Peace! profane men![1]

f[1] A sacred formula, pronounced by the priest before offering

the sacrifice.


Silence all! Friends, do you hear the sacred formula? Here is he,

whom we seek! This way, all! Get out of his way, surely he comes

to offer an oblation.


Peace, profane men! Let the basket-bearer[1] come forward, and thou

Xanthias, hold the phallus well upright.[2]

f[1] The maiden who carried the basket filled with fruits at the Dionysia

in honour of Bacchus.

f[2] The emblem of the fecundity of nature; it consisted of a representation,

generally grotesquely exaggerated, of the male genital organs;

the phallophori crowned with violets and ivy and their faces shaded

with green foliage, sang improvised airs, call 'Phallics,' full of obscenity

and suggestive 'double entendres.'


Daughter, set down the basket and let us begin the sacrifice.


Mother, hand me the ladle, that I may spread the sauce on the



It is well! Oh, mighty Bacchus, it is with joy that, freed from

military duty, I and all mine perform this solemn rite and offer

thee this sacrifice; grant that I may keep the rural Dionysia

without hindrance and that this truce of thirty years may be

propitious for me.


Come, my child, carry the basket gracefully and with a grave, demure

face. Happy he, who shall be your possessor and embrace you so firmly

at dawn,[1] that you belch wind like a weasel. Go forward, and have a care

they don't snatch your jewels in the crowd.

f[1] The most propitious moment for Love's gambols, observes the



Xanthias, walk behind the basket-bearer and hold the phallus well

erect; I will follow, singing the Phallic hymn; thou, wife, look on from

the top of the terrace.[1] Forward! Oh, Phales,[2] companion of the orgies

of Bacchus, night reveller, god of adultery, friend of young men, these

past six[3] years I have not been able to invoke thee. With what joy I

return to my farmstead, thanks to the truce I have concluded, freed

from cares, from fighting and from Lamachuses![4] How much sweeter,

oh Phales, oh, Phales, is it to surprise Thratta, the pretty woodmaid,

Strymodorus' slave, stealing wood from Mount Phelleus, to catch her

under the arms, to throw her on the ground and possess her, Oh, Phales,

Phales! If thou wilt drink and bemuse thyself with me, we shall

to-morrow consume some good dish in honour of the peace, and I will

hang up my buckler over the smoking hearth.

f[1] Married women did not join in the processions.

f[2] The god of generation, worshipped in the form of a phallus.

f[3] A remark which fixes the date of the production of 'The Acharnians,'

viz. the sixth year of the Peloponnesian War, 426 B.C.

f[4] Lamachus was an Athenian general, who figures later in this comedy.


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