Download E-books A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization PDF

By J. C. McKeown

The traditional Greeks have been a superb humans. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and plenty of types of paintings and branches of technology will be not possible with no their impression. And but, they have been able to the main outlandish habit, preposterous ideals, and ludicrous critiques.

Like its significant other quantity, A cupboard of Roman Curiosities, this can be an uproarious miscellany of wierd tales and proof, culled from a life of instructing historic Greek civilization. In many ways, the booklet demonstrates how a lot the Greeks have been like us. Politicians have been considered as shallow and self-serving; obese humans resorted to improbable diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their teenagers via using round on a stick pretending it used to be a horse. in fact, their variations from us are abundantly documented too and the publication may well depart readers with a couple of incredulous questions. To beat back evil, have been scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, even though outfitted out with feathers and reside birds to offer them a wearing likelihood of survival? Did a werewolf particularly win the boxing occasion on the Olympic video games? have been prisoners published on bail in order that they may well take pleasure in dramatic gala's? Did an individual rather think that Pythagoras flew approximately on a magic arrow? different such mysteries abound during this quirky and richly illustrated trip into the "glory that was once Greece."

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Different ostraca try and be witty: • Megacles, son of Hippocrates, and his horse besides. • Cimon, get out, and take your sister with you. • Themistocles, son of Neocles, κατάπυγος [catapygos, bugger; the Athenians referred to as the center finger the buggery finger (Pollux Onomasticon 2. 184)]. • I ostracize starvation, son of noble mom and dad can also be facetious, however it is resembling the ritual cry on the rite often called “Driving out Famine”: humans strike one in every of their loved ones slaves with wands of agnus castus and force him out the door whereas chanting “Out with starvation, in with Wealth and health and wellbeing! ” (Plutarch desk speak 693f). whilst the Athenians have been cause on ostracizing him, Aristides was once approached by way of an illiterate countryman, who requested him to put in writing “Aristides” on his ostracon. “Do you recognize Aristides? ” he requested. the fellow acknowledged no, yet defined that he used to be annoyed at always listening to him referred to as “The simply. ” Aristides acknowledged not anything; he only wrote his identify at the ostracon and gave it again (Plutarch Sayings of Kings and Commanders 186b). regardless of his acceptance for justice (he used to be left in command of the spoils received from the Persians at Marathon, whereas the remainder of the military rushed again to safeguard Athens), Aristides was once ostracized within the 480s. 3 ostraca opposed to Themistocles (all truly spelled “Themisthocles”) and one opposed to Hippocrates. regardless of the celebrity of the establishment, apparently purely approximately ten males have been ever ostracized from Athens. there have been comparable strategies in different poleis. In Syracuse, it used to be often called petalismus (from πέταλον [petalon, “leaf”]), votes being written on olive leaves. The Athenian Council wrote initial (“straw”) votes on leaves (Aeschines opposed to Timarchus 111). whilst a guy from the imprecise island of Seriphos informed Themistocles that he owed his reputation to not his personal benefits yet to his urban, Themistocles responded, “What you assert is right: if I were from Seriphos, I’d now not became recognized, yet neither might you, when you have been an Athenian” (Plutarch lifetime of Themistocles 18). Seriphos used to be notoriously insignificant: Stratonicus the lyre-player requested his host on Seriphos which crimes have been punished with exile. while he was once advised that these came upon to blame of fraud have been despatched into exile, he acknowledged, “Well then, why don’t you dedicate fraud, for you to get away from this confinement? ” (Plutarch On Exile 602a). An owl armed like Athena. a gaggle of sixty joke-tellers used to satisfy within the temple of Heracles within the deme of Diomeia, they usually have been identified in Athens as “The Sixty. ” … Such used to be their recognition for leisure that Philip of Macedon despatched them a expertise in order that they could write down their jokes and ship them to him (Athenaeus clever males at Dinner 614d). Alcibiades had a superbly tremendous vast puppy that he had obtained for a really excessive expense. He bring to a halt its attractive tail. whilst his neighbors protested and instructed him that the complete urban used to be dissatisfied in regards to the puppy and used to be voicing its disgust at him, he laughed and stated, “That’s simply what I meant. i would like the Athenians to chatter approximately this, in order that they don’t say whatever worse approximately me” (Plutarch lifetime of Alcibiades 9).

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