218-239

ACT 2

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

φεύγεις τὸ δίκαιον.218

 

ΔΑΟΣ

συκοφαντεῖς δυστυχής.

οὐ δεῖ σ’ ἔχειν τὰ μὴ σά.

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

ἐπιτρεπτέον τινί

ἐστι περὶ τούτων.220

 

ΔΑΟΣ

βούλομαι· κρινώμεθα.

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

τίς οὖν;

 

ΔΑΟΣ

ἐμοὶ μὲν πᾶς ἱκανός. δίκαια δὲ

πάσχω· τί γάρ σοι μετεδίδουν;

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

τοῦτον λαβεῖν

βούλει κριτήν;

 

ΔΑΟΣ

ἀγαθῇ τύχῇ.

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

πρὸς τῶν θεῶν,

βέλτιστε, μικρὸν ἂν σχολάσαις ἡμῖν χρόνον;

 

ΣΜΙΚΡΙΝΗΣ

ὑμῖν; περὶ τίνος;225

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

ἀντιλέγομεν πρᾶγμά τι.

 

ΣΜΙΚΡΙΝΗΣ

τί οὖν ἐμοὶ μέλει;

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

κριτὴν τούτου τινὰ

ζητοῦμεν ἴσον· εἰ δή σε μηδὲν κωλύει,

διάλυσον ἡμᾶς.

 

ΣΜΙΚΡΙΝΗΣ

ὦ κάκιστ’ ἀπολούμενοι,

δίκας λέγοντες περιπατεῖτε, διφθέρας

ἔχοντες;230

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

ἀλλ’ ὅμως. τὸ πρᾶγμ’ ἐστὶν βραχύ,

καὶ ῥάιδιον μαθεῖν. πάτερ, δὸς τὴν χάριν·

μὴ καταφρονήσῃς, πρὸς θεῶν. ἐν παντὶ δεῖ

καιρῷ τὸ δίκαιον ἐπικρατεῖν ἁπανταχοῦ,

καὶ τὸν παρατυγχάνοντα τούτου τοῦ μέρους

ἔχειν πρόνοιαν κοινόν ἐστι τῷ βίῳ235

πάντων.

 

ΔΑΟΣ

μετρίῳ γε συμπέπλεγμαι ῥήτορι.  

τί γὰρ μετεδίδουν;

 

ΣΜΙΚΡΙΝΗΣ

ἐμμενεῖτ’ οὖν, εἰπέ μοι,

οἷς ἂν δικάσω;

 

ΣΥΡΟΣ

πάντως.

 

ΣΜΙΚΡΙΝΗΣ

ἀκούσομαι· τί γὰρ

τό με κωλύον; σὺ πρότερος ὁ σιωπῶν λέγε.

    Act 2

    Only a few scattered words remain from the beginning of Act 2. Fortunately, when the legible script resumes, it covers a key scene, the arbitration for which the play is named.

    SMIKRINES is either already on stage when this scene begins or he enters while SYROS and DAOS, two local laborers, are arguing. DAOS is a shepherd and clothed accordingly. SYROS is a charcoal burner, so expect that he has the clothing and smudged appearance to match. Also on stage is Syros’ wife, who has the baby and the items found with it. Although she never speaks, she is an important visual element on stage throughout the proceedings, and at least at certain points, so is the baby.

     

    218: Syros is speaking to Daos.

    219: Lit. “It is necessary that you not have what is not yours.” Notice the non-specific negative μή in τὰ...σά “anything that does not belong to you” and the indicative οὐ with δεῖ, “You must not (cannot) have…” (Goodell 486, CGCG 56.1-10)

    222 μετεδίδουν: > μεταδίδωμι, 1st sing. impf. indic. act.

    224 σχολάσαις: > σχολάζω, 2nd sing. aor. opt. act. (a polite potential “Would you …?”; cf. Goodell 480, CGCG 38.35). This construction, along the address βέλτιστε, conveys how much SYROS is trying to be very polite.

    228 διάλυσον: > διαλύω, 2nd sing. aor. imper. act. Notice how abrasively SMIKRINES addresses SYROS as κάκιστε (cf. note on 224). 

    229-230: As SMIKRINES’ snide comment about the men wearing work clothes indicates, part of the humor of the ensuing scene is the contrast between the appearance of DAOS and SYROS and the elaborate legal speeches that they deliver, especially SYROS.

    232 καταφρονήσῃς: > καταφρονέω, 2nd sing. aor. subj. act. (a polite request “Please don’t …”; cf. Goodell 485, CGCG 38.26)

    238 οἷς: = οἷς (object of ἐμμενεῖτε) ἃ (object of δικάσω). δικάσω: subjunctive because SMIKRINES’ judgment is in the future and therefore hypothetical (Goodell 616a, CGCG 50.20).

    239 σὺ … ὁ σιωπῶν: refers to DAOS, since SYROS has so far been doing most of the talking.

    συκοφαντέω: to be a swindler

    δυστυχής -ές: unlucky, unfortunate

    ἐπιτρεπτέον: one must permit

    μεταδίδωμι: to give a part in, give a share

    κριτής -οῦ ὁ: judge

    βέλτιστος -η -ον: best, most excellent

    σχολάζω ἐσχόλασα: to be at leisure, have spare time

    ἀντιλέγω: to disagree about

    κριτής -οῦ ὁ: judge

    διαλύω διαλύσω διέλυσα: to settle (a legal case)

    περιπατέω: to wander around

    διφθέρα -ας ἡ: leather garment, work clothes

    καταφρονέω καταφρονήσω κατεφρόνησα: to look down on, despise

    ἐπικρατέω: to rule over, prevail

    ἁπανταχοῦ: everywhere

    παρατυγχάνω: to happen into something by random chance (+ gen.)

    πρόνοια -ας ἡ: foresight, concern

    μέτριος -α -ον: moderate, fair

    συμπλέκω συμπλέξομαι συμπέπλεγμαι συμπεπλάκην: to twist together

    ῥήτωρ -ορος ὁ: orator, public speaker

    μεταδίδωμι: to give a part in, give a share

    ἐμμένω ἐμμενῶ: to abide by

    σιωπάω: to keep silent

    Act 2

    (enter SYROS and DAOS followed by SYROS’ WIFE; SYROS and DAOS move towards the front of the stage, the wife remains towards the back, caring for the child)

     

    SYROS

    (sounding like the caricature of an orator, elevated speech, overly dramatic)

    (218) You are fleeing justice, running away from this righteous prosecution, hoping to get away with swindling the innocent!

     

    DAOS

    (country bumpkin accent, agitated)

    You’re just a tattletale bootlicker tryna get somethin’ for free, butcha can’t have what’s not yours!

     

    SYROS

    One must permit an out of court arbitration for matters such as these.

     

    DAOS

    (220) Then let’s get us a judge!

     

    (SMIKRINES enters from his daughter’s house, visibly raging; SYROS’ WIFE makes a big show of comforting the apparently distressed infant and shooting SMIKRINES dirty looks for waking it)

     

    SYROS

    (looking around the stage)

    Whom then?

     

    DAOS

    (exasperated)

    Literally anyone! I’m all for ‘justice’ –

    (aside to the audience)

    why the HELL’d I get him involved?

     

    SYROS

    (having noticed SMIKRINES raging in the background while DAOS was speaking, smugly [thinking he’s already won])

    Are you willing to take

    (points him out)

    THIS man as arbitrator of our dispute?

     

    DAOS

    (sarcastically)

    Well isn’t that good luck.

     

    SYROS

    (addressing SMIKRINES, overly reverent, sweeping bow)

    By the gods, most excellent sir, could you spare us just a moment of your precious time?

     

    SMIKRINES

    (noticing them for the first time, turning his anger on them)

    For YOU? About what?

     

    SYROS

    (225) There is a point of contention between us.

     

    SMIKRINES

    And WHY does that matter to me?

     

    SYROS

    (not deterred at all)

    We require a fair and just man, like yourself, to judge this matter. If you are indisposed currently, it should take but a moment to settle!

     

    SMIKRINES

    (infuriated by the request)

    AGH! You- you- YOU NAUSEATING WASTRELS! Strutting around here with your “law cases” --spewing nonsense -- IN YOUR WORK CLOTHES!

     

    (pregnant pause, DAOW jaw dropped, SMIKRINES smoking/panting, SYROS unaffected)

     

    SYROS

    (230) But all the same, it is really very easy to understand, it will take no time at all

    (going over, taking SMIKRINES’ elbow)

    Sir, do us the favor

    (leading him over to a mock courtroom set up (bench?))

    by the gods, do not look down on us –

    (settling him into the seat)

    for you know

    (taking his place in front of SMIKRINES and the audience, ready to give his speech)

    on every possible occasion it is necessary – vital! – that justice prevail! Even a complete stranger happening onto this situation by chance has a duty in the common life of all (235).

     

    DAOS

    (to audience)

    Great! A real orator I’ve got myself tangled up with! Why the hell did I get him involved?

     

    SMIKRINES

    (½  taken aback, ½ swayed by the flattery, but not any less fiery)

    Well- well you’ll have to do what I say! Are you going to do what I say?

     

    SYROS

    Of course.

     

    SMIKRINES

    Fine.

    (crosses his arms and slouches back)

    I’ll listen.

    (grumbling)

    Nothing’s preventing me. (pause)

    Well??

    (looks between them expectantly)

    YOU!

    (pointing wildly at DAOS, seemingly having chosen him at random)

    Speak first, yes you - the quiet one!

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    Suggested Citation

    Marie Plunkett, Menander: Epitrepontes (The Arbitration). Carlisle, Pennsylvania: Dickinson College Commentaries, 2022. ISBN: 978-1-947822-19-1. https://dcc.dickinson.edu/menander-epitrepontes/218-239