Archimedes & Hypereides

I remember my first time learning the story of how Archimedes came up with the physics principle named after him. My favorite part of the story is when Archimedes ran to the street naked, filled with excitement from his discovery, crying “Eureka!”

So when I saw this William Noel’s speech on TED, I was beyond excited.

It’s interesting in a way that such history and a large amount of information contained in this Byzantine prayer book. I also thought that it was a genius move to use the fluorescence Xray to get through the gold manuscripts.

But, the very interesting part is that during the process, they also discover Hypereides’ speech underneath. Hypereides, as William Noel described, was a logographer, aka speech writer, in ancient Greece. This speech has a line that really struck me: “if you can’t win, fight for a noble cause.”

What a beautiful line! No wonder Hypereides got off the trial. I mean I already fell for it.. LOL!!

photo: Hypereides’ Noble Cause
graphic by Anh Ngo

More researches on Hypereides, I found that so far there are about seventy seven speeches attributed to him. Though, many are still remained lost.

One of Hypereides’ famous speech was to defend the beautiful courtesan Phryne. Now, this story is also quite interesting.

When accused of profaning the Eleusinian Mysteries, she was defended by the orator Hypereides, one of her lovers.[1] The speech for the prosecution was written by Anaximenes of Lampsacus according to Diodorus Periegetes. [4]When it seemed as if the verdict would be unfavourable, Hypereides tore open her robe and displayed her body, most notably her breasts, which so moved them that they acquitted her. According to others, Phryne herself removed her own clothing. The judges’ change of heart was not simply because they were overcome by the beauty of her naked body, but because such unusual physical beauty was often seen as a facet of divinity or a mark of divine favor during those times.

source: Wikipedia

photo: Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme, c. 1861

Man, if you ever get trialled, all you need is a lover like Hypereides and Phryne’s boobs.. HA!

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