Wednesday, 26 February 2020
The Ancient Greeks
How many of these do you recognise?
Of course the Olympics Games have changed a lot since they were first held in Ancient Greece. In those days the games consisted mostly of running round the track and throwing the discus or javelin. To be fair, they did try to throw the boomerang, a sport introduced by Australian competitors, but it did not catch on because the boomerang kept coming back and hitting the contestants on the head.
One little known fact about the Olympics is that only men competed at the games when held in Athens. And they did so totally naked which must have been somewhat disconcerting during the relay race in case the runner behind you did not catch the stick in your hand.
Another little known fact about the Olympics is that in Athens, apart from the men, only virgins and unmarried women were allowed in as spectators. Married women were forbidden to watch the Games under penalty of death; in case they got attracted to the naked athletes and put them off their stride.
By contrast in Sparta, which compared to Athens was more liberal in outlook, they allowed both men and women to compete in the Games in the nude. (I bet there was a lot of socialising afterwards).
The history of the relay race is quite interesting. Apparently, the god Pormetheus stole fire from the other gods and brought it down to earth for humans to use. The other gods got very angry, and presumably somewhat cold without a burning fire to keep them warm. So they chased the humans to get their fire back. The humans ran away with burning torches.
The relay race in the original Olympics was run with burning torches in honour of the god Pormetheus. Also, running naked with someone behind you with a burning torch gave the athletes extra incentive to run faster!
A famous Greek was a man called Pythagoras. He was a mathematician, philosopher and founder of a movement known as Pythagoreanism.
He believed that the square on the hippopotamus is equal to the two other squares on the other side of the triangle. The triangle of course being an early musical instrument which was easy to tune since it only has one note. Apparently, he also invented cheese triangles much loved by people to this day; and are not to be confused with wedgies which are an entirely different thing.
His well known Pythagoras Theorem was taught to children at an early age and is still taught today for no apparent reason, since it has very little to do with getting a job as a celebrity, politician or even a cashier at the supermarket. It is still useful though if you work in a zoo and have to draw a square on the side of a hippopotamus.
Pythagoras, take my word for it, was believed to have a golden thigh. Which must have constricted his speed when he took part in the relay race. On the positive side though, he did not need to win a gold medal since he already had enough gold to weigh him down.
He believed in a strict diet and in particular had an aversion to beans. Hitherto, he noticed that his followers stood upwind from him at meetings; so he stopped eating beans and advised his followers to do the same. His hatred of flava beans stems from the belief that every time one farts they lose a bit of their soul. Which explains perhaps where he kept his soul.
This caused his eventual death when one day his enemies chased after him. He ran as quickly as he could and eventually reached a field where beans were being grown. Rather than enter the field and escape his enemies, he stood his ground and was killed.
Proving the point that it is not always wise to stand on your principles. And so it came to pass that within seconds of standing still by a field of beans, Pythagoras himself became a has-bean.
Pythagoras also believed in re-incarnation. This has nothing to do about people coming back to life as a tin of condensed milk made from contented cows. He believed that when we die we come back in the body of someone or something else, like a dog, a cat or even a tree.
If you have been naughty in this life you would come back as the worst thing of all ... a woman!
This is just a short history lesson about the Ancient Greeks. You can check the accuracy thereof in a book which I am writing on the subject. I'm hardly going to lie to myself, am I?