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Project Gutenberg etext, adapted for E2
Aristophanes: Peace—Scene 12
Oh! oh! what a crowd for the nuptial feast! Here! dust the
tables with this crest, which is good for nothing else now. Halloa!
produce the cakes, the thrushes, plenty of good jugged hare and the
Trygaeus, where is Trygaeus?
I am cooking the thrushes.
Trygaeus, my best of friends, what a fine stroke of business you
have done for me by bringing back Peace! Formerly my sickles would not
have sold at an obolus apiece; to-day I am being paid fifty drachmae
for every one. And here is a neighbour who is selling his casks for
the country at three drachmae each. So come, Trygaeus, take as many
sickles and casks as you will for nothing. Accept them for nothing;
'tis because of our handsome profits on our sales that we offer you
these wedding presents.
Thanks. Put them all down inside there, and come along quick to
the banquet. Ah! do you see that armourer yonder coming with a
Alas! alas! Trygaeus, you have ruined me utterly.
What! won't the crests go any more, friend?
You have killed my business, my livelihood, and that of this
poor lance-maker too.
Come, come, what are you asking for these two crests?
What do you bid for them?
What do I bid? Oh! I am ashamed to say. Still, as the clasp is
of good workmanship, I would give two, even three measures
of dried figs; I could use 'em for dusting the table.
All right, tell them to bring me the dried figs; 'tis always better
Take them away, be off with your crests and get you gone; they are
moulting, they are losing all their hair; I would not give a single
fig for them.
Good gods, what am I going to do with this fine ten-minae
breastplate, which is so splendidly made?
Oh, you will lose nothing over it.
I will sell it to you at cost price.
'Twould be very useful as a night-stool...
Cease your insults, both to me and my wares.
...if propped on three stones. Look, 'tis admirable.
But how can you wipe, idiot?
I can pass one hand through here, and the other there, and so...
What! do you wipe with both hands?
Aye, so that I may not be accused of robbing the State, by
blocking up an oar-hole in the galley.1
f1 The trierarchs stopped up some of the holes made for the oars, in
order to reduce the number of rowers they had to supply for the galleys;
they thus saved the wages of the rowers they dispensed with.
So you would pay ten minae1 for a night-stool?
f1 The mina was equivalent to about three pounds, ten shillings.
Undoubtedly, you rascal. Do you think I would sell my rump for
a thousand drachmae?1
f1 Which is the same thing, since a mina was worth a hundred drachmae.
Come, have the money paid over to me.
No, friend; I find it hurts me to sit on. Take it away, I won't buy it.
What is to be done with this trumpet, for which I gave sixty
drachmae the other day?
Pour lead into the hollow and fit a good, long stick to the top;
and you will have a balanced cottabos.1
f1 For 'cottabos' see note above.
Ha! would you mock me?
Well, here's another notion. Pour in lead as I said, add here a dish
hung on strings, and you will have a balance for weighing the figs
which you give your slaves in the fields.
Cursed fate! I am ruined. Here are helmets, for which I gave a
mina each. What I to do with them? who will buy them?
Go and sell them to the Egyptians; they will do for measuring
f1 Syrmoea, a kind of purgative syrup much used by the Egyptians,
made of antiscorbutic herbs, such as mustard, horse-radish, etc.
Ah! poor helmet-maker, things are indeed in a bad way.
That man has no cause for complaint.
But helmets will be no more used.
Let him learn to fit a handle to them and he can sell them for
f1 As wine-pots or similar vessels.
Let us be off, comrade.
No, I want to buy these spears.
What will you give?
If they could be split in two, I would take them at a drachma
per hundred to use as vine-props.
The insolent dog! Let us go, friend.