Tag Archives: pottery

We have a winner!



The big moment is here! Last week we announced our contest for funniest caption for this cartoon. Every caption we received was hilarious and I’m grateful to all of you who participated. Seriously. I was afraid I’d have to write a bunch of gags and submit them over fake names. Here are your submissions:

From Ilene:

Man: “Ooh, classy vase, dear!”
Woman: Yes, isn’t it? And NO, we are not putting it in the Vomitorium!

From JK:

He: I’ve got this urning, urning, yearning feelin’ inside me
Ooh, deep inside me, and it hurts so bad.
She: Olive me, why not take Olive me?

Three from Jim F:

Her: Look what Achilles just brought us from Athens!
Him: Well, it’s beautiful, but beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

Him: Very nice. Did you buy that in Rome?
Her: No, the legionnaires took it as booty when they captured Athens. They called it a vase-ectomy!

Him: Why do all of the Greek soldiers have beards?
Her: It’s obvious! The vase was made by a hairy potter.

Here’s one from Maddie:

Him: That’s nice.
Her: Use the one your mom sent.

Nathan submitted this one:

Him: I have no problem with your mother’s remains going on the mantle, I just don’t understand why the cremation urn is so big?
Her: Who said she was cremated?!

And so, after carefully reviewing all the entries, after agonized hours of deliberation, our panel of joke experts—Liz, Roxie and Gus—have rendered up a decision. And the winner of the funniest caption is…



…Nathan H! Congratulations! This crudely-drawn sketch will be winging its way to you soon.

Thanks, everybody, for your entries. I love you weirdos. Tell me if you didn’t receive your postcards.

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

Greece’s savage conqueror

“Conquered Greece took captive her savage conqueror and brought her arts into rustic Latium” —Horace, that old smartypants

Don’t forget! We’re still looking for dialogue for these two Roman characters admiring a Greek vase. Deadline is midnight Thursday, February 25! https://johnmanders.wordpress.com/2021/02/18/we-need-a-gag-writer/

Greek culture—and the Greek alphabet—flourished and got spread around the Mediterranean world by Alexander the Great, through his program of Hellenization. We talked about this a few posts back when I was yapping about the Rosetta stone. Eventually Alexander’s empire got taken over by the Roman Empire.



The Romans were crazy about Greek culture. They loved the architecture, the statues, the literature, the theater, their weird habit of painting on wet plaster—and the alphabet. They liked the alphabet so much they adopted it as their own. The Romans changed a few of the Greek letters. They didn’t have J, K, U and W. But the Latin alphabet is pretty much the one we use today here in good old Western Civilization.

https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/what-some-ways-romans-adopted-greek-culture-436508
https://www.thoughtco.com/roman-culture-117887
https://diasporatravelgreece.com/how-did-greek-culture-influence-the-development-of-roman-civilization/
http://www.antiquitatem.com/en/graecia-capta-greek-culture-quignard/

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.

We need a gag writer!


We’re coming up on the Roman Empire, and I want to do a post about how much the Romans were in love with Greek art. I drew this cartoon. I just can’t think of anything funny for the characters to say. It’s up to you guys. I’m counting on you to write some dialogue for these two ancient Romans.

So put on your funniest thinking cap. You have one week to write words for both dialogue balloons. You can put your joke in the comments or send it to John@johnmanders.com. Everybody who participates gets a post card. The writer of the winning gag gets this drawing. DON’T PUT YOUR CONTACT INFO IN THE COMMENTS, YOU GOOFBALLS! Tell me your postal address at John@johnmanders.com. I’ll post the results Friday, February 26, 2021. May the odds be ever in your flavor!

Putting the pot in Mesopotamia

Sumerian pots 4,500 bc

“Clay is a form of soil made up of very small particles of aluminum silicate created by the chemical weathering of rock.”

In the mountains of Turkey, melting snow turned to water that coursed over granite rocks and wore away at them. Teeny-tiny mineral particles were carried by the water down, down from the mountains and eventually into river- and stream-beds in the Tigris-Euphates valley. Over a long time, those particles became clay. You can dig clay out of the ground and make stuff from it, like pots. Clay is what they call plastic: you can form it into different shapes. Clay can be fired—heated at a really high temperature—to become hard and impervious to water. When they dig up ancient sites where people lived, archæologists find pieces of pottery that is thousands of years old.

https://sciencing.com/how-is-clay-soil-formed-13406937.htmlhttp://www.pottery-on-the-wheel.com/what-is-clay.htmlhttps://www.infoplease.com/culture-entertainment/art-architecture/clay-and-pottery

Back to the beginning of The Western Civ User’s Guide to Reading & Writing.