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And we have mentioned before this that Sylla, the general of the Romans, was very fond of anything laughable. And Lucius Anicius, who was also a general of the Romans, after he had subdued the Illyrians, and brought with him Genthius the king of the Illyrians as his prisoner, with all his children, when he was celebrating his triumphal games at Rome, did many things of the most laughable character possible, as Polybius relates in his thirtieth book:—“For having sent for the most eminent artists from Greece, and having erected a very large theatre in the circus, he first of all introduced all the flute-players. And these were Theodorus the Bœotian, and Theopompus, and Hermippus, surnamed Lysimachus, who were the most eminent men in their profession. And having brought these men in front of the stage after the chorus was over, he ordered them all to play the flute. And as they accompanied their music with appropriate gestures, he sent to them and said that they were not playing well, and desired them to be more vehement. And while they were in perplexity, one of the lictors told them that what Anicius wished was that they should turn round so as to advance towards each other, and give a representation of a battle. And then the flute-players, taking this hint, and adopting a movement not unsuited to their habitual wantonness, caused a great tumult and confusion; and turning the middle of the chorus towards the extremities, the flute-players, all blowing unpremeditated notes, and letting their flutes be all out of tune, rushed upon one another in turn: and at the same time the choruses, all making a noise to correspond to them, and coming on the stage at the same time, rushed also upon one another, and then again retreated, advancing and retreating alternately. But when one of the chorus-dancers tucked up his garment, and suddenly turned round and raised his hands against the flute-player who was coming towards him, as if he was going to box with him, then there arose an extraordinary [p. 982] clapping and shouting on the part of the spectators. And while all these men were fighting as if in regular battle, two dancers were introduced into the orchestra with a symphony, and four boxers mounted the stage, with trumpeters and horn-players: and when all these men were striving together, the spectacle was quite indescribable: and as for the tragedians,” says Polybius, “if I were to attempt to describe what took place with respect to them, I should be thought by some people to be jesting.”
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