laconian

Ancient Greek Dog Rhyton, c. 340-325 BC

Molded into the shape of a Laconian dog, the rhyton comes from the ancient Greek colony of Apulia, in what is now southern Italy. The vessel was designed with a wide mouth at one end, with the other pierced with a small hole.

It is believed that the cup would have been used to scoop wine from a larger carrier, blocking the hole with a thumb, before releasing again to let the fluid drain out. The stunning item bears the trademark style of ancient Greece, painted in black over terracotta.

My New Favorite Story from History

So there’s this guy Cleisthenes in ancient Greece, with a beautiful daughter Agarista, and he’s like “oh man, only the best for my daughter” so he goes to the olympics and announces “alright if you want to marry my daughter come back to my place and I’ll pick the coolest guy after judging you all.” He’s serious about this, he builds some sports stuff to check out how good these guys are.


And so a bunch of dudes go to his house, and stay with him for a year, and he comes to like this guy Hippocleides in particular, so at the end of the year he announces that he has chosen Hippocleides to marry his daughter Agarista, and they all throw a wild party.


And Hippocleides busts out his funkiest dance moves. He does the Laconian, he does the Attic, and Cleisthenes starts to get mad because evidently these are some inappropriate funky dance moves, but Cleisthenes just kind seethes with disapproval and sits, but then Hippocleides busts out his ultimate move, and that’s when it gets real.


Hippocleides does a handstand (with no underwear, because that wasn’t a thing in ancient greece) and starts clapping his legs to the beat, in the air. And Cleisthenes, when he sees the upside down man with legs clapping and balls flapping says “you have danced away your marriage!” And Hippocleides says, (and I’m quoting the text here,) “Hippocleides doesn’t care.” And Herodotus, our heroic narrator, notes that this is where the phrase “Hippocleides doesn’t care” comes from. 


Thanks, Ancient Greece.