If you want to elicit shrieks of shock and mild public teenage humiliation, take your 12 turning 13 year old to a museum with lots of ancient statues (and where better than The National Archeaological Museum in Athens, a storehouse of fabulous antiquities and sculpture) and tell her to take a good look at the anatomical parts for future reference. Better in marble than in the flesh. The Kid gave me the beady eyes but let’s face it, they may be ancient, beautiful and surrounded by millenia of history, but they ARE buck naked, if you know what I mean. And worse, have you ever noticed that a very large percentage of these ancient statues appear to have been ruthlessly “de-wankered?” And yes, I know what a wanker is, and what he wanks, but in Marketman-speak, a wanker is also a reference to the wankee, so allow me the inaccurate use of the word for the purposes of this post…
Everywhere we went in Greece, the eunuched statues were quite obvious. It made me wonder if some scorned Athenean woman went on a rampage a couple of hundred or thousand years ago, and stormed all the major historical landmarks with a bolo to chop them all off a la Lorena Bobbit. I mean, I know they are sensitive parts, but isn’t it odd that many of the statues still have their noses, ears, toes and other extremities yet lost their thingees? And while on the subject, do you think sculptors wait until the end of the process to chisel the wanker or do they more or less do it earlier in the process? Imagine if they screw up after finishing the rest of the piece? And what of the hacked off pieces, does someone have a bizarre collection of appendages under glass. Can we pay some reasonable entrance fee to see them in a well-lit display? :)
I am by no means a history buff, nor an art historian (though I did take a few classes mainly on paintings), so I may be missing the obvious like at some point the anatomically correct statues offended the powers that be and were thus “adjusted” so as not to ruffle any sensibilities… At any rate, the other observation was the gender issue… there seemed to be a lot more male statues than female ones and in some cases the women were a tad more modest in stance than the guys… But the best lesson learned? If you want yourself immortalized for thousands of years in your birthday suit, spring for the more costly bronze cast rather than carrara marble. It seems your body parts are more likely to survive the vagaries of time if you are done in bronze. Just take a look at this fabulous statue of Zeus or Poseidon (no one is certain) poised to unleash either his lightning bolt or trident at someone getting too close for his comfort.
Bronze may be stronger, but not indestructible, see this statue from the collection at Delphi whose arms must have had a weak points in the armpits. And finally, the small bronze statue below seems to have survived, unscathed and fully intact. Statues of female subjects were less common, and their private parts were more modestly presented. The final photo below being one example, Aphrodite? and a satyr maybe? But let’s move away from wankers and on to Greek toes. I didn’t realize it during the trip, but it seems many (not all) greek statues have longer second toes. Yes, there was a reason for the not so ridiculous poll on whether you have a longer second toe… :)
Approximately 15-35% of the world’s population (depending on what source you believe) have what is known as Morton’s or Greek toe, where the second toe is longer than the big toe. And when I did some internet research last night, I spent a good hour reading dozens of sites and posts ranging from the utterly hilarious to the amazingly scientific and historical with respect to this condition… Suffice it to say in summary form that many Greek statues sport longer second toes, particularly those depicting gods, and the Romans copied Greek statues so they too exhibit second longer toes and so did some Egyptian sculptors, even though the majority of men in Egypt and Italy probably do not have longer second toes. Some say it is anthropologically linked and would make me swing from vines easier than those with non-greek toes, others say it is godly (I like that one), many Greeks do appear to have longer second toes (though its up for debate if a majority of Greeks possess this trait) and many other sites suggest asians too have longer second toes. At any rate, if you are interested, google “Greek toes” or “Morton’s toes” for more information. And so far, the MM poll results seem to suggest a high percentage of greek toes among the godly marketmanila readers…heeheehee.
Maybe this explains the popularity of open sandals in Greek society, so the abused second toe can walk freely. Now I want to invent leather shoes and sneakers specifically designed for those with Greek toes… can you imagine what a marketing dream that might be? I could start with a tag line like “has your second toe always been scrunched up in your shoes?”… or does your second toe have knuckles? I come from a family with notoriously long second toes. As kids, we were as agile picking things up off the floor with our toes as with our hands… So it amazes me that it has taken over 40 years to figure out what this means. It means I am putting excessive pressure on my second toe and the weight of my body has shifted from the natural “ball” of each foot. It also explains the huge corn that develops on a particular part of my foot… and on and on. And I do not claim this as original information, these are sewn together bits and pieces from several sources on the web after googling this topic. Ah, enough on wankers and toes, time to get back to food!