Tawdry Tuesday (NSFW): Hipponax Teaches Us Some new Words

Hipponax, fr. 12 [Tzetz. ad Posthom. 687, “θήπεον”]

“The mother-fucker Boupalos
Was taunting the children of the Eruthraians with these words
While he was about to pull back his accursed foreskin.”

τούτοισι θηπέων τοὺς Ἐρυθραίων παῖδας
ὁ μητροκοίτης Βούπαλος σὺν Ἀρήτῃ
†καὶ ὑφέλξων τὸν δυσώνυμον ἄρτον.†

Most people who know ancient Greek will probably associate ἄρτον with its more typical definition (“bread”) than with foreskin. I think that the explanation for this homonym may have to do with the latter definition developing from τὸ αἴρειν:

Etym. Sym.

ἄρτος: παρὰ τὸ αἴρειν, ὅ ἐστι καθ’ ἑκάστην προσφέρειν

But this etymology is certainly problematic. “Bread” in Greek has an unclear history (Beekes):


More family-safe fun from Hipponax

Fragments. 135, 135a, 135b



“Opening of filth”





Hipponax fr. 144

“Sister of bullshit”

βολβίτου κασιγνήτην.

Image result for Ancient Greek Phallus vase
Terracotta Vase, Metropolitan Museum of Art (c. 5th Century BCE; 1999.78)

Hipponax and the Invention of Parody: Athenaeus (Deipnosophists, 14.698)

“Polemon, in the twelfth book of his To Timaios, writes about his studies on the authors of parody “I would call Boeiotos and Euboios word-smiths since they play deftly with multiple meanings and they surpass the poets who preceded them in earlier generations. But it must be admitted that the founder of this genre was Hipponax, the iambic poet. For he writes as follows in hexameter:

“Muse, tell me the tale the sea-swallowing
Stomach-slicing, son of Eurymedon, who eats without order,
How he died a terrible death thanks to a vile vote
in the public council along the strand of the barren sea.”

Parody is also accredited to Epicharmus of Syracuse in some of his plays, Cratinus the Old Comic poetry in his play The Sons of Eunêos, and also to Hegemon of Thasos, whom they used to call “Lentil Soup”, as he says himself.”

Πολέμων δ’ ἐν τῷ δωδεκάτῳ τῶν πρὸς Τίμαιον περὶ τῶν τὰς παρῳδίας γεγραφότων ἱστορῶν τάδε γράφει ‘καὶ τὸν Βοιωτὸν δὲ καὶ τὸν Εὔβοιον τοὺς τὰς παρῳδίας γράψαντας λογίους ἂν φήσαιμι διὰ τὸ παίζειν ἀμφιδεξίως καὶ τῶν προγενεστέρων ποιητῶν ὑπερέχειν ἐπιγεγονότας. εὑρετὴν μὲν οὖν τοῦ γένους ῾Ιππώνακτα φατέον τὸν ἰαμβοποιόν. λέγει γὰρ οὗτος ἐν τοῖς ἑξαμέτροις

Μοῦσά μοι Εὐρυμεδοντιάδεα τὴν ποντοχάρυβδιν,
τὴν ἐν γαστρὶ μάχαιραν, ὃς ἐσθίει οὐ κατὰ κόσμον,
ἔννεφ’, ὅπως ψηφῖδι κακὸν οἶτον ὀλεῖται
βουλῆι δημοσίηι παρὰ θῖν’ ἁλὸς ἀτρυγέτοιο.

κέχρηται δὲ καὶ ᾿Επίχαρμος ὁ Συρακόσιος ἔν τισι τῶν δραμάτων ἐπ’ ὀλίγον καὶ Κρατῖνος ὁ τῆς ἀρχαίας κωμῳδίας ποιητὴς ἐν Εὐνείδαις καὶ τῶν κατ’ αὐτὸν ῾Ηγήμων ὁ Θάσιος, ὃν ἐκάλουν Φακῆν. λέγει γὰρ οὕτως.