THE ACHARNIANS by Aristophanes, Part 02
HeraLD (ignoring this; loudly)
The ambassadors, who are returned from the Court of the King!
Of what King? I am sick of all those fine birds, the peacock
ambassadors and their swagger.
DICAEOPOLIS (as he perceives the entering ambassadors dressed in the
Oh! oh! By Ecbatana, what a costume!
During the archonship of Euthymenes, you sent us to the Great King
on a salary of two drachmae per diem.
Ah! those poor drachmae!
We suffered horribly on the plains of the Cayster, sleeping
under tent, stretched deliciously on fine chariots, half dead with
And I was very much at ease, lying on the straw along the
Everywhere we were well received and forced to drink delicious
wine out of golden or crystal flagons.....
Oh, city of Cranaus, thy ambassadors are laughing at thee!
For great feeders and heavy drinkers are alone esteemed as men
by the barbarians.
Just as here in Athens, we only esteem the wenchers and pederasts.
At THE END of the fourth year we reached the King's Court, but
he had left with his whole army to take a crap, and for the space of
eight months he was thus sitting on the can in the midst of the golden
And how long did it take him to close his arse? A month?
After this he returned to his palace; then he entertained us and
had us served with oxen roasted whole in an oven.
Who ever saw an ox roasted in an oven? What a lie!
And one day, by Zeus, he also had us served with a bird three
times as large as Cleonymus, and called the Hoax.
And do we give you two drachmae, that you should hoax us thus?
We are bringing to you Pseudartabas, the King's Eye.
I would a crow might pluck out yours with his beak, you cursed
The King's Eye!
(Enter PSEUDARTABAS, in Persian costume; his mask is one great
eye; he is accompanied by two eunuchs.)
DICAEOPOLIS (as he sees kim)
Good God! Friend, with your great eye, round like the hole through
which the oarsman passes his sweep, you have the air of a galley
doubling a cape to gain port.
Come, Pseudartabas, give forth the message for the Athenians
with which you were charged by the Great King.
I artamane Xarxas apiaona satra.
AMBASSADOR (to DICAEOPOLIS)
Do you understand what he says?
AMBASSADOR (to the PRYTANES)
He says that the Great King will send you gold. (to
PSEUDARTABAS) Come, utter the word 'gold' louder and more distinctly.
Thou shalt not have gold, thou gaping-arsed Ionian.
Ah! God help us, but that's clear enough!
What does he say?
That the Ionians are gaping-arsed, if they expect to receive
gold from the barbarians.
Not so, he speaks of bushels of gold.
What bushels? You're nothing but a wind-bag; get out of the way; I
will find out the truth by myself. (to PSEUDARTABAS) 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. Behold the
effrontery of this shaven and provocative arse! How, you big baboon,
with such a beard do you seek to play the eunuch to us? And this other
one? Is it not Straton?
Silence! Sit down! The Senate invites the King's Eye to the
(The AMBASSADORS and PSEUDARTABAS depart.)