The Eleven Comedies - Vol. I
by Aristophanes et al
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SOCRATES. Well now! what are you doing? are you reflecting?

STREPSIADES. Yes, by Posidon!

SOCRATES. What about?

STREPSIADES. Whether the bugs will not entirely devour me.

SOCRATES. May death seize you, accursed man!

STREPSIADES. Ah! it has already.

SOCRATES. Come, no giving way! Cover up your head; the thing to do is to find an ingenious alternative.

STREPSIADES. An alternative! ah! I only wish one would come to me from within these coverlets!

SOCRATES. Hold! let us see what our fellow is doing. Ho! you! are you asleep?

STREPSIADES. No, by Apollo!

SOCRATES. Have you got hold of anything?

STREPSIADES. No, nothing whatever.

SOCRATES. Nothing at all!

STREPSIADES. No, nothing but my tool, which I've got in my hand.

SOCRATES. Are you not going to cover your head immediately and ponder?

STREPSIADES. Over what? Come, Socrates, tell me.

SOCRATES. Think first what you want, and then tell me.

STREPSIADES. But I have told you a thousand times what I want. 'Tis not to pay any of my creditors.

SOCRATES. Come, wrap yourself up; concentrate your mind, which wanders too lightly, study every detail, scheme and examine thoroughly.

STREPSIADES. Oh, woe! woe! oh dear! oh dear!

SOCRATES. Keep yourself quiet, and if any notion troubles you, put it quickly aside, then resume it and think over it again.

STREPSIADES. My dear little Socrates!

SOCRATES. What is it, old greybeard?

STREPSIADES. I have a scheme for not paying my debts.

SOCRATES. Let us hear it.

STREPSIADES. Tell me, if I purchased a Thessalian witch, I could make the moon descend during the night and shut it, like a mirror, into a round box and there keep it carefully....

SOCRATES. How would you gain by that?

STREPSIADES. How? Why, if the moon did not rise, I would have no interest to pay.


STREPSIADES. Because money is lent by the month.

SOCRATES. Good! but I am going to propose another trick to you. If you were condemned to pay five talents, how would you manage to quash that verdict? Tell me.

STREPSIADES. How? how? I don't know, I must think.

SOCRATES. Do you always shut your thoughts within yourself. Let your ideas fly in the air, like a may-bug, tied by the foot with a thread.

STREPSIADES. I have found a very clever way to annul that conviction; you will admit that much yourself.

SOCRATES. What is it?

STREPSIADES. Have you ever seen a beautiful, transparent stone at the druggists, with which you may kindle fire?

SOCRATES. You mean a crystal lens.[540]


SOCRATES. Well, what then?

STREPSIADES. If I placed myself with this stone in the sun and a long way off from the clerk, while he was writing out the conviction, I could make all the wax, upon which the words were written, melt.

SOCRATES. Well thought out, by the Graces!

STREPSIADES. Ah! I am delighted to have annulled the decree that was to cost me five talents.

SOCRATES. Come, take up this next question quickly.


SOCRATES. If, when summoned to court, you were in danger of losing your case for want of witnesses, how would you make the conviction fall upon your opponent?

STREPSIADES. 'Tis very simple and most easy.

SOCRATES. Let me hear.

STREPSIADES. This way. If another case had to be pleaded before mine was called, I should run and hang myself.

SOCRATES. You talk rubbish!

STREPSIADES. Not so, by the gods! if I was dead, no action could lie against me.

SOCRATES. You are merely beating the air. Begone! I will give you no more lessons.

STREPSIADES. Why not? Oh! Socrates! in the name of the gods!

SOCRATES. But you forget as fast as you learn. Come, what was the thing I taught you first? Tell me.

STREPSIADES. Ah! let me see. What was the first thing? What was it then? Ah! that thing in which we knead the bread, oh! my god! what do you call it?

SOCRATES. Plague take the most forgetful and silliest of old addlepates!

STREPSIADES. Alas! what a calamity! what will become of me? I am undone if I do not learn how to ply my tongue. Oh! Clouds! give me good advice.

CHORUS. Old man, we counsel you, if you have brought up a son, to send him to learn in your stead.

STREPSIADES. Undoubtedly I have a son, as well endowed as the best, but he is unwilling to learn. What will become of me?

CHORUS. And you don't make him obey you?

STREPSIADES. You see, he is big and strong; moreover, through his mother he is a descendant of those fine birds, the race of Coesyra.[541] Nevertheless, I will go and find him, and if he refuses, I will turn him out of the house. Go in, Socrates, and wait for me awhile.

CHORUS (to Socrates). Do you understand, that, thanks to us, you will be loaded with benefits? Here is a man, ready to obey you in all things. You see how he is carried away with admiration and enthusiasm. Profit by it to clip him as short as possible; fine chances are all too quickly gone.

STREPSIADES. No, by the Clouds! you stay no longer here; go and devour the ruins of your uncle Megacles' fortune.

PHIDIPPIDES. Oh! my poor father! what has happened to you? By the Olympian Zeus! you are no longer in your senses!

STREPSIADES. See! see! "the Olympian Zeus." Oh! the fool! to believe in Zeus at your age!

PHIDIPPIDES. What is there in that to make you laugh?

STREPSIADES. You are then a tiny little child, if you credit such antiquated rubbish! But come here, that I may teach you; I will tell you something very necessary to know to be a man; but you will not repeat it to anybody.

PHIDIPPIDES. Come, what is it?

STREPSIADES. Just now you swore by Zeus.

PHIDIPPIDES. Aye, that I did.

STREPSIADES. Do you see how good it is to learn? Phidippides, there is no Zeus.

PHIDIPPIDES. What is there then?

STREPSIADES. 'Tis the Whirlwind, that has driven out Jupiter and is King now.

PHIDIPPIDES. Go to! what drivel!

STREPSIADES. Know it to be the truth.

PHIDIPPIDES. And who says so?

STREPSIADES. 'Tis Socrates, the Melian,[542] and Chaerephon, who knows how to measure the jump of a flea.

PHIDIPPIDES. Have you reached such a pitch of madness that you believe those bilious fellows?

STREPSIADES. Use better language, and do not insult men who are clever and full of wisdom, who, to economize, are never shaved, shun the gymnasia and never go to the baths, while you, you only await my death to eat up my wealth. But come, come as quickly as you can to learn in my stead.

PHIDIPPIDES. And what good can be learnt of them?

STREPSIADES. What good indeed? Why, all human knowledge. Firstly, you will know yourself grossly ignorant. But await me here awhile.

PHIDIPPIDES. Alas! what is to be done? My father has lost his wits. Must I have him certificated for lunacy, or must I order his coffin?

STREPSIADES. Come! what kind of bird is this? tell me.


STREPSIADES. Good! And this female?


STREPSIADES. The same for both? You make me laugh! For the future you will call this one a pigeonnette and the other a pigeon.

PHIDIPPIDES. A pigeonnette! These then are the fine things you have just learnt at the school of these sons of the Earth![543]

STREPSIADES. And many others; but what I learnt I forgot at once, because I am too old.

PHIDIPPIDES. So this is why you have lost your cloak?

STREPSIADES. I have not lost it, I have consecrated it to Philosophy.

PHIDIPPIDES. And what have you done with your sandals, you poor fool?

STREPSIADES. If I have lost them, it is for what was necessary, just as Pericles did.[544] But come, move yourself, let us go in; if necessary, do wrong to obey your father. When you were six years old and still lisped, 'twas I who obeyed you. I remember at the feasts of Zeus you had a consuming wish for a little chariot and I bought it for you with the first obolus which I received as a juryman in the Courts.

PHIDIPPIDES. You will soon repent of what you ask me to do.

STREPSIADES. Oh! now I am happy! He obeys. Here, Socrates, here! Come out quick! Here I am bringing you my son; he refused, but I have persuaded him.

SOCRATES. Why, he is but a child yet. He is not used to these baskets, in which we suspend our minds.[545]

PHIDIPPIDES. To make you better used to them, I would you were hung.

STREPSIADES. A curse upon you! you insult your master!

SOCRATES. "I would you were hung!" What a stupid speech! and so emphatically spoken! How can one ever get out of an accusation with such a tone, summon witnesses or touch or convince? And yet when we think, Hyperbolus learnt all this for one talent!

STREPSIADES. Rest undisturbed and teach him. 'Tis a most intelligent nature. Even when quite little he amused himself at home with making houses, carving boats, constructing little chariots of leather, and understood wonderfully how to make frogs out of pomegranate rinds. Teach him both methods of reasoning, the strong and also the weak, which by false arguments triumphs over the strong; if not the two, at least the false, and that in every possible way.

SOCRATES. 'Tis Just and Unjust Discourse themselves that shall instruct him.[546]

STREPSIADES. I go, but forget it not, he must always, always be able to confound the true.

JUST DISCOURSE. Come here! Shameless as you may be, will you dare to show your face to the spectators?

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Take me where you list. I seek a throng, so that I may the better annihilate you.

JUST DISCOURSE. Annihilate me! Do you forget who you are?


JUST DISCOURSE. Yes, the weaker Reasoning.[547]

UNJUST DISCOURSE. But I triumph over you, who claim to be the stronger.

JUST DISCOURSE. By what cunning shifts, pray?

UNJUST DISCOURSE. By the invention of new maxims.

JUST DISCOURSE. ... which are received with favour by these fools.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Say rather, by these wiseacres.

JUST DISCOURSE. I am going to destroy you mercilessly.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. How pray? Let us see you do it.

JUST DISCOURSE. By saying what is true.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. I shall retort and shall very soon have the better of you. First, I maintain that justice has no existence.

JUST DISCOURSE. Has no existence?

UNJUST DISCOURSE. No existence! Why, where are they?

JUST DISCOURSE. With the gods.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. How then, if justice exists, was Zeus not put to death for having put his father in chains?

JUST DISCOURSE. Bah! this is enough to turn my stomach! A basin, quick!

UNJUST DISCOURSE. You are an old driveller and stupid withal.

JUST DISCOURSE. And you a debauchee and a shameless fellow.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Hah! What sweet expressions!

JUST DISCOURSE. An impious buffoon!

UNJUST DISCOURSE. You crown me with roses and with lilies.

JUST DISCOURSE. A parricide.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Why, you shower gold upon me.

JUST DISCOURSE. Formerly, 'twas a hailstorm of blows.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. I deck myself with your abuse.

JUST DISCOURSE. What impudence!

UNJUST DISCOURSE. What tomfoolery!

JUST DISCOURSE. 'Tis because of you that the youth no longer attends the schools. The Athenians will soon recognize what lessons you teach those who are fools enough to believe you.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. You are overwhelmed with wretchedness.

JUST DISCOURSE. And you, you prosper. Yet you were poor when you said, "I am the Mysian Telephus,"[548] and used to stuff your wallet with maxims of Pandeletus[549] to nibble at.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Oh! the beautiful wisdom, of which you are now boasting!

JUST DISCOURSE. Madman! But yet madder the city that keeps you, you, the corrupter of its youth!

UNJUST DISCOURSE. 'Tis not you who will teach this young man; you are as old and out of date as Saturn.

JUST DISCOURSE. Nay, it will certainly be I, if he does not wish to be lost and to practise verbosity only.

UNJUST DISCOURSE (to Phidippides). Come hither and leave him to beat the air.

JUST DISCOURSE (to Unjust Discourse). Evil be unto you, if you touch him.

CHORUS. A truce to your quarrellings and abuse! But expound, you, what you taught us formerly, and you, your new doctrine. Thus, after hearing each of you argue, he will be able to choose betwixt the two schools.

JUST DISCOURSE. I am quite agreeable.


CHORUS. Who is to speak first?

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Let it be my opponent, he has my full consent; then I will follow upon the very ground he shall have chosen and shall shatter him with a hail of new ideas and subtle fancies; if after that he dares to breathe another word, I shall sting him in the face and in the eyes with our maxims, which are as keen as the sting of a wasp, and he will die.

CHORUS. Here are two rivals confident in their powers of oratory and in the thoughts over which they have pondered so long. Let us see which will come triumphant out of the contest. This wisdom, for which my friends maintain such a persistent fight, is in great danger. Come then, you, who crowned men of other days with so many virtues, plead the cause dear to you, make yourself known to us.

JUST DISCOURSE. Very well, I will tell you what was the old education, when I used to teach justice with so much success and when modesty was held in veneration. Firstly, it was required of a child, that it should not utter a word. In the street, when they went to the music-school, all the youths of the same district marched lightly clad and ranged in good order, even when the snow was falling in great flakes. At the master's house they had to stand, their legs apart, and they were taught to sing either, "Pallas, the Terrible, who overturneth cities," or "A noise resounded from afar"[550] in the solemn tones of the ancient harmony. If anyone indulged in buffoonery or lent his voice any of the soft inflexions, like those which to-day the disciples of Phrynis[551] take so much pains to form, he was treated as an enemy of the Muses and belaboured with blows. In the wrestling school they would sit with outstretched legs and without display of any indecency to the curious. When they rose, they would smooth over the sand, so as to leave no trace to excite obscene thoughts. Never was a child rubbed with oil below the belt; the rest of their bodies thus retained its fresh bloom and down, like a velvety peach. They were not to be seen approaching a lover and themselves rousing his passion by soft modulation of the voice and lustful gaze. At table, they would not have dared, before those older than themselves, to have taken a radish, an aniseed or a leaf of parsley, and much less eat fish or thrushes or cross their legs.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. What antiquated rubbish! Have we got back to the days of the festivals of Zeus Polieus,[552] to the Buphonia, to the time of the poet Cecydes[553] and the golden cicadas?[554]

JUST DISCOURSE. 'Tis nevertheless by suchlike teaching I built up the men of Marathon. But you, you teach the children of to-day to bundle themselves quickly into their clothes, and I am enraged when I see them at the Panathenaea forgetting Athen while they dance, and covering themselves with their bucklers. Hence, young man, dare to range yourself beside me, who follow justice and truth; you will then be able to shun the public place, to refrain from the baths, to blush at all that is shameful, to fire up if your virtue is mocked at, to give place to your elders, to honour your parents, in short, to avoid all that is evil. Be modesty itself, and do not run to applaud the dancing girls; if you delight in such scenes, some courtesan will cast you her apple and your reputation will be done for. Do not bandy words with your father, nor treat him as a dotard, nor reproach the old man, who has cherished you, with his age.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. If you listen to him, by Bacchus! you will be the image of the sons of Hippocrates[555] and will be called mother's great ninny.

JUST DISCOURSE. No, but you will pass your days at the gymnasia, glowing with strength and health; you will not go to the public place to cackle and wrangle as is done nowadays; you will not live in fear that you may be dragged before the courts for some trifle exaggerated by quibbling. But you will go down to the Academy[556] to run beneath the sacred olives with some virtuous friend of your own age, your head encircled with the white reed, enjoying your ease and breathing the perfume of the yew and of the fresh sprouts of the poplar, rejoicing in the return of springtide and gladly listening to the gentle rustle of the plane-tree and the elm. If you devote yourself to practising my precepts, your chest will be stout, your colour glowing, your shoulders broad, your tongue short, your hips muscular, but your penis small. But if you follow the fashions of the day, you will be pallid in hue, have narrow shoulders, a narrow chest, a long tongue, small hips and a big tool; you will know how to spin forth long-winded arguments on law. You will be persuaded also to regard as splendid everything that is shameful and as shameful everything that is honourable; in a word, you will wallow in debauchery like Antimachus.[557]

CHORUS. How beautiful, high-souled, brilliant is this wisdom that you practise! What a sweet odour of honesty is emitted by your discourse! Happy were those men of other days who lived when you were honoured! And you, seductive talker, come, find some fresh arguments, for your rival has done wonders. Bring out against him all the battery of your wit, if you desire to beat him and not to be laughed out of court.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. At last! I was choking with impatience, I was burning to upset all his arguments! If I am called the Weaker Reasoning in the schools, 'tis precisely because I was the first before all others to discover the means to confute the laws and the decrees of justice. To invoke solely the weaker arguments and yet triumph is a talent worth more than a hundred thousand drachmae. But see how I shall batter down the sort of education of which he is so proud. Firstly, he forbids you to bathe in hot water. What grounds have you for condemning hot baths?

JUST DISCOURSE. Because they are baneful and enervate men.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Enough said! Oh! you poor wrestler! From the very outset I have seized you and hold you round the middle; you cannot escape me. Tell me, of all the sons of Zeus, who had the stoutest heart, who performed the most doughty deeds?

JUST DISCOURSE. None, in my opinion, surpassed Heracles.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Where have you ever seen cold baths called 'Baths of Heracles'?[558] And yet who was braver than he?

JUST DISCOURSE. 'Tis because of such quibbles, that the baths are seen crowded with young folk, who chatter there the livelong day while the gymnasia remain empty.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Next you condemn the habit of frequenting the market-place, while I approve this. If it were wrong Homer would never have made Nestor[559] speak in public as well as all his wise heroes. As for the art of speaking, he tells you, young men should not practise it; I hold the contrary. Furthermore he preaches chastity to them. Both precepts are equally harmful. Have you ever seen chastity of any use to anyone? Answer and try to confute me.

JUST DISCOURSE. To many; for instance, Peleus won a sword thereby.[560]

UNJUST DISCOURSE. A sword! Ah! what a fine present to make him! Poor wretch! Hyperbolus, the lamp-seller, thanks to his villainy, has gained more than ... I do not know how many talents, but certainly no sword.

JUST DISCOURSE. Peleus owed it to his chastity that he became the husband of Thetis.[561]

UNJUST DISCOURSE. ... who left him in the lurch, for he was not the most ardent; in those nocturnal sports between two sheets, which so please women, he possessed but little merit. Get you gone, you are but an old fool. But you, young man, just consider a little what this temperance means and the delights of which it deprives you—young fellows, women, play, dainty dishes, wine, boisterous laughter. And what is life worth without these? Then, if you happen to commit one of these faults inherent in human weakness, some seduction or adultery, and you are caught in the act, you are lost, if you cannot speak. But follow my teaching and you will be able to satisfy your passions, to dance, to laugh, to blush at nothing. Are you surprised in adultery? Then up and tell the husband you are not guilty, and recall to him the example of Zeus, who allowed himself to be conquered by love and by women. Being but a mortal, can you be stronger than a god?

JUST DISCOURSE. And if your pupil gets impaled, his hairs plucked out, and he is seared with a hot ember,[562] how are you going to prove to him that he is not a filthy debauchee?

UNJUST DISCOURSE. And wherein lies the harm of being so?

JUST DISCOURSE. Is there anything worse than to have such a character?

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Now what will you say, if I beat you even on this point?

JUST DISCOURSE. I should certainly have to be silent then.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Well then, reply! Our advocates, what are they?


UNJUST DISCOURSE. Nothing is more true. And our tragic poets?


UNJUST DISCOURSE. Well said again. And our demagogues?


UNJUST DISCOURSE. You admit that you have spoken nonsense. And the spectators, what are they for the most part? Look at them.

JUST DISCOURSE. I am looking at them.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. Well! What do you see?

JUST DISCOURSE. By the gods, they are nearly all low scum. See, this one I know to be such and that one and that other with the long hair.

UNJUST DISCOURSE. What have you to say, then?

JUST DISCOURSE. I am beaten. Debauchees! in the name of the gods, receive my cloak;[563] I pass over to your ranks.

SOCRATES. Well then! do you take away your son or do you wish me to teach him how to speak?

STREPSIADES. Teach him, chastise him and do not fail to sharpen his tongue well, on one side for petty law-suits and on the other for important cases.

SOCRATES. Make yourself easy, I shall return to you an accomplished sophist.

PHIDIPPIDES. Very pale then and thoroughly hang-dog-looking.

STREPSIADES. Take him with you.

PHIDIPPIDES. I do assure you, you will repent it.

CHORUS. Judges, we are all about to tell you what you will gain by awarding us the crown as equity requires of you. In spring, when you wish to give your fields the first dressing, we will rain upon you first; the others shall wait. Then we will watch over your corn and over your vine-stocks; they will have no excess to fear, neither of heat nor of wet. But if a mortal dares to insult the goddesses of the Clouds, let him think of the ills we shall pour upon him. For him neither wine nor any harvest at all! Our terrible slings will mow down his young olive plants and his vines. If he is making bricks, it will rain, and our round hailstones will break the tiles of his roof. If he himself marries or any of his relations or friends, we shall cause rain to fall the whole night long. Verily, he would prefer to live in Egypt[564] than to have given this iniquitous verdict.

STREPSIADES. Another four, three, two days, then the eve, then the day, the fatal day of payment! I tremble, I quake, I shudder, for 'tis the day of the old moon and the new.[565] Then all my creditors take the oath, pay their deposits,[566] swear my downfall and my ruin. As for me, I beseech them to be reasonable, to be just, "My friend, do not demand this sum, wait a little for this other and give me time for this third one." Then they will pretend that at this rate they will never be repaid, will accuse me of bad faith and will threaten me with the law. Well then, let them sue me! I care nothing for that, if only Phidippides has learnt to speak fluently. I go to find out, let me knock at the door of the school.... Ho! slave, slave!

SOCRATES. Welcome! Strepsiades!

STREPSIADES. Welcome! Socrates! But first take this sack (offers him a sack of flour); it is right to reward the master with some present. And my son, whom you took off lately, has he learnt this famous reasoning, tell me.

SOCRATES. He has learnt it.

STREPSIADES. What a good thing! Oh! thou divine Knavery!

SOCRATES. You will win just as many causes as you choose.

STREPSIADES. Even if I have borrowed before witnesses?

SOCRATES. So much the better, even if there are a thousand of 'em!

STREPSIADES. Then I am going to shout with all my might. "Woe to the usurers, woe to their capital and their interest and their compound interest! You shall play me no more bad turns. My son is being taught there, his tongue is being sharpened into a double-edged weapon; he is my defender, the saviour of my house, the ruin of my foes! His poor father was crushed down with misfortune and he delivers him." Go and call him to me quickly. Oh! my child! my dear little one! run forward to your father's voice!

SOCRATES. Here he is.

STREPSIADES. Oh, my friend, my dearest friend!

SOCRATES. Take your son, and get you gone.

STREPSIADES. Oh, my son! oh! oh! what a pleasure to see your pallor! You are ready first to deny and then to contradict; 'tis as clear as noon. What a child of your country you are! How your lips quiver with the famous, "What have you to say now?" How well you know, I am certain, to put on the look of a victim, when it is you who are making both victims and dupes! and what a truly Attic glance! Come, 'tis for you to save me, seeing it is you who have ruined me.

PHIDIPPIDES. What is it you fear then?

STREPSIADES. The day of the old and the new.

PHIDIPPIDES. Is there then a day of the old and the new?

STREPSIADES. The day on which they threaten to pay deposit against me.

PHIDIPPIDES. Then so much the worse for those who have deposited! for 'tis not possible for one day to be two.


PHIDIPPIDES. Why, undoubtedly, unless a woman can be both old and young at the same time.

STREPSIADES. But so runs the law.

PHIDIPPIDES. I think the meaning of the law is quite misunderstood.

STREPSIADES. What does it mean?

PHIDIPPIDES. Old Solon loved the people.

STREPSIADES. What has that to do with the old day and the new?

PHIDIPPIDES. He has fixed two days for the summons, the last day of the old moon and the first day of the new; but the deposits must only be paid on the first day of the new moon.

STREPSIADES. And why did he also name the last day of the old?

PHIDIPPIDES. So, my dear sir, that the debtors, being there the day before, might free themselves by mutual agreement, or that else, if not, the creditor might begin his action on the morning of the new moon.

STREPSIADES. Why then do the magistrates have the deposits paid on the last of the month and not the next day?

PHIDIPPIDES. I think they do as the gluttons do, who are the first to pounce upon the dishes. Being eager to carry off these deposits, they have them paid in a day too soon.

STREPSIADES. Splendid! Ah! poor brutes,[567] who serve for food to us clever folk! You are only down here to swell the number, true blockheads, sheep for shearing, heap of empty pots! Hence I will sound the note of victory for my son and myself. "Oh! happy, Strepsiades! what cleverness is thine! and what a son thou hast here!" Thus my friends and my neighbours will say, jealous at seeing me gain all my suits. But come in, I wish to regale you first.

PASIAS (to his witness). A man should never lend a single obolus. 'Twould be better to put on a brazen face at the outset than to get entangled in such matters. I want to see my money again and I bring you here to-day to attest the loan. I am going to make a foe of a neighbour; but, as long as I live, I do not wish my country to have to blush for me. Come, I am going to summon Strepsiades.

STREPSIADES. Who is this?

PASIAS. ... for the old day and the new.

STREPSIADES. I call you to witness, that he has named two days. What do you want of me?

PASIAS. I claim of you the twelve minae, which you borrowed from me to buy the dapple-grey horse.

STREPSIADES. A horse! do you hear him? I, who detest horses, as is well known.

PASIAS. I call Zeus to witness, that you swore by the gods to return them to me.

STREPSIADES. Because at that time, by Zeus! Phidippides did not yet know the irrefutable argument.

PASIAS. Would you deny the debt on that account?

STREPSIADES. If not, what use is his science to me?

PASIAS. Will you dare to swear by the gods that you owe me nothing?

STREPSIADES. By which gods?

PASIAS. By Zeus, Hermes and Posidon!

STREPSIADES. Why, I would give three obols for the pleasure of swearing by them.

PASIAS. Woe upon you, impudent knave!

STREPSIADES. Oh! what a fine wine-skin you would make if flayed!

PASIAS. Heaven! he jeers at me!

STREPSIADES. It would hold six gallons easily.

PASIAS. By great Zeus! by all the gods! you shall not scoff at me with impunity.

STREPSIADES. Ah! how you amuse me with your gods! how ridiculous it seems to a sage to hear Zeus invoked.

PASIAS. Your blasphemies will one day meet their reward. But, come, will you repay me my money, yes or no? Answer me, that I may go.

STREPSIADES. Wait a moment, I am going to give you a distinct answer. (Goes indoors and returns immediately with a kneading-trough.)

PASIAS. What do you think he will do?

WITNESS. He will pay the debt.

STREPSIADES. Where is the man who demands money? Tell me, what is this?

PASIAS. Him? Why he is your kneading-trough.

STREPSIADES. And you dare to demand money of me, when you are so ignorant? I will not return an obolus to anyone who says him instead of her for a kneading-trough.

PASIAS. You will not repay?

STREPSIADES. Not if I know it. Come, an end to this, pack off as quick as you can.

PASIAS. I go, but, may I die, if it be not to pay my deposit for a summons.

STREPSIADES. Very well! 'Twill be so much more to the bad to add to the twelve minae. But truly it makes me sad, for I do pity a poor simpleton who says him for a kneading-trough.

AMYNIAS. Woe! ah woe is me!

STREPSIADES. Hold! who is this whining fellow? Can it be one of the gods of Carcinus?[568]

AMYNIAS. Do you want to know who I am? I am a man of misfortune!

STREPSIADES. Get on your way then.

AMYNIAS. Oh! cruel god! Oh Fate, who hath broken the wheels of my chariot! Oh, Pallas, thou hast undone me![569]

STREPSIADES. What ill has Tlepolemus done you?

AMYNIAS. Instead of jeering me, friend, make your son return me the money he has had of me; I am already unfortunate enough.

STREPSIADES. What money?

AMYNIAS. The money he borrowed of me.

STREPSIADES. You have indeed had misfortune, it seems to me.

AMYNIAS. Yes, by the gods! I have been thrown from a chariot.

STREPSIADES. Why then drivel as if you had fallen from an ass?[570]

AMYNIAS. Am I drivelling because I demand my money?

STREPSIADES. No, no, you cannot be in your right senses.


STREPSIADES. No doubt your poor wits have had a shake.

AMYNIAS. But by Hermes! I will sue you at law, if you do not pay me.

STREPSIADES. Just tell me; do you think it is always fresh water that Zeus lets fall every time it rains, or is it always the same water that the sun pumps over the earth?

AMYNIAS. I neither know, nor care.

STREPSIADES. And actually you would claim the right to demand your money, when you know not a syllable of these celestial phenomena?

AMYNIAS. If you are short, pay me the interest, at any rate.

STREPSIADES. What kind of animal is interest?

AMYNIAS. What? Does not the sum borrowed go on growing, growing every month, each day as the time slips by?

STREPSIADES. Well put. But do you believe there is more water in the sea now than there was formerly?

AMYNIAS. No, 'tis just the same quantity. It cannot increase.

STREPSIADES. Thus, poor fool, the sea, that receives the rivers, never grows, and yet you would have your money grow? Get you gone, away with you, quick! Ho! bring me the ox-goad!

AMYNIAS. Hither! you witnesses there!

STREPSIADES. Come, what are you waiting for? Will you not budge, old nag!

AMYNIAS. What an insult!

STREPSIADES. Unless you get a-trotting, I shall catch you and prick up your behind, you sorry packhorse! Ah! you start, do you? I was about to drive you pretty fast, I tell you—you and your wheels and your chariot!

CHORUS. Whither does the passion of evil lead! here is a perverse old man, who wants to cheat his creditors; but some mishap, which will speedily punish this rogue for his shameful schemings, cannot fail to overtake him from to-day. For a long time he has been burning to have his son know how to fight against all justice and right and to gain even the most iniquitous causes against his adversaries every one. I think this wish is going to be fulfilled. But mayhap, mayhap, he will soon wish his son were dumb rather!

STREPSIADES. Oh! oh! neighbours, kinsmen, fellow-citizens, help! help! to the rescue, I am being beaten! Oh! my head! oh! my jaw! Scoundrel! do you beat your own father!

PHIDIPPIDES. Yes, father, I do.

STREPSIADES. See! he admits he is beating me.

PHIDIPPIDES. Undoubtedly I do.

STREPSIADES. You villain, you parricide, you gallows-bird!

PHIDIPPIDES. Go on, repeat your epithets, call me a thousand other names, an it please you. The more you curse, the greater my amusement!

STREPSIADES. Oh! you infamous cynic!

PHIDIPPIDES. How fragrant the perfume breathed forth in your words.

STREPSIADES. Do you beat your own father?

PHIDIPPIDES. Aye, by Zeus! and I am going to show you that I do right in beating you.

STREPSIADES. Oh, wretch! can it be right to beat a father?

PHIDIPPIDES. I will prove it to you, and you shall own yourself vanquished.

STREPSIADES. Own myself vanquished on a point like this?

PHIDIPPIDES. 'Tis the easiest thing in the world. Choose whichever of the two reasonings you like.

STREPSIADES. Of which reasonings?

PHIDIPPIDES. The Stronger and the Weaker.

STREPSIADES. Miserable fellow! Why, 'tis I who had you taught how to refute what is right, and now you would persuade me it is right a son should beat his father.

PHIDIPPIDES. I think I shall convince you so thoroughly that, when you have heard me, you will not have a word to say.

STREPSIADES. Well, I am curious to hear what you have to say.

CHORUS. Consider well, old man, how you can best triumph over him. His brazenness shows me that he thinks himself sure of his case; he has some argument which gives him nerve. Note the confidence in his look! But how did the fight begin? tell the Chorus; you cannot help doing that much.

STREPSIADES. I will tell you what was the start of the quarrel. At the end of the meal you wot of, I bade him take his lyre and sing me the air of Simonides, which tells of the fleece of the ram.[571] He replied bluntly, that it was stupid, while drinking, to play the lyre and sing, like a woman when she is grinding barley.

PHIDIPPIDES. Why, by rights I ought to have beaten and kicked you the very moment you told me to sing!

STREPSIADES. That is just how he spoke to me in the house, furthermore he added, that Simonides was a detestable poet. However, I mastered myself and for a while said nothing. Then I said to him, 'At least, take a myrtle branch and recite a passage from Aeschylus to me.'—'For my own part,' he at once replied, 'I look upon Aeschylus as the first of poets, for his verses roll superbly; 'tis nothing but incoherence, bombast and turgidness.' Yet still I smothered my wrath and said, 'Then recite one of the famous pieces from the modern poets.' Then he commenced a piece in which Euripides shows, oh! horror! a brother, who violates his own uterine sister.[572] Then I could no longer restrain myself, and attacked him with the most injurious abuse; naturally he retorted; hard words were hurled on both sides, and finally he sprang at me, broke my bones, bore me to earth, strangled and started killing me!

PHIDIPPIDES. I was right. What! not praise Euripides, the greatest of our poets!

STREPSIADES. He the greatest of our poets! Ah! if I but dared to speak! but the blows would rain upon me harder than ever.

PHIDIPPIDES. Undoubtedly, and rightly too.

STREPSIADES. Rightly! oh! what impudence! to me, who brought you up! when you could hardly lisp, I guessed what you wanted. If you said broo, broo, well, I brought you your milk; if you asked for mam mam, I gave you bread; and you had no sooner said, caca, than I took you outside and held you out. And just now, when you were strangling me, I shouted, I bellowed that I would let all go; and you, you scoundrel, had not the heart to take me outside, so that here, though almost choking, I was compelled to ease myself.

CHORUS. Young men, your hearts must be panting with impatience. What is Phidippides going to say? If, after such conduct, he proves he has done well, I would not give an obolus for the hide of old men. Come, you, who know how to brandish and hurl the keen shafts of the new science, find a way to convince us, give your language an appearance of truth.

PHIDIPPIDES. How pleasant it is to know these clever new inventions and to be able to defy the established laws! When I thought only about horses, I was not able to string three words together without a mistake, but now that the master has altered and improved me and that I live in this world of subtle thought, of reasoning and of meditation, I count on being able to prove satisfactorily that I have done well to thrash my father.

STREPSIADES. Mount your horse! By Zeus! I would rather defray the keep of a four-in-hand team than be battered with blows.

PHIDIPPIDES. I revert to what I was saying when you interrupted me. And first, answer me, did you beat me in my childhood?

STREPSIADES. Why, assuredly, for your good and in your own best interest.

PHIDIPPIDES. Tell me, is it not right, that in turn I should beat you for your good? since it is for a man's own best interest to be beaten. What! must your body be free of blows, and not mine? am I not free-born too? the children are to weep and the fathers go free?


PHIDIPPIDES. You will tell me, that according to the law, 'tis the lot of children to be beaten. But I reply that the old men are children twice over and that it is far more fitting to chastise them than the young, for there is less excuse for their faults.

STREPSIADES. But the law nowhere admits that fathers should be treated thus.

PHIDIPPIDES. Was not the legislator who carried this law a man like you and me? In those days he got men to believe him; then why should not I too have the right to establish for the future a new law, allowing children to beat their fathers in turn? We make you a present of all the blows which were received before this law, and admit that you thrashed us with impunity. But look how the cocks and other animals fight with their fathers; and yet what difference is there betwixt them and ourselves, unless it be that they do not propose decrees?

STREPSIADES. But if you imitate the cocks in all things, why don't you scratch up the dunghill, why don't you sleep on a perch?

PHIDIPPIDES. That has no bearing on the case, good sir; Socrates would find no connection, I assure you.

STREPSIADES. Then do not beat at all, for otherwise you have only yourself to blame afterwards.


STREPSIADES. I have the right to chastise you, and you to chastise your son, if you have one.

PHIDIPPIDES. And if I have not, I shall have cried in vain, and you will die laughing in my face.

STREPSIADES. What say you, all here present? It seems to me that he is right, and I am of opinion that they should be accorded their right. If we think wrongly, 'tis but just we should be beaten.

PHIDIPPIDES. Again, consider this other point.

STREPSIADES. 'Twill be the death of me.

PHIDIPPIDES. But you will certainly feel no more anger because of the blows I have given you.

STREPSIADES. Come, show me what profit I shall gain from it.

PHIDIPPIDES. I shall beat my mother just as I have you.

STREPSIADES. What do you say? what's that you say? Hah! this is far worse still.

PHIDIPPIDES. And what if I prove to you by our school reasoning, that one ought to beat one's mother?

STREPSIADES. Ah! if you do that, then you will only have to throw yourself along with Socrates and his reasoning, into the Barathrum.[573] Oh! Clouds! all our troubles emanate from you, from you, to whom I entrusted myself, body and soul.

CHORUS. No, you alone are the cause, because you have pursued the path of evil.

STREPSIADES. Why did you not say so then, instead of egging on a poor ignorant old man?

CHORUS. We always act thus, when we see a man conceive a passion for what is evil; we strike him with some terrible disgrace, so that he may learn to fear the gods.

STREPSIADES. Alas! oh Clouds! 'tis hard indeed, but 'tis just! I ought not to have cheated my creditors.... But come, my dear son, come with me to take vengeance on this wretched Chaerephon and on Socrates, who have deceived us both.

PHIDIPPIDES. I shall do nothing against our masters.

STREPSIADES. Oh! show some reverence for ancestral Zeus!

PHIDIPPIDES. Mark him and his ancestral Zeus! What a fool you are! Does any such being as Zeus exist?

STREPSIADES. Why, assuredly.

PHIDIPPIDES. No, a thousand times no! The ruler of the world is the Whirlwind, that has unseated Zeus.

STREPSIADES. He has not dethroned him. I believed it, because of this whirligig here. Unhappy wretch that I am! I have taken a piece of clay to be a god.

PHIDIPPIDES. Very well! Keep your stupid nonsense for your own consumption. (Exit.)

STREPSIADES. Oh! what madness! I had lost my reason when I threw over the gods through Socrates' seductive phrases. Oh! good Hermes, do not destroy me in your wrath. Forgive me; their babbling had driven me crazy. Be my councillor. Shall I pursue them at law or shall I...? Order and I obey.—You are right, no law-suit; but up! let us burn down the home of those praters. Here, Xanthias, here! take a ladder, come forth and arm yourself with an axe; now mount upon the school, demolish the roof, if you love your master, and may the house fall in upon them, Ho! bring me a blazing torch! There is more than one of them, arch-impostors as they are, on whom I am determined to have vengeance.


STREPSIADES. Come, torch, do your duty! Burst into full flame!

DISCIPLE. What are you up to?

STREPSIADES. What am I up to? Why, I am entering upon a subtle argument with the beams of the house.

SECOND DISCIPLE. Hullo! hullo! who is burning down our house?

STREPSIADES. The man whose cloak you have appropriated.

SECOND DISCIPLE. But we are dead men, dead men!

STREPSIADES. That is just exactly what I hope, unless my axe plays me false, or I fall and break my neck.

SOCRATES. Hi! you fellow on the roof, what are you doing up there?

STREPSIADES. I traverse the air and contemplate the sun.[574]

SOCRATES. Ah! ah! woe is upon me! I am suffocating!

CHAEREPHON. Ah! you insulted the gods! Ah! you studied the face of the moon! Chase them, strike and beat them down! Forward! they have richly deserved their fate—above all, by reason of their blasphemies.

CHORUS. So let the Chorus file off the stage. Its part is played.

* * * * *


* * * * *


[470] He is in one bed and his son is in another; slaves are sleeping near them. It is night-time.

[471] The punishment most frequently inflicted upon slaves in the towns was to send them into the country to work in the fields, but at the period when the 'Clouds' was presented, 424 B.C., the invasions of the Peloponnesians forbade the pursuit of agriculture. Moreover, there existed the fear, that if the slaves were punished too harshly, they might go over to the enemy.

[472] Among the Greeks, each month was divided into three decades. The last of the month was called [Greek: en_e kai nea], the day of the old and the new or the day of the new moon, and on that day interest, which it was customary to pay monthly, became due.

[473] Literally, the horse marked with the [Greek: koppa] ([Symbol: Letter 'koppa']), a letter of the older Greek alphabet, afterwards disused, which distinguished the thoroughbreds.

[474] Phidippides dreams that he is driving in a chariot race, and that an opponent is trying to cut into his track.

[475] There was a prize specially reserved for war-chariots in the games of the Athenian hippodrome; being heavier than the chariots generally used, they doubtless had to cover a lesser number of laps, which explains Phidippides' question.

[476] The wife of Alcmaeon, a descendant of Nestor, who, driven from Messenia by the Heraclidae, came to settle in Athens in the twelfth century, and was the ancestor of the great family of the Alcmaeonidae, Pericles and Alcibiades belonged to it.

[477] The Greek word for horse is [Greek: hippos].

[478] Derived from [Greek: pheidesthai], to save.

[479] The name Phidippides contains both words, [Greek: hippos], horse, and [Greek: pheidesthai], to save, and was therefore a compromise arrived at between the two parents.

[480] The heads of the family of the Alcmaeonidae bore the name of Megacles from generation to generation.

[481] A mountain in Attica.

[482] Aristophanes represents everything belonging to Socrates as being mean, even down to his dwelling.

[483] Crates ascribes the same doctrine in one of his plays to the Pythagorean Hippo, of Samos.

[484] This is pure calumny. Socrates accepted no payment.

[485] Here the poet confounds Socrates' disciples with the Stoics. Contrary to the text, Socrates held that a man should care for his bodily health.

[486] One of Socrates' pupils.

[487] Female footwear. They were a sort of light slipper and white in colour.

[488] He calls off their attention by pretending to show them a geometrical problem and seizes the opportunity to steal something for supper. The young men who gathered together in the palaestra, or gymnastic school, were wont there to offer sacrifices to the gods before beginning the exercises. The offerings consisted of smaller victims, such as lambs, fowl, geese, etc., and the flesh afterwards was used for their meal (vide Plato in the 'Lysias'). It is known that Socrates taught wherever he might happen to be, in the palaestra as well as elsewhere.

[489] The first of the seven sages, born at Miletus.

[490] Because of their wretched appearance. The Laconians, blockaded in Sphacteria, had suffered sorely from famine.

[491] In fact, this was one of the chief accusations brought against Socrates by Miletus and Anytus; he was reproached for probing into the mysteries of nature.

[492] When the Athenians captured a town, they divided its lands by lot among the poorer Athenian citizens.

[493] An allusion to the Athenian love of law-suits and litigation.

[494] When originally conquered by Pericles, the island of Euboea, off the coasts of Boeotia and Attica, had been treated with extreme harshness.

[495] Is about to add, "you believe in them at all," but checks himself.

[496] This was the doctrine of Anaximenes.

[497] The scholiast explains that water-cress robs all plants that grow in its vicinity of their moisture and that they consequently soon wither and die.

[498] In the other Greek towns, the smaller coins were of copper.

[499] Athamas, King of Thebes. An allusion to a tragedy by Sophocles, in which Athamas is dragged before the altar of Zeus with his head circled with a chaplet, to be there sacrificed; he is, however, saved by Heracles.

[500] No doubt Socrates sprinkled flour over the head of Strepsiades in the same manner as was done with the sacrificial victims.

[501] The mysteries of Eleusis celebrated in the Temple of Demeter.

[502] A mountain of Attica, north of Athens.

[503] Sybaris, a town of Magna Graecia (Lucania), destroyed by the Crotoniates in 709 B.C., was rebuilt by the Athenians under the name of Thurium in 444 B.C. Ten diviners had been sent with the Athenian settlers.

[504] A parody of the dithyrambic style.

[505] Hieronymus, a dithyrambic poet and reputed an infamous pederast.

[506] When guests at the nuptials of Pirithous, King of the Lapithae, and Hippodamia, they wanted to carry off and violate the bride. That, according to legend, was the origin of their war against the Lapithae. Hieronymus is likened to the Centaurs on account of his bestial passion.

[507] A general, incessantly scoffed at by Aristophanes because of his cowardice.

[508] Aristophanes frequently mentions him as an effeminate and debauched character.

[509] A celebrated sophist, born at Ceos, and a disciple of Protagoras. When sent on an embassy by his compatriots to Athens, he there publicly preached on eloquence, and had for his disciples Euripides, Isocrates and even Socrates. His "fifty drachmae lecture" has been much spoken of; that sum had to be paid to hear it.

[510] These three men have already been referred to.

[511] A promontory of Attica (the modern Cape Colonna) about fifty miles from the Piraeus. Here stood a magnificent Temple, dedicated to Athen.

[512] The opening portion of the parabasis belongs to a second edition of the 'Clouds.' Aristophanes had been defeated by Cratinus and Amipsias, whose pieces, called the 'Bottle' and 'Connus,' had been crowned in preference to the 'Clouds,' which, it is said, was not received any better at its second representation.

[513] Two characters introduced into the 'Daedalians' by Aristophanes in strong contrast to each other. Some fragments only of this piece remain to us.

[514] It was only at the age of thirty, according to some, of forty, according to others, that a man could present a piece in his own name. The 'Daedalians' had appeared under the auspices of Cleonides and Chalistrates, whom we find again later as actors in Aristophanes' pieces.

[515] Allusion to the recognition of Orestes by Electra at her brother's tomb. (See the 'Chophorae' of Aeschylus.)

[516] An image of the penis, drooping in this case, instead of standing, carried as a phallic emblem in the Dionysiac processions.

[517] A licentious dance.

[518] This coarse way of exciting laughter, says the scholiast, had been used by Eupolis, the comic writer, a rival of Aristophanes.

[519] In the 'Knights.'

[520] Presented in 421 B.C. The 'Clouds' having been played a second time in 419 B.C., one may conclude that this piece had appeared a third time on the Athenian stage.

[521] Doubtless a parody of the legend of Andromeda.

[522] A poet of the older comedy, who had written forty plays. It is said that he dared to accuse Aspasia, the mistress of Pericles, of impiety and the practice of prostitution.

[523] Cleon.

[524] This part of the parabasis belongs to the first edition of the 'Clouds,' since Aristophanes here speaks of Cleon as alive.

[525] A mountain in Delos, dedicated to Apollo and Diana.

[526] Artemis.

[527] An allusion to the reform, which the astronomer Meton had wanted to introduce into the calendar. Cleostratus of Tenedos, at the beginning of the fifth century, had devised the octaeteris, or cycle of eight years, and this had been generally adopted. This is how this system arrived at an agreement between the solar and the lunar periods: 8 solar years containing 2922 days, while 8 lunar years only contain 2832 days, there was a difference of 90 days, for which Cleostratus compensated by intercalating 3 months of 30 days each, which were placed after the third, fifth and eighth year of the cycle. Hence these years had an extra month each. But in this system, the lunar months had been reckoned as 354 days, whereas they are really 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes. To rectify this minor error Meton invented a cycle of 19 years, which bears his name. This new system which he tried to introduce naturally caused some disturbance in the order of the festivals, and for this or some other reason his system was not adopted. The octaeteris continued to be used for all public purposes, the only correction being, that three extra days were added to every second octaeteris.

[528] Both sons of Zeus.

[529] Hyperbolus had supported Meton in his desire for reform. Having been sent as the Athenian deputy to the council of the Amphictyons, he should, like his colleagues, have returned to Athens with his head wreathed with laurel. It is said the wind took this from him; the Clouds boast of the achievement.

[530] These are poetical measures; Strepsiades thinks measures of capacity are meant.

[531] Containing four choenixes.

[532] So called from its stirring, warlike character; it was composed of two dactyls and a spondee, followed again by two dactyls and a spondee.

[533] Composed of dactyls and anapaests.

[534] [Greek: Daktylos] means, of course, both dactyl, name of a metrical foot, and finger. Strepsiades presents his middle finger, with the other fingers and thumb bent under in an indecent gesture meant to suggest the penis and testicles. The Romans for this reason called the middle finger 'digitus infamis,' the unseemly finger. The Emperor Nero is said to have offered his hand to courtiers to kiss sometimes in this indecent way.

[535] Meaning he was too poor, Aristophanes represents him as a glutton and a parasite.

[536] A woman's name.

[537] He is classed as a woman because of his cowardice and effeminacy.

[538] In Greek, the vocative of Amynias is Amynia; thus it has a feminine termination.

[539] The Corinthians, the allies of Sparta, ravaged Attica. [Greek: Kor], the first portion of the Greek word, is the root of the word which means a bug in the same language.

[540] Mirrors, or burning glasses, are meant, such as those used by Archimedes two centuries later at the siege of Syracuse, when he set the Roman fleet on fire from the walls of the city.

[541] That is, the family of the Alcmaeonidae; Coesyra was wife of Alcmaeon.

[542] Socrates was an Athenian; but the atheist Diagoras, known as 'the enemy of the gods' hailed from the island of Melos. Strepsiades, crediting Socrates with the same incredulity, assigns him the same birthplace.

[543] i.e. the enemies of the gods. An allusion to the giants, the sons of Earth, who had endeavoured to scale heaven.

[544] Pericles had squandered all the wealth accumulated in the Acropolis upon the War. When he handed in his accounts, he refused to explain the use of a certain twenty talents and simply said, "I spent them on what was necessary." Upon hearing of this reply, the Lacedaemonians, who were already discontented with their kings, Cleandrides and Plistoanax, whom they accused of carrying on the war in Attica with laxness, exiled the first-named and condemned the second to payment of a fine of fifteen talents for treachery. In fact, the Spartans were convinced that Pericles had kept silent as to what he had done with the twenty talents, because he did not want to say openly, "I gave this sum to the Kings of Lacedaemon."

[545] The basket in which Aristophanes shows us Socrates suspended to bring his mind nearer to the subtle regions of air.

[546] The scholiast tells us that Just Discourse and Unjust Discourse were brought upon the stage in cages, like cocks that are going to fight. Perhaps they were even dressed up as cocks, or at all events wore cocks' heads as their masks.

[547] In the language of the schools of philosophy just reasoning was called 'the stronger'—[Greek: ho kreitt_on logos], unjust reasoning, 'the weaker'—[Greek: ho h_ett_on logos].

[548] A character in one of the tragedies of Aeschylus, a beggar and a clever, plausible speaker.

[549] A sycophant and a quibbler, renowned for his unparalleled bad faith in the law-suits he was perpetually bringing forward.

[550] The opening words of two hymns, attributed to Lamprocles, an ancient lyric poet, the son or the pupil of Medon.

[551] A poet and musician of Mitylen, who gained the prize of the lyre at the Panathenaea in 457 B.C. He lived at the Court of Hiero, where, Suidas says, he was at first a slave and the cook. He added two strings to the lyre, which hitherto had had only seven. He composed effeminate airs of a style unknown before his day.

[552] Zeus had a temple in the citadel of Athens under the name of Polieus or protector of the city; bullocks were sacrificed to him (Buphonia). In the days of Aristophanes, these feasts had become neglected.

[553] One of the oldest of the dithyrambic poets.

[554] Used by the ancient Athenians to keep their hair in place. The custom was said to have a threefold significance; by it the Athenians wanted to show that they were musicians, autochthons (i.e. indigenous to the country) and worshippers of Apollo. Indeed, grasshoppers were considered to sing with harmony; they swarmed on Attic soil and were sacred to Phoebus, the god of music.

[555] Telesippus, Demophon and Pericles by name; they were a byword at Athens for their stupidity. Hippocrates was a general.

[556] The famous gardens of the Academia, just outside the walls of Athens; they included gymnasia, lecture halls, libraries and picture galleries. Near by was a wood of sacred olives.

[557] Apparently the historian of that name is meant; in any case it cannot refer to the celebrated epic poet, author of the 'Thebas.'

[558] Among the Greeks, hot springs bore the generic name of 'Baths of Heracles.' A legend existed that these had gushed forth spontaneously beneath the tread of the hero, who would plunge into them and there regain fresh strength to continue his labours.

[559] King of Pylos, according to Homer, the wisest of all the Greeks.

[560] Peleus, son of Aeacus, having resisted the appeals of Astydamia, the wife of Acastus, King of Iolchos, was denounced to her husband by her as having wished to seduce her, so that she might be avenged for his disdain. Acastus in his anger took Peleus to hunt with him on Mount Pelion, there deprived him of his weapons and left him a prey to wild animals. He was about to die, when Hermes brought him a sword forged by Hephaestus.

[561] Thetis, to escape the solicitations of Peleus, assumed in turn the form of a bird, of a tree, and finally of a tigress; but Peleus learnt of Proteus the way of compelling Thetis to yield to his wishes. The gods were present at his nuptials and made the pair rich presents.

[562] According to the scholiast, an adulterer was punished in the following manner: a radish was forced up his rectum, then every hair was torn out round that region, and the portion so treated was then covered with burning embers.

[563] Having said this, Just Discourse threw his cloak into the amphitheatre and took a seat with the spectators.

[564] Because it never rains there; for all other reasons residence in Egypt was looked upon as undesirable.

[565] That is, the last day of the month.

[566] By Athenian law, if anyone summoned another to appear before the Courts, he was obliged to deposit a sum sufficient to cover the costs of procedure.

[567] He points to an earthenware sphere, placed at the entrance of Socrates' dwelling, and which was intended to represent the Whirlwind, the deity of the philosophers. This sphere took the place of the column which the Athenians generally dedicated to Apollo, and which stood in the vestibule of their houses.

[568] An Athenian poet, who is said to have left one hundred and sixty tragedies behind him; he only once carried off the prize. Doubtless he had introduced gods or demi-gods bewailing themselves into one of his tragedies.

[569] This exclamation, "Oh! Pallas, thou hast undone me!" and the reply of Strepsiades are borrowed, says the scholiast, from a tragedy by Xenocles, the son of Carcinus. Alcmena is groaning over the death of her brother, Licymnius, who had been killed by Tlepolemus.

[570] A proverb, applied to foolish people.

[571] The ram of Phryxus, the golden fleece of which was hung up on a beech tree in a field dedicated to Ares in Colchis.

[572] The subject of Euripides' 'Aeolus.' Since among the Athenians it was lawful to marry a half-sister, if not born of the same mother, Strepsiades mentions here that it was his uterine sister, whom Macareus dishonoured, thus committing both rape and incest.

[573] A cleft in the rocks at the back of the Acropolis at Athens, into which criminals were hurled.

[574] He repeats the words of Socrates at their first interview, in mockery.



Academia, gardens of Acharnae, hostages of —inhabitants of —township of Acharnians, date fixed —date of Adonis, festivals of Adultery, punishment of Aegaean, Islands of Aegeus, a mythical king Aeschylus, character from —plays after death Aesop, Fable of Aetolian, meaning of Age fixed for playwrights Agoracritus, crime imputed —meaning of Alcibiades, his father Amorgos silks Amphitheus, play on word Amyclae, town near Sparta Anagyra, town, an obstacle Anapaests, reference to Anaximenes, doctrine of Andromeda, legend parodied Anthesteria. See Dionysia Antimachus, the historian Apaturia, a feast —festival of Aphrodit Colias, the goddess of sensual love Archeptolemus, treatment of Archers, as policemen Archilochus, singer of his own shame Archimedes, fires Roman fleet Argives (the), their misfortune Army, Athenian Artemesia, the Queen Artemis, the huntress Artemisium, naval battle of Artichokes, to make tender Arignotus, a soothsayer Ariphrades, obscene habits —a flute-player Aristogiton, a conspirator Aristophanes, anonymity of —bald —defeated —land-owner Assemblies, forced attendance of citizens Athamas, a condemned king Athen, the goddess —protection claimed —seen in dream Athenian women, fond of wine


"Babylonians," (The), a lost play Bacchus, festivals of Bacis, a soothsayer Bagpipes, ancient Barathrum, cleft of rock —place of execution Basket-bearers, the Baths of Heracles Beans, used for voting Beetle, flying on a Beetles, names of boats Blackmail Blankets, soiled with urine Blood, unspilled in sacrifice Boasting derided Boeotians, the Boulomachus, meaning of Boy's name, dispute over Brasidas, fell in Thrace Brauron, its temple "Brazen House," the Bread, used for finger-wiping Buckler, swearing over Bucklers, as trophies Bupalus, the sculptor Byrsina, why hateful


Cabirian gods, mysteries of Caesyra, an orator Cage (a) for pigs Calendar, reform of Captives of Pylos Captured towns Carcinus, a fecund poet Carcinus and sons, literary insufficiency of Caria, situation of Carystus, dissolute city Catamite, faeces of Cecrops, legend of Cecydes, ancient poet Centaur, legend of Cephisodemus, an advocate Ceramicus, burial-place Ceremonies (sacred) personified Ceres, sacrificed pigs Chaerephon, disciple of Socrates Chaeris, musician ridiculed Chalcedon, situation of —the town of Chaonian, obscene allusion Chargers, praise of their exploits Charybdis, the whirlpool Chastity, reward of Cheese, as an emblem Chersonese, towns of Chians, obscene name of Children, in procession Chimney, obscene sense Cholozyges, mad ox Chorus (the) protects Agoracritus Cicadas, use and significance Cillicon, a traitor Circus-races, terms of Citizens (Athenian), four classes of Clausimachus, meaning of Cleaenetus, the law as to feeding Cleomenes, King of Sparta Cleon, allusion to treachery of —dead —disgorges tribute —exhortation of —foe of the aristocrats —his former calling —his retort —ill results of reign —leather-smelling —mentioned —the author of woe —the rle of —the use of oracles —unpaid sailors' wages —vote of people Cleonymus —classed as a woman —glutton and parasite —ill-famed —a general Clepsydra, a spring Clisthenes, a debauchee —an effeminate —an ill-famed orator —a low personage Clitagoras, song writer Clopidian, meaning of Cock-fighting, allusion to Coesyra, wife of Alcmaeon Collar (iron) for torturing Connas, a poet Copper-coins Cordax (the), licentious dance Corinth, nickname of —mentioned Corinthians, allies of Sparta Corybantes, priests Cottabos, a favourite game Country-home, ousted from Crab, nickname of Corinth Cranaus, citadel of —the King Crates, a comic poet, character of Cratinus, a bad living poet —first lines of poems —poet and lover of wine —reference to —rival to Aristophanes 'Clouds,' the first edition Crows, go to the, explained Ctesias, an informer Cunnilingue, vice of Cyclocorus, a torrent Cynecephalus, species of ape Cynna, a courtesan —famous courtesan Cynthia, a mountain


Dactyl, the double meaning of 'Daedalians,' a lost play Dance, an obscene —the kick Dances, lascivious Dawn, the, time for love Dead (the), a custom Demagogues, secret of power Demos, double meaning of Demosthenes, a reproach of Demostratus, a statesman Depilation, referred to Diagoras, the atheist Dicaeopolis, meaning of Dionysia, feasts —the basket-bearer Dionysus, statue of, place of honour Diopithes, a bribe-taker Discourse, Just and Unjust Dog, a skinned, proverb "Dog-fox," a brothel-keeper —meaning of Dogs, lubricity of Dolphins, where worshipped Double meanings, obscene Dream, a Drunken habits, results of


Eagle and beetle, a fable Earth, sons of the Earthquakes, Sparta menaced Ecbatana, King's residence Ecclesia, the, or Parliament Ecclesiasts, their salary Echinus, town of Eclipses, allusion to Eels, certain, esteemed —with beet Egypt, residence in Election, character of Electra, reference to Eleusis, mysteries of Elymnium, a temple Embassies, dismissed Erectheus, identity of Eucrates, Athenian general —hiding-place of —statesman Euminides, temples of refuge Eupolis, a comic writer Euripides, a line from —"Aeolus," subject of —his mother —his talent —lost tragedy of —parodied —satirised —verse from Expedition, starting on


Fear, colour of Feast of Cups Fellation, alluded to Festivals, three days Fine, fixed by plaintiff Finger, the, obscene allusion Fleet (the), counsel concerning Formula, a sacred


Gallop (the), in sexual intercourse Games, war chariots in "Garden of love," weeded Garlic, an emblem —for game-cocks —the smell of Genetyllides, minor deities Genius, Good, explained Glanis, invented name "Goddesses (by the two)" Godemich, alluded to Gods, the, belief in Gorgon's head Gorgons (the), name for gluttons Grasshoppers Greek stage, device of Greenstuff, offered to gods Gryttus, an orator Gull, allusion to Cleon


Harmodius, assassin esteemed —song in honour Harpies (the), symbol of voracity Heliasts, the, at Athens —tribunal of Hermippus, celebrated comic poet Hephaestus, sword of Heracles, as a glutton Hermae, figures of the god Hermes, conducts dead souls —god of chance, and thieves promised worship Hieronymus, an obscure poet —poet and pederast Hippias, the Tyranny of Hippocrates, sons of the general Hipponax, satiric poet, ugliness of Homeric verses, adapted Hippo of Samos, doctrine Honey, emblem of honey Horse, marking of Horses, good breed Hyperbolus, a demagogue —a general


Iliad, the, verses from Incest with rape Informers warned off Initiated (the), after death Invasion, result of Iolas, a Theban hero Ion (of Chios), a successful poet Ionians, meaning Isthmus, obscene pun


Jargon, meaningless Jest, an obscene Judicatum solvi at Athens Julius, a miser


Kneaded (to be), obscene "Knockabouts," ancient


Lacratides, Archon Lamachus, a brave general Lame heroes, in plays Lamprocles, a lyric poet Language, used by orators Laurel, the, carried off by wind Law-costs, defendants' Lawsuit against aliens Lawsuits, Athenians' love of —pretexts for Leather, dominated by —the market Lemnos, ominous of misfortune Lenaea. See Dionysia Leonidas, hero of Thermopylae "Let us drink," a song Lipsydrion, fortified town Loaves, Boeotian "Love and lewdness" Lyceum (the) Lysicles, dealer in sheep —husband of Aspasia Lysimacha, derivation of Lysistratus, a debauchee —poverty of


Macareus rapes sister Mad Ox, a nickname Magnes, the comic poet Male sexual organ, pun on "Many good men" "Maricas," play by Eupolis Marpsias, an orator Medimni, a measure Megacles, family name Megara, ally to Sparta Megarians, boycotted —(the), their sufferings Melanion, chaste as Melanthius, "Medea," tragedy by —poet and gourmand Membrum virile, punned upon Micon, famous painter Mice (the), a play Mina, value of Mines (silver), source of wealth Mirrors, or burning glasses Mitylen, city of Modes of love, allusions to different Month (the), how divided Moon, the old and new Mothon, an obscene dance Morsimus, the poet Morychus of Athens Mountains, the golden Mount Taygetus Myronides, famous general Mysian Telephus (the)


Names, fancy Navarino, Battle of Nero, Emperor, his finger Nestor, the wise king Nicarchus, an informer Nicias, Greek general, satire on courage of


Oath, over a buckler Obolus, "the honest penny" Odomanti, a tribe Offering, the priest's part Old men, ridiculed Olive branches, when carried Olympus, a musician Omens, their effect Opora, the goddess Opportunity, neglected Opposite (the) to word expected Oracles, belief in —obscurity satirised Orators, pederastic habits of Orestes, symbol of rage Oreus, a town Orsilochus, brothel-keeper Orthian mode, described


Pan, King of the Satyrs Panathenaea, a festival —(the), promised to Hermes Pandeletus, renowned quibbler Pandion, statue of Paphlagonian tanner —meaning of Parabis, character of Parliament (the), Athenian Parnes, mountain of Pauson, a painter Peace, efforts for Pederasty, school for oratory Pegasus, in Euripides —steed of Perseus Peleus, accused of seduction Pellen, a city, also name of courtesan Penis, the drooping, as emblem Penny royal, effect on fruit-eating Peplus, the sacred, uses of Pericles, maltreats conquered people —squanders wealth Periclides, chief of embassy Persian buskins Persians, alliance with Spartans Perfumes, Rhodian Pergasae Phales, god of generation Phallus (the), an emblem Phallics. See Phallus Phayllus, an athlete Pheax, special pleader Phelleus, a mountain Pherecrates, playwright Phidias, reward of work Philocles, sons of Philostratus, identity lost Phormio, a great general —a successful general —famous admiral Phrynis, poet and musician Phryxus, ram of Phylarch, cavalry captain Phyl, a fortress of Attica Pigs immolated Pillar, used for treaties Pimples, a swinish disease Pindar, borrowed from Piraeus, the Pisander, a braggart captain —revolutionary leader Pittalus, a physician Pleasures, wanton Pnyx, purpose used for Poetry, measures of Poets, seduce young men —supply theatrical gear "Poseidon and boat" Posidon, god of earthquakes Potidaea, a tributary town Pramnium, wine or Prasiae, a town Prepis, a vile pathic Priapus, god of gardens Prisoners, objects of sale Prisoners, Spartan Processions, barred to married women Prodicus, celebrated sophist Prytanes, duties of —(the), their functions Prytaneum, meals, why given Pseudartabas, the King's Eye Pun, far-fetched —of ill omen —on "father" and cowardice —on word Pylos Punishment (of slaves) Pyanepsia, a festival Pylos, history of —barley, meaning —the affair of —towns of Pyrrandrus, origin of name Pythagorean doctrine


Question before sacrificing


Radishes, used as punishment Rape and incest Reasoning, names for


Salabaccha, famous courtesan Salamis, the island of Samos, friend to Athens Samothrace, the island of Samphoras, mark of horses "Scythian woman" Semi-sextarius, the Senate, admission to —how composed Seriphian, island of Sesame-cake, emblem of fecundity Shoes, taken off Sibyrtius, the son of Sicilian Expedition (the) Sicily, towns of Sicyonians, blood in sacrifice Silphium, a plant Simonides, a timeserver —song-writer Sisters, marriage of half- Sisyphus, his cunning Sitalces, a king Skytal, used for despatches Slaves, names of Smicythes, the King Socrates, basket used for meditation —calumniated —chief accusation against —his birthplace —his meanness —taught everywhere —teaching re bodily health —sprinkles flour —words mocked at Soldiers, inexpert at speaking Soldier's nation Sophocles, writing for gain Sow, obscene pun on word Spartans (the), prisoners —malicious Speeches, limited by clocks Sphere, earthenware Stage (the Greek), contrivance of —(the), of theatre State treasure Stealing, under pretence of teaching Steeds, exploits of Stilbides, a diviner Stone seats, where used Strangers, at Athens Strategi (the) Strato, orator of ill-fame Stupidity, in government Suidas, referred to Sunium, temple of Sybaris, a town Sybil (the), of Delphi Syrmaea, a purgative


Tail, when burning Tails, animals without Tambourines, with lewd dancing Telamon, war-song writer —"Telephus," a lost play —Tents at Olympic games "Tereus," a lost play Thales, mentioned Thasian wine Theagenes, an evil liver —wife Themistocles, work for Athens —death, 33 Theognis, a poet sans life Theophanes, identity of Theoria, why in care of Senate Thetis, solicited by Peleus Thucydides, references to Thumantis unhoused Timocreon, song of Timon, the misanthrope Toad-eaters, orators Treachery, reward of Tributes, paid to Athens Trierarch, duties of Tricorysus, gnat-haunted Truces, how personified Tyndarus, sons of


Vegetables, at feast of Dionysia Vessels (Grecian), allusion to crew Vintages, result of peace Violation of brides, origin of war Vocative (the), in Ionic


Wages of rowers, how avoided War-chariots, prize for War, hardships —results of, Peloponnesian "Wasps (The)," verses from Water-cress, depredations of Wealth, given to traitors Whirlwind, the, as deity "Who is here?" Wind, the, snatches off laurel Wine, water in Wines, symbolic Women, Athenian, love of wine —lascivious dancing Women, loose, wear silk Wrestling school, place of pederasty


Xenocles, a line from


Zacynthus, an island Zeus, appealed to —sons of Zeus Polieus Zeuxis, the painter


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