The “horsemen” of Aristophanes in brief

The “horsemen” of Aristophanes in brief

Riders are not just horsemen: the so-called Athenians called the whole estate those who had the money to keep the warhorse. They were wealthy people, they had small estates outside the city, they lived by their income and wanted Athens to be a peaceful, closed agricultural state.

The poet Aristophanes wanted peace; That’s why he made riders a chorus of his comedy. They acted as two half-choruses and, to make it funnier, galloped on wooden toy horses. And before them the actors played a comic parody of the Athenian political life. The owner of the state is an old man. The people are decrepit, lazy and survived from the mind, and cunning demagogues crochet and cuddle him: whoever is obsequious is stronger. There are four of them on the stage: two are called by real names, Niki

and Demosthenes, the third one is called Tanner, and the fourth is called Kolbasnik.

For peaceful agitation time was difficult. No one and Demosthenes just outside the city of Pylos were surrounded by a large Spartan army, but could not break and capture him. They offered to take advantage of this to conclude a profitable peace. And their opponent Cleon demanded to finish off the enemy and continue the war until victory. Then Cleon’s enemies offered him to take command himself in the hope that he, who had never fought, would be defeated and come down from the stage. But there was a surprise: Cleon won a victory at Pylos, led the Spartan captives to Athens, and after that from him in politics there was absolutely no passage: whoever tried to argue with Cleon and convict him, they immediately reminded: “And Pilos? A Pylos? ” and had to stop. And now Aristophanes undertook an unthinkable task: to ridicule this “Pylos”,

So, on the stage the house of the master of the People, and in front of the house sit and grieve his two slave servants, Niki and Demosthenes: they were at the master’s mercy, and now they were wiped out by a new slave, a scoundrel tanner. Two of them brewed a nice porridge in Pylos, and he snatched it from under their noses and offered them to the people. He slurps, and throws

all tidbits to the tanner. What to do? Let’s see in the ancient predictions! The war is an unsettling time, superstitious, people in a multitude recalled old dark prophecies and interpreted them as applied to current circumstances. While the tanner is asleep, we steal from him from under the pillow the most important prophecy! They stole; there it is written: “The worst is defeated only by the worst: the cable man will be in Athens, and the cattle-breeder is worse, but his tanner is worse, and his sausage-maker is worse.” Politician-kanatchik and politician-cattle-breeder have already visited power; now there is a tanner;

A sausage-maker with a meat tray. “Are you a scientist?” “Only with rattles.” “What did he study?” “Steal and deny.” “What are you living?” “And forward, and back, and sausages.” “Oh, our savior! Do you see this people in the theater? You want to be the ruler over all of them? Turn them by the Council, yell at the congregation, drink and wander to the official account?” One foot to stand on Asia, another in Africa? ” “Yes, I’m of a low kind!” “All the better!” “Yes, I’m almost illiterate!” “That’s good!” “And what to do?” “The same as with sausages: abruptly mix, harden podsalivay, polustivey sweeten, shout out loud.” “And who will help?” “Horsemen!” On wooden horses, riders come on stage, chasing Cleon the tanner. “Here is your enemy:

The contest begins in bragging, interspersed with fights. “You’re a tanner, you’re a fraud, all your candles are rotten!” “And I’ve swallowed a whole Pylos in one gulp!” “But at first he filled the womb with all the Athenian treasury!” “The sausage maker himself, the kettle himself, stole the scraps himself!” “No matter how strong, no matter how sulk, I’ll still shout over it!” The choir comments, podozzhivaet, remembers the good mores of the fathers and praises citizens the best intentions of the poet Aristophanes: there were good comedians before, but one is old, the other is drunk, but this is worth listening to. So it was believed in all the old comedies.

But this is a story, the main thing ahead. To the noise from the house with a stumbling gait comes the old People: who from the rivals loves him more? “If I do not love you, let me be strapped!” cries the tanner. “And let me be chopped into forcemeat!” shouts the sausage-maker. “I want your Athens power over all of Greece!” “That you, the people, suffered in campaigns, and he made a profit from every booty!” “Remember, people, from how many plots I saved you!” “Do not believe him, it was he who muddied the water to catch the fish!” “Here’s my sheepskin to warm old bones!” “And here’s a little pillow under your ass, which you rubbed, rowing at Salamis!” “I have for you a whole chest of good prophecies!” “And I have a whole barn!” One by one, these prophecies read a lofty set of meaningless words and one by one they are interpreted in the most fantastic way: each for the benefit of himself and for the evil enemy. Of course, this is much more interesting for a sausage maker. When the prophecies end, in the course are well-known sayings and also with the most unexpected interpretations for the rage of the day. Finally it comes to the saying: “There are, besides Pilos, Pylos, but there is still Pylos and the third!” , followed by a bunch of untranslatable puns on the word “Pylos”. And the goal of Aristophanes is achieved, no one of the audience will remember this Cleons “Pylos” without gay laughter. “Here’s to you, people, from me soup!” “And from me porridge!” “And from me pie!” “And from me wine!” “And from me the roast!” “Oh, tanner, look, You can bring money, you can profit! “” Where? where? “The tanner rushes to seek money, the sausage maker picks up his roast and brings it from him.” Ah, you scoundrel, someone else’s from you! “” And did not you and Pylos misuse yourself after Nikias and Demosthenes? “” No matter who The chef is chased to the neck, the kolbasnik is proclaimed the chief adviser of the People. “The choir sings all this verses to the glory of the people and to the reproach of such a debauchee, and such a coward, and such and such embezzler, own names.

The denouement is fabulous. There was a myth about the sorceress Medea, who threw the old man into a cauldron with potions, and the old man came out from there as a young man. That’s behind the stage and the sausage throws the old people into a boiling cauldron, and he comes out from there young and blooming. They march through the stage, and the People majestically announce how good people will live now and how the bad will pay right, and the choir rejoices that the good old days are returning, when everyone lived freely, peacefully and satisfyingly.


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The “horsemen” of Aristophanes in brief