Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Things We Learn

While looking up how the Ancient Greeks used the pillory (as mentioned in Herodotus), I stumbled across a totally unrelated fact: "In Ancient Greece, bankruptcy laws forced the debtor to sit in the market place and place a basket over his head." I had never read that anywhere, so I thought it was interesting.

It's always interesting how while looking for one thing, we find another. I didn't find anything on the use of pillories in Ancient Greece though. I wanted to know since King Cleomenes of Sparta gets thrown in one by his relatives. Did it look like the ones used in Europe 1000 years later? It would be interesting to know for my novel.


Wynn Bexton said...

I've never heard of them using pilories in ancient Greece. I thought that was really a medieval sort of thing.

Carla said...

Presumably 'pillory' is a translation of whatever Greek word Herodotus used? Do all translators use the same term, or do they vary? If different translators use different words, you might get some clues there. Or maybe you can find out what the original Greek word was and find out its literal meaning, and that might be another clue. I'm wondering if it's possible that the translator was using 'pillory' in its figurative sense of 'public ridicule', as when we say now that someone was 'pilloried in the press' we don't mean it literally.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.