non sibi sed toti

Classics Teaching Resources

A short extract adapted from Lysistrata by Aristophanes

The women of Athens want to stop the men going to war, and have taken over the Acropolis. Enter a Chorus of men carrying firewood on their backs

Man 1. I hope the fire is still alight in this pot.
Man 2. Let's put our logs down here.
Man 3. We'll put lighted tapers in the pots.
Man 4. Then we'll batter at the Acropolis gates.
Man 5. If the women won't unlock the gates, we'll set fire to them.
Man 6. Well. put the firewood down first. [They drop the logs]
Man 1. Oh, that's better. My poor back!
Man 2. Now we can get the tapers lit.
Man 3. Then we'll defeat the women who have occupied the Acropolis.

Enter a Chorus of women carrying pots of water

Woman 1. I spy smoke! Come on, women, there's a fire.
Woman 2. Its the men, lighting a fire at the gates.
Woman 3. Hope we're not too late.
Woman 4. There was such a traffic jam at the spring.
Woman 5. Look, a lot of old men with firewood!
Woman 1. They want to burn us out. We'll put a stop to that.
Woman 2. Just because we want to stop the war, they want to roast us.

[the two choruses meet]

Woman 1 Stop! What mischief are you up to?
Man 1 Oh no! A gaggle of women!
Woman 2 What, scared? You ain't seen nuthin' yet.
Man 2 Right, men; down pitchers, take up sticks!
Woman 3 Right, women; down pitchers, roll up sleeves!
Man 3 I'll knock you for six.
Woman 4 Just you dare touch me! I'll turn you inside out.
Man 4 Women!
Woman 5 Take your waterpots up again, women!
Man 5 Take your burning sticks, men!
Woman 1 What's the fire for? Your funeral pyres?
Man 6 No, yours.
Woman 2 We have water to put your fires out.
Man 1 We have torches to set your hair on fire.
Woman 3 We'll see about that! Ready, women? Let 'em have it!

[the women empty their water pots over the men]

Men Ow! Help! I'm drenched.
Woman 4 Oh dear, too hot for you?
Man 3 No, too cold. Stop it! We'll call the police.
All the men Help! Police!
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