Now, while Ulpian was continuing the conversation in this way, one of the cooks, who made some pretence to learn- ing, came in, and proclaimed μύμα. And when many of us were perplexed at this proclamation, (for the rascal did not show what it was that he had,) he said;—You seem to me, O guests, to be ignorant that Cadmus, the grandfather of Bacchus, was a cook. And, as no one made any reply to this, he said; Euhemerus the Coan, in the third book of his Sacred History, relates that the Sidonians give this account, that Cadmus was the cook of the king, and that he, having taken Harmonia, who was a female flute-player and also a slave of the king, fled away with her.—
But shall I flee, who am a freeman bornFor no one can find any mention in any comedy of a cook being a slave, except in a play of Posidippus. But the introduction of slaves as cooks took place among the Macedonians first, who adopted this custom either out of insolence or on account of the misfortunes of some cities which had been reduced to slavery. And the ancients used to call a cook who [p. 1054] was a native of the country, Mæson; but if he was a foreigner, they called him Tettix. And Chrysippus the philosopher thinks the name μαίσων is derived from the verb μασάομαι, to eat; a cook being an ignorant man, and the slave of his appetite; not knowing that Mæson was a comic actor, a Megarian by birth, who invented the mask which was called μαίσων, from him; as Aristophanes of Byzantium tells us, in his treatise on Masks, where he says that he invented a mask for a slave and also one for a cook. So that it is a deserved compliment to him to call the jests which suit those characters μαισωνικά. For cooks are very frequently represented on the stage as jesting characters; as, for instance, in the Men selecting an Arbitrator, of Menander. And Philemon in one of his plays says—
'Tis a male sphinx, it seems, and not a cook,But Polemo says, in his writings which are addressed to Timæus, that Mæson was indeed a Megarian, but from Megara in Sicily, and not from Nisæa. And Posidippus speaks of slaves as cooks, in his Woman Shut out, where he says—
That I've brought home; for, by the gods I swear,
I do not understand one single word
Of all he says; so well provided is he
With every kind of new expression.
Thus have these matters happen'd: but just now,And, in his Foster Brothers, he says—
While waiting on my master, a good joke
Occurr'd to me; I never will be caught
Stealing his meat.
A. Did you go out of doors, you who were cook?
B. If I remain'd within I lost my supper.
A. Let me then first . . . . B. Let me alone, I say;
I'm going to the forum to sacrifice:
A friend of mine, a comrade too in art,
Has hired me.