Monday, October 08, 2018


A Ball Game

Gregory of Nyssa, Letters 16.1a (tr. Anna M. Silvas, with her note):
Those who play ball go about it in some such way such as this.225 Standing apart in three places, two of them take accurate aim and toss the ball one to the other, each catching it in turn from the other, while they bluff the player in the middle who is jumping up at it. By turning the face in a certain direction, and with a certain movement of the hand to the right or the left they make a show of throwing. But whatever direction they see him scurrying, they throw it to the other side instead, thwarting his expectation with a trick.

225 'i.e. the game of φαινίδα, called also ἐφετίνδα by Hesychius', ibid. 535, n. 5.

Οἷόν τι ποιοῦσιν οἱ τῇ σφαίρᾳ παίζοντες, ὅταν τριχῆ διαστάντες ἀντιπέμπωσιν ἀλλήλοις ἐν εὐστοχίᾳ τὴν βολὴν ἄλλος παρ' ἄλλου διαδεχόμενοι, διαπαίζουσι δὲ τὸν ἐν τῷ μέσῳ πρὸς αὐτὴν ἀναπηδῶντα, τῇ ἐσχηματισμένῃ τοῦ προσώπου ὁρμῇ καὶ τῇ ποιᾷ τῆς χειρὸς ἐνδείξει κατὰ τὸ δεξιὸν ἢ εὐώνυμον τὴν βολὴν προδείξαντες, ἐφ' ὅπερ <δ'> ἂν ἴδωσιν αὐτὸν ὁρμῶντα, κατὰ τὸ ἐναντίον ἀποπεμπόμενοι καὶ τὴν ἐλπίδα δι' ἀπάτης ἐψεύσαντο...

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