For a man must curve his hand excessively before he can throw the cottabus elegantly, as Dicæarchus says; and Plato intimates as much in his Jupiter Ill-treated, where some one calls out to Hercules not to hold his hand too stiff, when he is going to play the cottabus. They also called the very act of throwing the cottabus ἀπ᾽ ἀγκύλης, because they curved (ἀπαγκυλόω) the right hand in throwing it. Though some say that ἀγκύλη, in this phrase, means a kind of cup. And Bacchylides, in his Love Poems, says— ἀδκυλητοὶ κότταβοι, saying—
Eurymachus, and no one else, did heapNow, that he who succeeded in throwing the cottabus properly received a prize, Antiphanes has shown us in a passage already quoted. And the prize consisted of eggs, sweetmeats, and confectionery. And Cephisodorus, in his Trohonius, [p. 1066] and Callias or Diocles, in the Cyclopes, (whichever of the two is the author,) and Eupolis, and Hermippus, in his Iambics, prove the same thing. Now what is called the κατακτὸς cottabus was something of this kind. There is a high lamp, having on it what is called the Manes, on which the dish, when thrown down, ought to fall; and from thence it falls into the platter which lies below, and which is struck by the cottabus. And there was room for very great dexterity in throwing the cottabus. And Nicochares speaks of the Manes in his Lacedæmonians.
No slighter insults, undeserved, upon me;
For my head always was his mark at which
To throw his cottabus . . . . .1