What Was the Popular Drinking Game in Ancient Greece Symposia?

Drinking games are a popular pastime in modern times, but did you know that they were also played in ancient Greece? One of the most famous drinking games played during the symposia was called “kottabos.” Let’s take a closer look at this ancient game and how it was played.

What was a symposium?

In ancient Greece, a symposium was a social gathering where men came together to drink, eat, and discuss various topics. It was usually held in the evening after dinner and could last for hours. The word “symposium” comes from the Greek words “syn” meaning together and “posis” meaning drinking.

What is kottabos?

Kottabos was a popular drinking game played during the symposia. It involved throwing wine from a cup into a Target, usually shaped like a small statue or saucer, placed on a stand. The game was played by holding the cup by its handle or by its foot and flinging the dregs of wine towards the Target.

How to play kottabos

To play kottabos, players would fill their cups with wine and sit around a table. They would then take turns flinging their dregs at the Target while shouting out the name of their chosen lover or enemy.

If they hit the Target, they would score points. There were variations of the game where players had to hit specific parts of the Target or try to knock over other cups with their throws.

The significance of kottabos

Kottabos wasn’t just a fun drinking game; it also had cultural significance in ancient Greece. The Targets were often shaped like mythical creatures or gods, which added an element of reverence to the game. Additionally, shouting out someone’s name while flinging your wine was considered a way to express your desires or grievances towards that person.

In conclusion

Kottabos was a popular drinking game played during the symposia in ancient Greece. It involved throwing wine from a cup into a Target and shouting out the name of someone you desired or disliked.

While it was just a game, it also had cultural significance and added an element of reverence to the evening’s festivities. So, next time you’re playing a drinking game, remember that you’re carrying on an ancient tradition that dates back thousands of years!