A concerned father to the Philosopher Democritus, 401 BC

If all elements arise from atoms, why are there still atoms, you fool?

My Good Sir:

I have just been speaking with my son, Gingivitus, and he tells me that today you were teaching him about something called “science.” Sir, I have never in all my life been so disgusted.

While I am not entirely certain of what “science” consists, I have never heard it mentioned by the priests in the Temple of Athena and therefore have no reason to trust it. I know you were raised in some godsforsaken northern backwater but I should not need to remind you that here in Athens, we teach our children to be pious. Gods first, everything else second. I will not have some crackpot teaching my son nonsense, even if I hear he does need to know it to pass his annual exams. My father learned from Homer, I learned from Homer, and my son will learn from Homer.

If it was good enough for Mighty Achilles, it’s good enough for me.

Furthermore, I must agree with your intellectual superior, that nice Mr. Plato, that your ideas are “not fit to wipe up a sneeze.” I have heard about your extremely silly theory that everything that exists in this world can be divided over and over and over again to a certain point after which it cannot be divided anymore and that this ridiculous final thingy is called an “atom.” I do not know which is more offensive: that you truly believe that Zeus’ mighty thunderbolt or Athena’s Golden Bow could not cleave a grain of sand into more grains of sand, or that you insist on poisoning the minds of children with this nonsense.

Also, if atoms are everywhere, why can’t we see them, huh?

I have no doubt that your wife will be seduced by the King of the Gods into having sex with a bull. She’ll probably have some half-God child that will commit atrocities on some peasants.

Teach the controversy,

Helinius the Pretty Decent Grain Salesman, Athens

Scholars of Ancient Greece were thrilled with the discovery of this letter, which validates the theory of Professor Ernest Trumpington of Miami-Dade County University that the early Greeks were a lot stupider than everyone gives them credit for.

“Sure, they gave us democracy, but look how that’s turned out.” (Trumpington, “Homer Who?”, p. 7)

This is also one of the earliest instances of a father giving a crap about his child’s welfare, either educational or otherwise. Until this point, scholars believe most fathers dumped their children in the woods and let them find their way home or die. Of course, with the rise of ancient parenting books, including That Kid Ain’t Zeus’s and Caring for the Son You Need for Economic Reasons, ancient fathers became better parents than they had ever been before.

Noteworthy in this letter is the author’s mention of “sand,” believed to have caused a rush of tourist travel to Athens, which until that point nobody knew had nice beaches.


1 Comment

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One response to “A concerned father to the Philosopher Democritus, 401 BC

  1. Holy shit! Athens has sand? Ancient Greece, here I come!

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