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Topic: In the beginning . . .
Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Sep 2, 2014 12:06AM)
Hey everyone,

Here is a basic history question for the cup experts. What is the earliest published cups and balls routine and where is it in print?

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Sep 2, 2014 08:03PM)
In English? I believe that would be Hocus Pocus Junior. The book is in public domain now, you can download a PDF from various sources.

Message: Posted by: tomsk192 (Sep 2, 2014 08:28PM)
Early mention by Seneca. But really, sir, a cursory use of the search engine will revel all sorts of delights. Clearly, you are able to use the internet, no?
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Sep 2, 2014 09:57PM)
You're joking about Seneca, the Roman writer and philosopher, right?

I see no harm in asking this question. It might be a difficult, and possibly controversial, one to answer. Perhaps someone who posts on this site is conversant with this subject and has the answer, without the need to spend hours on the internet without necessarily coming up with the answer.
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 3, 2014 12:01AM)
Yep, Seneca the Younger in his 45th epistle to Lucilius, "Sic ista sine noxa decipiunt quomodo praestigiatorum acetabula et calculi, in quibus me fallacia ipsa delectat. Effice ut quomodo fiat intellegam: perdidi lusum." which translates to "Such quibbles are just as harmlessly deceptive as the juggler's cup and dice, in which it is the very trickery that pleases me. But show me how the trick is done, and I have lost my interest therein." (Referring to Seneca the Younger who was born in Spain in 3 BC.)

That line comes from the Wikipedia article on "Cups and Balls" but it is also contained in several other Google results, including some threads here on the Café!

Message: Posted by: tomsk192 (Sep 3, 2014 08:13AM)
Thank you, Jim. :-)
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Sep 3, 2014 10:01AM)
The Seneca quote is hardly a "cups and balls routine." That would be much like saying that you got off the train at Gare du Nord, looked around, and therefore vacationed in Paris. ;)

The reference in Scot is also not a routine, per se, but a description of some of the things that happened during the performance of the cups and balls -- or, perhaps, the candlesticks and balls or the saltcellars and balls.

The earliest published routine I have seen in the English Language is the one in Hocus Pocus, Junior -- 1634. It has complete patter and illustrations.

There may be a much earlier routine in another language. Etienne may know of this. But most of the early routines were actually based upon the one in HPJ.
Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Sep 3, 2014 12:26PM)
J-Mac, very interesting about Seneca. I trust that, since you give the original Latin, that is your translation of this quotation?
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 3, 2014 02:57PM)
Nope! Directly copied from Wikipedia! :D

Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Sep 3, 2014 08:34PM)
I guess you quoted the Latin original in case there is any magician who goes to this site who knows Latin and wants to read the original. I guess there are any number of such magicians!
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 3, 2014 08:48PM)
Maybe.... Or more likely I was just lazy and copied the whole line as it was.

My, aren't we feeling playful tonight! :)

Message: Posted by: tomsk192 (Sep 3, 2014 08:56PM)
I read the Latin; it's not that uncommon; at least Seneca's letters are less tedious than those of Pliny.

Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 3, 2014 11:18PM)
I know Latin, but not well enough to just read it like English. (Had three doggone years of it in high school!) But I can pick out certain words and phrases at times.

(BTW, try taking Latin and Spanish at the same time for three years - if you want to go completely mad!!)

Message: Posted by: Ray Haining (Sep 4, 2014 09:59AM)
J-Mac, it's the devil in me that leads me to make snide remarks now and then. I couldn't resist. (How's that for avoiding taking responsibility for my actions? The devil made me do it!)

I envy anyone who knows more than one language. It's been said that a person cannot consider themselves truly educated unless they know more than one language.
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Sep 4, 2014 10:33AM)
Well, for all my Catholic school training in Latin and Spanish, all I can do is recognize the occasional Latin word or phrase - and say the "Pater Noster" and some parts of the Latin Mass; and as for my Spanish, my main skill is that I can still say a perfect "Hail Mary" prayer in Spanish!

(Actually my Spanish is a little better than that - but not very much better.)

The prayers are because we were required to recite them at least twice a day in class - for three years! Some things learned like that never leave you. :eek:

Also, snide remarks? Yours are mild compared to many around here! :rotf:

Take care.

Message: Posted by: rtgreen (Sep 4, 2014 11:13PM)
Thanks Bill, I'm familiar with Hocus Pocus Jr, but I was wondering if there was something earlier. I'm studying the routine in Ponsin right now. I've been performing the same routine for about 20 years now and thought it would be fun to learn one of the historic routines.