Xerxes, Xystus, and Xanthippe

June 17, 2019

Flip through any alphabet book for kids and you’ll most likely see a picture of a xylophone or an x-ray for X. But what did X stand for before those items were invented? The Public Domain Review takes a look at past examples, which includes historical figures, plants, or animals, all mostly of a Greek bent. “Xanthippe, the supposedly ‘fiery’ wife of Socrates, also gets a good look in, often shown in a rage pouring a chamber pot over her husband’s head, which—according to legend—the philosopher accepted with a simple ‘After thunder comes the rain.'”

Image credit: Charles Buckles

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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