), a dice-box. The dice were sometimes
thrown from the hand, but (to prevent cheating) more usually from a
dice-box. This was of a cylindrical shape, but, unlike those now in use,
tapered towards the top: hence it was called (φιμός
(Aeschin. c. Timarch.
74 M.) from the resemblance to a muzzle;
perhaps also κημός,
a funnel (see the
Lexicons). Another name, from the tower-like shape, was πύργος
(see the epigram of Agathias quoted under
1. 23), in Latin pyrgus
3.77, No. 915 Meyer, 193 Riese; Sidon. Apoll.
2.7, 15), but most commonly fritillus
; Juv. 14.5
). It was furnished inside
with parallel indentations like steps (gradus,
Auson. Comm. Prof.
1.27; Sidon. Apoll. l.c.; Anthol.
l.c.), which gave a better spin to the dice. The material
was wood (δουράτεος,
Agathias; cava buxa,
Auson.), ivory (Sidon. Apoll.), or horn
(Schol. Juv. l.c.
). Some have thought that the
was a funnel used for dropping the
dice into the fritillus
see Salmasius on Hist. Aug.
ed. 1671, or the quotations in Orellius on Hor. l.c.,
in Mayor on Juv. l.c.
There seems no
intelligible reason why two instruments should have been used; (φιμὸς
is the regular word for a dice-box in
classical Greek; and common-sense criticism cuts through such pedantries.
The notion is rightly rejected by Orellius, Marquardt, Becker and
Göll. In Agathias (l.c.
) the ἠθμὸς
is no doubt the funnel-shaped upper end
of the πύργος,
not a separate box. The
of Persius (Sat.
3.50) has been identified with the fritillus, but probably
refers to a different game (Conington ad loc.
825; Guhl and Koner, ed. 5, pp. 353,