This text is part of:
Enter HEGIO, from his house, speaking to those within.
I shall return in-doors just now, when I shall have discovered from these people what I want to know. To the SLAVES. Where are those persons whom I ordered to be brought out of doors here, before the house ? PHILOCRATES
By my faith, I find that you have taken due precaution that we shouldn't be missed by you, so walled in are we with chains and keepers. HEGIO
He that takes precaution that he mayn't be deceived, is hardly on his guard, even while he's taking precaution; even when he has supposed that he has taken every precaution, full often is this wary man outwitted. Was there not good reason, indeed, for me to watch you carefully, whom I purchased with so large a sum of ready money? PHILOCRATES
Troth, it isn't fair for us to hold you to blame, because you watch us closely; nor yet for you us, if we go away hence, should there be an opportunity. HEGIO
As you are here, so is my son a captive there among your people. PHILOCRATES
He, a captive? HEGIO
Even so. PHILOCRATES
We, then, have not proved the only cowards1. HEGIO
to PHILOCRATES, supposing him to be the SERVANT of the other . Step you aside this way, for there are some things that I wish to enquire of you in private, on which subjects I would have you not to be untruthful to me, They step aside. PHILOCRATES
I will not be, as to that which I shall know; if I shall not know anything, that which I don't know I'll tell you of. TYNDARUS
. aside . Now is the old fellow in the barber's shop; now, at this very instant, is Philocrates wielding the razor2. He hasn't cared, indeed, to put on the barber's cloth3, so as not to soil his dress. But whether to say that he's going to shave him close, or trim him4 through the eomb5, I don't know; but if he's wise, he'll scrape him right well to the very quick. HEGIO
to PHILOCRATES . Which would you? Would you prefer to be a slave, or a free man?--Tell me. PHILOCRATES
That which is the nearest to good, and the furthest off from evil, do I prefer; although my servitude hasn't proved very grievous to me, nor has it been otherwise to me than if I had been a son in the family. TYNDARUS
aside . Capital! I wouldn't purchase, at a talent's price even, Thales the Milesian6; for compared with this man's wisdom, he was a very twaddler. How cleverly has he suited his language to the slave's condition. HEGIO
Of what family is this Philocrates born? PHILOCRATES
The Polyplusian7; which one family is flourishing there, and held in highest esteem. >HEG.
. What is he himself? In what esteem is he held there? PHILOCRATES
In the highest, and that by the very highest men. HEGIO
Since, then, he is held in such great respect among the Eleans, as you tell of, what substance has he?--Of large amount? PHILOCRATES
Enough for him, even, when an old man, to be melting out the tallow8. HEGIO
What is his father? Is he living? PHILOCRATES
When we departed thence, we left him alive; whether he's living now or not, Orcus, forsooth, must know that. TYNDARUS
aside . The matter's all right; he's not only lying, but he's even philosophizing now. HEGIO
What's his name? PHILOCRATES
That name has been given, I suppose, by reason of his wealth, as it were. PHILOCRATES
Troth, not so, but rather by reason of his avarice and grasping disposition; for, indeed, he was Theodoromedes originally by name. HEGIO
How say you? Is his father covetous? PHILOCRATES
Aye, by my faith, he is covetous. Why, that you may even understand it the better,--when he's sacrificing at any time to his own Genius10, the vessels that are needed for the sacrifice he uses of Samian ware, lest the Genius himself should steal them; from this, consider how much he would trust other people. HEGIO
addressing TYNDARUS as though PHILOCRATES . Do you then follow me this way. (Aside.) The things that I desire to know, I'll enquire of him.Addressing TYNDARUS. Philocrates, this person has done as it becomes an honest man to do. For from him I've learnt of what family you are sprung; he has confessed it to me. If you are willing to own these same things (which, however, understand that I already know from him), you will be doing it for your own advantage. TYNDARUS
He did his duty when he confessed the truth to you, although, Hegio, I wished carefully to conceal both my rank and my wealth; now, inasmuch as I've lost my country and my liberty, I don't think it right for him to be dreading me rather than you. The might of warfare has made my fortunes on a level with himself. I remember the time when he didn't dare to do it in word; now, in deed, he is at liberty to offend me. But don't you see? Human fortune moulds and fashions just as she wills. Myself, who was a free man she has made a slave, from the very highest the very lowest. I, who was accustomed to command, now obey the mandates of another. And indeed, if I meet with a master just such as I proved the ruler in my own household, I shall not fear that he will rule me harshly or severely. With this, Hegio, I wished you to be acquainted, unless perchance you your self wish it not. HEGIO
Speak boldly out. TYNDARUS
As free a man was I till lately as your son. As much did a hostile hand deprive me of my liberty as him of his. As much is he a slave among my people, as I am now a slave here with yourself. There is undoubtedly a God, who both hears and sees the things which we do. Just as you shall treat me here, in the same degree will he have a care for him. To the well-deserving will he show favour, to the ill-deserving will he give a like return. As much as you lament your son, so much does my father lament me. HEGIO
That I am aware of. But do you admit the same that lie has disclosed to me? TYNDARUS
I confess that my father has very great wealth at home, and that I am born of a very noble family; but I entreat you, Hegio, let not my riches make your mind too prone to avarice, lest it should seem to my father, although I am his only son, more suitable that I should be a slave in your house, bountifully supplied at your expense and with your clothing, rather than be living the life of a beggar where 'twould be far from honorable. HEGIO
By the favour of the Gods and of my forefathers, I am rich enough. I don't quite believe that every kind of gain is serviceable to mankind. I know that gain has already made many a man famous; and yet there are occasions when it is undoubtedly better to incur loss than to make gain. Gold I detest: many a one has it persuaded to many an evil course. Now give your attention to this, that you may know as well what my wishes are. My son, taken prisoner. is in servitude at Elis there among your people; if you restore him to me, don't you give me a single coin besides; both you and him, your servant, I'll send back from here; on no other terms can you depart hence. TYNDARUS
You ask what's very right and very just, and you are the very kindest person of all mankind. But whether is he in servitude to a private person or to the public11? HEGIO
In private servitude to Menarchus, a physician. PHILOCRATES
By my faith, that person's surely his father's dependant. Why really, that's down as pat for you, as the shower is when it rains. HEGIO
Do you then cause this person, my son, to be redeemed. TYNDARUS
I'll do so: but this I beg of you, Hegio---- HEGIO
Whatever you wish, so that you request nothing against my interest, I'll do. TYNDARUS
Listen then, and you'll know. I don't ask for myself to be released, until he has returned. But I beg of you to give me him pointing to PHILOCRATES with a price set12 upon him, that I may send him to my father, that this person, your son, may be redeemed there. HEGIO
Why no; I'd rather send another person hence, when there shall be a truce, to confer with your father there, and to carry your injunctions which you shall entrust him with, just as you wish. TYNDARUS
But it's of no use to send to him one that he doesn't know; you'd be losing your labour. Send this person; he'll have it all completed, if he gets there. And you cannot send any person to him more faithful, nor one in whom he places more confidence, nor who is more a servant after his own mind; nor, in fact, one to whom he would more readily entrust your son. Have no fears; at my own peril I'll make proof of his fidelity, relying upon his disposition; because he is sensible that I'm kindly disposed towards him. HEGIO
Well then, I'll send him with a price set upon him, on the surety of your promise, if you wish it. TYNDARUS
I do wish it; so soon as ever it can, I want this matter to be brought to completion. HEGIO
What reason is there, then, that if he doesn't return, you should not pay me twenty minæ for him? TYNDARUS
Yes--very good. HEGIO
to the SLAVES, who obey . Release him now forthwith; and, indeed, both of them. On being released, PHILOCRATES goes into the house. TYNDARUS
May all the Gods grant you all your desires, since you have deigned me honor so great, and since you release me from my chains. Really, this is not so irksome now, since my neck is free from the collar-chain. HEGIO
The kindnesses that are done to the good, thanks for the same are pregnant with blessings. Now, if you are about to send him thither, direct, instruct him, give him the orders which you wish to be carried to your father. Should you like me to call him to you? TYNDARUS
Do call him. HEGIO goes to the door, and calls PHILOCRATES.
1 The only cowards: He alludes to the notion in the heroic times, that it was the duty of a warrior to conquer or to die, and that it was disgraceful to be made prisoner.
2 Wielding the razor: It is hard to say whether by the word "cultros," in this passage, razors or scissors are meant.
3 To put on the barber's cloth: He probably means by thus expression that Philocrates has made no preamble, and shown no hesitation, in commencing at once to dupe the old man.
4 Or trim him: He alludes here to the two kinds of shaving and trimming the beard used by the barbers among the ancients. The one was close "strictim," when they shaved to the skin; the other was, when with a pair of scissors they clipped the hair, with the interposition of a comb. The former fashion was called by the Greeks δκάφιον; the latter method, which was borrowed from the Persians, κῆπιος;. "Esse in tonstrinâ," "to be in the barber's shop," was a proverbial expression to denote "being imposed upon." Tyndarus is wondering to what extent Philocrates is going to impose upon Hegio.
5 Through the comb: The Greeks and Romans made their combs of boxwood, much of which was imported from Paphlagonia. The Egyptians used them made of wood and of ivory, and toothed on one side only; while those of the Greeks had teeth on both sides.
6 Thales the Milesian: A talent would be a low price for such a learned slave as Thales the Milesian, who was one of the seven wise men of Greece. He says, however, that Thales at such a low price would be nothing in comparison with Philocrates for the same money.
7 The Polyplusian: This word is coined by Philocrates for the occasion, as being the name of his family, from the Greek word πολμπλομσιὸς, "very wealthy;" probably with the idea of raising the expectations of Hegio and making him the more ready to promote an exchange of his own son for a member of so opulent a family.
8 Melting out the tallow: Hegio asks him if his riches are very abundant, and in doing so uses the word "opimæ," of which the primary meaning was "fat;" the other answers, "Yes, so fat that he can be melting the tallow out of them even when he is an old man;" meaning thereby that he is amply provided with means.
9 Thesaurochrysonicocrœsides: This is a name made up of several Greek words, and seems to mean "a son of Crœsus, abounding in treasures of gold," in allusion to Crœsus, the wealthy king of Lydia. The author indulges m similar pleasantry in the Miles Gloriosus.
10 To his own Genius: As the Genius of a man was not only his guardian Deity through life, but the word was also used to signify his capacity for enjoyment; the term "to sacrifice to his Genius," is supposed by some Commentators to mean, "to indulge the appetite in feasting and good checr." This, however, seems not to be the meaning in this instance; and he probably intends to be understood as alluding, literally, to the domestic sacrifice to the Genius
11 Or to the public: Some captives were employed in the public service, while others fell into the hands of private individuals.
12 With a price set: "Æstimatus" here means "entrusted to a person at a fixed value, and at his risk for the due return of it."
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.