Taking advantage of a break in the brutal summer heat, I cut the grass this morning in the appropriate classical manner, boustrophedon, mowing across the yard and then turning in the opposite direction.
We have the word because of the way the Greeks plowed their fields. A Greek farmer directed his ox, bous, across the field and then made it turn, strephein, and plow a furrow in the opposite direction, alternating until it was time to call it a day.
The work of the ox informed writing and reading as well in the classical world, with texts running left to right and then right to left. Imagine mastering Latin, with lines of all-caps text (majuscule) running in alternate directions, with no punctuation and no spaces between words. And you thought the Wordle was a challenge.
The Greek ox also turns up in a couple of places in English.
Bucolic, "pastoral" or "rural," derives from boukolos, "herdsman."
And bulimia was coined from bous plus limos, "hunger," thus the appetite of an ox.
The movement of the ox also turns up in English. In Greek drama, the chorus performing choral odes moved first from right to left on the stage, the strophe, then reversed and moved from the left to the right, the antistrophe. Strophe in English is a term for a pattern of lines in poetry, similar to a stanza.