Aristophanes

Enlarge picture
Sketch of Aristophanes


Aristophanes, son of Philippus (Greek: Ἀριστοφάνης, IPA: [æ:ɹɪs:tɒf:æ:niːz], ca. 456 BC – ca. 386 BC) was a Greek Old Comic dramatist. He is also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy. [1]

Biography

The place and exact date of his birth are unknown, but he was around thirty in the 420s when he achieved sudden brilliant success in the Theater of Dionysus with his Banqueters. He lived in the deme of Kudathenaion (the same as that of the leading Athenian statesman Cleon) which implies he was from a relatively wealthy family and, accordingly, well educated. He is famous for writing comedies such as The Birds for the two Athenian dramatic festivals: the City Dionysia and the Lenea. He wrote forty plays, eleven of which survive; his plays are the only surviving complete examples of Old Attic Comedy, although extensive fragments of the work of his rough contemporaries Cratinus and Eupolis survive. Many of Aristophanes' plays were political, and often satirized well-known citizens of Athens and their conduct in the Peloponnesian War and after. Hints in the text of his plays, supported by ancient scholars, suggest that he was prosecuted several times by Cleon for defaming Athens in the presence of foreigners and the like; how much truth there is to this is impossible to say. The Frogs was given the unprecedented honor of a second performance. According to a later biographer, he was also awarded a civic crown for the play.

According to Vitruvius (vii., introduction) Aristophanes first came to public attention as the 7th judge in a literature contest. His placement as a judge was due to his enthusiasm for reading in the library. In the contest a group of poets recite and are to be awarded according to the audiences pleasure with the recital. Aristophanes disagreed with the other judges and audience. He correctly pointed out that the poet who least pleased the audience was the only true poet and the others had recited the works of others.

Aristophanes was probably victorious at least once at the City Dionysia, with Babylonians in 426 (IG II2 2325. 58), and at least three times at the Lenaia, with Acharnians in 425, The Knights in 424, and Frogs in 405. His sons Araros, Philippus, and Nicostratus were also comic poets: Araros is said to have been heavily involved in the production of Wealth II in 388 (test. 1. 54–6) and to have been responsible for the posthumous performances of Aeolosicon II and Cocalus (Cocalus test. iii), with which he seems to have taken the prize at the City Dionysia in 387 (IG II2 2318. 196), while Philippus was twice victorious at the Lenaia (IG II2 2325. 140) and apparently produced some of Eubulus’ comedies (Eub. test. 4). (Aristophanes’ third son is sometimes said to have been called not Nicostratus but Philetaerus, and a man by that name appears in the catalogue of Lenaia victors with two victories, the first probably in the late 370s, at IG II2 2325. 143 (just after Anaxandrides and just before Eubulus).)

Aristophanes appears as a character in Plato's Symposium, in which he offers a humorous mythical account of the origin of Love. Plato's text was produced a generation after the events it portrays and is a patent apologetic attempt to show that Socrates and Aristophanes were not enemies, supporting the belief that in his work The Clouds (original production 423 BC), he was ridiculing the public for their absurd view of Socrates. The Symposium is therefore best treated as an early chapter in the history of the reception of Aristophanes and his poetry rather than as a description of anything approaching a historical event.

Of the surviving plays, The Clouds was a disastrous production resulting in a humiliating and long-remembered third place (cf. the parabasis of the revised (preserved) version of the play, and the parabasis of the following year's The Wasps). The play, which satirizes the sophistic learning en vogue among the aristocracy at the time, placed poorly at the City Dionysia. Socrates was the principal target and emerges as a typical Sophist; in Plato's Apology at 18d, the character of Socrates suggests that it was the foundation of those charges which led to Socrates' conviction. Yet Aristophanes depicts Socrates poorly, his intention is to humiliate the audience for believing that Socrates had such a ludicrous persona. Lysistrata was written during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta and argues not so much for pacifism as for the idea that the states ought not be fighting one another at this point but combining to rule Greece. In the play, this is accomplished when the women of the two states show off their bodies and deprive their husbands of sex until they stop fighting. Lysistrata was later illustrated at length by Pablo Picasso and also by Aubrey Beardsley.

Works

Surviving plays

Non-surviving plays

The standard modern edition of the fragments is Kassel-Austin, Poetae Comici Graeci III.2; Kock-numbers are now outdated and should not be used.

Undated non-surviving plays

  • Aiolosikon (first version)
  • Anagyros
  • Broilers
  • Daidalos
  • Danaids
  • Dionysos Shipwrecked
  • Centaur
  • Niobos
  • Heroes
  • Islands
  • Lemnian Women
  • Old Age
  • Peace (second version)
  • Phoenician Women
  • Poetry
  • Polyidos
  • Seasons
  • Storks
  • Telemessians
  • Triphales
  • Thesmophoriazusae (The Festival Women, second version)
  • Women Encamping

Aristophanes in fiction

  • Acropolis Now (radio) - this 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)

See also

Further reading

*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

External links



Persondata
NAMEAristophanes
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTIONAthenian comic dramatist
DATE OF BIRTHcirca 446 BC
PLACE OF BIRTH
DATE OF DEATHcirca 388 BC
PLACE OF DEATH
Aristophanes of Byzantium

Born ca. 257 BC
Byzantium, Greece
Died ca. 185 BC/180 BC
Alexandria, Greece


..... Click the link for more information.
Greek}}} 
Writing system: Greek alphabet 
Official status
Official language of:  Greece
 Cyprus
 European Union
recognised as minority language in parts of:
 European Union
 Italy
 Turkey
Regulated by:
..... Click the link for more information.
International Phonetic Alphabet

Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

The International
Phonetic Alphabet
History
Nonstandard symbols
Extended IPA
Naming conventions
IPA for English The
..... Click the link for more information.
5th century BC - 4th century BC
480s BC  470s BC  460s BC - 450s BC - 440s BC  430s BC  420s BC 
459 BC 458 BC 457 BC - 456 BC - 455 BC 454 BC 453 BC

Politics
State leaders - Sovereign states

..... Click the link for more information.
4th century BC - 3rd century BC
410s BC  400s BC  390s BC - 380s BC - 370s BC  360s BC  350s BC 
389 BC 388 BC 387 BC - 386 BC - 385 BC 384 BC 383 BC

Politics
State leaders - Sovereign states

..... Click the link for more information.
The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. 750 BC[1] (the archaic period) to 146 BC (the Roman conquest). It is generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western Civilization.
..... Click the link for more information.
Theatre of Dionysus was a major open air theatre in ancient Greece, built at the foot of the Athenian Acropolis and forming part of the temenos of "Dionysus Eleuthereus". Dedicated to Dionysus, the god of plays and wine (among other things), the theatre could seat as many as 17,000
..... Click the link for more information.
deme (plural demoi) was a subdivision of Attica, the region of Greece surrounding Athens. Demoi as simple subdivisions of land in the countryside seem to have existed in the 6th century BC and earlier, but did not acquire particular significance until the reforms of
..... Click the link for more information.
Cleon (Greek: Κλέων) (d. 422 BC), Athenian Strategos during the Peloponnesian War, was the son of Cleaenetus, from whom he inherited a lucrative tanning business.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Birds

Sketch of Aristophanes
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus Birds
Characters Euelpides
Pisthetaerus
Epops
Trochilus
Phoenicopterus
Heralds
Priest
Poet
Prophet
Meton
Commissioner
Dealer in Decrees
Iris
..... Click the link for more information.
The Dionysia was a large religious festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central event of which was the performance of tragedies and comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Lenaia was a festival with a dramatic competition but one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece.

The Lenaia took place (in Athens) in the month of Gamelion, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysus Lenaius.
..... Click the link for more information.
Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of theatrical plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece. Along with tragedy, it makes up the greater portion of ancient Greek theatre, and its descendant traditions.
..... Click the link for more information.
Cratinus (Greek Κρᾰτῖνος, ca. 520 BC- after 423 BC), Athenian comic poet.

Cratinus was victorious six times at the City Dionysia, first probably in the mid- to late 450s BCE (IG II2 2325.
..... Click the link for more information.
Eupolis (ca. 446 BC-411 BC) was an Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, that flourished in the time of the Peloponnesian War.

Nothing whatever is known of his personal history.
..... Click the link for more information.
Politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions. Although the term is generally applied to behavior within civil governments, politics is observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious
..... Click the link for more information.
Satire (from Latin satura, not from the Greek mythological figure satyr[1]) is a literary genre, chiefly literary and dramatic, in which human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision,
..... Click the link for more information.
Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an Ancient Greek military conflict, fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League, led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases.
..... Click the link for more information.
Frogs (Βάτραχοι (Bátrachoi)) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed at the Lenaea, one of the Festivals of Dionysus, in 405 BC.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Acharnians

Sketch of Aristophanes
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus Acharnian charcoal burners
Characters Dicaeopolis
herald
Amphitheus
ambassadors
Pseudartabas
Theorus
daughter of Dicaeopolis
slave of Euripides
Euripides
..... Click the link for more information.
The Knights

Sketch of Aristophanes
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus knights
Characters Demosthenes
Nicias
Agoracritus (Sausage Seller)
Cleon
Demos

Setting Pnyx at Athens

Aristophanes' satirical play The Knights
..... Click the link for more information.
Frogs (Βάτραχοι (Bátrachoi)) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed at the Lenaea, one of the Festivals of Dionysus, in 405 BC.
..... Click the link for more information.
PLATO was one of the first generalized Computer assisted instruction systems, originally built by the University of Illinois and later taken over by Control Data Corporation (CDC), who provided the machines it ran on.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Symposium is a philosophical dialogue written by Plato sometime after 385 BC. It is a discussion on the nature of love, taking the form of a series of speeches, both satirical and serious, given by a group of men at a symposium
..... Click the link for more information.
Love is an intense feeling of affection related to a sense of strong loyalty or profound oneness.[] The meaning of love varies relative to context.
..... Click the link for more information.
The Clouds

statue of Socrates
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus clouds
Characters Strepsiades
Phidippides
servant of Strepsiades
disciples of Socrates
Socrates
Just Discourse
Unjust Discourse
Pasias
Amynias
..... Click the link for more information.
The Clouds

statue of Socrates
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus clouds
Characters Strepsiades
Phidippides
servant of Strepsiades
disciples of Socrates
Socrates
Just Discourse
Unjust Discourse
Pasias
Amynias
..... Click the link for more information.
In Greek comedy, the parabasis (plural parabases) is a point in the play when all of the actors leave the stage and the chorus is left to address the audience directly. The chorus partially or completely abandons its dramatic role to talk to the audience on a topic completely
..... Click the link for more information.
The Wasps

Sketch of Aristophanes
Written by Aristophanes
Chorus wasps (old men)
Characters Philocleon (Procleon)
Bdelycleon (Anticleon)
Sosias
Xanthias
boys
dogs
Chaerephon
Dardanis (flute girl)
witnesses (cooking utensils)
..... Click the link for more information.
SOCRATES is the European Community action programme in the field of education. The second phase of the programme covers the period January 1 2000 to December 31 2006. It draws on the experiences of the first phase (1995-1999) building on the successful aspects of the programme,
..... Click the link for more information.


This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. The text was not checked or edited by anyone on our staff. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.