PSEUDARTABAS

Jartaman exarx 'anapissonia satra.[1]

f[1] Jargon, no doubt meaningless in all languages.

AMBASSADOR

Do you understand what he says?

DICAEOPOLIS

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.

PSEUDARTABAS

Thou shalt not have gold, thou gaping-arsed Ionian.[1]

f[1] The Persians styled all Greeks 'Ionians' without distinction; here

the Athenians are intended.

DICAEOPOLIS

Ah! may the gods forgive me, but that is clear enough!

AMBASSADOR

What does he say?

DICAEOPOLIS

That the Ionians are debauchees and idiots, if they expect to receive

gold from the barbarians.

AMBASSADOR

Not so, he speaks of medimni[1] of gold.

f[1] A Greek measure, containing about six modii.

DICAEOPOLIS

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.[1] 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[1] Noted for his extreme ugliness and his obscenity. Aristophanes

frequently holds him to scorn in his comedies.

HERALD

Silence! Let all be seated. The Senate invites the King's Eye to the

Prytaneum.[1]

f[1] Ambassadors were entertained there at the public expense.

DICAEOPOLIS

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.

AMPHITHEUS

Here I am.

DICAEOPOLIS

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.

HERALD

Bring in Theorus, who has returned from the Court of Sitalces.[1]

f[1] King of Thrace.

THEORUS

I am here.

DICAEOPOLIS

Another humbug!

THEORUS

We should not have remained long in Thrace...

DICAEOPOLIS

Forsooth, no, if you had not been well paid.

THEORUS

...if the country had not been covered with snow; the rivers were

ice-bound at the time that Theognis[1] 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!" His

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