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Aristophanes


Aristophanes. Musei Capitolini, Roma (Italy). Photo Jona Lendering.
Aristophanes (Musei Capitolini, Roma)
Aristophanes (c.445-c.380): Athenian poet, author of many comedies, of which eleven survive.

The comedies of the Athenian playwright Aristophanes are a bit like our cabaret, full of jokes about actuality and politicians (especially Cleon), and parodies of contemporary literature (Euripides and Herodotus are among Aristophanes' victims). The jokes are not very subtle. Usually, someone comes up with a crazy plan (a private peace treaty, curing the blindness of the god of wealth...), and after some complications there is a happy ending with a nice dinner.

Aristophanes' most famous play is the Lysistrata, in which the women of Greece decide not to have sex with their husbands, unless they end the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. In another play, The Clouds, the philosopher Socrates is ridiculed. In The Frogs, Euripides and Aeschylus are seen debating who is the better poet. It is the world's oldest piece of literary criticism.

His other plays are the

  • Acharnians
  • Knights
  • Wasps
  • Peace (celebrating the Peace of Nicias)
  • Birds
  • Thesmophoriazousae
  • Ecclesiazusae (women taking charge of Athenian politics)
  • Wealth.
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This brief article has been written to offer background information
to the real articles on Livius.Org. One day, this webpage will be
improved. A list of completed articles can be found here.
Jona Lendering for 
Livius.Org, 2005
Revision: 31 May 2007
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