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PSEUDARTABAS
Jartaman exarx 'anapissonia satra.1

AMBASSADOR
Do you understand what he says?

DICAEOPOLIS
By Apollo, not I!

AMBASSADOR (TO THE PRYTANES)
He says that the Great King will send you gold. Come, utter the word ‘gold’ louder and more distinctly.

PSEUDARTABAS
Thou shalt not have gold, thou gaping-arsed Ionian.2

DICAEOPOLIS
Ah! may the gods forgive me, but that is clear enough!

AMBASSADOR
What does he say?

DICAEOPOLIS
That the Ionians are debauchees and idiots, if they expect to receive gold from the barbarians.

AMBASSADOR
Not so, he speaks of medimni3 of gold.

DICAEOPOLIS
What medimni? Thou are but a great braggart; but get your way; I will find out the truth by myself. Come now, answer me clearly, if you do not wish me to dye your skin red. Will the Great King send us gold? (PSEUDARTABAS MAKES A NEGATIVE SIGN.) Then our ambassadors are seeking to deceive us? (PSEUDARTABAS SIGNS AFFIRMATIVELY.) These fellows make signs like any Greek; I am sure that they are nothing but Athenians. Oh! ho! I recognize one of these eunuchs; it is Clisthenes, the son of Sibyrtius.4 Behold the effrontery of this shaven rump! How! great baboon, with such a beard do you seek to play the eunuch to us? And this other one? Is it not Straton? frequently holds him to scorn in his comedies.

HERALD
Silence! Let all be seated. The Senate invites the King's Eye to the Prytaneum.5

DICAEOPOLIS
Is this not sufficient to drive one to hang oneself? Here I stand chilled to the bone, whilst the doors of the Prytaneum fly wide open to lodge such rascals. But I will do something great and bold. Where is Amphitheus? Come and speak with me.

AMPHITHEUS
Here I am.

DICAEOPOLIS
Take these eight drachmae and go and conclude a truce with the Lacedaemonians for me, my wife and my children; I leave you free, my dear citizens, to send out embassies and to stand gaping in the air.

HERALD
Bring in Theorus, who has returned from the Court of Sitalces.6

1 Jargon, no doubt meaningless in all languages.

2 The Persians styled all Greeks ‘Ionians’ without distinction; here the Athenians are intended.

3 A Greek measure, containing about six modii.

4 Noted for his extreme ugliness and his obscenity. Aristophanes frequently holds him to scorn in his comedies.

5 Ambassadors were entertained there at the public expense.

6 King of Thrace.

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