Phulon

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Ἔστι γένος τι τῶν ἀνακτόρων μέσον
θῆλυ πρὸς ἄρρεν, ἄρρεν εἰ θῆλυ βλέπει·
ἄμφω δὲ κοὐδέν ἐστιν, ὧν δ’ ἔχει δύο
τοῦ μὲν μετέσχεν οὐδαμῶς, τὸ δ’ ἐρρύη·
κρατεῖ δὲ πᾶσι καὶ κρατεῖται τοῖς ὅλοις,
καὶ πάντα τολμᾷ, πάντα δὲ φρίσσει τρέμον·
στέργει γέλωτας, ἀλλ’ ἐρᾷ τῶν δακρύων·
ἄδοξόν ἐστι κομπόδοξον ὂν φύσει,
τυραννικὸν, λατρῶδες, ἄστοργον φύλον,
σεμνὸν, ταπεινὸν, ἄφρον, ἄγλωττον, λάλον,
δοῦλον, βίαιον, θυμικὸν, δειλὸν, λάγνον·
ἐκ τῶν ἄκρων κραθὲν δὲ τῶν ἐναντίων
ἄκρον πέφυκεν ἐκ κακῶν κακὸν μέγα.
(Manuel Philes, Carm. 2.255)

There is a race that lives in the heart of the palace,
feminine compared to men, but masculine compared to women;
it has traces of both, without being either one or the other;
it has nothing to do with women, but its masculinity is eroded.
It rules everyone but is enslaved by all.
It will dare anything, but trembles with fear before all.
It hates laughter, but loves tears.
Insignificant, but boastful by nature,
a tyrannical, obsequious, cruel race.
Decorous, humble, mindless, speechless, chatty,
servile, violent, spirited, cowardly, greedy,
born of the mixture of extreme opposites,
the greatest evil emerging from evil.
(tr. Anthony Kaldellis)

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