A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the Cradle of Western Civilization by J.C. McKeown is a book that is true to its title. This fun read is filled with interesting, and often provocative trivia from Ancient Greece including many colorful quotes by the greatest philosophers the world has ever known: Socrates, Aristotle, Plato, and other notable Greeks.
The book contains many odd bits of ancient advice and observations, especially in the food and drink section, demonstrating how diets and the preparation of food have evolved over the centuries. Not surprisingly the chapters about women and sex contain a number of outdated and outrageously chauvinistic precepts, but this is one of the most humorous and intriguing things about the book. Opinions expressed by Aristotle, brilliant in some respects but never a great admirer of women, are blatantly sexist even by archaic standards.
Chapters on the theater, foreigners, animals, barbarians and the sea, also offer surprising insights and in some cases kernels of wisdom. Whether the reader finds the book to be illuminating or laughable they will likely find it very entertaining.
J.C. McKeown is also the author of A Cabinet of Roman Curiosities: Strange Tales and Surprising Facts from the World’s Greatest Empire.