Sunteți pe pagina 1din 12

SELF-IMITATION IN APULEIUS' TALES OF

TLEPOLEMUS/HAEMUS AND THRASYLEON


BY
STAVROS A. FRANGOULIDIS
At
Metamorphoses*)
154.6 the
look-out,
who relates to the thieves
the
Hypatans'
false accusation of Lucius also
brings
forward and
introduces to them a new member to their
gang.
This recruit is the
young Tlepolemus
who
disguises
himself as the renown criminal
Haemus. He comes to the robbers' cave in order to seek their
leadership
and thus liberate his
captive
fiancee, Charite,
kidnapped
on her
wedding-night.
While critics have
pointed
out a number of
illuminating
connec-
tions between the robber's three tales in Book 4
(84.13-91.8)')
and
the tale of
Tlepolemus/Haemus2), they usually
restrict their com-
*)
The text of the
Metamorphoses
is
quoted
from the Teubner edition of R.
Helm,
Apulei
Platonici Madaurensis
opera quae supersunt. Metamorphoseon
libri XI
(Leipzig
1968).
1)
On the robber's three tales in
general
see B.L.
Hijmans Jr.
et
al., Apuleius
Madaurensis
Metamorphoses
Book IV 1-27. Text. Introduction and
Commentary (Gron-
ingen 1977),
ad. loc. G.
Cooper,
Sexual and Ethical Reversal in
Apuleius:
The Metamor-
phoses
as
Anti-Epic,
Studies in Latin Literature and Roman
History
2
(Brussels
1980),
441-42. On the affinities of the tale of Lamachus with Satire see G.F.
Gianotti,
Memoria letteraria e
giuridica nell'episodio
di
Chryseros
e Lamachus
(Apul.
met.
4.9-11), QFC
3
(1981),
61-83. T.
Alimonti,
Letteratura
e folclore:
I Latrones di
Apuleio
e i
briganti
di
Propp,
CCC 7
(1986),
59-76. P.G.
Walsh,
The Roman Novel. The
Satyricon of
Petronius and the
Metamorphoses of Apuleius (Cambridge 1970),
158. See
also P.A.
Mackay, Klephtika.
The Tradition
of
the Tales
of Banditry
in
Apuleius,
G&R
10
(1963),
147-52.
2)
Thus the
Groningen commentators,
B.L.
Hijmans Jr. et al., Apuleius
Madaurensis
Metamorphoses
Books VI 25-32 and VII. Text. Introduction and
Commentary
(Groningen 1981),
111. G.
Westerbrink,
Some Parodies in
Apuleius' Metamorphoses,
in: B.L.
Hijmans Jr.
and R.Th. van der Paard
(eds.), Aspects of Apuleius'
Golden
Ass
(hereafter AAGA) (Groningen 1978),
69,
observes the
following
connections
between Haemus and the robber's three tales of
Lamachus, Alcimus,
and
Thrasyleon:
"Haemus himself toto vertice cunctos
antepollebat (157,24)-the spokesman
of the men
who had raided Milo's house robore ceteros antistabat
(80,17).
Haemus
regards
338
ments on
parallels
between Haemus' tale of Plotina
(158.15-
160.15)
and the narrative that contains
it3).
A further dimension
that has received a
cursory
treatment is that there is a
significant
structural and thematic
correspondence
between the tale of
Tlepolemus/Haemus (156.19-162.14)
and the robber's tale of the
brigand Thrasyleon (84. 13-91 .8)4).
The
young Tlepolemus
dis-
guises
himself as the notorious criminal Haemus in order to enter
the band of evil-doers and then liberate his
fiancee,
held
prisoner
in the bandits' cave. To the attentive hearers/readers this
disguise
thematically
relates to
Thrasyleon's masquerade
as a bear in order
to enter Demochares'
house,
and then
plunder
it. Such a connec-
tion is
strenghened by
the fact that the
robbers,
who are in need of
new
recruits,
because of the loss of several of their leaders
during
their attacks on Boeotian
towns,
resemble
Demochares,
who is in
a similar need of
bears,
because of his loss of
nearly
all of them
during
an outbreak of a sudden
epidemic.
This connection
encourages
the attentive audience/readers to consider the tales of
Tlepolemus/Haemus
and
Thrasyleon
as
analogous
to one another
in that
they
reveal structural and thematic
parallels
between them.
The obvious difference in the distinct outcome of the two
trickeries-Tlepolemus
succeeds in
liberating
his
kidnapped
fiancee,
and then in
destroying
the robbers'
gang,
while
Thrasyleon
maintains his
disguise
as a
beast,
and
ultimately
dies as
a bear-should not be an obstacle in
advancing
this association: on
himself as a virum
magnanimae
vivacitatis
(158,4 f.)-Lamachus
is a vir sublimis animi
virtutisque praecipuus (82,25); Thrasyleon's
comrades call him
fortissimum
socium
nostrum
(86,15 f.)
and one non
qui corporis
adeo sed animi robore ceteris antistaret
(86.2 f.)."
Moreover,
P.
James, Unity
in
Diversity (Hildesheim 1987),
192,
draws
a connection between
Tlepolemus
and the robbers Lamachus and
Alcimus,
because
he, too,
like
them,
"admits to
being
outwitted
by
one weaker than
himself,
i.e. a mere
woman, Plotina,
but excuses his defeat
by emphasizing
her
exceptional strength
and masculine
courage." James
then
proceeds
to establish
connections between
Tlepolemus
and
Thrasyleon,
later in Book 8.
Finally, H.J.
Mason,
Fabula Graecanica:
Apuleius
and his Greek
Sources,
in: AAGA
(Groningen
1978), 9,
notes similarities between the robbers and their
counterparts
in Greek
romances.
3) Hijmans
et al.
(above,
note
2),
123,
s.v.
zonis;
also ibid.
133,
s.v.
sumpta
...
florida.
4) Hijmans
et al.
(above,
note
2),
4,
briefly
observe that: "Haemus's
disguise
and the unheroic manner of his
escape
somewhat resembles
Thrasyleon's disguise
in Book 4 and the ironic tale of his "heroic" end."
339
becoming
the robbers' chief
Tlepolemus
takes on a new
role,
and
thus effects the rescue of his bride from
captivity by putting
her
abductors to
sleep
with wine. Then he
wipes
out their
gang.
Such
an
assumption
of a new role is
suggested by
the context where
Tlepolemus puts
on a new dress which the robbers offer to him
upon accepting
him as their
leader5). By contrast,
Thrasyleon
insists on
maintaining
his bear
disguise
and
ultimately
dies as a
beast. The tale's internal
audience,
the
robbers, however,
fail to
grasp
this
connection,
and thus to
gain
an
understanding
of the new
recruit's
intentions,
although
his tactics seem to coincide with that
of their own. On the
contrary, they eagerly accept
him into their
gang,
and acclaim him as their leader.
Consequently, they
meet an
inglorious
death,
as their
colleague Thrasyleon
did
earlier,
while
their
band,
like Haemus'
gang
in his fictional tale of the virtuous
Plotina,
is
ultimately destroyed.
In what follows I intend to concentrate on the tale of
Haemus/Tlepolemus
and the robber-tale of
Thrasyleon
in order to
demonstrate their structural and thematic
relationship.
This
analogy
makes the tale of
Tlepolemus/Haemus
similar to that of
Thrasyleon,
and thus allows the attentive listeners to
prefigure
the
action in the latter from within the
development
of the events in the
narrative of the former. In the conclusion I relate in brief the
thematic association between
pseudo-Haemus' story
of Plotina and
the narrative that contains it. Given their similarities in structure
and
detail,
the
story
of Plotina can be seen as an inset tale and/or
a
metaphor
of the fate that awaits the
robbers,
when
Tlepolemus
becomes their chief. The
robbers, however,
fail to work out these
connections,
and thus do not
gain
an
understanding
of the new
recruit's
intentions;
they
become victims of his
deception,
while
their
gang,
like that of Haemus in his fictional tale of
Plotina,
is
destroyed.
The robbers'
stratagem begins
as the narrator-bandit
along
with
Babulus watches the
needy people gathering
around the
corpses
of
5)
See
J.J. Winkler,
Auctor & Actor. A
Narratological Reading of
The Golden Ass
(Berkeley
and Los
Angeles 1985),
87-89. Winkler reads the tale of
Haemus/Tlepolemus
as a
game
of seven identities "the last of which reveals that
the first three were
outright
lies and the rest were tricks calculated to
destroy
the
band and save the maiden"
(p. 87).
340
bears in order to collect their food. The two robbers devise a
plan
to select a
huge
carcass,
prepare
its
hide,
and thus use it for their
upcoming stratagem
in order to
penetrate
Demochares'
house,
and
then
plunder
it:
unam, quae
ceteris sarcina
corporis praevalebat, quasi
cibo
paran-
dam
portamus
ad nostrum
receptaculum (85.19-21).
With the robbers'
approval Thrasyleon willingly
covers himself
with the hide and assumes the
guise
of a beast. The notion of
using
a bear carcass that is otherwise wasted for
obtaining
wealth
anticipates
the context of the
spy-robber
in the context where he
relates to his assembled comrades how he had met with a valiant
recruit and had
persuaded
him to abandon his
profitless begging
and
join
his band for a
quick profit:
se
quoque
iam dudum
pro
sua
parte quendam
convenisse hominem
et statu
procerum
et aetate iuvenem et
corpore
vastum et manu
strenuum, eique
suasisse ac
denique persuasisse,
ut manus
hebetatas diutina
pigritia
tandem referret ad
frugem
meliorem
bonoque
secundae,
dum
posset,
frueretur valetudinis nec manum
validam
erogandae stipi porrigeret,
sed hauriendo
potius
exerceret
auro
(157.11-18).
The connection is
supported by
a shared
imagery:
the
robbers,
who
select the most
huge
carcass:
quae
ceteris sarcina
corporis praevalebat
(85.19-20), anticipate
the
spy-robber,
who encounters a valiant
young
man,
and then
proposes
to his
colleagues
to
accept
him into
their band:
quendam
convenisse hominem et statu
procerum
et aetate iuvenem
et
corpore
vastum et manu strenuum
(157.12-13).
A few lines later this
spy-robber presents
to his assembled col-
leagues
the valiant
recruit,
dressed
up
in miserable and
ragged
clothing:
tunc
profectus
et
paululum
commoratus ille
perducit
immanem
quendam iuvenem,
uti fuerat
pollicitus,
nescio an ulli
praesentium
comparandum-nam praeter
ceteram
corporis
molen toto vertice
cunctos
antepollebat
et ei commodum
lanugo
malis
inserpebat-sed
plane
centunculis
disparibus
et male consarcinatis
semiamictum,
inter
quos pectus
et venter crustata crassitie reluctabant
(157.21-158.2).
341
This
description
of
Tlepolemus' appearance
evokes features that
are found in two distinct
passages
of the
Thrasyleon
narrative:
( I )
the
stitching
of the hide so that
Thrasyleon
can assume the
guise
of the
beast
(tunc
tenui sarcimine summas oras eius
adaequamus (86. 10- 1 1 .));
and
(2)
the
great
size of
Thrasyleon
in his
impersonation
of a bear
(bestiae magnitudinem (86.26)).
Moreover,
the use of the term immanis
may
further
support
this association. In the
Metamorphoses
the
epithet
immanis
applies
almost
exclusively
to beasts: it
qualifies
the
bears of Demochares
(immanis
ursae
(85.4));
the
god Cupid
in his
presentation
as a snake-beast: immanem colubrum
(116.16-17);
the
Hell-hound Cerberus: canis... immanis
(142.22-24);
and the boar
that later kills
Tlepolemus during
the hunt:
aper
immanis
(179.7).
Two other occurrences of the term lend further
support
to this con-
nection : one in reference to
Tlepolemus
in his
disguise
as Haemus:
immanem ... iuvenem
(157.22),
and the other to
Thrasyleon
in his
impersonation
of a bear: immani
forma
tantae bestiae
(88.23-24)6).
Above
all,
both
Tlepolemus
and
Thrasyleon
take on roles:
Tlepolemus
assumes the
disguise
of
Haemus,
while
Thrasyleon
takes on the
appearance
of a beast. In this
sense,
Tlepolemus'
mas-
querade
as a criminal in order to enter the
cave,
and thus to liberate
his abduced bride
appears
to
suggest Thrasyleon's impersonation
of a bear in order to
penetrate
Demochares' house and then
plunder
it.
Further connections can be drawn in the
description
where
Tlepolemus falsely
identifies himself to the assembled thieves as
Haemus and advises them not to
judge
him
by
his miserable
clothing:
ego
sum
praedo
famosus Haemus ille
Thracius,
cuius totae
provin-
ciae nomen
horrescunt,
patre
Therone
aeque
latrone inclito
pro-
gnatus,
humano
sanguine
nutritus
interque ipsos manipulos
factionis educatus heres et aemulus virtutis
paternae (158.10-15).
6) Apuleius
also
explores
the
incompatible
effect intended
by
the
comparison.
Two references to
Haemus' juvenile
cheeks undercut the monstrous
physical
des-
cription
of his
physique,
thus
exposing
the
beauty
of the
age
of Charite's
young
groom: (1)
ei commodum
lanugo
malis
inserpebat (157.25),
and
(2) depiles genae
levi
pueritia splendicarent (160.5-6).
This
physical
attribute,
repeated
twice in the
tale,
fails to sensitize the robbers.
342
Tlepolemus'
self-identification to the
brigands
as
pseudo-Haemus
may
remind the attentive audience the similar situation of the
bear's
sponsors,
the two
bandits,
who
present
the bear
Thrasyleon
to Demochares as a
gift
of his
friend,
Nicanor:
sciscitati nomen cuiusdam
Nicanoris,
qui genere
Thracio
proditus
ius amicitiae summum cum illo Demochare
colebat,
litteras ad-
fingimus,
ut venationis suae
primitias
bonus amicus videretur
ornando muneri dedicasse.
iamque provecta vespera
abusi
praesidio
tenebrarum
Thrasyleonis
caveam Demochari cum litteris
illis adulterinis offerimus
(86.19-25).
In this scene of introduction there is a reference to the Thracian
origin
of Demochares' friend. G.F. Hildebrand
explains
the
reference:
"quia
silvestris et montosa ursis
ceterisque feris frequentia
lustra
praebebat" 7).
This connection with Thrace
anticipates
two allusions
to the same
region, present
in the tale of
Tlepolemus/Haemus: (I)
pseudo-Haemus'
claim of
origin
from
Thrace;
and
(2)
the moun-
tain
range, Haemos,
inherent in
Tlepolemus'
fabricated
name,
Haemus8).
The noticeable contrast between Haemus' self-
introduction to the thieves and the bear's introduction to
Demochares
by
the robbers
through
a
forged
letter can be
explained by
the nature of
Thrasyleon's
animal
disguise,
which
deprives
him of human talk and/or
self-expression.
In the context
of this
interpretation,
then,
the content of Nicanor's
forged
letter,
which makes the bear
appear
as a
gift
to Demochares for his
upcoming gladiatorial
show
(86.21-23), may
be
regarded
as the
7)
G.F.
Hildebrand,
Apuleius. Opera
omnia
(Leipzig
1842.
Reprint:
Hildesheim
1968), 254,
s.v. Thracio. Hildebrand's
explanation
is also
quoted by Hijmans et
al.
(note
1,
above),
125,
s.v.
genus
Thracium.
8)
For the
triple meaning
intended
by
the use of the
name;
Haemus as well as
the
playful
effect that results from the wide
range
of associations it
evokes,
see:
B.L.
Hijmans Jr., Significant
Names and their Functions in
Apulelus' Metamorphoses,
in:
AAGA
(Groningen 1978), 115; Hijmans
et al.
(above,
note
2),
110 s.v. commodum
...
inserpebat;
also
115-16,
s.v. Haemus
ille;
B.L.
Hijmans Jr., Apuleiana Groningana
V:
Haemus,
the
Bloody Brigand (or:
What's in the
Alias?)
Met.
7.5;
Mnemosyne
31
(1978),
407 ,
and under I. Mt.
Haemus,
408-12. In relation to the
robbers,
the
description
of the bear's
dwelling place
contains a number of features in common
with the locale where the robbers dwell:
(1)
the
shadowy
mountain
(mons
...
umbrosus
(78.22-23)); (2)
the cave
(speluncae (79.4-5));
and
(3)
the water-fountain
(fons (78.27)).
343
equivalent
to
Tlepolemus'
narration which
comprises
his own self-
introduction to the bandits as
pseudo-Haemus,
his fictional tale of
Plotina
and,
finally,
his
request
to become their chief
(158.3-160.15).
Additional
correspondences
continue to be echoed. After
hearing
Haemus' tale of
Plotina,
the bandits
unanimously accept pseudo-
Haemus in their
company:
nec mora nec
cunctatio,
sed calculis omnibus ducatum latrones
unianimes ei deferunt
vestemque
lautiusculam
proferunt,
sumeret
abiecto centunculo divitem. sic
reformatus,
singulos
exosculatus et
in summo
pulvinari
locatus cena
poculisque magnis inauguratur
(160.16-20).
The
eagerness
with which the robbers
accept
Haemus in their ranks
evokes an association with Demochares'
delight
with the unex-
pected gift
of his friend:
qui
miratus bestiae
magnitudinem suique
contubernalis
opportuna
liberalitate laetatus iubet nobis
protinus gaudii
sui
gerulis
decem
aureos,
ut
ipse
habebat,
e suis loculis adnumerari
(86.25-87.1)
Demochares'
happiness
is not
just
due to the
extraordinary
size of
the
animal,
but also to the
generosity
of his
friend,
who alleviates
him in his
present despair
because of the loss of
nearly
all of his
bears
during
an outbreak of an
epidemic.
His
pleasure
and
good
fortune is
additionally emphasized
in the context where the
people
gather
around the bear and acclaim him as
felix
ac beatus
(87.5).
Moreover,
Demochares later
gives
orders to escort the beast to its
park.
The narrator-bandit intervenes and advises the host to select
an
open
and cool
place
within his
house,
bearing
in mind the locale
where bears dwell: an
ignoras
hoc
genus
bestiae lucos consitos et
specus
roridos et
fontes
amoenos
semper
incubare?
(87.14-16). Obviously,
the
robber's advice is a calculated
one,
so that at the advance of the
night Thrasyleon
can
creep
out of his
cage, join
with his
comrades,
waiting
outside the
house,
and then
plunder
it. Demochares' subse-
quent willingness
to treat the beast in
special
terms
points
forward
to the robbers' reaction towards
pseudo-Haemus.
After
unanimously accepting
Haemus into their
company,
the robbers
give
him new
clothing,
and then seat him in the
equivalent special
344
place
of the bear's
park,
their tallest couch: in summo
pulvinari
locatus
(160.19).
Furthermore,
at 160.20 there is a reference to
eating
and
heavy drinking,
in the context where the robbers
inaugurate
pseudo-Haemus
as their chief: cena
poculisque magnis inauguratur.
This detail
may
be taken as
repeating
earlier references to food and
drink found in the
Thrasyleon
narrative: at 87.22 the bear's
spon-
sors,
the two
robbers,
are described as
eager
to
spend
the
night
with
the beast in order to feed it with its accustomed food and drink:
cibum
tempestivum
et
potum
solitum. It turns out that Demochares
rejects
their offer on the
ground
that he has
plenty
of
slaves,
trained
for
feeding
bears. In
retrospect,
such a
rejection
also
points
forward
to the
difficulty
of
Thrasyleon
in
tricking
Demochares'
expert
slaves, and,
in
turn,
helps
to
explain
the
major
contrast in the
distinct outcomes of
Thrasyleon's
and
Tlepolemus' operations.
Indeed,
at the advance of the
night Thrasyleon
comes out of his
cage,
kills the
sleeping guards, joins
with his
comrades,
who wait
outside the
house,
and assists them in
carrying
out Demochares'
wealth. A
slave, however,
wakes
up
from the noises. Instead of run-
ning
for his
safety,
this slave rouses
everyone
from
sleep.
Soon
afterwards the rest of Demochares' slaves
along
with the
hunting
dogs join
in the
pursuit
of the
running
beast. In the
ensuing
fierce
fight, Thrasyleon desperately
tries to maintain his animal
disguise9). Ultimately,
he dies as a
bear,
stricken in the heart
by
a
slave's lance: mediis iniecit ursae
praecordiis (90.10)1).
This insistence
of
Thrasyleon
on
maintaining
his bear
disguise
contrasts most
sharply
with
Tlepolemus'
tactic within the robbers' cave. On
becoming
their
chief,
Tlepolemus
takes on a new role. Such an
assumption
of a new
persona
becomes clear in the context where
9)
His animal transformation is
emphasized
at 86.16
by
the
employment
of the
particle prorsus: prorsus
bestiam
factum.
The term
prorsus belongs
to the
specialized
language
that describes a
metamorphosis.
See
J.
Tatum,
Apuleius
and Metamor-
phosis, AJP
93
(1972),
309;
also
Hijmans et
al.
(above,
note
1),
122,
s.v.
prorsus
bestiam
factum.
10)
The
disguise
is
exposed
when a butcher
approaches
the dead animal in
order to collect meat. The butcher cuts the beast in its
belly,
extracts
Thrasyleon
from the bear's
hide,
and thus reveals the robbers' scheme. On the level of struc-
ture,
the arrival of the butcher to obtain meat at the end of the
story
evokes in
ring-form
the
gathering
of the
needy people
around the
corpses
of bears in order
to obtain their food
at
the
opening
of the tale.
345
Tlepolemus puts
on the outfit which the robbers offer to
him,
when
they inaugurate
him as their chief:
vestemque
lautiusculam
proferunt,
sumeret abiecto centunculo divitem
(160.17-18).
This outfit transforms
him
(reformatus 160.18-19).
It is
precisely
in this new role that
Tlepolemus puts
into effect his
trickery
of
drugging
the robbers to
sleep
with
wine,
liberates his bride from
captivity,
and,
unlike
Thrasyleon, safely
exits the cave with his bride
riding
on the back
of the
ass").
Soon
afterwards,
Tlepolemus
returns to the
cave, and,
like
Plotina,
effects the destruction of the entire
robber-gang.
In
light
of these connections it is clear that there is a direct rela-
tionship
between the
disguises
of
Tlepolemus/Haemus
and
Thrasyleon: Tlepolemus impersonates
a renown
criminal,
Haemus,
in order to assume the
leadership
of the
brigands
and then
liberate his bride from
captivity
in the robbers' cave.
Likewise,
the
bandit
Thrasyleon willingly
assumes an animal
disguise
in order to
penetrate
Demochares'
house,
let in the rest of the
company
of his
comrades,
and then
plunder
it. This
analogy
makes
Tlepolemus'
disguise
similar to that of
Thrasyleon,
and thus allows the tale's
attentive listeners/readers to draw a connection between them. The
tale's own
audience,
the
robbers, however,
fail to note this connec-
tion,
and thus to
gain
an
understanding
of the new recruit's
disguise
and intentions. It is also worth
noting
at this
point
that the
brigands
are even unable to draw a connection between Plotina and
Haemus,
when
they
listen to
Tlepolemus'
tale of Plotina. In this
story,
Plotina,
the wife of a
procurator,
dresses herself
up
as a
man,
and follows her exiled husband.
During
Haemus'
attempt
to
storm the
inn,
Plotina rouses
everyone
from
sleep,
and thus averts
the
danger
of
being
robbed.
Obviously,
Plotina's reaction
during
the
attempted robbery brings
to mind Demochares' fearless slave
who
similarly
rouses
everyone
from
sleep,
when he notices the bear
Thrasyleon running freely throughout
the house. Later Plotina
directs her
appeals
to Caesar. In
recognition
of her
exceptional
ser-
11)
For
Tlepolemus' trickery,
which involves the use of wine in
taking
vengeance
on his
opponents
see
my
work:
Epic
Inversion in the Tale
of
Tlepolemus/Haemus, Mnemosyne
45
(1992),
60-74. For affinities between the rob-
bers' cave and the monster
Polyphemus
see the brief observation
of J. L.
Penwill,
Ambages reciprocae: Reviewing Apuleius' Metamorphoses,
Ramus 19
(1990),
9,
and in
more
detail, my
discussion in: Homeric Allusions to the
Cyclopeia
in
Apuleius' Descrip-
tion
of the
Robbers'
Cave ,
PP 47
(1992),
50-58.
346
vices
during
Haemus' assault on the
inn,
Caesar
pardons
her exiled
husband,
and
gives
orders that Haemus'
gang
be
wiped
out. In the
ensuing
attack of Caesar's soldiers Haemus
barely escapes
death
by
disguising
himself as a
woman,
while his band is
destroyed 12).
Soon
afterwards,
pseudo-Haemus
enters the robbers'
cave,
seeking
to
become their leader. It is not accidental that at 160.11-13 Haemus
pulls
out of his
rags
two thousand coins of
gold
and offers them to
the
brigands
as his fee for admission to their
band,
or better as his
dowry:
Cen',
inquit,
'istam
sportulam,
immo vero dotem
collegio
vestro
libens
meque
vobis ducem
fidissimum,
si tamen non
recusatis,
offero' l).
Later,
at
162.19-21,
Haemus is described as
sweeping
and
arrang-
ing
the
tables, cleaning
the
floor,
and
taking
care of the robbers'
drinks and meals:
verrit, sternit,
coquit,
tucceta
concinnat,
adponit
scitule,
sed
praecipue poculis
crebris
grandibusque singulos ingurgitatl4).
On the basis of these two
passages,
scholars have
suggested
several
connections between
Tlepolemus
and
Plotina15):
both are involved
in a transvestite
disguise;
both follow their
mates;
both
carry
their
valuables with
themselves;
and both effect the liberation of their
partners
as well as
destroy
bands of
criminals 16).
12) Hijmans
et al.
(above,
note
2),
134-5,
s.v. mulierem
putantes,
further observe
that the soldiers'
suspicion
which is not roused
by
this mulier asinaria as she
passes
through enemy-lines
foreshadows that of the robbers.
13)
On this
point
the
Groningen
commentators
(Hijmans et
al.
[above,
note
2],
111-12),
observe the
following
contrast between
Thrasyleon
and
Haemus/Tlepolemus:
"Thrasyleon
dresses
up
as a bear in order to
get
in
[i.e.
Demochares'
house]
and
as a result loses his
life, bloody
Haemus dresses
up
as a woman to
get
out
[i.e.
the soldiers'
lines]
and so retains his life."
14)
Winkler
(above,
note
5), 88.
With
Tlepolemus' activity
at Met. 162.19-21
compare
that of the old woman at Met. 79.25-80.1: cuncta ...
percocta pulmenta praesto
sunt,
panis numerosus,
vinum
probe
calicibus
exfricatis affluenter
immissum.
15)
See
Hijmans et
al.
(above,
note
2), 123,
s.v. zonis.
16)
To this list of
similarities,
it can be added a
possible parallel
between
pseudo-Haemus
who takes ten
companions
in order to storm a
nearby
castellum
(162.7),
and Plotina's ten children
(158.24).
347
In this
respect Tlepolemus'
fictional tale of Plotina can be seen
as
thematically relating
to the narrative within which it is inserted
and,
in a
way,
as
foreshadowing
the fate that awaits the
brigands.
Unlike the attentive
listeners/readers, however,
the tale's internal
audience,
the
robbers,
fail to draw a connection between Plotina's
disguise
and that of
pseudo-Haemus,
let alone that between
pseudo-Haemus
and
Thrasyleon.
What is even more remarkable at this
point
is that the
look-out,
who introduces the new recruit to his
colleagues,
also relates to
them the incident of the
Hypatans'
false accusation of Lucius con-
cerning
their own
robbery
of Milo's
house17):
nescio
qui
Lucius auctor manifestus facinoris
postulabatur, qui
proximis
diebus fictis commendaticiis litteris Miloni sese virum
commentitus bonum artius
conciliaverat,
ut etiam
hospitio
susceptus
inter familiaris intimos haberetur
plusculisque
ibidem
diebus demoratus falsis amoribus ancillae Milonis animum
inrepens
ianuae claustra sedulo
exploraverat
et
ipsa
membra,
in
quis
omne
patrimonium
condi
solebat,
curiose
perspexerat
(154.20-155.4).
In this recitation of
charges
there are two features that
appear again
in the
Thrasyleon
narrative:
(I)
the
forged
letter of introduction in
order to enter a
house;
and
(2)
the search for valuables within the
house in order to
carry
them out. These
features,
in
turn,
would
have been
helpful
in
sensitizing
the robbers
by bringing
to their
memory
the circumstances that led to the death of their
comrade,
Thrasyleon.
After
all,
the
spy
addresses his
report
to an audience
which is
composed
of both
groups
of robbers who had
gone
separately
to
plunder
Milo's and Demochares' houses.
Although
the
brigands
hear the
spy's report,
nevertheless
they
fail to
bring
to their
memory
the
parallel
content of the robber's tale of
Thrasyleon
and thus be more cautious in
accepting
the new
recruit,
who a few lines later enters their cave
mimicking Thrasyleon's
disguise.
On the
contrary, they eagerly accept
him in their com-
pany,
and make him their leader.
Thus,
they perish ingloriously,
17)
For a discussion of the
scene,
see
James (above,
note
2),
109-10.
348
as
previously
their
colleague Thrasyleon
did,
while their entire
gang,
the
figurative equivalent
of Haemus' band in the fictional
tale of
Plotina,
is
ultimately destroyed'8).
RETHYMNO,
University
of Crete
18)
I wish to
express my
sincere thanks to Professor
John
Z.
Tzifopoulos
for
his useful comments on an earlier draft of this
paper.