S. Douglas Olson (ed.), Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy
Editor’s NoteEditor’s NoteE28. Phrynichus Comicus fr. 61, from an unidentified play (after 415 bc)
(A.) ὦ φίλταθʼ Ἑρμῆ, καὶ φυλάσσου, μὴ πεσὼν
Editor’s Note3ἑτέρωι Διοκλείδηι βουλομένωι κακόν τι δρᾶν.4
(Ερμ.) φυλάξομαι· Τεύκρωι γὰρ οὐχὶ βούλομαι
Editor’s Note5μήνυτρα δοῦναι τῶι παλαμναίωι ξένωι
E28. One night in spring 415, shortly before the Athenian fleet was to sail against Sicily, most of the ithyphallic statues of Hermes that stood throughout the city were mutilated. (Th. vi. 27. 1 says only that the statues' faces were damaged; but Ar. Lys. 1093–4 suggests that their phalluses were knocked off as well.) This was interpreted as an expression of hostility toward the democracy itself, and large rewards and immunity from prosecution were offered to anyone who could provide information about the crime or 'any other act of impiety' (Th. vi. 27. 2). Alcibiades (see E26–E27 n.) was rapidly implicated in the scandal by his slave Andromachus (PAA 128425), who testified that his master had taken part in a parody of the Eleusinian Mysteries conducted in a private house (And. 1. 11–12). A metic named Teucrus also confessed to participation in the mock mysteries, and after being granted immunity named a number of other men and apparently gave information about what had been done to the herms (And. 1. 15). Eventually an Athenian citizen named Diocleides (PAA 331975) claimed to have witnessed a secret meeting of about three hundred men in the Theatre of Dionysus on the night the herms were damaged; he was subsequently caught in a lie, admitted making the story up, and was executed (And. 1. 37–42, 65–6). Cf. Th. vi. 27–9, 53, 60–61. 1, with HCT iv. 264–88; W. D. Furley, Andokides and the Herms (BICS Suppl. 65: London, 1996), 131–45 (a discussion of other possible echoes of the events of 415 in comedy). Hermes also appears on stage in Aristophanes' Peace and Wealth as a god who, although craven and greedy, is generally well disposed to human beings; see also Ar. Nu. 1478–85; Timocl. fr. 14.
Preserved at Plutarch, Life of Alcibiades 20. 6, as an example of 'the other (authors)' who identified Diocleides and Teucrus as among the informers (left unnamed at Th. vi. 53. 2) in the scandals of 415.
1. καί adds emphasis to φυλάσσου, 'be careful!' (Denniston 320–1).
2 σαυτὸν Meineke
περικρούσηι Meineke: παρακρούσηι Plu.: περικρούσηις Kock
2. αὑτὸν (here = σεαυτόν; see Fraenkel on A. Ag. 1672f.)
περικρούσηι: 'knock a piece off yourself, break yourself'—as had happened to the god's statues.
διαβολήν: 'an (opportunity for) slander'.
3. κακόν τι δρᾶν: 'to cause some trouble'.
5. μήνυτρα: 'a reward for information' (cognate with μηνύω, 'be an informer'); always plural in Attic.
παλαμναίωι: 'murderous'; a reference to the fact that a number of men thought guilty of involvement in the affair of the herms were executed as a result of the evidence Teucrus provided (Th. vi. 60. 4).