There is also another way of playing this game with a platter. This platter is filled with water, and in it there are floating some empty saucers, at which the players throw their drops out of their cups, and endeavour to sink them. And he who has succeeded in sinking the greatest number gains the victory. Ameipsias, in his play entitled The Men playing at the Cottabus or Mania, says—
Bring here the cruets and the cups at once,And Cratinus, in his Nemesis, says—
The foot-pan, too, but first pour in some water.
Now in the cottabus I challenge you,And Aristophanes, in his Feasters, says—
(As is my country's mode,) to aim your blows
At the empty cruets; and he who sinks the most
Shall, in my judgment, bear the palm of victory.
I mean to erect a brazen figure,And Hermippus, in his Fates, says—
That is, a cottabeum, and myrtle-berries.
Now soft cloaks are thrown away,And Achæus, in his Linus, speaking of the Satyrs, says—
Every one clasps on his breastplate,
And binds his greaves around his legs,
No one for snow-white slippers cares;
Now you may see the cottabus staff
Thrown carelessly among the chaff;
The manes hears no falling drops;
And you the πλάστιγξ sad may see
Thrown on the dunghill at the garden door.
Throwing, and dropping, breaking, too, and naming (λέγοντες),And the poet uses λέγοντες here, because they used to utter the names of their sweethearts as they threw the cottabi on the saucers. On which account Sophocles, in his Inachus, called the drops which were thrown, sacred to Venus— [p. 1067]
O Hercules, the well-thrown drop of wine!
The golden-colour'd drop of VenusAnd Euripides, in his Pleisthenes, says—
Descends on all the houses.
And the loud noise o' the frequent cottabusAnd Callimachus says—
Awakens melodies akin to Venus
In every house.
Many hard drinkers, lovers of Acontius,
Throw on the ground the wine-drops (λατάγας) from their cups.