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K Greek Stuff

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966770.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:18 pm Reply with quote

Much to Allan's chagrin, there are a lot of Greek things which begin with K.

Q: What do a bunch of scratched up coins have to do with dogs and Greek philosophy?
A: Before he became the Ancient Greek equivalent of Oscar the Grouch, Diogenes visited the oracle of Delphi, who told him to deface currency (archaeologists have found many defaced coins in his home of Sinope, bearing out the story.) His father, a coin minter, was not happy about this, and Diogenes was eventually banished from Sinope for defacing coins. Eventually, Diogenes decided that the oracle had meant for him to deface political and social currency, not literal currency. This is when Diogenes became the eccentric ascetic he is most known as.
And the dog connection? Diogenes was a Cynic, which comes from the Greek word for "dog-like," kynikos (κυνικός). The name might come from the fact that the original Cynics taught in the Cynosarges (white dog) gymnasium, but it was probably also an insult related to the fact that Cynics lived in the streets like feral dogs.

Some great stories are attributed to Diogenes. Here are some of my favorites:
"A student of philosophy, eager to display his powers of argument, approached Diogenes, introduced himself and said, 'If it pleases you, sir, let me prove to you that there is no such thing as motion.' Whereupon Diogenes immediately got up and left."

"Diogenes was once asked, 'Why is it, Diogenes, that pupils leave you to go to other teachers, but rarely do they leave them to come to you?'
'Because,' replied Diogenes, 'one can make eunuchs out of men, but no one can make a man out of eunuchs.'"

Last edited by EXE on Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total

966772.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:23 pm Reply with quote

You come up with some wonderful stuff, EXE :-)

Gimme some more Diogenes quotes!

966775.  Sat Jan 26, 2013 3:38 pm Reply with quote

Thanks :) Here's another good one:

"Plato was discoursing on his theory of ideas and, pointing to the cups on the table before him, said while there are many cups in the world, there is only one `idea' of a cup, and this cupness precedes the existence of all particular cups.

'I can see the cup on the table,' interupted Diogenes, 'but I can't see the cupness'.

'That's because you have the eyes to see the cup,' said Plato, 'but,' tapping his head with his forefinger, 'you don't have the intellect with which to comprehend cupness.'

Diogenes walked up to the table, examined a cup and, looking inside, asked, 'Is it empty?'

Plato nodded.

'Where is the emptiness which precedes this empty cup?' asked Diogenes.

Plato allowed himself a few moments to collect his thoughts, but Diogenes reached over and, tapping Plato's head with his finger, said 'I think you will find here is the emptiness.'"

More instances of Diogenes's sass can be found here:

967419.  Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:30 pm Reply with quote

Q: Why is he smiling?

A: To show that he's alive. In Archaic Greek art, virtually all sculptures of humans had a smile carved onto them to give them a sense of spirit and well-being, a sort of spark of life. Sculputres of males were called kouroi (kouros in the singular) and sculptures of females were called korai (kore in the singular).
Creepily, the convention of the "archaic smile" even extended to sculptures of the dying!

dr bartolo
968006.  Wed Jan 30, 2013 11:02 am Reply with quote

EXE wrote:

interesting disembodied hand...
Back to Diogenes. He lived in a large ceramic jar. One day,Alexander the great visited him. When Alex asked what Diogenes wanted, all the latter said was, "stand a little out of my sunlight"

[ insert cynic joke here]

This would probably make him the parton saint of sunbathers

968929.  Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:28 am Reply with quote

Q: What does Greek art have in common with the structure of proteins?
A: Both contain Greek keys. In art, repeated interlocking motifs are called "Greek keys" and are often seen on friezes and in pottery. You might not know the name, but I'm sure it's instantly recognizable. The motif is also called a "meander." The pattern that adorns the lip of the jar below is an example of a Greek key pattern.

There is also a stucture called a "Greek key" in the beta pleated sheets of proteins. To quote Wikipedia, "The Greek key motif [in proteins] consists of four adjacent antiparallel strands and their linking loops. It consists of three antiparallel strands connected by hairpins, while the fourth is adjacent to the first and linked to the third by a longer loop."


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