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First Woman
Good; you must take up your place at the foot of the platform and facing the Prytanes.

Second Woman
I have brought this with me to card during the Assembly.

She shows some wool.

Praxagora
[90] During the Assembly, wretched woman?

Second Woman
Surely, by Artemis! shall I hear any less well if I am doing a bit of carding? My little ones are all but naked.

Praxagora
Think of her wanting to card! whereas we must not let anyone see the smallest part of our bodies. [95] 'Twould be a fine thing if one of us, in the midst of the discussion, rushed on to the speaker's platform and, flinging her cloak aside, showed her Phormisius. If, on the other hand, [100] we are the first to take our seats closely muffled in our cloaks, none will know us. Let us fix these beards on our chins, so that they spread all over our bosoms. How can we fail then to be mistaken for men?

First Woman
Agyrrhius has deceived everyone, thanks to the beard of Pronomus; yet he was no better than a woman, and you see how he now holds the first position in the city.

[105]

Praxagora
Thus, I adjure you by this day that is about to dawn, let us dare to copy him and let us be clever enough to possess ourselves of the management of affairs. Let us save the ship of state, which just at present none seems able either to sail or row.

First Woman
In a tragic style.
[110] But where shall we find orators in an Assembly of women?

Praxagora
Nothing simpler. Is it not said that the cleverest speakers are those who get made love to most often? Well, thanks to the gods, we are that by nature.

First Woman
[115] There's no doubt of that; but the worst of it is our inexperience.

Praxagora
That's the very reason we are gathered here, in order to prepare the speech we must make in the Assembly. Hasten, therefore, all you who know aught of speaking, to fix on your beards.

First Woman
[120] Oh! you stupid thing! is there ever a one among us cannot use her tongue?

Praxagora
Come, look sharp, on with your beard and become a man. As for me, I will do the same in case I should have a fancy for getting on to the platform. Here are the chaplets.

They all put on their beards.

First Woman
Oh! great gods! my dear Praxagora, do look here! [125] Is it not laughable?

Praxagora
How laughable?

First Woman
Our beards look like broiled cuttle-fishes.

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hide References (3 total)
  • Commentary references to this page (1):
    • E.C. Marchant, Commentary on Thucydides: Book 2, 2.64
  • Cross-references to this page (1):
    • Raphael Kühner, Bernhard Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechischen Sprache, KG 1.3.1
  • Cross-references in general dictionaries to this page (1):
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