Jartaman exarx 'anapissonia satra.
f Jargon, no doubt meaningless in all languages.
Do you understand what he says?
By Apollo, not I!
AMBASSADOR (TO THE PRYTANES)
He says that the Great King will send you gold. Come, utter the word
'gold' louder and more distinctly.
Thou shalt not have gold, thou gaping-arsed Ionian.
f The Persians styled all Greeks 'Ionians' without distinction; here
the Athenians are intended.
Ah! may the gods forgive me, but that is clear enough!
What does he say?
That the Ionians are debauchees and idiots, if they expect to receive
gold from the barbarians.
Not so, he speaks of medimni of gold.
f A Greek measure, containing about six modii.
What medimni? Thou are but a great braggart; but get your way; I
will find out the truth by myself. Come now, answer me clearly, if you
do not wish me to dye your skin red. Will the Great King send us gold?
(PSEUDARTABAS MAKES A NEGATIVE SIGN.) Then our ambassadors
are seeking to deceive us? (PSEUDARTABAS SIGNS AFFIRMATIVELY.)
These fellows make signs like any Greek; I am sure that they are
nothing but Athenians. Oh! ho! I recognize one of these eunuchs; it is
Clisthenes, the son of Sibyrtius. Behold the effrontery of this shaven
rump! How! great baboon, with such a beard do you seek to play the
eunuch to us? And this other one? Is it not Straton?
f Noted for his extreme ugliness and his obscenity. Aristophanes
frequently holds him to scorn in his comedies.
Silence! Let all be seated. The Senate invites the King's Eye to the
f Ambassadors were entertained there at the public expense.
Is this not sufficient to drive one to hang oneself? Here I
stand chilled to the bone, whilst the doors of the Prytaneum fly
wide open to lodge such rascals. But I will do something great and
bold. Where is Amphitheus? Come and speak with me.
Here I am.
Take these eight drachmae and go and conclude a truce with the
Lacedaemonians for me, my wife and my children; I leave you free,
my dear citizens, to send out embassies and to stand gaping in the air.
Bring in Theorus, who has returned from the Court of Sitalces.
f King of Thrace.
I am here.
We should not have remained long in Thrace...
Forsooth, no, if you had not been well paid.
...if the country had not been covered with snow; the rivers were
ice-bound at the time that Theognis brought out his tragedy here;
during the whole of that time I was holding my own with
Sitalces, cup in hand; and, in truth, he adored you to such a degree,
that he wrote on the walls, "How beautiful are the Athenians!" HisDownload<<BackPagesMainNext>>