Hippocleides

Hippocleides, the son of Teisander, was an Athenian nobleman, who served as Eponymous Archon for the year 566 BC-565 BC.

During his term as archon he set up the statue of Athena Promachos in Athens for the Panathenaia festival.

As a young man he competed for the hand of Agariste, the daughter of Cleisthenes, the tyrant of Sicyon. By the end of the competitions, only Hippocleides and Megacles remained. According to Herodotus (6.129-130), Hippocleides became intoxicated during a dinner party with Cleisthenes, and began to act like a fool; at one point he stood on his head and kicked his legs in the air, keeping time with the flute music. When Hippocleides was informed that he had "danced away his bride," his response was ου φροντις 'Ιπποκλειδη, ("Hippocleides doesn't care" or "It doesn't matter to Hippocleides"). The phrase, according to Herodotus, became a common expression in the Greek world. This claim is interesting, as Herodotus' reference of the phrase is the only extant example from ancient literature.

T.E. Lawrence also had the phrase ου φροντις inscribed on his doorway.

Ancient Greek Humour, Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange

In accordance with this, we find that the only mention of laughter made by Simonides of Amorgos is where he says that some women may be compared to apes, and then gives a very rude description of their persons. This subservience to the eye can also be observed in the appreciation of monkeys and dancing horses, already mentioned, the latter forming a humorous exhibition, as the animals were trained with a view to amuse. We have marks of the same optical tendencies in the appreciation of antics and contortions of the body, either as representing personal deformity, or as a kind of puzzling and disorderly action. A little contemporary story related by Herodotus shows that these pantomimic performances were now becoming fashionable in Athens. Cleisthenes, tyrant of Sicyon, was even at this date so much in favour of competitive examinations, that he determined to give his daughter to the most proficient and accomplished man. On the appointed day the suitors came to the examination from every quarter, for the fair Agariste was heiress to great possessions. Among them was one Hippocleides, an Athenian, who proved himself far superior to all the rest in music and dissertation. Afterwards, when the trial was over, desiring to indulge his feelings of triumph and show his skill, he called for a piper, and then for a table, upon which he danced, finishing up by standing on his head and kicking his legs about. Cleisthenes, who was apparently one of the "old school," and did not appreciate the manners and customs of young Athens, was much offended by this undignified performance of his would-be son-in-law, and when he at last saw him standing on his head, could no longer contain himself, but cried out, "Son of Tisander, thou hast danced away thy marriage." To which the other replied with characteristic unconcern: "It's all the same to Hippocleides,"—an expression which became proverbial. In this story we see the new conception of humour, though of a rude kind, coming into collision with the old philosophic contests of ingenuity, which it was destined to survive if not to supersede.

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