aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Aristophanes, Wasps 39-41

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Sosias recounts an unpleasant dream-vision.

ΣΩΣΙΑΣ
εἶθ’ ἡ μιαρὰ φάλαιν’ ἔχουσα τρυτάνην
ἵστη βόειον δημόν.

ΞΑΝΘΙΑΣ
οἴμοι δείλαιος·
τὸν δῆμον ἡμῶν βούλεται διιστάναι.

SOSIAS: 
And then the repulsive whale had a pair of scales and it was weighing portions of fat from an ox.

XANTHIAS:
Oh goodness me, he wants to portion out the populace!

A pun on δημόν (fat) and δῆμον (populace): ‘Dividing up the body politic’, as Barrett’s translation nicely renders it.

Written by aleatorclassicus

June 19, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aristophanes

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