Entering the Underworld as “Death-Walkers”: A Fragment from Aristophanes (150)

“A: And who dares to descend into the cave of the corpses and the gates of darkness?
B: When we were gathered in assembly, we chose one man from each art, those men we knew to be “Death-Walkers”, who frequently loved to travel there.
A: There are men among you who are “Death-Walkers”?
B: Yes, by Zeus, there really are.
A: Something like “Thrace-Walkers”
B: You’ve got the idea.
A: Who are they?
B: First, from the comic poets, Sannyrion, from the tragic poets, Melêtos, and from the Cyclic poets, Kinesias.
A: You travel on slight hopes, since if the rive of diarrhea fills up, it will sweep these men away.”

Α καὶ τίς ‘νεκρῶν κευθμῶνα καὶ σκότου πύλας’
ἔτλη κατελθεῖν;
Β ἕνα τιν’ ἀφ’ ἑκάστης τέχνης
εἱλόμεθα κοινῇ γενομένης ἐκκλησίας,
οὓς ᾖσμεν ὄντας ᾁδοφοίτας καὶ θαμὰ
ἐκεῖσε φιλοχωροῦντας.
Α εἰσὶ γάρ τινες
ἄνδρες παρ’ ὑμῖν ᾁδοφοῖται;
Β νὴ Δία
μάλιστά γ’.
Α ὥσπερ Θρᾳκοφοῖται;
Β πάντ’ ἔχεις.
Α καὶ τίνες ἂν εἶεν;
Β πρῶτα μὲν Σαννυρίων
ἀπὸ τῶν τρυγῳδῶν, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν τραγικῶν χορῶν
Μέλητος, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν κυκλίων Κινησίας.
Α ὡς σφόδρ’ ἐπὶ λεπτῶν ἐλπίδων ὀχεῖσθ’ ἄρα•
τούτους γάρ, ἢν πολλοὶ ξυνέλθωσιν, λαβὼν
ὁ τῆς διαροίας ποταμὸς ἐξοιχήσεται.

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