, the leaping upon the leathern bag,
) was one of the many kinds of
amusement in which the Athenians indulged during the Anthesteria and other
festivals in honour of Dionysus. The
Ascoliasmus, dancing on a wine-skin. (From an ancient gem in
Athenians sacrificed a he-goat to the god, made a bag out of the skin,
smeared it with oil, and then tried to dance upon it. The various accidents
accompanying this attempt afforded great amusement to the spectators. The
competitor who kept his balance longest was proclaimed the winner, and
received the skin as a reward. The game is alluded to by Virgil
2.384), “mollibus in pratis unctos saluere
per utres.” This term seems also to have included a variety of
other games, the peculiarity of which consisted in hopping or standing on
one leg. (Schol. ad
Aristoph. Pl. 1129
p. 190, D, E; [p. 1.210]
Suid. s.v. Hesych. sub voce
4, 8; Ael. H. V.
3.13; Varr. ap. Non. p.
21; Krause, Gymnastik und Agonistik d. Hellenen, p.
ii. p. 342.)