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Project Gutenberg etext, adapted for E2

Aristophanes: Peace—Scene 9

Scene 9

Come, who wishes to take the charge of her? No one? Come, Theoria,
I am going to lead you into the midst of the spectators and confide you
to their care.

Ah! there is one who makes a sign to you.

Who is it?

'Tis Ariphrades. He wishes to take her home at once.

No, I'm sure he shan't. He would soon have her done for, absorbing
all her life-force. Come, Theoria, put down all this gear.1

Senate, Prytanes, look upon Theoria and see what precious blessings
I place in your hands. Hasten to raise its limbs and to immolate
the victim. Admire the fine chimney,2 it is quite black with smoke,
for 'twas here that the Senate did their cooking before the war.
Now that you have found Theoria again, you can start the most
charming games from to-morrow, wrestling with her on the ground,
either on your hands and feet, or you can lay her on her side, or
stand before her with bent knees, or, well rubbed with oil, you can
boldly enter the lists, as in the Pancratium, belabouring your foe
with blows from your fist or otherwise. The next day you will celebrate
equestrian games, in which the riders will ride side by side, or else
the chariot teams, thrown one on top of another, panting and whinnying,
will roll and knock against each other on the ground, while other rivals,
thrown out of their seats, will fall before reaching the goal, utterly
exhausted by their efforts.--Come, Prytanes, take Theoria. Oh! look how
graciously yonder fellow has received her; you would not have been
in such a hurry to introduce her to the Senate, if nothing were coming
to you through it;3 you would not have failed to plead some holiday
as an excuse.

f1 Doubtless the vessels and other sacrificial objects and implements
with which Theoria was laden in her character of presiding deity
at religious ceremonies.
f2 Where the meats were cooked after sacrifice; this also marks
the secondary obscene sense me means to convey.
f3 One of the offices of the Prytanes was to introduce those who asked
admission to the Senate, but it would seem that none could obtain this
favour without payment. Without this, a thousand excuses would be made;
for instance, it would be a public holiday, and consequently the Senate
could receive no one. As there was some festival nearly every day,
he whose purse would no open might have to wait a very long while.

Such a man as you assures the happiness of all his fellow-citizens.

When you are gathering your vintages you will prize me even better.

E'en from to-day we hail you as the deliverer of mankind.

Wait until you have drunk a beaker of new wine, before you
appraise my true merits.

Excepting the gods, there is none greater than yourself, and that
will ever be our opinion.

Yea, Trygaeus of Athmonia has deserved well of you, he has freed
both husbandman and craftsman from the most cruel ills; he has
vanquished Hyberbolus.

Well then, what must be done now?

You must offer pots of green-stuff to the goddess to consecrate
her altars.

Pots of green-stuff1 as we do to poor Hermes--and even he thinks
the fare but mean?

f1 This was only offered to lesser deities.

What will you offer them? A fatted bull?

Oh no! I don't want to start bellowing the battle-cry.1

f1 In the Greek we have a play upon the similarity of the words for
a bull, and to shout the battle-cry.

A great fat swine then?

No, no.

Why not?

We don't want any of the swinishness of Theagenes.1

f1 Theagenes, of the Piraeus, a hideous, coarse, debauched and evil-living
character of the day.

What other victim do you prefer then?

A sheep.

A sheep?


But you must give the word the Ionic form.

Purposely. So that if anyone in the assembly says, "We must go
to war," all may start bleating in alarm, "Oi, oi."1

f1 That is the vocative of the Ionic form of the word; in Attic Greek
it is contracted throughout.

A brilliant idea.

And we shall all be lambs one toward the other, yea, and milder
still toward the allies.

Then go for the sheep and haste to bring it back with you; I
will prepare the altar for the sacrifice.

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