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This Comedy takes its name from the natives of Acharnæ, who constitute the Chorus. In order of time, it is the first which has come down to us. It was brought out B.C. 425, Ol. lxxxviii. 4. Musgrave and Scaliger, deceived by the corrupt reading, Ejlvuévous, in the argument, have ascribed it to B.C. 437, although the Play itself, v. 266, mentions the sixth year of the war, and quotes the Philoctetes of Euripides, v. 424; and although the archonship of this Euthymenes is referred to as a distant date, v. 67.—See Clinton's Fast. Hell. p. 69, second edition.
The plot (if it merits the name of plot) is simply this :Dicæopolis, an Athenian citizen, but an Acharnian by birth, tired at the continuance and miseries of the war, determines, if he cannot persuade the Athenians to adopt his measures, to make a peace for himself and family. The Athenians refuse to hear of it, elated by success, and urged on by the factious demagogues of the day. Dicæopolis, therefore, despatches Amphitheus to Sparta, on his own account. A private peace is concluded, and its happy results are enumerated with all the festivity, and licence conceded to the old Comedy. As a comment on this drama, see Mitford, vol. iii. c. xiv. s. i. For the political importance of Acharnæ, Thucydides, book ii. c. xix. xx.; and for other particulars, Anacharsis' Travels, vol. iv. 314, &c. octavo edition. As tending to elucidate many passages, it may be observed, that it abounded in coal or charcoal works. In the following Translation the text of Elmsley has been followed, Ed. Oxonii, A.D. 1809.
[1-20 How numerous truly are the woes with which my heart is stung; and my joys how few, how passing few, some four! but the plagues with which I have been tormented, oh! their numbers are numberless.' Come, let us see, when felt I joy worthy (the name) delight? I have it, aye, I have that, at the sight of which my heart bounded for joy,—it was at the five talents which Cleon disgorged. At this how was I transported, and for this deed I love the Knights, aye, for it was worthy Greece. But then again I was tormented by another wo, a tragic one. 'Twas when, forsooth, I was gaping widemouthed with expectation for Æschylus :—but the Herald gave out, “ Introduce Theognis, your Chorus.” How, think you, this shook me to the heart? Then (to make up for this) I was again delighted, when Dexitheus lately entered about to sing in the Baotian strain for the prize heifer. But this year has been a death-blow, and my sense of sight was distorted, what time Chæris came shuffling on to chaunt the Orthian strain. But never yet once from the time I commenced ablutions, have my brows been so tormented by dust as now, when the time of the regular assembly being come, the morning, the Pnyx here is empty. The members, indeed, gossip in the forum, and skip up and down to avoid the lash' with its vermilion hue. The Prytanes too-they have not come! but at noon, when they have arrived, then they jostle;? Ye Gods, how they do jostle one with another, as they come, for the first seat, bearing down in crowds. But by what means peace shall be made, they beed not a wit. O city, city! I, on the other hand, ever first at the assembly, arriving, take my seat; and then, when by myself, groan, gape, yawn,' stretch, puzzle, scribble, pluck my hairs, sum up my accounts, looking hence to my farm, desirous of peace, disgusted indeed with the city, but longing for my own farm, which never said “ Buy coals," nor “vinegar," nor "oil ;" nor knew the word “ buy,”—but of itself produced every necessary, and that saws
yappakooloyápyapa. A comic compound. Ovid. Art. Am. i. 67. gara quot segetes.” If yapyapa only means a mountain summit, perhaps Ovid. Ep. xvi. 107, will afford a ready explanation—“ Ardua proceris spoliantur Gargara silvis.” (Vide Alc. apud Porson. ad Orest, vv. 856, 861.)
2 See Mitford's Hist. vol. iii. p. 328.
buy” was far away. And now in good earnest, I have come prepared to bluster, interrupt, and rail at these our orators, should they babble else than what pertains to peace. But hold,—for here are our noon-day Prytanes. Said I not it would be thus? Exactly as I said it is; every man of them is jostling to get the first seat. HERALD, AMPHITHEUS, DICÆOPOLIS, PRYTANES,
AMBASSADORS. HER.–Advance farther: advance, that ye may be within the lustration.
AMP.-Has any one spoke yet?
-66 What! not a man?” AMP.-No; but an immortal. For Amphitheus was son of
i Vide Potter Archæol. Græc. vol. i. p. 111, ed. 1820.
σκορδινώμαι. . Pandiculari vocant Latini, monente Foesio ad Hippocratem, nostrates—To yawn and stretch. Vide nostrum Vesp. 642 ; Ran. 922.ELMSL.
5 Full of wise saws and modern instances.”-As You Like It.
6 Vide Potter, vol. i. p. 111; Bos. Antiq. Græc. p. 130, ed. 1787 ; and Schleusner's Lex. v. kábapua.
Ceres and Triptolemus: he had issue, Celeus : Celeus mar. ried my grandmother, Phanarete, who had issue, Lucinus ; and, as his son, I indeed am immortal, and to me, of all others, the Gods have granted to form a truce with the Lacedæmonians. Yet, immortal as I am, my friends, I am destitute of provision for the journey, for the Prytanes grant' no supply.
HER.—“ What hoa, there, beadles !”
AMP.—Triptolemus and Celeus, will you forsake me in the time of need?
DIC.-Men and Prytanes, you do wrong the assembly in suffering the man to be led away, who would fain make a truce for us, and hang up our bucklers.
HER.—“ Be seated, Sir: silence.”
DIC.—By Apollo, that will not I, unless, at least, you office, as Prytanes, bring forward the question of peace.
HER.-“ Let the Ambassadors come forth, those from the King."
DIC.-What king? I am aweary of these embassies, and these peacocks, and these empty boastings.
.“ Silence in court." DIC.-Bah! Ecbatana, what a dress!
AMB.—You commissioned us to go to the great King, with an allowance of two drachms a day, in the archonship of Euthymenes.
DIC.-Ah me! the drachms !
AMB.— And in truth we were worn out in our wanderings through the plains of the Cayster, dwelling in huts, lolling luxuriously in our vehicles, on the point of death ;
1 As was usual in Greece and Rome, as well as at the present day, vide Cic. in Pis. xiv. “ Nonne sestertiâm centies et octogies, quod, quasi vasarium (Nostrates' plate-money,') in venditione mei capitis adscripseras, ex ærario tibi attributum, Romæ in quæstu reliquisti.”
2 Vide Potter, vol. ii. p. 33; and The Knights, vv. 851, 858.
3 tavoi. Exposed for shew at the new moon feasts. See Petit. Leg. Att. p. 277; and The Birds, v. 102. For the estimation they were held in at Rome, vide Hor, sat. ii. ii. 23, &c,
4 See Potter, vol. i. p. 103 ; Mitchell's Aristophanes, vol. i. p. 23. 5 Euthymenes was Archon, B.C. 437, 01. iv. lxxxv.