Consider the Table
Henry Walters
101

The paragraph about the etymology of trapeza and Oedipus is closer to the mark than it realizes, since Oedipus’ name means (= should mean) “the guy who knew (oida) the (riddle of the) feet (pous).”

And because it’s not out there already on the internet, I can’t resist adding a joke from a fragmentary Greek comedy by Epicharmus. In it a bumpkin spots a symposium table with four legs. Since the table is sometimes called a “tripod” (τρίπους = τράπεζα (= *τετράπεζα)), the bumpkin contests the justice of that name, then puns on “Oedipus,” who solved the Sphinx’s riddle about feet (fr. 147 Kassel and Austin (incert.); translation by Rusten (2011) in Birth of Comedy):

(A.) τί δὲ τόδ’ ἐστί; (B.) δηλαδὴ τρίπους. (A.) τί μὰν ἔχει πόδας

τέτορας; οὔκ ἐστιν τρίπους, ἀλλ’ <ἐστὶν>, οἶμαι, τετράπους.

(B.) ἔστιν δ’ ὄνυμ’ αὐτῶι τρίπους, τέτοράς γα μὰν ἔχει πόδας.

(A.) εἰ δίπους τοίνυν ποκ’ ἦς, αἰνίγματ’ Οἰ<δίπου> νοεῖς.

(A.) What is this? (B.) A tripod, of course. (A.) Then why does it have four

legs? It’s not a tripod, but a tetrapod, seems to me.

(B.) Its name is tripod, even though it has four legs.

(A.) If it were a dipod too, you are talking about the riddle of Oedipus.

The last line even puns on Oidipous and ei dipous (if…dipod). Nice!