Plautus, The Little Carthaginian

LCL 260: 20-21

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Achillem Aristarchi mihi commentari lubet: ind’ mihi principium capiam, ex ea tragoedia, “sileteque et tacete atque animum aduortite, audire iubet uos imperator” . . . histricus, 5bonoque ut animo sedeant in subselliis et qui esurientes et qui saturi uenerint: qui edistis, multo fecistis sapientius, qui non edistis, saturi fite fabulis; nam quoi paratum est quod edit, nostra gratia 10nimia est stultitia sessum impransum incedere. “exsurge, praeco, fac populo audientiam.” iam dudum exspecto si tuom officium scias: exerce uocem quam per uiuisque et clues. nam nisi clamabis, tacitum te obrepet fames. 15 age nunc reside, duplicem ut mercedem feras. “bonum factum est, edicta ut seruetis mea.” scortum exoletum ne quis in proscaenio sedeat, neu lictor uerbum aut uirgae muttiant, neu dissignator praeter os obambulet 20neu sessum ducat, dum histrio in scaena siet.

  • sedeate P, sedeant ς
  • colis P, clues Lindsay in apparatu, te alis Leo
  • factum esse P, factumst Pylades



Enter the speaker of the prologue from the right, followed by a herald.

I wish to rehearse the Achilles by Aristarchus;2 from there, from that tragedy, I’ll take my beginning: “be silent and be quiet and pay attention; you are ordered to listen by the commander of” . . . actors; and both those who’ve come hungry and5 those who’ve come full should sit on their benches with goodwill. You who have eaten have behaved far more wisely. You who haven’t eaten, fill yourselves with tales:3 it’s great folly for a man who has something that he could eat to come to sit without10 breakfast for our sake. “Rise, herald, make the people all ears.” For a while now I’ve been waiting with interest to see if you know your duty. Exercise your voice, through which you live and have a reputation; if you won’t shout, hunger will creep upon you while you’re quiet. (The herald proclaims silence.) Go15 on, now sit down so as to get double pay. (The herald obeys.) “It is proper for you to observe my edicts.”4 No male prostitute is to sit in the space in front of the stage; neither lector5 nor rods are to utter a single word; no usher is to walk in front of someone’s face or show someone his seat while an actor is onstage.20

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.plautus-little_carthaginian.2012