Washing basins

When Achilles is chasing Hector around Troy before finally killing him they pass some springs and some stone washing basins. You can still see these basins in present day Greece although I would think most people nowadays use washing machines like the rest of us. Some years ago I saw some near Katelios in Kephalonia; Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture but I’ve lifted one off the Internet to illustrate what they looked like. Like many things in modern Greece many traditions survived for thousands of years only to be swept away by a few decades of the modern world.


They sped past the lookout post and the wind-swept fig tree keeping away from the wall along the wagon track, and they reached the fair flowing springs. Here were the two sources of the eddying river Scamander. One of fhem flowed with warm water and there was smoke around coming from it as if from burning fire; the other even in summer gushed out as cold as hail or chill snow or ice formed from water. Nearby there were wide washing basins beautiful, made of stone where the Trojan wives and their beautiful daughters used to wash their shining clothes during the time of peace before the sons of the Achaeans came.

οἳ δὲ παρὰ σκοπιὴν καὶ ἐρινεὸν ἠνεμόεντα
τείχεος αἰὲν ὑπ᾽ ἐκ κατ᾽ ἀμαξιτὸν ἐσσεύοντο,
κρουνὼ δ᾽ ἵκανον καλλιρρόω: ἔνθα δὲ πηγαὶ
δοιαὶ ἀναΐσσουσι Σκαμάνδρου δινήεντος.
ἣ μὲν γάρ θ᾽ ὕδατι λιαρῷ ῥέει, ἀμφὶ δὲ καπνὸς
γίγνεται ἐξ αὐτῆς ὡς εἰ πυρὸς αἰθομένοιο:
ἣ δ᾽ ἑτέρη θέρεϊ προρέει ἐϊκυῖα χαλάζῃ,
ἢ χιόνι ψυχρῇ ἢ ἐξ ὕδατος κρυστάλλῳ.
ἔνθα δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ αὐτάων πλυνοὶ εὐρέες ἐγγὺς ἔασι
καλοὶ λαΐνεοι, ὅθι εἵματα σιγαλόεντα
πλύνεσκον Τρώων ἄλοχοι καλαί τε θύγατρες
τὸ πρὶν ἐπ᾽ εἰρήνης πρὶν ἐλθεῖν υἷας Ἀχαιῶν.

Iliad 22.144
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