Yesterday I went to a superb lecture by UC Berkeley’s Leslie Kurke on Herodotus-as-Aesopian-fabulist, which ended with a discussion of the famous Hippokleides story:

At last the day arrived for the marriage feast and for the Kleisthenes’ announcement of whom he had chosen from all. Kleisthenes sacrificed one hundred cattle, and summoned both the suitors and all of the citizens of Sicyon to the banquet. After dinner, the musical competition among the suitors was held, as well as also the competition in speaking on a set theme and in these, Hippokleides surpassed all the other suitors. As the drinking continued, Hippokleides ordered the flute player to play a dance tune for him, and when the flute player obeyed he began to dance. Presumably, Hippokleides danced to his own satisfaction, but Kleisthenes, as he watched the whole business, was disturbed. Hippokleides rested for a little while, but then he ordered the servants to bring in a table, and when it had been brought in, he danced on it, first of all Lakonian dances and after that Attic dances, he stood on his head on the table and waved his legs in the air. Even though Hippokleides was no longer acceptable to him as a son-in-law, because of the shamelessness of his dancing, Kleisthenes did not wish to berate him and restrained himself during the first two sessions of dancing but when he saw him waving his legs in the air he was no longer able to restrain himself and said: “Oh son of Teisander, you have danced away your wedding”: but Hippokleides replied: “Hippokleides doesn’t care”.

And today I’m very pleased to read on the BBC website that Johnny Cash’s son John Carter Cash said of his dad at the 37th Annual Country Music Awards that “It’s amazing my father had such a life that he could expose himself and still never lose his dignity”.The Man in Black doesn’t care!

Though it’s unclear whether he was waving his legs in the air at the time.

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