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Stone Jug


Either a stone jar or a prison. The Greek word κεραμoζ (kerămos) means either an earthen jar or a prison, as in χαλκεω εν κεραμω (chalkĕo en keramŏ), in a brazen prison. When Venus complained to the immortals that Diomed had wounded her, Diõnē bade her cheer up, for other immortals had suffered also, but had borne up under their affliction; as Mars, for example, when Otos and Ephialtēs bound him … and kept him for thirteen months χαλκεω εν κεραμω (in a brazen prison, or brazen jug). (Homer: Iliad, v. 381, etc.; see also ix. 469.) Ewing says keramos, potter’s earth or pottery, was also a prison, because prisoners were made to work up pottersʹ earth into jugs and other vessels. Thus we say, “He was sent to the treadmill, meaning, to prison to work in the treadmill.


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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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