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Let the Thracians withdraw and return the day after tomorrow; the Prytanes declare the sitting at an end.

Ye gods, what garlic I have lost! But here comes Amphitheus returned from Lacedaemon. Welcome, Amphitheus.

No, there is no welcome for me and I fly as fast as I can, for I am pursued by the Acharnians.

Why, what has happened?

I was hurrying to bring your treaty of truce, but some old dotards from Acharnae1 got scent of the thing; they are veterans of Marathon, tough as oak or maple, of which they are made for sure—rough and ruthless. They all started a-crying: “Wretch! you are the bearer of a treaty, and the enemy has only just cut our vines!” Meanwhile they were gathering stones in their cloaks, so I fled and they ran after me shouting.

Let 'em shout as much as they please! But HAVE you brought me a treaty?

Most certainly, here are three samples to select from,2 this one is five years old; take it and taste.



It does not please me; it smells of pitch and of the ships they are fitting out.3

Here is another, ten years old; taste it.

It smells strongly of the delegates, who go around the towns to chide the allies for their slowness.4

This last is a truce of thirty years, both on sea and land.

Oh! by Bacchus! what a bouquet! It has the aroma of nectar and ambrosia; this does not say to us, “Provision yourselves for three days.” But it lisps the gentle numbers, “Go whither you will.”5 I accept it, ratify it, drink it at one draught and consign the Acharnians to limbo. Freed from the war and its ills, I shall keep the Dionysia6 in the country.

And I shall run away, for I'm mortally afraid of the Acharnians.

1 The deme of Acharnae was largely inhabited by charcoal-burners, who supplied the city with fuel.

2 He presents them in the form of wines contained in three separate skins.

3 Meaning, preparations for war.

4 Meaning, securing allies for the continuance of the war.

5 When Athens sent forth an army, the soldiers were usually ordered to assemble at some particular spot with provisions for three days.

6 These feasts were also called the Anthesteria or Lenaea; the Lenaem was a temple to Bacchus, erected outside the city. They took place during the month Anthesterion (February).

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