And whole nations also have been ridiculed by the comic poets for their gluttony; as the Bœotians, for instance. Accordingly, Eubulus says, in his Antiopa—
We are courageous men to toil and eat,And in his Europa he says—
And to endure sharp pain; the Attic race
Is quick and eloquent, and they eat little;
But the Bœotians eat enormously.
Go now and build up the Bœotian city,'And in his Ionian he says—
Where the men eat all day and never tire.
He is so thorough a BœotianAnd in his Cercopes he says—
In all his manners, that, like them, 'tis said
He's never tired nor content with eating.
And after that I came to Thebes, where menAnd in his Mysians he represents some one as making the following speech to Hercules—
Spend the whole night in feasts and revelry;
And each man has a privy at his doors,
Which is a great boon to an o'er-fed man;
[p. 658] For men who have got a long way to go,
And who eat much and bite their weary lips,
Are some of the most ludicrous of sights.
You leaving, as you say, the Theban plain,Diphilus in his Bœotian, says—
Where valiant men sit eating all the day,
Being all throat, and close beside the privy.
That man can eat, beginning before dawn,Mnesimachus, in his Busiris, says—
Or come again and eat till the following day.
. . . . . . . For I am a Bœotian,Alexis, in his Trophonius, says—
Who do not eat much else, except these things.
And now that you may not be found out thus,And Achæus, in his Contests, says—
And spoken of as men of Bœotia,
By those whose wont it is to run you down,
As men unequali'd in creating noise,
And knowing nothing else save how to eat
And drink unceasingly the whole night long;
Strip yourselves quick, and all prepare for action.
A. Are you now speaking to the spectators here,And very likely it is because of all this that Eratosthenes, in his Epistles, says, that Pempelus, when he was asked, “What sort of people the Bœotians appeared to him?” answered, “That they only spoke just as vessels might be expected to speak, if they had a voice, of how much each of them could hold.” And Polybius of Megalopolis, in the twentieth book of his Histories, says that the Bœotians, having gained great glory at the battle of Leuctra, after that relaxed their courage again, and turned to feasting and drunkenness, and to making parties for eating among friends; and many of them, even of those who had children, spent the greater part of their substance on their feasts so that there were a great number of Bœotians who had more invitations to supper than there were days in the month. On which account the Megarians, hating [p. 659] such a system as that, abandoned their alliance, and joined themselves to the Achæans.
Or to the body of competitors?
B. To those who eat much, as men training do.
A. Whence do the strangers come from?
B. They're Bœotians.