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HERALD
Move on up, move on, move on, to get within the consecrated area.1

AMPHITHEUS
Has anyone spoken yet?

HERALD
Who asks to speak?

AMPHITHEUS
I do.

HERALD
Your name?

AMPHITHEUS
Amphitheus.

HERALD
You are no man.2

AMPHITHEUS
No! I am an immortal! Amphitheus was the son of Ceres and Triptolemus; of him was born Celeus. Celeus wedded Phaenerete, my grandmother, whose son was Lucinus, and, being born of him I am an immortal; it is to me alone that the gods have entrusted the duty of treating with the Lacedaemonians. But, citizens, though I am immortal, I am dying of hunger; the Prytanes give me naught.3

A PRYTANIS
Guards!

AMPHITHEUS
Oh, Triptolemus and Ceres, do ye thus forsake your own blood?

DICAEOPOLIS
Prytanes, in expelling this citizen, you are offering an outrage to the Assembly. He only desired to secure peace for us and to sheathe the sword.

PRYTANIS
Sit down and keep silence!

DICAEOPOLIS
No, by Apollo, I will not, unless you are going to discuss the question of peace.

HERALD
The ambassadors, who are returned from the Court of the King!

DICAEOPOLIS
Of what King? I am sick of all those fine birds, the peacock ambassadors and their swagger.

HERALD
Silence!

DICAEOPOLIS
Oh! oh! by Ecbatana,4 what a costume!

1 Shortly before the meeting of the Assembly, a number of young pigs were immolated and a few drops of their blood were sprinkled on the seats of the Prytanes; this sacrifice was in honour of Ceres.

2 The name, Amphitheus, contains [the Greek] word [for] ‘god.’

3 Amongst other duties, it was the office of the Prytanes to look after the wants of the poor.

4 The summer residence of the Great King.

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Ecbatana (Iran) (1)

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