Saturday, 1 March 2014

History - The Greeks

Today's history lesson is about the Ancient Greeks. A people who have brought civilisation many things we love and cherish today, like the Olympic Games as well as ouzo and stuffed vine leaves.

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.

Another little known fact about the Olympics is that in Athens, apart from the men, only virgins and un-married 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 honor 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.

This 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.

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.

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?

10 comments:

  1. HA! That's where the notion came that beans are good for your health...

    Blessings,

    Jose D. Pinell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jose

      Great to see you visiting here again. Yes beans are good for you.

      God bless.

      Delete
  2. Funny Victor! Did they really compete naked?
    Your history lesson on the "Pythagoras Theorem" cracked me up! Hypotenuse DOES remind me of hippopotamus! (Good grief! I need spell check to comment on this!)
    Okay, I'm off to google a few of these "facts"...lol. Last time a good many of them were TRUE even though they seemed a bit far-fetched so it won't surprise me at all to find that this is the case :)

    Are you really writing a "history" book?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mary,

      Yes a lot of my facts are true. The did compete in the nude. Married women were not allowed as spectators in Athens. But both men and women competed in the nude in Sparta. I bet all the tickets were sold out as soon as they were available on the Internet.

      Pythagoras did have an aversion to beans. And he did die outside a field at the hands of his enemies.

      I am writing another humourous book and history will be part, not all, of it. Have you downloaded my Aunt Gertrude Free book?

      God bless.

      Delete
  3. Yes, I did download your Aunt Gertrude Book :) Thank you, Victor! She's is one crazy lady! And I love your "About the Author"!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "About the Author" is all true I tell you. All true.

      I'm researching other History lessons which will be published here soon.

      God bless.

      Delete
  4. "He believed that the square on the hippopotamus is equal to the two other squares on the other side of the triangle."

    Hahaha, that's hilarious. I should have said that to my high school math teachers. By the way, the ancient olympics were held in the city of Olympia. Athens and Sparta might have had their own individual games, but it would not have been the Olympics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are indeed correct Manny. The Olympics were held in Olympia. Athens and Sparta must have got a franchise to run the show in their little town!

      God bless you.

      Delete
  5. "This 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. "

    Hysterical. Thank you for giving us the gift of laughter.

    God Bless you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it Michael. More History Lessons to follow in the next few days. My aim is to expand knowledge.

      God bless you too my friend.

      Delete

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