Yer Midweek Funny: The Fart That Brought Down a King

| February 26, 2020

Most here at TAH are familiar with Monty Python’s famous “I fart in your general direction” taunt.  But it appears that at times, truth is indeed stranger – and funnier – than fiction.

Because it appears that the Python skit could be based, very loosely, on a real incident that far predates King Arthur.  This is the tale of that incident:  a fart that changed history by ending a dynasty.

. . .

During the 6th Century BC, a Pharaoh known to the Greeks by the name of Apries ruled Egypt.  He sent his army to fight against the Libyans.  At Cyrene, the Pharaoh Apries’ army suffered a great defeat.

The survivors of that defeat retreated to Egypt.  Like many Egyptian Pharaohs of the Late Period, Apries employed Greek advisors and mercenaries.  The survivors from Cyrene were largely ethnic Egyptians; they became convinced that Apries had intentionally sent native Egyptians to be killed fighting against the Libyans so that he could more easily control the rest of Egypt with his Greek mercenary troops.

The survivors and many of their relatives became disgruntled enough to rebel.  The Pharaoh Apries then sent a trusted general, Amasis, to dissuade the rebels.  And on arrival, Amasis began an attempt to do that.

However, while Amasis began to speak to the rebellious troops, one came up to him and placed a helmet – symbolizing royalty – on Amasis’ head.  The rebels were offering Amasis their loyalty as leader, if he accepted; and by offering to make him their leader, they were also offering him a way to become Pharaoh.

Amasis decided this offer was one he could not refuse.

Amasis accepted the offer of rebel kingship.  Together with the rebels he began preparations to face the Pharaoh and his troops in battle.

The Pharaoh Apries soon heard of this.  He sent a second trusted confidante – Patarbemis by name, and a member of his court – to the rebel camp.  His mission was to bring back Amasis.

Patarbemis found Amasis and his followers, and summoned Amasis to meet him.  Amasis rode up on horseback.  Patarbemis then related his mission to Amasis, demanding that Amasis return to the Pharaoh’s court with him.

On hearing this, Amasis raised his buttocks from his saddle – and farted.  He then told Patarbemis to “take that back to Apries.”

Patarbemis persisted, insisting that Amasis must return to the Pharaoh’s court.  Amasis informed Patarbemis that the Pharaoh Apries would find him beyond reproach – for he intended to do exactly that soon.  And he would bring others with him.

Realizing the futility of further parlay, Patarbemis returned to the Pharaoh’s court.  But on seeing Patarbemis return without Amasis the angry Pharaoh Apries had Patarbemis seized.  He then ordered Patarbemis’ ears and nose cut off.

. . .

Now, this was not only unjust but foolish.  Patarbemis was not only a trusted confidante of the Pharaoh Apries; he was also a well-respected noble.  This act shifted the loyalty of the population, previously in general disposed to remail loyal to Apries, against Apries and towards Amasis.

The forces of Amasis and Apries indeed shortly met in battle.  Due to his alienating the population, the forces of Pharaoh Apries were badly outnumbered; they lost.  By virtue of conquest Amasis now became Pharaoh – and had the support of the Egyptian population.

Apries was kept in captivity at his former palace for a time, and initially treated well.  But the Egyptian population convinced now-Pharaoh Amasis that he should release Apries to them.   He did; the former Pharaoh was shortly put to death by strangulation.

. . .

A tall tale?  Perhaps.  I thought it might be when I first read it, in a “weird history” book that was short on sources and had some significant factual errors elsewhere in its text.  And Amasis’ response – a fart, followed by “Take that back to Apries,” simply seemed too good to be true.

But I did some checking.  And the tale is indeed legit according to the respected Greek historian Herodotus, often called the “Father of History”.  The above account is found in his Histories, Book 2, Chapters 161, 162, 163, and 169 (chapters 164-168 appear to be what would be called today a “sidebar” and are not directly related to the story of Amasis and Apries.)

Don’t believe me?  Read Herodotus’ account for yourself.  An English-language translation of the story can be found, in order, here; here; here; and here.

. . .

It certainly seems that Benjamin Franklin wasn’t the first in history to “fart proudly”.  (smile)

Category: Historical, Humor, Pointless blather, Who knows

Comments (9)

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  1. 5th/77th FA says:

    And they are still fighting over gaseous material in the ME.

  2. CDR_D says:

    I remember reading that in Herodotus way back when I was a teen in high school, and I still get a chuckle out of it. Those old birds had some of the same sense of humor as we do.

    • SFC D says:

      That’s because men’s sense of humor gets stuck at 12 years of age. Farts are funny, always were, always will be.

      • rgr1480 says:

        Circa 1998. Onizuki Air Base, Mountain View, CA.

        A Sgt co-worker did some part-time acting and once was in the same location and/or film as Cheech Marin of Cheech and Chong fame.

        Sgt was at the urinal when Cheech left the men’s room; but before the door shut, Cheech looked back inside, smiled, turned around … and farted in SSgt’s general direction.

        Sgt laughed over that for some time!

  3. When I was an active member of ERFD Hose Co. 1 (405) two of my friends used to sit on the couch in the clubhouse watching TV and they used to light up the gas coming out of their rear end jeans with a bic lighter.

    • Huey Jock says:

      Buddy of mine singed his eyebrows one night checking out the validity of the flammable fart rumor.

      Anybody ever read Ben Dover’s page?

      I understand it’s gone now but I saved a copy of the list.

  4. AW1Ed says:

    Not quite The Shot Heard Around the World, but not too shabby, either.

  5. Hack Stone says:

    Does this mean that when the Vice President of the proud but humble woman owned business that sells software to the federal government that Hack works busts ass, he is making an executive decision? If so, he sure does make a lot of executive decisions.

  6. OldSoldier54 says:

    As one formerly known as the Master Blaster, I would have thought that at my age, I was all bark and no bite.
    HH6 assures me, strenuously, that is not the case.