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Guessing games
(331 words)

[German version]

Only a small number of these are known from antiquity ( Riddles). In order to determine who should start, people liked to choose the game capita aut navia. It is named after the ancient Roman coins with the head of  Ianus (capita) and a ship's prow (navia, probably a plural paralleling capita). People threw a coin up into the air: one had to guess (as in the modern game ‘heads or tails’) which image came to lay on top. A guessing game for two players was par-impar (ἀρτιάζειν/artiázein or ποσίνδα/posínda): the first person holds in his right hand a number of relativel…

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Hurschmann, Rolf (Hamburg), “Guessing games”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 18 April 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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