Actors without Masks and Dancing Monkeys

Lucian, Apology 5

“These accusers will have no shortage of other examples for you. Some will liken you to tragic actors who strut the stage like an Agamemnon Creon, or even Herakles in the flesh, only with their masks off like a Polus or Aristodemus, acting parts for cash. They get booed and chased from the stage and sometimes they even get whipped when the audience wants it.

Others will claim you’re more like the monkey that Kleopatra is known for. It was taught to dance with charm and rhythm and was as much an object of praise because it kept up this charade, parading around in a proper fashion to accompany the singers and musicians of a bridal procession.”

οὐκ ἀπορήσουσι δὲ οἱ κατηγοροῦντες καὶ ἄλλων παραδειγμάτων ἐπί σε, ἀλλ᾿ οἱ μὲν τοῖς τραγικοῖς ὑποκριταῖς εἰκάσουσιν, οἳ ἐπὶ μὲν τῆς σκηνῆς Ἀγαμέμνων ἕκαστος αὐτῶν ἢ Κρέων ἢ αὐτὸς Ἡρακλῆς εἰσιν, ἔξω δὲ Πῶλος ἢ Ἀριστόδημος ἀποθέμενοι τὰ προσωπεῖα γίγνονται ὑπόμισθοι τραγῳδοῦντες, ἐκπίπτοντες καὶ συριττόμενοι, ἐνίοτε δὲ καὶ μαστιγούμενοί τινες αὐτῶν, ὡς ἂν τῷ θεάτρῳ δοκῇ. ἄλλοι δὲ τὸ τοῦ πιθήκου πεπονθέναι σε φήσουσιν ὃν Κλεοπάτρᾳ τῇ πάνυ φασὶ γενέσθαι· ἐκεῖνον γὰρ διδαχθέντα τέως μὲν ὀρχεῖσθαι πάνυ κοσμίως καὶ ἐμμελῶς καὶ ἐπὶ πολὺ θαυμάζεσθαι μένοντα ἐν τῷ σχήματι καὶ τὸ πρέπον φυλάττοντα καὶ τοῖς ᾄδουσι καὶ αὐλοῦσι συγκινούμενον ὑμέναιον…

Dancing monkey at the Daman i Koh park, Margalla Hills, near Islamabad, Pakistan

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