11 May 2009

The Trireme

In Agrigentum there is a house call 'the trireme' for the following reason. Some young men were getting drunk in it, and became feverish with intoxication, off their heads to such an extent they supposed they were in a trireme, sailing through a dangerous tempest; they became so befuddled as to throw all the furniture and fittings out of the house as though at sea, thinking that the pilot had told them to lighten the ship because of the storm. A great many people, meanwhile, were gathering at the scene and started to carry off the discarded property, but even the youths did not pause their lunacy. On the following day the generals turned up at the house, and charges were brought against them. Still sea-sick, they answered to the officials' questioning that in their anxiety over the storm they had been compelled to jettison their superfluous cargo by throwing it into the sea.
James Davidson, Courtesans and Fish Cakes: The Consuming Passions of Classical Athens (1997) (quoting Timaeus FGrHist 566 F149). Courtesans is a great food book, by the way.

No comments: