Gold grasshoppers

31st May 2009 | Daily Life | 0 comments

My whole day has been brightened by a lovely thing my daughter told me. She is studying Classics at university and has been reading the Greek historian Thucydides. Writing in the 5th century BC about ‘the ancients’, Thucydides described some of their customs.

When he said ‘the ancients’, I wonder if he meant people of centuries before, or did he (as seems more likely) mean his grandparents’ generation? It’s well known that nobody can be more ancient than the older generation of your own family.

Anyway, Thucydides wrote that the ancients liked to wear linen tunics and put gold grasshoppers in their hair. As my daughter said, they must have been a bit like me. Well, not the grasshopper bit exactly, but the linen tunics and the gold ornaments, and I suppose also the ancientry. Thucycides added that although the custom of putting gold grasshoppers in your hair had died out in the part of Greece where he lived, the Ionians were still doing it. Honestly, those Ionians! Always the last to catch up.

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