Series G, Episode 14 - Greeks
- The set is decorated with Greek statues, columns and pots.
- If you are a wealthy ancient Athenian and you want to avoid funding the navy the best way to avoid paying up is to find someone richer than you. Under Athenian law, if your property was worth 70 times or more than the average wage, you had to pay this tax, which was one of only a few in Athens. However, if you could find someone you thought was richer, they would tax them instead. This was tested by the challenger asking the richer person if they would like to swap property. If there was no swap, then the person challenged was deemed to richer and would instead be taxed, unless they could find someone richer.
- XL: If you were spending the weekend with your grandmother and were often the chance to take her to either a Greek symposium or a Roman orgy, probably the best one would be the orgy. Orgies were not sexual in Roman times. They were mainly huge, showy feasts. The orgy also provided entertainment for the whole family. Caligula at the time was more famous for having orgies which featured solid gold food and fish that was bright blue so it looked like it was still in the sea. Symposia tended to be wilder.
- If you see a Spartan with a new hairdo you should runaway, because the last thing a member of this warrior race did before going into battle was to cut their hair. Before the Battle of Thermopylae, the Persians made a huge mistake when one of their spies saw them getting their hair cut and claimed them being nancy boys by doing their hair.
- The proper thing to wear at the gym is nothing at all, because the word "gymnasium" comes from Greek "gymnos" meaning "naked". A "gymnasium" is "a naked place". However, they did wear a "kynodesme" which was a kind of leather pouch with a string bow that prevented your penis getting in the way of their training. Trainers would attract the athlete's attention by pulling on the string. Other gymnos related words include "gymnopedia" which was dances performed by naked boys at public events and "gymnologise" which is to debate naked.
- Baron de Coubertin, father of the modern Olympics, won a gold medal himself in the poetry event, which he entered anonymously. Up until 1948, apart from the sporting events there were also artistic events in the Olympics which also included town planning, sculpture, music and painting. The oldest person ever to win an Olympic medal was 73-year-old Briton John Copley who won silver in the etchings and engravings event. In 1900, a woman won gold for poodle clipping, trimming 17 poodles in 2 hours. The artistic events stopped because of amateurism. The people in these events carried on being artists and so on after the games, while those doing the sport had other work to do. Correction: The idea of Poodle Clipping as an Olympic event was actually an April Fool created by The Daily Telegraph.
- Olympics gold meals are made mostly out of silver (at least 92.5%), with only a tiny amount of gold (6g). The last ones to be made entirely out of gold were in 1912. If they were made out of 18-carat gold each gold medal would be worth £3,000, which would total up to £1.5 million of the course of the games. (Forfeit: Gold; Chocolate)
- You would bite into a gold coin to check if it was really made out of gold. Fake gold coins normally have lead in them, so if you bite into them you would leave your teeth marks in it. When real gold coins are made, other metals were also added to harden it.
- XL: Of all the panellists, Clive comes closest to having the perfect Greek body, although Phill does have a perfect Greek neck. This is measured using the panel's wrist measurements and calculating the correct proportions. For example, the wrist measurement should be half of the neck measurement.
- XL: The panel are shown a complex mathematical formula (see here) and are asked what it proves. It proves that there is a god. It was made by Kurt Gödel, who was a friend of Albert Einstein. Einstein said he only went to work because the walk home with Gödel was so enjoyable. Gödel did not publish his formula because he did not people to think he believed in god and he was not satisfied by the conclusion. He was just showing how symbolic logic can be used to prove such a thing. Gödel later became paranoid about people poisoning his food so he always got his wife to check the food for him. However, his wife then went to hospital so no-one could test the food, so Gödel starved to death.
- Sewage could be used to create alien life because it contains bacteria. On space ships, most human waste is flushed out of the ship and sent into space. Arthur C. Clark once claimed it was possible that waste from an alien plant might have resulted in the creation of life on Earth. He wrote about this in an article called "Toilets of the Gods".
- You should not touch a meteorite with your bare hands because it is very cold and you could get frostbite. Although it heats up when going through the atmosphere, it is still very cold inside and cold outside. There are about 50,000 meteorites larger than 20g that fall from space onto Earth every year, but most land in the sea. Most have been found in Antarctica. No-one has ever been killed by a meteorite, although one dog was reported killed by one in Egypt in 1911 and a boy was injured by one Uganda in 1992. (Forfeit: It's hot)
- Nothing happens to you the instant you are put in a vacuum. You can survive for a few minutes inside one. You should exhale inside it and not hold your breath. Gas escaping from your body would simultaneously make you defecate, urinate and vomit. The first sensation would be the moisture on your tongue boiling, which results in you losing your sense of taste for several days. (Forfeit: Instant death)
- The country which has weekly news broadcasts in Latin is Finland. It is a 5-minute long bullet broadcast at 13:55 every Friday, then again on local radio in Helsinki later on. In Germany, Radio Bremen also broadcasts four-and-a-half minutes of news in Latin every month. More people outside Finland understand Latin than Finnish. (Forfeit: Vatican City)
- At the end of a Greek meal you are most likely to see flowers being thrown. While plates used to be thrown, licences are now needed to do this in restaurants for health and safety reasons. (Forfeit: Plates)
- XL: Alan is last in the scores, so Stephen offers him the chance to come first the ancient Greek way - by swapping his scores with one of the other players. Alan decides to swap with the audience, so Stephen challenges him, by saying he will swap the points around with Alan can remember what the audience scored their points for. Alan cannot remember so no points are swapped.
For information on the correction, see the QI Qibble Blog.
- Friday 5th March 2010
- BBC One
- 30 minutes
Cast & crew
|Stephen Fry||Host / Presenter|
|Alan Davies||Regular Panellist|
|John Mitchinson||Question Writer|
|Justin Pollard||Question Writer|
|James Harkin||Question Writer|
|Molly Oldfield||Question Writer|
|Katie Taylor||Executive Producer|
|David Morley (as Dave Morley)||Executive Producer|
|Jonathan Paul Green||Production Designer|