THE ECCLESIAZUSAE by Aristophanes, Part 06
The Prytanes started the discussion of measures closely concerning
the safety of the state; immediately, that blear-eyed fellow, the
son of Neoclides, was the first to mount the platform. Then the folk
shouted with their loudest voice, "What! he dares to speak, and
that, too, when the safety of the state is concerned, and he a man who
has not known how to save even his own eyebrows!" He, however, shouted
louder than all of them, and looking at them asked, "Why, what ought I
to have done?"
Pound together garlic and laserpitium juice, add to this mixture
some Laconian spurge, and rub it well into the eyelids at night.
That's what I should have answered, had I been there.
After him that clever rascal Evaeon began to speak; he was
naked, so far as we all could see, but he declared he had a cloak;
he propounded the most popular, the most democratic, doctrines. "You
see," he said, "I have the greatest need of sixteen drachmae, the cost
of a new cloak, my health demands it; nevertheless I wish first to
care for that of my fellow-citizens and of my country. If the
fullers were to supply tunics to the indigent at the approach of
winter, none would be exposed to pleurisy. Let him who has neither
beds nor coverlets go to sleep at the tanners' after taking a bath;
and if they shut the door in winter, let them be condemned to give him
By Dionysus, a fine, a very fine notion! Not a soul will vote
against his proposal, especially if he adds that the flour-sellers
must supply the poor with three measures of corn, or else suffer the
severest penalties of the law; this is the only way Nausicydes can
be of any use to us.
Then we saw a handsome young man rush into the tribune, be was all
pink and white like young Nicias, and he began to say that the
direction of matters should be entrusted to the women; this the
crowd of shoemakers began applauding with all their might, while the
country-folk assailed him with groans.
And, indeed, they did well.
But they were outnumbered, and the orator shouted louder than
they, saying much good of the women and much ill of you.
And what did he say?
First he said you were a rogue...
Wait a minute!...and a thief...
And an informer.
Why, no, by the gods! this whole crowd here.
(He points to the audience.)
And who avers the contrary?
He maintained that women were both clever and thrifty, that they
never divulged the Mysteries of Demeter, while you and I go about
babbling incessantly about whatever happens at the Senate.
By Hermes, he was not lying!
Then he added that the women lend each other clothes, trinkets
of gold and silver, drinking-cups, and not before witnesses too, but
all by themselves, and that they return everything with exactitude
without ever cheating each other; whereas, according to him, we are
ever ready to deny the loans we have effected.
Yes, by Posidon, and in spite of witnesses.
Again, he said that women were not informers, nor did they bring
lawsuits, nor hatch conspiracies; in short, he praised the women in
every possible manner.
And what was decided?
To confide the direction of affairs to them; it's the one and only
innovation that has not yet been tried at Athens.
And it was voted?
And everything that used to be the men's concern has been given
over to the women?
You express it exactly.
Thus it will be my wife who will go to the courts now in my stead?
And it will be she who will keep your children in your place.