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But the habit of pouring libations of pure wine, as Theophrastus says, in his treatise on Drinking, was not ancient; but originally libations were what is given to the Gods, and the cottabus, what was devoted to the object of one's love. For men practised throwing the cottabus with great care, it being originally a Sicilian sport, as Anacreon - the Teian says—
Throwing, with his well-bent arm
The Sicilian cottabus.
On which account those songs of the ancient poets, which are called scolia, are full of mention of the cottabus.1 I mean, for instance, such a scolion as Pindar composed—
And rightly I adore the Graces,
Nymphs of Venus and of Love,
While drinking with a loving heart
This sounding cottabus I pour
To Agathon, my heart's delight.
And they also consecrated to those of their friends who were dead, all that portion of their victuals which fell from their tables. On which account Euripides says of Sthenoboea, when she thinks that Bellerophon is dead—
Nothing escaped her from her hand which fell,
But in a moment she did couple it
With the loved name of the Corinthian stranger.

1 The cottabus was a Sicilian game, much in vogue at the drinking-parties of young men in Athens. The simplest mode was when each threw the wine left in his cup so as to strike smartly in a metal basin, at the same time invoking his mistress's name. If all fell in the basin, and the sound was clear, it was a sign that he stood well with her. The basin was called κοτταβεῖον, the action of throwing ἀποκοτταβίζειν, and the wine thrown λάταγες, or λαταγή. The game afterwards became more complicated, and was played in various ways; sometimes a number of little cups (ὀξύβαφα) were set floating, and he who threw his cottabus so as to upset the greatest number, in a given number of throws, won the prize, which was also called κοτταβεῖον. Sometimes the wine was thrown upon a scale (πλάστιξ), suspended over a little image (μάνης) placed in water: here the cottabus was to be thrown so as to make the scale descend upon the head of the image. It seems quite uncertain what the word is derived from.—Vide L. & S. Gr. Eng. Lex. υ. κότταβος.

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