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LYSISTRATA

TRANSLATORS NOTE
The translation, which has been prepared by Ian Johnston of Malaspina
University-College, Nanaimo British Columbia, Canada (now Vancouver

Island University), may be distributed to students without permission and
without charge, provided the source is acknowledged. There are, however,
copyright restrictions on commercial publication of this text (for details

consult Ian Johnston at ian.johnston@viu.ca).

Note that in the text below the numbers in square brackets refer to the
lines in the Greek text; the numbers without brackets refer to the lines in
the translated text. In numbering the lines of the English text, the
Aristophanes translator has normally counted a short indented line with the short line
above it, so that two short lines count as one line.
Lysistrata
The translator would like to acknowledge the valuable help provided by
Alan H. Sommersteins edition of Lysistrata (Aris & Phillips: 1990), parti-
cularly the commentary.

It is clear that in this play the male characters all wear the comic phallus,
which is an integral part of the action throughout. Note, too, that in
several places in Lysistrata there is some confusion and debate over which
speeches are assigned to which people. These moments occur, for the
most part, in short conversational exchanges. Hence, there may be some
Translated by Ian Johnston differences between the speakers in this text and those in other trans-
Vancouver Island University lations.
Nanaimo, BC
Canada Aristophanes (c. 446 BC to c. 386 BC) was the foremost writer of Old
Comedy in classical Athens. His play Lysistrata was first performed in
Athens in 411 BC, two years after the disastrous Sicilian Expedition, where
Athens suffered an enormous defeat in the continuing war with Sparta and
its allies (a conflict with lasted from 431 BC to 404 BC).

2
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
1
DRAMATIS PERSONAE Ah, heres my neighbourat least shes come.
Hello, Calonice.
LYSISTRATA: a young Athenian wife
CALONICE: a mature married woman CALONICE
MYRRHINE: a very attractive teenage wife. Hello, Lysistrata.
LAMPITO: a strong young country wife from Sparta. Whats bothering you, child? Dont look so annoyed.
ISMENIA: a women from Thebes It doesnt suit you. Your eyes get wrinkled.
SCYTHIAN GIRL: one of Lysistratas slaves
LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE: an elderly Athenian with white hair
My hearts on fire, CaloniceIm so angry 10
CINESIAS: husband of Myrrhine
at married women, at us, because, [10]
CHILD: infant son of Myrrhine and Cinesias
although men say were devious characters . . .
MANES: servant nurse of the Child
HERALD: A Spartan envoy CALONICE [interrupting]
CHORUS OF OLD MEN Because by god we are!
CHORUS OF OLD WOMEN
LYSISTRATA [continuing]
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
. . . when I call them all
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
to meet here to discuss some serious business,
WOMAN A: one of the wives following Lysistrata
they just stay in bed and dont show up.
WOMAN B: one of the wives following Lysistrata
WOMAN C: one of the wives following Lysistrata CALONICE
ARMED GUARDS: four police officials attending on the Magistrate Ah, my dear, theyll come. Its not so easy
WOMEN: followers of Lysistrata for wives to get away. Weve got to fuss
RECONCILIATION: a goddess of harmony about our husbands, wake up the servants,
ATHENIAN DELEGATES calm and wash the babies, then give them food.
SPARTAN DELEGATES
LYSISTRATA
SLAVES AND ATTENDANTS
But there are other things they need to do 20 [20]

more important issues.
[The action of the play takes place in a street in Athens, with the citadel on
the Acropolis in the back, its doors facing the audience] CALONICE
My dear Lysistrata,
LYSISTRATA why have you asked the women to meet here?
If theyd called a Bacchic celebration Whats going on? Is it something big?
or some festival for Pan or Colias
or for Genetyllis, youd not be able LYSISTRATA
to move around through all the kettle drums. Its huge.
But as it is, there are no women here.
[Calonice enters, coming to meet Lysistrata] 1
Lysistrata is complaining that if the city had called a major festival all the women
would be in the streets enjoying themselves. But none of them, it seems, has
answered her invitation to a meeting (as we find out a few lines further on).

3 4
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CALONICE CALONICE
And hard as well? Not all of them
1
youd have to save the eels.
LYSISTRATA
Yes, by god, really hard. LYSISTRATA
As for Athens,
CALONICE
I wont say anything as bad as that. 40
Then why arent we all here?
You can imagine what Id say. But now,
LYSISTRATA if only all the women would come here
I dont mean that! from Sparta and Boeotia, join up with us, [40]
If that were it, theyd all be charging here so fast. if we worked together, wed save Greece.
No. Its something Ive been playing with
CALONICE
wrestling with for many sleepless nights.
But what sensible or splendid act
CALONICE could women do? We sit around playing
If youve been working it like that, by now with our cosmetics, wearing golden clothes,
it must have shrivelled up. posing in Cimmerian silks and slippers.
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
Yes, so shrivelled up 30 Those are the very things which I assume
that the salvation of the whole of Greece [30] will save usshort dresses, perfumes, slippers, 50
is now in womens hands. make up, and clothing men can see through.
CALONICE CALONICE
In womens hands? Hows that going to work?
Then it wont be long before we done for.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA No man living
Its up to us to run the states affairs will lift his spear against another man . . . [50]
the Spartans would no longer be around.
CALONICE [interrupting]
CALONICE By the two goddesses, I must take my dress
2
If they werent there, by god, not any more, and dye it yellow.
that would be good news.
LYSISTRATA [continuing]
LYSISTRATA . . . or pick up a shield . . .
And then if all Boeotians
were totally destroyed!
1
At the time Lysistrata was first produced, the Athenians and Spartans had been fighting for
many years. The Boeotians were allies of the Spartans. Boeotia was famous for its eels, con-
sidered a luxury item in Athens.
2
The two goddesses are Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The Athenian women
frequently invoke them.

5 6
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CALONICE [interrupting again] CALONICE
1
Ill have to wear my very best silk dress. My god, it seems were kicking up a stink.
LYSISTRATA [continuing] [Enter Myrrhine]
. . . or pull out his sword.
MYRRHINE
CALONICE Hey, Lysistrata, did we get here late?
I need to get some shoes. Whats the matter? Why are you so quiet?
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
O these women, they should be here by now! Im not pleased with you, Myrrhine. Youre late. [70]
And this is serious business.
CALONICE
Yes, by god! They should have sprouted wings MYRRHINE
and come here hours ago. It was dark.
I had trouble tracking down my waist band.
LYSISTRATA
If its such a big deal, tell these women.
Theyre true Athenians, 60
youll seeeverything they should be doing LYSISTRATA
they postpone till later. But no ones come No, lets wait a while until the women 80
from Salamis or those towns on the coast. from Boeotia and from Sparta get here.
CALONICE [with an obscene gesture] MYRRHINE
I know those womenthey were up early All right. That sounds like the best idea.
on their boats riding the mizzen mast. [60] Hey, here comes Lampito.
LYSISTRATA [Lampito enters with some other Spartan women and with Ismenia, a
Id have bet woman from Thebes]
those women from Acharnia would come
LYSISTRATA
and get here first. But theyve not shown up.
Hello Lampito,
CALONICE my dear friend from Sparta. How beautiful
Well, Theogenes wife will be here. you look, so sweet, such a fine complexion. [80]
1
I saw her hoisting sail to come. Hey, look! And your body looks so fit, strong enough
Heres a group of women coming for you. 70 to choke a bull.
And theres another one, as well. Hello! 2
LAMPITO
Hello there! Where they from?
Yes, by the two gods,
[Various women start arriving from all directions]
1
Calonice is making an obscure joke on the name Anagyrus, a political district named after a
LYSISTRATA
bad-smelling plant.
Those? From Anagyrus. 2
In Aristophanes text, Lampito and other Spartans use a parody of a Spartan dialect, a style
1 of speaking significantly different from (although related to) Athenian Greek. Translators
Theogenes was a well-known merchant and ship owner. have dealt with this in different ways, usually by giving the Spartans a recognizable English
[Footnote continues]

7 8
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
1
I could pull that off. I do exercise CALONICE [inspecting the girls bosom and buttocks]
and work out to keep my bum well toned. A really noble girl, by Zeusits clear
shes got good lines right here, back here as well. 100
CALONICE [fondling Lampitos bosom]
What an amazing pair of breasts youve got! 90 LAMPITO
All right, whos the one who called the meeting
LAMPITO
and brought this bunch of women here?
O, you stroke me like Im a sacrifice.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA [looking at Ismenia]
I did.
And this young womanwheres she from? [90]
LAMPITO
LAMPITO
Then lay out what it is you want from us.
By the twin gods, shes an ambassador
shes from Boeotia. MYRRHINE
Come on, dear lady, tell us whats going on,
MYRRHINE [looking down Ismenias elegant clothes]
whats so important to you.
Of course, from Boeotia.
Shes got a beautiful lowland region. LYSISTRATA
In a minute.
CALONICE [peering down Ismenias robe to see her pubic hair]
Before I say it, Im going to ask you
Yes. By god, she keeps that territory
one small question.
elegantly groomed.
CALONICE
LYSISTRATA
Ask whatever you want.
Whos the other girl?
LYSISTRATA
LAMPITO
Dont you miss the fathers of your children
A noble girl, by the two gods, from Corinth.
when they go off to war? I understand [100]
you all have husbands far away from home. 110
CALONICE
My dear, its five full months my mans been gone
dialect, for example, from the Southern States or Scotland, or English with a foreign off in Thrace taking care of Eucrates.
accent. The difference between the Spartans speech and the language of the others reflects
the political antagonism between the Athenians and Spartans. Here I have not tried to follow MYRRHINE
1
this trend. My main reasons for doing so are (in brief) that, first, some dialects are in places And mines been off in Pylos seven whole months.
incomprehensible to some readers or have been made irrelevant (e.g., Jack Lindsays Scottish
language in the Bantam edition of Aristophanes or the erratic Russian English of the Perseus
translation) and, second, I wish to leave the choice of dialect or accent up to the imagination
of the readers or the directors of stage productions (who might like to experiment with
dialects which will connect with their particular audiences more immediately than any one I
might select). 1
Thrace was a region to the north of Greece, a long way from Athens. Eucrates was an
1
Spartans commonly invoke the divine twins Castor and Pollux, brothers of Helen and Athenian commander in the region. Pylos was a small area in the south Peloponnese which
Clytaemnestra. the Athenians had captured and occupied for a number of years.

9 10
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LAMPITO MYRRHINE
And mineas soon as he gets home from war Of course, well do it,
he grabs his shield and buggers off again. even if we have to die.
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
As for old flames and loverstheyre none left. All right then
And since Milesians went against us, we have to give up all male penises.
Ive not seen a decent eight-inch dildo.
1 [The women react with general consternation]
Yes, its just leather, but it helps us out. [110]
So would you be willing, if I found a way, 120 Why do you turn away? Where are you going?
to work with me to make this fighting end? How come you bite your lips and shake your heads?
And why so pale? How come youre crying like that?
MYRRHINE
Will you do it or not? What will it be?
By the twin goddesses, yes. Even if
in just one day I had to pawn this dress MYRRHINE
and drain my purse. I wont do it. So let the war drag on.
CALONICE CALONICE
Me toothey could slice me up I wont either. The war can keep on going. 140 [130]
like a flat fish, then use one half of me
LYSISTRATA
to get a peace.
How can you say that, you flatfish? Just now
LAMPITO you said they could slice you into halves.
Id climb up to the top
2 CALONICE
of Taygetus to get a glimpse of peace.
Ask what you like, but not that! If I had to,
LYSISTRATA Id be willing to walk through firesooner that
All right Ill tell you. No need to keep quiet than give up screwing. Theres nothing like it,
about my plan. Now, ladies, if we want [120] dear Lysistrata.
to force the men to have a peace, well then, 130
LYSISTRATA
we must give up . . .
And what about you?
MYRRHINE [interrupting]
MYRRHINE
Give up what? Tell us!
Id choose the fire, too.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
Then, will you do it?
What a debased race
we women are! Its no wonder men write
tragedies about us. Were good for nothing
1
Miletus had rebelled against Athens in the previous year. That city was associated with but screwing Poseidon in the bath tub. 150
sexuality and (in this case) the manufacture of sexual toys. But my Spartan friend, if you were willing, [140]
2
Taygetus was a high mountain in the Peloponnese. just you and me, we still could pull it off.
So help me out.

11 12
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LAMPITO CALONICE
By the twin gods, its hard But fake penises arent any use at all.
for women to sleep all by themselves What if they grab us and haul us by force [160]
without a throbbing cock. But we must try. into the bedroom.
Weve got to have a peace.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA Just grab the door post.
O youre a true friend!
CALONICE
The only real woman in this bunch.
And if they beat us?
CALONICE
LYSISTRATA
If we really do give up what you say
Then you must submit
I hope it never happens!would doing that
but do it grudgingly, dont cooperate.
make peace more likely?
Theres no enjoyment for them when they just
LYSISTRATA force it in. Besides, there are other ways
By the two goddesses, yes, 160 to make them suffer. Theyll soon surrender. 180
much more likely. If we sit around at home No husband ever had a happy life
with all our makeup on and in those gowns if he did not get on well with his wife.
made of Amorgos silk, naked underneath, [150]
CALONICE
with our crotches neatly plucked, our husbands
Well, if you two think its good, we do, too.
will get hard and want to screw. But then,
if we stay away and wont come near them, LAMPITO
theyll make peace soon enough. Im sure of it. Im sure we can persuade our men to work
for a just peace in everything, no tricks.
LAMPITO
But how will you convince the Athenian mob? [170]
Yes, just like they saywhen Menelaus
1 Theyre mad for war.
saw Helens naked tits, he dropped his sword.
LYSISTRATA
CALONICE
Thats not your worry.
But my friend, what if our men ignore us? 170
Well win them over.
LYSISTRATA
LAMPITO
Well then, in the words of Pherecrates,
2 I dont think so
youll find another way to skin the dog.
not while they have triremes under sail
and that huge treasure stashed away 190
1
where your goddess makes her home.
1
In a famous story, Menelaus went storming through Troy looking for his wife, Helen, in
order to kill her. But when he found her, he was so overcome by her beauty that he relented
LYSISTRATA
and took her back home to Sparta. But thats all been well taken care of.
2
Pherecrates was an Athenian comic dramatist. The line may be a quotation from one of his
1
plays. The financial reserves of the Athenian state were stored in the Acropolis.

13 14
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
Today well capture the Acropolis. CALONICE
The old women have been assigned the task. Lets get a stallion,
While we sit here planning all the details, a white one, and then offer up its guts!
theyll pretend theyre going there to sacrifice
LYSISTRATA
and seize the place.
Why a white horse?
LAMPITO
CALONICE
Youve got it all worked out. [180]
Then how will we make our oath?
What you say sounds good.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
Ill tell you, by god, if you want to hear.
All right Lampito,
Put a large dark bowl down on the ground,
lets swear an oath as quickly as we can.
then sacrifice a jug of Thasian wine,
That way well be united.
and swear well never pour in water.
LAMPITO
LAMPITO
Recite the oath. 200
Now, if you ask me, thats a super oath!
Then well all swear to it.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
Someone get the bowl and a jug of wine.
Thats good advice.
Wheres that girl from Scythia? [The Scythian girl goes back in the house and returns with a bowl and a jug
of wine. Calonice takes the bowl]
[The Scythian slave steps forward. She is holding a small shield]
CALONICE
Why stare like that?
Look, dear ladies, at this splendid bowl. 220 [200]
Put down your shield, the hollow part on top.
Just touching this gives instant pleasure.
Now, someone get me a victims innards.
LYSISTRATA
CALONICE
Put it down. Now join me and place your hands
Lysistrata, what sort of oath is this
on our sacrificial victim.
were going to swear?
[The women gather around the bowl and lay their hands on the wine
LYSISTRATA
jug. Lysistrata starts the ritual prayer]
What sort of oath?
One on a shield, just like they did back then O you,
in Aeschylus playwith slaughtered sheep. Goddess of Persuasion and the bowl
which we so love, accept this sacrifice,
CALONICE
a womens offering, and be kind to us.
You cant, Lysistrata, not on a shield,
you cant swear an oath for peace on that 210 [190] [Lysistrata opens the wine jug and lets the wine pour out into the bowl]
LYSISTRATA CALONICE
What should the oath be, then? Such healthy blood spurts out so beautifully!

15 16
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LAMPITO LYSISTRATA
By Castor, thats a mighty pleasant smell. If against my will he takes me by force . . .
MYRRHINE CALONICE
Ladies, let me be the first to swear the oath. If against my will he takes me by force . . .
CALONICE LYSISTRATA
No, by Aphrodite, nonot unless 230 . . . Ill be a lousy lay, not move a limb.
your lot is drawn.
CALONICE
LYSISTRATA [holds up a bowl full of wine] . . . Ill be a lousy lay, not move a limb.
Grab the brim, Lampito,
LYSISTRATA
you and all the others. Someone repeat [210]
Ill not raise my slippers up towards the roof . . . 250
for all the rest of you the words I say
that way youll pledge your firm allegiance: CALONICE
No man, no husband and no lover . . . Ill not raise my slippers up towards the roof . . . [230]
CALONICE [taking the oath] LYSISTRATA
No man, no husband and no lover . . . . . . nor crouch down like a lioness on all fours.
LYSISTRATA CALONICE
. . . will get near me with a stiff prick. . . Come on, . . . nor crouch down like a lioness on all fours.
say it!
LYSISTRATA
CALONICE If I do all this, then I may drink this wine.
. . . will get near me with a stiff prick.
CALONICE
O Lysistrata, my knees are getting weak!
If I do all this, then I may drink this wine.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
At home Ill live completely without sex . . . 240
If I fail, may this glass fill with water.
CALONICE
CALONICE
At home Ill live completely without sex . . .
If I fail, may this glass fill with water.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
. . . wearing saffron silks, with lots of make up . . .
Do all you women swear this oath?
CALONICE
ALL
. . . wearing saffron silks, with lots of make up . . . [220]
We do.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
. . . to make my man as horny as I can.
All right. Ill make the offering.
CALONICE
[Lysistrata drinks some of the wine in the bowl]
. . . to make my man as horny as I can.

17 18
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CALONICE about our womenthe ones we fed [260]
Just your share, in our own homes are truly bad.
my dear, so we all stay firm friends. The sacred statue is in their hands,
theyve seized my own Acropolis
[A sound of shouting is heard from offstage]
and blocked the doors with bolts and bars.
LAMPITO
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Whats that noise? 260 [240]
Come on Philurgus, lets hurry there
LYSISTRATA as fast as we can go up to the city.
Its what I said just nowthe women Well set these logs down in a circle,
have already captured the Acropolis. stack them so we keep them bottled up, 290
So, Lampito, you return to Sparta those women whove combined to do this.
do good work among your people there. Then with our own hands well set alight
Leave these women here as hostages. a single fire and, as we all agreed
Well go in the citadel with the others in the vote we took, well burn them all,
1
and help them barricade the doors. beginning first with Lycons wife. [270]
CALONICE CHORUS OF OLD MEN
Dont you think the men will band together Theyll wont be making fun of me,
and march against usand quickly, too. by Demeter, not while Im still alive.
That man Cleomenes, who was the first
LYSISTRATA
to take our citadel, went back unharmed.
Im not so worried about them. Theyll come 270
Snorting Spartan pride he went away, 300
carrying their torches and making threats,
once hed handed me his weapons,
but theyll not pry these gates of ours apart, [250]
wearing a really tiny little cloak,
not unless they agree to our demands.
hungry, filthy, with his hairy face.
2
CALONICE Hed gone six years without a bath. [280]
Yes, by Aphrodite, thats right. If not,
Thats how I fiercely hemmed him in,
well be labelled weak and gutless women.
our men in ranks of seventeen
[The women enter the citadel. The Chorus of Old Men enters slowly, for they we even slept before the gates.
are quite decrepit. They are carrying wood for a fire, glowing coals to start So with these foes of all the gods
the blaze, and torches to light.] and of Euripides, as well,
will I not check their insolence? 310
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Keep moving, Draces, pick up the pace,
even if your shoulders tired lugging
all this heavy fresh-cut olive wood. 1
Lycons wife was a woman in Athens famous for her promiscuity.
2
CHORUS OF OLD MEN Cleomenes, a king of Sparta, once came with a small army to Athens (in 508) to help the
Alas, so many unexpected things oligarch party. He had a very hostile reception and took refuge in the Acropolis, where he
stayed under siege for two days. A truce was arranged and the Spartans left peacefully.
take place in a long life. O Strymodorus, 280
whod ever think theyd hear such news

19 20
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
If I do not, then let my trophies we placed our firewood right down here, then put
1
all disappear from Marathon. a vine branch in the pot, set it alight,
and charged the door like a battering ram?
The rest of the journey I have to make
Well order women to remove the bars, [310]
is uphill to the Acropolis.
and, if they refuse, well burn down the doors.
We must move fast, but how do we haul
Well overpower them with the smoke.
this wood up there without a donkey?
All right, put down your loads.
This pair of logs makes my shoulders sore.
But still weve got to soldier on [The men set down their logs. Once again the smoke is too much for them]
giving our fire air to breathe.
This bloody smoke! 340
It may go out when Im not looking 320
Is there any general here from Samos
just as I reach my journeys end. 1
wholl help us with this wood?
[They blow on the coals to keep them alight. The smoke comes blowing up in
[He sets down his load of wood]
their faces. The Old Men fall back, coughing and rubbing their eyes]
Ah, thats better.
O the smoke!
Theyre not shrinking my spine any more.
Lord Hercules, how savagely
All right, pot, its now your job to arouse
it jumped out from the pot right in my face
a fire from those coals, so first of all,
and bit my eyes like a raving bitch.
Ill have a lighted torch and lead the charge.
It works just like a Lemnian fire [300]
O lady Victory, stand with us here,
or else it wouldnt use its teeth
so we can set our trophy up in there,
to feed on fluids in my eye.
defeat those women in our citadel
We need to hurry to the citadel
put down this present insolence of theirs. 350
and save the goddess. If not now,
2
O Laches, when should we help her out? 330 [The Old Men stack their logs in a pile and start lighting their torches on the
coals. The Chorus of Old Women enters, carrying pitchers of water]
[The men blow on the coals and are again overpowered by the smoke]
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Damn and blast this smoke!
Ladies, I think I see some flames and smoke,
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS as if a fire was burning. Wed better hurry. [320]
Thanks to the gods, the fires up again
CHORUS OF OLD WOMEN
a lively flame. So what if, first of all,
We have to fly, Nicodice, fly
before Critylla is burned up
1
Euripides was a younger contemporary of Aristophanes. Marathon was the site of the great
and Calyce, too, by nasty winds
Greek victory over the Persian expeditionary forces in 490 BC, a high point of Athenian and old men keen to wipe them out.
military achievement. But Im afraid Ill be too late
2
The reference to Lemnian fire is not clear. The island of Lemnos perhaps had some volcanic
activity, or else the reference is to the women of Lemnos who killed all their husbands. There
1
is a pun on the Greek word for Lemnos and the word in the same speech referring to material Samos was an important island near Athens. A number of the generals of Athenian forces
in the eye. came from there.

21 22
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
to help them out. Ive only just LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
filled up my pitcher in the dark. Whats happening here
It was not easyat the well 360 is something we did not expect to see
the place was jammed and noisy too a swarm of women standing here like this
with clattering pots, pushy servants, to guard the doors.
and tattooed slaves. But I was keen
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
to carry water to these fires
So youre afraid of us? 390
to help my countrys women.
Does it look like theres a huge crowd of us?
Ive heard some dim and dull old men Youre seeing just a fraction of our size
are creeping here and carrying logs there are thousands more.
a great big loadto our fortress,
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
as if to warm our public baths.
Hey there, Phaedrias!
Theyre muttering the most awful things 370
Shall we stop her nattering on like this?
how with their fire they need to turn [340]
Someone hit her, smack her with a log.
these hateful women into ash.
But, goddess, may I never see LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
them burned like thatbut witness how Lets put our water jugs down on the ground,
they rescue cities, all of Greece, in case they want to lay their hands on us.
from war and this insanity. Down there they wont get in our way.
Thats why, golden-crested goddess
[The Old Women set down their water jugs]
who guards our city, these women
now have occupied your shrine. LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
O Tritogeneia, I summon you 380 By god, someone should hit them on the jaw, [360]
to be my allyif any man two or three times, and then, like Boupalus, 400
1
sets them on fire, help us out theyll wont have anything much more to say.
1
as we carry this water up.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
[The Old Men have lit their torches and are about to move against the Come on thenstrike me. Im here, waiting.
Acropolis. The Old Women are blocking their way] No other bitch will ever grab your balls.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Hold on, ladies. What this I see? Men [350] Shut up, or I hit yousnuff out your old age.
dirty old menhard at work. Honest types,
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
useful, god-fearing men, could never do
Try coming up and touching Stratyllis
the things you do.
with your finger tips!

1
Sommerstein observes (p. 171) that the epithet Tritogeneia (Trito born) refers to Athenas
1
birth beside the River Triton or Lake Tritonis in North Africa. Boupalus was a sculptor from Chios.

23 24
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
What if I thrashed you Youll wash me,
with my fists? Would you do something nasty? you old wrinkled prune?
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
With my teeth Ill rip out your lungs and guts! Yes, it will be
just like your wedding night.
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Euripides is such a clever poet LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
the man who says theres no wild animal 410 Listen to her!
more shameless than a woman. Shes a nervy bitch!
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Come on then, Im a free woman.
Rhodippe, lets pick up our water jugs. [370]
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
[The Old Women pick up their water jugs again] Ill make you shut up!
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Why have you damned women even come here You dont judge these things. [380]
carrying this water?
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS Set her hair on fire!
And why are you
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
bringing fire, you old corpse? Do you intend 1
Get to work, Achelous.
to set yourself on fire?
[She throws her jar of water over the Leader of the Mens Chorus, and,
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
following the leaders example, the women throw water all over the old men]
Me? To start a blaze
and roast your friends. LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
O, thats bad!
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Im here to douse your fire. LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Was that hot enough?
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Youll put out my fire? [The women continue to throw water on the old men]
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Yes I will. Youll see. Hot enough?
Wont you stop doing that? What are you doing?
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS [waving his torch]
I dont know why Im not just doing it,
frying you in this flame.
1
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS The Achelous was a large well-known river and river god in northern Greece.
Get yourself some soap. 420
Im giving you a bath.

25 26
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS MAGISTRATE
Im watering you to make you bloom. By Poseidon,
god of the salt seas, it serves you right.
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
We men ourselves share in the blame for this.
Im too old and withered. Im shaking. 430
We teach our wives their free and easy life,
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS and so intrigues come flowering out from them.
Well, youve got your fire. Warm yourselves up. Heres what we tell some working artisan,
O goldsmith, about that necklace I bought here
[A Magistrate enters with an armed escort of four public guards and slaves
last night my wife was dancing and the bolt [410]
with crowbars and some attendant soldiers]
slipped from its hole. I have to take a boat
MAGISTRATE to Salamis. If youve got time tonight, 460
Has not our womens lewdness shown itself you could visit her with that tool of yours
in how they beat their drums for Sabazius, and fix the way the bolt sits in her hole.
that god of excess, or on their rooftops Another man goes to the shoemaker,
shed tears for Adonis? Thats what I heard [390] a strapping lad with an enormous prick,
one time in our assembly. Demostrates and says, O shoemaker, a sandal strap
what a stupid man he iswas arguing is pinching my wifes tender little toe.
that we should sail to Sicily. Meanwhile, Could you come at noon and rub her strap,
his wife was dancing round and screaming out stretch it really wide? Thats the sort of thing [420]
Alas, Adonis! While Demostrates talked, 440 that leads to all this trouble. Look at me,
saying we should levy soldiers from Zacynthus, a magistrate in charge of finding oars 470
the woman was on the roof top, getting drunk and thus in need of money nowthese women
1
and yelling out Weep for Adonis! Weep. have shut the treasury doors to keep me out.
But he kept on forcing his opinion through, But standing heres no use.
that mad brutal ox, whom the gods despise.
[He calls out to his two slaves]
Thats just the kind of loose degenerate stuff
that comes from women. Bring the crow bars.
Ill stop these womens insolence myself.
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Wait until I tell you [He turns to the armed guards he has brought with him]
the insolent things these women did to us
What are you gaping at, you idiot!
all their abusethey dumped their water jugs [400]
And youwhat are you looking at?
on us. So now we have to dry our clothes. 450
Why are you doing nothingjust staring round
We look as if weve pissed ourselves.
looking for a tavern? Take these crowbars
to the doors there, and then pry them open.
1 Come, Ill work to force them with you. 480
Sabazius was a popular foreign god associated with drinking (like Dionysus). Adonis was a
youth loved by Aphrodite. A festival was celebrated each year in his memory. Demostrates LYSISTRATA [opening the doors and walking out]
was a politician promoting the disastrous Athenian military expedition to Sicily. Zacynthus, No need to use those crowbars. Im coming out [430]
an island off the Peloponnese, was an ally of Athens.
and of my own free will. Why these crowbars?
This calls for brains and common sense, not force.

27 28
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE OLD WOMEN C
Is that so, you slut? Wheres that officer? By bull-bashing Artemis, if you move
Seize that woman! Tie her hands! to touch her, Ill rip out all your hair 500
until you yelp in pain.
LYSISTRATA
By Artemis, [The fourth officer shits himself and runs off in terror]
he may be a public servant, but if
MAGISTRATE
he lays a finger on me, hell be sorry.
This is getting bad.
MAGISTRATE [to the first armed guard] Therere no officers left. We cant let ourselves [450]
Are you scared of her? Grab her round the waist! be beaten back by women. Come on then,
1
You there, help him out! And tie her up! you Scythians, form up your ranks. Then charge.
1 Go at them!
OLD WOMAN A
By Pandrosus, if you lift a hand to her, 490 LYSISTRATA
Ill beat you until you shit yourself!
[440] By the two goddesses, youll see
weve got four companies of women inside,
[The armed guard is so terrified he shits]
all fighting fit and fully armed.
MAGISTRATE
MAGISTRATE
Look at the mess you made! Where is he,
Come on,
that other officer?
Scythians, twist their arms behind them!
[The Magistrate turns to a third armed officer]
LYSISTRATA [shouting behind her]
Tie up this one first, Come out here from where you are in there,
the one whos got such a dirty mouth. all you female allies, on the double 510
you market women who sell grain and eggs,
OLD WOMAN B
garlic and vegetables, and those who run
By the god of light, if you just touch her,
2 our bakeries and taverns, to the attack!
youll quickly need a cup to fix your eyes.
[Many women emerge from the Acropolis, armed in various ways]
[This officer shits his pants and runs off. The Magistrate turns to a fourth
officer] Hit them, stomp on them, scratch their eyeballs,
smother them with your abuse! Dont hold back! [460]
MAGISTRATE
Whos this here? Arrest her! Ill put a stop [A general tumult occurs in which the women beat back the Scythian
to all women in this demonstration! guards]
LYSISTRATA
1
In modern productions the old women who speak in this scene either come out of the gates Thats enough! Back off! Dont strip the armour
to the Acropolis or are members of the Chorus. Alternatively the speeches could be assigned from those you have defeated.
to the characters we have met earlier (Myrrhine and Calonice), who have emerged from the
Acropolis behind Lysistrata.
2 1
Black eyes were treated with a small cup placed over the eye to reduce the swelling. The armed guards accompanying the Magistrate are traditionally Scythian archers.

29 30
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
[The armed women return into the Acropolis] the holy ground where people do not go,
1
on the great rock of the Acropolis.
MAGISTRATE
Disaster! LEADER OF THE MENS CHORUS [to Magistrate]
My guards have acted quite disgracefully. So ask her. Dont let them win you over.
Challenge everything they say. If we left
LYSISTRATA
this matter without seeking out the cause,
What did you expect? Did you really think
that would be disgraceful.
you were facing a bunch of female slaves? 520
Or is it your belief that mere women MAGISTRATE [turning to Lysistrata]
have no spirit in them? Well then, by god,
first of all Id like to know the reason
MAGISTRATE
why you planned to use these barriers here
Spirit? By Apollo, yes!
to barricade our citadel.
If theyre near any man whos got some wine.
LYSISTRATA
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
To get your money 550
In this land youre a magistrate, but here
so you couldnt keep on paying for war.
your words are useless. Why even try
to have a conversation with these bitches? MAGISTRATE
Dont you know theyve just given us a bath Is it money thats the cause of war?
in our own cloaks? And they did not use soap! [470]
LYSISTRATA
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS Yes, and all the rest of the corruption.
Listen, friend. You should never raise your hand Peisander and our leading politicians [490]
against your neighbour. If you do, then I 530 need a chance to steal. Thats the reason
2
will have to punch you in the eye. Id prefer theyre always stirring up disturbances.
to sit quietly at home, like a young girl, Well, let the ones who wish to do this
and not come here to injure anyone do what they want, but from this moment on
or agitate the nest, unless someone theyll get no more money.
disturbs the hive and makes me angry.
MAGISTRATE
CHORUS OF OLD MEN What will you do?
O Zeus, however will we find a way
LYSISTRATA
to deal with these wild beasts? Whats going on
You ask me that? Well control it.
is no longer something we can bear.
But we must question them and find out why
they are so angry with us, why they wish 540 [480]
to seize the citadel of Cranaus,
1
Cranaus was a legendary king of Athens. His citadel is the Acropolis.
2
Peisander was a leading Athenian politician, suspected of favouring the war for selfish
reasons.

31 32
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE LYSISTRATA
You mean
560 Youre angry, 570
youre going to manage all the money? but nonetheless we have to do it.
LYSISTRATA MAGISTRATE
You consider that so strange? Isnt it true By Demeter, this is against the law! [500]
we take care of all the household money?
LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE My dear fellow, we have to rescue you.
Thats not the same.
MAGISTRATE
LYSISTRATA And if I dont agree?
Why not?
LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE Then our reasons
We need the cash are that much more persuasive.
to carry on the war.
MAGISTRATE
LYSISTRATA Is it true
Well, first of all, youre really going to deal with peace and war?
there should be no fighting.
LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE Were going to speak to that.
But without war
MAGISTRATE [with a threatening gesture]
how will we save ourselves?
Then speak fast,
LYSISTRATA or else you may well start to cry.
Well do that.
LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE Then listen
You? and try to keep your fists controlled.
LYSISTRATA MAGISTRATE
Thats rightus. I cant.
Its hard for me to hold back my temper. 580
MAGISTRATE
This is outrageous! LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Its more likely youre the one wholl weep.
LYSISTRATA
Well save you, MAGISTRATE
even if that goes against your wishes. Shut up your croaking, you old bag.
MAGISTRATE [To Lysistrata]
What youre saying is madness!
Youtalk to me.
LYSISTRATA
Ill do that. Up to now through this long war

33 34
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
we kept silent about all those things by bringing wives into a single group
you men were doing. We were being modest. with one shared aim. Why should we delay?
And you did not allow us to speak up, If youd like to hear us give some good advice,
although we were not happy. But still, then start to listen, keep your mouths quite shut,
we listened faithfully to you, and often [510] the way we did. Well save you from yourselves.
inside the house we heard your wretched plans
MAGISTRATE
for some great deed. And if we ached inside, 590
Youll save us? What youre saying is madness.
wed force a smile and simply ask, Today
Im not going to put up with it!
in the assembly did the men propose
a treaty carved in stone decreeing peace? LYSISTRATA
But our husbands said, Is that your business? Shut up! 620
Why dont you shut up? And Id stay silent.
MAGISTRATE
OLD WOMAN Should I shut up for you, you witch, someone [530]
Id not have kept my mouth shut. with a scarf around her head? Id sooner die!
MAGISTRATE [to Lysistrata] LYSISTRATA
Youd have been smacked If this scarf of mine really bothers you,
if you had not been quiet and held your tongue. take it and wrap it round your head. Here
LYSISTRATA [Lysistrata takes off her scarf and wraps it over the Magistrates head.]
So there I am at home, saying nothing.
Now keep quiet!
Then youd tell us of another project,
even stupider than before. Wed say, 600 OLD WOMAN A
How can you carry out a scheme like that? And take this basket, too!
Its foolish. Immediately hed frown
LYSISTRATA
and say to me, If you dont spin your thread,
Now put on a waist band, comb out wool,
youll get a major beating on your head. [520]
and chew some beans. This business of the war
War is mens concern.
we women will take care of.
MAGISTRATE
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Yes, by god!
Come on, women,
That man spoke the truth.
get up and leave those jars. Its our turn now [540]
LYSISTRATA to join together with our friends. 630
You idiot!
WOMENS CHORUS
Is that sensiblenot to take advice
With dancing Ill never tire
when what youre proposing is so silly?
weariness wont grip my knees
Then we heard you speaking in the streets,
or wear me out. In everything
asking openly, Are there any men 610
Ill strive to match the excellence
still left here in our land? and someone said,
of these women herein nature,
By god, theres no one. Well then, after that
wisdom, boldness, charm,
it seemed to us we had to rescue Greece

35 36
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
and prudent virtue in the way LYSISTRATA
they love their country. It looks so silly
going off to purchase tiny little birds
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS 1
while carrying a Gorgon shield. [560]
You grandchildren of the bravest women,
sprung from fruitful stinging nettles, 640 OLD WOMAN A
let your passion drive you forward By god, 660
and dont hold back, for now youve got I myself saw a cavalry commander
the winds of fortune at your back. [550] he had long hair and was on horseback
pouring out some pudding hed just bought
LYSISTRATA
from an old woman into his helmet.
O Aphrodite born on Cyprus
Another Thracian was waving his spear
and, you, sweet passionate Eros, breathe
and his shield, as well, just like Tereus,
sexual longing on our breasts and thighs
and terrifying the woman selling figs
and fill our men with tortuous desire 2
while gobbling down the ripest ones she had.
and make their pricks erect. If so, I think
well win ourselves a name among the Greeks MAGISTRATE
as those who brought an end to warfare. 650 And how will you find the power to stop
so many violent disturbances 670
MAGISTRATE
throughout our states and then resolve them?
What will you do?
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
Very easily.
For a start, well stop
you men hanging around the market place MAGISTRATE
armed with spears and acting up like fools. But how? Explain that.
OLD WOMAN A LYSISTRATA
Yes, thats right, by Paphian Aphrodite! Its like a bunch of yarn. When its tangled,
we take it and pass it through the spindle
LYSISTRATA
back and forththats how well end the war,
Right now in the market they stroll around
if people let us try, by sending out [570]
among the pots and vegetables, fully armed,
1 ambassadors here and there, back and forth.
like Corybantes.
MAGISTRATE
MAGISTRATE
Youre an idiot! Do you really think
Yes, thats right
you can end such fearful acts with spindles,
its what brave men should do.
spools, and wool?

1
1 Shields with monstrous Gorgons heads depicted on them were common in Athens.
Corybantes were divine attendants on the foreign goddess Cybele. They were associated with
2
ecstatic music and dancing. Tereus was a mythical king of Thrace and a popular figure with Athenian dramatists.

37 38
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA MAGISTRATE
If you had any common sense, 680 All right, be quiet. [590]
youd deal with everything the way we do Dont remind me of all that.
when we handle yarn.
LYSISTRATA
MAGISTRATE And then,
What does that mean? when we should be having a good time, 710
Tell me. enjoying our youth, we have to sleep alone
because our men are in the army.
LYSISTRATA
Setting us aside, it distresses me
First of all, just as we wash the wool
that young unmarried girls are growing old
in a rinsing tub to remove the dirt,
alone in their own homes.
you have to lay the city on a bed,
beat out the rascals, and then drive away MAGISTRATE
the thorns and break apart the groups of men Dont men get old?
who join up together in their factions
LYSISTRATA
seeking public officepluck out their heads.
By god, thats not the same at all. For men,
Then into a common basket of good will 690
even old ones with white hair, can come back
comb out the wool, the entire compound mix,
and quickly marry some young girl. For women
including foreigners, guests, and allies, [580]
time soon runs out. If they dont seize their chance,
anyone useful to the public good.
no one wants to marry themthey sit there 720
Bundle them together. As for those cities
waiting for an oracle.
which are colonies of this land, by god,
you must see that, as far as were concerned, MAGISTRATE
each is a separate skein. From all of them, But an old man
take a piece of wool and bring it here. who can still get his prick erect . . .
Roll them together into a single thing.
LYSISTRATA [interrupting]
Then youll have made one mighty ball of wool, 700
O you
from which the public then must weave its clothes.
why not learn your lesson and just die? Its time. [600]
MAGISTRATE Buy a funeral urn. Ill prepare the dough
1
So women beat wool and roll it in balls! for honey cakes. Take this wreath.
Isnt that wonderful? That doesnt mean
[Lysistrata throws some water over the Magistrate]
they bear any part of what goes on in war.
OLD WOMAN A
LYSISTRATA
This one, too
You damned fool, of course it doeswe endure
its from me!
more than twice as much as you. First of all,
we bear children and then send them off
to serve as soldiers. 1
A honey cake was traditionally part of the funeral service. It was given to make sure the dead
shade reached Hades.

39 40
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
[Old Woman A throws more water on the Magistrate] these women, whom the gods all hate,
to seize the treasury and our pay,
OLD WOMAN B 1
the funds I need to live my way.
Here, take this garland!
Its terrible these women here
[Old Woman B throws more water on the Magistrate] are thinking about politics 750

and prattling on about bronze spears


LYSISTRATA
theyre women!and making peace
Well now,
on our behalf with Spartan types,
what do you need? What are you waiting for?
whom I dont trust, not any more
Step aboard the boat. Charons calling you.
1 than gaping wolves. In this affair,
Youre preventing him from casting off.
those men are weaving plots for us, [630]
MAGISTRATE so they can bring back tyranny.
I dont have to put up with these insults! 730 But me, I wont give any ground,
Ill go to the other magistrates, by god, not to a tyrant. Ill stand guard,
and show myself exactly as I am! [620] from now on carrying a sword 760
inside my myrtle bough. Ill march
[The Magistrate exits with his attending slaves]
with weapons in the market place
2
LYSISTRATA [calling out to him as he leaves] with Aristogeiton at my side.
Are you blaming us for not laying you out Ill stand with him. And now its time
for burial? Well then, on the third day, I struck those hostile to gods law
well come and offer up a sacrifice and hit that old hag on the jaw.
on your behalf first thing in the morning.
[The Old Men move to threaten the Old Women with their fists]
[Lysistrata and the old women with her return inside the Acropolis]
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
LEADER OF THE MENS CHORUS When you get back home, your own mother
You men, no more sleeping on the job wont know who you are. Come on, old ladies,
for anyone born free! Lets strip ourselves you friends of mine, lets first set our burdens
for action on this issue. It seems to me on the ground.
this business stinksits large and getting larger. 740
WOMENS CHORUS
[The Old Men strip down, taking almost all their clothes off] All you fellow citizens, 770
well start to give the city good advice
CHORUS OF OLD MEN
and rightly, since it raised us splendidly [640]
And I especially smelled some gas
the tyrant rule of Hippias. 1
Ive a great fear that Spartan men Hippias was a tyrant in Athens from 528 to 510. Cleisthenes, an Athenian, was a favourite
target of Aristophanes, ridiculed as a passive homosexual. Here theres an accusation that he
collected here with Cleisthenes, is sympathetic to the Spartans. The pay the old men refer to is a daily payment of three obols
have with their trickery stirred up from the state to jury men.
2
Aritogeiton and his friend Harmodius assassinated the tyrant Hipparchus, the brother of
1
Charon was the ferryman who transports the shades of the dead across the river into Hades. Hippias. The two were celebrated as heroes of democratic Athens.

41 42
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
so we lived very well. At seven years old, And now lets stand erect again, aroused
I carried sacred vessels, and at ten in our whole bodiesshake off our old age. [670]
I pounded barley for Athenas shrine.
[The Old Men take off their remaining clothes, hold up their
Later as bear, I shed my yellow dress
shrivelled phalluses, and threaten the women]
for the rites of Brauronian Artemis.
And once I was a lovely full-grown girl, If one of us gives them the slightest chance
I wore strings of figs around my neck theres nothing these women wont continue
1
and was one of those who carried baskets. 780 trying to work onbuilding fighting ships,
1
So I am indebted to the city. attacking us at sea like Artemesia.
Why not pay it back with good advice? If they switch to horses, I draw the line. 810
I was born a woman, but dont hold that For women are the best at riding bareback
against me if I introduce a plan their shapely arses do a lovely job.
to make our present situation better. [650] They dont slip off when grinding at a gallop.
For I make contributions to the state Just look how Micon painted Amazons
2
I give birth to men. You miserable old farts, fighting men on horseback hand to hand.
you contribute nothing! That pile of cash So we must take a piece of wood with holes, [680]
which we collected from the Persian Wars and fit a yoke on them, around their necks.
you squandered. You dont pay any taxes. 790
CHORUS OF OLD WOMEN
Whats more, the way you act so stupidly
By the two goddesses, if you get me roused,
endangers all of us. What do you say?
Ill let my wild sows passion loose and make
Dont get me riled up. Ill take this filthy shoe
you yell to all the people here today 820
and smack you one right on the jaw.
how Im removing all your hair.
CHORUS OF OLD MEN
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Is this not getting way too insolent?
You ladies,
I think its better if we paid them back. [660]
lets not delaylets take off all our clothes,
We have to fight this out. So any one
so we can smell a womans passion
whos got balls enough to be a man
when were in a ferocious mood.
take off your clothes so we men can smell
the way we shouldlike men. We should strip. 800 [The Old Women take off their clothes]
Its not right to keep ourselves wrapped up.
WOMENS CHORUS
Were the ones whove got white feet.
2 Now let any man step out against me
We marched to Leipsydrion years ago.

1 victorious. The detail about their white feet, Sommerstein suggests, refers to those who were
The Old Women are referring to many city activities and rituals in which girls of noble
hostile to Hippias and the tyrants (hence, lovers of freedom).
families played important roles. The phrase pounding barley refers to making cakes for 1
sacrifices. Artemesia was queen of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor. She led ships from her city as part of
2 the Persian expedition against Athens in 480 and fought at the Battle of Salamis.
Leipsydrion was the site of a battle years before when the tyrant Hippias besieged and 2
defeated his opponents. The old men are treating the event as if they had been Micon was a well-known Athenian painter.
[Footnote continues]

43 44
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
he wont be eating garlic any more, [690] LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
and no black beans. Just say something nasty, What are you saying? What do you mean? [710]
Im so boiling mad, Ill treat you the same way
1 LYSISTRATA
the beetle did the eaglesmash your eggs.
Its true, so true.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Not that I give a damn for you, not while 830
Whats wrong? You can tell us
I have Lampito hereIsmenia, too,
were friends of yours.
my young Theban friend. You have no power,
not even with seven times as many votes. LYSISTRATA
Youre such a miserable old man, even those Im ashamed to say,
who are you neighbours find you hateful. but its hard to keep it quiet.
Just yesterday for the feast of Hecate, [700]
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
I planned a party, so I asked my neighbours
Dont hide from me
in Boeotia for one of their companions,
bad news affecting all of us.
a lovely girlshe was for my children
2
a splendid pot of eels. But they replied 840 LYSISTRATA
they couldnt send it because youd passed . All right,
another one of your decrees. It doesnt seem Ill keep it shortwe all want to get laid.
youll stop voting in these laws, not before
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
someone takes your leg, carries you off
O Zeus!
and throws you out.
LYSISTRATA
[Lysistrata comes out from the Acropolis, looking very worried and angry.
Whats the point of calling Zeus?
The leader of the Womens Chorus addresses her]
Theres nothing he can do about this mess.
Heres our glorious leader, I cant keep these women from their men, 860
who does the planning for this enterprise. not any longertheyre all running off.
Why have you come here, outside the building, First I caught one slipping through a hole [720]
and with such a sad expression on your face? beside the Cave of Pan, then another
trying it with a rope and pulley, a third
LYSISTRATA
deserting on her own, and yesterday
Its the way these women act so badly,
there was a woman on a giant bird
together with their female hearts, that makes 850
intending to fly down to that place
me lose my courage and walk in circles. 1
run by Orsilochus. I grabbed her hair.
Theyre all inventing reasons to go home.
[A woman come out of the citadel, trying to sneak off]
1
This is a reference to an old story in which the dung beetle got its revenge against an eagle
by smashing its eggs. The old woman obviously threatens the mans testicles as she says this.
2 1
Hecate was a goddess whose worship was associated with birth and children. Orsilochus was either a well known seducer or someone who kept a brothel.

45 46
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
Heres one of them on her way right now. 870 WOMAN C
Where do you think youre going? O sacred Eileithia, goddess of birth,
hold back my labour pains till I can find
WOMAN A 1
a place where Im permitted to give birth.
Who me?
I want to get back home. Inside the house LYSISTRATA
Ive got bolts of Milesian cloth, and worms What are you moaning about?
are eating them.
WOMAN C
LYSISTRATA Its my time
What worms? Get back in there! [730] Im going to have a child!
WOMAN A LYSISTRATA
Ill come back right away, by godI just But yesterday 890
need to spread them on the bed. you werent even pregnant.
LYSISTRATA WOMAN C
Spread them? Well, today I am.
You wont be doing that. Youre not leaving! Send me home, Lysistrata, and quickly.
I need a midwife.
WOMAN A
My wool just goes to waste? LYSISTRATA [inspecting Woman Cs clothing]
What are you saying?
LYSISTRATA
Whats this youve got here? It feels quite rigid.
If thats what it takes.
WOMAN C
[Woman A trudges back into the Acropolis. Woman B emerges]
A little boy.
WOMAN B
LYSISTRATA
Im such a fool, Ive left my wretched flax
No, by Aphrodite,
back in my house unstripped.
I dont think so. It looks like youve got [750]
LYSISTRATA some hollow metal here. Ill have a look.
Another one 880
[Lysistrata looks under the womans dress and pulls out a helmet]
leaving here to go and strip her flax!
Get back inside! You silly creature, youve got a helmet there,
Athenas sacred helmet. Didnt you say
WOMAN B
you were pregnant.
By the goddess of light,
Ill be right back, once Ive rubbed its skin. WOMAN C
Yes, and by god, I am. 900
LYSISTRATA
Youll not rub anything. If you start that, [740]
some other woman will want to do the same. 1
To have a child in a holy place, like the Acropolis, was considered a sacrilege.
[Woman B returns dejected into the citadel. Woman C emerges from the
citadel, looking very pregnant]

47 48
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA WOMAN B [interrupting]
Then whyve you got this helmet? Women are going to lie on top of men?
WOMAN C LYSISTRATA [continuing the oracle]
Well, in case . . . but if the sparrows fight and fly away
I went into labour in the citadel. out of the holy shrine, people will say
I could give birth right in the helmet, no bird is more promiscuous than they. 930
lay it in there like a nesting pigeon.
WOMAN A
LYSISTRATA That oracle is clear enough, by god.
What are you talking about? Youre just
LYSISTRATA
making an excusethats so obvious.
All you heavenly gods, can we stop talking
Youll stay here for at least five days
of being in such distress. Let us go back in.
until your new childs birth is purified.
For, my dearest friends, it will be a shame
WOMAN C if we dont live up to this prophecy. [780]
I cant get any sleep in the Acropolis,
[Lysistrata and the women go back into the citadel, leaving the two
not since I saw the snake that guards the place. 910
choruses]
[More women start sneaking out of the citadel]
MENS CHORUS
WOMAN D Id like to tell you all a tale,
Nor can I. Im dying from lack of sleep [760] which I heard once when I was young
those wretched owls keep hooting all the time. about Melanion, a young lad
who fled from marriage and then came
LYSISTRATA
into the wilds and so he lived 940
Come on ladies, stop all these excuses!
up in the hills. He wove some nets [790]
All right, you miss your men. But dont you see
and hunted hares. He had a dog.
they miss you, too? Im sure the nights they spend
Not once did he return back home
dont bring them any pleasure. But please, dear friends,
He hated womenthey made him sick.
hold onpersevere a little longer.
And we are no less wise than he.
An oracle has said we will prevail,
if we stand together. Thats what it said. LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Lets kiss, old bag, give it a try.
WOMAN A
Tell us what it prophesied. LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
You wont need onions to make you cry.
LYSISTRATA
Then, keep quiet. 920 LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
When the sparrows, as they fly away, [770] Ill lift my leggive you a kick.
escaping from the hoopoe birds, shall stay
LEADER OF WOMANS CHORUS
together in one place and shall say nay
Down there your pubic hairs too thick. [800]
to sexual encounters, then a bad day
will be rare. High thundering Zeus will say LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
What once was underneath on top Ill lay. Myronides had a hairy dick 950

49 50
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
and beat foes with his big black bum. LYSISTRATA
1
That Phormio was another one. A man!
I see a man approaching mad with love,
WOMENS CHORUS
seized with desire for Aphrodites rites.
To you Id like to tell a tale
O holy queen of Cyprus, Cythera,
to answer your Melanion.
and Paphos, keep moving down the road,
There was a man called Timon once,
the straight path youve been travelling on.
a vagabond, the Furies child.
Wild thistles covered his whole face. [810] CALONICE
He wandered off filled up with spite Where is he, whoever he is?
and always cursing evil types.
LYSISTRATA
But though he always hated men, 960
Over there,
those of you who are such rogues,
right beside the shrine of Chloe.
women he always really loved. [820]
CALONICE
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
O yes,
Youd like a punch right on the chin?
there he is, by god. Who is he?
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
LYSISTRATA
Not given the state of fear Im in.
Have a look.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS Do any of you know him?
What if I kicked you with my toe?
MYRRHINE
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS O god, I do. 980
Wed see your pussy down below. Its my husband Cinesias.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS LYSISTRATA
And then youd see, although Im old All right,
its not all matted hair down there, your job is to torment him, be a tease,
but singed by lamp and plucked with flair. make him hot, offer to have sex with him [840]
and then refuse, try everything you can,
[Lysistrata appears on a balcony of the citadel, looking off in the distance.
except the things you swore to on the cup.
Other women come out after her]
MYRRHINE
LYSISTRATA
Dont you worry. Ill do that.
Hey, you women! Over here to me. Come quick! 970
LYSISTRATA
CALONICE
All right, then.
Whats going on? Why are you shouting? [830]
Ill stay here to help you play with him.
Well warm him up together. You others,
go inside.
1
Myronides and Phormio were two dead generals who fought for Athens.
[The women go inside, including Myrrhine. Cinesias enters with a very large
erection. An attendant comes with him carrying a young baby]

51 52
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CINESIAS LYSISTRATA
Im in a dreadful way. Welcome, dear friend, your name
Its all this throbbing. And the strain. I feel 990 is not unknown to us. Your wife always 1000
as if Im stretched out on the rack. has you on her lips. Any time she licks
an apple or an egg she says, Ah me,
LYSISTRATA
if only this could be Cinesias.
Whos there,
standing inside our line of sentinels? [Lysistrata licks her fist obscenely]
CINESIAS CINESIAS
Its me. O my god!
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
A man? Yes, by Aphrodite, yes. And when our talk
happens to deal with men, your wife speaks up
CINESIAS
immediately, O theyre all useless sorts [860]
Yes, take a look at this!
compared to my Cinesias.
LYSISTRATA
CINESIAS
In that case leave. Go on your way.
Please call her out.
CINESIAS
LYSISTRATA
Who are you
Why should I do that? What will you give me?
to tell me to get out?
CINESIAS
LYSISTRATA
Whatever you want, by god. I have this . . .
The daytime watch.
[Cinesias waves his erection in front of Lysistrata]
CINESIAS
Then, by the gods, call Myrrhine for me. [850] Ill give you what Ive got.
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
You tell me to summon Myrrhine for you? No thanks. 1010
Who are you? I think Ill tell her to come out to you.
CINESIAS [Lysistrata leaves to fetch Myrrhine]
Cinesias, her husband,
1 CINESIAS
from Paeonidae.
Hurry up. Ive had no pleasure in life
since shes been gone from home. I go out,
but Im in pain. To me now everything
1
Sommerstein (p. 200) points out that Paeonidae was a political district in northern seems empty. Theres no joy in eating food.
Attica. The name suggests the Greek verb paiein, meaning to strike or copulate. Im just so horny.
Sommerstein offers the translation Bangwell. Jack Lindsay translates the place as
Bangtown. [Lysistrata appears dragging Myrrhine with her. Myrrhine is pretending to
be reluctant]

53 54
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
MYRRHINE [loudly so that Cinesias can hear] MYRRHINE
I love him. I do. Being a mother
But hes unwilling to make love to me, [870] is so demanding. I better go down.
to love me back. Dont make me go to him. What I put with!
CINESIAS [Myrrhine starts coming down from the Acropolis accentuating the
O my dear sweetest little Myrrhine, movement of her hips as she goes]
what are you doing? Come down here. 1020
CINESIAS
MYRRHINE She seems to me
Im not going there, by god. to be much younger, easier on the eyes.
She was acting like a shrew and haughty,
CINESIAS
but that just roused my passion even more.
If I ask you,
wont you come down, Myrrhine? MYRRHINE [to the child]
My dear sweet little boy. But your father
MYRRHINE
such rotten one. Come here. Ill hold you. 1040 [890]
Youve got no reason to be calling me.
Mummys little favourite.
You dont want me.
CINESIAS
CINESIAS
You dim-witted girl,
You dont think I want you?
what are you doing, letting yourself
Im absolutely dying for you!
be led on by these other women,
MYRRHINE causing me grief and injuring yourself?
Im leaving.
MYRRHINE
CINESIAS Dont lay a hand on me!
Hold on! You might want to hear our child.
CINESIAS
Can you call out something to your mama?
Inside our home
CHILD things are a mess. You stopped doing anything.
Mummy, mummy, mummy!
MYRRHINE
CINESIAS I dont care.
Whats wrong with you? [880]
CINESIAS
Dont you feel sorry for the boy. Its now
You dont care your weaving
six days since hes been washed or had some food. 1030
is being picked apart by hens?
MYRRHINE
MYRRHINE
Ah yes, I pity him. But its quite clear
So what?
his father doesnt.
CINESIAS
CINESIAS
You havent honoured holy Aphrodite
My lovely wife,
by having sex, not for a long time now.
1050
come down here to the child.
So wont you come back?

55 56
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
MYRRHINE CINESIAS
No, by god, I wont [900] You can wash yourself
unless you give me something in return. in the water clock. That would do the job.
End this war.
MYRRHINE
CINESIAS What about the oath I swore? Should I become
Well now, thats something Ill do, a wretched perjurer?
when it seems all right.
CINESIAS
MYRRHINE Ill deal with that.
Well then, Ill leave here, Dont worry about the oath.
when it seems all right. But now Im under oath.
MYRRHINE
CINESIAS Well then, 1070
At least lie down with me a little while. Ill go and get a bed for us.
MYRRHINE CINESIAS
I cant. Im not saying I wouldnt like to. No, no.
The ground will do.
CINESIAS
Youd like to? Then, my little Myrrhine, MYRRHINE
lie down right here. No, by Apollo, no!
You may be a rascal, but on the ground?
MYRRHINE
No, I wont make you lie down there.
You must be joking
in front of our dear baby child? [Myrrhine goes back into the Acropolis to fetch a bed]
CINESIAS CINESIAS
No, by god. 1060 Ah, my wife
she really loves me. Thats so obvious.
[Cinesias turns toward the attendant]
[Myrrhine reappears carrying a small bed]
Manes, take the boy back home. All right then,
the lads no longer in the way. Lie down. MYRRHINE
Here we are. Get on there while I undress. [920]
MYRRHINE
O dear! I forgot to bring the mattress.
But, you silly man, where do we do it? [910]
CINESIAS
CINESIAS
Why a mattress? I dont need that.
Where? The Cave of Pans an excellent place.
MYRRHINE
MYRRHINE
You cant lie
How will I purify myself when I return
on the bed cord. No, no, by Artemis,
into the citadel?
that would be a great disgrace.

57 58
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CINESIAS Now, dont forget. Dont you go lying to me
Give me a kiss 1080 about that vote for peace.
right now!
CINESIAS
MYRRHINE [kissing him] O my god,
There you go. may I die before that happens!
[Myrrhine goes back to the Acropolis to fetch the mattress] MYRRHINE
Theres no blanket.
CINESIAS
Oh my god CINESIAS
get back here quickly! I dont need one, by god! I want to get laid!
[Myrrhine reappears with the mattress] MYRRHINE
Dont worry. You will be. Ill be right back.
MYRRHINE
Heres the mattress. [Myrrhine goes back to the Acropolis to fetch a blanket]
You lie down on it. Ill get my clothes off.
CINESIAS
O dear me! You dont have a pillow.
That womans killing me with all the bedding!
CINESIAS
[Myrrhine returns with a blanket]
But I dont need a pillow!
MYRRHINE
MYRRHINE
All right, get up.
By god, I do.
CINESIAS
[Myrrhine goes back to the Acropolis for a pillow]
But its already up!
CINESIAS
MYRRHINE
This cock of mine is just like Hercules
1 You want me to rub some scent on you?
hes being denied his supper.
CINESIAS
[ Myrrhine returns with a pillow]
No, by Apollo. Not for me.
MYRRHINE
MYRRHINE
Lift up a bit.
Ill do it,
Come on, up! There, I think thats everything.
whether you want it rubbed on there or not 1100
CINESIAS for Aphrodites sake.
Thats all we need. Come here, my treasure. [930]
[Myrrhine goes back to the Acropolis to get the perfume]
MYRRHINE
CINESIAS
Im taking off the cloth around my breasts. 1090
O great lord Zeus, [940]
pour the perfume out!
1
Hercules was famous for always being hungry and having an enormous appetite.
[Myrrhine returns with the perfume]

59 60
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
MYRRHINE Alas, why suffer from such agony?
Hold out your hand, now. Who can I screw? Whyd she betray me,
Take that and spread it round. the most beautiful woman of them all?
Poor little cock, how can I care for you?
CINESIAS [rubbing the perfume on himself]
Wheres that Cynalopex? Ill pay him well 1120
By Apollo, 1
to nurse this little fellow back to health.
this stuff doesnt smell so sweet, not unless
its rubbed on thoroughlyno sexy smell. LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
You poor man, in such a fixyour spirit
MYRRHINE [inspecting the jar of perfume]
so tricked and in distress. I pity you. [960]
Im such a fool. I brought the Rhodian scent!
How can your kidneys stand the strain,
CINESIAS your balls, your loins, your bum, your brain
Its fine. Just let it go, my darling. endure an erection thats hard for you,
without a chance of a morning screw.
MYRRHINE [getting up to leave]
Youre just saying that. CINESIAS
O mighty Zeus, its started throbbing once again.
[Myrrhine goes back to the Acropolis to get the right perfume]
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
CINESIAS
A dirty stinking bitch did this to you.
Damn the wretch who first came up with perfume!
CINESIAS
[Myrrhine comes back from the Acropolis with another box of perfume]
No, by god, a loving girl, a sweet one, too. 1130 [970]
MYRRHINE
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Grab this alabaster thing.
Sweet? Not her. Shes a tease, a slut.
CINESIAS [waving his cock]
CINESIAS
You grab this alabaster cock.
All right, she is a tease, but
Come lie down here, you tease. Dont go and fetch 1110
O Zeus, Zeus, I wish
another thing for me.
youd sweep her up there
MYRRHINE in a great driving storm,
By Artemis, Ill grab it. like dust in the air,
Im taking off my shoes. Now, my darling, [950] whirl her around,
you will be voting to bring on a peace. then fall to the ground.
Then as shes carried down,
CINESIAS
to earth one more time, 1140
Im planning to.
let her fall right away
[Myrrhine goes back to the Acropolis. Cinesias turns and sees shes gone] on this pecker of mine.
That womans killing me!
She teased me, got me all inflamed, then left. 1
Cynalopex (= Fox Dog) was the nickname of Philostratus who apparently was a pimp.
[Cinesias gets up and declaims in a parody of tragic style]

61 62
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
[Enter the Spartan herald. He, too, has a giant erection, which he is trying SPARTAN HERALD
to hide under his cloak] Its a Spartan heralds stick.
SPARTAN HERALD CINESIAS
1
Wheres the Athenian Senate and the Prytanes? [980] O thats what it is,
I come with fresh dispatches. a Spartan herald stick. Lets have a chat.
Tell me the truth. How are things going for you
CINESIAS [looking at the Heralds erection]
out there in Sparta?
Are you a man,
or some phallic monster? SPARTAN HERALD
Not good. The Spartans 1160
SPARTAN HERALD
are all standing tall and the allies, too
Im a herald,
everyone is firm and hard. We need a thrust
by the twin gods. And my good man, 1
in someones rear.
I come from Sparta with a proposal,
arrangements for a truce. CINESIAS
This trouble of yours
CINESIAS 2
where did it come from? Was it from Pan?
If thats the case,
why do you have a spear concealed in there? SPARTAN HERALD
No. I think it started with Lampito.
SPARTAN HERALD
Then, at her suggestion, other women
Im not concealing anything, by god. 1150
in Sparta, as if from one starting gate,
3
CINESIAS ran off to keep men from their honey pots. [1000]
Then why are you turning to one side?
CINESIAS
What that thing there, sticking from your cloak?
How are you doing?
Has your journey made your groin inflamed?
SPARTAN HERALD
SPARTAN HERALD
Were all in pain.
By old Castor, this mans insane!
We go around the city doubled up, 1170
4
CINESIAS like men who light the lamps. The women
You rogue,
youve got a hard on!
1
SPARTAN HERALD The Greek reads we need Pellene, an area in the Peloponnese allied with Sparta. But, as
No I dont, I tell you. [990] Sommerstein points out (p. 206), this is undoubtedly a pun invoking a word meaning vagina
or anus. In the exchanges which follow, the Spartans are depicted as having a decided
Lets have no more nonsense. preference for anal sex.
2
CINESIAS [pointing to the heralds erection] Pan was a god associated with wild unrestrained sex in the wilderness.
3
Then whats that? The meaning of the Greek word hussakos is very obscure. Sommerstein translates as pork
barrels.
1 4
The Prytanes was the business committee of the Athenian council. The lamplighters had to walk along bent over in order to protect the flame they carried.

63 64
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
wont let us touch their pussies, not until And people wont find you ridiculous.
weve made a peace with all of Greece. If you hadnt been so nasty to me,
Id grab that insect stuck in your eye
CINESIAS
and pull it out. Its still in there.
This matter
is a female plot, a grand conspiracy LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
affecting all of Greece. Now I understand. So thats whats troubling me. Heres a ring.
Return to Sparta as fast as you can go. Scrape it off. Get it out and show it to me. 1200
Tell them they must send out ambassadors [1010] God, thats been injuring my eye for ages.
with full authority to deal for peace.
[The Leader of the Womens Chorus takes the ring and inspects the Leader
Ill tell out leaders here to make a choice
of the Mens Chorus in the eye]
of our ambassadors. Ill show them my prick. 1180
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
SPARTAN HERALD Ill do it. You men are born hard to please. [1030]
All youve said is good advice. I must fly. My god, you picked up a monstrous insect.
1
Have a look. Thats a Tricorynthus bug!
[Cinesias and the Spartan Herald exit in opposite directions]
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
By Zeus, youve been a mighty help to me.
Theres no wild animal harder to control
That things been digging wells in me a while.
than women, not even blazing fire.
Now its been removed, my eyes are streaming.
The panther itself displays more shame.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Ill wipe it for you, though youre a scoundrel.
If you know that, then why wage war with me?
Ill give you a kiss.
You old scoundrel, we could be lasting friends.
LEADER OF THE MENS CHORUS
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
I dont want a kiss.
But my hatred for women will not stop!
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Ill will, whether its what you want or not. 1210
Whatever you want. But I dont much like
to look at you like this, without your clothes. [1020] [She kisses him]
It makes me realize how silly you are. 1190
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
Look, Ill come over and put your shirt on.
O youve got me. Youre born to flatter us.
[The Leader of the Womens Chorus picks up a tunic, goes over to the That saying got it rightit states the case
Leader of the Mens Chorus, and helps him put it on.] quite well, These womenone has no life
with them, and cannot live without them.
LEADER OF MENS CHORUS
But now Ill make a truce with you. I wont [1040]
By god, what youve just done is not so bad.
I took it off in a fit of stupid rage.
1
Tricorynthus is a region in Attica, near Marathon. Presumably it was famous for its insects.
LEADER OF WOMENS CHORUS
Now at least you look like a man again.

65 66
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
insult you any more in days to come, [The Spartan ambassadors enter, moving with difficulty because of their
and you wont make me suffer. So now, enormous erections.]
lets make a common group and sing a song.
Men of Sparta, first of all, our greetings.
[The Mens and Womens Choruses combine] Tell us how you are. Why have you come?
COMBINED CHORUS [addressing the audience] SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
You citizens, were not inclined Why waste a lot of words to tell you?
with any of you to be unkind. 1220 You see the state that brought us here.
Just the reverseour words to you
[The Spartans all display their erections with military precision]
will be quite nice. Well act well, too.
For now weve had enough bad news. LEADER OF THE CHORUS
So if a man or woman here [1050] Oh my! The crisis has grown more severe.
needs ready cash, give out a cheer, It seems the strain is worse than ever 1250
and take some minae, two or three.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
Coins fill our purses now, you see.
Its indescribable. What can I say? [1080]
And if we get a peace treaty,
But let someone come, give us a peace
you take some money from the sack,
in any way he can.
and keep it. You dont pay it back. 1230
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
Im going to have a great shindig
Well now, I see
Ive got some soup, Ill kill a pig
1 our own ambassadorsthey look just like
with Carystian friends, all good men. [1060]
our wrestling men with their shirts sticking out
Youll eat fine tender meat again.
around their bellies or like athletic types
Come to my house this very day.
who need to exercise to cure their sickness.
But first wash all the dirt away,
you and your kids, then walk on by. ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
No need to ask a person why. Wheres Lysistrata? Can someone tell me?
Just come straight in, as if my home Were men here and, well, look . . .
was like your ownfor at my place 1240 [1070]
[The Athenians pull back their cloaks and reveal that, like the Spartans, they
well shut the door right in your face.
all have giant erections]
[A group of Spartans enters]
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
LEADER OF THE CHORUS Theyre clearly suffering from the same disease. 1260
Ah, here come the Spartan ambassadors Hey, does it throb early in the morning?
trailing their long beards. Theyve got
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
something like a pig pen between their thighs.
By god, yes. What this is doing to me [1090]

1
Carystus is a state from Euboea, allied to Athens.

67 68
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
its torture. If we dont get a treaty soon SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
1
well going to have to cornhole Cleisthenes. By the two gods, bring in Lysistratus,
if hes the one you want. 1280
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
If youre smart, keep it covered with your cloak. [Lysistrata emerges from the gates of the citadel]
One of those men who chopped off Hermes dick
2 ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
might see you.
It seems there is no need to summon her.
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR [pulling his cloak over his erection] Shes heard us, and here she is in person.
By god, thats good advice.
LEADER OF THE CHORUS
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR [doing the same] Hail to the bravest woman of them all.
Yes, by the twin gods, excellent advice. You must now show that youre resilient
Ill pull my mantle over it. stern but yielding, with a good heart but mean,
stately but down-to-earth. The foremost men
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
in all of Greece in deference to your charms [1110]
Greetings, Spartans.
have come together here before you
Were both suffering disgracefully. 1270
so you can arbitrate all their complaints.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
LYSISTRATA
Yes, dear sir, wed have been in real pain
That task should not be difficult, unless 1290
if one of those dick-clippers had seen us
theyre so aroused they screw each other.
with our peckers sticking up like this.
Ill quickly notice that. But where is she,

the young girl Reconciliation?
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
All right, Spartans, we each need to talk. [1100] [The personification of the goddess Reconciliation comes out. She is
1
Why are you here? completely naked. Lysistrata addresses her first]
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR Come here,
Ambassadors for peace. and first, take hold of those from Sparta,
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
Well said. We want the same. Why dont we call dont grab too hard or be too rough, not like
Lysistrata. Shes the only one wholl bring our men who act so boorishlyinstead
a resolution to our differences. do it as women do when theyre at home.
If they wont extend their hands to you,
then grab their cocks.
Reconciliation takes two Spartans by their penises and leads them over to
[
1
Cleisthenes was a well known Athenian, whom Aristophanes frequently ridicules as a passive Lysistrata]
homosexual.
2 1
In 415 the statues of Hermes in Athens were mutilated by having their penises chopped off, a In Aristophanes time, this female character would be played by a man with a body stocking
very sacrilegious act. prominently displaying female characteristics: breasts, pubic hair, buttocks.

69 70
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
Now go and do the same [1120] were pressing you so hard, just at the time
for the Athenians. You can hold them 1300 god sent the earthquake. So Cimon set out
by whatever they stick out. with four thousand armed infantry and saved
1
the whole of Sparta. After going through that, 1330
[Reconciliation leads the Athenians over to Lysistrata]
how can you ravage the Athenians land,
Now then, the ones who helped you out?
you men of Sparta, stand here close to me,
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
and you Athenians over here. All of you,
Lysistrata,
listen to my words. I am a woman,
youre right, by god. Theyre in the wrong.
but I have a brain, and my common sense
is not so badI picked it up quite well SPARTAN AMBASSADOR [looking at Reconciliation]
from listening to my father and to speeches Not true,
from our senior men. Now Ive got you here, but look at that incredibly fine ass!
I wish to reprimand you, both of you,
LYSISTRATA
and rightly so. At Olympia, Delphi, 1310 [1130]
Do you Athenians think Ill forget you?
and Thermopylae (I could mention
Dont you remember how these Spartans men, [1150]
many other places if I had a mind
back in the days when you were dressed as slaves
to make it a long list) both of you
came here with spears and totally destroyed
use the same cup when you sprinkle altars,
1 those hordes from Thessaly and many friends
as if you share the same ancestral group.
of Hippias and those allied with him? 1340
Weve got barbarian enemies, and yet
It took them just one day to drive them out
with your armed expeditions you destroy
and set you free. At that point you exchanged
Greek men and cities. At this point, Ill end
your slavish clothes for cloaks which free men wear.
the first part of my speech.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
Ive never seen a more gracious woman.
This erection
its killing me! ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR [looking at Reconciliation]
Ive never seen a finer looking pussy.
LYSISTRATA
And now you Spartans, 1320 LYSISTRATA
Ill turn to you. Dont you remember how, If youve done many good things for each other,
some time ago, Periclidias came, why go to war? Why not stop this conflict? [1160]
a fellow Spartan, and sat down right here, Why not conclude a peace? Whats in the way?
a suppliant at these Athenian altars [1140]
he looked so pale there in his purple robes
begging for an army? Messenians then
1
In 464 Sparta suffered a massive earthquake, which killed many citizens. Their slaves, who
1
Lysistrata is listing some of the festivals where all the Greek states cooperated in the ritual included the Messenians, rose in revolt. Sparta appealed to Athens for help, and the
celebrations. Athenians, after some debate, sent Cimon with an army to assist the Spartans.

71 72
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
[In the negotiations which follow, the ambassadors use the body ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
of Reconciliation as a map of Greece, pointing to various parts to make their Id like to strip and start ploughing naked.
points]
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR By god, yes! But me first. Ill fork manure.
Were willing, but the part thats sticking out
LYSISTRATA
we want that handed back.
You can do those things once youve made peace.
LYSISTRATA If these terms seem good, youll want your allies
Which one is that?
1350 to come here to join negotiations.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR [pointing to Reconciliations buttocks] ATHENIAN AMBASSADORS
This one herethats Pylos. We must have that What of our allies? Weve all got hard ons.
1
weve been aching for it a long time now. Our allies will agree this is just fine.
They are all dying to get laid!
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
By Poseidon, you wont be having that! SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
Ours, as well
1370 [1180]
LYSISTRATA
no doubt of that.
My good man, youll surrender it to them.
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
And the Carystians
Then how do we make trouble, stir up shit?
theyll also be on board, by Zeus.
LYSISTRATA
LYSISTRATA
Ask for something else of equal value.
Well said. Now you must purify yourselves.
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR [pointing to Reconciliations public hair] We women will host a dinner for you
Then give us this whole area in here in the Acropolis. Well use the food
first, theres Echinous, and the Melian Gulf, we brought here in our baskets. In there
the hollow part behind it, and these legs [1170] you will make a oath and pledge your trust
2
which make up Megara. in one another. Then each of you
can take his wife and go back home.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
By the twin gods, 1360 ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
my good man, you cant have all that! Lets go
and hurry up.
LYSISTRATA
Let it go. SPARTAN AMBASSADOR [to Lysistrata]
Dont start fighting over a pair of legs. Lead on. Wherever you wish. 1380

1 ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR
Pylos was a small but important part of the south Peloponnese which the Athenians had
All right by Zeus, as fast as we can go.
seized in 425 and held onto ever since.
2
These are places relatively close to Athens. [Lysistrata and Reconciliation lead the Spartan and Athenian delegations
into the Acropolis]

73 74
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CHORUS door, probably one of a group of Spartan slaves standing around waiting for
1
Embroidered gowns and shawls, their masters to come out]
robes and golden ornaments
ATHENIAN DELEGATE A
everything I ownI offer you
Why dont you get out of my way?
with an open heart. Take these things
Why are you lot sitting there? What if I 1410
and let your children have them, 2
burned you with this torch? Thats a stale routine!
if youve a daughter who will be
I wont do that. Well, if I really must,
a basket bearer. I tell you all
to keep you happy, Ill go through with it. [1220]
take my possessions in my home
nothing is so securely closed 1390 [Athenian Delegate A chases an onlooker away with his torch]
you cant break open all the seals
ATHENIAN DELEGATE B [waving a torch]
and take whatevers there inside. [1200]
Well be here with you to help you do it.
But if you look, you wont see much
Why not just leave? You may soon be screaming
unless your eyesights really keen,
for that hair of yours.
far sharper than my own.
ATHENIAN DELEGATE A
If anyone is out of corn
Go on, piss off!
to feed his many tiny children
So the Spartans inside there can come on out
and household slaves, at home
and go away in peace.
Ive got a few fine grains of wheat
a quart of those will make some bread, 1400 [The two Athenian delegates force the Spartan slaves away from the door]
a fresh good-looking loaf. If theres a man
ATHENIAN DELEGATE B
who wants some bread and is in need [1210]
Well now,
let him come with his sacks and bags
Ive never seen a banquet quite like this.
to where I live to get his wheat.
The Spartans were delightful. As for us,
My servant Manes will pour it out.
we had too much wine, but as companions 1420
But I should tell you not to come
we said lots of really clever things.
too near my doorfor theres a dog
you need to stay well clear of. ATHENIAN DELEGATE A
Thats right. When were sober, we lose our minds.
ATHENIAN DELEGATE A [from inside the citadel]
Ill speak up and persuade Athenians
Open the door!
[The Athenian Delegate A comes staggering out of the citadel, evidently 1
The stage business at this point is somewhat confusing. Its not clear whether the Athenian
drunk. Hes carrying a torch. Other delegates in the same condition delegates who now appear are leaving the meeting in the citadel or arriving and wanting to
come out behind him. Athenian Delegate A bumps into someone by the get in. Here I follow Sommerstein, who is following Henderson, and have the delegates
emerge from the meeting. The people hanging around the door are probably the slaves who
came with the Spartans and who are waiting for their masters inside.
2
This comment is taking a swipe at other comic dramatists who use a stock set of situations
or actions, while at the same time the action uses the stock technique (not an uncommon
feature of Aristophanic comedy).

75 76
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
1
that when our embassies go anywhere [1230] who knows the Spartans and Athenians. [1250]
they stay permanently drunk. As it is, Back then at Artemesium
whenever we go sober off to Sparta, they fought the ships like gods of war
right away we look to stir up trouble. and overpowered the Medes,
So we just dont hear what they have to say while we, I know, led by Leonidas 1450
and get suspicious of what they do not state. whetted our teeth like boars
Then we bring back quite different reports 1430 with foaming mouths, which dripped
about the same events. But now these things down on our legs. The Persian force
have all been sorted out. So if someone there possessed more fighting men
sang Telamon when he should have sung than grains of sea shore sand. [1260]
Cleitagora, wed applaud the man O Artemis, queen of the wild,
1
and even swear quite falsely that . . . slayer of beasts, chaste goddess,
come here to bless our treaty,
[The Spartan slaves they forced away from the door are gradually coming
to make us long united.
back]
May our peace be always blessed 1460
Hey, those slaves with friendship and prosperity,
are coming here again. You whipping posts, [1240] and may we put an end
why cant you go away? to all manipulating foxes. [1270]
Come here, O come here,
ATHENIAN DELEGATE B
Virgin Goddess of the Hunt.
By Zeus,
the ones in there are coming out again. [Lysistrata emerges from the citadel bringing all the wives with her]
2
[The Spartan delegates come out of the citadel. The Spartan ambassador is LYSISTRATA
carrying a musical instrument] Come now, since everything has turned out well,
take these women back with you, you Spartans.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
And, you Athenians, these ones are yours.
Here, my dear sir, take this wind instrument,
Let each man stand beside his wife, each wife
so I can dance and sing a lovely song 1440
beside her man, and then to celebrate 1470
to honour both Athenians and ourselves.
good times lets dance in honour of the gods.
ATHENIAN AMBASSADOR [turning to one of the slaves] And for all future time, lets never make
Yes, by the gods, take the pipes. I love the same mistake again.
to see you Spartans dance and sing.
[The Chorus now sings to the assembled group, as the wives and husbands
[The music starts. The Spartan Ambassador sings and dances] are rejoined]
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR 1
The Spartan Ambassador is singing about two famous battles against the Persians (both in
O Memory, to this young man 480), the Athenian naval victory at Artemisium and the Spartan stand of the 300 at
send down your child the Muse Thermopylae. This military campaign was an important highlight of Greek unity.
2
There is some dispute about who this speech should be assigned to. Sommerstein (p. 221)
1
Telamon and Cleitagora were well known drinking songs. has a useful summary of the arguments.

77 78
LYSISTRATA LYSISTRATA
CHORUS brought on by Ledas lovely child,
1
Lead on the dance, bring on the Graces, their holy leader in the choral dance. 1510
and summon Artemis and her twin, [1280]
But come let your hands bind up your hair.
Apollo, the god who heals us all,
Let your feet leap up like deer, sound out the beat
call on Bacchus, Nysas god,
to help our dance. Sing out a song of praise
whose eyes blaze forth
for our most powerful bronze-house goddess,
amid his Maenads ecstasy,
all-conquering Athena!
and Zeus alight with flaming fire, 1480
and Hera, Zeus blessed wife, [They all exit singing and dancing]
and other gods whom we will use

as witnesses who wont forget

the meaning of the gentle Peace

made her by goddess Aphrodite. [1290]

Alalai! Raise the cry of joy,
raise it high, iai!
the cry of victory, iai!
Evoi, evoi, evoi, evoi!
LYSISTRATA
Spartan, now offer us another song, 1490
match our new song with something new.
SPARTAN AMBASSADOR
Leave lovely Taygetus once again
and, Spartan Muse, in some way
that is appropriate for us
pay tribute to Amyclaes god,
and to bronze-housed Athena,
to Tyndareus splendid sons, [1300]
who play beside the Eurotas.
Step now, with many a nimble turn,
so we may sing a hymn to Sparta, 1500
dancing in honour of the gods,
with stamping feet in that place 1
Taygetus is an important mountain in Sparta. Amyclaes god is Apollo who had a shrine at
where by the river Eurotas
Amyclae, near Sparta. Bronze-housed Athena is a reference to the shrine of Athena in
young maidens dance, Sparta. Tyndareus splendid sons are Castor and Pollux, the twin gods (brothers of Helen and
like fillies raising dust, [1310] Clytaemnestra). The Eurotas is a river near Sparta. The thyrsus stalk is a plant stem held by
tossing their manes, the followers of Bacchus in their ecstatic dancing. Ledas child is Helen (wife of Menelaus,
sister of Castor and Pollux and Clytaemnestra, a child of Zeus).
like bacchants who play
and wave their thyrsus stalks,

79 80
LYSISTRATA
A NOTE ON THE TRANSLATOR
Ian Johnston is a retired instructor (now a Research Associate) at
Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada. His
translations include the following:
Aeschylus, Oresteia
Aristophanes, Birds
Aristophanes, Clouds
Aristophanes, Frogs
Aristophanes, Knights
Aristophanes, Lysistrata
Aristophanes, Peace
Cuvier, Discourse on Revolutionary Upheavals on the Surface of the Earth
Descartes, Discourse on Method
Euripides, Bacchae
Euripides, Medea
Euripides, Orestes
Homer, Iliad (Complete and Abridged)
Homer, Odyssey (Complete and Abridged)
Kant, Universal Natural History and Theory of the Heavens
Kant, On Perpetual Peace
Lucretius, The Nature of Things
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Nietzsche, Birth of Tragedy
Nietzsche, Genealogy of Morals
Nietzsche, Uses and Abuses of History
Sophocles, Ajax
Sophocles, Antigone
Sophocles, Oedipus the King
Sophocles, Philoctetes
A number of these translations have been published by Richer Resources
Publications, and some of these titles are available as recordings from
Naxos Audiobo0ks.
Ian Johnston maintains a website at the following address:
records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/index.htm.
For comments and questions, please contact Ian Johnston (at
ian.johnston@viu.ca).

81