I was just recently thinking of our ongoing skatokhasm and the sheer variety of excremental words in ancient Greek. I happened to look up my favorite Greek word from graduate school and stumbled upon what must be the most charming entry in the Suda.
Suda, Epsilon 92 [referring to Aristophanes, Frogs 479]
“I shat myself”: I defecated because of some fear. I pooped. Aristophanes says this in the Frogs. He is calling the god to help.”
“The word of Pherecrates: if our husbands despise us, then it is necessary to use dildos and to flog the flogged shaft. Pherecrates said this in a drama where the proverb is applied to those who are suffering something else in addition to what they have suffered.
Olisbos: Genitals made from leather which the Milesian women used to use as tribades(!) and shameful people do. Widowed women also use them. Aristophanes writes “I did not see an eight-fingered dildo*/ which might be our leathered aid.”** This second part is drawn from the proverb “fig-wood aid” applied to weak people.
“Courtesanizers: The women who are called ‘rubbers’” [or ‘grinders’? i.e. Lesbians] Ἑταιρίστριαι: αἱ καλούμεναι τριβάδες. See also Hesychius s.v. dietaristriai: “Women who rub themselves against girls in intercourse the way men do. For example, tribades.”
The Lexicographer Photius repeats only the following definition:
Olisboi: Leather dicks
῎Ολισβοι: δερμάτινα αἰδοῖα.
The Scholia to Aristophanes’ Lysistrata 109-110 basically presents the same information:
Olisbon: A leather penis. And that is for the Milesian women. He is joking that they use dildos. The next part, “leathery aid” plays upon the proverb “fig-tree aid”, used for the weak. He has changed it to “leathery” because dildos are made of leather. They are leather-made penises which widowed women use.”
Melancholy here contrasts with “thinking -wrongly” (paraphronein). A scholion to another play by Aristophanes glosses the realms of these types of mental maladies (Schol. ad Plut. 11a ex 20-28)
“He seems to say this because he harmed or helped his master through his own virtue more—and while he disturbed him through prophecy, he made him crazy [melankholan] through medicine and took away his ability to think [phronein] through wisdom, which is the art of thinking. The servant lies. For he does not speak the truth….”
“In the same way, ‘truth’ concerning the way things appear has come to some people from their senses. They believe that it is right that truth should be judged neither by the multitude or the scarcity [of those who believe it]; and they believe that the same thing seems sweet to some who taste it and bitter to others with the result that if all men were sick or if they were all insane and two or three were healthy or in their right mind, wouldn’t it seem that these few were sick and crazy and not the rest?”
“You’re following with your dicks out; and you will eat breakfast [like] goats”
ἕπεσθ’ ἀπεψωλημένοι· τράγοι δ’ ἀκρατιεῖσθε.
From the Suda
“You will breakfast”: Aristophanes in Wealth has “You will breakfast like goats”. This means you will breakfast with an exposed penis: you will do wild things like goats, since after sex, goats lick the penis. [So this means] you will lick the end of a dick like a goat.”
“I could not have believed
That one among us would ever be
so wicked to dare
To say these things
So shamefully in public.
But everything can happen now,
And I praise the ancient proverb:
One must look carefully
under every stone
to avoid the bite
of a politician”
[The material that follows is full of typical Greek misogyny and I have had my fill of that of late]
The scholion for this passage credits Praxilla (fr. 750) with the proverb:
“Friend, protect yourself against the scorpion under every stone.”
ὑπὸ παντὶ λίθῳ σκορπίον ὦ ἑταῖρε φυλάσσεο
And thinking that anything can happen makes me think of Archilochus:
Archilochus, fr. 122
“Nothing is unexpected, nothing can be sworn untrue,
and nothing amazes since father Zeus the Olympian
veiled the light to make it night at midday
even as the sun was shining: now dread fear has overtaken men.
From this time on everything that men believe
will be doubted: may none of us who see this be surprised
when we see forest beasts taking turns in the salted field
with dolphins, when the echoing waves of the sea become
Dearer to them than the sand, and the dolphins love the wooded glen…”