A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization

By J. C. McKeown

The traditional Greeks have been an excellent humans. They gave us democracy, drama, and philosophy, and plenty of different types of artwork and branches of technological know-how will be unattainable with no their impact. And but, they have been in a position to the main outlandish habit, preposterous ideals, and ludicrous evaluations.

Like its better half quantity, A cupboard of Roman Curiosities, this can be an uproarious miscellany of wierd tales and proof, culled from a life of educating historical Greek civilization. In many ways, the publication demonstrates how a lot the Greeks have been like us. Politicians have been considered as shallow and self-serving; obese humans resorted to unbelievable diets; Socrates and the king of Sparta used to entertain their young ones via using round on a stick pretending it was once a horse. after all, their variations from us are abundantly documented too and the e-book might go away readers with a couple of incredulous questions. To chase away evil, have been scapegoats thrown down from cliffs, notwithstanding outfitted out with feathers and stay birds to offer them a wearing probability of survival? Did a werewolf particularly win the boxing occasion on the Olympic video games? have been prisoners published on bail so they may well take pleasure in dramatic fairs? Did a person quite think that Pythagoras flew approximately on a magic arrow? different such mysteries abound during this quirky and richly illustrated trip into the "glory that used to be Greece."

"The most endearing factor at the black earth."
Sappho of Lesbos

"Well worthy getting a copy."
Pisistratus of Athens

"Meticulously written, a needs to for each library."
Ptolemy of Alexandria

"Unputdownable."
Atlas the Titan

"Fantastic! Incredible!"
Cassandra, priestess of Apollo

"The perfect gift."
Laocoon of Troy

"Not too long."
Callimachus of Cyrene

"I locate whatever new each time I dip in."
Archimedes of Syracuse

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Wine reasons complications, while beer stupefies (Aristotle frg. 106). Mendaean is the wine that the gods themselves piss on their gentle couches (Hermippus frg. eighty two, in a catalog eulogizing classic wines). Why is it that tipsy humans behave badly, instead of people who find themselves very under the influence of alcohol? Is it simply because they've got no longer under the influence of alcohol so little as to be like sober humans, nor quite a bit as to turn into helpless? Sober humans workout logic, and extremely under the influence of alcohol humans make no try and achieve this. those who find themselves tipsy, simply because they aren't totally inebriated, do attempt to workout judgment, yet they do it badly and are fast both to despise humans or to think that they themselves are being sneered at (Ps. -Aristotle difficulties 871a). SYMPOSIA (Where males get tight with unfastened girls. ) Herodotus’s “agonies for the eyes” as an outline of lovely ladies is open to feedback, yet in mitigation one may perhaps word that these whom he represents utilizing the expression are barbarians, and under the influence of alcohol (Ps. -Longinus at the elegant four. 4). At Histories five. 18, Herodotus describes the Persian ambassadors being entertained on the Macedonian court docket as complaining that it might be larger to don't have any ladies on the dinner than that they need to simply be allowed to examine them. Plutarch reviews that Alexander the nice used an identical word to explain Persian ladies (Life of Alexander 21). The parasite Chaerophon got here uninvited to a marriage get together and reclined on the a long way finish of a sofa. while the ladies regulators counted the visitors and advised him to run away, given that there has been one individual found in far more than the felony greatest of thirty, he responded, “Count back, yet commence with me this time” (Athenaeus clever males at Dinner 245a). the ladies regulators [γυναικονόμοι, gynaeconomoi] have been officers who oversaw public order, with authority to intervene even into inner most gatherings. a number of trick consuming cups have survived. a few have a truly shallow bowl and seem extra capacious than they really are (when the host is stingy); a few have a mystery internal part from which the cup is surreptitiously replenished (as the thirsty host drinks); and a few have a gap within the backside, it sounds as if so designed that the unwary drinker is soaking wet whilst a plug connected to a string is pulled out. Empedocles of Acragas, the pre-Socratic thinker who confirmed the influential idea of the 4 components (earth, air, fireplace, and water), as soon as attended a ceremonial dinner at which the symposiarch ordered the site visitors both to drink or to have their wine poured over their heads. Empedocles made no protest on the time, however the subsequent day he had either the host and the symposiarch condemned in courtroom and accomplished. This used to be the start of his profession in politics (Timaeus frg. 134). Forfeits at drunken symposia occasionally get out of hand—ordering stutterers to sing, bald males to brush their hair, or lame males to bop on a greased wineskin. To make enjoyable of Agapestor, the educational thinker, who had a withered leg, all of the drinkers have been required both to empty their wine cups whereas status on their correct legs or pay an outstanding.

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