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

Hardcover | July 11, 2013

byJ. C. McKeown

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The legacy of the Greeks touches all aspects of modern life, and the world we live in would be unrecognizable without its influence. And yet, as A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities abundantly demonstrates, the Greeks were as disposed toward mysterious customs, peculiar superstitions, and uproariousopinions as any ancient or modern culture. Like its Roman predecessor, this volume is a captivating compendium of odd facts, strange beliefs, outlandish opinions, and other highly amusing trivia from the world of ancient Greece. Classicist J. C. McKeown has organized the entries in this volumearound major themes - Food and Drink, Religion, Magic, Sex, Athletics, Drama, Animals, etc. - allowing for quick browsing or more deliberate consumption. For students and laypersons, this makes for a delightful and unexpected journey into the "glory that was Greece." Here's a sample:On post-Olympic careers:The least successful athletes, those who have never won any victories, suddenly call themselves trainers, and start shouting in harsh and barbarous tones, just like pigs-GalenOn the value of education:Aristotle used to say that education was an ornament in prosperity, a refuge in adversity -Diogenes LaertiusOn viniculture:Mendaean is the wine that the gods themselves piss on their soft couches -Hermippus On dreams:A dream involving one's stepmother is not good, whether she is alive or dead-ArtemidorusOn the perils of travel: In Libya there is a city called Dionysopolis that can never be located twice by the same person-StraboOn hygiene:Since the baths are of no practical value, we should avoid them. In the old days, people called them "human laundries" for they caused the body to wrinkle and grow old prematurely-St. Clement of AlexandriaOn the cosmos:The moon resembles the earth in that its surface is inhabited. The animals and plants, however, are bigger and more attractive than those here; the animals there are fifteen times as big, and do not void excrement -PhilolausOn myth: They say that a monster used to come out of the sea to attack the Trojans. If they gave it young girls to eat, it would go away, but otherwise it would ravage their land. Who could fail to see that it is silly to suppose that people could strike a bargain with a fish? -Palaephatus

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From the Publisher

The legacy of the Greeks touches all aspects of modern life, and the world we live in would be unrecognizable without its influence. And yet, as A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities abundantly demonstrates, the Greeks were as disposed toward mysterious customs, peculiar superstitions, and uproariousopinions as any ancient or modern culture. ...

J. C. McKeown is Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 0.98 inPublished:July 11, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199982104

ISBN - 13:9780199982103

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Food and Drink2. Chldren and Education3. Women4. Sex5. Animals6. Athens7. Sparta8. Alexander the Great9. Greeks at Sea10. Greeks and Barbarians11. Athletics12. Homer13. Drama14. Spectators and Critics15. Books and Papyri16. Philosophers17. Mathematics18. Science and Technology19. Art20. Tourists and Tourist Attractions21. Religion, Superstition, and Magic22. Prophecy23. Words and Expressions24. The SorosGlossaryThe Coin ImagesIllustration Credits