) A game played by children in Greece, as
follows: Two sets of boys stand facing one another, divided by a line drawn on the ground; a
boy throws up a shell or a dish, white on one side and coloured black on the other, and each
set of boys has one or other of these colours allotted to it. As he throws the shell, he calls
: and if the white (i. e. 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 (Plato, Theaet.
p. 146 A). 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. The expression ὀστράκου περιστροφή
have become proverbial for a turn of fortune (Plato,
p. 521 C). See Pollux, ix. 111; Eustath.
ad Il. xviii. 543
; Plato, Com. in Meineke, Fr. Com.
2, 664; see also Becq de Fouquières, Les Jeux des Anciens
, p. 79;
, p. 57; and BeckerGöll,
, ii. 37.