How Do You Say ShantyTok in Ancient Greek?

P. Oxy. iii. 1903, no. 425,  A Sailor’s Song

“Sailors who race over deep waves,
along Triton’s salty swells
Nile-runners who make their sweet way
sailing over the waters’ smile
Friends, tell us your judgment
between the sea and the fertile Nile”

ν]αῦται βυθοκυμα[τ]οδρόμοι
ἁλίων Τρίτωνες ὑδάτων
καὶ Νειλῶται γλυκυδρόμοι
τὰ γελῶντα πλέοντες ὑδάτη
τὴν σύγκρισιν εἴπατε, φίλοι,
πελάγους καὶ Νείλοῠ γονίμου.

h/t to Tim Whitmarsh for posting this

Here’s the translation from the Loeb: “Sailors who skim deep waters, Tritons of the briny waves, and Nilots who sail in happy course upon the smiling waters, tell us, friends, the comparison of the ocean with the fruitful Nile.” (LCL 360, 428-430, Page)

See Peter Gainsford’s excellent post on Greek sea shanties in Assassin’s Creed for even better material.

black-figure terracotta vessel depicting an ancient greek ship

The internet, to crib from “rocky horror”, don’t dream it, be it. I pledged to donate money to The Sportulafor actual ShantyToks and people made it happen

From the inestimable Ryan Baumann


#AncientGreek #Shanty – from a 2nd-3rd century CE papyrus (P.Oxy. 3 425) 📜

♬ original sound – user4798037192129

The amazing Katie Mikos:


🚨 Ancient Greek sea shanty alert 🚨 (for charity 😅) #shantytok #seashanty #voiceeffects #SkinCare101 #ZodiacSign #ancientgreece #greek #foryoupage

♬ original sound – Katie Mikos

This one gets extra points for costume and props

Ah, but Odysseus himself might have sailed straight into the Sirens’ rocks for the singing in this one…


English version of Ancient Greek sea shanty. Original melody, pretty raw. Thoughts? #shanty #shantytok #shantytiktok #ancientgreek #historytiktok

♬ original sound – earlyonemorning

As a native of Maine I grew up hearing sea shanties from time to time. I must have seen Schooner Fare in elementary school 3 or 4 times