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And Matreas, the strolling player of Alexandria, was admired by both Greeks and Romans; and he said that he was cherishing a beast which was eating itself. So that even now it is disputed what that beast of Matreas's was. He used to propose ridiculous questions in parody of the doubt raised by Aristotle, and then he read them in public; as “Why is the [p. 32] sun said to set, and not to dive?” “why are sponges said to suck up, and not to drink?” and “why do we say of a tetra-drachm that it καταλλάττεται,1 when we never speak of its getting in a passion?” And the Athenians gave Pothimos the puppet-master the use of the very stage on which Euripides had exhibited his noble dramas. And they also erected a statue of Euripides in the theatre next to the statue of Aeschylus. Xenophon the conjuror, too, was very popular among them, who left behind him a pupil of the name of Cratisthenes, a citizen of Phlias; a man who used to make fire spout up of its own accord, and who contrived many other extraordinary sights, so as almost to make men discredit the evidence of their own senses. And Nymphodorus the conjuror was another such; a man who having quarrelled with the people of Rhegium, as Duris relates, was the first man who turned them into ridicule as cowards. And Eudicus the buffoon gained great credit by imitating wrestlers and boxers, as Aristoxenus relates. Straton of Tarentum, also, had many admirers; he was a mimic of the dithyrambic poets; and so had Aenonas the Italian, who mimicked the harp-players; and who gave representations of the Cyclops trying to sing, and of Ulysses when shipwrecked, speaking in a clownish fashion. And Diopeithes the Locrian, according to the account of Phanodemus, when he came to Thebes, fastened round his waist bladders full of wine and milk, and then, squeezing them, pretended that he was drawing up those liquids out of his mouth. And Noëmon gained a great reputation for the same sort of tricks.

There were also in Alexander's court the following jugglers, who had all a great name. Scymnus of Tarentum, and Philistides of Syracuse, and Heraclitus of Mitylene. And there were too some strolling players of high repute, such as Cephisodorus and Pantaleon. And Xenophon makes mention also of Philip the buffoon.

1 This is a pun which cannot be rendered in English,καταλλάσσομαι meaning to be changed, of money; and to be reconciled, of enemies.

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