And after this quotation there arose, I think, a discussion about the cottabus and cottabus-players. Now by the term ἀποκοτταβίζοντες, 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.1 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 ἀποκοτταβισμὸς 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 Callæschrus tells us in his Elegies, where he says—
The cottabus comes from Sicilian lands,And Dicæarchus the Messenian, the pupil of Aristotle, in his [p. 1064] treatise on Alcæus, says that the word λατάγη is also a Sicilian noun. But λατάγη means the drops which are left in the bottom after the cup is drained, and which the players used to throw with inverted hand into the κοτταβεῖον. But Clitarchus, in his treatise on Words, says that the Thessalians and Rhodians both call the κότταβος itself, or splash made by the cups, λατάγη.
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.