Disembodied parts.

Today’s German word of the day is Hodensack, which we learned while visiting the Pergamon Museum.

Why, you might ask, did we learn this particular word at one of the greatest collections of classical antiquity in the world? Because in one of the exhibit cases was a set of bronze statue fragments, forever separated from the human figures they once constituted, including fingers, toes, and, yes, a scrotum. So there it was on the exhibit card, in German, English, and Turkish, for our immediate edification and amusement.

I was looking at the card to figure out what it was, which made me wonder about the reaction of the archaeologist or laborer who unearthed it so that it might be displayed under glass alongside other bronze body parts. Did he know what it was immediately? Or was it simply a statue fragment, which, upon closer inspection, appeared to be a scrotum? Or did he hazard a guess, because in his experience scrota were slightly less common than fingers and toes, but still relatively common pieces of bronze statuary to find when excavating an ancient site?

More on the Pergamon and our first weekend in Berlin coming soon.


One thought on “Disembodied parts.

  1. […] I’ve uploaded some photos from our first museum outing a little over a week ago, when we spent a Sunday afternoon at the Pergamon Museum. I didn’t pull out my camera until we had already gone through the Pergamon exhibit itself, so there is no photo of the Hodensack. […]

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