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We forbid the gods, the sons of Zeus, to pass through our city [1265] and the mortals to send them the smoke of their sacrifices by this road.

It's odd that the messenger [1270] we sent to the mortals has never returned.

The Herald enters, wearing a golden garland on his head.

Oh! blessed Pisthetaerus, very wise, very illustrious, very gracious, thrice happy, very ... Come, prompt me, somebody, do

Get to your story!

[1275] All peoples are filled with admiration for your wisdom, and they award you this golden crown.

I accept it. But tell me, why do the people admire me?

Oh you, who have founded so illustrious a city in the air, you know not in what esteem men hold you and how many there are who burn with desire to dwell in it. [1280] Before your city was built, all men had a mania for Sparta; long hair and fasting were held in honor, men went dirty like Socrates and carried staves. Now all is changed. [1285] Firstly, as soon as it's dawn, they all spring out of bed together to go and seek their food, the same as you do; then they fly off towards the notices and finally devour the decrees. [1290] The bird-madness is so clear that many actually bear the names of birds. There is a halting victualler, who styles himself the partridge; Menippus calls himself the swallow; Opuntius the one-eyed crow; [1295] Philocles the lark; Theogenes the fox-goose; Lycurgus the ibis; Chaerephon the bat; Syracosius the magpie; Midias the quail; indeed he looks like a quail that has been hit hard on the head. [1300] Out of love for the birds they repeat all the songs which concern the swallow, the teal, the goose or the pigeon; in each verse you see wings, or at all events a few feathers. This is what is happening down there. [1305] Finally, there are more than ten thousand folk who are coming here from earth to ask you for feathers and hooked claws; so, mind you supply yourself with wings for the immigrants.

Ah! by Zeus, there's no time for idling. To some slaves. Go as quick as possible and fill every hamper, [1310] every basket you can find with wings. Manes will bring them to me outside the walls, where I will welcome those who present themselves.

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Sparta (Greece) (1)

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 3, 3.15
  • Cross-references to this page (2):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.3.1
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 3.pos=7.5
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