A d F o n t e s

(Latin: "to the sources")

The Funniest Line in Greek Literature

…or it’s pretty close.  I learned it in my Greek Prose Composition course, which is one of those courses that *could* be as boring as…the most boring thing you can think of, but our prof. makes a strong (and successful) effort to keep the course interesting.  

 

πρωκτος και χρυσος την αυτην ψηφον εχουσιν.

ψηφιζων δ’ αφελως τουτο ποθ’ ευρον εγω.  

“[The words] ‘asshole’ and ‘gold’ have the same numerical value.  

This I discovered effortlessly while counting“

 

You can guess why he knows this and why this unobvious conclusion was “effortless” (use your imagination).  What makes it even better is that it’s written in metrical verse—it’s a poem.  These are the kinds of things that make reading hundreds of lines of Horace worth being a classicist 🙂

You’re probably wondering how in the world this line came up in a Greek Comp class.  The answer is we were discussing numbers in Greek; it turns out if you add up the numbers represented by the words “proktos” and “churos” they’re equivalent. 

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September 19, 2007 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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