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Who was Hippocleides and why doesn’t he care?

According to the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus, here was once a wealthy tyrant of Sicyon named Cleisthenes. This man wished to marry his daughter to the “best man in all of Greece”. Among the many suitors was a young man named Hippocleides, the wealthiest and best-looking man in all of Athens. For his parentage, conversation, manly qualities, temper, education, and manners Hippocleides was the favorite.

When all the young men had been considered the time came for Cleisthenes to make his decision. He gave a great banquet, in which all the suitors and all of Sicyon was invited.

When the dinner was over the suitors began to compete with one another in music and talking to company. In both these accomplishments Hippocleides was the clear winner. The tyrant of Sicyon was so pleased with Hippocleides he stood ready to proclaim him the winner.

Hippocleides by this time was suitably drunk. Wine after wine after wine he drank, and finally he demanded that a flute player play him a tune. Hippocleides began to dance vigorously. Cleisthenes was shocked, but allowed this to continue. Soon Hippocleides called for a table, which he climbed and then danced upon. For his crowning achievement, Hippocleides stood on his head and gesticulated with his legs, keeping time to the music.

Cleisthenes was appalled and could bear this no longer. “Hippocleides, you have danced away your marriage!” he cried.

To which Hippocleides replied, (legs still gesticulating) “Hippocleides doesn’t care!”

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