Riddles and Drinking Games

Athenaeus Deipn 10 457 c-d

“Also in the first book of On Proverbs, he writes in this way: “an examination of riddles is not foreign to philosophy and the ancients made a display of their education through them. For during their drinking they used to toss riddles around not as people do now when they question one another which sexual position is the best or which or what kind of fish is tastiest or in season or which is best for eating after Arcturus rises or the pleiades or the dog star. And then as a prize they give those who answer kisses worthy of condemnation by anyone with good sense; and as a punishment to those who are defeated, they make them drink unmixed wine, a thing which is more delightful for them to drink than the cup of Health.”

κἀν τῷ πρώτῳ δὲ Περὶ Παροιμιῶν γράφει οὕτως· τῶν γρίφων ἡ ζήτησις οὐκ ἀλλοτρία φιλοσοφίας ἐστί, καὶ οἱ παλαιοὶ τὴν τῆς παιδείας ἀπόδειξιν ἐν τούτοις ἐποιοῦντο. προέβαλλον γὰρ παρὰ τοὺς πότους οὐχ ὥσπερ οἱ νῦν ἐρωτῶντες ἀλλήλους, τίς τῶν ἀφροδισιαστικῶν συνδυασμῶν ἢ τίς ἢ ποῖος ἰχθὺς ἥδιστος ἢ τίς ἀκμαιότατος, ἔτι δὲ τίς μετ᾿ Ἀρκτοῦρον ἢ μετὰ Πλειάδα ἢ τίς μετὰ Κύνα μάλιστα βρωτός; καὶ ἐπὶ τούτοις ἆθλα μὲν τοῖς νικῶσι φιλήματα μίσους ἄξια τοῖς ἐλευθέραν αἴσθησιν ἔχουσι, ζημίαν δὲ τοῖς ἡττηθεῖσιν τάττουσιν ἄκρατον πιεῖν, ὃν ἥδιον τῆς Ὑγιείας πίνουσι·


Eubulus, fr. 106

“This is an asshole and you are always full of nonsense.
For the asshole is tongueless and chatty at the same time.

(A.) πρωκτὸς μὲν οὖν οὗτός <γε>· σὺ δὲ ληρεῖς ἔχων.
οὗτος γὰρ αὑτός ἐστιν ἄγλωττος λάλος,

Hermippus, TrGFF4

“There are two sisters and one gives birth
To the other and she in turn is born from that sister she bore.”

εἰσὶ κασίγνηται δισσαί, ὧν ἡ μία τίκτει ǁ
τὴν ἑτέραν, αὐτὴ δὲ τεκοῦσ᾿ ὑπὸ τῆσδε τεκνοῦται.


Image result for medieval manuscript riddles
Odin had riddles too.