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PAR IMPAR LUDERE

PAR IMPAR LUDERE (ἀρτιασμός, ἀρτιάζειν, ἄρτια περιττὰ or ζυγὰ ἄζυγα or ζυγὰ μόνα παίζειν, ποσίνδα). The game at odd and even was a favourite game among the Greeks and Romans. A person held in his hands a number of astragali, or other things (Pollux, 9.101, says beans, nuts, almonds, or coins), and his opponent had to guess whether the number was odd or even. The amount to be won or lost, whether merely the articles played with or money staked upon the guess, may have been variously arranged: but probably the usual practice was only to stake what was played with, not to bet on the guess besides. Apollonius (3.115) represents Cupid and Ganymede playing, and the winnings are simply the astragali of the opponent: hence the playing with coins is a greater risk (Aristoph. Pl. 816): the passage in Suet. Aug. 71, however, implies staking a sum of money on the guess at odd and even as well as on the tali. The game ποσίνδα differed slightly, as it was necessary to guess the number held in the hand, not merely whether it was odd or even (Xen. Eq. Mag. 5, 10; cf. Aristoph. Pl. 1055). For further mention of par impar, see Plat. Lys. p. 206 E; Lucian, Dial. 4; Hor. Sat. 2.3, 248; Nux, 79;--Becker-Göll, Charikles, 2.40; Gallus, 3.477;--Marquardt, Privatleben, p. 849.

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