Or Herondas, who flourished around 270 BC. He wrote mimiambs: mimes + iambs, which is not helpful. A mime at that time was basically a sitcom, a stereotyped sketch comedy, and not a Gaul in whiteface trapped in an invisible box. An iamb was something very much like rap... but by Herodas's time, the iamb had been a classical form for a few hundred years. In other words, the mimiamb was a typical Hellenistic mashup.
Herodas's mimes were found in an Egyptian scroll dating from the second century AD, and first published in 1891. The British codebreaking eccentric Dillwyn Knox published a bizarre, nearly unreadable translation in 1929, which he felt captured the strangeness of the text. I'll use Cunningham's more recent edition.
They're kind of smutty.
The 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica states that the sixth mime, "Women in a Friendly Situation," in which two women talk about the best sex toy shop in town, has an "ugly" subject matter. Since Sears catalogs of this period openly sold vibrators, I'm guessing the writer of the article didn't get out much.
Turns out the Greek word for these items, baubon, meant "pacifier" -- more literally, "sleep aid". They were also known as olisbos, "slippers". Given that the sex shop owner doubles as a cobbler, you get the sense of a society with a bigger foot fetish than Quentin Tarantino. (Ancient Athenian prostitutes wore shoes that left footprints with the words "Follow me." It makes me wonder about Luke 7:36-50.)
Anyway. The plot: Metro is visiting her friend Koritto. Metro has seen Koritto's red stapler at a friend's house. It's apparently being lent around, and Metro wants to know where Koritto got it. At Kerdon's -- a translation of this name might be 'Greedo'. But this Greedo is a craftsman. You would think Athena made these staplers; they're as smooth as sleep. And so Koritto (she recounts) turned on the charm:
Metro, what didn't I do? what didn't I use on him? Kissing him, stroking his bald head, pouring him a drink, calling him daddy, almost giving him my body to use.Metro responds:
If he asked for it, you should have given it.For some reason Herodas left Charlotte and Miranda out of this episode.
In the seventh mime, they go to Greedo's shop. A lot of foot double entendres. Guy Davenport thought it was just a shoe store expedition. Sadly, he's dead. His translation is still worth reading.