Riddles and Drinking Games

Athenaeus Deipn 10 457 c-d

“Also in the first book of On Proverbs, he writes in this way: “an examination of riddles is not foreign to philosophy and the ancients made a display of their education through them. For during their drinking they used to toss riddles around not as people do now when they question one another which sexual position is the best or which or what kind of fish is tastiest or in season or which is best for eating after Arcturus rises or the pleiades or the dog star. And then as a prize they give those who answer kisses worthy of condemnation by anyone with good sense; and as a punishment to those who are defeated, they make them drink unmixed wine, a thing which is more delightful for them to drink than the cup of Health.”

κἀν τῷ πρώτῳ δὲ Περὶ Παροιμιῶν γράφει οὕτως· τῶν γρίφων ἡ ζήτησις οὐκ ἀλλοτρία φιλοσοφίας ἐστί, καὶ οἱ παλαιοὶ τὴν τῆς παιδείας ἀπόδειξιν ἐν τούτοις ἐποιοῦντο. προέβαλλον γὰρ παρὰ τοὺς πότους οὐχ ὥσπερ οἱ νῦν ἐρωτῶντες ἀλλήλους, τίς τῶν ἀφροδισιαστικῶν συνδυασμῶν ἢ τίς ἢ ποῖος ἰχθὺς ἥδιστος ἢ τίς ἀκμαιότατος, ἔτι δὲ τίς μετ᾿ Ἀρκτοῦρον ἢ μετὰ Πλειάδα ἢ τίς μετὰ Κύνα μάλιστα βρωτός; καὶ ἐπὶ τούτοις ἆθλα μὲν τοῖς νικῶσι φιλήματα μίσους ἄξια τοῖς ἐλευθέραν αἴσθησιν ἔχουσι, ζημίαν δὲ τοῖς ἡττηθεῖσιν τάττουσιν ἄκρατον πιεῖν, ὃν ἥδιον τῆς Ὑγιείας πίνουσι·


Eubulus, fr. 106

“This is an asshole and you are always full of nonsense.
For the asshole is tongueless and chatty at the same time.

(A.) πρωκτὸς μὲν οὖν οὗτός <γε>· σὺ δὲ ληρεῖς ἔχων.
οὗτος γὰρ αὑτός ἐστιν ἄγλωττος λάλος,

Hermippus, TrGFF4

“There are two sisters and one gives birth
To the other and she in turn is born from that sister she bore.”

εἰσὶ κασίγνηται δισσαί, ὧν ἡ μία τίκτει ǁ
τὴν ἑτέραν, αὐτὴ δὲ τεκοῦσ᾿ ὑπὸ τῆσδε τεκνοῦται.


Image result for medieval manuscript riddles
Odin had riddles too.

Tawdry Tuesday: Proctological Proverb Edition

Arsenius, 34a1

“May you fall into Hades’ asshole”: [a curse]: may you die.

῞Αιδου πρωκτῷ περιπέσῃς: ἤγουν τελευτήσῃς.

Note: Even though Ancient Greek prôktos can merely mean “rear end” (as in butt), it most often means ‘anus’ in comedy and insults. Also, I wanted to use something profane and given the British/American divide on arse/ass, I decided just to go with “asshole” because it is funnier.

Diogenianus (v.1 e cod. Marz. 2.42)

“I wish you’d fall into Hades’ asshole”: this is clear

῞Αιδου πρωκτῷ περιπέσοις: δῆλον.

Diogenianus (v.2 e cod. Vindob. 133, 1.97 )

“I wish you’d fall into Hades’ asshole”: Used for cursing someone

Αἵδου πρωκτῷ περιπέσοις: ἐπὶ τῶν καταρωμένων τινί.

Diogenianus, 3.58

“The asshole survives the bath” [or, “Ass surpasses the bath”]. Whenever someone is not able to wash himself, but his bowels still assail him. This is a proverb used for things done uselessly.

Πρωκτὸς λουτροῦ περιγίνεται: ὅταν τις μὴ δύνηται ἀπονίψασθαι, ἀλλ’ ἡ κοιλία αὐτῷ ἐπιφέρηται. λέγεται ἡ παροιμία ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνωφελῶς πραττομένων.

Michael Apostolius, 14.78

“The asshole survives the bath”: This proverb is used for things done uselessly and done for show. For people with thick asses and potbellies are not able to wash themselves off easily.”

Πρωκτὸς λουτροῦ περιγίνεται: ἐπὶ τῶν ἀνωφελῶν καὶ εἰκῇ πραττομένων ἐλέγετο· οἱ γὰρ παχύπρωκτοι καὶ προγάστορες οὐ δύνανται ἑαυτοὺς ἀπονίψασθαι εὐπετῶς.

Zenobius, Vulg. 1.52

“It was cured by Akesias”: this is a proverb for when things are healed for the worse. Aristotle provides the proverb in tetrameters: “Akesias healed his asshole.”

Ἀκεσίας ἰάσατο· ἐπὶ τῶν ἐπὶ τὸ χεῖρον ἰωμένων. ὅλην δὲ Ἀριστοφάνης ἐν τετραμέτροις τὴν παροιμίαν ἐκφέρει, λέγων· Ἀκεσίας τὸν πρωκτὸν ἰάσατο.

Suda, s.v. Ἀφευθεὶς

“Singed around the asshole:” Aristophanes has this instead of being “all burned up”

Ἀφευθεὶς τὸν πρωκτόν: Ἀριστοφάνης ἀντὶ τοῦ φλογισθείς.

Balneum Tripergulae – particolare da miniatura del Codice Angelico del “De Balneis Puteolanis� di Pietro da Eboli.

Bonus: Suda on defecation (And there is more of this)

Apopatêma: this is the same as ‘dung’ Eupolis has in his Golden Age: “What is that man? Shit of a fox.” And Kratinus has in Runaway Slaves: I knocked Kerkyon out at dawn when I found him shitting in the vegetables.” We also find the participle apopatêsomenoi (“they are about to shit”) which means they are going to evacuate the feces from their bodies. But patos also means path.

Aristophanes writes “No one sacrifices the old way any more or even enters the temple except for the more than ten thousand who want to shit. So, apopatos is really the voiding of the bowels. Aristophanes also says about Kleonymous: “He went off to shit after he got he army and shat for ten months in the golden mountains? For how long was he closing his asshole? A whole turn of the moon?”

Ἀποπάτημα: αὐτὸ τὸ σκύβαλον. Εὔπολις Χρυσῷ γένει: τί γάρ ἐστ’ ἐκεῖνος; ἀποπάτημ’ ἀλώπεκος. Κρατῖνος Δραπέτισι: τὸν Κερκύονά τε ἕωθεν ἀποπατοῦντ’ ἐπὶ τοῖς λαχάνοις εὑρὼν ἀπέπνιξα. καὶ Ἀποπατησόμενοι, τὴν κόπρον κενώσοντες. πάτος δὲ ἡ ὁδός. Ἀριστοφάνης: οὐδεὶς θύει τοπαράπαν οὐδ’ εἰσέρχεται, πλὴν ἀποπατησόμενοί γε πλεῖν ἢ μύριοι. Ἀπόπατος γὰρ ἡ κένωσις τῆς γαστρός. καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης περὶ Κλεωνύμου φησίν: εἰς ἀπόπατον ᾤχετο στρατιὰν λαβὼν κἄχεζεν ὀκτὼ μῆνας ἐπὶ χρυσῶν ὄρων. πόσου δὲ τὸν πρωκτὸν χρόνου ξυνήγαγε; τῇ πανσελήνῳ.

From Henderson’s Maculate Muse