), a game
which Greek boys played as follows:--Two sets stand opposite, divided by a
line drawn on the ground: a boy throws up a shell or a dish, white on one
side and coloured black with pitch on the other, and each set of boys has
one or other of these colours allotted to them. As he throws the shell, he
calls νὺξ ἡμέρα
: and if the white (i. c.
day) side falls uppermost, the set which
represents the day pursues, and the other set runs away; if the
“night” side falls uppermost, the fugitives and pursuers are
reversed. As soon as any boy is caught he is called ὄνος,
and is out of the game (ὄνος
p. 146 A: see also BASILINDA
). It is not
precisely stated whether the game went on until all the fugitives were
caught, nor whether there was a point of safety to be reckoned, but it is
very likely that the game was played with varying rules at different times
and places. It is not probable that there was the slightest political
symbolism in the game, as Becq de Fouquiëres somewhat too
fancifully suggests. The connexion of ὀστρακίνδα
as in Aristoph. Kn. 855
, is merely verbal
The expression ὀστράκου περιστροφὴ
to have become proverbial for a turn of fortune: see especially Plat.
vii. p. 521 C; where there is also an allegory
formed from the idea of νὺξ ἡμέρα.
game itself supplies an allegory in Plat. Phaedr.
p. 241 B.
Our authorities for ὀστρακίνδα
9.111; Eustath. ad Il.
18.543; Plato, Com. in Meineke,
2.2, 664: see also Becq de
Fouquières, Jeux des Anciens,
p. 79; Grasberger,
p. 57; Becker-Göll,