c.80AD: Theodorus’ mouth, bottom apparently indistinguishable

Nicarchus was a satiric poet who lived and worked in Greece in the 1st century. Little is known about Nicarchus: his birthplace and life history are not recorded and he was not mentioned by other writers. Not much of his poetry has survived either, just 38 epigrams and some satiric pieces.

Nicarchus’ epigrams suggest he was influenced by, and possibly a student of the better known Lucillius. But unlike Lucillius, the younger Nicarchus had a liking for invective and coarse terminology, something he shared with one of contemporaries, Martial. In one epigram Nicarchus tees off on an acquaintance named Theodorus, who obviously struggled with bad breath:

“Your mouth and your arse, Theodorus, smell exactly the same;
It would be a noteworthy achievement if men of science could distinguish them.
You really ought to write labels on which is your mouth and which is your arse
For now when you speak, I think you break wind.”

Source: Source: Nicarchus epigrams, book 11, Greek Anthology (1956 edition). Content on this page is © Alpha History 2019-23. Content may not be republished without our express permission. For more information please refer to our Terms of Use or contact Alpha History.