The Eleven Comedies
Aristophanes et al

Part 8 out of 8

fragrant liquor; all the chests are crammed with gold and silver, 'tis a
sight to see; the tank is full of oil,[788] the phials with perfumes, and
the garret with dried figs. Vinegar flasks, plates, stew-pots and all the
platters are of brass; our rotten old wooden trenchers for the fish have
to-day become dishes of silver; the very night-commode is of ivory. We
others, the slaves, we play at odd and even with gold pieces, and carry
luxury so far that we no longer wipe ourselves with stones, but use
garlic stalks instead. My master, at this moment, is crowned with flowers
and sacrificing a pig, a goat and a ram;[789] 'tis the smoke that has
driven me out, for I could no longer endure it, it hurt my eyes so.

A JUST MAN. Come, my child, come with me. Let us go and find the god.

CHREMYLUS. Who comes here?

JUST MAN. A man who was once wretched, but now is happy.

CHREMYLUS. A just man then?

JUST MAN. You have it.

CHREMYLUS. Well! what do you want?

JUST MAN. I come to thank the god for all the blessings he has showered
on me. My father had left me a fairly decent fortune, and I helped those
of my friends who were in want; 'twas, to my thinking, the most useful
thing I could do with my fortune.

CHREMYLUS. And you were quickly ruined?

JUST MAN. Entirely.

CHREMYLUS. Since then you have been living in misery?

JUST MAN. In truth I have; I thought I could count, in case of need, upon
the friends whose property I had helped, but they turned their backs upon
me and pretended not to see me.

CHREMYLUS. They laughed at you, 'tis evident.

JUST MAN. Just so. With my empty coffers, I had no more friends.

CHREMYLUS. But your lot has changed.

JUST MAN. Yes, and so I come to the god to make him the acts of gratitude
that are his due.

CHREMYLUS. But with what object now do you bring this old cloak, which
your slave is carrying? Tell me.

JUST MAN. I wish to dedicate it to the god.[790]

CHREMYLUS. Were you initiated into the Great Mysteries in that

JUST MAN. No, but I shivered in it for thirteen years.

CHREMYLUS. And this footwear?

JUST MAN. These also are my winter companions.

CHREMYLUS. And you wish to dedicate them too?

JUST MAN. Unquestionably.

CHREMYLUS. Fine presents to offer to the god!

AN INFORMER. Alas! alas! I am a lost man. Ah! thrice, four, five, twelve
times, or rather ten thousand times unhappy fate! Why, why must fortune
deal me such rough blows?

CHREMYLUS. Oh, Apollo, my tutelary! oh! ye favourable gods! what has
overtaken this man?

INFORMER. Ah! am I not deserving of pity? I have lost everything; this
cursed god has stripped me bare. Ah! if there be justice in heaven, he
shall be struck blind again.

JUST MAN. Methinks I know what's the matter. If this man is unfortunate,
'tis because he's of little account and small honesty; and i' faith he
looks it too.

CHREMYLUS. Then, by Zeus! his plight is but just.

INFORMER. He promised that if he recovered his sight, he would enrich us
all unaided; whereas he has ruined more than one.

CHREMYLUS. But whom has he thus ill-used?


CHREMYLUS. You were doubtless a villainous thief then.

INFORMER (_to Chremylus and Cario_). 'Tis rather you yourselves who were
such wretches; I am certain you have got my money.

CHREMYLUS. Ha! by Demeter! 'tis an informer. What impudence!

CARIO. He's ravenously hungry, that's certain.

INFORMER. You shall follow me this very instant to the marketplace, where
the torture of the wheel shall force the confession of your misdeeds from

CARIO. Ha! look out for yourself!

JUST MAN. By Zeus the Deliverer, what gratitude all Greeks owe to Plutus,
if he destroys these vile informers!

INFORMER. You are laughing at me. Ho! ho! I denounce you as their
accomplice. Where did you steal that new cloak from? Yesterday I saw you
with one utterly worn out.

JUST MAN. I fear you not, thanks to this ring, for which I paid
Eudemus[792] a drachma.

CHREMYLUS. Ah! there's no ring to preserve you from the informer's bite.

INFORMER. The insolent wretches! But, my fine jokers, you have not told
me what you are up to here. Nothing good, I'll be bound.

CHREMYLUS. Nothing of any good for you, be sure of that.

INFORMER. By Zeus! you're going to dine at my expense!

CHREMYLUS. You vile impostor, may you burst with an empty belly, both you
and your witness.

INFORMER. You deny it? I reckon, you villians, that there is much salt
fish and roast meat in this house. Hu! hu! hu! hu! hu! hu! (_He sniffs._)

CHREMYLUS. Can you smell anything, rascal?

INFORMER. Can such outrages be borne, oh, Zeus! Ye gods! how cruel it is
to see me treated thus, when I am such an honest fellow and such a good

CHREMYLUS. You an honest man! you a good citizen!

INFORMER. A better one than any.

CHREMYLUS. Ah! well then, answer my questions.

INFORMER. Concerning what?

CHREMYLUS. Are you a husbandman?

INFORMER. D'ye take me for a fool?

CHREMYLUS. A merchant?

INFORMER. I assume the title, when it serves me.[793]

CHREMYLUS. Do you ply any trade?

INFORMER. No, most assuredly not!

CHREMYLUS. Then how do you live, if you do nothing?

INFORMER. I superintend public and private business.

CHREMYLUS. You! And by what right, pray?

INFORMER. Because it pleases me to do so.

CHREMYLUS. Like a thief you sneak yourself in where you have no business.
You are hated by all and you claim to be an honest man?

INFORMER. What, you fool? I have not the right to dedicate myself
entirely to my country's service?

CHREMYLUS. Is the country served by vile intrigue?

INFORMER. It is served by watching that the established law is
observed--by allowing no one to violate it.

CHREMYLUS. That's the duty of the tribunals; they are established to that

INFORMER. And who is the prosecutor before the dicasts?

CHREMYLUS. Whoever wishes to be.[794]

INFORMER. Well then, 'tis I who choose to be prosecutor; and thus all
public affairs fall within my province.

CHREMYLUS. I pity Athens for being in such vile clutches. But would you
not prefer to live quietly and free from all care and anxiety?

INFORMER. To do nothing is to live an animal's life.

CHREMYLUS. Thus you will not change your mode of life?

INFORMER. No, though they gave me Plutus himself and the _silphium_ of

CHREMYLUS (_to the Informer_). Come, quick, off with your cloak.

CARIO. Hi! friend! 'tis you they are speaking to.

CHREMYLUS. Off with your shoes.

CARIO. All this is addressed to you.

INFORMER. Very well! let one of you come near me, if he dares.

CARIO. I dare.

INFORMER. Alas! I am robbed of my clothes in full daylight.

CARIO. That's what comes of meddling with other folk's business and
living at their expense.

INFORMER (_to his witness_). You see what is happening; I call you to

CHREMYLUS. Look how the witness whom you brought is taking to his heels.

INFORMER. Great gods! I am all alone and they assault me.

CARIO. Shout away!

INFORMER. Oh! woe, woe is me!

CARIO. Give me that old ragged cloak, that I may dress out the informer.

JUST MAN. No, no; I have dedicated it to Plutus.

CARIO. And where would your offering be better bestowed than on the
shoulders of a rascal and a thief? To Plutus fine, rich cloaks should be

JUST MAN. And what then shall be done with these shoes? Tell me.

CARIO. I will nail them to his brow as gifts are nailed to the trunks of
the wild olive.

INFORMER. I'm off, for you are the strongest, I own. But if I find
someone to join me, let him be as weak as he will, I will summon this
god, who thinks himself so strong, before the Court this very day, and
denounce him as manifestly guilty of overturning the democracy by his
will alone and without the consent of the Senate or the popular Assembly.

JUST MAN. Now that you are rigged out from head to foot with my old
clothes, hasten to the bath and stand there in the front row to warm
yourself better; 'tis the place I formerly had.

CHREMYLUS. Ah! the bath-man would grip you by the testicles and fling you
through the door; he would only need to see you to appraise you at your
true value.... But let us go in, friend, that you may address your
thanksgivings to the god.

CHORUS. [_Missing._]

AN OLD WOMAN. Dear old men, am I near the house where the new god lives,
or have I missed the road?

CHORUS. You are at his door, my pretty little maid, who question us so

OLD WOMAN. Then I will summon someone in the house.

CHREMYLUS. 'Tis needless! I am here myself. But what matter brings you

OLD WOMAN. Ah! a cruel, unjust fate! My dear friend, this god has made
life unbearable to me through ceasing to be blind.

CHREMYLUS. What does this mean? Can you be a female informer?

OLD WOMAN. Most certainly not.

CHREMYLUS. Have you not drunk up your money then?

OLD WOMAN. You are mocking me! Nay! I am being devoured with a consuming

CHREMYLUS. Then tell me what is consuming you so fiercely.

OLD WOMAN. Listen! I loved a young man, who was poor, but so handsome, so
well-built, so honest! He readily gave way to all I desired and acquitted
himself so well! I, for my part, refused him nothing.

CHREMYLUS. And what did he generally ask of you.

OLD WOMAN. Very little; he bore himself towards me with astonishing
discretion! perchance twenty drachmae for a cloak or eight for footwear;
sometimes he begged me to buy tunics for his sisters or a little mantle
for his mother; at times he needed four bushels of corn.

CHREMYLUS. 'Twas very little, in truth; I admire his modesty.

OLD WOMAN. And 'twas not as a reward for his complacency that he ever
asked me for anything, but as a matter of pure friendship; a cloak I had
given would remind him from whom he had got it.

CHREMYLUS. 'Twas a fellow who loved you madly.

OLD WOMAN. But 'tis no longer so, for the faithless wretch has sadly
altered! I had sent him this cake with the sweetmeats you see here on
this dish and let him know that I would visit him in the evening....


OLD WOMAN. He sent me back my presents and added this tart to them, on
condition that I never set foot in his house again. Besides, he sent me
this message, "Once upon a time the Milesians were brave."[797]

CHREMYLUS. An honest lad, indeed! But what would you? When poor, he would
devour anything; now he is rich, he no longer cares for lentils.

OLD WOMAN. Formerly he came to me every day.

CHREMYLUS. To see if you were being buried?

OLD WOMAN. No! he longed to hear the sound of my voice.

CHREMYLUS. And to carry off some present.

OLD WOMAN. If I was downcast, he would call me his little duck or his
little dove in a most tender manner....

CHREMYLUS. And then would ask for the wherewithal to buy a pair of shoes.

OLD WOMAN. When I was at the Mysteries of Eleusis in a carriage,[798]
someone looked at me; he was so jealous that he beat me the whole of that

CHREMYLUS. 'Twas because he liked to feed alone.

OLD WOMAN. He told me I had very beautiful hands.

CHREMYLUS. Aye, no doubt, when they handed him twenty drachmae.

OLD WOMAN. That my whole body breathed a sweet perfume.

CHREMYLUS. Yes, like enough, if you poured him out Thasian wine.

OLD WOMAN. That my glance was gentle and charming.

CHREMYLUS. 'Twas no fool. He knew how to drag drachmae from a hot-blooded
old woman.

OLD WOMAN. Ah! the god has done very, very wrong, saying he would support
the victims of injustice.

CHREMYLUS. Well, what must he do? Speak, and it shall be done.

OLD WOMAN. 'Tis right to compel him, whom I have loaded with benefits, to
repay them in his turn; if not, he does not merit the least of the god's

CHREMYLUS. And did he not do this every night?

OLD WOMAN. He swore he would never leave me, as long as I lived.

CHREMYLUS. Aye, rightly; but he thinks you are no longer alive.[799]

OLD WOMAN. Ah! friend, I am pining away with grief.

CHREMYLUS. You are rotting away, it seems to me.

OLD WOMAN. I have grown so thin, I could slip through a ring.

CHREMYLUS. Yes, if 'twere as large as the hoop of a sieve.

OLD WOMAN. But here is the youth, the cause of my complaint; he looks as
though he were going to a festival.

CHREMYLUS. Yes, if his chaplet and his torch are any guides.

YOUTH. Greeting to you.

OLD WOMAN. What does he say?

YOUTH. My ancient old dear, you have grown white very quickly, by heaven!

OLD WOMAN. Oh! what an insult!

CHREMYLUS. It is a long time, then, since he saw you?

OLD WOMAN. A long time? My god! he was with me yesterday.

CHREMYLUS. It must be, then, that, unlike other people, he sees more
clearly when he's drunk.

OLD WOMAN. No, but I have always known him for an insolent fellow.

YOUTH. Oh! divine Posidon! Oh, ye gods of old age! what wrinkles she has
on her face!

OLD WOMAN. Oh! oh! keep your distance with that torch.

CHREMYLUS. Yes, 'twould be as well; if a single spark were to reach her,
she would catch alight like an old olive branch.

YOUTH. I propose to have a game with you.

OLD WOMAN. Where, naughty boy?

YOUTH. Here. Take some nuts in your hand.

OLD WOMAN. What game is this?

YOUTH. Let's play at guessing how many teeth you have.

CHREMYLUS. Ah! I'll tell you; she's got three, or perhaps four.

YOUTH. Pay up; you've lost! she has only one single grinder.

OLD WOMAN. You wretch! you're not in your right senses. Do you insult me
thus before this crowd?

YOUTH. I am washing you thoroughly; 'tis doing you a service.

CHREMYLUS. No, no! as she is there, she can still deceive; but if this
white-lead is washed off, her wrinkles would come out plainly.

OLD WOMAN. You are only an old fool!

YOUTH. Ah! he is playing the gallant, he is fondling your breasts, and
thinks I do not see it.

OLD WOMAN. Oh! no, by Aphrodité, no, you naughty jealous fellow.

CHREMYLUS. Oh! most certainly not, by Hecaté![800] Verily and indeed I
would need to be mad! But, young man, I cannot forgive you, if you cast
off this beautiful child.

YOUTH. Why, I adore her.

CHREMYLUS. But nevertheless she accuses you ...

YOUTH. Accuses me of what?

CHREMYLUS. ... of having told her insolently, "Once upon a time the
Milesians were brave."

YOUTH. Oh! I shall not dispute with you about her.


YOUTH. Out of respect for your age; with anyone but you, I should not be
so easy; come, take the girl and be happy.

CHREMYLUS. I see, I see; you don't want her any more.

OLD WOMAN. Nay! this is a thing that cannot be allowed.

YOUTH. I cannot argue with a woman, who has been making love these
thirteen thousand years.

CHREMYLUS. Yet, since you liked the wine, you should now consume the

YOUTH. But these lees are quite rancid and fusty.

CHREMYLUS. Pass them through a straining-cloth; they'll clarify.

YOUTH. But I want to go in with you to offer these chaplets to the god.

OLD WOMAN. And I too have something to tell him.

YOUTH. Then I don't enter.

CHREMYLUS. Come, have no fear; she won't harm you.

YOUTH. 'Tis true; I've been managing the old bark long enough.

OLD WOMAN. Go in; I'll follow after you.

CHREMYLUS. Good gods! that old hag has fastened herself to her youth like
a limpet to its rock.

CHORUS. [_Missing._]

CARIO (_opening the door_). Who knocks at the door? Halloa! I see no one;
'twas then by chance it gave forth that plaintive tone.

HERMES (_to Carlo, who is about to close the door_). Cario! stop!

CARIO. Eh! friend, was it you who knocked so loudly? Tell me.

HERMES. No, I was going to knock and you forestalled me by opening. Come,
call your master quick, then his wife and his children, then his slave
and his dog, then thyself and his pig.

CARIO. And what's it all about?

HERMES. It's about this, rascal! Zeus wants to serve you all with the
same sauce and hurl the lot of you into the Barathrum.

CARIO. Have a care for your tongue, you bearer of ill tidings! But why
does he want to treat us in that scurvy fashion?

HERMES. Because you have committed the most dreadful crime. Since Plutus
has recovered his sight, there is nothing for us other gods, neither
incense, nor laurels, nor cakes, nor victims, nor anything in the world.

CARIO. And you will never be offered anything more; you governed us too

HERMES. I care nothing at all about the other gods, but 'tis myself. I
tell you I am dying of hunger.

CARIO. That's reasoning like a wise fellow.

HERMES. Formerly, from earliest dawn, I was offered all sorts of good
things in the wine-shops,--wine-cakes, honey, dried figs, in short,
dishes worthy of Hermes. Now, I lie the livelong day on my back, with my
legs in the air, famishing.

CARIO. And quite right too, for you often had them punished who treated
you so well.[801]

HERMES. Ah! the lovely cake they used to knead for me on the fourth of
the month![802]

CARIO. You recall it vainly; your regrets are useless! there'll be no
more cake.

HERMES. Ah! the ham I was wont to devour!

CARIO. Well then! make use of your legs and hop on one leg upon the
wine-skin,[803] to while away the time.

HERMES. Oh! the grilled entrails I used to swallow down!

CARIO. Your own have got the colic, methinks.

HERMES. Oh! the delicious tipple, half wine, half water!

CARIO. Here, swallow that and be off. (_He discharges a fart._)

HERMES. Would you do a friend a service?

CARIO. Willingly, if I can.

HERMES. Give me some well-baked bread and a big hunk of the victims they
are sacrificing in your house.

CARIO. That would be stealing.

HERMES. Do you forget, then, how I used to take care he knew nothing
about it when you were stealing something from your master?

CARIO. Because I used to share it with you, you rogue; some cake or other
always came your way.

HERMES. Which afterwards you ate up all by yourself.[804]

CARIO. But then you did not share the blows when I was caught.

HERMES. Forget past injuries, now you have taken Phylé.[805] Ah! how I
should like to live with you! Take pity and receive me.

CARIO. You would leave the gods to stop here?

HERMES. One is much better off among you.

CARIO. What! you would desert! Do you think that is honest?

HERMES. "Where I live well, there is my country."[806]

CARIO. But how could we employ you here?

HERMES. Place me near the door; I am the watchman god and would shift off
the robbers.

CARIO. Shift off! Ah! but we have no love for shifts.

HERMES. Entrust me with business dealings.

CARIO. But we are rich; why should we keep a haggling Hermes?

HERMES. Let me intrigue for you.[807]

CARIO. No, no, intrigues are forbidden; we believe in good faith.

HERMES. I will work for you as a guide.

CARIO. But the god sees clearly now, so we no longer want a guide.

HERMES. Well then, I will preside over the games. Ah! what can you object
to in that? Nothing is fitter for Plutus than to give scenic and
gymnastic games.[808]

CARIO. How useful 'tis to have so many names! Here you have found the
means of earning your bread. I don't wonder the jurymen so eagerly try to
get entered for many tribunals.[809]

HERMES. So then, you admit me on these terms.

CARIO. Go and wash the entrails of the victims at the well, so that you
may show yourself serviceable at once.

A PRIEST OF ZEUS. Can anyone direct me where Chremylus is?

CHREMYLUS. What would you with him, friend?

PRIEST. Much ill. Since Plutus has recovered his sight, I am perishing of
starvation; I, the priest of Zeus the Deliverer, have nothing to eat!

CHREMYLUS. And what is the cause of that, pray?

PRIEST. No one dreams of offering sacrifices.


PRIEST. Because all men are rich. Ah! when they had nothing, the merchant
who escaped from shipwreck, the accused who was acquitted, all immolated
victims; another would sacrifice for the success of some wish and the
priest joined in at the feast; but now there is not the smallest victim,
not one of the faithful in the temple, but thousands who come there to
ease themselves.

CHREMYLUS. Don't you take your share of those offerings?

PRIEST. Hence I think I too am going to say good-bye to Zeus the
Deliverer, and stop here myself.

CHREMYLUS. Be at ease, all will go well, if it so please the god. Zeus
the Deliverer[810] is here; he came of his own accord.

PRIEST. Ha! that's good news.

CHREMYLUS. Wait a little; we are going to install Plutus presently in the
place he formerly occupied behind the Temple of Athené;[811] there he
will watch over our treasures for ever. But let lighted torches be
brought; take these and walk in solemn procession in front of the god.

PRIEST. That's magnificent!

CHREMYLUS. Let Plutus be summoned.

OLD WOMAN. And I, what am I to do?

CHREMYLUS. Take the pots of vegetables which we are going to offer to the
god in honour of his installation and carry them on your head; you just
happen luckily to be wearing a beautiful embroidered robe.

OLD WOMAN. And what about the object of my coming?

CHREMYLUS. Everything shall be according to your wish. The young man will
be with you this evening.

OLD WOMAN. Oh! if you promise me his visit, I will right willingly carry
the pots.

CHREMYLUS. Those are strange pots indeed! Generally the scum rises to the
top of the pots, but here the pots are raised to the top of the old

CHORUS. Let us withdraw without more tarrying, and follow the others,
singing as we go.[813]

* * * * *


* * * * *


[736] The poet jestingly makes Chremylus attribute two utterly opposed
characteristics to his servant.

[737] Literally _sycophants_ i.e. denouncers of figs. The Senate, says
Plutarch, in very early times had made a law forbidding the export of
figs from Attica; those who were found breaking the edict were fined to
the advantage of the sycophant ([Greek: phainein], to denounce, and
[Greek: sukon], fig). Since the law was abused in order to accuse the
innocent, the name sycophant was given to calumniators and to the too
numerous class of informers at Athens who subsisted on the money their
denunciations brought them.

[738] A parody of the tragic style.

[739] Plutus, the god of riches, was included amongst the infernal
deities, because riches are extracted from the earth's bosom, which is
their dwelling-place. According to Hesiod, he was the son of Demeter;
agriculture is in truth the most solid foundation of wealth. He was
generally represented as an old blind man, halting in gait and winged,
coming with slow steps but going away on a rapid flight and carrying a
purse in his hand. At Athens the statue of Peace bore Plutus represented
as still a child on her bosom as a symbol of the wealth that peace

[740] A rich man, who affected the sordid habits of Lacedaemon, because
of his greed. "More sordid than Patrocles" had become a byword at Athens.
Even the public baths were too dear for Patrocles, because, in addition
to the modest fee that was given to the bath-man, it was necessary to use
a little oil for the customary friction after the bath.

[741] This catechizing is completely in the manner of the sophistical
teaching of the times, and has its parallel in other comedies. It reminds
us in many ways of the Socratic 'Elenchus' as displayed in the Platonic

[742] Corinth was the most corrupt as well as the most commercial of
Greek cities, and held a number of great courtesans, indeed some of the
most celebrated, e.g. Laïs, Cyrené, Sinopé, practised their profession
there; they, however, set a very high value on their favours, and hence
the saying, "_Non cuivis homini contingit adire Corinthum_"--"it is not
for every man to go to Corinth."

[743] This was the mild punishment inflicted upon the adulterer by
Athenian custom. The laws of Solon were very indulgent to this kind of
crime; they only provided that the guilty woman might be repudiated by
her husband, but were completely silent concerning her accomplice.

[744] Cario means to convey that women often paid their lovers, or at all
events made it their business to open up the road to fortune for them.

[745] In order to receive the _triobolus,_ the fee for attendance.

[746] The richest citizens were saddled with this expense and were called

[747] Athens had formed an alliance with Corinth and Thebes against
Sparta in 393 B.C., a little before the production of the 'Plutus.'
Corinth, not feeling itself strong enough to resist the attacks of the
Spartans unaided, had demanded the help of an Athenian garrison, and
hence Athens maintained some few thousand mercenaries there.

[748] A civil servant, who had been exiled for embezzling State funds.

[749] No doubt an accomplice of Pamphilus in his misdeeds; the Scholiast
says he was one of his parasites.

[750] An upstart and, through the favour of the people, an admiral in the
year 389 B.C., after Thrasybulus; he had enriched himself through some
rather equivocal state employments and was insolent, because of his
wealth, 'as a well-fed ass.'

[751] A buffoon, so the Scholiasts inform us, who was in the habit of
visiting the public places of the city in order to make a little money by
amusing the crowd with ridiculous stories. Others say he was a statesman
of the period, who was condemned for embezzlement of public money; in his
defence he may well have invented some fabulous tales to account for the
disappearance of the money out of the Treasury.

[752] The precise historical reference here is obscure.

[753] Laïs, a celebrated courtesan.--Of Philonides little is known,
except that he was a native of Melita and a rich and profligate

[754] The reference is no doubt to a pretentious construction that had
been built for the rich and over-proud Timotheus, the son of Conon. He
was a clever general of great integrity; when the 'Plutus' was produced,
he was still very young.

[755] Chremylus rises in a regular climax from love to military glory;
the slave in as direct an anti-climax comes from bread, sweetmeats, etc.,
down to lentils.

[756] The son of Aphareus, the King of Messenia; according to the
legends, he had such piercing sight that he could see through walls, and
could even discover what was going on in heaven and in the nether world.
He took part in the expedition of the Argonauts.

[757] A part of the victim which Cario was bringing back from the Temple;
it was customary to present the remains of a sacrifice to friends and

[758] As soon as Chremylus sees himself assured of wealth he adopts less
honest principles.

[759] The citizens appointed to act as dicasts, or jurymen, drew lots
each year to decide in which Court they should sit. There were ten
Courts, each of which was indicated by one of the first ten letters of
the alphabet, and the urn contained as many tickets marked with these
letters as there were dicasts. Cario means to say here that the old men
of the Chorus should remember that they have soon to die themselves
instead of bothering about punishing him.

[760] A word invented to imitate the sound of a lyre.

[761] The Cyclops let his flocks graze while he played the lyre; it was
thus that Philoxenus had represented him in a piece to which Aristophanes
is here alluding.--Cario assumes the part of the Cyclops and leaves that
of the flock to the Chorus.

[762] In allusion to Ulysses' adventures in the cave of Polyphemus.

[763] Laïs.

[764] i.e. Cario, who is assuming the rôle of Circé of Corinth.

[765] This was the torture which Odysseus inflicted on Melanthius, one of
the goatherds.

[766] A poet of debauched and degraded life, one of those who, like
Ariphrades mentioned in 'The Knights,' "defiled his tongue with
abominable sensualities," that is to say, was a _fellator_ and a

[767] It is uncertain whether Pamphilus, a tragedian, is meant here, who,
like Euripides and Aeschylus, made the Heraclidae the subject of a
tragedy, or the painter of that name, so celebrated in later times, who
painted that subject in the Poecilé Stoa.

[768] Physicians at Athens were paid very indifferently, and hence the
most skilled sought their practice in other cities.

[769] The Temple of Aesculapius stood on the way from the theatre to the
citadel and near the tomb of Talos. A large number of invalids were taken
there to pass a night; it was believed that the god visited them without
being seen himself, because of the darkness, and arranged for their
restoration to health.

[770] Like the Furies who composed the Chorus in Aeschylus' 'Eumenides.'

[771] A ravine into which criminals were hurled at Athens.

[772] During the winter the poor went into the public baths for shelter
against the cold; they could even stop there all night; sometimes they
burnt themselves by getting too near the furnace which heated the water.

[773] i.e. the most opposite things; the tyranny of Dionysius of Syracuse
and the liberty which Thrasybulus restored to Athens.

[774] Crimes to which men are driven through poverty.

[775] The ancients placed statues of Hecaté at the cross-roads ([Greek:
triodoi], places where three roads meet), because of the three names,
Artemis, Phoebé and Hecaté, under which the same goddess was worshipped.
On the first day of the month the rich had meals served before these
statues and invited the poor to them.

[776] A verse from Euripides' lost play of 'Telephus.' The same line
occurs in 'The Knights.'

[777] And not the citizens of Argos, whom agriculture and trade rendered
wealthy.--Pauson was an Athenian painter, whose poverty had become a
proverb. "Poorer than Pauson" was a common saying.

[778] There is here a long interval of time, during which Plutus is taken
to the Temple of Aesculapius and cured of his blindness. In the first
edition probably the Parabasis came in here; at all events a long choral
ode must have intervened.

[779] The Athenians had erected a temple to Theseus and instituted feasts
in his honour, which were still kept up in the days of Plutarch and
Pausanias. Barley broth and other coarse foods were distributed among the

[780] He was an orator, who was accused of theft and extortion, and who,
moreover, was said not to be a genuine Athenian citizen.

[781] The serpent was sacred to Aesculapius; several of these reptiles
lived in the temple of the god.

[782] Iaso (from [Greek: iasthai], to heal) and Panacea (from [Greek:
pan], everything, and [Greek: akeisthai], to cure) were daughters of

[783] He has to see, examine, and taste pill, potion, urine ... and

[784] An apothecary's outfit.

[785] Tenos is one of the Cyclades, near Andros.

[786] A deme of Attica, where the strongest vinegar came from.

[787] The Scholiast says that this was an individual as poor as he was
greedy, and on the watch for every opportunity to satisfy his
voracity.--The comic poets often had nuts, figs and other petty dainties
thrown to the audience. It was a fairly good way to secure the favour of
a certain section of the public.

[788] The ancients used oil in large quantities, whether for rubbing
themselves down after bathing or before their exercises in the palaestra,
or for the different uses of domestic life. It was kept in a kind of
tank, hollowed in the ground and covered with tiles or stones. The
wine-sellers had similar tanks, but of larger size, for keeping their

[789] This was what was styled the triple or complete sacrifice.

[790] As evidence of the sorry condition from which he had been raised.

[791] The clothes a man wore on the day that he was initiated into the
Mysteries of Eleusis had, according to custom, to be dedicated to the
gods, but only after they had been worn. Most people only decided to do
this when they were full of holes and torn; it is because his visitor's
cloak is in such a sorry condition that Chremylus takes it to be the
cloak of an Initiate.

[792] This Eudemus was a kind of sorcerer, who sold magic rings, to
which, among other virtues, he ascribed that of curing, or rather of
securing him who wore them, from snake-bites.

[793] The merchants engaged in maritime commerce were absolved from
military service; the Scholiast even declares, though it seems highly
unlikely, that all merchants were exempt from imposts on their
possessions. When it was a question of escaping taxes and military
service the informer passed as a merchant.

[794] At Athens 'twas only the injured person who could prosecute in
private disputes; everyone, however, had this right where wrongs against
the State were involved; but if the prosecutor only obtained one-fifth of
the votes, he was condemned to a fine of 1000 drachmae or banished the

[795] A proverbial saying, meaning, _the most precious thing_.--Battus, a
Lacedaemonian, led out a colony from Thera, an island in the Aegean sea,
and, about 630 B.C., founded the city of Cyrené in Africa. He was its
first king, and after death was honoured as a god. The inhabitants of
that country gathered great quantities of _silphium_ or 'laserpitium,'
the sap of which plant was the basis of medicaments and sauces that
commanded a high price. The coins of Cyrené bore the representation of a
stalk of _silphium_.

[796] The old woman had entered dressed as a young girl. Or is it merely
said ironically?

[797] A proverb, meaning, "_All things change with time._" Addressed to
the old woman, it meant that she had perhaps been beautiful once, but
that the days for love were over for her.--Miletus, the most powerful of
the Ionic cities, had a very numerous fleet and founded more than eighty
colonies; falling beneath the Persian yoke, the city never succeeded in
regaining its independence.

[798] Eleusis was some distance from Athens, about seven and a half
miles, and the wealthy women drove there. It was an occasion when they
vied with each other in the display of luxury.

[799] You are so old.

[800] The goddess of death and old age.

[801] Wineshop-keepers were often punished for serving false measure.
Hermes, who allowed them to be punished although he was the god of
cheating and was worshipped as such by the wineshop-keepers, deserved to
be neglected by them.

[802] The greater gods had a day in each month specially dedicated to
them; thus Hermes had the fourth, Artemis the sixth, Apollo the seventh,

[803] This game, which was customary during the feasts of Bacchus'
consisted in hopping on one leg upon a wine-skin that was blown out and
well greased with oil; the competitor who kept his footing longest on one
leg, gained the prize.

[804] The cake was placed on the altar, but eaten afterwards by the
priest or by him who offered the sacrifice.

[805] An allusion to the occupation of Phylé, in Attica on the Boeotian
border, by Thrasybulus; this place was the meeting-place of the
discontented and the exiled, and it was there that the expulsion of the
thirty tyrants was planned. Once victorious, the conspirators proclaimed
a general amnesty and swore to forget everything, [Greek: m_e
mn_esikakein], 'to bear no grudge,' hence the proverb which Aristophanes
recalls here.

[806] A verse taken from a lost tragedy by Euripides.

[807] Hermes runs through the gamut of his different attributes.

[808] As the rich citizens were accustomed to do at Athens.

[809] This trick was very often practised, its object being to secure the
double fee.

[810] He is giving Plutus this title.

[811] Within the precincts of the Acropolis, and behind the Temple of
Zeus Polias, there stood a building enclosed with double walls and double
gates, where the public Treasury was kept. Plutus had ceased to dwell
there, i.e. the Peloponnesian war and its disastrous consequences had
emptied the Treasury; however, at the time of the production of the
'Plutus,' Athens had recovered her freedom and a part of her former
might, and money was again flowing into her coffers.

[812] In the Greek there is a pun on the different significations of
[Greek: graus],_ _an old woman,_ and the _scum_, or 'mother,' which forms
on the top of boiling milk.

[813] In the 'Lysistrata' the Chorus similarly makes its exit singing.


[* Transcriber's note: The original index of this volume differs slightly
in formatting from that of volume one. In order to increase consistency,
I've reformatted this index according to the format in the first volume.]


Achilles, when mute
Achradusian, coined word
Adimantus, an admiral
--his father
Admetus, the King
Adulterers, depilated
Aeagrus, an actor
AESCHYLUS, verse from
--lost tragedy
--periods imitated
--supposed disciples
--'The Persae,'
--unfair criticism
--'Niobe' quoted
--'Glaucus Potniensis' quoted
Aesculapius, temple of
--daughters of
Aesimus, unknown
Agathon, tragic poet
--pederastic habits
Aglaurus, two women
Agoranomi (the)
Agyrrhius, an effeminate general
--an upstart
Alcaeus, a parody of
Alcibiades, lisp in speech
--obtains a subsidy
Alcmena, seduced by Zeus
Alimos, the town of
Alliance against Sparta
--garrison at Corinth
Allusion, obscene
--and Smaeus
--to Ulysses
Alopé, seduced by Posidon
Ammon, temple to Zeus
Amynon, infamy of
Andromeda, the play
--release of
Anti-dicasts and lawsuits
Antilochus, Nestor's son
Antiphon, a gluttonous parasite
Antisthenes, a constipated miser
Antithenes, a dissolute doctor
Aphareus, son of, his piercing vision
_Apodrasippides_, explained
Apollo as god of healing
--priestesses of
--altar, how misused
Apothecary, outfit of
Archers, mounted corps of
--at Athens
Ares, a fighting-cock
Arginusae, sea-battle of
--slaves who fought at
Argos, citizens of
Ariphrades, his infamous habits
Aristocrates, a general
Aristophanes, why uncrowned
--modifies opinion
Aristyllus, debaucheries of
Artemis, goddess of chase
--the surname of
Artemisium, battle of
Asia Minor, coast towns
Asses' (the) shadow
--asses used for the Mysteries
Athenian law
Attica, invasion of
Audience, favour, how gained
Augé, the seduced


Bacchus, "Feast of Cups"
--surnames of
Baptism, the pagan
Bar, the, language of
Barathrum, a ravine
Barriers, let down
Bastard, when of strange women
Baths, how heated
--use in winter
Battus, silphium of
Bed of Procrustes
Beginning, fable of the
Bell, to awaken sentinels
Birds as love-gifts
Boasters, the, of Corinth
Bottles painted on coffins
Boxing, story of
Brasidas, an Athenian general
Brigand, the option of
Buffoonery at Megara
Bullocks' intestines, as comparison
Buzzard, double meaning


Cake, eaten by priest
Callias, identity of
Callias, the general, his debaucheries
Calligenia, adoration of
Callimachus, poverty of
Canephori, rank in feasts
Canephoros, the part of
Cannonus, the decree of
Carians, mountaineers
Carcinus, tragic poet
--pun on name
--his three sons
Carding, woman's shape at
Caskets, how perfumed
Cats, lascivious
Centaur, the
Cephalae, pun on word
Cephalus, a demagogue
--his father
Cephisophon, a "ghost"
--seduces a wife
Ceramicus, the
--compared to the bat
Chaplets of flowers
Charitimides, an admiral
Chians, the, named in prayers
Children, when registered
Choenix (the)
Chorus, the lost
--exit singing
Choruses, when given
Cinesias, the poet
--his build
--befouls a statue
--the dissolute
Circumcision, where practised
Citizens, the fame of
Cleocritus, the strut of
Cleonymus, cowardly
--gluttony of
--wife of
Cleophon, a general
--an alien
Clepsydra (the)
Cloak. _See_ Clothes
Clothes, dedication of
Cligenes, a demagogue
Climax and anti-
Clisthenes, an effeminate
--accused of prostitution
Coffins, emblems on
Coins, in the mouth
Colaconymus, the flatterer
Colic, the, a remedy
Colonus, and Croydon
Connus, a flute-player
Conon, flight of
Coot's head, likeness to cunnus muliebris
Corcyra, whips of
Corinth, boasting at
--corruption at
--garrison at
Corinthian ships, obscene comparison
Corybantes (the), mysteries of
--sacred instrument
Cotyle, a measure
Courtesans, high prices
Court-opening, formula
Cramming oneself
Crane, herald of winter
--carry ballast
Cratinus, a comic poet
Cress, its properties
"Cretan monologues"
Crime and poverty
Criticism, too low
_Crows, going to_
Cuckoo, the
Curotrophos, meaning
Cyclops, the, and lyre
Cycni, the two
Cynna, the courtesan
Cyrené, the courtesan


Dardanus, flute-girls from
Daughters, lent to strangers
Dead bodies on plants
Debts, in relation to women
Demagogues as drones
Demeter, Mysteries of
--how represented
--goddess of abundance
Democracy in Olympus
Demolochocleon, explained
Demos, a young Athenian
Depilation, for adultery
"Descend," term explained
_Devil, to the_, how expressed
Dexinicus, the greedy
Diagoras, a convert to atheism
Dicasts, insignia
Diitrephes, rich basket-maker
Dining stations
Diomedes, a brigand
Diomeia, temple at
Dionysus, not brave
Dionysus, temple
--the god
Diopithes, a diviner
Diopithes, the orator
Discontented, the rendezvous of
Division (the), of lands
Dog, backside of
Door-hinge, moistened
Drachma (the)
Draughts, rules of
Dreams, fee to interpret
Duck's domain, the


Eagle, symbol of royalty
Egypt, soil of
Ekkiklyma, the
Elegants, effeminate
Eleusis, mysteries of
--women at
Eleven (the), who they were
Embezzling State funds
Empusa, a spectre
Engastromythes, explained
Englottogastors, meaning of
Epicrates, a demagogue
Epigonus, a pathic
Erasinidas, a general
Erinnys, a fury
Eryxis, noted for ugliness
Ether (the), physical theory of
Euathlus, a diffamer
Eudemus, the sorcerer
Euphemius, a flatterer
Euripides, a verse from
--date of his death
--distich from
--expressions from
--verse from Orestes
--lost tragedies
--verse from
--insipid style
--"ghost" of
--stage-characters of
--influence of his poetry
--labour criticised
--_versus_ Aeschylus
--'Antigoné' quoted
--'Telephus' and 'Meleager' quoted
--'Hippolytus,' line from
--'Aeolus' and 'Phryxus' quoted
--'Alcestis' quoted
--mother insulted
--'Helen' quoted
--how staged
--son of
--verse from
Eurycles, the diviner
Evaeon, poverty of
Excrement, voiding
--eating of, proverb
Execestides, stranger at Athens
--his tutelary deity
Eyes, bad, proverb on


Fear, effect of
Feast of Pots, the
Fees to citizens
Felicity, and cuttle-fish
"Fig leaves in fire"
Figs with tongues
--"denouncers of figs"
Figure of rhetoric
Fish, high price of
Flamingo, the
Fleet (the), supremacy of
Flowers, worn at feasts
Flute-girls, genitalia, ref. to
Fop, an old
Forest, pun on word
Four Hundred, the
_Friend of Strangers_, the


Gables, pun on word
Galleys, land of
Games given at Athens
Garlic, and gallants
Genetyllides, the
Geres, old fop
Gestation, ten months
Gibberish uttered by a god
Girls, unmarried, ornaments
Glaucetes, a glutton
Gods, the days of the
Gorgos, head of
Grasshopper, the, as comparison
Greek words, puns on
Grudge, bearing no
Gull, the voracious


Hades, leaders in
Harmodius, statue of
Hecaté, altars of
--the poor fed
--goddess of death
Hegelochus, an actor
Heliasts, tribunal of
--manner of voting
--daily salary
--acrid temper
--separated from public
--choice of
_Hellé's sacred waves_
Hellebore, for madness
Hemlock, effect of
Heracles, gluttony of
--descends to Hades
Heracles, Temple of
Hermes, attributes of
Hesiod on Plutus
"Hestia, addressing first"
Hiero, of Syracuse
Hieronymus, the argive
Hippias, tyranny of
Hippocrates, theories of
Hipponicus, the orator
Homer's text corrupted
"Horse, the," an erotic posture
Horses, devoured by
Hydriaphoros, the alien


Ibycus, the poet
Ilithyia, goddess of child-birth
Illyrians, the
Incest, in the 'Aeolus,'
Informer, business of
Ino, metamorphosis of
Intercourse, sexual
Interrupters, how dismissed
_Invoke the god_
Iophon, son of Sophocles


Jar of wine comp. to ass
Jest, obscene
Jocasta, married by son
Jokes, coarse
Jurymen, fees of
--tricks of
Justice, slowness of


_Kimos_, top of voting urn
Kite, the, and springtime


Laches, an Athenian general
--comic trial of dog and
--ref. to his peculations
Laespodias, a general
Laïs, the courtesan
Lamachus, better opinion of
Lamia, transformed
Lamiae (the)
Lamias, unknown
Lampadephoria, the
Lampon, a diviner
--prediction of
Lasus, the poet
Laurium, the mines of
Leather, allusion to old
Leogaras, an epicure
Leotrophides, his leanness
Lesbian women, tricks of
Literature, heavy
Locksmiths, Spartan
Lots, drawing
Love exercises, ref. to
_Love's Labour's Lost_
Lovers, gifts of
'Lycimnius,' a tragedy
Lycus, a titulary god
--statue of
Lyre, sound imitated
Lysicrates, a treacherous general
--famed for ugliness


Magic rings
Marathon, ref. to
Masks, use of
Masturbation, jest on
Measure, false, punished
Medusa, head of
Melanthius, a poet and leper
Megabyzus, a general
Megara, birthplace of comedy
Memière (Dr. P.), ref. to
Merchants, exemption of
Meton, a geometrician
"Milesian bravery"
Military service (_see_ Merchants)
Molon, a gigantic actor
Morsimus, a minor poet
Morychus, poet
--mantle of
"Mother of the Gods," the
Mother, son marries
Mouth-strap, (the)
Munychion, April
Myronides, a general
Myrtia, a baker's wife
Myrtle boughs, use of
Mysteries, insulting the
--of Eleusis


Naxos, island of
Neoclides, an orator
Nephelococcygia, meaning
Nicias, grandson of
Nicias, the general
--his slackness
Nightingale, song of
"Niobe," tragedies of
Nysa, a town of Dionysus


Odeon (the), by whom built
Odysseus, manner of escape
--as spy
--how he tortured
Odyssey, the, quoted
Offal, human, tasting
Oil, extensive use of
Olive leaves
Olophyxians, the
Omen, word for
--satire on
--starting on journey
Onions, as aphrodisiac
Oracles, trees as
Orators, infamous
--venom of
--wear chaplets
--rapacity of
"Orestes," prologue of the
Orestes, the robber
--cave alluded to
Origanum, used for corpses
Ornaments, worn by girls
Orneae, a town
--alluded to by prophet
Owls, as omen
--at Athens
Ox-fat, syn. for people


Palamedes, the inventor
Pamphilus, two of the name
Pan, the god
"Pankration" (the)
Pantacles, unknown
"Parsley and the rue"
Pathos and bathos
Patrocles, a rich miser
Pauson, ruined
--poverty of
Peace, mother of Plutus
Peacock and hoopoe
Pebble, the, how held
Pelargicon, the
Pellené, a town
Peplus, the
Perfumes, on dead bodies
Perseus, legend of
Persian (the), cloak
Phanae, land of informers
Pharnaces and bribery
Pharsalus, a town
Philepsius, a buffoon
Philippus, traitor and alien
Philocles, the poet
Phlegra, plain of
Phratria, registers of the
Phrygian Graces, the
Phrygians, origin of
Phrynichus, tragic writer
--precocious talent of
Phrynondas, the infamous
'Phryxus' (the), lines from
Phylarchs, the
Phylé, occupation of
Physicians, poorly paid
Pig-trough, for bar
Pigs, young, sacrificed
Pisander, a coward
Pittalus, a physician
Plants, aromatic, use of
--god of riches
--cured of blindness
Pnyx (the)
Poetry, and dissoluteness
Poets, seduction of
Pole, play on word
Polemarch (the)
Policemen, at Athens
Poltroons, names for
Poor, the
--coffins of
--the, fed monthly
Porphyrion, name of a Titan
Poverty, cause of crime
Presents, by lovers
Priestesses, title of
Private disputes, law anent
Procrustes, notorious brigand
Prodicus, the sophist
Pronomus, beard of
Proteas, play on name
Proteus, palace of
Proxeni, their duties
Purses, substitute for
Pyrrhic, the, dance


Quiver, pun on word


Rabelais, long word from
Racine, in the _Plaideurs_
Raven, a muzzled
Rewards, promised
Rich, the, dead
Ridicule feared
Rites for dead
Robe, Cretan
Rope, the vermilion
Rope's end, for _membrum virile_
Rowing, command to stop


Sacrifice, the complete
Sacrificial remains
Sailors, in danger
Saffron robe, meaning of
Salabaccha, a courtesan
Salaminian, the, a State galley
Samians, plot with Persians
Sardanapalus, used as title
Scaphephoros, symbol of
Sceptre, the, how made
Sciapodes, big feet of the
Scioné, a town
Scirophoria, feast of
Scorpions and orators
Scythian, the
--use as police
--his accent
Seal, how protected
Seals, broken
Sebinus, the treader
Semelé, mother of Bacchus
Serenades, Greek
Serpent, the sacred
Sesame cakes
Shakespeare, long word from
Shoemakers, women as
Shoes, etc., where left
Sight, extraordinary
Simois, city of the
Singing, exit whilst
--branding of
Smaeus, the debauchee
Socratic, the, "Elenchus"
Socrates, etc.
--comp. to vampires
--the accuser of
Soldier, as ambassador
Solon, laws of
Son, marries mother
--the Laocoon of
Sore throat and bribery
"Sows, little," obscene pun
--play on word
--alliance against
Sperchius, the
Sphettian vinegar
Sporgilus, a barber
State funds, embezzled
State, prosecuting the
Statutes, how protected
Sthenelus, an actor
Sthenoboea, an amorous queen
Stool, position at
Strangers, enjoy host's daughters
Streak, the red
Strouthian, the poulterer
Sun, the, parodied
Sunburnt, how to get
Sunshade carrier
Surnames of characters
Swearing, by the birds
Sybaris, the town of
Sycophants, origin of word
Syllables, seventy-seven
Syrmea, a plant


Tablets and scrolls
Taleas, a citizen
Talent, value of
Tartessus, a town
Taxes on slaves
Tenian garlic
Tereus, legend of
Terminus, the god
--play on word
Thales, his fame
Thallophores (the)
Tharelides, the jay
Theagenes, his farting
Theogenes, a boaster
Theorus, comp. to crow
Theseus, descent to Hades
--feasts of
THESMOPHORIA, when celebrated
--beautiful women
--women slaves forbidden
--lodging of women
--images of the gods
Thesmothetes (the)
Thespis, the dances of
Thorycion, frauds of
Thrace, towns of
Thrasybulus, deliverer of Athens
--takes Phylé
Thrasybulus the orator, sore throat of
_Threttanello_ (_see_ Lyre)
Thucydides, tongue-tied
Thymaetia, coats of
Tiara, how worn
Timon, the misanthrope
Timotheus, a general
Torch-race (the)
Tortures allowed
Townspeople despised
Tragic style, parodied
Treasure, proverb on
Treasury, the public
Triballi, the, a term of reproach
Tyranny, jest on death of


Ulysses' adventures
Urns, the two
Versatile people, proverb
Verse, a borrowed
Verses, sung by maidens
Vine-prop (the), a comparison
Vote, of juryman, how given


Wealth, and principle
Wild pears and sore throats
Wine-skin, hopping on
Wine-pits, the
Wineshop-keepers punished
Woman and carding
--"to go with," pun on word
--debt in relation to
--old woman, pun on
Women, at funerals
--secret loves of
--in child-bed
--period of gestation
--love of strong drink
--their form of oath
--addressed as men
--yellow tunics of
--pay their lovers
--display of luxury
Word, a wonderful
Wren, play on word
--in French and German


Xenocles, an inferior poet


Yellow tunics
Young men, how seduced


Zeus, the Deliverer


Back to Full Books