including suovetaurilia, for a pig, ox, or sheep. Humans could also be sacrificed. The sacrifice of meat could be accompanied by barley meal. It was burned for the gods, but much of the meat was usually reserved for and eaten by people. The gods were thought to enjoy the smoke.

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Greek mythology says that Prometheus tricked Zeus into choosing the sacrificial portion without meat. So, when humans sacrificed, they could share the meal amongst themselves, while the gods had to be content with the smoke.

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