ἀλλ᾽ οὑτοσὶ γάρ ἐστι περὶ τοῦ ναυτικοῦ ὁ χρησμός, ᾧ σε δεῖ προσέχειν τὸν νοῦν πάνυ. Δῆμος] προσέχω• σὺ δ᾽ ἀναγίγνωσκε, τοῖς ναύταισί μου ὅπως ὁ μισθὸς πρῶτον ἀποδοθήσεται.Ἀλλαντ.] Αἰγεΐδη φράσσαι κυναλώπεκα, μή σε δολώσῃ, λαίθαργον ταχύπουν, δολίαν κερδὼ πολύιδριν. οἶσθ᾽ ὅ τι ἐστὶν τοῦτο; Δῆμος] Φιλόστρατος ἡ κυναλώπηξ. Ἀλλαντ.] οὐ τοῦτό φησιν, ἀλλὰ ναῦς ἑκάστοτε αἰτεῖ ταχείας ἀργυρολόγους οὑτοσί• ταύτας ἀπαυδᾷ μὴ διδόναι ς᾽ ὁ Λοξίας. Δῆμος] πῶς δὴ τριήρης ἐστὶ κυναλώπηξ; Ἀλλαντ.] ὅπως; ὅτι ἡ τριήρης ἐστὶ χὠ κύων ταχύ. Δῆμος] πῶς οὖν ἀλώπηξ προσετέθη πρὸς τῷ κυνί; Ἀλλαντ.] ἀλωπεκίοισι τοὺς στρατιώτας ᾔκασεν, ὁτιὴ βότρυς τρώγουσιν ἐν τοῖς χωρίοις. Δῆμος] εἶεν• τούτοις ὁ μισθὸς τοῖς ἀλωπεκίοισι ποῦ; Ἀλλαντ.] ἐγὼ ποριῶ, καὶ τοῦτον ἡμερῶν τριῶν. ἀλλ᾽ ἔτι τόνδ᾽ ἐπάκουσον, ὃν εἶπέ σοι ἐξαλέασθαι χρησμὸν Λητοΐδης, Κυλλήνην, μή σε δολώσῃ. Δῆμος] ποίαν Κυλλήνην; Ἀλλαντ.] τὴν τούτου χεῖρ᾽ ἐποίησεν (Knights 1:1063-1082)
"But this is concerning the navy, about which the oracle speaks, and you must pay close attention to it. Demos, pay attention. But you, read it to my sailors, so they know when their pay will be given first." "All." Aegeus' son, guard against the fox, lest it deceive you, a quick-footed spoiler, gaining much cunning profit. Do you know what this is? "Demos." Philostratus the fox."All." He does not say this, but rather, a ship always demands swift paymasters. Loxias constantly urges you not to give them rest. "Demos." How can a trireme be a fox? "All." How? Because the trireme is both swift and a dog. "Demos." So how was a fox added to the dog? "All." She mocked the soldiers with foxes because they eat the grapes in the fields. "Demos." Let it be so. Where is the pay for these foxes? "All." I'll provide it within three days. But still, listen to this, which Lêtoidês, the Kylleian, said to you, that the oracle must be cleansed, so that it may not deceive you. "Demos." What Kylleian? "All." He made this man's hand [pointing to DEMOS] (Knights 1:1063-1082).
In Aristophanes' play "Knights," the fox is employed as a metaphor to illustrate the political situation of the time, particularly the cunning and manipulation prevalent in Athenian politics. This metaphor symbolically represents the character Philostratus, one of the advisors to the main character, Δῆμος (Demos), who embodies the Athenian populace.
The choice of the fox as a metaphor holds symbolic significance. In ancient Greek culture, the fox was viewed as a clever and intelligent animal often associated with cunning and craftiness. Aristophanes utilizes this metaphor to depict Philostratus as a wily and deceitful individual who employs his cunning to manipulate and deceive the Athenian populace (Δῆμος).
The play satirizes the politics and politicians of the time, illustrating how political figures manipulate public opinion for their own interests. The representation of the fox (Philostratus) suggests his adeptness in political stratagems, deceiving the populace to achieve his objectives.
Hence, in this context, the fox symbolizes sagacity, cunning, and manipulation—traits that Aristophanes employs to satirize the political character represented by the fox in the play.
The character Ἀλλαντίδης (Allantides) mentions the fox (κυναλώπεκος, kynalṓpekos) as a symbolic reference to political strategists or advisors who manipulate and deceive the populace, represented by the character Δῆμος (Demos), a personification of the Athenian people.
The fox metaphor is employed to describe the cunning and shrewdness of political advisors like Philostratus, mentioned earlier in the passage as the "fox." The fox is associated with the ability to deceive, drawing an analogy with foxes that steal grapes from vineyards—a practice considered clever and cunning.
Essentially, the fox symbolizes political astuteness, the ability to manipulate, and the practice of deceiving the populace to achieve personal objectives, often at the expense of the collective well-being.
By employing this metaphor, Jesus engages in satirical commentary on Herod's politics, revealing the cunning strategies and manipulative tactics politicians employed to garner support and sway the public, frequently at the expense of the common good.