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to the trial and execution of Socrates although other satirical playwrights had caricatured the philosopher.The demagogue Cleon once prosecuted Aristophanes for slandering the Athenian polis with his second play The Babylonians (now lost). Details of his trial and punishment are not recorded but Aristophanes replied with merciless caricatures of Cleon in his subsequent plays, especially The Knights. "In my opinion," he says through the Chorus in that play, "producing comedies is the hardest work of all." (κωμῳδοδιδασκαλίαν εῖναι χαλεπώτατον ἔργον ἁπάντων)
Biography of a dramatist
Aristophanes as imagined by a nineteenth century illustrator. It can be inferred from jests in his plays that he was in fact prematurely bald. Surviving Plays The Acharnians 425 BC The Knights 424 BC The Clouds 423 BC The Wasps 422 BC Peace 421 BC The Birds 414 BC Lysistrata 411BC Thesmophoriazusae 411 BC The Frogs 405 BC Ecclesiazusae c.392 BC Wealth II 388 BC Aristophanes (Ἀριστοφάνης, ca. 446 – ca. 386 BC), son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a prolific and much acclaimed comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays have come down to us virtually complete. These, as well as fragments of some of his other plays, provide us with the only real example we have of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy and they are in fact used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries - Plato singled out Aristophanes’ play The Clouds as slander contributing
Theatre of Dionysus, Athens - in Aristophanes’ time, the audience probably sat on wooden benches with earth foundations. Less is known about Aristophanes than about his plays. In fact, his plays are the main source of information about him. It was conventional in Old Comedy for the Chorus to speak on behalf of the author during an address called the ’parabasis’ and thus some biographical facts can be got ’straight from the horse’s mouth’, so to speak. However, these facts relate almost entirely to his
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career as a dramatist and the plays contain few clear and unambiguous clues about his personal beliefs or his private life. He was a comic poet in an age when it was conventional for a poet to assume the role of ’teacher’ (didaskalos) and though this specifically referred to his training of the Chorus in rehearsal, it also covered his relationship with the audience as a commentator on significant issues. Aristophanes claimed to be writing for a clever and discerning audience yet he also declared that ’other times’ would judge the audience according to its reception of his plays. He sometimes boasts of his originality as a dramatist yet his plays consistently espouse opposition to radical, new influences in Athenian society. He caricatured leading figures in the arts (notably Euripides, whose influence on his own work however he once begrudgingly acknowledged), in politics (especially the populist Cleon), and in philosophy/religion (where Socrates was the most obvious target). Such caricatures seem to imply that Aristophanes was an old-fashioned conservative yet that view of him leads to contradictions. The writing of plays was a craft that could be handed down from father to son and it has been argued that Aristophanes produced plays mainly to entertain the audience and to win prestigious competitions. The plays were written for production at the great dramatic festivals of Athens, the Lenaia and City Dionysia, where they were judged and awarded places relative to the works of other comic dramatists. An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice or corruption, narrowed the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five in number. These judges probably reflected the mood of the audiences yet there is much uncertainty about the actual composition of those audiences. They were certainly huge, with seating for at least 10 000 at the Theatre of Dionysus, but it is not certain that they amounted to a representative sample of the Athenian citizenry. The day’s program at the City Dionysia for example was crowded, with three tragedies and a ’satyr’ play ahead of the comedy and it is possible that many of the poorer citizens (typically the main supporters of demagogues like Cleon) occupied the festival holiday in other pursuits. The conservative views expressed in the plays might therefore reflect the attitudes of a dominant group in an unrepresentative audience. The production process might also have been a factor influencing the views expressed in the plays. Throughout most of Aristophanes’ career, the Chorus was essential to a play’s success and it was recruited and funded by a ’choregus’, a wealthy citizen appointed to the task by one of the archons. A choregus could regard his personal expenditure on the Chorus as a civic duty and a public honour but Aristophanes showed in The Knights that wealthy citizens could in fact regard civic responsibilities as punishment imposed on them by demagogues and populists like Cleon. Thus the political conservatism of the
plays might reflect the views of a typical choregus, on whose generosity the dramatist depended for the success of his play. When Aristophanes’ first play The Banqueters was produced, Athens was an ambitious, imperial power and The Peloponnesian War was only in its fourth year. His plays often express pride in the achievement of the older generation (the victors at Marathon) yet they are not jingoistic and they are staunchly opposed to the war with Sparta. The plays are particularly scathing in criticism of war-profiteers, among whom populists such as Cleon figure prominently. By the time his last play was produced (around 386 BC), Athens had been defeated in war, its empire had been dismantled and it had undergone a transformation from the political to the intellectual centre of Greece. Aristophanes was part of this transformation and he shared in the intellectual fashions of the period - the structure of his plays evolves from Old Comedy until, in his last, surviving play, Wealth II, it more closely resembles New Comedy. It is uncertain however whether he led or merely responded to changes in audience expectations. Aristophanes’ won second prize at the City Dionysia in 427 BC with his first play The Banqueters (now lost). He won first prize there with his next play, The Babylonians (also now lost). It was usual for foreign dignitaries to attend the City Dionysia and The Babylonians caused some embarrassment for the Athenian authorities since it depicted the cities of the Athenian League as slaves grinding at a mill. Some influential citizens, notably Cleon, subsequently sought to prosecute the young dramatist on a charge of slandering the polis. The details of the trial are unrecorded but, speaking through the hero of his third play The Acharnians (staged at the Lenaia, where there were few or no foreign dignitaries), he carefully distinguishes between the polis and the real targets of his acerbic wit: ἡμῶν γὰρ ἄνδρες, κοὐχὶ τὴν πόλιν λέγω, μέμνησθε τοῦθ᾽ ὅτι οὐχὶ τὴν πόλιν λέγω, ἀλλ᾽ ἀνδράρια μοχθηρά, παρακεκομμένα... People among us, and I don’t mean the polis, Remember this - I don’t mean the polis But wicked little men of a counterfeit kind.... Aristophanes repeatedly savages Cleon in his later plays. These satirical diatribes however appear to have had no effect on Cleon’s political career - a few weeks after the performance of The Knights, a play that is full of anti-Cleon jokes, Cleon was elected to the prestigious board of ten generals. Equally, Cleon seems to have had no real power to limit or control Aristophanes since the
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caricatures of him continued up to and even beyond his death. In the absence of clear biographical facts about Aristophanes, scholars make educated guesses based on interpretation of the language in the plays. Inscriptions and summaries or comments by Hellenistic and Byzantine scholars can also provide useful clues. Comments made by the Chorus on behalf of Aristophanes in The Clouds have been interpreted as evidence that he can have been hardly more than eighteen years old when his first play The Banqueters was produced. The second parabasis in Wasps appears to indicate that he reached some kind of temporary accommodation with Cleon, possibly following his prosecution for The Babylonians or perhaps after a subsequent attack by Cleon in response to The Knights. The hero in The Acharnians complains about Cleon "dragging me into court" over "last year’s play" and this could indicate that Aristophanes acted that part in the play’s performance at The Lenaia. It has been inferred from statements in The Clouds and Peace that Aristophanes was prematurely bald,  and from statements in The Acharnians that he had some kind of close, personal association with the island of Aegina. We know from comments in The Knights and The Clouds that his first three plays were not produced in his own name. They were instead produced in the names of Callistratus and Philoneides, an arrangement that seemed to suit Aristophanes since Philoneides later produced The Frogs. We know that Aristophanes was probably victorious at least once at the City Dionysia (with Babylonians in 427) and at least three times at the Lenaia, with Acharnians in 425, Knights in 424, and Frogs in 405. Frogs in fact won the unique distinction of a repeat performance at a subsequent festival. We know that a son of Aristophanes, Araros, was also a comic poet and he could have been heavily involved in the production of his father’s play Wealth II in 388. Araros is also thought to have been responsible for the posthumous performances of the now lost plays Aeolosicon II and Cocalus, and it is possible that the last of these won the prize at the City Dionysia in 387. It appears that a second son, Philippus, was twice victorious at the Lenaia and he could have produced some of Eubulus’ comedies. A third son was called either Nicostratus or Philetaerus, and a man by the latter name appears in the catalogue of Lenaia victors with two victories, the first probably in the late 370s. Plato’s The Symposium appears to be a useful source of biographical information about Aristophanes yet the reliability of the information is open to debate. ’The Symposium’ purports to be a record of conversations at a dinner party at which both Aristophanes and Socrates are guests. The party is supposed to have occurred some seven years after the performance of The Clouds (the play in which Socrates was cruelly caricatured) and yet there
is no indication of any ill-feeling between the dramatist and the philosopher. Plato’s Aristophanes is in fact a genial character and this has been interpreted as evidence of Plato’s own friendship with him (their friendship appears to be corroborated by an epitaph for Aristophanes, reputedly written by Plato, in which the playwright’s soul is compared to an eternal shrine for the Graces). Plato was only a boy when the events in The Symposium are supposed to have occurred and it is possible that his Aristophanes is in fact based on a reading of the plays. For example, conversation among the guests turns to the subject of Love and Aristophanes explains his notion of it in terms of an amusing allegory, a device he often uses in his plays. He is represented as suffering an attack of hiccoughs and this might be a humorous reference to the crude physical jokes in his plays. He tells the other guests that he is quite happy to be thought amusing but he is wary of appearing ridiculous. This fear of being ridiculed is consistent with his declaration in The Knights that he embarked on a career of comic playwright warily after witnessing the public contempt and ridicule that other dramatists had incurred. The fact that Arristophanes survived The Peloponnesian War, two oligarchic revolutions and two democratic restorations has been interpreted as evidence that he was not actively involved in politics even in spite of the highly political stance of the plays. He was probably appointed to the Council of Five Hundred for a year at the beginning of the fourth century but such appointments were very common in democratic Athens. Socrates, in the trial leading up to his own death, put the issue of a personal conscience in those troubled times quite succinctly: ἀναγκαῖόν ἐστι τὸν τῷ ὄντι μαχούμενον ὑπὲρ τοῦ δικαίου, καὶ εἰ μέλλει ὀλίγον χρόνον σωθήσεσθαι, ἰδιωτεύειν ἀλλὰ μὴ δημοσιεύειν. "...he who will really fight for the right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one.
Aristophanes the poet
The language in Aristophanes’ plays, and in Old Comedy generally, was valued by ancient commentators for its exemplification of the Attic dialect. The orator Quintilian believed that the charm and grandeur of the Attic dialect made Old Comedy a model for orators to study and follow, and he considered it inferior in this respect only to the works of Homer. A revival of interest in the Attic dialect appears in fact to have been largely responsible for the recovery and circulation of Aristophanes’ plays during the 4th and 5th Centuries AD, resulting in their survival today. In Aristophanes’ plays,
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in general terms according to three kinds, as indicated below: • : Aristophanes achieves an effect resembling natural speech through the use of the six-foot iambic trimeter (corresponding to the effects achieved by English poets such as Shakespeare using iambic pentametre). His realistic use of the metre makes it ideal for both dialogue and soliloquy, as for instance in the prologue, before the arrival of the Chorus, when the audience is introduced to the main issues in the plot. The Acharnians opens with these three lines by the hero, Dikaiopolis: How many are the things that vex my heart! Pleasures are few, so very few - just four But other things, they’re manysandthousandsandheaps! Here Aristophanes employs a frequent device, arranging the syntax so that the final word in a line comes as a comic climax. The hero’s pleasures are so few he can number them (τέτταρα, four) but his causes for complaint are so many they beggar numerical description and he must invent his own word for them (ψαμμακοσιογάργαρα, literally ’sandhundredheaps’, here paraphrased ’manysandthousandsandheaps’). The use of invented compound words is another comic device frequently found in the plays.
Muse reading, Louvre the Attic dialect is couched in verse and his plays can be appreciated for their poetic qualities. For Aristophanes’ contemporaries the works of Homer and Hesiod were as instructive as The Bible has become for many Greeks today. Poetry therefore had a moral and social significance that made it an inevitable topic of comic satire. Aristophanes was very conscious of literary fashions and traditions and his plays feature numerous references to other poets. These not only include rival comic dramatists such as Eupolis and Hermippus and predecessors such as Magnes, Crates and Cratinus, but also tragedians, notably Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, all three of whom for instance are mentioned in The Frogs. Aristophanes was the equal of these great tragedians in his subtle use of lyrics. He appears to have modelled his approach to language on that of Euripides in particular, so much so that the comic dramatist Cratinus labelled him a ’Euripidaristophanist’ addicted to hair-splitting niceties. A full appreciation of Aristophanes plays requires an understanding of the poetic forms he employed with virtuoso skill, which are appreciable through their different rhythms and associations. These can be defined
• : These are long lines of anapests, trochees or iambs (rarely dactyls) in 7 or 8 metrical feet known as tetrameters, used in various situations within each play, such as: • formal debates or agons between characters (typically in anapestic rhythm); • excited dialogue or heated argument (typically trochaic rhythm, the same as in early tragedy); • long speeches declaimed by the Chorus in parabases (in either anapestic or trochaic rhythms); • informal debates barely above the level of ordinary dialogue (typically iambic). Anapestic rhythms are naturally jaunty (as in many limericks) and trochaic metre is suited to rapid delivery (the word ’trochee’ is in fact derived from trechein, ’to run’, as demonstrated for example by choruses who enter at speed, often in aggressive mood) However, even though both these rhythms can seem to ’bowl along’ Aristophanes often varies them through use of complex syntax and substituted metres, adapting the rhythms to the requirements of serious argument. In an anapestic passage in The Frogs, for instance, the character Aeschylus presents a view
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of poetry that is supposed to be serious but which leads to a comic interruption by the god, Dionysus: AES.:It was Orpheus singing who taught us religion and how wrong people are when they kill, And we learned from Musaeus medicinal cures and the science of divination. If it’s farming you want, Hesiod knows it all, when to plant, when to harvest. How godlike Homer got to be famous, I’ll tell if you ask: he taught us what all good men should know, Discipline, fortitude, battle-readiness. DIO.: But no-one taught Pantacles - yesterday He was marching his men up and down on parade when the crest of his helmet fell off! The length of the verses naturally enforces a pause in the middle, indicated here by a break in the lines. The rhythm begins at a typical anapestic gallop, slows down to consider the revered poets Hesiod and Homer, then gallops off again to its comic conclusion at the expense of the unfortunate Pantocles. Such subtle variations in rhythm are common in the plays, allowing for serious points to be made while still whetting the audience’s appetite for the next joke. • : Almost nothing is known about the music that accompanied Greek lyrics and the metre is often so varied and complex that it is difficult for modern readers or audiences to get a feel for the intended effects, yet Aristophanes still impresses with the charm and simplicity of his lyrics. Some of the most memorable and haunting lyrics are dignified hymns set free of the comic action In the example below, taken from The Wasps, the lyric is merely a comic interlude and the rhythm is steadily trochaic. The syntax in the original Greek is natural and unforced and it was probably accompanied by brisk and cheerful music, gliding to a concluding pun at the expense of Amynias, who is thought to have lost his fortune gambling. Though to myself I often seem A bright chap and not awkward, None comes close to Amynias, Son of Sellos of the Bigwig Clan, a man I once saw Dine with rich Leogorus.
Now as poor as Antiphon, He lives on apples and pomegranates Yet he got himself appointed Ambassador to Pharselus, Way up there in Thessaly, Home of the poor Penestes: Happy to be where everyone Is as penniless as he is! The pun here in English translation (Penestes-penniless) is a weak version of the Greek pun Πενέσταισι-πενέστης. Many of the puns in the plays are in fact weak puns based on words that are similar rather than identical and it has been observed that there could in fact be more of them than Scholars have yet been able to identify. Sometimes entire scenes are constructed on puns, as is the case in The Acharnians with the Megarian farmer and his pigs. It can be argued that the most important feature of the language of the plays is imagery, particularly the use of similes, metaphors and pictorial expressions. In ’The Knights’ for example the ears of a character with selective hearing are represented as parasols that open and close. In The Frogs, Aeschylus is said to compose verses in the manner of a horse rolling in a sandpit. Some plays feature revelations of human perfectibility that are poetic rather than religious in character, such as the marriage of the hero Pisthetairos to Zeus’s paramour in The Birds and the ’recreation’ of ’old’ Athens, crowned with violets, at the end of The Knights.
Aristophanes and Old Comedy
The Greek word for ’comedy’ (komoidia) derives from the words for ’revel’ and ’song’ (komos and ode) and according to Aristotle comic drama actually developed from song. The first, official comedy was not staged at the City Dionysia until 487/6 BC, by which time tragedy had already been long established there. The first comedy was staged at the Lenaia later still, just some twenty years before the performance there of The Acharnians, the first of Aristophanes’ surviving plays. According to Aristotle, comedy was slow to gain official acceptance because nobody took it seriously yet, only sixty years after comedy first appeared at ’The City Dionysia’, Aristophanes observed that producing comedies was the most difficult work of all. Competition at the
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god). Old Comedy was a celebration of the exuberant sense of release inherent in his worship and it was more interested in finding targets for satire than in advocating any line of policy. In the City Dionysia, a statue of the god was brought to the theatre from a temple outside the city and it remained in the theatre throughout the festival, overseeing the plays like a privileged member of the audience. In Aristophanes’ play The Frogs, the god becomes a character and he enters the theatre ludicrously disguized as Hercules. He observes to the audience that, every time he is on hand to hear a joke from a comic dramatist like Phrynichus (one of Aristophanes’ rivals), he ages by more than a year. The scene opens the play and it is a reminder to the audience that almost nobody is above mockery in Old Comedy - not even its patron god or its practitioners! Gods, artists, politicians and even ordinary citizens were legitimate targets, comedy was a kind of licensed buffoonery and there was no legal redress for anyone who was slandered in a play. There were some limits on the scope of the satire but they are not easily defined. Impiety could be punished in Fifth Century BC Athens but absurdities implicit in traditional religion were open to ridicule. The polis was not allowed to be slandered but, as stated in the biography, that could depend on who was in the audience and which festival was involved. For convenience, Old Comedy, as represented by Aristophanes’ early plays, is analysed here in terms of three broad characteristics - topicality, festivity and complexity. Dramatic structure contributes to the complexity of Aristophanes’ plays. However its analysis features technical terms that have little relevance to English translations of the plays and it is therefore treated separately.
Thalia, muse of comedy, gazing upon a comic mask (detail from Muses’ Sarcophagus) Dionysian festivals required the existence of dramatic conventions for plays to be judged yet it also fuelled innovations. Developments were quite rapid, such that Aristotle was able to distinguish between ’old’ and ’new’ comedy by 330 BC. The trend from Old Comedy to New Comedy involved a trend away from a highly topical emphasis on real individuals and local issues towards a less critical approach featuring generalized situations and stock characters. The trend was due in part to the internationalizing of cultural perspectives during and after The Peloponnesian War. For ancient commentators such as Plutarch, the development of New Comedy represented increased sophistication yet Old Comedy was in fact a complex and sophisticated art form incorporating many approaches to humour and entertainment. In Aristophanes’ early plays, the genre appears to have developed around a complex set of dramatic conventions and these were only gradually simplified and abandoned. Both the City Dionysia and the Lenaia were celebrated in honour of Dionysus, a god who represented Man’s darker nature (Euripides’ play The Bacchae offers the best insight into the Fifth Century ideas about this
Old Comedy’s emphasis on real personalities and local issues makes the plays difficult to comprehend today without the aid of scholarly commentaries. For a typical list of such topical references, see for example articles on The Knights, The Wasps and Peace. The topical emphasis had some unique consequences both for the writing and the production of plays in ancient Athens. Individual masks: All actors in classical Athens wore masks but, whereas in tragedy and New Comedy, these identified stereotypical characters, in Old Comedy the masks were often caricatures of real people. It is possible that Socrates attracted an unusual amount of attention in Old Comedy because his distinct face lent itself easily to caricature by mask-makers. In The Knights we are told that the mask makers were too afraid to make a caricature of Cleon (there represented as a Paphlagonian slave) but we are also assured that the audience is clever enough to identify him anyway.
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The real scene of action: Since Old Comedy makes numerous references to people in the audience, the theatre itself was the real scene of action and theatrical illusion was treated as something of a joke. In The Acharnians, for example, The Pnyx is just a few steps from the hero’s front door, and in Peace Olympia is separated from Athens by a few moments’ supposed flight on a dung beetle. The audience is sometimes drawn or even dragged into the action. When the hero in Peace returns to Athens from his flight to Olympia, he tells the audience that they looked like rascals when seen from the heavens and, seen up close, they look even worse.. In The Acharnians the hero confronts the archon basileus, sitting in the front row, and demands to be awarded first prize for a drinking competition, which is a none too subtle way for Aristophanes to request first prize for the drama competition. Self-mocking theatre: Frequent parodying of tragedy is an aspect of Old Comedy that modern audiences find difficult to understand yet the Lenaia and City Dionysia included performances of both comedies and tragedies and thus references to tragedy were highly topical and immediately relevant to the original audience. The comic dramatist also poked fun at comic poets and he even ridiculed himself. It is possible, as indicated earlier, that Aristophanes mocked his own baldness. In The Clouds, the Chorus compares him to an unwed, young mother and in The Acharnians the Chorus mockingly depicts him as Athen’s greatest weapon in the war against Sparta. Political theatre: The Lenaia and City Dionysus were state-sponsored, religious festivals and, though the latter was the more prestigious of the two, both were occasions for official pomp and circumstance. The ceremonies for the Lenaia were overseen by the archon basileus and by officials of the Eleusinian mysteries. The City Dionysia was overseen by the archon eponymous and the priest of Dionysus. Opening ceremonies for the City Dionysia featured, in addition to the ceremonial arrival of the god, a parade in full armour of the sons of warriors who died fighting for the polis and, up until the end of the Peloponnesian War, a presentation of annual tribute from subject states. Religious and political issues were topics that could hardly be ignored in such a setting and the plays often treat them quite seriously. Knights, for example, is chiefly notable for its unremitting jokes at Cleon’s expense yet it includes simple hymns invoking Poseidon and Athena, and it ends with visions of a miraculously transformed Demos (i.e. the morally reformed citizenry of Athens). Imaginative visions of a return to peaceful activities resulting from peace with Sparta, and a plea for leniency for citizens suspected of complicity in an oligarchic revolt are other examples of a serious purpose behind the plays. Even jokes can be serious when the topic is politics, especially at a time of war. The butt of the most
savage jokes are opportunists who prey on the gullibility of their fellow citizens, including oracle-mongers, the exponents of new religious practices, war-profiteers and political fanatics. In The Acharnians, for example, Lamachus is represented as a crazed militarist whose preparations for war are put in hilarious relief to the hero’s preparations for a dinner party. Cleon emerges from numerous similes and metaphors in the The Knights as a protean form of comic evil, clinging to political power by every possible means for as long as he can. Teasing and taunting: A festival audience presented the comic dramatist with a wide range of targets, not just political or religious ones - anyone known to the audience could be mocked for any reason, such as diseases, physical deformities, ugliness, family misfortunes, bad manners, perversions, dishonesty, cowardice in battle, and clumsiness. Foreigners, a conspicuous presence in imperial Athens, particularly at the City Dionysia, often figure in the plays as people who comically mispronounce Attic words - these include Spartans (Lysistrata), Scythians (Thesmophoriazusae), Persians, Boeotians and Megarians (The Acharnians).
The Lenaia and City Dionysia were religious festivals but, in classical Athens, they resembled a gala rather than a church service. Dirty jokes: A relaxation in standards of behaviour was permitted and the holiday spirit included bawdy irreverence towards both men and gods. Old Comedy is rich in obscenities and the crude jokes are often very detailed, as when the Chorus in The Acharnians places a curse on Antimachus, a choregus accused of niggardly conduct, wishing upon him a night-time mugging as he returns home from some drunken party and envisioning him, as he stoops down to pick up a rock in the darkness, accidentally picking up a fresh turd instead. He is then envisioned hurling the turd at his attacker, missing and accidentally hitting Cratinus, a lyric poet not admired by Aristophanes. What makes this curse particularly funny is the fact that it was sung (or chanted) in choreographed style by a Chorus of 24 grown men and, in the original performance, these were amateurs known to the audience as responsible citizens. The Broadway Musical: The Chorus was vital to the success of a play in Old Comedy long after it had lost its relevance for tragedy. Technically, the competition in the dramatic festivals was not between poets but between choruses. In fact eight of Aristophanes’ eleven surviving plays are named after the Chorus. In Aristophanes’ time, the Chorus in tragedy was relatively small (twelve members) and its role had been reduced to that of an awkwardly placed commentator, but in Old Comedy the Chorus was large (numbering twenty-four),
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it was actively involved in the plot, its entry into the action was frequently spectacular, its movements were practised with military precision and sometimes it was involved in choreographed skirmishes with the actors. The expenditure on costumes, training and maintenance of a Chorus was considerable, and it is possible that many people in the original audience enjoyed comedy mainly for the spectacle and music. The chorus gradually lost its significance as New Comedy began to develop. Obvious costumes: Consistent with the holiday spirit, much of the humour in Old Comedy is slapstick buffoonery that doesn’t require the audience’s careful attention, often relying on visual cues. Actors playing male roles appear to have worn tights over grotesque padding, with a prodigious, leather phallus barely concealed by a short tunic. Female characters were played by men but were easily recognized in long, saffron tunics. Sometimes the visual cues are deliberately confused for comic effect, as in The Frogs, where Dionysus arrives on stage in a saffron tunic, the buskin boots of a tragic actor and a lion skin cloak that usually characterized Heracles - an outfit that provokes the latter (as no doubt it provoked the audience) to guffaws of helpless mirth. The farcical anti-climax: The holiday spirit might also have been responsible for an aspect of the comic plot that can seem bewildering to modern audiences. The major confrontation (agon) between the ’good’ and ’bad’ characters in a play is often resolved decisively in favour of the former long before the end of the play. The rest of the play deals with farcical consequences in a succession of loosely connected scenes. The farcical anti-climax has been explained in a variety of ways, depending on the particular play. In The Wasps, for instance, it has been thought to indicate a gradual change in the main character’s perspective as the lessons of the agon are slowly absorbed. In The Acharnians, it has been explained in terms of a unifying theme that underlies the episodes, demonstrating the practical benefits that come with wisdom. But the early release of dramatic tension is consistent with the holiday meanings in Old Comedy and it allows the audience to relax in uncomplicated enjoyment of the spectacle, the music, jokes and celebrations that characterize the remainder of the play. The celebration of the hero’s victory often concludes in a sexual conquest and sometimes it takes the form of a wedding, thus providing the action with a joyous sense of closure.
limits of humour, even to the point of undermining the humour itself. Inclusive comedy: Old Comedy provided a variety of entertainments for a diverse audience. It accommodated a serious purpose, light entertainment, hauntingly beautiful lyrics, the buffoonery of puns and invented words, obscenities, disciplined verse, wildly absurd plots and a formal, dramatic structure. The resourceful hero: In Aristophanic comedy, the hero is an independent-minded and self-reliant individual. He has something of the ingenuity of Homer’s Odysseus and much of the shrewdness of the farmer idealized in Hesiod’s Works and Days, subjected to corrupt leaders and unreliable neighbours. Typically he devises a complicated and highly fanciful escape from an intolerable situation. Thus Dikaiopolis in The Acharnians contrives a private peace treaty with the Spartans; Bdelucleon in The Wasps turns his own house into a private law court in order to keep his jury-addicted father safely at home; Trygaeus in Peace flies to Olympus on a giant dung beetle to obtain an end to the Peloponnesian War; Pisthetairus in Birds sets off to establish his own colony and becomes instead the ruler of the bird kingdom and a rival to the gods. Logical absurdities: Fantasy in Old Comedy is unrestricted and impossibilities are ignored Situations are developed logically to absurd conclusions, an approach to humour that is echoed for instance in the works of Lewis Carroll and Eugene Ionesco (the Theatre of the Absurd). The crazy costume worn by Dionysus in The Frogs is typical of an absurd result obtained on logical grounds - he wears a woman’s saffron-coloured tunic because effeminacy is an aspect of his divinity, buskin boots because he is interested in reviving the art of tragedy, and a lion skin cape because, like Heracles, his mission leads him into Hades. Absurdities develop logically from initial premises in a plot. In The Knights for instance, Cleon’s corrupt service to the people of Athens is originally depicted as a household relationship in which the slave dupes his master. The introduction of a rival, who is not a member of the household, leads to an absurd shift in the metaphor, so that Cleon and his rival become erastai competing for the affections of an eromenos, hawkers of oracles competing for the attention of a credulous public, athletes in a race for approval and orators competing for the popular vote. The resourceful cast: The numerous surprising developments in an Aristophanic plot, the changes in scene, and the farcical comings and goings of minor characters towards the end of a play, were managed according to theatrical convention with only three principal actors (a fourth actor, often the leader of the chorus, was permitted to deliver short speeches). Songs and addresses to the audience by the Chorus gave the actors much-needed time off-stage to draw breath and to prepare for changes in scene.
The development of New Comedy involved a trend towards more realistic plots, a simpler dramatic structure and a softer tone. Old Comedy was the comedy of a vigorously democratic polis at the height of its power and it gave Aristophanes the freedom to explore the
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Complex structure: The action of an Aristophanic play obeyed a crazy logic of its own and yet it always unfolded within a highly formal, dramatic structure that was repeated with minor variations from one play to another. The different, structural elements are associated with different poetic meters and rhythms and these are generally lost in English translations.
The parabasis is an address to the audience by the Chorus and/or the leader of the Chorus while the actors are leaving or have left the stage. The Chorus in this role speaks sometimes out of character, as the author’s mouthpiece, and sometimes in character, but very often it isn’t easy to distinguish its two roles. Generally the parabasis occurs somewhere in the middle of a play and often there is a second parabasis towards the end. The elements of a parabasis have been defined and named by scholars but it is probable that Aristophanes’ own understanding was less formal. The selection of elements can vary from play to play and it varies considerably within plays between first and second parabasis. The early plays (The Acharnians to The Birds) are fairly uniform in their approach however and the following elements of a parabasis can be found within them. • : This is a brief prelude, comprising short lines and often including a valediction to the departing actors, such as ἴτε χαίροντες (Go rejoicing!). • : This is a usually a defense of the author’s work and it includes criticism of the audience’s attitude. It is declaimed in long lines of ’anapestic tetrameters’. Aristophanes himself refers to the parabasis proper only as ’anapests’. • : Sometimes known as ’a choker’, it comprises a few short lines appended to the parabasis proper as a kind of rapid patter (it has been suggested that some of the effects achieved in a pnigos can be heard in "The Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare Song", in act 2 of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Iolanthe). • : These are symmetrical scenes that mirror each other in meter and number of lines. They form part of the first parabasis and they often comprise the entire second parabasis. They are characterized by the following elements: • strophe or ode: These are lyrics in a variety of meters, sung by the Chorus in the first parabasis as an invocation to the gods and as a comic interlude in the second parabasis. • epirrhema: These are usually long lines of trochaic tetrameters. Broadly political in their significance, they were probably spoken by the leader of the Chorus in character. • antistrophe or antode: These are songs that mirror the strophe/ode in meter, length and function. • antepirrhema. This is another declaimed passage and it mirrors the epirrhema in meter, length and function. The Wasps is thought to offer the best example of a conventional approach and the elements of a parabasis can be identified and located in that play as follows. Textual corruption is probably the reason for the absence of the antistrophe in the second parabasis.
The structural elements of a typical Aristophanic plot can be summarized as follows: • - an introductory scene with a dialogue and/or soliloquy addressed to the audience, expressed in iambic trimeter and explaining the situation that is to be resolved in the play; • - the arrival of the chorus, dancing and singing, sometimes followed by a choreographed skirmish with one or more actors, often expressed in tetrameters; • - verses through which the Chorus addresses the audience directly, firstly in the middle of the play and again near the end (see the section below Parabasis); • - a formal debate that decides the outcome of the play, typically in anapestic tetrameter, though iambs are sometimes used to delineate inferior arguments; • - passages featuring songs and declaimed verses in tetrameters, arranged symmetrically in two sections such that each half resembles the other in meter and line length; the agon and parabasis can be considered specific instances of symmetrical scenes; • - sections of dialogue in iambic trimeter, often in a succession of scenes featuring minor characters towards the end of a play; • (’strophes’/’antistrophes’ or ’odes’/’antodes’) often in symmetrical pairs where each half has the same meter and number of lines as the other, used as transitions between other structural elements, or between scenes while actors change costume, and often commenting on the action; • - the departure of the Chorus and the actors, in song and dance celebrating the hero’s victory and sometimes celebrating a symbolic marriage. The rules of competition did not prevent a playwright arranging and adjusting these elements to suit his particular needs. In The Acharnians, for example, there is no formal agon whereas in The Clouds there are two agons.
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Elements in The Wasps kommation parabasis proper pnigos strophe epirrhema antistrophe antepirrhema 1st parabasis lines 1009-14  lines 1015-50 lines 1051-59 lines 1060-70 lines 1071-90 lines 1091-1101 lines 1102-1121 2nd parabasis ------lines 1265-74  lines 1275-83 missing lines 1284-91
However, there are several variations from the ideal even within the early plays. For example, the second parabasis in The Clouds includes a kommation but it lacks strophe, antistrophe and antepirrhema (The Clouds lines 1113-30). The second parabasis in The Acharnians lines 971-99  can be considered a hybrid parabasis/song (i.e. the declaimed sections are merely continuations of the strophe and antistrophe)  and, unlike the typical parabasis, it seems to comment on actions that occur on stage during the address. An understanding of Old Comedy conventions such as the parabasis is necessary for a proper understanding of Aristophanes’ plays; on the other hand, a sensitive appreciation of the plays is necessary for a proper understanding of the conventions.
Influence and legacy
Aristophanes, the master of Old Comedy, and Menander, the master of New Comedy, here depicted in a push-me-pull-you form that might or might not have amused them both.
The tragic dramatists, Sophocles and Euripides, died near the end of the Peloponnesian War and the art of tragedy thereafter ceased to develop, yet comedy did continue to develop after the defeat of Athens and it is possible that it did so because, in Aristophanes, it had a master craftsman who lived long enough to help usher it into a new age. Aristophanes seems to have had some appreciation of his formative role in the development of comedy, as indicated by his comment in Clouds that his audience would be judged by other times according to its reception of his plays. Clouds was awarded third (i.e. last) place after its original performance and the text that has come down to the modern age was a subsequent draft that Aristophanes intended to be read rather than acted. The circulation of his plays in manuscript extended their influence beyond the original audience, over whom in fact they seem to have had no practical influence at all. The plays did not affect the career of Cleon, they failed to persuade the Athenians to pursue an honourable peace with Sparta and they were not instrumental in the trial and execution of Socrates, whose death probably resulted from public animosity towards the philosopher’s disgraced associates (such as Alcibiades), exacerbated of course by his own intransigence during the trial. The plays, in manuscript form, have been put to some surprising uses - as indicated earlier, they were used in the study of rhetoric on the recommendation of Quintilian and by students of the Attic dialect in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries AD. It is possible that Plato sent copies of the plays to Dionysius of Syracuse so that he might learn about Athenian life and government. Latin translations of the plays by Andreas Divus (Venice 1528) were circulated widely throughout Europe in the Rennaissance and these were soon followed by translations and adaptations in modern languages. Racine, for example, drew Les Plaideurs (1668) from The Wasps. Goethe (who turned to Aristophanes for a warmer and more vivid form of comedy than he could derive from readings of Terence and Plautus) adapted a short play Die Vogel from The Birds for performance in Weimar. Aristophanes has appealed to both conservatives and radicals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Anatoly Lunacharsky, first Commissar of Enlightenment
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for the USSR in 1917, declared that the ancient dramatist would have a permanent place in proletarian theatre and yet Prussian intellectuals interpreted Aristophanes as a satirical opponent of social reform.. The avantgardist stage-director Karolos Koun directed a version of The Birds under the Acroplis in 1959 that established a trend in modern Greek history of breaking taboos through the voice of Aristophanes. The plays have a significance that goes beyond their artistic function, as historical documents that open the window on life and politics in classical Athens, in which respect they are perhaps as important as the writings of Thucydides. The artistic influence of the plays is immeasurable. They have contributed to the history of European theatre and that history in turn shapes our understanding of the plays. Thus for example the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan can give us insights into Aristophanes’ plays and similarly the plays can give us insights into the operettas. Listed below is a random and very tiny sample of works influenced (more or less) by Aristophanes.
"Agrotikes Ekdoseis" during the 1990s and republished over the years by other companies. The plot was written by Tasos Apostolidis and the sketches were of George Akokalidis. The stories feature either Aristophanes narrating them, directing the play, or even as a character inside one of his stories.
In electronic media
• The Wasps, radio play adapted by David Pountney, music by Vaughan Williams, recorded 26-28 July 2005, Albert Halls, Bolten, in association with BBC, under Halle label; • Acropolis Now is a comedy radio show for the BBC set in Ancient Greece. It features Aristophanes, Socrates and many other famous Greeks. (Not to be confused with the Australian sitcom of the same name.) • Aristophanes Against the World was a radio play by Martyn Wade and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Loosely based on several of his plays, it featured Clive Merrison as Aristophanes. • In The Odd Couple, Oscar and Felix are on Password, and when the password is bird, Felix’s clue is Aristophanes because of his play The Birds. After failing to guess it, Oscar says that the clue is ridiculous, and then when it’s Oscar’s turn to give the clue on the team’s next shot, the password is ridiculous and Oscar’s clue is Aristophanes, to which Felix instantly responds, "Ridiculous!" • Aristophanes was also featured in "The Scorpion King 2: Rise of a Warrior" as a main character.
• 1909: Wasps, original Greek, Cambridge University undergraduate production, music by Vaughan Williams; • 2004, July-October: The Frogs (musical), adapted by Nathan Lane, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, performed at The Vivian Beaumont Theatre Broadway; • 1962-2006: various plays by students and staff, , in the original Greek : Frogs 1962,1971,1988; Thesmophoriazusae 1965, 1974, 1985; Acharnians 1968, 1992, 2004; Clouds 1977, 1990; Birds 1982, 2000; Ecclesiazusae 2006; Peace 1970; Wasps 1981 • 2002: Lysistrata, adapted by Robert Brustein, music by Galt McDermot, performed by American Repertory Theatre, Boston U.S.A.; • 2008, May-June: Frogs, adapted by David Greenspan, music by Thomas Cabaniss, performed by Classic Stage Company, New York, U.S.A.
Most of these are traditionally referred to by abbreviations of their Latin titles; Latin remains a customary language of scholarship in classical studies. • The Acharnians (Ἀχαρνεῖς Acharneis; Attic Ἀχαρνῆς; Latin: Acharnenses) (425 BC) • The Knights (Ἱππεῖς Hippeis; Attic Ἱππῆς; Latin: Equites) (424 BC) • The Clouds (Νεφέλαι Nephelai; Latin: Nubes) (original 423 BC, uncompleted revised version from 419 BC – 416 BC survives) • The Wasps (Σφήκες Sphekes; Latin: Vespae) (422 BC) • Peace (Εἰρήνη Eirene; Latin: Pax) (first version, 421 BC) • The Birds (Ὄρνιθες Ornithes; Latin: Aves) (414 BC) • Lysistrata (Λυσιστράτη) (411 BC) • Thesmophoriazusae or The Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria (Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι (first version, c. 411 BC) • The Frogs (Βάτραχοι Batrachoi; Latin: Ranae) (405 BC)
• The romantic poet, Percy Shelley, wrote a comic, lyrical drama (Swellfoot the Tyrrant) in imitation of Aristophanes’ play The Frogs after he was reminded of the Chorus in that play by a herd of pigs passing to market under the window of his lodgings in San Giuliano, Italy. • Aristophanes (particularly in reference to The Clouds) is mentioned frequently by the character Menedemos in the Hellenic Traders series of novels by H N Turteltaub. • A liberal version of the comedies have been published in comic book format, initially by
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• Ecclesiazusae or The Assemblywomen; (Ἐκκλησιάζουσαι) (c. 392 BC) • Wealth (Πλοῦτος; Latin Plutus) (second version, 388 BC)
• Asteroid 2934 Aristophanes, named after the dramatist • Hubert Parry wrote music for The Birds
Datable non-surviving (lost) plays
The standard modern edition of the fragments is KasselAustin, Poetae Comici Graeci III.2; Kock-numbers are now outdated and should not be used. • Banqueters (427 BC) • Babylonians (426 BC) • Farmers (424 BC) • Merchant Ships (423 BC) • Clouds (first version) (423 BC) • Proagon (422 BC) • Amphiaraos (414 BC) • Plutus (Wealth, first version, 408 BC) • Gerytades (uncertain, probably 407 BC) • Kokalos (387 BC) • Aiolosikon (second version, 386 BC)
    The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Books 1964, page 9. Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds Alan Sommerstein, Penguin Books 1973, page 9 Aristophanes: Clouds K.J.Dover (ed), Oxford University Press 1970, Intro. page X. Aristophanes in Performance 421 BC-AD 2007:Peace, Birds and Frogs Edith Hall and Amanda Wrigley, Legenda (Oxford) 2007, page 1 Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol. 1 The Birds and Other plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 26 The Apology translated by Benjamin Jowett, , section4 Apology, Greek text, edited J Burnet,  section 19c Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds Alan Sommerstein, Penguin Books 1973, p16 Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Knights ln 516 Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, page 21 Greek Comedy and Ideology David Konstan, Oxford University Press US 1995, page 6 Aristophanes: The Clouds K.J.Dover, Oxford University Press 1970, Intro. page XIV Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts,Clouds 520-25 Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts,Clouds 560-62 Wasps 1536-7 Wikisource original Greek , Clouds 545-48, Peace 739-58 The Birds and Other Plays by Aristophanes David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 2003, page 9 Greek Society Antony Andrewes, Pelican Books, 1981, pages 247-48 Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A.H. Sommerstein (ed), Penguin Books 1975, page9, footnote Aristophanes:The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett (ed), Penguin Classics 1964, page 26 Aristophanes:The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett (ed), Penguin Classics 1964, page 25 Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, The Knights lines 911-25
     
Undated non-surviving (lost) plays
Aiolosikon (first version) Anagyros Frying-Pan Men Daidalos Danaids Centaur Heroes Lemnian Women Old Age Peace (second version) Phoenician Women Polyidos Seasons Storks Telemessians Triphales Thesmophoriazusae (Women at the Thesmophoria Festival, second version) • Women in Tents • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
   
Attributed (doubtful, possibly by Archippos)
• • • • Dionysos Shipwrecked Islands Niobos"" Poetry
  
• Agathon • Theatre of ancient Greece • Greek literature
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 Wasps 1075-1101 Wikisource original Greek , Knights 565-576  Acharnians Wikisource Greek text  692-700  Wasps 669-677 Wikisource original Greek ; Knights 438-39, 833-35, 864-67; Peace 1210-64; Birds 1410-65  The Acharnians, Wikisource lines 910-58  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A.H.Sommerstein (ed), Penguin Books 1975, pp 13-14  Aristophanes: The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett (ed), Penguin Classics 1964, page 12  ’Greek Drama’ P.Levi in The Oxford History of the Classical World J.Boardman, J.Griffin, O.Murray (eds), Oxford University Press 1986, page 177  The Acharnians, Wikisource lines 515-17  The Birds and Other Plays by Aristophanes David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 34  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, The Clouds lns 528-32  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds Alan Sommerstein (ed), Penguin Classics 1975, page 9  Wasps Wikisource original Greek  lines 1265-91  Aristophanes:Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page 299  Acharnians Wikisource original Greek  377-82  Aristophanes: The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett (ed), Penguin Books 1964, page 9  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Clouds 540-45, Peace 767-74  The Acharnians Wikisource original Greek  lns 652-54  Knights 512-14  Clouds 530-33  Clouds Peter Meineck (translator) and Ian Storey (Introduction), Hackett Publishing 2000, page 15  IG II2 2325. 58  Aristophanes, testimonium 1, lines 54-56, in KasselAustin, Poetae Comici Graeci vol. III.2 (Berlin 1984), p. 4.  Aristophanes, Κώκαλος, testimonium iii, in KasselAustin, Poetae Comici Graeci vol. III.2 (Berlin 1984), p. 201.  IG II2 2318. 196  IG II2 2325. 140  Eubulus, testimonium 4, in Kassel-Austin, Poetae Comici Graeci vol. V (Berlin 1986), p. 188.  Clouds Peter Meineck (translator) and Ian Storey (Introduction), Hackett Publishing 2000, page XVIII  IG II2 2325. 143 (just after Anaxandrides and just before Eubulus)
 Aristophanes:Clouds K.J.Dover (ed), Oxford University Press 1970, Intro. page IX note 1.  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds Alan Sommerstein (ed), Penguin Books 1973, page10  The Birds and Other Plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page10  The Symposium original Greek text: section 189b  The Symposium (English translation) Benjamin Jowett  (scroll half way down).  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Knights ln 507-550  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J. Dover (ed), Oxford University Press 1970, Introduction page IX  Aristophanes: The Birds and Other Plays D. Barrett and A. Sommerstein (eds),Penguin Classics 2003, page 7  Wikisource, Plato’s Apology, John Burnet (ed) section 32a  Plato’s Apology, Benjamin Jowett (trans) (section23).  ^ The Orator’s Training Quintilian 10.1.65-6, cited in The Birds and Other Plays by Aristophanes David Barrett and Alan Sommersteinn (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 15  The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett (ed), Penguin Classics 1964, pages 151-52  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Clouds lns 553-54  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Knights lns 519-40  The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, page 30  The Birds and Other Plays by Aristophanes David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 9  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page 21  Birds and Other Plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, pages 7-8  Birds and Other Plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 27; Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page 16  Original Greek, Wikisource The Acharnians  lines 1-3  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page17  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page13; Aristophanes:Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds Alan Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 1973, page 37  L.P.E. Parker, The Songs of Aristophanes, Oxford, 1997, p. 36
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 Birds and Other Plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 27  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 2, F.W.Hall and W.M.Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Frogs lns 1032-38  Birds and Other Plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 27  Greek Drama, Peter Levi, in The Oxford History of the Classical World edited by J. Boardman, J. Griffin and O. Murray, Oxford University Press 1986, page 175  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page 27  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell, Oxford University Press 1978, lines 1265-74: Wikisource:   Birds and Other Plays David Barrett and Alan Sommerstein (eds), Penguin Classics 2003, page 21  The Acharnians Wikisource original Greek  lns 729-835  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell, Oxford University Press 1978, page 17  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Knights lns 1347-48;  The Frogs lines 902-4  The Poetics 1449a11, Wikisource English translation  section IV  Clouds translated by Peter Meineck with introduction by Ian Storey, Hackett Publishing 2000, page IX  ibid page XIX  The Poetics 1448b38 - 1449b, Wikisource English translation section V  Aristophanis Comoediae Tomus 1, F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart (eds), Oxford Classical Texts, Knights ln 516  Aristophanes:The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, page 12  Nichomachean Ethics 1128a 21-24  Aristophanes D. Slavitt and P. Bovie (eds), University of Pennsylvania Press 1999, page XIV  Clouds translated by P. Meineck with introduction by I. Storey, Hackett Publishing 2000, page VIII  Comparison of Aristophanes and Menander  Clouds translated by P.Meineck with introduction by I.Storey, Hackett Publishing 2000, page VII  Clouds P.Meineck (translator) and I.Storey (Introduction), Hackett Publishing 2000, page VIII  Clouds P.Meineck (translator) and I.Storey (Introduction), Hackett Publishing 2000, page XIX  Greek Society Antony Andrewes, Pelican Books 1981, page 247  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A.Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 1975, page 18  Frogs Wikisource English translation ; original Greek text  lines 12-18
 Greek Society Antony Andrewes, Pelican Books 1981, page 248  Aristophanes: The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, page 27  Aristophanes:Lysistrata, The Acharnians, Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 1975, page 17  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 1975, page 31  Knights lines 230-33  Peace 821-23  The Acharnians Wikisource original Greek lines 1224-25  "Greek Drama" Peter Levi in The Oxford History of the Classical World J.Boardman, J. Griffin and O. Murray (eds), Oxford University Press 1986, page 176  Clouds lines 528-33  Acharnians lines 646-51  Knights lines 551-64 and 581-594  Knights lines 1321-38  e.g. Peace lines 551-97  Frogs lines 686-705  e.g. Knights lines 997-1095; Birds lines 959-91  e.g. Clouds lines 263-66, Frogs lines 891-94  Acharnians lines 1097-1142 lines  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J. Dover (ed), Oxford University Press 1970, pages XIII-XIV  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J. Dover, Oxford University Press 1970, page XV  "Greek Drama" Peter Levi in The Oxford History of the Classical World, Oxford University Press 1986, page 175  The Acharnians Wikisource original Greek lines 1164-73   Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics, pages 243-4, notes 69,80,81  Aristophanes: The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, pages 14-15  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics, page 23  The Acharnians lines 280-301 Wikisource original Greek ; Knights lines 247-72; Wasps lines 452-460 Wikisource original Greek   Aristophanes: The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, page 9  Aristophanes: Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page 14-15  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics, page 29  Frogs lines 45-47  Aristophanes: Wasps Douglas MacDowell, Oxford University Press 1978, page 7  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics, pages 33-34  Aristophanes’ Old-and-new Comedy Kenneth J.Reckford, UNC Press 1987, page 15
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 Aristophanes: The Frogs and Other Plays David Barrett, Penguin Classics 1964, pages 13-14  Aristophanes D. Slavitt and P. Bovie (eds), University of Pennsylvania Press 1999, page XIII  Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy M.S.Silk, Oxford University Press 2002, page 418  Clouds Peter Meineck (translator) and Ian Storey (Introduction), Hackett Publishing 2000, page VIII  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J.Dover, Oxford University Press 1970, page XIII  Aristophanes: Wasps Douglas MacDowell, Oxford University Press 1978, page 12  Aristophanes: The Frogs and other Plays David Barrett (ed), Penguin Classics 1964, page 17  Aristophanes:Wasps D.MacDowell (ed.), Oxford University Press 1971, page 207 note 546-630  Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 1975, page 27  Aristophanes: Wasps Dougles MacDowell, Oxford University Press 1978, page 261  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, page 27  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J. Dover (ed), Oxford University Press 1970, page 126  Aristophanes:Wasps Douglas M.MacDowell, Oxford University Press 1978, note 1283 page 298  Aristophanes Wasps Douglas MacDowell (ed), Oxford University Press 1978, pages 298-99  Comedy E.Handley in ’The Cambridge History of Classical Literature I’ P.Easterling, R. MacGregor Walker Knox, E.Kenney (eds), page 360  "Greek Drama" Peter Levi, in The Oxford History of the Classical World J. Boardman, J. Griffin and O. Murray (eds), Oxford University Press 1986, page 176  Clouds lines 560-62  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J.Dover, Oxford University Press 1970, pages XXIX-XXX  Aristophanes: Clouds K.J. Dover, Oxford University Press 1970, pages XIV-XV  Plato’s Apology, Benjamin Jowett (trans), Wikisource copy: (section 33)  Clouds Peter Meineck (translator) and Ian Storey (Introduction), Hackett Publishing 2000, page X  Aristophanes in Performance 421 BC-AD 2007:Peace, Birds and Frogs Edith Hall and Amanda Wrigley, Legenda (Oxford) 2007, pages 9-12  Politics and Aristophanes: watchword Caution! by Gonda Van Steen in ’The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre’ Marianne McDonald and J.Michael Walton (eds) , Cambridge University Press 2007, page 109  e.g. Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Acharnians, The Clouds A. Sommerstein, Penguin Classics 1975, page 37
 "W.S. Gilbert: A Mid-Victorian Aristophanes" in W.S. Gilbert: A Century of Scholarship and Commentary, John Bush Jones (ed), New York University Press 1970  Note on Oedipus Tyrannus by Mrs Shelley, quoted in Shelley: Poetical Works Thomas Hutchinson (ed), Oxford University Press 1970, page 410
• Henderson, Jeffrey The Maculate Muse: Obscene Language in Attic Comedy 1991 Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-506685-5 • reviewed by W.J. Slater, Phoenix, Vol. 30, No. 3 (Autumn, 1976), pp. 291-293 doi:10.2307/ 1087300 • Platter, Charles. Aristophanes and the Carnival of Genres (Arethusa Books). Baltimore, MD; London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006 (hardcover, ISBN 0-8018-8527-2). • Lee, Jae Num. "Scatology in Continental Satirical Writings from Aristophanes to Rabelais" and "English Scatological Writings from Skelton to Pope." Swift and Scatological Satire. Albuquerque: U of New Mexico P, 1971. 7-22; 23-53. • Aristophanes and the Comic Hero by Cedric H. Whitman Author(s) of Review: H. Lloyd Stow The American Journal of Philology, Vol. 87, No. 1 (Jan., 1966), pp. 111–113 • G. M. Sifakis The Structure of Aristophanic Comedy The Journal of Hellenic Studies, Vol. 112, 1992 (1992), pp. 123–142 doi:10.2307/632156
• The Eleven Comedies (in translation) at eBooks @ Adelaide • Aristophanes Texts Biography and texts of Aristophanes • The texts of Aristophanes’ plays (in translation) • Works by Aristophanes at Project Gutenberg • Contribution to the English Language • List of films based on Aristophanes plays • Today’s Audiences Just Don’t Get Me Satirical article written "by" Aristophanes at The Onion • Life of Aristophanes • SORGLL: Aristophanes, Birds 227-62; read by Stephen Daitz Persondata NAME ALTERNATIVE NAMES SHORT DESCRIPTION Athenian comic dramatist Aristophanes
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DATE OF BIRTH PLACE OF BIRTH circa 446 BC DATE OF DEATH PLACE OF DEATH circa 388 BC