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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Aristophanes Bilingual Anthology : PUPPET POLITICS

from The Knights, * Lines 178-193, 1111-1150, * Translator anonymous, * Greek Fonts

Page 2

(...) CHORUS Demos, you are our all-powerful sovereign lord; all tremble before you, yet you are led by the nose. You love to be flattered and fooled; you listen to the orators with gaping mouth and your mind is led astray.

DEMOS It's rather you who have no brains, if you think me so foolish as all that; it is with a purpose that I play this idiot's role, for I love to drink the livelong day, and so it pleases me to keep a thief for my minister. When he has thoroughly gorged himself, then I overthrow and crush him.

CHORUS What profound wisdom! If it be really so, why! all is for the best. Your ministers, then, are your victims, whom you nourish and feed up expressly in the Pnyx, so that, the day your dinner is ready, you may immolate the fattest and eat him.

DEMOS Look, see how I play with them, while all the time they think themselves such adepts at cheating me. I have my eye on them when they thieve, but I do not appear to be seeing them; then I thrust a judgment down their throat as it were a feather, and force them to vomit up all they have robbed from me.

(...) ΧΟΡΟΣ. Ὦ Δῆμε͵ καλήν γ΄ ἔχεις ἀρχήν͵ ὅτε πάντες ἄνθρωποι δεδίασί σ΄ ὥσπερ ἄνδρα τύραννον. Ἀλλ΄ εὐπαράγωγος εἶ͵ θωπευόμενός τε χαίρεις κἀξαπατώμενος͵ πρὸς τόν τε λέγοντ΄ ἀεὶ κέχηνας· ὁ νοῦς δέ σου παρὼν ἀποδημεῖ.

ΔΗΜΟΣ. Νοῦς οὐκ ἔνι ταῖς κόμαις ὑμῶν͵ ὅτε μ΄ οὐ φρονεῖν νομίζετ΄· ἐγὼ δ΄ ἑκὼν ταῦτ΄ ἠλιθιάζω. Αὐτός τε γὰρ ἥδομαι βρύλλων τὸ καθ΄ ἡμέραν͵ κλέπτοντά τε βούλομαι τρέφειν ἕνα προστάτην· τοῦτον δ΄͵ ὅταν ᾖ πλέως͵ ἄρας ἐπάταξα.

ΧΟ. Οὕτω μὲν ἂν εὖ ποιοῖς͵ εἴ σοι πυκνότης ἔνεστ΄ ἐν τῷ τρόπῳ͵ ὡς λέγεις͵ τούτῳ πάνυ πολλή͵ εἰ τούσδ΄ ἐπίτηδες ὥσπερ δημοσίους τρέφεις ἐν τῇ πυκνί͵ κᾆθ΄ ὅταν μή σοι τύχῃ ὄψον ὄν͵ τούτων ὃς ἂν ᾖ παχύς͵ θύσας ἐπιδειπνεῖς.

ΔΗ. Σκέψασθε δέ μ΄͵ εἰ σοφῶς αὐτοὺς περιέρχομαι τοὺς οἰομένους φρονεῖν κἄμ΄ ἐξαπατύλλειν. Τηρῶ γὰρ ἑκάστοτ΄ αὐ τοὺς οὐδὲ δοκῶν ὁρᾶν κλέπτοντας· ἔπειτ΄ ἀναγκάζω πάλιν ἐξεμεῖν ἅττ΄ ἂν κεκλόφωσί μου͵ κημὸν καταμηλῶν. 

Cf. THUCYDIDES : Democracy of the Best ||| MANUEL II PALAEOLOGUS : The virtue of a king ||| GENNADIUS SCHOLARIUS : Words are the fathers of all Good 

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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Greek Literature - Ancient, Medieval, Modern

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