Here Patrick Leigh Fermor tests the veracity of a much touted myth about Maniots in the Peloponnese being bull wrestlers.  I liked the progressive debunking of the myth, starting out with simple denial, then embellished with further evidence, all the way down to a tin of corned beef.


‘I asked the Nyklian and the old men what they knew about wrestling with bulls in the Mani; about tavromachia … There was a bewildered pause.

“Wrestling with bulls?” one of them said. “I’ve never heard of it.”

“Never.” the other said.

“For one thing,” said the Nyklian, “there are no bulls in the Mani.”

“No cows either,” said one of the old men.

“Not even a calf,” said the other.

“Or a tin of bully beef,” said the beautiful girl.’


Source: Patrick Leigh Fermor, Mani: Travels in the Southern Peloponnese, introduction by Michael Gorra, New York: New York Review of Books, 2006 (1958), p. 91-92


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