Ôhe klepsydra was a kind of hydraulic clock used for measuring speeches in the law courts of ancient Athens. It consisted of two vessels, one of which was placed at a higher level and was filled with water. The upper vessel had a small, bronze-lined outlet at the bottom. The speaker could continue speaking until the water was emptied into the vessel at the lower level.
The Agora vessel bears two inscriptions: “ÁÍÔÉÏ…”, demonstrating that the klepsydra belonged to the Antiochis tribe, and XX.., indicating the capacity of the vessel, i.e. two choes (6.4 litres). This means that it took 6 minutes to empty.
Classical period, end of 5th c. B.C.
Place of discovery:
Athens, Ancient Agora
height: 0,232 m, diameter: 0.28 m
Young S., "An Athenian Clepsydra", Hesperia VIII, (1939), pp. 274, 284
Camp II J. Mck, The Athenian Agora. A guide to the Åxcavation and Ìuseum, 1990