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THESE two captives pointing to PHILOCRATES and TYNDARUS , whom you see standing here, are standing here because----they are both1 standing, and are not sitting. That I am saying this truly, you are my witnesses. The old man, who lives here pointing to HEGIO'S house , is Hegio-- his father pointing to TYNDARUS . But under what circumstances he is the slave of his own father, that I will here explain to you, if you give attention. This old man had two sons; a slave stole one child when four years old, and flying hence, he sold him in Elis2, to the father of this captive pointing to PHIILOCRATES . Now, do you understand this? Very good. I' faith, that man at a distance3 there pointing says, no. Come nearer then. If there isn't room for you to sit down, there is for you to walk; since you'd be compelling an actor to bawl like a beggar4. I'm not going to burst myself for your sake, so don't you be mistaken. You who are enabled by your means to pay your taxes5, listen to the rest6; I care not to be in debt to another. This runaway slave, as I said before, sold his young master, whom, whom he fled, he had carried off, to this one's father. He, after he bought him, gave him as his own private slave7 to his son of his, because they were of about the same age. He is now the slave at home of his own father, nor does his father know it. Verily, the Gods do treat us men just like footballs8. You hear the manner now how he lost one son. Afterwards, the Ætolians9 are waging war with the people of Elis, and, as happens in warfare, the other son is taken prisoner. The physician Menarchus buys him there in Elis. On this, this Hegio begins to traffic in Elean captives, if, perchance, he may be able to find one to change for that captive son of his. He knows not that this one who is in his house is his own son. And as he heard yesterday that an Elean knight of very high rank and very high family was taken prisoner, he has spared no expense to rescue his son10. In order that he may more easily bring him back home, he buys both of these of the Quæstors11 out of the spoil.

Now they, between themselves, have contrived this plan, that, by means of it, the servant may send away hence his master home. And therefore among themselves they change their garments and their names. He, there pointing , is called Philocrates; this one pointing , Tyndarus; he this day assumes the character of this one, this one of him. And this one to-day will cleverly carry out this plot, and cause his master to gain his liberty; and by the same means he will save his own brother, and without knowing it, will cause him to return back a free man to his own country to his father. just as often now, on many occasions, a person has done more good unknowingly than knowingly. But unconsciously, by their devices, they have so planned and devised their plot, and have so contrived it by their design, that this one is living in servitude with his own father. And thus now, in ignorance, he is the slave of his own father. What poor creatures are men, when I reflect upon it! This plot will be performed by us--a play for your entertainment. But there is, besides, a thing which, in a few words, I would wish to inform you of. Really, it will be worth your while to give your attention to this play. 'Tis not composed in the hackneyed style, nor yet like other plays, nor are there in it any ribald lines12 unfit for utterance: here is neither the perjured procurer, nor the artful courtesan, nor yet the braggart captain. Don't you be afraid because I've said that there's war between the Ætolians and the Eleans. There pointing , at a distance, beyond the scenes, the battles will be fought. For this were almost impossible for a Comic establishment13, that we should at a moment attempt to be acting Tragedy. If, therefore, any one is looking for a battle, let him commence the quarrel; if he shall find an adversary more powerful, I'll cause him to be the spectator of a battle that isn't pleasant to him, so that hereafter he shall hate to be a spectator them all. I now retire. Fare ye well, at home, most upright judges, and in warfare most valiant combatants.

1 Because--they are both: This is apparently intended as a piece of humour, in catching or baulking the audience. He begins as though he was going to explain why the captives are standing there, and ends his explanation with saying that they are standing because they are not sitting. A similar truism is uttered by Pamphila, in the Stichus, l. 120.

2 In Elis: Elis, or, as it is called by Plautus, "Alis," was a city of Achaia, in the north-western part of the Peloponnesus. Near it the Olympio games were celebrated

3 That man at a distance: One of the audience, probably a plebeian who has no seat, but is standing in a remote part of the theatre, is supposed to exclaim in a rude manner that he cannot hear what the actor says. On this the speaker tells him that he had better come nearer; and if he cannot find a seat, there is room for him to walk away. Possibly the verb "ambulo" may be intended to signify in this case either 'to walk" or "to stand," in contradistinction to sitting. Rost, with some reason, suggests "abscedito," "walk out," in place of "accedito," "come nearer."

4 To bawl like a beggar: Commentators have differed as to the meaning of this passage. Some think that he means that with the view of pleasing the plebeian part of the audience, he shall not bawl out like a beggar asking alms; while others suppose that the meaning is, that he will not run the risk of cracking his voice, after which he will be hissed off the stage, and so be reduced to beggary.

5 To pay your taxes: By this he shows that the party whom he is addressing, is either one of the lowest plebeians or a slave. In the assessment or census, which was made by the Censors, the slaves were not numbered at all, being supposed to have no "caput," or "civil condition." The lowest century were the "proletarii," whose only qualification was the being heads of families, or fathers of children. In addressing those who are reckoned in the census "ope vestrâ," "by your means" or "circumstances," he seems to be rebuking the "proletarii," who had no such standing, and who probably formed the most noisy part of the audience. As these paid no part of the taxes with which the theatres were in part supported, of course they would be placed at a greater distance from the stage, and probably were not accommodated with seats. It was just about this period that the elder Scipio assigned different places in the theatres to the various classes of the people.

6 Listen to the rest: "Reliquum" was a term which either signified generally, "what is left," or money borrowed and still unpaid. He plays upon these different meanings--"Accipite reliquum," which may either signify "hear the rest" or "take what is due and owing," and he then makes the observation, parenthetically, "alieno uti nil moror," "I don't care to be in debt."

7 His own private slave: "Peculiaris" means "for his own private use" or "attached to his person;" being considered as though bought with his son's "peculium," or ut of his own private purse. The "peculium" was the sum of money which a son in his minority was allowed by his father to be in possession of. The word also signified the savings of the slave.

8 Just like footballs: "Pilas." Among the ancients, games with the "pila" were those played with the "pila trigonalis," so called, probably, from the players standing in a triangle, and those with the "follis," which was a larger ball, inflated with air and struck with the hands, or used for a football. "Paganica" was a similar ball, but harder, being stuffed with feathers, and was used by the country-people. "Harpastum" was a small ball used by the Greeks, which was scrambled for as soon as it came to the ground, whence it received its name. The Greeks had a proverb similar to this expression, θεῶν παίγνια ἀνθρωποὶ, "men are the playthings of the Gods." So Plato called mankind θέων ἀθύπματα, "the sport of the Gods."

9 The Ætolians: Ætolia was a country of Greece, the southern portion of which was are bounded by the Corinthian Gulf; it was opposite to the Elean territory, from which it was divided by the gulf.

10 To rescue his son: "Filio dum parceret." Literally, "so long as he might spare his son."

11 Of the Quæstors: In speaking of these officers, Plautus, as usual, introduces Roman customs into a Play the scene of which is in Greece. It has been previously remarked that the Quæstors had the selling of the spoils taken in war.

12 Any ribald lines: See the address of the Company of actors to the Spectators at the end of the Play.

13 A Comic establishment: "Comico choragio." Literally, "for the choragium of Comedy." The " choragium" was the dress and furniture, or " properties" for the stage, supplied by the "choragus," or keeper of the theatrical wardrobe.

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