S. Douglas Olson (ed.), Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy

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Editor’s NoteG6. Alexis fr. 16, from The Man Who Had a Cataract (IV/III)

  • Editor’s Note1τοὺς μὲν στρατηγοὺς τὰς ὀφρῦς ἐπὰν ἴδω
  • 2ἀνεσπακότας‎, δεινὸν μὲν ἡγοῦμαι ποεῖν‎,
  • Editor’s Note3οὐ πάνυ τι θαυμάζω δὲ προτετιμημένους
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus4ὑπὸ τῆς πόλεως μεῖζόν τι τῶν ἄλλων φρονεῖν‎.
  • Editor’s Note5τοὺς δ‎ʼ ἰχθυοπώλας τοὺς κάκιστ‎ʼ ἀπολουμένους
  • Editor’s Note6ἐπὰν ἴδω κάτω βλέποντας‎, τὰς δ‎ʼ ὀφρῦς
  • Editor’s Note7ἔχοντας ἐπάνω τῆς κορυφῆς‎, ἀποπνίγομαι‎.
  • Editor’s Note8ἐὰν δ‎ʼ ἐρωτήσηις‎ ‟πόσου τοὺς κεστρέας
  • Editor’s Note9πωλεῖς δύ‎ʼ ὄντας‎;" "δέκ‎ʼ ὀβολῶν‎" φησίν‎. "βαρύ‎·
  • 10ὀκτὼ λάβοις ἄν‎;" "εἴπερ ὠνεῖ τὸν ἕτερον‎."
  • Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus11"ὦ τᾶν‎, λαβὲ καὶ μὴ παῖζε‎." "τοσουδί‎· παράτρεχε‎."
  • Editor’s Note12ταῦτ‎ʼ οὐχὶ πικρότερ‎ʼ ἐστὶν αὐτῆς τῆς χολῆς‎;

pg 259

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Notes

Editor’s Note
G6. Seafood was a delicacy, and the comic fragments are full of complaints about the absurdly high prices and bad behaviour of fishmongers (e.g. J6–J7 (the latter very similar to this passage); J8; Ar. fr. 402. 8–10; Antiph. frr. 159; 164; 217; Alex. fr. 204; Xenarch. fr. 7. 3–17). Arnott suggests that this fragment may be from an opening monologue; G18 is from the same play and most likely represents the settling-up of accounts for the shopping expedition referred to obliquely here.
Preserved at Athenaeus 6. 224f–5a, in a collection of comic passages having to do with fishmongers that also includes J7–J8.
Iambic trimeter.
Editor’s Note
1–4. For generals, see E4. 4 n.
Editor’s Note
1–2. τὰς ὀφρῦς‎ … | ἀνεσπακότας‎: 'with their eyebrows drawn up', sc. in pride; cf. 6–7; and see F9. 3 n.
Editor’s Note
δεινὸν‎ … ποεῖν‎: 'they're behaving terribly'.
Editor’s Note
3. οὐ πάνυ τι θαυμάζω‎: 'I'm not particularly surprised'.
Editor’s Note
For the delayed position of δέ‎ after the negative
Editor’s Note
οὐ‎, see Denniston 186–7.
Critical Apparatus
4 μεῖζόν τι‎ Wakefield: μείζω‎ Ath.a: vers. om. Ath.ce
Editor’s Note
4. μεῖζόν τι τῶν ἄλλων φρονεῖν‎: see F3. 1 n.
Editor’s Note
5. τοὺς κάκιστ‎(α‎) ἀπολουμένους‎: literally 'who are going to perish most foully', i.e '—goddamn them!—the bastards!' vel sim. (e.g. Pherecr. fr. 22. 1; Ar. Ach. 865). Colloquial (Stevens 15); cf. I2. 1–2 n.
Editor’s Note
6. κάτω βλέποντας‎: i.e. rudely refusing to meet anyone's eyes or acknowledge their presence; cf. A6. 2 n.; J7. 4–10 (if anyone asks a fishmonger about his merchandise, 'he begins by staring at the ground in silence, as if he weren't paying attention and hadn't even heard'); Ar. Nu. 362 (of Socrates).
Editor’s Note
6–7. τὰς δ‎(ὲ‎) ὀφρῦς‎ | κτλ‎.: see 1–2 n.
Editor’s Note
7. ἀποπνίγομαι‎: 'I'm choked', sc. with anger, as at D. 19. 199.
Editor’s Note
8–10. The joke is that, when someone asks the price of the two mullets and learns that the fishmonger wants 10 obols, he offers 8 instead, and the fishmonger responds as if he had intended to sell them for 10 obols apiece but is willing to settle for 16 for the pair. For similar chicanery, see Diph. fr. 67. 9–14, where a fishmonger specifies a price in obols, but then insists on being paid in Aeginetan coins (which were heavier than Athenian)—and gives change in Athenian money.
Editor’s Note
8. πόσου‎: 'for how much?'; cf. 11 τοσουδί‎, 'So much!', i.e. 'That's the price!'
Editor’s Note
τοὺς κεστρέας‎: 'the grey mullets' (in banquet catalogues and the like at e.g. Ar. Nu. 339; Philyll. fr. 12. 3; Antiph. fr. 130. 1); see Fishes, 108–10; Olson–Sens on Archestr. fr. 43. 1, and cf. J13. 8 with n.
Editor’s Note
9. βαρύ‎: '(that's) hard to bear, painful', i.e. 'Ouch!'
Critical Apparatus
11 τοσουδί‎ Dobree: τοὺς ὀυδεῖ‎ Ath.a: τοῦ‎, σοι δεῖ‎ Ath.ce
Editor’s Note
11. ὦ τᾶν‎: 'my good sir'. An ostensibly polite but generally impatient colloquial form of address; see Stevens 42–3; Olson on Ar. Pax 721–2.
Editor’s Note
λαβέ‎: 'take (the money)!'
Editor’s Note
τοσουδί‎: see 8 n.
Editor’s Note
παράτρεχε‎: 'Run along!', i.e. 'Piss off!', sc. 'if you won't meet my price'.
Editor’s Note
12. With his inset narrative complete, the speaker returns to the point he made at the end of 7.
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