Trumpet of the Gods

Ass-kicking Musicians of History: Herodoros of Megara

Here at MCD we’ve spent the last few months talking about athletes who could beat the Grim Reaper in a dead sprint, punch hard enough to turn their fists into knives made of wind and even cheat like Lance Armstrong playing Contra. Today we’re taking a step away from that for a moment to talk about an ass-kicking musician who could play two trumpets at once. Herodoros of Megara.

Though it’s normally not seen as a cool instrument, or even one you could kill a man with, Herodoros’ mastery of the bronze vocal chord of God was so great that he won the Olympic event dedicated to it FOR 36 YEARS STRAIGHT!

Just to be clear, in the Olympics of antiquity, playing the trumpet was an official event. If you’re wondering why, well, we’ll tell you. Jeez, calm down, anyone would think you had some sort of odd trumpet fetish or something. First you have to realize that during the olden days when people with awesome names like Pythagoras and Phallosmasher were walking around like it wasn’t no thing, there was no such thing as electricity. Sure Zeus occasionally threw a lightning bolt at the occasional unbeliever or fetching ancient Greek honey that happened to take his fancy, but there was nothing in the way of amplification.

As such, the position of Olympic trumpeter required lungs made of Spandex and granite. To make sure only the best trumpeter in the land scored such a sweet gig, they made playing the instrument the first Olympic event and the winner would then have the esteemed honor of playing the before every other event. In other words, every single Olympic games saw the finest trumpet owning badasses in the whole world competing for the honor of playing, and the gods themselves drew up a chair and cracked open a beer to watch. It wasn’t just a great gig, it was the chance to scream at the heavens.

Starting in 280 B.C. Herodoros claimed this honor for 10 Olympiads in a row–or to put it another way, he bested every other trumpet player on Earth, for 36 years straight, in a time when the average lifespan was 50 years. This man spent majority of his life kicking ass.

According to sources from when he was alive, though Herodoros was a small man, he possessed a thick frame and a trumpet blast that would make Banshee from the X-Men take notice. According to his peers, the man could tuck away 15 kilos of meat and bread, with an additional 6 liters of wine, at every meal. We don’t know if he just sucked on his trumpet and took a bite out of any animals that got stuck in the other end, but we’ll assume that he did, because if his hunter’s ears were as good as his voice he’d hear us talking smack from beyond the grave.

When he wasn’t smashing the competition at the Olympics, Herodoros played the trumpet in actual battles where he was at full risk of being stabbed almost certainly to death and potentially enough to shut him up. When a man is in the middle of battle and opts to pick up a trumpet instead of a spear, you know not to mess with him.

Herodoros’ mighty trumpet call was so loud and so iconic that it is actually listed as one of the reasons all the people who attacked his hometown left with their limbs bent into rudimentary swastikas. Wait, isn’t that, like a special ability in World of Warcraft or something? Is history honestly telling us Rallying Cry is based on an actual thing that happened?

When playing one trumpet didn’t rally his men enough, Herodoros could, if he wanted to, play two trumpets at once, one in each hand, like a more fabulous version of an Orc berserker.

History books actually don’t mention when Herodoros died, which we find hard to believe since a lack of “ear-shattering music that made you want to stab your enemies” is something we definitely think people back then would have noticed. However, alas, we don’t know when or where Herodoros died, leaving us with no logical place to throw Herodoros the millennia’s worth of tips he  deserves.

Dude, you've got a gorgeous girl on your arm -- show no fear.

Dude, you’ve got a gorgeous girl on your arm — show no fear.

Karl Smallwood is a freelance comedy writer that you can hire! His work has been featured on, and you should probably click those links to make sure he isn’t lying. He also runs his own website where he responds to the various pieces of hate-mail he’s gotten over the years, in fact, he got so much hate-mail that he wrote a book about it that you can buy on Amazon. When he isn’t writing, Karl also Tweets and uploads pictures of himself drinking on Facebook.

greatgama Trumpet of the Gods

Why, his mustache alone could best you in combat!

Karl also documented The Most Hilarious Overreactions to Scary Movies. For a more contemporary ass-kicking athlete, check out Karl’s account of the five-decades-and-counting winning streak enjoyed by The Great Gama.

More from Karl Smallwood

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