University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Athenaeus of Naucratis / The deipnosophists, or, Banquet of the learned of Athenæus
volume III (1854)

Book XV,   pp. 1062-1122


Page 1063

And sprinkle it around; and I myself 
Will bring a garland to each guest, and give it; 
Let some one mix the wine.-Ljo! now it 's mix d 
Put in the frankincense, and say aloud, 
" Now the libation is perform'd." 1 The guests 
Have deeply drunk already; and the scolium. 
Is sung; the cottabus, that merry sport, 
Is taken out of doors: a female slave 
Plays on the flute a cheerful strain, well pleasing 
To the delighted guests; another strikes 
The clear triangle, and, with well-tuned voice, 
Accompanies it with an Ionian song. 
2. And after this quotation there arose, I think, a dis- 
cussion about the cottabus and cottabus-players. Now by 
the term   awoo7r1Kci/3iaoVTEs, one of the physicians who were 
present thought those people were meant, who, after the bath, 
for the sake of purging their stomach, drink a full draught 
of wine and then throw it up again; and he said that 
this was not an ancient custom, and that he was not aware of 
any ancient author who had alluded to this mode of purging. 
On which account Erasistratus of Julia, in his treatise on 
Universal Medicine, reproves those who act in this way, 
pointing out that it is a practice very injurious to the eyes, 
and having a very astringent effect on the stomach. And 
Ulpian addressed him thus-. 
Arise, Machaon, great Charoneus calls.2 
For it was wittily said by one of our companions, that if 
there were no physicians there would be nothing more stupid 
than grammarians. For who is there of us who does not know 
that this kind of a'ro corra/lto-/L was not that of the ancients? 
unless you think that the cottabus-players of Ameipsias 
vomited. Since, then, you are ignorant of what this is which 
is the subject of our present discussion, learn from me, in the 
first place, that the cottabus is a sport of Sicilian invention, 
the Sicilians having been the original contrivers of it, as Critias 
the son of Calloeschrus tells us in his Elegies, where he says- 
The cottabus comes from Sicilian lands, 
And a glorious invention I think it, 
Where we put up a target to shoot at with drops 
From our wine-cup whenever we drink it. 
And Diceearchus the Messenian, the pupil of Aristotle, in his 
The original text here is very corrupt, and the meaning uncertain. 
2 This is parodied from Homer, Iliad, iv. 204,- 
'Ope', 'AKcX-q,7rnrLcn, IaXeeL icpe tu'v 'A-ycyu4o1zV. . 
.1063 
THE COTTABUS. 


Go up to Top of Page