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These, O Cynulcus, are the words of Lysias. But I, in the words of Aristarchus the tragic poet,
Saying no more, but this in self-defence,
will now cease my attack upon you and the rest of the Cynics.
1. Most people, my friend Timocrates, call Bacchus frantic, because those who drink too much unmixed wine become violent.
To copious wine this insolence we owe,
For when the wine has penetrated down into the body, as
If all the men who to get drunk are apt,
And then the drink, we lose the whole delight
And Xenophon represents Agesilaus as insisting that a man ought to shun drunkenness equally with madness, and immoderate gluttony as much as idleness. But we, as we are not of the class who drink to excess, nor of the number of those who are in the habit of being intoxicated by midday, have come rather to this literary entertainment; for Ulpian, who is always finding fault, reproved some one just now who said, I am not drunk (gowos), saying,—Where do you find that word soos? But he rejoined,-Why, in Alexis, who, in his play called the New Settler, says—
He did all this when drunk (ěžoivos).
1 Odyss. xxi. 293.
2. But as, after the discussion by us of the new topics which arise, our liberal entertainer Laurentius is every day constantly introducing different kinds of music, and also jesters and buffoons, let us have a little talk about them. Although I am aware that Anacharsis the Scythian, when on one occasion jesters were introduced in his company, remained without moving a muscle of his countenance; but afterwards, when a monkey was brought in, he burst out laughing, and said, "Now this fellow is laughable by his nature, but man is only so through practice." And Euripides, in his Melanippe in Chains, has said
But many men, from the wish to raise a laugh,
Good store of wealth to keep within their houses.
And Parmeniscus of Metapontum, as Semus tells us in the fifth book of his Delias, a man of the highest consideration both as to family and in respect of his riches, having gone down to the cave of Trophonius, after he had come up again, was not able to laugh at all. And when he consulted the oracle on this subject, the Pythian priestess replied to himYou're asking me, you laughless man, About the power to laugh again; Your mother 'll give it you at home, If you with reverence to her come.
So, on this, he hoped that when he returned to his country he should be able to laugh again; but when he found that he could laugh no more now than he could before, he considered that he had been deceived; till, by some chance, he came to Delos; and as he was admiring everything he saw in the island, he came into the temple of Latona, expecting to see some very superb statue of the mother of Apollo; but when he saw only a wooden shapeless figure, he unexpectedly burst out laughing. And then, comparing what had happened with the oracle of the god, and being cured of his infirmity, he honoured the goddess greatly.
3. Now Anaxandrides, in his Old Man's Madness, says that it was Rhadamanthus and Palamedes who invented the fashion of jesters; and his words are these:
And yet we labour much.
But Palamedes first, and Rhadamanthus,
Sought those who bring no other contribution,
Xenophon also, in his Banquet, mentions jesters; introducing Philip, of whom he speaks in the following manner: -"But Philip the jester, having knocked at the door, told the boy who answered, to tell the guests who he was, and that he was desirous to be admitted; and he said that he came provided with everything which could qualify him for supping at other people's expense. And he said, too, that his boy was in a good deal of distress because he had brought nothing, and because he had had no dinner." And Hippolochus the Macedonian, in his epistle to Lynceus, mentions the jesters Mandrogenes and Strato the Athenian. And at Athens there was a great deal of this kind of cleverness. Accordingly, in the Heracleum at Diomea' they assembled to the number of sixty, and they were always spoken of in the city as amounting to that number, in such expressions as-"The sixty said this," and, "I am come from the sixty." And among them were Callimedon, nicknamed the Crab, and Dinias, and also Mnasigeiton and Menæchmus, as Telephanes tells us in his treatise on the City. And their reputation for amusing qualities was so great, that Philip the Macedonian heard of it, and sent them a talent to engage them to write out their witticisms and send them to him. And the fact of this king having been a man who was very fond of jokes is testified to us by Demosthenes the orator in his Philippics.
Demetrius Poliorcetes was a man very eager for anything which could make him laugh, as Phylarchus tells us in the sixth book of his History. And he it was who said, "that the palace of Lysimachus was in no respect different from a comic theatre; for that there was no one there bigger than a dissyllable;"" (meaning to laugh at Bithys and Paris, who had more influence than anybody with Lysimachus, and at some others of his friends;) "but that his friends were
1 Diomea was a small village in Attica, where there was a celebrated temple of Hercules, and where a festival was kept in his honour: Aristophanes says→→
“Οποθ' Ηράκλεια τὰ 'ν Διομείοις γίγνεται.—Ranæ, 651.
2 Because slaves (and the actors were usually slaves) had only names of one, or at most two syllables, such as Davus, Geta, Dromo, Mus.
Peucesteses, and Menelauses, and Oxythemises." But when Lysimachus heard this, he said,-" I, however, never saw a prostitute on the stage in a tragedy;" referring to Lamia the female flute-player. And when this was reported to Demetrius, he rejoined," But the prostitute who is with me, lives in a more modest manner than the Penelope who is with him."
4. And we have mentioned before this that Sylla, the general of the Romans, was very fond of anything laughable. And Lucius Anicius, who was also a general of the Romans, after he had subdued the Illyrians, and brought with him Genthius the king of the Illyrians as his prisoner, with all his children, when he was celebrating his triumphal games at Rome, did many things of the most laughable character possible, as Polybius relates in his thirtieth book :-" For having sent for the most eminent artists from Greece, and having erected a very large theatre in the circus, he first of all introduced all the flute-players. And these were Theodorus the Boeotian, and Theopompus, and Hermippus, surnamed Lysimachus, who were the most eminent men in their profession. And having brought these men in front of the stage after the chorus was over, he ordered them all to play the flute. And as they accompanied their music with appropriate gestures, he sent to them and said that they were not playing well, and desired them to be more vehement. And while they were in perplexity, one of the lictors told them that what Anicius wished was that they should turn round so as to advance towards each other, and give a representation of a battle. And then the flute-players, taking this hint, and adopting a movement not unsuited to their habitual wantonness, caused a great tumult and confusion; and turning the middle of the chorus towards the extremities, the flute-players, all blowing unpremeditated notes, and letting their flutes be all out of tune, rushed upon one another in turn: and at the same time the choruses, all making a noise to correspond to them, and coming on the stage at the same time, rushed also upon one another, and then again retreated, advancing and retreating alternately. But when one of the chorus-dancers tucked up his garment, and suddenly turned round and raised his hands against the flute-player who was coming towards him, as if he was going to box with him, then there arose an extraordinary
carring and shouting on the part of the mectators. And
They say that once there was a man at Athens,
And he, whenever to a hill he came,
Ran straight up to the top; but then descending
And Nicostratus also mentions him in his Syrian
They say the rhávos Cephisodorus once
A crowd of men with bundles of large faggots,
There was also a man named Pantaleon, who is mentioned by Theognetus, in his Slave devoted to his Master—
Pantaleon himself did none deceive (èrλdva)
And Chrysippus the philosopher, in the fifth book of his treatise on Honour and Pleasure, writes thus of Pantaleon:
But Pantaleon the λávos, when he was at the point of death, deceived every one of his sons separately, telling each of them that he was the only one to whom he was revealing the place where he had buried his gold; so that they after