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I HAVE a mind1 to imitate the Achilles of Aristarchus2 from that Tragedy I'll take for myself the opening: "Be silent, and hold your tongues, and give attention." The head-manager it is who bids you listen, that with a good grace they may be seated on the benches, both those who have come hungry and those who have come well filled. You who have eaten, by far the most wisely have you done: you who have not eaten, do you be filled with the Play. But he who has something ready for him to eat, 'tis really great folly in him, for our sakes, to come here to sit fasting. Rise up, cryer! bespeak attention among the people: I'm now waiting to see if you know your duty. Exercise your voice, by means of which you subsist and find your clothes; for unless you do cry out, in your silence starvation will be creeping upon you. Well, now sit down again, that you may earn double wages. Heaven grant success3! do you obey my commands. Let no worn-out debauchee4 be sitting in the front of the stage, nor let the lictor or his rods5 be noisy in the least; and let no seat-keeper6 be walking about before people's faces, nor be showing any to their seats, while the actor is on the stage. Those who have been sleeping too long at home in idleness, it's right for them now to stand contentedly, or else let them master their drowsiness. Don't let slaves be occupying the seats7, that there may be room for those who are free; or else let them pay down the money for their places8; if that they cannot do, let them be off home, and escape a double evil, lest they be variegated both here with scourges, and with thongs at home, if they've not got things in due order when their masters come home. Let nurses keep children, baby-bantlings, at home, and let no one bring them to see the Play; lest both they themselves may be athirst9, and the children may die with hunger; and that they mayn't be squealing about here, in their hungry fits, just like kids. Let the matrons see the piece in silence, in silence laugh, and let them refrain from screaming here with their shrill voices; their themes for gossip let them carry off home, so as not to be an annoyance to their husbands both here and at home. And, as regards the managers of the performance, let not the palm of victory be given to any player wrongfully, nor by reason of favour let any be driven out of doors, in order that the inferior may be preferred to the good ones. And this, too, besides, which I had almost forgotten: while the performance is going on, do you, lacqueys, make an onset on the cookshops; now, while there's an opportunity, now, while the tarts10 are smoking hot, hasten there. These injunctions, which have been given as the manager's command, Heaven prosper them! troth now, let every one remember for himself. Now, in its turn, I wish to go back to the plot, that you may be equally knowing with myself. Its site, its limits, its boundaries I'll now lay down; for that purpose have I been appointed surveyor. But, unless it's troublesome, I wish to give you the name of this Comedy: but if it is an annoyance, I'll tell you still, since I have leave from those who have the management. This Comedy is called the "Carthaginian11;" in the Latin, Plautus has called it "the Pulse-eating Kinsman12." You have the name, then; now hear the rest of the story; for here will this plot be judged of by you. Its own stage is the proper place for every plot; you are the critics; I pray you lend attention. There were two cousins-german13, Carthaginians, of a very high and very wealthy family. One of them is still alive, the other's dead. The more confidently do I inform you of this, because the undertaker14 told me so, who anointed him for the pile. But the only son there was of that old man who died, being separated from his father, was stolen at Carthage when seven years old, six years, in fact, before his father died. When he saw that his only son was lost to him, he himself, from grief, fell sick; he made this cousin-german of his his heir; he himself departed for Acheron without taking leave15. The person who stole the child, carried him off to Calydon, and sold him here to a certain rich old man for his master, one desirous of children, but a hater of women. This old man, without knowing it, bought the son of his host, that same child, and adopted him as his own son, and made him his heir when he himself departed this life. This young man is dwelling here in this house. Pointing to the house of AGORASTOCLES. Once more do I return to Carthage. If you want to give any commission, or anything to be managed--unless a person16 gives the money, he will be mistaken; but he who does give it will be very much more mistaken. But this father's cousin of his at Carthage, the old man who is still alive, had two daughters. The one when in her fifth year, the other in her fourth, were lost, together with their nurse, from the walks in the suburbs17. The person who kidnapped them, carried them off to Anactorium18, and sold them all, both nurse and girls, for ready money, to a man (if a Procurer is a man) the most accursed of men, as many as the earth contains; but do you yourselves now form a conjecture what sort of man it is whose name is Lycus19. He removed, not long ago, from Anactorium, where he formerly lived, to Calydon20 here, for the sake of his business. Be dwells in that house. Pointing to the house of LYCUS. This young man is dying distractedly in love with one of them, his kinswoman, not knowing that fact; neither is he aware who she is, nor has he ever touched her (so much does the Procurer hamper him); neither has he hitherto ever had any improper connexion with her, nor ever taken her home to his house; nor has that Procurer been willing to send her there. Because he sees that he is in love, he wishes to touch this man for a good haul. A certain Captain, who is desperately in love with her, is desirous to buy this younger one to be his mistress. But their father, the Carthaginian, since he lost them, has been continually seeking them in every quarter, by sea and land. When he has entered any city, at once he seeks out all the courtesans, wherever each of them is living; he gives her gold, and prolongs the night in his enquiries; after that he asks whence she comes, of what country, whether she was made captive or kidnapped, born of what family, who her parents were. So diligently and so skilfully does he seek for his daughters. He knows all languages, too; but, though he knows them, he pretends not to know them: what need is there of talking? He is a Carthaginian all over21. He, in the evening of yesterday, came into harbour here on board ship. The father of these girls, the same is the father's cousin of this young man. Now d'ye take22 this? If you do take it, draw it out: take care not to break it asunder; pray, let it proceed. Moving as if to go. Dear me! I had almost forgotten to say the rest. He who adopted this young man as his own son, the same was the guest of that Carthaginian, this old man's father. He will come here to-day, and discover his daughters here, and this person, his cousin's son, as indeed I've learnt. He, I say, who'll come to-day, will find his daughters and this his cousin's son. But after this, farewell!--attend; I'm off; I now intend to become another man23. As to what remains, some others remain who'll explain all to you. I'll go and dress. With kindly feelings do you then recognize me. Farewell! and give me your aid, that Salvation may prove propitious to you.
1 Title The young Carthaginian: Cicero uses the word "Pœnulus," as signifying merely "a Carthaginian." It is difficult to say whether the Play is so styled in reference to Hanno, merely as a citizen of Carthage, or whether the word refers to the young man Agorastocles, in the sense of the "young Carthaginian." From an expression used in the Fifth Act, "a man's great toe," it would appear that Hanno was represented on the stage as a person of diminutive stature; in consequence of which, it has been suggested that the meaning is "the little Carthaginian." Lipsius thinks that this Prologue was not written by Plautus, and indeed some scholars suspect the whole Play to be spurious.
2 Achilles of Aristarchus: Aristarchus was a Tragic Poet, the contemporary of Euripides, and flourished about 250 years before the time of Plautus. His Tragedy of Achilles no longer exists. We are informed by Festus that it was translated into Latin by the Poet Eunius.
3 Heaven grant success: "Bonum factum est." Literally, "it is a good deed." This was a stated form, placed at the commencement of Roman edicts and proclamations, as ensuring a good omen.
4 Worn-out debauchee: "Scortum exoletum." As the word "scortum" may apply to either sex, it is not improbable that this is intended as a notice to the old and battered debauchees, that they are not to take the liberty of occupying the front of the stage, as perhaps, in their effrontery, they had lately been in the habit of doing.
5 Or his rods: These "virgæ" were used by the lictors for the purposes of punishment, and if stiff and hard, would be likely to make a noise when struck against any object.
6 No seat-keeper: "Designator." It was the duty of this officer to point out to persons their seats.
7 Occupying the seats: It has been previously remarked that only standing room was provided in the theatres for the slaves.
8 The money for their places: "Æs pro capite." The meaning of this term, as here used, is not exactly known. Some think that it means, that if the slaves want seats, let them pay down money for their freedom, on which they will be entitled to them. It is not improbable that the phase means, "let them pay money for their seats;" and Muretus supposes that the right of letting out certain seats was reserved by the actors as their own perquisite.
9 May be athirst: This is not the only place where Plautus refers to the love which the Roman nurses had for the bottle.
12 Pulse-eating Kinsman: "Patruus pultiphagonides." The Roman "puls," or "pottage," was composed of meat, water, honey, cheese, and eggs. There was a particular sort of "puls," called "puls Punica," or "Punic pottage." As this Play was written at the period of the second Carthaginian war, Plautus would not object to hold their enemies up to contempt as mere "porridge-eaters."
13 Two cousins- german: "Fratres fratrueles." "Sons of brothers." This clears up all the confusion that otherwise seems to exist in the Play, by reason of Agorastocles continually calling Hanno his "patruus," which Warner (to avoid confusion, as he says) translates "uncle." It is pretty clear that "patruus" was a term extending not only to uncles, but to other collateral relatives of the father; not only father's brothers, but father's cousins.
14 The undertaker: "Pollinctor." This was properly the servant of the "libitinarius," or "undertaker." See the Asinaria, l. 916, and the Note.
15 Without taking leave: "Sine viatico." Literally, "without provisions for the journey." This, probably, simply means that he died suddenly and unexpectedly. Some think that it refers to the ceremony of placing a piece of money in the mouths of the dead, for payment to Charon, on ferrying them over the Styx. If so, the allusion here appears to be very purposeless.
17 In the suburbs: "Magalia," or "magara," was a name given to the huts or cottages peculiar to the neighbourhood of Carthage. The word, probably, here means a suburb of that city, which received its name from these huts, and was used by the inhabitants as a public walk.
18 Anactorium: This was a town of Acarnania, in Greece.
20 To Calydon: Calydon was a city of Ætolia, which was situate in the centre of Greece.
21 A Carthaginian all over: This is intended as a reflection upon the proverbial faithlessness of the Carthaginians. "Punica fides," "Punic faith,' was a common proverb with the Romans.
22 D'ye take: There seems to be an equivocal meaning here in the word "tenetis," which may mean either "to understand," or "to take hold with the hand." "Dirumpatis" also may mean either "break off" a rope or cord, or "interrupt." Though Lambinus thinks that some indecent allusion is intended, this much more probable that Scaliger is right in supposing that allusion is made to the boyish diversion of two parties pulling at the ends of a rope till it either breaks, or one side lets go.
23 Become another man: He will go to dress for a part in the Play; that of Agorastocles, as some have suggested.
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