Sunday, May 13, 2007


May there be peace...

LYSISTRATA (Aristophanes - Greek, c. 444-380 B.C.)

Writing at a time of bitter warfare between Athens and Sparta, Aristophanes criticized the warmongers, demagogues, and profiteers rampant on the Athenian scene in such plays as the Acharnaians, Peace and Lysistrata.

In the celebrated comedy Lysistrata, Athenian and Spartan ladies get together and wage a successful sex-strike for the end of the war between the two city-states. In this excerpt, Lysistrata, strike leader, is being interviewed by one of the town fathers:

Magistrate: And how do you propose to disentangle all this and settle everybody?

Lysistrata: Easily.

Magistrate: How?

Lysistrata: Just as when wool is tangled we untangle it, working it through this way and that - so we'll settle the war, sending embassies this way and that.

Magistrate: Threads, skeins, spindles, you little fool: What's this to do with war?

Lysistrata: If you had any sense you could handle politics as we do wool!

Magistrate: Well...?

Lysistrata: Like the raw fleece in the wash tub, first you must cleanse the city of dirt: As we beat out the muck and pick out the burrs, you must pluck out the place-seekers, sack the spongers out of their sinecure offices, rip off their heads - then the common skein of good sense: - blend the good aliens, the allies, the strangers, even the debtors, into one ball; consider the colonies scattered threads, pick up their ends and gather them quick; make one magnificent bobbin and weave a garment of government fit for the people!

Magistrate: It's all very well this carding and winding - women! You haven't any idea of what war means.

Lysistrata (very deliberate and serious): We know just twice as well. We bore the sons, you took the soldiers.

Magistrate: Must you recall such painful memories?

Lysistrata: Yes

- excert from the book, Poems of War Resistance from 2300 B.C. to the Present, published 1969.


hakucho said...

Happy Mother's day to you, too :)

Patricia said...

Happy Mother's Day. History does repeat and repeat itself. Thanks for that wonderful excerpt.

Vera H. said...

Happy Mothers' Day, and what a cool story.

Stephanie said...

Happy Mother's Day!

AR said...

Hope your Mother's Day was great!

The Crafty Weasel said...

Belated Happy Mother's Day - and congratulations on your son's graduation - where's he off to college? :-)

Rachel said...

What a fantastic excerpt! Feels rather relevant to our times, I must admit.

I am quite late in saying it, but I hope you had a happy (and peaceful) Mother's Day.

Calling Kahlo said...

Happy Mother's Day (belated)! I was stopping by to say you have been tagged.