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William Davis, A Day in Old Athens

 

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Page 9

Grinding at the Mill

 

    Nearer the farmhouses there rises a dull grinding noise. It is the mill preparing the flour for the daily baking, for seldom—at least in the country—will a Greek grind flour long in advance of the time of use. There the round upper millstone is being revolved upon an iron pivot against its lower mate and turned by a long wooden handle. Two nearly naked slave boys are turning this wearily—far pleasanter they consider the work of the harvesters, and very likely this task is set them as a punishment. As the mill revolves a slave girl pours the grain into a hole in the center of the upper millstone. As the hot, slow work goes on, the two toilers chant together a snatch from an old mill song, and we catch the monotonous strain:

Grind, mill, grind,
For Pittacus did grind—
Who was king over great Mytilene.

    It will be a long time before there is enough flour for the day. The slaves can at least rejoice that they live on a large farm. If Hybrias owned a smaller estate, they would probably be pounding up the grain with mortar and pestle—more weary yet.

 

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Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-Greece/old-athens-country.asp?pg=9