Ancient Greek Drinking Game Is Reborn

Kottabos involves hurling your wine at a target
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2015 6:38 PM CST
Ancient Greek Drinking Game Is Reborn
Kottabos was all about hurling wine.   (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Greg Kreller,File)

What better place to re-create an ancient drinking game than a college campus? A teacher at West Chester University in Pennsylvania and her students kept up an ancient Greek tradition by playing kottabos, a game that involves hurling one's wine from a glass onto a target at the center of a room. Greek men used to gather at symposia to drink, chat, and be entertained, and when they reached the bottom of their wine vessels—called kylixes—they would toss the dregs at the target, LiveScience reports. (YouTube has some examples.)

A variety of targets were used, WhatCulture reports. One was a figurine with a brass disc on top. The disc would land with a victorious ring as it hit the floor. In other cases, players would throw wine into a saucer to fill it up, or toss wine at a saucer floating in water. Kylixes are a little hard to find these days, so the students used 3D-printed cups instead. And since this was in a classroom, not a dorm, there was no alcohol involved; instead, students tossed grape juice. The best strategy, it seems, was to put a finger through one of a kylix's handles and toss the wine out overhead. "It must have gotten pretty messy," says assistant professor Heather Sharpe. "By the end of our experiment we had diluted grape juice all over the floor." (While students investigate the ancient Greek tradition, an icon of the era is in danger.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.