A shocking and funny play even today. Athens
are bogged down in the Peloponnesian War
, and the womenfolk on both sides, led by Lysistrata ('loose-strife
') meet in Athens with a plan
to end the war by refusing
sexual favours to their husband
The women of Athens include Myrrhine and Calinice, and the Spartan representative is Lampito. Spartans are made to speak in an exaggerated dialect. They don't like Lysistrata's revolutionary plan one bit, but are persuaded to it. They swear an oath not to perform various acts, one of which –- according to one translation –- is not to take up the lion on a cheese-grater position. I have not been able to ascertain exactly what this is, though I think we get the general idea*. So they dress up in their best finery and most alluring perfumes to get their husbands horny, before making their demands for peace.
Having seized the Acropolis and made their demands, they fight off the men, and Myrrhine tantalizes her husband, who has come to beg her to relent.
Lampito has now succeeded in starting the same revolt at Sparta, and the Spartan ambassadors arrive with gigantic hard-ons, desperate to make peace. The two sides negotiate using a naked woman as a map, and allocate her various fertile bays to mutual satisfaction.
A teacher friend of mine told me they were doing this as a school play. I can't imagine how.
* Okay, I admit it's probably just my dirty mind actively at work and I have no real idea what it is.
Okay, here's the actual text, and an explanation, at http://www.colorado.edu/Classics/clas4130/TranslAssign.htm, and I'm relieved that that's what I thought it was: crouched down but with bottom upward: ou stêsomai leain' epi turoknêstidos.