The action takes place in the ancient Greek city of Abdera. This city, located in Thrace, has become famous in the history of mankind by the stupidity of its inhabitants, as well as the German city of Schild or the Swiss city of Lahlenburg.
The only sensible person in Abder is the philosopher Democritus. He comes from this city. His father died when Democritus was twenty years old. He left him a decent inheritance, which his son used to travel around the world. Returning to his hometown after a 20-year absence, Democritus, to the great regret of the inhabitants of Abdera, secluded himself, instead of telling them about his wanderings. It is alien to the intricate reasoning about the origin of the world, the philosopher tries to first learn the reason and structure of the simple things that surround the person in everyday life.
Democritus in his secluded dwelling is engaged in natural science experiments, which Abdera residents perceive as witchcraft. Wanting to laugh at
compatriots, Democritus “confesses” that he can testify his wife’s faithfulness to her husband. To do this, put the woman on her left breast during sleep, the language of the living frog, then she will talk about her adultery. All abderitic husbands are accepted to catch amphibians to check the honesty of their wives. And even when it turns out that all, without exception, Abderite’s wives are true to their husbands, no one comes to mind how cleverly played on their naivete Democritus.
Taking advantage of the fact that the views of the philosopher do not find understanding among those around him, one of his relatives wants to prove that Democritus is insane. This will give him the right to take care of the sick person and take possession of his inheritance. At first, the relative’s accusation is based on the fact that in a city where frogs enjoy special reverence, the philosopher catches them and conducts his experiments on them. The main accuser against Democritus is the archbishop of the goddess Latona. Upon learning of this, the defendant sends the high priest for supper a peacock
filled with gold coins. The greedy priest of the cult removes suspicion from Democritus, but the relative does not calm down. Finally, it comes to what the court calls for medical examination in Abder Hippocrates, the Great Physician arrives in the city, he meets with Democritus and declares that he is the only person in Abder,
One of the main hobbies of the abderites is theater. However, the plays that are staged on the stage of the theater, the musical accompaniment and the play of the actors prove the absolute lack of taste in the abderites. For them, all plays are good, and the actors’ play is more skilful than it is less natural.
Once in the theater Abdera gave “Andromeda” Euripides to the musical accompaniment of the composer Grill. On the audience view, Euripides happened to be the one who, on the way to the Macedonian capital Pella, decided to visit the republic, “so famous for the wit of its citizens.” Everyone was extremely surprised when the foreigner did not like the play, and especially the music, which, in his opinion, absolutely does not correspond to the poet’s intention. Euripides are accused that he takes a lot on himself, then he has to admit that he is the author of the tragedy. He is not believed and even compared with the poet’s bust, which is set above the entrance to the Abderit national theater, but in the end is accepted as an expensive guest, shows the city and is persuaded to give a presentation on the stage of their theater. Euripides puts together with his troupe “Andromeda”, music to which he also composed himself. At first, the abderites were disappointed: instead of the usual artificial sufferings of heroes and loud screams on the stage, everything happened, as in ordinary life, the music was calm and harmonized with the text. The view has so strongly affected the imagination of the audience that the next day all Abdera spoke iambs from the tragedy.
The fourth book of “History..” describes the trial of the donkey’s shadow. A zuboder named Strution, who had an ass asshole, hires an ass to go to another city. The donkey driver accompanies him on the road. On the way, the dentistry becomes hot, and since there was not a steep tree, he climbs off the donkey and sits down in his shadow. The owner of the donkey requires extra payment from Strution for the shadow of the animal, the same believes that “he will be a donkey three times if it does.” The driver goes back to Abdera and gives the dentist to the court. A long litigation begins. Gradually, the whole city is drawn into the trial and is divided into two parties: a party of “shadows” supporting the dentist, and a party of “donkeys” supporting the driver.
At the meeting of the Grand Council, which includes four hundred people, there are almost all residents of Abdera. Representatives of both sides. Finally, when the passions reach the limit and no one understands why such a simple matter has become insoluble, a donkey appears on the city street. Before that, he had been standing in the city stables all the time. The people, seeing the cause of the general misfortune, rushes to the poor animal and tears it up into a thousand pieces. Both sides agree that the matter is exhausted. It was decided to put an oslu, which should serve as a reminder to everyone, “how easily a blooming republic can perish because of the shadow of an ass.”
After the famous trial in the life of Abdera, first the archimandrite Yason Agatirs, and after him all the citizens of the republic begin to breed frogs, which are considered sacred animals in the city. Soon, Abdera, together with the areas adjacent to it, turns into a continuous frog pond. When this excessive number of frogs was finally seen, the city senate decides to reduce their number. However, no one knows how to do this, but the method suggested by the Abdera Academy – to use frogs in writing – has raised objections among many. While the matter was under discussion, the city was flooded with huge hordes of rats and mice. Residents leave their native places, taking with them a sacred golden fleece from the temple of Jason. This concludes the history of the famous republic.
In the final chapter of the book, which is entitled “The key to the history of the abderites,” the author once again emphasizes the satirical-didactic nature of his work: “All human races are changing from migration, and two different races blending create a third.” But in the abderites, wherever they were not resettled, and no matter how mixed they were with other nations, there was not the slightest significant change, they are everywhere the same fools that were like two thousand years ago in Abder. “