Tawdry Tuesday: A Poem to a Rear-End and Some Etymologies


Greek Anthology, 12.38, attributed to Rhianos

“The Seasons and the Graces have poured sweet oil on you,
Butt. And you do not allow even old men to nap.
Tell me, whose sweetheart are you and which boy
Do you decorate? The Butt said “Menecrates’ “

Ὧραί σοι Χάριτές τε κατὰ γλυκὺ χεῦαν ἔλαιον,
ὦ πυγά· κνώσσειν δ᾿ οὐδὲ γέροντας ἐᾷς.
λέξον μοι τίνος ἐσσὶ μάκαιρα τύ, καὶ τίνα παίδων
κοσμεῖς; ἁ πυγὰ δ᾿ εἶπε· “Μενεκράτεος.”

Words not to confuse:

πυγαλγίας, ὁ: “having ass-pain”
πύγαργος, ὁ: “white-assed”
πυγή, ἡ: “buttocks, rump, rear-end, ass”
πυγίδιον: “small-rumped”
πυγίζω: “to penetrate anally”

πυγμαχία, ἡ: “fist fight”
πυγμάχος, ὁ: “boxer”
πυγμή: “fist, fist-fight”
πυγοσύνη: “science of boxing”

πυγοστόλος: “ass-adorning”
δωσίπυγος: “ass-giving”
δασύπυγος: “hairy-assed”
καλλίπυγος: “with beautiful buttocks”
λεπτόπυγος: “fine-assed”
λισπόπυγος: “smooth-assed”

πυγή: Beekes writes that this “has no convincing etymology” (Chantraine: “Pas d’étymologie assurée…”)

πυγμή: Cf. Latin pugnare, pugna. *pug-[Beekes is uncertain]. Chantraine presents the interseting suggestion from Van Brock that in the ancient background of πύξ might lurk the combination of πᾶς (“all”) and the numeral πέντε (“five”) to signal “fist”.

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