Saturday, June 29, 2013


Ancient Greek Hats

William Wells (1820-1907), review of J.F. Hurst, Life and Literature in the Fatherland, in Methodist Quarterly Review 57 (1875) 422-437 (at 435):
One evening the genial Professor Schultz, whose valuable library is now in possession of the North-Western University, at Evanston, Ill., offered to accompany and introduce us to a "Greek Circle" which was composed of the classical professors of the University, and which met weekly to read and discuss certain Greek authors. About a dozen scholars were collected at the house of one of them, and the exercises consisted in reading by turns passages from Thucydides, followed by translation. This latter was then closely criticised until all were satisfied as to the rendering. Boekh read a passage incidentally alluding to the hats worn at that period by the Greek soldiers, saying simply that they then refused to remove them in the presence of enemies. One of the company rather maliciously asked Boekh what kind of head-covering the Greeks of that epoch wore. Every body saw that it was a stunning question to come so suddenly, as it embraced a range over many centuries, during which great changes in the style were experienced. The company looked as if Boekh had found his match for once; but he coolly reflected for a moment with his finger on his nose, and then started off in a lengthy and critical illustration of the hats of just that period. His closing sentence was received with rounds of applause, on the strength of which all went out to supper. At the table Professor Schultz remarked to us sub rosâ: "They made a mistake in their question; they should have asked what kind of hats are now worn in Berlin—that would have floored him."
"Boekh" is August Boeckh (1785-1867).

Related post: Rats in the Cheese.

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