Assistant Art History Professor Heather Sharpe and her students of West Chester University recently invested a fair amount of time deciphering ancient Hellenic texts and artworks in order to recreate a drinking game. The game, known as kottabos, involved men gathered in a circle during a symposion (συμπόσιον), a meeting of men and their courtesans to discuss philosophy and network, and flinging dregs of wine at a target in the centre of the room from a special cup known as a kylix.

The students used a 3D-printed drinking cup, some diluted grape juice and willing students who soon got the hang of the game and the findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America this month.

There are two ways of playing, according to texts and art works. The goal is to knock down a disc carefully balanced a tall metal stand in the middle of the room. In another version the goal was to sink small dishes floating in a larger bowl of water. Players hit their target with the leftover wine-dregs at the bottom of their cup. To achieve the best results in kottabos participants had to toss the wine-dregs overhand at their target as though they were pitching a baseball or throwing a frisbee. Ancient Hellenic players would utter the name of the object of their affection before flinging the wine. Winners received all sorts of prizes, such as sweets and even sexual favours from the available courtesans.

Now you know what to do after your group comes together to honour the Gods!