Ancient Greek Comedy: Genre - Texts - Reception: Essays in Honour of Angus M. Bowie 3110645092, 9783110645095

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Ancient Greek Comedy: Genre - Texts - Reception: Essays in Honour of Angus M. Bowie
 3110645092, 9783110645095

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Ancient Greek Comedy

Trends in Classics – Supplementary Volumes

Edited by Franco Montanari and Antonios Rengakos Associate Editors Stavros Frangoulidis · Fausto Montana · Lara Pagani Serena Perrone · Evina Sistakou · Christos Tsagalis Scientific Committee Alberto Bernabé · Margarethe Billerbeck Claude Calame · Jonas Grethlein · Philip R. Hardie Stephen J. Harrison · Stephen Hinds · Richard Hunter Christina Kraus · Giuseppe Mastromarco Gregory Nagy · Theodore D. Papanghelis Giusto Picone · Tim Whitmarsh Bernhard Zimmermann

Volume 101

Ancient Greek Comedy Genre – Texts – Reception Essays in Honour of Angus M. Bowie Edited by Almut Fries and Dimitrios Kanellakis

ISBN 978-3-11-064509-5 e-ISBN (PDF) 978-3-11-064626-9 e-ISBN (EPUB) 978-3-11-064522-4 ISSN 1868-4785 Library of Congress Control Number: 2020937746 Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at © 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston Editorial Office: Alessia Ferreccio and Katerina Zianna Logo: Christopher Schneider, Laufen Printing and binding: CPI books GmbH, Leck

Preface: A Tribute to Angus Morton Bowie The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires. – William Arthur Ward

Those who are lucky enough to have been taught by Angus Bowie, like the editors of this volume, would readily agree that he is a prime example of a ‘great teacher’. And yet he exceeds this designation, since he is also a world-leading scholar, a supportive colleague and a committed friend. Born in 1949, Bowie attended St Peter’s School, York, and subsequently read Classics at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. In the footsteps of his doctoral supervisor, Pat Easterling, Bowie developed his unique philological idiom, so appealing to young classicists and senior scholars alike. In all his work pithy expression, structural rigour and detailed textual criticism go hand in hand with interpretative insights of extraordinary literary sensitivity. Bowie’s thesis, The Poetic Dialect of Sappho and Alcaeus (1979, published in 1981), already showed that he could produce ‘very important work […] characterised by the flexibility of the method observed in dealing with diverse questions’.1 In 1977 he took up a position as Lecturer in Greek at the University of Liverpool, and in 1981 he moved to The Queen’s College, Oxford, where he stayed until his retirement in 2016, as Lobel Praelector in Classical Languages and Literature. In 1993 Bowie published a ground-breaking monograph, which established him as a leading scholar of Greek comedy: Aristophanes: Myth, Ritual and Comedy. Reading the extant plays of Aristophanes in the light of structural anthropology, Bowie showed once and for all that they have nothing of the loose and incidental structure of a revue. A review of the time predicted that ‘future studies of myth and ritual in Aristophanes and other poets of Old Comedy, will surely be indebted to Bowie’s important first steps’;2 yet the impact of the book (reprinted in 1994, 1995, 1996, 2005, and translated into Modern Greek in 1999) proved to be much wider. To the present day it remains a challenge to find an academic library, with a minimum coverage of Greek comedy, which does not host that work – a reward that very few books in the field have achieved after Kenneth Dover’s Aristophanic Comedy (1972).

 1 Liberman 1987, 167; the translation is our own. 2 Rosen 1994.

VI  Preface: A Tribute to Angus Morton Bowie In more recent years Bowie has turned to producing commentaries. Three of them have appeared in the Cambridge ‘Green and Yellow’ series: Herodotus: Histories VIII (2007), Homer: Odyssey XIII–XIV (2013) and, most recently, Homer: Iliad III (2019). Each of these commentaries stands out for ‘the care which Bowie has taken in order to maximize its usefulness for students’3 and for being ‘particularly strong and up to date in its synthesis of historical and literary observations. In this sense his work outshines earlier, unsatisfactory English commentaries’.4 ‘The bibliography is abundant and modern. The notes that accompany the commentary are exemplary. Bowie gives just the right amount of information, whether it is on the history of the word, or its usage, or background of a custom. Every so often he intersperses a prose summary of the text coming up, marvels of compression and lucidity.’5 Following the same principles, but on a larger scale, Bowie is currently preparing a commentary on Iliad XXI–XXIV for Lorenzo Valla/Mondadori. In addition to being an excellent scholar – for a full list of his publications see the bibliography on pp. 311–12 – Bowie has supported the Oxford academic community through various administrative roles: Senior Tutor (1996–2004) and Fellow Librarian (2010–2014) at The Queen’s College, Chairman of the Sub-Faculty of Classical Languages and Literature (2004–2007), Chairman of the Faculty of Classics (2011–2014), Assessor of the University of Oxford (1998–1999) and Chairman of the Boards of Study of the Department of Continuing Education for many years. He was Editor of the Journal of Hellenic Studies (2006–2011), and after that he took an active part in founding the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures (CMTC) at The Queen’s College and its accompanying online journal, Manuscript and Text Cultures. Above all, Bowie was passionately devoted to teaching and mentoring his students. In retirement he still runs some of the most popular seminars at Oxford, continues to teach Greek to aspiring teenage classicists at the annual JACT summer school at Bryanston and delivers lectures to academic and non-academic audiences across the UK and abroad. This non-retirement retirement, as Euripides would put it, and his persistent support for the younger generations show that he never ceased looking upon his discipline with youthful enthusiasm: adventurous and open-minded, affable and humble (he still calls his engagement with Ancient Near Eastern cultures ‘exercises’).

 3 Bostock 2015. 4 Bakker 2010. 5 Powell 2015.

Preface: A Tribute to Angus Morton Bowie  VII

For this ethos and his contributions to research and teaching we dedicate the present volume to our didaskalos and cordially wish him the best for the future. This Festschrift covers only one of the honorand’s research interests – we would have had to write an entire History of Greek Literature otherwise – but in that way it reveals the deep impact of his work. Stemming from a conference on Greek Comedy held at Oxford in May 2017 and including further invited submissions, the volume brings together former students and colleagues of Angus Bowie, personal friends and intellectual interlocutors, senior scholars and graduate students. Their contributions offer a variety of fresh approaches to the texts he studied and taught over so many years. Angus is one of those giants on whose shoulders we are grateful to stand. The Editors Oxford, December 2019

VIII  Preface: A Tribute to Angus Morton Bowie

Angus M. Bowie

Contents Preface  V List of Figures  XIII Texts and Abbreviations  XV Dimitrios Kanellakis and Almut Fries Introduction  1

Part I: Genre Ioannis M. Konstantakos The Characters of Doric Comedy  7 Michael Silk Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  29 Dimitrios Kanellakis Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes – And What About Oxymoron?  49 Heinz-Günther Nesselrath ‘Middle Comedy’: An Outdated Term or Still a Useful Notion?  69 Andreas Fountoulakis Glimpses of a Male World: Performing Masculinities in Menander  85

Part II: Texts and Contexts Francesco Morosi Fathers and Sons in Clouds and Wasps  111

X  Contents Eleni Avdoulou Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes  121 Alessandra Migliara Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  133 Hans Kopp Comic Euboulia: Deliberation, Free Speech, and the Language of Oligarchy in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata  151 Andreas Markantonatos Comic Pathways for Peace: Ritual Allegory and Choral Parabasis in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata  169 Armand D’Angour The Musical Frogs in Frogs  187 Natalia Tsoumpra The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  199 Edith Hall In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  217

Part III: Reception Almut Fries Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  239 Oliver Taplin, with an appendix by Federico Favi Comic Vases and the First Spread of Greek Comedy into Italy  253

Contents  XI

Nello Sidoti ‘Paratragic Burlesques’ and Reperformances of Tragedies in the Fourth Century BCE  267 Peter Swallow Translating and Editing Aristophanes in the Nineteenth Century: Thomas Mitchell and John Hookham Frere  287 List of Contributors  307 List of Publications by Angus M. Bowie  311 References  313 Index Locorum  345 Index Nominum et Rerum  353

List of Figures Fig. 1: Corinthian column-krater, ca. 600‒590 BCE (‘Dümmler krater’). Louvre, E 632. Drawing by Ferdinand Dümmler (Dümmler 1885, table D 1)  27 Fig. 2: Apulian bell-krater attributed to the Lecce painter, ca. 375‒350 BCE. NM88.2, Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney  27 Fig. 3: James Guckin as Chremylus and Carlos Forbes as Cario in Plutus, directed by Peggy Mecham for Once More Theatre, Philadelphia 2016. Photograph by Alexis Mayer  217 Fig. 4: The Charis Vase (‘The Milan Cake Eaters’). Apulian bell‐krater, 400–380 BCE. Milan, Museo Civico Archeologico, AO.9.284  256 Fig. 5: ‘The Bari Pipers’. Apulian calyx-krater, 365–350 BCE. Rome, Malaguzzi-Valeri 52. Photograph by Vincenzo Pirozzi  257 Fig. 6: Sicilian calyx-krater attributed to the Dirke Painter, ca. 380 BCE. Berlin, Antikensammlung F 3296. Photograph by Johannes Laurentius  271 Fig. 7: Apulian calyx-krater, ca. 340 BCE, close to the De Schultess Painter, Melbourne, Koumantakis Collection. Photograph by J.R. Green  279 Fig. 8: Apulian calyx-krater attributed to the Konnakis Painter, ca. 350 BCE. The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Inv. No. GR-4676 (B. 1743). Photograph by Svetlana Suetova  284

Texts and Abbreviations All quotations of Aristophanes are from Wilson’s OCT, unless otherwise indicated. Comic and tragic fragments are taken from R. Kassel/C. Austin, Poetae Comici Graeci (1983–2001) and B. Snell/R. Kannicht/S. Radt, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta (1986–2004). The translations are specified by the authors in the footnotes. The abbreviations are those of the OCD or of LSJ for authors and works not listed there. Journals are abbreviated according to L’Année Philologique (except for BMCR instead of BMCRev). Other abbreviations found in this volume, not listed in either OCD or LSJ, are: CAG

LCS PhV2 RVAp Supp. II

G. Heylbut (1892), Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca XX: Eustratios of Nicaea. Eustratii et Michaelis et anonyma in Ethica Nicomachea commentaria, Berlin. A.D. Trendall (1967), The Red-Figured Vases of Lucania, Campania and Sicily, 2 vols., Oxford. A.D. Trendall (1967), Phlyax Vases, 2nd edn., BICS Suppl. 19, London. A.D. Trendall/A. Cambitoglou (1991–1992), Second Supplement to the RedFigured Vases of Apulia, 2 vols., BICS Suppl. 60, London.

Dimitrios Kanellakis and Almut Fries


It seems that we stand at the threshold of a ‘golden age’ for the study of Greek Comedy, since the past decade has provided us with several foundational works which signal a renewal of research interest in this area of Classics, perhaps the most ‘methodical’ wave of such interest in the history of modern scholarship. In 2019 alone we saw the publication of the eagerly-awaited three-volume Blackwell Encyclopedia of Greek Comedy edited by Alan Sommerstein, the launching of the Bloomsbury Ancient Comedy Companions (with Aristophanes’ Peace, Terence’s Andria and Plautus’ Casina already on the market) and three new volumes in the rapidly expanding series Fragmenta Comica, produced under the aegis of the German academy project KomFrag (‘Kommentierung der Fragmente der griechischen Komödie’) at the University of Freiburg. While this series, running since 2014, is unlikely to replace the monumental Poetae Comici Graeci of Rudolf Kassel and Colin Austin (1983–2001) as the standard edition for the comic fragments, it is pioneering in that it provides both translations and interpretative commentaries, thus making ‘broken laughter’ a more accessible (and teachable) field for future generations. Graduate conferences such as the annual ‘Forgotten Theatre: Studies in Ancient Fragmentary Drama’, organised by the University of Turin from 2017 on, also prompt younger scholars to go in that direction. Other trends show that the renewed interest in Greek comedy is not only more ‘methodical’, but also more ‘holistic’. Recent and forthcoming publications are evidence that a number of previously neglected aspects are now receiving the attention they deserve. These include the mechanisms of humour (D. Sells, Parody, Politics, and the Populace in Greek Old Comedy, London 2018; D. Kanellakis, Aristophanes and the Poetics of Surprise, Berlin/Boston 2020; P. Swallow/E. Hall (eds.), Aristophanic Humour: Theory and Practice, London 2020), reception other than in modern performances and films (A. Peterson, Laughter on the Fringes: The Reception of Old Comedy in the Imperial Greek World, New York 2019; D. Asimakoulas, Rewriting Humour in Comic Books: Cultural Transfer and Translation of Aristophanic Adaptations, Cham 2019) and Menander (A. Heap, Behind the Mask: Character and Society in Menander, London 2019; A. Petrides, Menander, New Comedy and the Visual, Cambridge 2018). This rush of research activity is not incidental, nor can it be explained purely in terms of scholarly curiosity. It seems instead to reflect conscious or unconscious concerns about our own times. The more the ‘shelter’ of the Western world is deconstructed, the more relevant Aristophanes becomes, because he himself was active at a harsh time. He may not have written about Brexit or Trump, but

  Dimitrios Kanellakis and Almut Fries he did write about Dicaeopolis’ isolationism in Acharnians and the populist Paphlagonian in Knights. He may not have written about Extinction Rebellion or #MeToo, but he did write about returning to nature in Birds and about men in power who abuse women (e.g. Lysistrata) or ‘subordinate men’ (e.g. Agathon in Thesmophoriazusae). He may not have written about fake news and propaganda in the social media, but he did write about self-proclaimed experts and spiritual (mis)leaders in Clouds. As for the significance of Peace, it is telling that at the centennial commemoration of World War One Armistice Day in Paris (11/11/2018), which brought together all western leaders, the Greek Prime Minister of the day presented his hosts with a copy of this play and said: ‘This work is today more timely than ever, as it describes why we must struggle on a daily basis against war, and not consider peace as a given.’ However, it is not so much the concerns reflected in the plays that make Aristophanes modern – peace or respecting the environment are after all timeless values – but his stance on them. Even for the most straightforward social, political or ethical dilemmas, and despite claims such as τὸ γὰρ δίκαιον οἶδε καὶ τρυγῳδία (Ach. 500: ‘Comedy, too, knows what is right’), Aristophanes refuses to provide easy solutions or a monolithic perspective. The poetic pendulum swinging between fantasy and realism, between eutopia and dystopia, between laughter and disappointment never settles. This dynamic character of Greek Comedy excites not only scholars but also directors. The last theatrical season (summer/autumn 2019) provided evidence for renewed interest from that side as well. Even though Lysistrata once again dominated the stages (and thus reasonably deserves the two chapters devoted to it in our volume),1 second in number of productions came a less popular play: Ecclesiazusae.2 At the very beginning of his 1973 commentary on Ecclesiazusae Ussher says that this comedy, ‘it is certain, has won very little favour’ by critics and scholars since its first performance, and the APGRD database confirms that producers, too, traditionally prefer other plays.3 Therefore one could speak of a

 1 Directed by Tullio Solenghi (Greek Theatre of Syracuse / Curium Theatre, Cyprus); by Valentina Ferrante and Micaela De Grandi (Greek Theatre of Segesta); by Ardencie Hall-Karambé (Fringe Festival, Philadelphia); by Julia Traber (Classical Theatre, Houston); by Alice Camarota (The Producers Club, New York); and by Konstantinos Maravelias (Apo Michanis Theatre, Athens). 2 Directed by Marianna Kalbari (Herodes Atticus Theatre, Athens); by Giancarlo Sammartano (Greek Theatre of Segesta); by Michael Scott (Lauriston Hall, Edinburgh); and by Giancamillo Marrone (Roman Baths, Chieti). 3 Number of performances recorded by APGRD (as of September 2019): Lysistrata 362 > Birds 256 > Frogs 212 > Clouds 125 > Peace 101 > Ecclesiazusae 88 > Thesmophoriazusae 70 > Acharnians 68 > Wealth 65 > Wasps 48 > Knights 36.

Introduction  

theatrical ‘rediscovery’ of Ecclesiazusae in the last few years,4 which is expected to spark its academic reappraisal – just as Edith Hall’s discussion of Cario’s role in Wealth in this volume was inspired by a recent production. In the context of this academic and theatrical rediscovery of Greek Comedy, the present book offers original scholarship on a variety of related topics, including questions of origin, genre and artistic expression, interpretations of individual plays from different angles (literary, historical, performative) and reception from antiquity to the 20th century. Aspects that have not received much attention so far, such as the prehistory of Doric comedy (Ioannis Konstantakos) or music in Old Comedy (Armand D’Angour), are given a prominent place. This wide range of subjects and approaches, it is hoped, will satisfy not only students of Greek comedy, but anyone interested in Greek drama and its afterlife. All Greek and Latin is translated (except for some individual technical terms in the chapter by Michael Silk, or when the authors paraphrase the translation in their narrative) for the benefit of readers with little or no command of the ancient languages. The volume is divided into three main sections: (1) Genre, (2) Texts and Contexts, (3) Reception. It thus moves from a technical overview of key aspects of the subject to literary analysis of particular plays to the afterlife of Greek comedy. The first section concerns the definition of the comic genre, in different periods, through issues of terminology (Silk, Nesselrath), characterisation (Konstantakos, Fountoulakis) and language (Kanellakis). The second section offers interpretations of specific plays and scenes as seen within their political (Kopp, Markantonatos), social (Morosi, Tsoumpra), literary (Avdoulou, Hall) and performative (D’Angour, Migliara) context. The chapters of the final section deal with the reception of Euripides’ style by Aristophanes (Fries), the performative and iconographic reception of Greek comedy in South Italy (Taplin, Sidoti), and the politics of translating Aristophanes in 19th-century Britain (Swallow). Within each section the chapters are as far as possible arranged in chronological order, according to historical time or, in section (2), according to the (putative) dates of the plays under discussion. In that way readers will be able to construe their own diachronic and thematic connections, for example between the portrayal of stock characters in early Doric farce and developed Attic New Comedy (Konstantakos, Fountoulakis) or between different forms of comic reception in the fourth century BCE (Taplin, Sidoti).  4 Some other recent productions of the play: directed by Vangelis Theodoropoulos (Epidaurus, 2018); by Alexandros Rigas (Herodes Atticus Theatre, 2018); by Blanche McIntyre (Oxford Playhouse, 2018); by Helena Middleton (The Vaults, London, 2016); by Giannis Mbezos (Greek National Theatre, 2015).

  Dimitrios Kanellakis and Almut Fries As happened in the proagōn, that is the occasion before the dramatic festivals at which the playwrights presented their team to the public, the editors of this volume wish to thank the contributing authors for their excellent collaboration, the editorial team and reviewers of De Gruyter for their support and guidance and all those who made the 2017 conference in honour of Angus Bowie possible: the Faculty of Classics and The Queen’s College, Oxford (especially Professors Paul Madden, Charles Crowther and Christopher Metcalf), the Classical Association, the Hellenic Society and the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama. Almut Fries Dimitrios Kanellakis University of Oxford

Ioannis M. Konstantakos

The Characters of Doric Comedy

The term ‘comedy of characters’ is used to designate a kind of comic play in which the personages themselves and their peculiar temperamental traits become the main source of the theatrical action and the humorous effect. As a rule, this type of drama relies on a repertoire of more or less common theatrical types, which may represent professional or class categories (servant, army officer, courtesan, doctor, cook, householder), as well as ethical vices and idiosyncrasies of character (e.g. conceit, stinginess, misanthropy, flattery, or boorishness). The beginnings of this comic form are usually associated with the Athenian theatre of the fourth and third centuries BCE, the periods of Middle and New Comedy, when an ample repertoire of stereotypical figures was developed on the Greek comic stage. Every one of these figures recurred in a multitude of plays and was incorporated each time into a different comic plot, but retained a core of standard characteristics, which constituted his or her peculiar theatrical physiognomy and permanent dramatic identity.1 Some of these stock characters were instrumental to the love plot, which was established as a main ingredient of comic dramaturgy in the fourth century. Almost every comedy included a young man in love and his beloved girl, who might be a versatile hetaira or the daughter of an honourable citizen; there was also an elderly father, who might obstruct the love affair, and a cunning household slave who helped his enamoured master. Around this central quartet a number of ‘professional’ types moved, which had closer or more distant ties to the love plot. The braggart soldier was the young hero’s rival in love. The parasite or flatterer, attached to the young lover or to the soldier, helped his patron with the love intrigue in return for free meals. The pimp, a profiteering rascal, was the owner of the coveted hetaira. The cook was hired to prepare a banquet, destined either for the enjoyment of the hetaira and her lover or for the young man’s wedding at the finale. A related dramaturgical tendency of Middle and New Comedy was the exploration of character idiosyncrasies and moral flaws. The playwright placed a personage endowed with a temperamental defect or eccentricity at the centre of the

 1 On the repertoire of characters in Middle and New Comedy see Legrand 1917, 52‒183, 216‒31; Duckworth 1952, 236‒71; Webster 1970, 4‒8, 22‒3, 63‒7, 115‒24; Webster 1974, 14‒42, 89‒110; Gil 1974; Gil 1975; Carrière 1979, 150‒8; Handley 1985, 409‒23; Hunter 1985, 59‒77; Brown 1987; Nesselrath 1990, 280‒330; Konstantakos 2005‒2006, 70‒85.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos action; around this character various amusing situations were woven, which caricatured his ethical constitution. The lion’s share was taken by characters of the ‘obsessive’ type, that is, figures dominated by an overbearing passion, such as the misanthrope, the miser and the superstitious man.2 Another usual vice, conceit (alazοneia), was exemplified by a broad category of boastful professionals, such as the army officer, the grandiloquent cook, the pretentious philosopher and the medical doctor.3 All these personages might also undertake a role in the love-plot, typically as blocking figures that obstructed the lovers’ union.

Doric farce and the roots of the comedy of characters The comedy of characters was not born ex nihilo in fourth-century Athens. The same type of comic play, based on the interaction of social and moral human types, had been cultivated by the Sicilian Epicharmus, the first great master of literary comedy in the Greek world, during the early decades of the fifth century. A large part of Epicharmus’ production consisted in the humorous portrayal of everyday bourgeois and domestic life and the amusing reflection of social mores; emphasis was put on the construction of comic characters, such as the rustic, the flatterer, the erudite philosopher, the braggart soldier, the cook and the old soothsayer.4 Certain playwrights of Attic Old Comedy, such as Crates, Pherecrates and Phrynichus, also took up this type of social and ethical comedy, together with its gallery of character figures.5 Some of the personages of this repertoire were further reworked in the satirical comedies of other fifth-century Athenian dramatists, such as Aristophanes and Eupolis.6

 2 See Legrand 1917, 163‒77, 252‒6; Handley 1985, 419‒20; Hunter 1985, 148‒9; Fantuzzi/Hunter 2004, 417‒19; Konstantakos 2005‒2006, 79‒81. 3 See below, pp. 16–17. 4 On the typical characters of Epicharmean drama see Wüst 1950, 358–63; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 268–78, 282, 286; Cantarella 1969, 316‒21; Kerkhof 2001, 129–33, 162–73; Olson 2007, 55– 61; Willi 2015, 121‒3, 128, 139. 5 See Cantarella 1969, 332‒4; Bonanno 1972, 44‒54; Gil 1974, 76‒80; Handley 1985, 391‒3; UriosAparisi 1996‒1997; Ceccarelli 2000; Henderson 2000; Quaglia 2003, 255‒60. 6 For example, Aristophanes in Acharnians combined the type of the braggart soldier with a historical official of Athens, Lamachus, a prominent general and supporter of the Peloponnesian War. Aristophanes thus acclimatised the traditional military alazōn to the political reality of contemporary Athens and adapted the stock character figure to the satirical poetics of ὀνομαστὶ

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

Nevertheless, the ultimate roots of the comedy of characters can be traced to an even more ancient phase, before the emergence of literary comedy at the beginning of the fifth century. The first signs of a repertoire of archetypical dramatic figures can be discovered in the earliest documented folk forms of Greek comic theatre, that is the popular farces which must have been performed in various places already in the Archaic period.7 These folk performances provided the substratum for the formation of the highly artistic genres of comedy in later times. In the sources that happen to be preserved from the ancient world popular comic spectacles of this kind are mainly attested for Doric regions, specifically Laconia, Corinth, Megara and the colonies of South Italy and Sicily.8 Most of these theatrical events have left few traces in the literary tradition. No scripts or textual fragments have been preserved from Spartan, Corinthian or Megarian farces. Neither authors’ names nor titles of plays are recorded in any philological or inscriptional source. This should not be attributed to a mere accident of transmission. It seems rather that the early Doric comic performances represented a kind of traditional and extempore theatre, a form of folk art based on orality. Preparation and performance must have been conducted orally, without

 κωμῳδεῖν (see Konstantakos 2016). Analogously, Eupolis in his Kolakes transplanted the figure of the flatterer or parasite, known already from Epicharmean theatre, to the conditions of democratic Athens; he closely connected the type of the kolax with the ideology of the dēmos and the criticism of the wealthy and profligate Athenian elite (see Wilkins 2000, 74‒7; Tylawsky 2002, 43‒51; Storey 2003a, 188‒93; Napolitano 2012, 127‒50). Cf. more generally Süss 1905, 8‒29, 45‒ 51, 110‒29; Cornford 1914, 154‒77, 197‒204; McLeish 1980, 122‒43. 7 Cf. Cornford 1914, 180‒9; Körte 1921, 1222‒3. 8 In Attica, on the other hand, the earliest attestations of humorous performances, which may be considered as forerunners of comic drama, point towards choral or processional spectacles, enacted by a unified group of performers. One example is the phallic pompē, a parade of men carrying an effigy of a personified phallus (see the famous black-figure Attic cup in Florence, Museo Archeologico Etrusco 3897, ca. 550 BCE) ‒ the type of act that Aristotle regarded as the origin of Attic comedy (Poet. 1449a10‒12). See Csapo 1997, 265‒77; Rusten 2006, 39‒40; Iozzo 2009; Csapo 2015, 85‒7; cf. Pohlenz 1965, 497‒510; Bierl 2001, 300‒61. Another category of Attic black-figure vases, from the sixth and early fifth centuries, depict choruses of men who are dressed up as animals or ride animals, and sing and dance to the music of a piper; see PickardCambridge 1962, 151‒60; Sifakis 1971, 73‒93; Green 1985; Green 1991, 22‒9; Green 1994, 28‒34; Rusten 2006, 44‒56; Rothwell 2007, 28‒80; Green 2010, 71‒5; Csapo 2015, 87‒91, 106. These performances are different from the Doric shows of the ‘farce’ type, which mainly represent amusing scenes from ordinary life, acted out by individualised role-players. Unlike these latter spectacles, which illustrated the behaviour of particular characters in humorous situations, the Attic choral productions were group manifestations, presented by collective bodies, and hence unsuitable for the development of specific character types.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos fixed written scripts, and must have largely depended on the performers’ improvisations. In other words, there were no written texts to reach the library of Alexandria and be excerpted by later grammarians. The live performance, as it was generated anew each time by means of the improvised acts, speeches and dialogues of the players, represented the total of the theatrical experience.9 As a result, the available evidence for the study of Doric folk theatre is preciously scarce. A number of Archaic vase-paintings from Corinth and other Doric areas (Boeotia, Laconia, Western Greece) may be connected, in the opinion of some scholars, with local proto-comic performances or dances. The performers depicted in these pictures, usually called ‘padded komasts’ or ‘padded dancers’ in modern scholarship, sing and dance to a piper’s accompaniment; they wear ridiculous padding on their belly and buttocks, which recalls the typical stage underwear worn by the actors of Classical Athenian comedy.10 A few of the Corinthian vases bear inscriptions which identify the names of the characters or the performers portrayed.11 However, unlike the later group of South-Italian vasepaintings of comic scenes (the so-called ‘phlyax’ vases) from the fourth century, the inscriptions of the Corinthian vases do not yield actual words from the performance, which could count as textual fragments. Apart from these monuments, the only other available sources of knowledge for the Doric folk farces consist in scattered testimonia of ancient poets and Hellenistic or later historians, grammarians and polymaths.12 The Attic comic dramatists are of course valuable first-hand sources for contemporary Megarian performances (see below, pp. 17–23). Later scholars and grammarians are also worthy of attention. They might have witnessed analogous performances of their own age, which preserved more ancient elements or descended in direct line from centuries-old local traditions. Furthermore, many of these writers had antiquarian  9 Cf. Körte 1921, 1222; Lever 1956, 16‒17; Pohlenz 1965, 509; Cantarella 1969, 315‒16; Murphy 1972, 174‒5; Bühler 1999, 204; Bierl 2001, 315. 10 The exact relations between these vase-paintings and proto-comic performances are the object of much discussion. See Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 169‒74; Trendall/Webster 1971, 15‒21; Csapo/Slater 1995, 89‒96; Seeberg 1995; Smith 1998; Steinhart 2004, 32‒64; Rusten 2006, 40‒1; Rothwell 2007, 21‒5; Csapo/Miller 2007, 12‒21; Isler-Kerényi 2007; Green 2007; Steinhart 2007; Smith 2007; Smith 2010. 11 See e.g. the ‘Dümmler krater’, which is discussed below (n. 26), and a Corinthian kotyle of ca. 590‒575 BCE (Steinhart 2004, 39‒40, 63; Steinhart 2007, 198‒202 and fig. 75, 76; Green 2007, 99‒100). On the inscriptions cf. Arena 1967, 80‒1, 84‒5, 122‒3; Wachter 2001, 48‒51, 62‒4, 102‒ 3, 105‒6, 328‒30. 12 The testimonia about Doric drama have been collected by Kassel/Austin 2001, 3‒5. For discussion and commentary see Nicoll 1931, 20‒37; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 134‒40, 162‒87; David 1989; Kerkhof 2001, 1‒50; Rusten 2011, 49‒57.

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

interests and may have conducted serious research into the cultural life and history of their own homeland or other regions. They would have had access to important sources of information, including works of local historiography, inscriptional records, city archives, and also oral traditions, in the form of local legends, personal memories, anecdotes and other popular narratives, which had been preserved by generation after generation of the inhabitants. From these sources they could have collected a wealth of data about the history of theatrical phenomena in a given area, extending back to a distant past. The available testimonia afford a glimpse into the early comic performances of the Doric populations and reveal a few of their basic themes, dramatic situations and acting personages. Usually, these spectacles represented brief and amusing scenes taken from everyday life and ordinary experience. In this connection, the Doric comic shows seem to have developed and exploited a rudimentary typology or repertoire of theatrical characters, which recurred in one performance after another and maintained a standard dramatic identity and a stable function in the improvised scenarios. It is noteworthy that many of these stereotypical roles of the Doric farces resemble well-known character types of the later literary forms of Greek comic drama ‒ not only the Sicilian plays of Epicharmus, who drew on the same Doric tradition, but also the repertoire of Attic comedy. The Doric figures look like primitive sketches or archetypical forerunners of the stock personages that will later populate the highly artistic comic theatre of Sicily and Athens, from the fifth century to the Hellenistic era. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the early Doric folk farces offer a kind of primordial comedy of characters.

The Spartan deikēlistai and kindred types The small tour in Doric folk theatre begins from the most renowned Dorian area of mainland Greece. Sosibius the Laconian was an antiquarian, chronicler and author of local history and wrote extensively on the earlier literature and customs of Sparta.13 He was active in the third century BCE but must have had access to earlier sources and must have performed extensive antiquarian researches; he thus preserves valuable information on cultural phenomena of the remote past. Among other works, he wrote a treatise On mimetic performances in Laconia, in

 13 See the titles and fragments of his works in FGrH 595 Test. 1 and frr. 1–8. On Sosibius’ importance as a source cf. David 1989, 2, 18.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos which he described a form of comic play produced by the Lacedaemonians of old. An excerpt is preserved by Athenaeus (14.621d‒e = FGrH 595 fr. 7): παρὰ δὲ Λακεδαιμονίοις κωμικῆς παιδιᾶς ἦν τις τρόπος παλαιός, ὥς φησι Σωσίβιος, οὐκ ἄγαν σπουδαῖος, ἅτε δὴ κἀν τούτοις τὸ λιτὸν τῆς Σπάρτης μεταδιωκούσης. ἐμιμεῖτο γάρ τις ἐν εὐτελεῖ τῇ λέξει κλέπτοντάς τινας ὀπώραν ἢ ξενικὸν ἰατρὸν τοιαυτὶ λέγοντα, ὡς Ἄλεξις ἐν Μανδραγοριζομένῃ διὰ τούτων παρίστησιν […].14 ἐκαλοῦντο δ’ οἱ μετιόντες τὴν τοιαύτην παιδιὰν παρὰ τοῖς Λάκωσι δεικηλισταί, ὡς ἄν τις σκευοποιοὺς εἴπῃ καὶ μιμητάς. Among the Lacedaemonians there was an ancient form of comic play, as Sosibius says, produced with no great means, because even in these matters Sparta pursued simplicity. In plain language one would imitate, for instance, persons stealing fruit or a foreign doctor talking in such and such a manner, as Alexis portrays him in his play The Lady Drinks Mandragora […]. Those who pursued this kind of play among the Laconians were called deikēlistai, as one might say, ‘mask-creators’ or ‘mimes’.

Sosibius’ description indicates a kind of drama (note κωμικῆς παιδιᾶς), a mime or farce with articulate role-playing, which included words and speeches of the characters (ἐμιμεῖτο … ἐν εὐτελεῖ τῇ λέξει). It was not a textless imitative dance, as unwarrantedly hypothesised by Breitholtz, and it need not have been performed by a single individual, who successively assumed the various roles.15 The pronoun τις, whether it is assigned to Sosibius’ own text or to Athenaeus’ paraphrase, may easily be understood in an indefinite sense (‘one’, cf. the French ‘on’ or the Italian ‘si’ with a third-person singular verb). Sosibius may have drawn some of his information from the local popular farces of his time. However, he expressly designates this type of folk performance as old (παλαιός). Based presumably on his antiquarian investigations, he found reason to believe that the Spartan tradition of the mimes of the deikēlistai was of some antiquity, not a product of his own age.16

 14 At this point Athenaeus cites fr. 146 from Alexis’ Mandragorizomenē, in which the speaker mocks the Doric accent and jargon used by doctors in their prescriptions. It is doubtful whether this fragment, which belongs to a different genre and period (fourth-century Attic comedy), formed part of Sosibius’ exposition of the early Spartan farces. After all, in Spartan plays the foreign doctor would not have spoken Doric (cf. Pascucci 1972, 149‒51; Rossi 1977, 83; Ingrosso 2016, 15‒16). The fragment is presumably an addition of Athenaeus, prompted by the mention of the foreign comic doctor in Sosibius’ description (cf. Imperio 2012, 286; Ingrosso 2016, 12‒13). To illustrate better the kind of character referred to, Athenaeus adduces an appropriate passage from his vast store of Middle Comedy texts. 15 Breitholtz 1960, 115‒21. Contrast Norwood 1931, 72‒3; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 163; Gil/ Alfageme 1972, 56‒7; David 1989, 8‒11; Olson 2007, 4; Sonnino 2014, 130‒3. 16 See David 1989, 2, 18; Sonnino 2014, 130‒1.

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

Sosibius briefly records the main themes and situations of the Laconian farces, which reveal a rudimentary repertoire of ethological types. The first type mentioned is the stealer or stealers of fruit (κλέπτοντάς τινας ὀπώραν); these exemplify, in an elementary form, the cunning character who tricks other people through his clever exploitation of artifices and guiles. In archetypical anthropological terms, this kind of personage may be classified as a specimen of the ‘trickster’. The concept of the trickster was developed in the context of the study of Native American mythology and folklore in order to designate a special category of hero: a cunning and mischievous cultural figure, who possesses secret knowledge and a great deal of guile, uses amusing and often low-brow tricks in order to deceive and discomfit the other characters, and may at the same time inaugurate, almost by way of accident or as a side-effect, important aspects of civilisation.17 Subsequently, the term was used more broadly to designate a wide variety of crafty and prankish characters in many kinds of narrative and folklore from all around the world. The trickster, in this definition, is a standard figure of the folk tradition and frequently appears as the central hero of folktales.18 It seems natural that representatives of this type should also appear in a leading role in various forms of traditional theatre. Characters such as the Zanni of the Italian commedia dell’arte, the Kasperle of Germanic puppet plays and the Karagiozis of the Greek shadow theatre belong to the trickster archetype.19 In ancient Greek drama the Aristophanic hero often bears traits of the trickster, as he deftly manipulates language, people and the parameters of reality in order to impose his personal comic vision on an adverse environment.20 The truest descendants of this exuberant type in fourth-century and Hellenistic comic theatre are the countless wily slaves – the likes of Menander’s Syrus (Dis Exapaton) and Daos (Aspis, Perinthia) or of Plautus’ Chrysalus (Bacchides), Tranio (Mostellaria) and Pseudolus, who revel in their own ingenuity and invent complex intrigues at their masters’ expense.21

 17 On the concept of the trickster see Thompson 1946, 319‒28; Radin 1956; Babcock-Abrahams 1975; Carroll 1984; Hynes/Doty 1993; Garry/El-Shamy 2005, 472‒80; Geider 2010. 18 See Garry/El-Shamy 2005, 160‒4, 281, 289‒93, 327, 477‒9. 19 On the Zanni see Nicoll 1931, 263‒98; Nicoll 1963, 67‒94; Krömer 1976, 37‒40; Clavilier/ Duchefdelaville 1999, 34‒42; Andrews 2008, xxiii‒xxix; Schironi 2014, 469‒76. On Karagiozis see Puchner 1975, 89‒93. In general, on the embodiment of the trickster archetype in the crafty characters of comic drama see Salingar 1974, 88‒128; Beecher 1986; Schironi 2014. 20 See Whitman 1964, 21‒58; Salingar 1974, 89‒104; McLeish 1980, 55‒6, 75, 122‒43. 21 See Legrand 1917, 104‒13, 216‒17; Duckworth 1952, 249‒53; Harsh 1955; Stace 1968; Gil 1974, 166‒71; Salingar 1974, 104‒28, 157‒69; Krieter-Spiro 1997, 96‒110; Schironi 2014.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos Theft, and more particularly food-theft, is one of the main preoccupations of tricksters in folklore,22 just as it is of the fruit-stealers of the Spartan farces. In the Greek comic tradition the slave often appears in the same role, as a poor devil who purloins food for his own consumption. Cario, in Aristophanes’ Wealth, repeatedly boasts about his abilities to pilfer meat, pies and soup from the pantry of the house or from the god’s shrine (318‒21, 672‒95, 1139‒45, cf. 26‒7). In Knights the political leaders of Athens, travestied as slaves or servants in the house of the personified Demos, compete in stealing foodstuffs from the cellar or from each other, so as to stuff their own bellies or to gain Demos’ favour with costless gifts (50‒60, 101‒2, 715‒18, 1192‒1225).23 In a comic scene (most probably from an Attic comedy) illustrated on an Apulian bell-krater, a slave labelled Xanthias is pictured next to the elderly couple of his masters, who are holding up between them a small table laden with sweetmeats; Xanthias has stealthily grabbed a flat cake and is shown hiding it in his lap and running away to enjoy it at ease.24 In the intricate love plots of New Comedy the wily slave aims at stealing cash rather than food; he needs to procure the necessary funds by which his young master will gain the favours of the beloved girl. But theft and the concomitant stratagems still form a staple ingredient of the cunning servus’ role. Analogous figures of cunning food-stealers may also have been included in other forms of Doric comic play, which were endemic in different areas of the Hellenic world. The available testimonia are scanty and their interpretation is sometimes tentative or speculative. Nevertheless, the probable existence of such parallels hints at an interesting phenomenon, which will also be discussed below: the same or similar personages, forms and motifs may be detected or assumed to have operated in different local varieties of the Doric dramatic tradition, whether on the folk or on the literary level. In that case, it might be hypothesised that the various regional species of Doric theatre, from Sicily to Sparta and from Corinth to Megara, shared a common thematic background and dramaturgical

 22 See Thompson 1977, 322‒6; Radin 1956, 104‒6, 165‒8; Carroll 1984, 119‒20; Hynes/Doty 1993, 35‒7, 42, 96‒8, 116‒20, 166‒7. 23 On the theme of food-theft in comedy see Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 134‒6; Murphy 1972, 174, 187‒9; De Martino 1998, 52–6. 24 PhV2 45 (Trendall 1967, 38), ca. 400‒380 BCE; see the illustration of this vase-painting in Oliver Taplin’s chapter in this volume, p. 256, fig. 4. Cf. Trendall/Webster 1971, 132‒4; Taplin 1993, 42, 112; Storey 2011, 439‒40; Rusten 2011, 444. Already Salis (1905, 21‒2) compared this painting with Sosibius’ Spartan farce. On the relations between these South-Italian vase-paintings and Attic comedy see Taplin 1993; Maffre 2000, 295‒310; Csapo 2010, 38‒82; Green 2012; Konstantakos 2015b, 188‒9.

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

heritage, in spite of the distance that separated their manifestations in geographical space. With regard to the motif of fruit-theft, Epicharmus described in one of his works a proverbial Sicilian character who stole sour grapes (fr. 239).25 It is unknown how far this situation was developed in the Epicharmean play, whether it was limited to a simple mention or developed into a proper staged routine. In any case, the old Doric folk motif of fruit-pilfering – note that the grapes are a subspecies of ὀπώρα, like the items stolen by the Spartan tricksters – was somehow received into the Sicilian poet’s elaborate literary comedy. Furthermore, a Corinthian column-krater of the early sixth century BCE (Fig. 1) depicts two naked figures (labelled with the names Eunos and Ophelandros), who carry a large krater between them; another man, named Omrikos and equipped with a large phallus, pursues them with two sticks in his hands. The picture has often been interpreted as an episode from an early Corinthian mimic performance, which exploited the familiar comic theme of culinary theft. The two naked fellows must have stolen the krater of wine and are running away to enjoy the drink; the man with the sticks is the owner or overseer who tries to catch them. Although this interpretation has been contested, the possibility remains that Archaic Corinthian proto-comic shows involved related roles of food-stealing pranksters.26 The stolen commodity is here the direct product of the ὀπώρα/ grapes of the Spartan and Sicilian plays; compare the slaves of Aristophanes’ Knights, who also indulge in stealing wine and drinking it in secret (95‒108). The other type of personage described by Sosibius is the foreign doctor who speaks in a strange accent; the parallel passage from Alexis (fr. 146), which is adduced by Athenaeus as comparative material, might suggest that the doctor  25 Epicharm. fr. 239 = Zenob. Ath. 3.133, Zenob. (vulg.) 5.84: Σικελὸς ὀμφακίζεται· ἐπὶ τῶν τὰ μηδενὸς ἄξια κλεπτόντων λέγεται ἡ παροιμία. μετήνεκται δὲ ἀπὸ τῶν Σικελῶν, τὰς ἀβρώτους ὄμφακας κλεπτόντων. μέμνηται ταύτης Ἐπίχαρμος (‘The Sicilian is sour-graped: this proverb is applied to people stealing worthless objects. It is taken from the habit of the Sicilians, who use to steal inedible sour grapes. Epicharmus uses the expression’). See Crusius 1892, 290; Salis 1905, 21‒2; Webster 1956, 128‒9, 132‒3; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 136, 171; De Martino 1998, 53‒4; Bierl 2001, 315. The Megarian man in Aristophanes’ Acharnians similarly steals a dried fig from the protagonist (809‒10), in the context of a scene which has been interpreted as an imitation or parody of Megarian farces. Possibly the cunning thief of fruit was also a personage of Megarian drama; see the extensive discussion in Konstantakos 2012, 126‒49, and cf. below, n. 57. 26 Louvre E 632. In favour of the interpretation of the picture as a scene of wine-theft are Fränkel 1912; Webster 1956, 128‒9; Lever 1956, 16, 30; Bieber 1961, 38‒9; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 171; Handley 1985, 365‒6; De Martino 1998, 54; Wachter 2001, 62‒4, 329‒30; and Kerkhof 2001, 24‒ 30, who offers the most forceful and cogent argumentation. Cf. the bibliographical survey of Hampe 1975. Other scholars propose radically different readings of the image: see Breitholtz 1960, 163‒81; Seeberg 1967; Csapo/Slater 1995, 95; Steinhart 2004, 44‒9; Steinhart 2007, 212‒16.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos also used some kind of medical jargon or specialist prescription terminology ‒ although it is not clear whether Sosibius referred to such a trait in his own description. This character belongs to the ethological category of the alazōn, which proved to be extremely productive in the Greek comic theatre. The alazōn is an arrogant braggart who pretends to qualities he does not possess. He may pose as a paragon of lofty virtues or as a connoisseur of intricate knowledge, to which he has in fact no access.27 The medical man of the Spartan farces, by use of his outlandish accent and affected language, would similarly have emanated an air of self-importance and pomposity, which would have clashed with his small actual worth.28 He represents an archaic specimen of the same ridiculous temperament that is later manifested in the boastful military officers, cooks, seers, philosophers and scientists, travellers and ambassadors, and the other alazones of Attic comedy. Indeed, one of the chief scenic manifestations of the alazōn’s pretentiousness is his fanciful or bizarre language, which strongly diverges from the common speech-norm of the comic stage. The braggart employs various forms of linguistic exhibitionism, from bombastic rhetoric and high poetic style to abstruse philosophical terminology and scientific jargon, from extravagant tales to long culinary recipes, in order to express his pretended superiority and impress his listeners.29 The unfamiliar phonology and vocabulary of the doctor of the Spartan farces exemplify the same comic technique, used in a rudimentary manner in the improvised popular performance. Sosibius’ summary thus couples two archetypical comic figures, the trickster and the braggart, as staple characters of the Spartan folk theatre. Although the excerpt preserved in Athenaeus gives no indication as to any interaction between them in the course of the performance, one may imagine the fun that would have ensued, if these two characters confronted each other on stage. The stealing trickster would easily deceive the conceited doctor, pilfer his food or his supplies and ridicule his inanity. After all, the presence of a thief always implies the existence of an outwitted victim.30 An analogous match of dupe and trickster will be traced below in Megarian comedy.

 27 The definition of the alazōn as someone who pretends to be more than he is in reality (προσποίησις … ἐπὶ τὸ μεῖζον) was codified by Aristotle (Eth. Nic. 1108a19–22, 1127a20–2, 1127b9– 22; Eth. Eud. 1221a24‒5, 1234a1‒2). See Konstantakos 2015c, 43‒4 with further bibliography. 28 Cf. Süss 1905, 29‒31; Cornford 1914, 181; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 174‒7; Bierl 2001, 315; Kerkhof 2001, 29‒30; Ingrosso 2016, 24. On the doctor as a character in comedy see Gil/Alfageme 1972; Rossi 1977; Imperio 1998, 63–75; Imperio 2012; Ingrosso 2016. 29 See Konstantakos 2015c, 43‒4, 59‒62, 71‒2; Konstantakos 2016, 118‒20, 126‒8, 133‒6. 30 Cf. Norwood 1931, 73.

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

In essence, Sosibius’ pair of comic types is not far from the ethological typology proposed in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, in which the pretentious alazōn is contrasted with the eirōn, the ‘ironical’ man. The eirōn claims to be less than he actually is, in opposition to the alazōn, who feigns to have virtues and talents superior to his true capacities.31 In a sense, the crafty thief of the Laconian farces is akin to the type of the eirōn. The ironical character is a sly person who masks his deceit behind a show of self-depreciation; he ‘steals’, so to speak, a part of reality – the one that pertains to his true qualities and attributes – and hides it from the others, so as to dupe them with regard to his real nature and make fun of their gullibility. Thus the eirōn becomes, metaphorically, a stealer in order to gain satisfaction, and resembles in this respect the folk trickster of the Spartan performances, who pilfers food to satisfy his appetite. The primitive Doric theatre already foreshadowed the typification of comic ēthos that would later be codified in philosophical thought.

The characters of the Megarian plays Another form of Doric folk theatre was the so-called ‘Megarian comedy’, a kind of popular farce produced at Megara during the Archaic and Classical ages. According to Aristotle (Poet. 1448a29‒b2), the Megarians maintained that their local comic performances went back to the time when ‘democracy’ was first established in their city, meaning presumably the years after the overthrow of the tyrant Theagenes, in the early sixth century BCE.32 There is no other evidence to verify this calculation; the available historical data from the ancient world indicate, in any case, that democracies and tyrannies alike were favourable to the art of the theatre and provided valuable patronage and support of its development.33 Nevertheless, the Megarians’ assertion would have been untenable, unless a distinctly local species of comic spectacle had existed at Megara for quite some time

 31 See Arist. Eth. Nic. 1108a21‒3, 1127a21‒b32; Eth. Eud. 1221a24‒5, 1233b38‒1234a3; cf. Cornford 1914, 136‒8; Legrand 1917, 165‒6; Cooper 1922, 117‒23, 176‒7, 262‒5; McLeish 1980, 53‒6, 74‒5; Janko 1984, 216‒18; Nesselrath 1990, 125‒8; Diggle 2004, 166‒7. Bierl (2001, 315‒16) considers the two Spartan characters as examples of another Aristotelian ethological pair, the alazōn and the buffoonish bōmolochos (cf. Eth. Nic. 1108a21‒5, 1127a13‒1128b1; Rh. 1419b7‒9; Tractatus Coislinianus, XV 38‒9 Koster); but see Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 174‒8. 32 See Breitholtz 1960, 55‒6; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 132, 178‒9; Piccirilli 1975, 142; Kerkhof 2001, 13‒17; Ornaghi 2016, 290‒4, 337‒400. 33 See Csapo/Wilson 2019, especially 431‒45 on Megarian comedy.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos before Aristotle recorded their claim. By the time of the Poetics the Megarian genre must have seemed considerably old, so as to be deemed a standard and emblematic part of the city’s tradition, stretching back into the remote past, beyond living memory.34 Megarian comic theatre was well known in Classical Athens – naturally enough, given that Megara was situated so close to the Attic border; journeys and communication between the two neighbouring populations would have been easy.35 The poets of Old Comedy, in particular, frequently refer to jokes and comic situations of the Megarian plays, which they invariably denounce as vulgar and buffoonish.36 There is doubtless a good deal of Athenian chauvinism in these negative judgements, but they may contain a core of truth. The folk theatre of Megara, like the other manifestations of traditional Doric farce, was an extempore form of art which lacked fixed scripts and relied on improvisation. Even at its best, it could not have achieved the sophistication and complexity of Attic literary comedy, especially in the mature period of Cratinus, Eupolis and Aristophanes – in the same way as, for example, the most accomplished and masterful performances of the commedia dell’arte or of the Karagiozis shadow theatre cannot reach the level of Shakespearean dramatic writing.37 The references of Attic comic playwrights, together with a few testimonia from Hellenistic and later grammarians and polymaths, reveal some of the main themes and materials of Megarian drama. Aristophanes (Vesp. 57‒60) associates two comic routines with ‘laughter stolen from Megara’ (γέλωτα Μεγαρόθεν κεκλεμμένον): a pair of slaves that throw nuts from a basket to the audience (presumably a primitive device for eliciting the spectators’ favour); and the hungry  34 See Lever 1956, 16‒17; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 132, 178‒81; Piccirilli 1975, 141‒8; Kerkhof 2001, 13‒24; Konstantakos 2012, 121‒6; Sonnino 2014, 138; cf. Ornaghi 2016, 384‒94, 404‒44 on kōmos festivals and rudimentary dramatic pageants in Archaic Megara. 35 Cf. Salis 1905, 10; Radermacher 1936, 23; Herter 1947, 40‒1; Kerkhof 2001, 5; Rothwell 2007, 24‒5; and below, n. 41. 36 See Ar. Vesp. 57–60; Ecphantid. fr. 3; Eup. fr. 261; cf. Schol. on Arist. Eth. Nic. 1123a23‒4 (CAG XX 186.9–20). Breitholtz (1960, 31–82, 87–95) denied the existence of Megarian comedy and argued that the ancient testimonia reflect the misconceptions of later grammarians or simply refer to a stereotypical image of the Megarian people, who were portrayed as uncouth and coarse. Breitholtz was not a classical scholar and was unfamiliar with the specialised methods and research tools that are necessary for the proper investigation of ancient theatre; the reception of his work has been largely unfavourable (see the survey of Kerkhof 2001, 9‒12, but contrast now Ornaghi 2016, 245‒82, in an otherwise marvellously erudite and excellently documented book). Criticism of this kind of approach and refutation of the arguments have been offered by Kerkhof 2001, 4–24, 30–8, and Konstantakos 2012. 37 Cf. Nicoll 1963, 1‒8; Chaffee/Crick 2015, 30‒40, 300‒20.

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Heracles who is cheated of his meal (Ἡρακλῆς τὸ δεῖπνον ἐξαπατώμενος). This latter element indicates that some of the Megarian plays treated mythical subjectmatter in a burlesque mode; they would have resembled, in this respect, the mythological dramas of Epicharmus and Attic comedy. Heracles may have been a recurrent character in those Megarian mythical travesties, as he was also in the works of Epicharmus and the comic poets of Athens.38 It is interesting to speculate whether Heracles might also have appeared in the Laconian plays of the deikēlistai, given the great local eminence of his figure as a mythical ancestor of the Spartans and a Dorian patron hero.39 The description of Heracles’ character in the Megarian farce points to another standard type of the comic tradition: the glutton who is intent on satisfying the demands of his belly. Heracles was the archetype of voracity in all varieties of Greek humorous drama.40 In the Megarian plays, in particular, he was deprived of his food and would have experienced keen hunger as a result. The scenic illustration of his unappeased hunger and his huge appetite should have given rise to side-splitting situations, exactly as happens in many scenes of Sicilian and Attic plays. Indeed, the very motif of ‘Heracles tricked out of his meal’ passed into Attic comedy,41 in which it enjoyed a fruitful career. This motif is exploited with brio in  38 Cf. Wilkins 2000, 92‒3. 39 See Tigerstedt 1965, 28‒36 for an overview of the sources. Indeed, the spectacles described by Sosibius seem to have incorporated very ancient and respected elements of Spartan culture, even though these elements were rendered in a burlesque manner in the performance. The theft of fruit was part of the traditional education of Spartan youths, as instituted by the legendary Lycurgus; the smaller boys were required, as a form of drill, to break into gardens or sneak into the communal messes of grown men, steal vegetables (λάχανα) and bring them to the leader of their team (Plut. Lyc. 17.3‒5). This recalls the fruit-theft comically represented in the farces of the deikēlistai; the comic performance looks like a parody of an established and age-old Spartan custom. See Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 135‒6; De Martino 1998, 55‒6. Similarly, Heracles, the venerable progenitor of the Spartan tribe, might be hilariously represented in the Laconian farces ‒ for example as a gross eater (cf. the other forms of Greek mythical burlesque) or even in the fruitstealer’s role. As Dimitrios Kanellakis ingeniously observes, Heracles’ traditional mythology included a famous episode of fruit-theft, the removal of the golden apples from the garden of the Hesperides (see Gantz 1993, 410‒3). In later mythological comedies too Heracles is not always the victim deprived of his food, but sometimes appears himself as the cunning stealer of foodstuffs (see below, n. 50, and Konstantakos 2015b, 188‒97). 40 See Wilkins 2000, 90–7; Casolari 2003, 249–95; Bruzzese 2004, 144–7, 150, 155; Konstantakos 2011a, 237–44. 41 In spite of the apparent snobbery of Attic poets, interaction and exchanges of material between the two neighbouring comic traditions of Athens and Megara would have been easy. Cf. Norwood 1931, 11–13; Herter 1947, 40‒1; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 180‒1, 186; Piccirilli 1975, 144, 146; Csapo 2010, 99.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos Aristophanes’ Birds (1574‒1692) and Frogs (503‒604) and was developed in several amusing variations in the mythological burlesques of the fourth century.42 The gluttonous Heracles who is cheated of his meal also became the prototype and forerunner of another stock comic character, the hungry parasite. A defining experience of the comic parasite, especially as he was portrayed in Middle and New Comedy, is the danger of losing his meal. This character struts and frets his hour upon the stage under constant fear that he may be deprived at any moment of the food he covets. In some cases the comic parasite fails from the very beginning to secure an invitation to a meal, in spite of all his efforts.43 Even if he obtains an invitation or a promise, the prospective host may fail to keep it, or the poor fellow may be prevented from enjoying the banquet due to unexpected obstacles, such as losing his patron in the crowd.44 Often the parasite appears on stage grumbling about a lunch or dinner-party he has missed or runs the risk of missing.45 Even when he manages to work his way into a feast, the banquet may be unexpectedly interrupted, or he may be thrown out for inappropriate behaviour.46 The man is even afraid that someone may snatch the laden table from before his eyes or the food from his hands.47 Constantly cheated of the meal he expected or hoped for, the comic parasite is a direct descendant of the Megarian Heracles; no wonder he invokes Heracles as the patron-god of his trade.48 The mythical arch-glutton’s experience passed from Megarian farce into Attic mythological burlesque and was then transferred to the world of domestic comedy and applied to the most gluttonous character of this latter comic form. The routine of Heracles and his meal, as described by Aristophanes, also implies the existence of another typical character in Megarian drama. If Heracles was cheated (ἐξαπατώμενος) of his dinner, another personage must have deceived him and deprived him of his food. Thus, once again, the folk comic scenario requires the presence of a cunning figure, a trickster, like the fruit-stealer

 42 See Ephippus’ Geryones (frr. 3 and 5) and the illustrations of comic scenes on three SouthItalian vase-paintings (PhV2 31 and 32, Trendall 1967, 33; and Trendall 1995, on which see also below, n. 49); Konstantakos 2011a, 238–44; Konstantakos 2015b, 186–97. 43 See Timocl. fr. 11.3‒4; Nicol. Com. fr. 1.22‒5; Plaut. Capt. 461‒97, Men. 663‒7, Stich. 181‒92, 469‒96, 587‒614. 44 See Plaut. Men. 446‒62, Pers. 85‒147, Stich. 615‒30; cf. Alciphr. Epist. 3.2. 45 See Amips. fr. 23; Antiph. fr. 291; Alex. frr. 235, 243, 258; Diph. frr. 53, 62. 46 See Eup. fr. 172.11‒16; Nicol. Com. fr. 1.3‒11; Alciphr. Epist. 3.7, 3.20. 47 Antiph. fr. 202.11‒14; Alciphr. Epist. 3.17. On the comic parasite’s predicament see Ribbeck 1883, 39‒40; Duckworth 1952, 266, 274; Nesselrath 1985, 47‒8, 60‒3; Konstantakos 2000, 234. 48 See Diod. Com. fr. 2.23‒35; Plaut. Curc. 358, Stich. 223, 386, 395; Belardinelli 1998, 282‒3; Casolari 2003, 257‒8, 293; Bruzzese 2004, 155–70.

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of the Spartan farce. This Megarian trickster would have stolen Heracles’ food (exactly as his Laconian counterpart purloined the ὀπῶραι) or would have duped him in some other way. An illuminating parallel is offered by an Apulian bellkrater of ca. 370 BCE (Fig. 2), which depicts a snapshot from a comic play (probably another Athenian mythical burlesque exported and performed in Magna Graecia). One of the characters taking part in this scene is dressed like Heracles; his left arm is draped in an animal skin, while he menacingly raises the traditional Heraclean club with his right hand. He is chasing another man, who holds a flat cake in each of his hands and runs away, looking back over his shoulder at his pursuer.49 The comic theme of ‘Heracles cheated of his meal’ clearly forms the background of this scene, even though the irregular masks of the two characters suggest a self-conscious variation or a humorous inversion of the traditional routine.50 The fleeing character has presumably stolen the two cakes from the Heracles figure, tricking the latter out of his food. The trickster and the glutton confront each other, to the latter’s discomfiture and loss. Analogous situations may have been acted out in the popular Megarian comedies. A third stock character of Megarian plays, named Maison, is described in Hellenistic and later erudite sources. Due to the sporadic and fragmentary nature of the information, Maison is a rather elusive figure, but some of his features can be discerned.51 According to Aristophanes of Byzantium, Maison, a Megarian comic actor, created the personage of the cook, who was also named Maison after his inventor. The same Megarian actor invented furthermore the figure of a servant (θεράποντος).52 The Roman grammarian Festus, who also ultimately drew from  49 NM88.2, Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney. See Trendall 1995; Maffre 2000, 300‒ 1; Storey 2003b; Green 2003, 49‒50; Walsh 2009, 230, 308; Storey 2011, 449‒50. The suspicions voiced by Robinson (2014a, 256, 264) concerning the authenticity of this vase are not accompanied by adequate substantiation. 50 The figure bearing Heracles’ animal skin and club does not wear Heracles’ typical mask, but rather the mask of a slave. Heracles’ usual mask appears to be worn by the stealer of the cakes; see Green 2003, 49‒50. In this case, the stock routine of ‘Heracles cheated of his meal’ is humorously reversed. A slave has adopted Heracles’ role and garments (cf. Xanthias dressed up as Heracles in Frogs), while the real Heracles plays, for once, the role of the thief and ends up possessing the food, instead of losing it. Heracles thus takes his revenge on the earlier comic tradition, which had condemned him to the role of the duped hungry man; now he is the one that cheats another character of his food. Cf. Konstantakos 2015b, 188‒97. 51 I have extensively discussed Maison in Konstantakos 2012, 126, 139‒41 and Konstantakos 2015a, 24‒5, 32‒3. See also Radermacher 1936; Giannini 1960, 137–41, 212–14; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 181‒2; Dohm 1964, 11–22; Gigante 1971; Bühler 1999, 202–4; Kerkhof 2001, 30–8. 52 Ar. Byz. fr. 363 Slater, from Ath. 14.659a–b: ἐκάλουν δ’ οἱ παλαιοὶ τὸν μὲν πολιτικὸν μάγειρον Μαίσωνα, τὸν δ’ ἐκτόπιον Τέττιγα. […] Μαίσων γέγονεν κωμῳδίας ὑποκριτὴς Μεγαρεὺς τὸ γένος,

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos Aristophanes of Byzantium, describes Maison more broadly as ‘the comic personage of a cook or a sailor or of other such sorts’.53 The Stoic philosopher Chrysippus reports in addition that this personage was an ignoramus and a glutton intent on the demands of his belly; for this reason Chrysippus derived the name Maison from the verb μασᾶσθαι, ‘to chew’.54 The historicity of the Megarian actor has rightly been doubted and may represent no more than an erudite Alexandrian fiction, in accordance with the all-pervasive Greek tendency of pinpointing a ‘first inventor’ for every element of civilisation. Maison is better understood as a standard character, who recurred in play after play of the Megarian popular repertoire. If the ancient sources are taken at face value, Maison must have performed a range of dramatic functions or roles in the Megarian shows. He is repeatedly mentioned as a cook and may have been a distant relative of the boastful mageiros of Attic comedy. But he is also described as a sailor ‘and other things of this kind’. Possibly Aristophanes’ mangled statement about Maison creating ‘both the cook’s and the servant’s role’ implies a similar versatility: the character Maison, apart from playing the cook, might also appear in the guise of a servant. Like other stock figures of popular drama, for example the Karagiozis of the Modern Greek shadow theatre or the Maccus of the Atellan farce,55 Maison would have undertaken different occupations or trades from one play to the next. The statement that Maison was preoccupied with the needs of his belly is also telling.56 Next to the gluttonous Heracles, this is another hungry character of the Megarian repertoire, although his concern for food seems to have taken a different form.57 Heracles was the duped glutton

 ὃς καὶ τὸ προσωπεῖον εὗρε τὸ ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ καλούμενον Μαίσωνα, ὡς Ἀριστοφάνης φησὶν ὁ Βυζάντιος ἐν τῷ Περὶ προσώπων, εὑρεῖν αὐτὸν φάσκων καὶ τὸ τοῦ θεράποντος πρόσωπον καὶ τὸ τοῦ μαγείρου. 53 Festus p. 118.23–5 Lindsay: Maeson persona comica appellatur, aut coci, aut nautae, aut eius generis. Dici ab inventore eius Maesone comoedo, ut ait Aristophanes Grammaticus. 54 SVF III 200.29–31, fr. 13 Arnim, from Ath. 14.659a: Χρύσιππος δ’ ὁ φιλόσοφος τὸν Μαίσωνα ἀπὸ τοῦ μασᾶσθαι οἴεται κεκλῆσθαι, οἷον τὸν ἀμαθῆ καὶ πρὸς γαστέρα νενευκότα. Cf. Hsch. μ 96. 55 On Karagiozis’ multiple professions (from baker to doctor, minister and astronaut) see Puchner 1975, 89‒92, 108‒9, 200‒1, 221‒31; Sifakis 1984, 37‒45. On Maccus, who appears, among other roles, as a soldier, innkeeper and trustee, see Frassinetti 1953, 65, 72, 78, 113, 122‒ 3; Beare 1964, 139‒45; Hurbánková 2010, 71‒7. 56 Chrysippus’ etymology of the name Maison from μασᾶσθαι is incredible (see Radermacher 1936, 17‒18; Bühler 1999, 203; Kerkhof 2001, 35‒6); but this should not call into doubt the character’s gluttony per se. Indeed, Chrysippus could not have come up with his fanciful etymology, unless Maison was actually portrayed as a guzzler. 57 On food and hunger as constant thematic elements in the Megarian comedies see Konstantakos 2012, 125‒6, 137‒42. As suggested there, the famished Megarian man of Aristophanes’ Acharnians (729‒835) and his voracious daughters may well echo the typical hungry characters of the Megarian farces.

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

who would be robbed of his food. Maison was rather the poor jack-of-all-trades who plied various tasks and jobs in order to fill his belly. He resembles, in this respect, the Modern Greek Karagiozis, who is similarly motivated by hunger and undertakes all kinds of work in order to feed himself and his family. Since Maison is also described, by Chrysippus and the Epicurean philosopher Philodemus, as an ignoramus,58 he would probably have failed in his undertakings, with ridiculous results; the same often happens in the case of the uneducated Karagiozis. A final tantalising piece of evidence possibly indicates another typical character of Megarian plays. In Theopompus’ comedy Althaia, produced shortly after 400 BCE, a character finds the interior of his house in a peculiar state and compares it to ‘the medicine chest of a Megarian drug-seller’.59 The simile suggests that the Megarian drug-seller was a well-known, quasi-proverbial character. Perhaps the reference is again to a recurring personage of Megarian comedy – in the same way as, for example, in Aristophanes’ Wasps (57‒60) a couple of commonplace routines of Megarian drama are mentioned in passing.60 In that case, the Megarian druggist would be a theatrical sibling of the foreign doctor of the Spartan farce. Both these medical figures are liable to be portrayed as comic alazones and to indulge in bragging about their medicaments and curing effects. The alazōn type is thus also tentatively added to the repertoire of Megarian drama.

Characters and routines, codes and extemporisation An interesting factor that emerges from the preceding discussion is the close kinship between the local varieties of Doric comic drama in terms of themes, form and ethology. The Spartan mimes, the Megarian farces and even the comic performances of Corinth seem to have shared a number of common basic motifs, stereotypical characters and stage routines, which recur trans-regionally, whether

 58 On Chrysippus see above, n. 54; Philodemus (Περὶ ῥητορικῆς 4, col. VIIa 12–17, I 189 Sudhaus) couples Maison with the rustic digger (σκαπανεύς) as a paragon of uncouth speech. Cf. Radermacher 1936, 16‒17; Gigante 1971; Kerkhof 2001, 32, 37. 59 Fr. 3: τὴν οἰκίαν γὰρ ηὗρον εἰσελθὼν ὅλην κίστην γεγονυῖαν φαρμακοπώλου Μεγαρικοῦ (‘when I entered, I found out that the entire house had become like the medicine chest of a Megarian drug-seller’). 60 See Süss 1905, 30‒1; Pickard-Cambridge 1962, 136‒7, 181; cf. Rossi 1977, 82‒3; Arnott 1996, 312‒13, 329, 431‒2.

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos in identical form or with small variations, across the repertoire of the Doric theatrical tradition. Given the scarcity and fragmentariness of the available testimonia, it is impressive that so many common ingredients can be traced between the different manifestations of Doric folk drama. It may be surmised that the Dorian populations of the Greek world shared a common proto-theatrical heritage, a group of typical elements that were age-old, inherent constituents of the Doric comic spirit and tended to appear in all its performative manifestations. It is thus legitimate to combine the scattered information about the various local forms of Doric folk comedy and read all the data together in a comprehensive manner, as though joining the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Such a panoramic overview reveals a small gallery of shared stock characters and temperaments. The trickster, especially as a stealer of foodstuffs, appears in Spartan farces, possibly also in Corinthian performances, and may be surmised for Megarian comedies. The alazōn, especially in the form of a medical or pharmaceutical expert, was included in Spartan and probably in Megarian shows. Archetypical ethological figures may also recur in a particular local tradition: the glutton was exemplified by two distinct characters of Megarian comedy, the hungry Heracles and Maison. Collectively, this modest repertoire of stock figures foreshadows a good number of favourite stereotyped characters of the later comic stage, from the cunning slave and the greedy parasite to the cook and the boastful philosopher and scientist. Furthermore, the confrontation and interaction between these recurrent personages of the Doric popular plays resulted in a number of equally stereotypical stage situations and elementary routines. These functioned as minimal units of the plot and might have been serially accumulated or combined, so as to construct a broader plotline.61 The trickster plied his artifices in order to dupe the conceited alazōn or the gullible glutton; he stealthily purloined fruit or other foodstuffs. The glutton was cheated of his food and ridiculously displayed his hunger. The pretentious alazōn exhibited his medical capacities or products in strange language. The hungry poor devil tried various jobs in order to procure food. A pair of slaves threw nuts to the spectators, so as to elicit their favour. Such rudimentary acts would provide the basis for the development of the comic scenarios in the Doric popular performances. It seems natural that these forms of traditional, essentially oral and folk theatre developed, at least to a rudimentary degree, a network of recurring stock characters and typified scenic situations. An oral genre relies on improvisation, not on a fixed written text which determines in detail the speeches and acts of the performers at every given moment of dramatic time. Such a form of art, therefore,  61 Cf. Norwood 1931, 73; Bieber 1961, 38‒9; Murphy 1972, 175; McLeish 1980, 19‒21.

The Characters of Doric Comedy  

requires strong thematic and scenic codes which will provide a stable and supportive infrastructure for the performers’ extemporisations. The players need to have at their disposal an amount of constant, readily available and pre-ordained dramaturgical material, which is commonly known and accepted by all of them and serves as a referential background for their performance. This ready-made material provides the skeleton of the performance, and on the basis of it the players are free to develop their own spontaneous contributions. If such an organised base of common reference were lacking, the performers’ individual improvisations might not tally with each other and the performance would run the risk of degenerating into chaos – as would happen e.g. in a jazz concert if the instrumentalists had not agreed beforehand as to the key in which they should play. With regard to a theatrical production the code elements should ideally cover the two main aspects of dramaturgy, plot and characters. The latter aspect was served by the repertoire of stock figures, which determined the core dramatic identity and the range of scenic roles for each personage of the performance. The former aspect was accordingly supplied by the standard scenic routines, which arose from the interaction of the typical personages and functioned as minimal plot units. Interesting analogues are offered by the practices of other forms of traditional unscripted comic drama, known from the modern world, which similarly rely on typologies of stock personages and plot patterns. The comparison cannot be drawn at great length, because these more recent genres represent extremely elaborate and sophisticated dramatic traditions, while the ancient Doric farces seem not to have grown beyond the rudimentary and rather primitive stage of parochial popular entertainment. Nevertheless, a rough parallelism may be attempted, by way of epilogue. In the commedia dell’arte the common dramaturgical code, which provided the framework for the performance, comprised two main sets of materials. Firstly, there was a highly developed typology of personages, the so-called maschere, such as Arlecchino, Brighella, Pulcinella and the other comic servants; the rich middle-aged Pantalone and the garrulous Dottore; the braggart Capitano, the pert Servetta, the passionate Innamorati and others. Each one of these characters had his or her peculiar mask, costume, scenic attributes and essential characterisation, which were retained in the character’s recurrent appearances in the repertoire. In each play the character might be involved in different situations and different relationships with his companions, but always kept his core dramatic identity and performed a given range of functions. Secondly, every play had its scenario, a synopsis of the plot which outlined the main incidents of the action, recorded the entries and exits of the personages and gave instructions as to the subject-matter, the acts and speeches of the various scenes. On the basis of these

  Ioannis M. Konstantakos traditional data, the actors were able to improvise their stage movements, dialogues, jests and overall scenic behaviour.62 A broad analogy can be established between these elements and the two basic repositories of Doric comedy, the archetypical personages and the standard routines that revolved around them. The Modern Greek shadow theatre, known as ‘Karagiozis’ from the central comic figure’s name, also operates with two fundamental systems of conventions. On the one hand, there is again a repertory of standard personages, each one represented by a stereotyped shadow puppet; their character traits, appearance, manner of speech, actions and roles are stable and determined by tradition. Karagiozis is the poor and cunning jack-of-all-trades, Hadziavatis is a genteel flatterer, Barbayorgos a rough and sturdy stock-farmer, Nionios a foppish dandy, Morfonios an ugly and conceited mother’s darling; the Pasha is the Ottoman overlord, Veligekas is the fierce Albanian guard of the Pasha’s seraglio and so on. On the other hand, these characters are involved in equally stereotyped patterns of action and plot functions, which can be strung together into a schematic plotline and determine the development of the story in most plays. The Pasha needs a person with particular professional qualities or with the capacity of accomplishing a certain task; Hadziavatis is charged with finding such a person and engages Karagiozis’ help. A series of candidates appear and Karagiozis tricks or makes fun of every one of them. Veligekas soundly thrashes every visitor that comes to the seraglio; Karagiozis in particular is often beaten and gets into serious trouble but is saved (and sometimes rewarded) in the end.63 Once again, a diptych of traditional stock characters and standard plot units forms the firm understructure, on which the shadow-puppeteer may orally develop the entire play. It is not possible to proceed further in the reconstruction of Doric folk comedy, due to the paucity of the available evidence. The dispersed but precious testimonia, if carefully studied and combined, allow a small insight into the mechanics of this humble art form, which must have entertained generations of people, making their simple and hearty laughter resound in the meagre Hellenic landscape. National and Kapodistrian University of Athens [email protected]

 62 On the commedia dell’arte and its dramatic materials see Nicoll 1931, 217‒98; Nicoll 1963, 15‒ 116, 135‒50; Krömer 1976, 20‒48; Andrews 1993, 169‒203; Clavilier/Duchefdelaville 1999, 31‒84; Andrews 2008, xi‒xlvi; and various chapters in Chaffee/Crick 2015, 21‒9, 55‒122, 155‒92. 63 On these dramaturgical conventions of the ‘Karagiozis’ shadow theatre see Puchner 1975, 83‒115; Sifakis 1984, 31‒73; Myrsiades/Myrsiades 1992, 5‒11, 86‒103.

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Fig. 1: Corinthian column-krater, ca. 600‒590 BCE (‘Dümmler krater’). Louvre, E 632. Two men (Eunos, Ophelandros) carry a large vessel, while another man (Omrikos) pursues them with two sticks in his hands. Drawing by Ferdinand Dümmler (Dümmler 1885, table D 1).

Fig. 2: Apulian bell-krater attributed to the Lecce painter, ca. 375‒350 BCE. NM88.2, Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney. One comic actor runs away, holding a flat cake in each hand. Another actor, dressed like Heracles, with animal skin and club, pursues the first one. Reproduced by kind permission of the Nicholson Museum, The University of Sydney.

Michael Silk

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens I propose to clarify the way that classical Athens regarded comedy. I am not concerned here with readings of comedy (Greek or other), or with my own estimation of the value of comedy (which is probably higher than most),1 but with the historical question: what were the connotations of ‘comedy’ in classical Athens? And by ‘comedy’ I mean not only the institution but especially the word κωμῳδία and related words. Over the years, much scholarly activity has been expended in pinning down what might be called the denotations of Attic comedy – from festival arrangements to the dates of plays. Remarkably little time has been spent on its connotations, which are my concern here. Much of my focus, then, will be linguistic,2 or, more specifically, lexicographical. The word κωμῳδία and its derivatives in other languages have carried rather different implications in different cultures and eras. In our age, the English word ‘comedy’ tends to imply a range of popular entertainments, not necessarily dramatic and not always esteemed. In classical antiquity, κωμῳδία and then Latin comoedia customarily (though not quite always) mean verse drama, and Horace notes that ‘some have queried whether comedy is poetry or not’3 – which is not a reference to prose comedy, but to the supposition that ‘poetry’ should be stylistically and tonally elevated: something that comedy is probably not. In later antiquity, we find traces of much more positive attitudes, as when the author of a rhetorical handbook attributed to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, but probably thirdcentury CE, claims that comedy – Old Comedy in particular – ‘philosophises, through its presentation of the comic’.4 Then again, as early as the third century BCE, Aristophanes of Byzantium famously commends Menandrian realism with the rhetorical question, ‘O Menander, O Life, which of you copied the other?’5 Menander, we know, was highly esteemed (‘taken seriously’) in, or soon after, his lifetime: third-century mosaics from Mytilene, for instance, represent him on a

 1 See Silk 1988 and 2000a. 2 As befits the present collection: Angus Bowie’s distinguished contributions to scholarship include books on both comedy and literary language. 3 Hor. Sat. 1.4.45–6 (the translation is my own, as are all translations in this chapter, unless otherwise indicated). 4 [Dion. Hal.] Rhet. 8.11 U–R: ἡ … κωμῳδία αὐτὴ τὸ γελοῖον προστησαμένη φιλοσοφεῖ. 5 Ar. Byz. ap. Syrian. Comm. in Hermog. 2.23.6 Rabe.

  Michael Silk par, seemingly, with Plato (who would not have been amused by the conjunction).6 But before the age of Menander, what were the prevailing attitudes? And what were the prevailing attitudes, in particular, in the age of Aristophanes? Consider the following formulations by Simon Goldhill:7 In the Great Dionysia, after the series of rituals and ceremonials which express and promote the ideology of democratic civic involvement, the tragic and comic plays represent a series of problems for, and transgressions of, that civic ideology. Old Comedy […] is the product of and for the citizens of a radical democracy and takes place in a festival of citizens. The comic poet is not merely the ‘allowed fool’ of democracy, but a citizen sophos whose utterance raises a question of the limits of licence.

The propositions are both representative and impressive, and I cite them as such – but they surely hover between a construction that an intelligent modern might impose, by way of making sense of both the apparent realities and the seeming aspirations of Athenian comedy, and a reconstruction of what a contemporary then might have assumed. As such, they misrepresent the latter: the attitudes at the time. The propositions depend primarily on the institutional evidence for comedy, much of which concerns its parity, or otherwise, with tragedy. And the premise here (itself beyond dispute) is that tragedy in Athens enjoyed an exceptional, high status – which is why (for instance) it can make sense for Aristophanes in Frogs to nominate a tragedian as saviour of the polis at a time of crisis, and why Plato should be so anxious to submit tragedy (but not comedy) to a substantive critique a generation later.8 The evidence for parity is clear enough. The institutionalisation of Old Comedy at the Dionysia in the 480s (and likewise – in the 440s? – at the Lenaea) suggests state approval, on a par with tragedy. Inscriptional records of dramatic competitions list tragic and comic winners indifferently. Comic productions, like tragic productions, were given the privilege of financial support under the chorēgia system. The system of formal judging – a system which implies that the competitions were felt to matter – was common to both. Comedy, like tragedy,

 6 ‘Taken seriously’: cf. Silk 2000a, 301–49. Mosaics: see, conveniently, Csapo/Slater 1995, 75. 7 Goldhill 1991, 174, 184, 185. 8 Especially in Republic 3 and 10.

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

was honoured symbolically by the practice of hanging masks in the temple of Dionysus. And the comic, like the tragic, competitions were maintained throughout, and despite, the crises and privations of the Peloponnesian War. So far as it goes, this evidence certainly suggests parity of official recognition and (maybe) esteem. Conversely, though, there are grounds for concluding that ‘parity’ is hardly the right word. In various ways, it is apparent that tragedy took precedence. How else to explain the well-known fact that tragedy is institutionalised in the 530s, but comedy not until the 480s, two generations later? Given the supposition that (as Nick Lowe puts it) ‘comedy was probably the older genre’,9 and even though we know effectively nothing about the state, or status, of Attic proto-comedy at the end of the sixth century, we must surely infer either that no-one ever thought of institutionalising comedy then or that they did, but that there was resistance to any such suggestion. Either inference might seem to be supported by Aristotle’s assurance that comedy was not, at first, ‘taken seriously’.10 And in this light, one might well ponder some of the specifics of the institutionalised arrangements. The tragic and comic competitions, not surprisingly, were always separate – but what lies behind the strict separation of comic and tragic writers?11 Contrast the freedom of a poet like Archilochus, in an earlier age, to compose up and down the tonal range. In Athens, playwrights specialised in comedy or tragedy, but not both (the starting-point of Socrates’ argument at the end of Plato’s Symposium).12 Is it that comedians would simply not have been welcome in a tragic context? – and/or that tragedians would never think of soiling their hands by having a go at comedy? And while the institutional chronology of the two dramatic forms points to tragedy’s higher status to start with, comedy continues to play catch-up in the generations that follow. At the Dionysia, there was a competition for tragic actors from the mid-fifth century, but not for comic actors until the late fourth13 – while in the fourth century itself several tragic actors were honoured with roles as Athenian ambassadors, but never, as far as we know, any comic actors.14 Was there

 9 Lowe 2008, 23. 10 Arist. Poet. 1449a38 l–49b1: ἡ … κωμῳδία διὰ τὸ μὴ σπουδάζεσθαι … 11 As also, until the Hellenistic age, of comic and tragic actors: Csapo/Slater 1995, 231. 12 Cf. below, p. 42. 13 Csapo/Slater 1995, 228. 14 The comic actor Satyrus was a visitor to the court of Philip of Macedon, but seemingly on a private, not an official, basis (ἰδίᾳ, not δημοσίᾳ, Dem. 19.192–3).

  Michael Silk felt to be something parochial about comedy in its Aristophanic heyday?15 Some non-Athenians composed tragedies for performance in Athens (Ion of Chios, Achaeus from Eretria), but we know of no-one from outside Athens in the fifth century (or indeed the fourth) who composed comedies for performance there.16 Comedy is eventually institutionalised like tragedy, but on reflection it does look as if comedy is seen as certainly secondary and probably unworthy of any comparable esteem. At which point, we can profitably switch from institutions to words. Consider first the much-cited complaint by the ‘Old Oligarch’, Ps.-Xenophon, Ath. Pol. 2.18: κωμῳδεῖν δ᾿ αὖ καὶ κακῶς λέγειν τὸν μὲν δῆμον οὐκ ἐῶσιν, ἵνα μὴ αὐτοὶ ἀκούωσι κακῶς· ἰδίᾳ δὲ κελεύουσιν, εἴ τίς τινα βούλεται, εὖ εἰδότες ὅτι οὐχὶ τοῦ δήμου ἐστὶν οὐδὲ τοῦ πλήθους ὁ κωμῳδούμενος ὡς ἐπὶ τὸ πολύ, ἀλλ’ ἢ πλούσιος ἢ γενναῖος ἢ δυνάμενος, ὀλίγοι δέ τινες τῶν πενήτων καὶ τῶν δημοτικῶν κωμῳδοῦνται καὶ οὐδ᾿ οὗτοι ἐὰν μὴ διὰ πολυπραγμοσύνην καὶ διὰ τὸ ζητεῖν πλέον τι ἔχειν τοῦ δήμου, ὥστε οὐδὲ τοὺς τοιούτους ἄχθονται κωμῳδουμένους. Again, [the Athenians] do not allow the comic playwrights to target and bad-mouth the dēmos, in case they are bad-mouthed themselves. But if someone wants to get at private individuals, they tell him to go ahead, well aware that, in general, comic targets are not drawn from the dēmos or the masses, but are men of wealth or noble birth or influence, and that only the odd few members of the poor or the ordinary people are targeted, and not even these, unless they are being busy-bodies or looking to do better than [the rest of] the dēmos, so that [the Athenians] do not resent it when such people are targeted.

This source, biased and hostile, assumes that comedy is all about targeting individuals, that the individuals targeted are the oligoi – and that comedy, shockingly, is licensed to target them. One does not have to accept such a caricature of Old Comedy as we know it to see that the very existence of this kind of comic drama was contested. But, beyond that almost rudimentary inference, modern scholarly discussion of Old Comedy has shown surprisingly little interest in the nuances of the passage. The opening words in particular are worth our attention:

 15 I leave to one side the possible implications of the scope and distribution of tragedy- and comedy-related vase-painting, before and after 400 (on which see the summary in Taplin 1993, 6–11). 16 The unsubstantiated claim in the Suda (δ 1178) that Dionysius I of Syracuse ‘wrote tragedies and comedies’ probably represents a garbled version of a tradition that his tragedies were themselves ‘laughable’. Thus Lucian (Ind. 15) has it that he wrote tragedies ‘in a low and ludicrous idiom’ (φαύλως πάνυ καὶ γελοίως).

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

κωμῳδεῖν … καὶ κακῶς λέγειν. If this text belongs to the 420s, as is widely supposed, this may be the earliest extant occurrence of the verb κωμῳδεῖν.17 In any event, the writer almost offers a gloss on the word. κωμῳδεῖν … καὶ κακῶς λέγειν, ‘comic targeting’ and ‘bad-mouthing’: this reads like an equation, with -ῳδεῖν = λέγειν and the ‘comic’ part of the stem in effect matched with κακῶς. Such a correspondence sets up a damaging relationship indeed: comedy and κακία, ‘evil’. Compare, for instance, the association, a few generations later, in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, between κωμῳδοποιοί and κακολόγοι, ‘comic poets’ and ‘bad-mouthers’ or ‘slanderers’: ‘those like … comic writers who spend their time finding fault with their neighbours; these are, in their way, bad-mouthers’ (Rh. 1384b9–11: οἷς ἡ διατριβὴ ἐπὶ ταῖς τῶν πέλας ἁμαρτίαις, οἷον … κωμῳδοποιοῖς· κακολόγοι γάρ πως οὗτοι …). In both cases, of course, the ‘evil’ is in the saying, rather than the being, but inevitably spills out onto the being too. Contrast, but also compare, Aristotle’s formula for comedy in Poetics 5 (1449a32–3), where his focus is on the human objects of the comic mimesis: ‘Comedy is … a mimesis of inferiors – though not [by ‘inferior’] meaning totally evil’ (ἡ δὲ κωμῳδία ἐστὶν … μίμησις φαυλοτέρων μέν, οὐ μέντοι κατὰ πᾶσαν κακίαν …). Here, Aristotle goes out of his way to dissociate comedy (or at least its human objects) from kakia as such. It would be wholly speculative to suppose he is responding to the Old Oligarch’s text specifically, but, in any case, his dissociation is revealing, because it implies that some observers in the fifth or fourth centuries did associate κωμῳδία with κακία. ‘Comedy’ words, we begin to see, have negative connotations. A different version of such a connotation, though, is yielded by that curious passage in Poetics 3 (1448a30–8), where Aristotle glances at the alternative etymologies proposed for the first element of the ‘comedy’ word-group: ἀντιποιοῦνται … τῆς κωμῳδίας οἱ Δωριεῖς … ποιούμενοι τὰ ὀνόματα σημεῖον· αὐτοὶ μὲν γὰρ κώμας τὰς περιοικίδας καλεῖν φασιν, ᾿Αθηναίους δὲ δήμους, ὡς κωμῳδοὺς οὐκ ἀπὸ τοῦ κωμάζειν λεχθέντας ἀλλὰ τῇ κατὰ κώμας πλάνῃ ἀτιμαζομένους ἐκ τοῦ ἄστεως. The Dorians … lay claim to comedy, citing lexical evidence. They say they call villages kōmai, whereas Athenians call them dēmoi [‘demes’], with kōmōidoi [‘comic performers’] so named not from kōmazein [(v.i.) ‘revel’ < kōmos, (n.) ‘revel’], but from their wandering round the villages (kōmai) when banned [atimazomenoi] from the town.

 17 Unless the word was used in the censorship law of 440/439 (below, n. 25), the other candidate is Aristophanes, Ach. 631, 655 (cf. below, pp. 36–7, 45).

  Michael Silk On the face of it, the alternatives belong to a dispute about bragging rights. Did κωμῳδία originate on Attic territory (κῶμος) or in Dorian lands (κώμη)? One possible answer: Dorian, because the word κωμῳδία supposedly derives from the word κώμη, which is not Attic usage for villages in Attica. The actual originary element, as everyone now agrees, is κῶμος – while, for the record, the word κώμη is not alien to Attic, though indeed not Attic usage for the constituent villagedistricts (the ‘demes’) of Attica. But for our purposes, all this is by the way. According to Aristotle’s testimony, unspecified Dorian spokesmen claimed that κωμῳδοί were so called, because they were left to perform ‘round the villages’ (κατὰ κώμας) when they were ἀτιμαζομένους ἐκ τοῦ ἄστεως. So at least one Dorian authority based or supported the Dorian claim with reference to the poor reputation (ἀτιμία) of comedy, and specifically to its exclusion from civic institutions. Whether this means civic institutions in Dorian cities, or (contortedly) in Athens itself, hardly matters. What matters is that there was a view that κωμῳδία was (for a significant period?) of low esteem, and that its exclusion from civic institutions (wherever) shows it. And ἀτιμία, we should bear in mind, is a technical term for loss of civic rights.18 On reflection, the Dorian claim would seem to be contradictorily two-fold, as if: (a) κωμῳδία is originally ours, not theirs; but (b), anyway, its prehistory shows it’s not worth boasting about. But that aside, it is surely noteworthy (though commentators and others fail to acknowledge this) that there is a significant tonal difference between the rival semantic elements. On a spectrum of value, the word κῶμος occupies a range from neutral to positive. A κῶμος may be informal and unruly, but is quite likely to be dignified,19 even elevated. Witness Pindar, who repeatedly gives the word a place of honour in his high-lyric celebrations. His κῶμοι are ‘lovely’ (Isthm. 2.31: κώμων … ἐρατῶν) and ‘mellifluous’ (Pyth. 8.70: κώμῳ … ἁδυμελεῖ, Nem. 3.4–5: μελιγαρύων … κώμων). And the verb κωμάζειν, which features in Aristotle’s account, is used by Pindar of solemn ‘celebration’ of Zeus himself (Nem. 2.24): virtually the opposite of the κακῶς λέγειν associated with the verb κωμῳδεῖν by the Old Oligarch. But the noun κώμη, in tone, is very different. We should note first that the lexicographical distribution of the word is remarkable. This is an inherited IndoEuropean lexeme, in origin,20 but up to the end of the classical period rarely attested in verse: it occurs three times in the Hesiodic corpus (including once in the  18 On ἀτιμία see e.g. Harrison 1971, 169–76. 19 The word is used, for instance, in the official records of the Athenian dramatic festivals: IG 22 2318. 20 Notwithstanding phonological complications: Vine 1998.

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

Works and Days), but nowhere else in ‘high’ poetry.21 In prose, the word is infrequent in Attic oratory, but fairly common in Plato and Thucydides – as also in Herodotus – and extremely common in Xenophon.22 It is inherited, but restricted and largely prosaic: all in all, a very distinctive spread of instances from which to assess its tone. From these instances, it is clear that a κώμη is not in itself an object of scorn. κώμαι can be big (Xen. Hell. 4.1.20: κώμῃ μεγάλῃ) or wealthy (Pl. Criti. 118b: κώμας … πλουσίας). However, they are not in themselves objects of pride either, not least because they are without walls (Thuc. 2.80.8: κώμην ἀτείχιστον) and are therefore vulnerable in time of war. They can be burnt down (Xen. Anab. 3.5.3: καίειν ἐπεχείρησαν τὰς κώμας), and it is not unknown to find them deserted (Philoch. fr. 113.3 Jacoby: κώμη ἔρημος). There is nothing idyllic about a Greek κώμη, and indeed life in one particular specimen was famously the opposite of an idyll: Hesiod’s Ascra, the ‘horrid’ village where his father ended up (Op. 639: ὀιζυρῇ ἐνὶ κώμῃ). More generally, one can say that for any city-dweller, whatever else a κώμη might be, it will be inferior to a polis – at best, a constituent part of a polis (Arist. Pol. 1252b28–9: ἡ δ’ ἐκ πλειόνων κωμῶν κοινωνία τέλειος πόλις, ‘a polis is a fully constituted community of multiple villages’). And though no single attestation of the word seems to pinpoint the issue, one can fairly assume that, compared with a polis, a κώμη is unsophisticated. One thinks of the contrast sketched by Strepsiades in Clouds: rustic husband and fashionable urbanite wife.23 In all this, the etymological actualities of κωμῳδία, though not in doubt, are irrelevant; the mere associability of κωμῳδία with κώμη is indicative of secondary or inferior status. If significant lexicographical implications can thus be teased out of Aristotle’s Dorian anecdote, the lexicography of the verb κωμῳδεῖν is altogether more straightforward. The verb is consistently charged with negative value. Once in a while, it might look neutral (as if ‘represent in comedy’),24 but in practice, as in the Old Oligarch’s usage, negativity is foregrounded: not ‘represent in comedy’,  21 Verse usages: Hes. Op. 639, Scut. 18 and fr. 43a.62 M–W; then two attestations in pre-Hellenistic comedy (Pherecr. fr. 10.4 and Theopomp. Com. fr. 42.3); one in the quasi-parodic hexameters of Archestratus (Suppl. Hell. 172.3); one in a late-fourth-century BCE verse inscription, ‘Hymnus in Dactylos Idaeos’ 25 (Coll. Alex., p. 172, Powell); then two in Menander (Aspis 31 and 68) and his contemporary Stephanus Com. (1.1 and 1.3). 22 There are, in all, around two hundred attestations of the word in pre-Hellenistic prose. 23 Summed up in Nub. 43–52 (especially 47: ἄγροικος vs ἐξ ἄστεως); cf. 138, 492, 628–9, 646, 655, 1456–7. 24 As in the ‘comic representations’ (μιμήματα κεκωμῳδημένα) in Pl. Leg. 816d; even in such a case, though, the negative connotation is latent.

  Michael Silk but ‘abuse’, ‘insult’, ‘belittle’, ‘target’, whether on the comic stage or in extra-theatrical contexts. The supposition that the verb can be neutral, in fact, is not supported by any evidence from classical Greek.25 English translators like to turn the word into ‘satirise’.26 This is wrong. ‘Satire’ in English usage signifies a legitimate mode, whether in popular culture or in more elevated contexts, where, it may be, it evokes the wit of Pope or the sophistications of Horace. The word κωμῳδεῖν does not evoke wit or sophistication, and its legitimacy is precisely the question. And – in case it needs saying – whether or not we think that Aristophanes, in particular, is witty or sophisticated (and I think both) is not the issue. The issue is that this word points in a different direction. To restate: I am not concerned here with what we think Greek comedy was or was like, or indeed with what it ‘really’ was or was like, but with what it was taken to be like, and here lexicographical evidence is paramount. Correlatively, it is no objection to any conclusions to which such evidence points that some of the evidence comes from avowedly anti-democratic or (let us call them) elitist sources, from the Old Oligarch to Plato. These sources do not have ownership of the connotations of their vocabulary, as is shown by the fact that, again and again, the relevant connotations are confirmed by the usage of comic sources, Aristophanes above all. The word κωμῳδεῖν, then, is uncompromising. It connotes a negative attitude, and it implies a negative source. The men who ‘slander’ and κωμῳδεῖν each other and ‘use shameful language’ against each other are themselves ‘bad men’, says Plato’s Socrates (Resp. 395e: ἄνδρας κακοὺς … κακηγοροῦντάς τε καὶ κωμῳδοῦντας ἀλλήλους καὶ αἰσχρολογοῦντας). The further implication is that the human object of the abuse, faced with such a negative attack, will be affronted, and will respond negatively in turn. Witness – above all – Aristophanes, whose word usage is of special significance when it goes against the high aspirations of his own drama. In Acharnians (630–1) the playwright reports ‘the slander’ – by

 25 It seems to rest in part on a discredited interpretation of a passage in a much-discussed scholion (on Ar. Ach. 67) referring to censorship legislation: τὸ ψήφισμα τὸ περὶ τοῦ μὴ κωμῳδεῖν, γραφὲν ἐπὶ Μορυχίδου … ἐπ’ Εὐθυμένους κατελύθη (‘the law concerning “no kōmōidein”, passed in the archonship of Morychides [= 440/439 BCE] … was repealed in the archonship of Euthymenes [= 437/436 BCE]’). If μὴ κωμῳδεῖν here is an authentic phrase from an authentic law, it must mean ‘no abuse’, not ‘no comic performance’, because, as we know from the didaskaliai (IG 22 2325), there were comic performances in the relevant period. Conversely, it is worth adding here that, contrary to the impression given by various discussions, the decidedly non-neutral phrase ὀνομαστὶ κωμῳδεῖν (‘abuse by name’) is not attested before the Second Sophistic (Aristid. Or. 3.8 Lenz–Behr, al.). 26 So LSJ, among others.

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

Cleon – that he ‘κωμῳδεῖ our city and insults the dēmos’ (διαβαλλόμενος … | ὡς κωμῳδεῖ τὴν πόλιν ἡμῶν καὶ τὸν δῆμον καθυβρίζει). Less exciting, but revealing in its own way, is a passage in Wealth (557), much later in Aristophanes’ career, where Poverty berates Chremylus with the words, ‘you’re trying to mock me and κωμῳδεῖν me, without regard to any serious debate’ (σκώπτειν πειρᾷ καὶ κωμῳδεῖν τοῦ σπουδάζειν ἀμελήσας). Here and elsewhere, κωμῳδεῖν is used, pejoratively, without reference to dramatic representation. Compare Lys. 24.18, where the context is the law-court. The passage runs: ὥστε μοι δοκεῖ ὁ κατήγορος εἰπεῖν περὶ τῆς ἐμῆς ὕβρεως, οὐ σπουδάζων ἀλλὰ παίζων, οὐδ᾿ ὑμᾶς πεῖσαι βουλόμενος ὡς εἰμὶ τοιοῦτος, ἀλλ’ ἐμὲ κωμῳδεῖν βουλόμενος, ὥσπερ τι καλὸν ποιῶν. That is: ‘It seems to me that my accuser made reference to my “crimes”, not in a serious spirit, but playing with me, and not so much concerned to persuade you that this is what I am like, as to insult [κωμῳδεῖν] me – as if this was a good thing to do’. In or out of drama, the connotations of τὸ κωμῳδεῖν militate against anything ‘good’ in this sense. At this point, we can profitably turn back to Aristotle’s account of κωμῳδία in the Poetics. And first we should bear in mind that the aetiological κώμη story, which tends to depreciate comedy, certainly by comparison with tragedy, sits alongside three other accounts of its origin in Poetics 4, each of which tends the same way. Comedy is successor to no-saying abuse (iambos), whereas tragedy is successor to yes-saying hymnic or encomiastic poems of praise;27 tragedy is prefigured by Homeric epic, but comedy by the quasi-iambic Margites;28 and tragedy derives from the dithyramb (a respectable and influential lyric form, in its various guises), but comedy from the phallic song. It would be hard to imagine a less impressive pedigree.29 And then we have Aristotle’s more theoretical account of κωμῳδία,30 which constitutes a classic formulation of comedy’s supposed parallelism with, but inferiority to, tragedy.31 The most straightforward proposition concerns the dramatic

 27 ‘Yes-saying’ and ‘no-saying’ are Nietzschean categories for ‘life-enhancing’ or the opposite; Aristotle’s schematic opposition points the same way. 28 Damning with faint praise … A representative view of the Margites in antiquity: Dio Chrys. 53.4 cites the philosopher Zeno as supposing that the poem belonged to Homer’s juvenilia. 29 Regarding the shift from epic to tragedy and iambic to comedy, Aristotle adds that the new forms were ‘greater’ (μείζω) and ‘more esteemed’ (ἐντιμότερα) than their predecessors, but (pace Else 1957, 147) the run of the sentence effectively foregrounds the relevance of the point to tragedy rather than comedy. 30 Sc. in the Poetics; I leave to one side the inanities of the sub- and post-Aristotelian Tractatus Coislinianus. 31 Silk 2000a, 53–4, 80–1, on which the following discussion builds.

  Michael Silk characters in relation to their equivalents in life (Poetics 2): ‘tragedy tends to represent our superiors, comedy our inferiors’ (ἡ μὲν γὰρ [sc. κωμῳδία] χείρους, ἡ δὲ [sc. τραγῳδία] βελτίους μιμεῖσθαι βούλεται τῶν νῦν). But the basis of Aristotle’s oppositional argument is a seemingly harmless twofold assumption writ large in Poetics 4–5: that τὸ γελοῖον (‘the amusing’) is the rationale of κωμῳδία and the opposite of τὸ σπουδαῖον (‘the serious’) – the same ‘seriousness’ that we encountered, per contra, in Lysias and in Aristophanes’ Wealth. In Aristotle’s usage, σπουδαῖος/serious is indeed the opposite of γελοῖος/ amusing, but is equally the opposite of φαῦλος, ‘ordinary’, ‘low’, ‘trivial’, ‘inferior’ – the word he associates with comedy in his definition in Poetics 5 (κωμῳδία … μίμησις φαυλοτέρων: ‘comedy … mimesis of inferiors’). Tragedy, so the definition in Poetics 6 assures us, is a mimesis of a ‘serious’ action (ἔστιν οὖν τραγῳδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας). And tragedy, as we hear in Poetics 4, is all about ‘noble actions and the actions of noble characters’ (τὰς καλὰς … πράξεις καὶ τὰς τῶν τοιούτων), comedy ‘the actions of the φαῦλοι’. A few sentences later comes the proposition that Homer is the great master of ‘serious subjects’ (τὰ σπουδαῖα), but also, through the Margites, the pioneer of τὸ γελοῖον. For Aristotle, the two oppositions simply alternate with no questions asked or answered. What Aristotle has done is convert into implicit argument the facts of the Greek language, in that the two σπουδαῖος oppositions are both, in themselves, ordinary Greek usage. Thus, for instance, Plato (Phdr. 261b) can equate the σπουδαῖα/φαῦλα distinction with the simple opposition of ‘great’ (μεγάλα) and ‘small’ (σμικρά), and Aristophanes’ chorus can declare that their words will be in part γελοῖα and in part σπουδαῖα (Ran. 389–90: καὶ πολλὰ μὲν γελοῖά μ᾿ εἰπεῖν, πολλὰ δὲ σπουδαῖα). However, as the Plato passage makes clear, the σπουδαῖος/φαῦλος opposition is irredeemably evaluative, in favour of the former. The mental processes of the σπουδαῖοι and the φαῦλοι are very different, says Isocrates (1.1: πολὺ διεστώσας … τάς τε τῶν σπουδαίων γνώμας καὶ τὰς τῶν φαύλων διανοίας), and (Plato again) while the σπουδαῖοι are few and worthy, the φαῦλοι are numerous and worthless (Euthyd. 307a: οἱ μὲν φαῦλοι πολλοὶ καὶ οὐδενὸς ἄξιοι, οἱ δὲ σπουδαῖοι ὀλίγοι καὶ παντὸς ἄξιοι). The other opposition is no doubt loaded in favour of τὸ σπουδαῖον too, if less obviously and less stridently. ‘What are you doing, responding with laughter to matters that are σπουδαῖα and fine?’, Plato once more (Euthyd. 300e: τί γελᾷς … ἐπὶ σπουδαίοις οὕτω πράγμασι καὶ καλοῖς;).32 But the  32 This, like its converse, is a breach of decorum. Isoc. 1.31: ‘make sure not to be solemn if the context calls for amusement, or to take pleasure in amusement when it calls for seriousness: inappropriate behaviour always gives offence’ (μηδὲ παρὰ τὰ γελοῖα σπουδάζων, μηδὲ παρὰ τὰ σπουδαῖα τοῖς γελοίοις χαίρων· τὸ γὰρ ἄκαιρον πανταχοῦ λυπηρόν).

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

conflation of the two oppositions, in Aristotle’s theory, serves only to transfer the out-and-out negativity of φαῦλος onto τὸ γελοῖον. By centring his account of tragedy on the word σπουδαῖος (oppositional to both γελοῖος and φαῦλος), Aristotle arrives at the implicit, and damaging, equation, γελοῖος = φαῦλος, ‘comic’ = ‘inferior’: Aristotle’s own equation, but an equation rooted in Greek usage. In Greek usage, more damagingly still, σπουδαῖος is also antithetical to πονηρός, ‘bad’, ‘wicked’, ‘unprincipled’, as in Xenophon’s ‘neither good men outside this group nor bad men inside it’ (Hell. 2.3.19: οὔτ’ ἔξω τούτων σπουδαίους οὔτ’ ἐντὸς τούτων πονηρούς). Compare a passage in Plato’s Republic (606c), where πονηρία is explicitly associated with comedy: there is ‘buffoonery in comic mimesis or in private conversation that you’d be ashamed to indulge in yourself while taking great pleasure in it, rather than detesting it as πονηρά’ (ἃν αὐτὸς αἰσχύνοιο γελωτοποιῶν, ἐν μιμήσει δὴ κωμῳδικῇ ἢ καὶ ἰδίᾳ ἀκούων σφόδρα χαρῇς καὶ μὴ μισῇς ὡς πονηρά).33 In the Poetics, Aristotle never uses πονηρία in connection with comedy himself, and arguably even distances comedy from any such link by his dissociation of κωμῳδία from πᾶσα κακία in Poetics 5. Still, one might well say, the damage is already done: τὸ γελοῖον, in his canonical formulation, has toxic associations, but associations that follow the norms of the Greek language. And what of the word κωμῳδία itself? – subsuming, under this heading, the derivatives κωμῳδικός, and so on. Members of this word-group, at least, can be straightforwardly neutral in tone. Thus it is when Aristophanes refers to ‘last year’s comedy’ (Ach. 378: τὴν πέρυσι κωμῳδίαν), or when, more flamboyantly, Plato invokes ‘the whole tragedy and comedy of life’ (Phlb. 50b: [ἐν] τῇ τοῦ βίου ξυμπάσῃ τραγῳδίᾳ καὶ κωμῳδίᾳ) – and the parallelism, in context, yields no sense of disapproval. But very often the words are negative in tone. As in the passage just discussed from Plato’s Republic, κωμῳδία is something one might be embarrassed to enjoy. It is very likely φαύλη itself (Isoc. 2.44: κωμῳδίας τῆς φαυλοτάτης, ‘the most trivial comedy’). And very likely vulgar, as Aristophanes is on hand to testify (Eccl. 371): ἵνα μὴ γένωμαι σκωραμὶς κωμῳδική – ‘let me not end up as a comic shit-pot!’ – not that, presumably, comic shit-pots are worse than other shit-pots, but rather that comic contexts are presumed to be especially welcoming to such items.34

 33 For the association cf. also Xen. Cyr. 2.2.24 (below, n. 52), where the φαῦλοι/σπουδαῖοι contrast leads likewise to talk of πονηρία. 34 For more examples of the association with vulgarity see below, pp. 42–4.

  Michael Silk The κωμῳδία word-group is hardly ever positive, tout court, and in fact the only attested examples in classical Greek are in Aristophanes himself, and concern his own work. The poet – so his spokesman in the Wasps parabasis assures us – ‘swears that no-one ever heard better comic verses than these’ (Vesp. 1046– 7: ὄμνυσιν … | μὴ πώποτ᾿ ἀμείνον᾿ ἔπη τούτων κωμῳδικὰ μηδέν᾿ ἀκοῦσαι). A comparable moment in Peace proclaims its author as ‘the best and most renowned of all comic creators’ (Pax 736–7: ἄριστος | κωμῳδοδιδάσκαλος ἀνθρώπων καὶ κλεινότατος). And in Ecclesiazusae, a girl proposes to sing a song which ‘the audience’ will find ‘comic – and rather nice’ (Eccl. 888–9: τοῖς θεωμένοις, | … τερπνόν τι καὶ κωμῳδικόν). ‘The only attested examples in classical Greek’: in this connection, one recalls the point discussed by Oliver Taplin, among others, that when putting forward claims for comedy, Aristophanes (as also, seemingly, Eupolis, once) inclines to appeal to the quaint comic coinage τρυγῳδία.35 The locus classicus here is the celebrated protestation by Dicaeopolis/Aristophanes in Acharnians (500–3): τὸ γὰρ δίκαιον οἶδε καὶ τρυγῳδία. ἐγὼ δὲ λέξω δεινὰ μέν, δίκαια δέ. οὐ γάρ με νῦν γε διαβαλεῖ Κλέων ὅτι ξένων παρόντων τὴν πόλιν κακῶς λέγω.

‘τρυγῳδία too [sc. like tragedy] has a sense of justice. And what I have to say is dangerous, but just. And, yes, this time [sc. at the Lenaea] Cleon can’t slander me by claiming that I’m bad-mouthing the city in the presence of foreigners’ (‘badmouth’: κακῶς λέγω – as in the Old Oligarch’s complaint). But why τρυγῳδία, not κωμῳδία? For two reasons. First, the word, by its very sound, purports to align comedy with τραγῳδία, and as such implies an attempt to appropriate the status of a superior genre (hence the καί: comedy too …).36 But secondly, and simply, it evades the seamier associations of the word κωμῳδία itself. Unlike the word κῶμος, the word κωμῳδία, though it can be neutral, is fraught with negative connotations. Can these be specified? There are several possibilities, not mutually exclusive. Is comedy – and specifically Old Comedy – felt to be politically dangerous? This is clearly the assumption made by the Old Oligarch, and interestingly it is implicit in a comic usage from a century later, in

 35 Taplin 1983; cf. Silk 2000a, 41, 78, 434–5. The key passages for relevant τρυγ- words: Ar. Ach. 499–500, 628; Vesp. 1537; frr. 156.9 and 347.1; Eup. fr. 99.29. Cf. also Ar. Vesp. 650 (ironically self-deprecating – on the lips of killjoy Bdelycleon) and Nub. 296 (where τρυγοδαίμονες is pejorative – on the lips of Socrates). 36 Silk 2000a, 39–41. τρυγ- also has ‘rural-traditional connections’: Silk 2000a, 435.

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

the shape of a striking defensive assertion by the comedian Philippides (fr. 25.7), in the context of troubled politics under Demetrius: ‘the dēmos is threatened’ – by political corruption, but ‘not by comedy’ (ταῦτα καταλύει δῆμον, οὐ κωμῳδία). The Old Oligarch’s assumption is shared by Socrates in Plato’s Apology (18b– 19d), where Socrates reviews the misrepresentations he has been subjected to, citing, among others, those by the κωμῳδιοποιός Aristophanes in Clouds. Here his misrepresenters are several times (18b–c) described as δεινοί, ‘dangerous’, the word that Aristophanes himself uses in his comic-majestic proclamation in Acharnians: ‘what I have to say is dangerous’ (ἐγὼ δὲ λέξω δεινά). Is this mere coincidence? Comedy as politically dangerous: to come to terms with this possibility more adequately, of course, we would need to look back from word associations to institutional or similar issues: to the implications of the Aristophanes–Cleon episode; to the Old Oligarch, once again; to the much-disputed censorship legislation; to the status of free speech (παρρησία) and its limits – to, for instance, the seeming implication in Isocrates that comic poets are like irresponsible demagogues in the Assembly, sheltering under the privilege of freedom of speech.37 One can at least agree that some contemporaries clearly felt that comedy was dangerous in this sense – though even here one might wonder how the ‘danger’ was perceived after Old Comedy’s fifth-century heyday was over. Consider, for instance, the elusive evidence of Plato’s Symposium, where Socrates’ bête noire Aristophanes figures, counter-intuitively, as an amiable participant in the speech-making competition.38 From his presentation there, one would never have guessed that Socrates – the real one, or the Platonic one – ever supposed that Aristophanic comedy was dangerous, so much as quaint. Indeed: how striking that Aristophanes should be presented there as eccentric myth-maker, without a trace of belittling or bad-mouthing, or even refined satire. Quaint – and still secondary to tragedy. In the Symposium, the comic poet Aristophanes speaks before the tragic poet Agathon in an ascending series of speeches that culminates in Socrates’ own; and when, at the end of the dialogue (223c–d), the two dramatists are left in discussion with Socrates, they both doze off – but the comic poet first: comedy is dozier than tragedy.

 37 Isoc. 8.14: δημοκρατίας οὔσης οὐκ ἔστι παρρησία, πλὴν ἐνθάδε μὲν τοῖς ἀφρονεστάτοις καὶ μηδὲν ὑμῶν φροντίζουσιν, ἐν δὲ τῷ θεάτρῳ τοῖς κωμῳδοδιδασκάλοις (‘Though ours is a democracy, no freedom of speech exists, except for reckless speakers here [sc. in the Assembly], who have no interest in your wellbeing, and comic writers in the theatre’). 38 The dialogue was presumably composed later than Aristophanes’ death (ca. 386). With the remarks on Symp. that follow cf. those in Silk 2013, 37.

  Michael Silk Quaint, secondary and (for all the charm of Aristophanes’ mythopoeia) made to look trivial. At one point, Aristophanes has a fit of hiccups;39 at another, his speech is simply ignored by Socrates;40 and then, after Socrates’ speech, he is presented as fussing, ineffectually (though quite accurately), that the master thinker’s narrative had actually coincided with his own.41 Revealingly, too, in the closing scene, Socrates is said to be arguing that – contrary to Athenian practice – the same one man should be able to write comedy as well as tragedy, and specifies that ‘a competent tragic poet could also be a comic poet’; but the correlative possibility, that a comic poet could also write a tragedy, is not mentioned.42 On lexicographical grounds, it is easier to argue that in general perception comedy was felt to be trivial rather than politically dangerous. But not just trivial: also, certainly, vulgar (it is the comic poet who gets the hiccups) and – a new danger – morally offensive. Hence the suggestion in Aristotle’s Politics that ‘young men should not be allowed to watch comedy’ until a proper education has made them entirely ‘immune to damage’.43 The word φορτικός, ‘vulgar’, is repeatedly associated with comedy and the comic. An anonymous comic fragment attaches the adjective to γέλως, ‘laughter’.44 Plato, in the Phaedrus, dismisses the ‘vulgar business’ of comic performance.45 And Aristophanes himself confirms the association by unmistakable implication in one of his defining moments of selfpromotion, this one in Wasps (66): what he is creating is altogether ‘more sophisticated than vulgar comedy’ (κωμῳδίας δὲ φορτικῆς σοφώτερον) – which is implicitly posited as the norm.46

 39 Symp. 185c–e, and dwelt on again at 188e–189a, where Aristophanes is said (by Eryximachus) to be ‘playing for laughs’ (γελωτοποιεῖς), even before his speech has started. Revealingly, Aristophanes then twice asks Eryximachus not to κωμῳδεῖν his (Aristophanes’) speech (193b, 193d). 40 Symp. 193d–194e. 41 Symp. 212c, referring back to Diotima’s reported words οn ‘looking for the other half’ (τὸ ἥμισυ κτλ.) at 205e. 42 Symp. 223d. 43 In full, ‘neither iamboi nor comedy’. Pol. 1336b.20–3: τοὺς δὲ νεωτέρους οὔτ’ ἰάμβων οὔτε κωμῳδίας θεατὰς ἐατέον [corr. Richards], πρὶν ἢ … τῆς ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων γιγνομένης βλάβης ἀπαθεῖς ἡ παίδεια ποιήσει πάντως. 44 Com. Adesp. 648: φορτικὸν γέλωτα. 45 Pl. Phdr. 236c: τὸ τῶν κωμῳδῶν φορτικὸν πρᾶγμα. 46 Xanthias addressing the audience. φορτικός is associated with comedy and the comic also at Ar. Nub. 524 (below, p. 43); Arist. Eth. Nic. 1128a5, Eth. Eud. 1234a8 and 1234a20–1 (all ~ γέλως/ τὸ γελοῖον). Cf. further Aristox. fr. 109 Wehrli (~ the comic kordax) (but this may not involve a verbatim quotation) and Hippoc. Medic. 1.14 (~ γέλως) (but this treatise is probably post-classical).

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

In Poetics 26 Aristotle takes it as axiomatic that the ‘less vulgar’ kind of mimesis is ‘better’ (ἡ ἧττον φορτικὴ βελτίων), and that the kind that puts anything and everything on show is ‘vulgar’. His focus is actually on ‘serious’ mimesis here, but the charge would apply to comedy, a fortiori. One is reminded of his disparaging comments elsewhere on the ‘shameful’ or ‘ugly’ language (αἰσχρολογία) of older comedy, as opposed to the allusive ‘suggestiveness’ (ὑπόνοια) of comedy in its newer form(s);47 reminded, too, of a remark that follows his definition of comedy in Poetics 5, that ‘the amusing/laughable’ is one type of ‘the shameful/ugly’ (τοῦ αἰσχροῦ ἐστι τὸ γελοῖον μόριον).48 Aristotle nowhere applies the adjective ‘vulgar’ (φορτικός) to comedy itself; but ‘vulgarity’ is clearly among the connotations of the word κωμῳδία; and these of his various characterisations of comedy assume it. Another question arises here: is comedy thought to be problematic (whether politically or morally), on the supposition that it is distinctively popular? – either in the sense that it attracts bigger audiences, or more enthusiastic audiences, or perhaps that it is preferred by the mass of the uneducated. Such an assumption about comedy and the comic is apparent in many later ages (including, probably, our own age), but we need to consider whether such an assumption was current in the fifth and fourth centuries. Some scholars seem to suppose this,49 but it has to be said that in classical Athens there is remarkably little evidence, in particular, that comedy was taken to be more popular than tragedy. We do hear it said that (older) children ‘would vote for comedy’ – but also that ‘educated women, young men and the great mass of people would prefer tragedy’.50 Aristophanes claims, of course, that his failure to please – as in the original Clouds – was because he tried to cater to the more intelligent: ‘I lost out to vulgar competitors … For this, I blame you, my sophisticated public, when it was for your sake that I was taking such trouble’ (Nub. 524–6: ὑπ’ ἀνδρῶν φορτικῶν | ἡττηθείς … ταῦτ᾿ οὖν ὑμῖν μέμφομαι | τοῖς σοφοῖς, ὧν οὕνεκ’ ἐγὼ ταῦτ᾿ ἐπραγματευόμην). But it hardly follows that comedy per se was, or was supposed to be, distinctively popular – and one might indeed argue, at a tangent, that the willingness of poets like  47 Arist. Eth. Nic. 1128a22–4. 48 Cf. Arist. Rh. 1408a10–16, where breaches of stylistic decorum are seen as characteristically comic. 49 E.g. Too 1998, 97–8. 50 Pl. Leg. 658c–d: οἱ μείζους παῖδες τὸν τὰς κωμῳδίας [sc. ἐπιδεικνύντα κρινοῦσιν]· τραγῳδίαν δὲ αἵ τε πεπαιδευμέναι τῶν γυναικῶν καὶ τὰ νέα μειράκια καὶ σχεδὸν ἴσως τὸ πλῆθος πάντων. Children: cf. Ar. Nub. 538–9: οὐδὲν ἦλθε ῥαψαμένη σκυτίνον καθειμένον, | ἐρυθρὸν ἐξ ἄκρου, παχύ, τοῖς παιδίοις ἵν᾿ ᾖ γέλως (‘[This latest play of mine] hasn’t come, dangling stitched leather, all thick and red-tipped, to give the kids a laugh’).

  Michael Silk Aristophanes himself to belittle popular dēmos politicians hardly supports the case. The best evidence for the contention is in Isocrates (2.44), where comedy is, as so often, associated with the adjective φαῦλος: ‘People would rather listen to the most trivial comedy than to the artistry of the leading poets’ (ἥδιον γὰρ ἂν κωμῳδίας τῆς φαυλοτάτης ἢ τῶν οὕτω τεχνικῶς πεποιημένων [sc. τῶν προεχόντων ποιητῶν] ἀκούσαιεν). However, the ‘leading poets’ specified are not tragedians but moralisers like Theognis. In the light of the association with φαῦλος, one might well ponder the implication of Plato’s observation that, among people, there are many φαῦλοι but few σπουδαῖοι,51 and likewise a claim in Xenophon’s Cyropaedia that in live debate the φαῦλοι are liable to command more popular support;52 and indeed a passing association in Aristotle’s Ethics between ‘the many and the really vulgar’ (Eth. Nic. 1095b16: οἱ μὲν πολλοὶ καὶ φορτικώτατοι).53 In the Ethics, again, Aristotle suggests that ‘most people enjoy joking and mocking more than they should’ (Eth. Nic. 1128a13–14: τῶν πλείστων χαιρόντων τῇ παιδιᾷ καὶ τῷ σκώπτειν μᾶλλον ἢ δεῖ). And then we may recall the joke in Birds that if a spectator was fed up with a tragedy, but had wings, he could slip off home for a snack and get back in time to watch us, presumably meaning a comedy.54 All of these passages are compatible with the notion that comedy per se was taken to be more popular (in whatever sense) than tragedy per se, but clear and decisive evidence for the notion is lacking.55 Popularity aside, what is incontrovertibly clear is that the common connotations of ‘comedy’ are at best neutral but characteristically negative. From which it follows that the attempts of Aristophanes, in particular, to reclaim comedy are

 51 Euthyd. 307a (above, p. 38). 52 Cyr. 2.2.24: καὶ πολλάκις τοίνυν πλείονας ὁμογνώμονας λαμβάνουσιν οἱ φαῦλοι ἢ οἱ σπουδαῖοι (‘and often the φαῦλοι find more people of their opinion than the σπουδαῖοι’). The proposition continues: ἡ γὰρ πονηρία … (‘Lack of principle …’). 53 It is precisely this last association that Aristophanes endorses by implication in the Clouds passage cited above: his refined drama lost out to ‘vulgar’ competitors who were able to appeal, supposedly, to a wider public (Nub. 524–5). 54 Av. 786–9, but not everyone agrees that ‘us’ does mean ‘comedy’: cf. Dunbar ad loc. The discussion in Biles/Olson on Vesp. 776–7 seems to miss the point. 55 One other possible pointer: in Poetics 13 Aristotle argues that the Odyssey kind of ‘double outcome’ plot (the good prosper, the bad suffer) is favoured by audiences for tragedy, whereas such satisfactions are ‘more appropriate for comedy’ (ἡδονὴ … μᾶλλον τῆς κωμῳδίας οἰκεία). But whether it is assumed that, for this reason, comedy itself was favoured over tragedy, one may doubt.

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

yet more remarkable than they might at first seem. These attempts need to be assessed, precisely, in the light of the characteristic negativity, as does, above all, his insistence on re-presenting comedy as precisely what conventional usage denies: that comedy is tragedy’s equal.56 And Aristophanes’ inclination to use the coinage τρυγῳδία to do so is as much testimony to the problematic connotations of the word κωμῳδία as to the enviable status of the word τραγῳδία, to which the comic coinage appeals. But there is more to be said here. As we have seen, Aristophanes – uniquely, on current evidence – does try to reclaim the κωμῳδία word-group itself.57 Aristophanes is the great reclaimer. Not irrelevantly, he attempts, on one occasion, to reclaim the word φαῦλος,58 and even – and of more direct relevance – to do the seemingly impossible by reclaiming the toxic verb κωμῳδεῖν. At Ach. 655, in the parabasis, the choral spokesman appeals to the audience to stick with the author: ‘don’t let him go: he’ll κωμῳδεῖν τὰ δίκαια’ (ἀλλ’ ὑμεῖς τοι μή ποτ’ ἀφῆσθ᾿· ὡς κωμῳδήσει τὰ δίκαια). In context the words are bound to convey the sense, ‘he’ll speak up for justice in his comedies’, in line with Dicaeopolis’ programmatic claim (‘comedy too has a sense of justice’)59 – a claim that is restated by the chorus only a few lines earlier at 644–5: ‘they [sc. the allied representatives, with their bags of money] will be queuing up to see this best of poets, who has been so bold as to speak justice among his fellow-Athenians’ (ἥξουσιν ἰδεῖν ἐπιθυμοῦντες τὸν ποιητὴν τὸν ἄριστον, | ὅστις παρεκινδύνευσ᾿ εἰπεῖν ἐν ᾿Αθηναίοις τὰ δίκαια). As this sequence of passages shows, then, the provocative use of κωμῳδεῖν at 655 must imply a positive: a unique act of reclamation for this otherwise compromised verb.60 *

 56 Silk 2000a, 48–53 and passim. 57 See p. 40 above. 58 This, for his heroine Lysistrata, at Lys. 1108–9: δεῖ δὴ νυνί σε γενέσθαι | δεινὴν , ἀγαθὴν φαύλην, σεμνὴν ἀγανήν (‘Now you must be dangerous and innocent, high and low, haughty and gentle’). At the crucial moment of persuasion and negotiation, she must be not only the positive, ἀγαθή, but also its negative opposite, φαύλη – as Henderson ad loc. puts it, ‘uniting the characteristics of both superior and inferior social classes’ – yet clearly in a quasi-positive sense. The positive use of δεινή (‘dangerous’) here is noteworthy too: cf. p. 41 above. 59 See p. 40 above. 60 Not everyone acknowledges this. Matthew Wright, for instance, translates 655, ‘Aristophanes will never stop making fun of what is right’ (Wright 2012, 11) – a bizarre suggestion for an Aristophanic manifesto, and in context perverse, quite apart from tacitly converting ‘insult’ (vel sim.) into the more amiable-sounding ‘make fun of’.

  Michael Silk My conclusions can be briefly stated. First: in any discussion of the status of comedy at Athens, the negative connotations of κωμῳδία and associated vocabulary need to be taken account of, and not least the pejorative tone of the verb κωμῳδεῖν: these negative connotations are direct indicators of classical Athenian attitudes; and, strikingly, no such negativity is detectable in the classical usage of ‘tragedy’ words.61 Secondly: in his efforts to reclaim comedy, Aristophanes is prepared to go, even, against the grain of the Greek language. And thirdly: on the level of cultural history, and looking back to the institutional, as well as the lexicographical, evidence, and to textual evidence more broadly, I suggest we can plausibly, if provisionally, answer the question – how was comedy regarded in classical Athens? – by positing a sequence of distinguishable responses: Stage 1 – Before the 480s, official disapproval: comedy was not ‘taken seriously’. Stage 2 – From the 480s, official approval, alongside and in parallel to tragedy, but (one may well ask) why? Perhaps by popular (‘democratic’) demand, but this is not the only possible explanation. A rather different possibility is that the decision was taken under the influence of, and in recognition of, the achievement of Dorian comedy (Epicharmus’ comedy, in particular, no doubt). This would be a quasi-imperialist move, then: institutionalising a native form in response to the status of a related form elsewhere, irrespective of the possible complications. Stage 3 – The last thirty years, or so, of the fifth century, a period of experiment and contestation, and our main concern. This is the period when comedy is seemingly most prominent and self-assertive (certainly in Aristophanes’ case), but controversially so: witness the lexicographical evidence (not least, Aristophanes’ own usage), alongside the murky issues of παρρησία, censorship legislation and the argument with Cleon. Comedy’s self-assertive posture itself is summed up by its competitive engagement with tragedy (especially in Aristophanes: ‘comedy too …’, Ach. 500), alongside – arguably – Euripides’ growing engagement with comedy, as in (one prime example) the cross-dressing scene in Bacchae: a seeming instantiation of Shklovsky’s Formalist principle whereby the ‘junior genre’ (in this case, comedy) is used to help renew the canonical genre of tragedy.62 In all of which, the superior status of tragedy is the premise, and that status remains. Stage 4 – The fourth century. The secondary status of comedy is now widely attested, on lexicographical and other evidence, but seemingly comedy is not, or  61 The evidence presented in LSJ s.vv. τραγῳδία, τραγικός etc. is indicative. 62 Silk 2013, 17–18, 35.

Connotations of ‘Comedy’ in Classical Athens  

no longer, regarded as a real danger. Representatively, Plato sees Homer and tragedy as established threats that call for a substantive critique – but comedy as an inconsequential fact of life that can be summarily dismissed or (what is yet more revealing) amiably patronised, as in the Symposium. And Stage 5 – After the fourth century, the distinctive strengths of Menandrian New Comedy (‘realism’, above all) can be safely applauded and eventually Old Comedy, even, credited with a kind of sophia in the Rhetoric traditionally ascribed to Dionysius of Halicarnassus. Comedy, it seems, even if still liable to raise doubts of one kind or another (witness Horace, among others),63 is no longer seen as the fraught issue that it once was. In all this, I suggest it be laid down as a principle that lexicographical evidence carries special weight, even to the point of providing the most decisive indications for the connotations of ‘comedy’ in classical Athens. King’s College London [email protected]

 63 Horace: p. 29 above. Doubts of a different kind in e.g. Plut. Quaest. Conv. 711e–12d: Menander beyond criticism, but Old Comedy problematic. Different again: Aristid. Or. 29.28 Keil (old-time parabasis good, contemporary comedy bad).

Dimitrios Kanellakis

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes – And What About Oxymoron? ‘He has a great future behind him …’

This joke is reported by Sigmund Freud in his Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious, as having been made about a not-so-promising politician.1 The contradiction between ‘future’ and ‘behind’ and the intrusion of the latter into the closing part of what is a well-known expression, in place of the expected ‘ahead of’, has a technical term: this is a para prosdokian joke.2 Para prosdokian is an obvious device of comic language – and arguably the only figure of speech that has been identified, throughout centuries of literary criticism, with a single genre, namely comedy. This taking-for-granted seems to be a reason why this figure has not been sufficiently studied – characteristically, it is not even mentioned in The Language of Greek Comedy.3 In another paper, I have sketched a methodology for identifying para prosdokian jokes and deduced their typology from a morphological point of view, the parts of a comedy in which they occur, and the characters who tell them.4 Now it is time for the next step: to outline the dramatic usage of the figure. To do so, this chapter identifies, and offers a close reading of, the most characteristic types and functions of para prosdokian jokes: para-proverbial, paratragic, magnifying, satirical, and celebratory ones.5 I draw on Aristophanes’

 1 Freud 1905, 16, 185. 2 I.e. ‘a “straight” sequence interrupted by a sudden explosive joke’ (Silk 2000a, 137) or, in a narrow sense, ‘a figure of speech in which the latter part of an idiom, proverb, or well-known expression or formula of words is altered to make an unexpected and humorous ending, as in “If I understand you correctly – it will be the first time ever”’ (Macquarie Dictionary 2013). 3 Willi 2002. Note that the ‘interesting surprise’ which Cassio speaks of (Willi 2002, 80) is not a para prosdokian, since the word concerned (ῥᾴδινα instead of ῥᾴδια) appears at the start of the line in question (Epicharm. fr. 97.8). The inclusion of the term in Sommerstein 2019 marks a positive turn. 4 Kanellakis 2020. That research began as a Master’s dissertation supervised by Angus Bowie, and this sequel is pertinently included in the present volume, as it was he who taught me – more than anyone – always to go a step further. Special thanks to my co-editor Almut Fries for her feedback. 5 I avoid a strict distinction between ‘types’ and ‘functions’, due to overlaps which will be shown below.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis Acharnians, Peace, Thesmophoriazusae and Wealth, a selection of plays aimed at a fair representation of his career. The closing section of the chapter is a comparison of para prosdokian with a similar but distinct figure, oxymoron, which prima facie could be considered another type of the former. Indeed, oxymoron and para prosdokian linguistically work in the same way, in the sense that the surprise effect arises from the latter part of a phrase. But whereas oxymoron is an absolute contradiction, i.e. logically impossible, para prosdokian is surrealistic, i.e. imaginatively possible. And even though one might think that comedy is full of oxymora, Aristophanic comedy is certainly not. I argue that this is a deliberate poetic choice. Since oxymoron was Euripides’ stylistic signature, Aristophanes had to invent, and invest in, a signature of his own. This theory is supported by the fact that the rare cases of oxymora in Aristophanes all occur within paratragic, and indeed para-Euripidean contexts.6

Para-proverbial para prosdokian The oral tradition of the ancient Greeks (by which I mean the informal everyday discourse – not oral poetry) is known to us only insofar as it is embodied (or assumed to be embodied) in the surviving literature. The ancient and medieval scholia offer important help in bridging this gap but should be read with suspicion, as they are full of ostentatiousness, anachronisms, and inaccuracies. Despite these difficulties, the Aristophanic corpus clearly shows that proverbs and proverbial expressions were a common source for para prosdokian jokes. And precisely because we do not know many of the proverbs the Athenians used in their everyday communication, it is to be assumed that the actual prevalence of para-proverbial para prosdokian is much higher than what we can trace today.7 The following examples illustrate Aristophanes’ mastery of such material.  6 The same is true of a number of Euripidean words and verse formulae; see Fries in this volume, for example items (c) and (d) on pp. 248–9, and item (d) on p. 251. 7 Only in exceptional cases does the opposite happen, i.e. misidentifying a para prosdokian at passages which actually preserve a proverb and therefore are anything but surprising to listen to. For example, the scholia claim – without explanation – a para prosdokian in Ach. 615 (ὑπ’ ἐράνων τε καὶ χρεῶν, ‘feasts and debts’ – χρεῶν is the supposedly surprising word), but the line as it stands simply contains a set phrase (cf. Hyp. 3.9.2: τὰ χρέα καὶ τοὺς ἐράνoυς). In Ach. 967 (ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ ταρίχει τοὺς λόφους κραδαινέτω, ‘let him shake his crests for salt fish’), Holden 1868, Starkie 1909, and Rogers 1910 ad loc. propose that the word κραδαινέτω appears para prosdokian for φαγέτω (‘eat his crests’); this line also preserves an idiom, as Olson has shown (cf. 835: παίειν ἐφ᾽ ἁλὶ τὰν μᾶδδαν, ‘dip the bread into salt’).

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

Ach. 733.8 The Megarian enters the stage with his two daughters, with the intention to sell them as pigs to Dicaeopolis, and addresses them: ἀλλ᾽ ὦ πόνηρα κώρι᾽ ἀθλίω πατρός, ἄμβατε ποττὰν μᾶδδαν, αἴ χ᾽ εὕρητέ πᾶ. ἀκούετε δή, ποτέχετ᾽ ἐμὶν τὰν γαστέρα· Oh wicked daughters of a wretched father, Step forward towards the bread, if you can find some anywhere. Listen to me, pay me your stomachs.

Here τὰν γαστέρα appears para prosdokian for τὸν νοῦν (‘pay attention’), appropriating the rhetorical formula ἀκούσητέ μου προσέχοντες τὸν νοῦν (Isoc. 8.17.5– 6). The comic poets often use this formula as it is,9 but here Aristophanes remodels it to fit the context: the plan of the Megarian is not well thought out and is only driven by their starvation. Olson (2002 ad loc.) suggests that μᾶδδαν (‘bread’) too is perhaps para prosdokian for θύραν (‘door’) vel sim. The verb ἄμβατε of 732 (Attic ἀνάβητε), a cognate of which is indeed attested near θύραν,10 and the paratragic tone of the passage (731 ~ Eur. Phoen. 1071: ὦ φίλα πεσήματ’ ἄθλι’ ἀθλίου πατρός, ‘Sweet dead ones, wretched sons of a wretched father’) strengthen this suggestion.11 Ach. 909. When Nicarchus the sycophant approaches Dicaeopolis’ territory, the latter and his Boeotian friend describe the unwanted visitor as follows: ΔΙΚ. ΒΟΙ. ΔΙΚ.

καὶ μὴν ὁδὶ Νίκαρχος ἔρχεται φανῶν. μικκός γα μᾶκος οὗτος. ἀλλ᾽ ἅπαν κακόν.


Here comes Nicarchus to expose us. How small he is! Small but entirely bad …

 8 The citations refer to the line in which the para prosdokian word (in bold) is located, not the beginning of the quoted passage. Translations are my own. 9 Eq. 1014: ἄκουε δή νυν καὶ πρόσεχε τὸν νοῦν ἐμοί; Nub. 575: ὦ σοφώτατοι θεαταὶ δεῦρο τὸν νοῦν προσέχετε; Cratin. fr. 315: ἄκουε, σίγα, πρόσεχε τὸν νοῦν; Pherecr. fr. 163.3: πρόσεχε τὸν νοῦν κἀκροῶ. 10 Amips. fr. 25: ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ἥκεις τὸν βατῆρα τῆς θύρας . 11 For summoning children to exit the skēnē-building in tragedy cf. Eur. Med. 894–5: ὦ τέκνα τέκνα, δεῦτε, λείπετε στέγας, | ἐξέλθετ’. For exiting from the θύρα in particular cf. Soph. El. 328– 9: τίν’ αὖ σὺ τήνδε πρὸς θυρῶνος ἐξόδοις | ἐλθοῦσα φωνεῖς.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis Although characterising someone as ‘entirely bad’ is commonplace,12 the μικκός here has not prepared us for such a conclusion. Olson (2002 ad loc.) aptly noted that κακόν is a para prosdokian which reverses the ‘normal’ claim that a thing is small but good (‘the best/good things come in small packages’). However, he did not give evidence that such a proverbial expression existed in classical antiquity. The evidence can be found in Eur. El. 1003: σμικρὸν γέρας, καλὸν δὲ κέκτημαι δόμοις (‘I have acquired for my house a small badge of honour but a fine one’) and AP 4.1.6: Σαπφοῦς βαιὰ μέν, ἀλλὰ ῥόδα (‘Sappho’s poems are few but like roses’). Pax 899. Sexual imagery has manifested itself in the play since v.708, and the lines just before 899 also have clear sexual connotations: τετραποδηδόν (896: ‘on all fours’), ὑπαλειψαμένοις (898: ‘smeared with oil’). Therefore, Trygaeus’ current inducement of the boulē members to παίειν, ὀρύττειν, πὺξ ὁμοῦ καὶ τῷ πέει Theoria (‘Bang her and gouge her with fist and prick alike!’) is a reasonable sequel. Even though not surprising on a conceptual level, πέει is a para prosdokian since it disrupts the set phrase πὺξ ὁμοῦ καὶ τῷ σκέλει (‘with arms and legs alike’), which was used for pankration.13 Thesm. 530. During the assembly, the chorus of women celebrating the Thesmophoria express their lack of confidence in the disguised Inlaw by remarking: τὴν παροιμίαν δ’ ἐπαινῶ τὴν παλαιάν· ὑπὸ λίθῳ γὰρ παντί που χρὴ μὴ δάκῃ ῥήτωρ ἀθρεῖν. I endorse the old saying: you should look under every rock lest a politician bite you.

The women here appropriate a known proverb, putting ‘orator’ (i.e. Inlaw who had spoken before) para prosdokian for ‘scorpion’.14 That they have recourse to a παλαιάν παροιμίαν is a doubly misleading statement which intensifies the surprise effect: their saying is in fact neither a true proverb nor an old one; ‘be careful of the politicians’ reflects rather contemporary worries.  12 E.g. Soph. El. 301 = Phil. 622: πᾶσα βλάβη. 13 Cf. schol. ad loc. and Philem. fr. 41.5–6: τῶι σ[κ]έλει | παίει τε λὰξ πύξ. 14 Cf. Praxill. 4 PMG: ὑπὸ παντὶ λίθῳ σκορπίον ὦ ἑταῖρε φυλάσσεο; Soph. fr. 37: ἐν παντὶ γάρ τοι σκορπίος φρουρεῖ λίθῳ; Ath. 15.695d: ὑπὸ παντὶ λίθῳ σκορπίος, ὦ ἑταῖρ’, ὑποδύεται. A similar joke is made in Ar. Plut. 885: συκοφάντου δήγματος (‘the bite of the sycophant’), and Eup. fr. 245: Τῆνος αὕτη, πολλοὺς ἔχουσα σκορπίους ἔχεις τε συκοφάντας (‘Tenos, you have as many sycophants as you have scorpions’).

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

Thesm. 532. Immediately after the preceding joke – for the sake of accumulation – the chorus’ leader exclaims the aphorism: ἀλλ’ οὐ γάρ ἐστι τῶν ἀναισχύντων φύσει γυναικῶν οὐδὲν κάκιον εἰς ἅπαντα—πλὴν ἄρ’ εἰ γυναῖκες. There is nothing worse than women with shameless character. No creature is worse, in all respects, except for women.

That women are the worst creatures of all is not a novel concept.15 Here however, women are not compared to other creatures but to women: they are so shameless that they are proven worse than even themselves. Menander uses this kind of para prosdokian as well, in fr. 400.1–2: οὐκ ἂν γένοιτ’ ἐρῶντος ἀθλιώτερον | οὐδὲν γέροντος πλὴν ἕτερος γέρων ἐρῶν (‘There is nothing more disgusting than an old man having sex, except for … another old man having sex’). For Prato (2001 on Thesm. 532), an important aspect of the surprise in this aphorism against women is the fact that a woman utters it; but one should not forget that the actor was after all a man. Plut. 737. Cario concludes his narration about the incidents in the Asclepieion by saying: καὶ πρίν σε κοτύλας ἐκπιεῖν οἴνου δέκα, ὁ Πλοῦτος, ὦ δέσποιν’, ἀνειστήκει βλέπων· And sooner than you could drink ten bottles of wine, Plutus, my lady, stood up and could see.

According to the scholia, the proverbial expression equivalent to ‘in the blink of an eye’ was πρὶν εἰπεῖν σε λόγον ἕνα or πρὶν πτύσαι (‘sooner than you could say a word/spit’; cf. Men. Pk. 392). The para prosdokian lies not only in the distortion of a known formula but also in its inflation: it is not just that ‘a word / a spit’ has been replaced by ‘bottles of wine’, but specifically ‘one word / one spit’ has been replaced by ‘ten bottles of wine’. Ten κοτύλας is about 2.7 litres or five pints, which is a rather extreme quantity for drinking at once (one can suppose that

 15 Cf. Lys. 369: οὐδὲν γὰρ ὧδε θρέμμ’ ἀναιδές ἐστιν ὡς γυναῖκες (‘there is no creature as shameless as women’); 1014–15: οὐδέν ἐστι θηρίον γυναικὸς ἀμαχώτερον, | οὐδὲ πῦρ, οὐδ’ ὧδ’ ἀναιδὴς οὐδεμία πάρδαλις (‘there is no beast more invincible than a woman, nor fire, nor is any leopard so ferocious’); Soph. fr. 189.2–3: κάκιον ἄλλ’ οὐκ ἔστιν οὐδ’ ἔσται ποτὲ | γυναικός (‘there is nothing worse, nor will there ever be, than a woman’); Eur. fr. 494.27–8: τῆς μὲν κακῆς κάκιον οὐδὲν γίγνεται | γυναικός (‘there is nothing worse than a bad woman’).

  Dimitrios Kanellakis Chremylus’ wife starts drinking at 646). That women are alcoholics is a commonplace in Aristophanes,16 and Chremylus’ wife is no exception, as Cario lets us know (645: φιλεῖς … σφόδρα, ‘you love it too much’). This brief selection of examples shows that in addition to verbal humour, para-proverbial para prosdokian serves a wide variety of functions: political criticism (Ach. 909, Thesm. 530), social satire (Thesm. 532, Plut. 737), personal abuse (Ach. 909), paratragedy (Ach. 737), obscenity (Pax 899), even advancing of the plot (Ach. 733). The prevalence of such jokes is explained by Aristophanes’ need to appeal to both intellectual and less educated audiences, and oral tradition offered a fertile common ground.

Paratragic para prosdokian Aristophanes is fond of appropriating tragedy, from injecting little paratragic hints ‘on the spur of the moment’ to composing entire collages of paratragedies (as in Thesmophoriazusae). As the following examples demonstrate, para prosdokian appears to be a preferential tool for expressing this fondness. In contrast with para-proverbial para prosdokian, this category appeals more to the educated spectators, or at least the ones with a good memory, even though a mere grasp of the (para)tragic tone – without recognising a specific tragic subtext – would still create a humorous effect. Of course, not every verbal substitution in a parody of a tragic line is automatically a para prosdokian, but it is so when the underlying material is a trademark of tragic style, i.e. a formula or a famous quote.17 Ach. 119: When Dicaeopolis finds out that Cleisthenes is one of the fake ambassadors, he addresses him ὦ θερμόβουλον πρωκτὸν ἐξυρημένε (‘Oh hottempered shaved arse’). As the ancient scholiast noticed, παρῳδίᾳ χρῆται. ἔστι γὰρ ἐν Τημενίδαις Εὐριπίδου ‘ὦ θερμόβουλον σπλάγχνον’. οὗτος οὖν σκώπτων Εὐριπίδην προσέθηκε ‘πρωκτὸν’ παρὰ προσδοκίαν. (‘Parody is employed. There is “oh hot-tempered soul” in Euripides’ Temenidai [fr. 858]. To mock Euripides, he added “arse” para prosdokian’). Even for the less educated spectators, however, who would not have the specific reference, the exclamatory structure ὦ +

 16 Cf. Lys. 194–239, 466; Thesm. 374–8, 393, 628–32, 733–57; Eccl. 132–57, 227, 1118–24. 17 I use ‘formula’ in the same way as Fries in this volume, i.e. for standardised phrases and structures that occupy fixed positions in the verse. Of my examples here, only the first involves a formula.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

two nouns ending in -ον, placed at the start of a line, suffices to indicate paratragic style.18 Of course, θερμόβουλον πρωκτόν is funny regardless of whether it is recognised as a para prosdokian, because it attributes βουλή to an arse, because of the obscene word itself, and because of the sexual / gay hint (ἐξυρημένε). Olson (2002 ad loc.) maintains that, unlike the American ‘hot’, θερμός lacks any sexual overtones, and thus the joke comes only from the following πρωκτὸν. That θερμός is a non-sexual word is certainly wrong; apart from the Hellenistic instances θερμὸς πόθος (AP 5.115 = Phld.) and θερμὸς ἔρως (Theoc. Id. 7.56), Plato offers a very explicit erotic imagery based on this word (Phdr. 253e): ὅταν δ᾿ οὖν ὁ ἡνίοχος ἰδὼν τὸ ἐρωτικὸν ὄμμα, πᾶσαν αἰσθήσει διαθερμήνας τὴν ψυχήν, γαργαλισμοῦ τε καὶ πόθου κέντρων ὑποπλησθῇ … (‘When the charioteer beholds the love-inspiring vision, and his whole soul is warmed by the sight, and is full of the tickling and prickings of yearning …’) Thus, θερμόβουλον πρωκτόν is rather clearly an ‘arse which desires sex’. Even though we miss the initial tragic context, θερμόβουλον σπλάγχνον obviously meant something like ‘irascible heart’. So Aristophanes does not only alter the second part of a tragic line, replacing σπλάγχνον with πρωκτόν, but he also appropriates semantically the first part of it, replacing the non-sexual θερμόβουλον with a sexual θερμόβουλον. Therefore, it is true that the para prosdokian lies in πρωκτόν, but not that the comic effect arises only from this word. Thesm. 857. Inlaw, impersonating Helen, describes the Egyptians as μελανοσυρμαῖον λεών (‘black and purge-plant people’). The blending of these two qualities is a comic compound, but not a para prosdokian as Robson suggests,19 firstly because there is no semantic contradiction between them and secondly because both are well known with reference to the Egyptians.20 What is para prosdokian, instead, is the sudden interruption of the Euripidean intertext in the middle of the line and the contrast between the whiteness of the land and its black people. Euripides in fact only speaks of the whiteness of the snow in Egypt: Eur. Hel. 1–3: Νείλου μὲν αἵδε καλλιπάρθενοι ῥοαί, ὃς ἀντὶ δίας ψακάδος Αἰγύπτου πέδον λευκῆς λευκῆς τακείσης χιόνος ὑγραίνει γύας.

 18 Cf. Aesch. Sept. 654: ὦ πανδάκρυτον ἁμόν; Soph. Ant. 1: ὦ κοινὸν αὐτάδελφον; Soph. Phil. 1087: ὦ πληρέστατον αὔλιον; Eur. Hipp. 1095: ὦ πέδον Τροζήνιον; Eur. Hec. 286: ὦ φίλον γένειον. 19 Robson 2006, 51–2. 20 For their colour cf. Aesch. Supp. 154, 719–20, 745; Hdt. 2.57.2; 2.104.2. For their fondness for purges cf. Pax 1253–4; Hdt. 2.77.4; 2.88.2; 2.125.6.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis These are the beautiful virgin waters of Nile, which, in place of Zeus’ rain, drench the land of Egypt with the moisture of melting white-all-white snow. Ar. Thesm. 855–7: Νείλου μὲν αἵδε καλλιπάρθενοι ῥοαί, ὃς ἀντὶ δίας ψακάδος Αἰγύπτου πέδον λευκῆς νοτίζει μελανοσυρμαῖον λεών. These are the beautiful virgin waters of Nile, which, in place of Zeus’ rain, drench the white land of Egypt and its black and purge-plant people

Not any verbal distortion of any tragic line is a para prosdokian, but here we have the very opening lines of a tragedy, hence a passage highly likely to have been remembered verbatim. If it is true that in Helen Euripides had appropriated specific comic lines by Aristophanes,21 then the comedian is here ‘taking revenge’, reminding his audience who the master of parody is. However short, para prosdokian is a big deal from a poetological perspective. Thesm. 1201. Euripides becomes a bawd in order finally to unchain his Inlaw, and offers a young girl to the Scythian guard to put him out of the way. The Scythian asks the bawd’s name, so that he can pay ‘her’ later:22 ΣΚ. ΕΥΡ. ΣΚ.

ὄνομα δέ σοι τί ἐστιν; Ἀρτεμισία. μεμνῆσι τοίνυν τοὔνομ’· Ἀρταμουξία.


And what’s your name? Artemisia I’ll remember your name, Artamouxia.

Ἀρταμουξία appears para prosdokian – not so much for its juxtaposition with the proper Ἀρτεμισία, as for its contradiction with the preceding assertion ‘I’ll remember your name’. The Scythian returns and seeks for the bawd, running around the stage and calling her insistently with the wrong name (1213, 1216, 1222). This game with the fake identities and names alludes to Odysseus introducing himself as ‘Mr. Nobody’ to Polyphemus. Given that Thesmophoriazusae is a collage of parodies of Euripidean plays (Telephus, Palamedes, Helen, Andromeda),

 21 Hel. 1107–13 ~ Av. 209–16, with Dover 1972, 148–9. 22 Wilson’s OCT omits to distribute the first part of the antilabē to the Scythian, leaving it to Euripides – which makes no sense.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

this final parody possibly draws on Cyclops (especially 675–88) – and therefore we may take 411 BCE as a terminus ante quem for the satyr play.23 Imitating tragedians’ trilogies, Aristophanes ends his own play with an embedded satyr-play.24 Apart from parodying tragic lines and formulas, para prosdokian jokes are also employed to satirise tragedy and tragedians. For instance: Ach. 464. Euripides appears, hears, and succumbs to Dicaeopolis’ increasing demands, until he gets irritated: ἀφαιρήσει με τὴν τραγῳδίαν, he moans (‘He will steal my tragedy!’). However, what Dicaeopolis has asked for is some rags, a hat, a cane, a basket, a jug and a pot. Thus, the expected exclamation would rather be ἀφαιρήσει με τὴν οὐσίαν / τὰ χρήματα (‘He will steal my property’), which is a well attested phrase.25 This para prosdokian epitomises the central, parodic concept of the scene, i.e. that Euripides’ poetry is just a filthy, trivial mishmash.26 Significantly, it is ‘Euripides’ who utters this para prosdokian, admitting thus to the charge. Thesm. 935. Critylla, an old and prominent woman within the assembly, reports to the Prytanis that Inlaw attempted to escape with the aid of a stranger, who is no other than Euripides: νὴ Δί’, ὡς νυνδή γ’ ἀνὴρ ὀλίγου μ’ ἀφείλετ’ αὐτὸν ἱστιορράφος. By Zeus, just a second ago a man took him away – a sail-stitcher.

The hapax ἱστιορράφος appears para prosdokian for μηχανορράφος (‘a crafty schemer’; cf. Eur. Andr. 447, 1116; Soph. OT 387). It alludes to the disguise of the Aristophanic Euripides as Menelaus – who indeed sewed his rugs out of sailcloth  23 Ussher (1978, 24) who also noted the similarity, does not claim an influence. Austin/Olson (2004, lxiv) are more acquiescent. Wright 2006 dates Cyclops to 412 BCE. On the other hand, Dale (1969, 129) and Seaford (1984, 49–50) take 408 BCE as terminus post quem – despite the fact that Seaford (1982, 161–8) had initially proposed the late 410s. 24 Equally plausibly, Bowie (1993, 224–5) sees this final act as a comic coda, in the way of a comedy being performed after a tragic trilogy and a satyr play on the same day. For the City Dionysia being structured like this see Pickard-Cambridge 1988, 66. 25 οὐσίαν (real property): Xen. Cyn. 13.11; Pl. Resp. 565a7; Dem. 40.48; Arist. Metaph. 1229a16; Pol. 1297b8; Top. 140b5 / χρήματα (belongings): Hdt. 1.89.2; Ar. Thesm. 484; Xen. Hell. 2.3.43, 7.3.8; Pl. Gorg. 466c1; Dem. 21.100. Even though Euripides’ stuff is not real property, οὐσίαν would fit better than χρήματα, since (a) Dicaeopolis is here paying a visit to Euripides’ house and therefore stealing his belongings would reasonably make the tragedian worry about losing the house itself, and (b) οὐσία also means the ‘essence’ and Dicaeopolis is stealing the essence of Euripides’ plays. 26 Cf. Ran. 840–2, 1063 (rags); 941–3 (chard, porridge); 1199–1246 (crock).

  Dimitrios Kanellakis in Helen – and satirises the real Euripides for such a choice of costume.27 It is an instance of dramaturgical licence that the Aristophanic Euripides, who left the stage at 279 and came back at 871, knew that Inlaw would pretend to be Helen (867, 901, 910) so that he could dress up accordingly as Menelaus. These examples show that Aristophanes chooses wisely what tragic elements (or elements from other genres) to parody and satirise through para prosdokian. Not wanting to exclude the less educated from the appreciation of humour – they too were voting for the prize – he prefers to work on the most recognisable and memorable lines and features, yet providing as a treat and an intellectual exercise for his most special spectators the joy of discovering the detail.

Magnifying para prosdokian The next group of para prosdokian jokes may be called ‘magnifying’ as they express a hyperbole. In terms of form, they are distinguished by their structure: ‘not X but … XX’. In contrast with the previous category, here it is pure logic – rather than an intertext – that is being interrupted, and therefore these jokes appeal equally to everyone in the audience. Pax 7. In the prologue of the play, a servant of Trygaeus is moulding excrement-balls and another servant is feeding them to the dung-beetle. The first servant asks: ΟΙΚA ΟΙΚB

οὐ κατέφαγεν; μὰ τὸν Δί’, ἀλλ’ ἐξαρπάσας ὅλην ἐνέκαψε περικυλίσας τοῖν ποδοῖν.


Didn’t it eat them? By Zeus, no, it did not. Instead, it grabbed them and swallowed them at once, rolling them with its toes.

Whether one accepts the manuscripts’ οὐ κατέφαγεν; (‘Didn’t it eat them?’) or Bentley’s ἦ κατέφαγεν; (‘Did it truly eat them?’), as Wilson does, μὰ τὸν Δί(α) remains a negative response (‘By Zeus, no, it did not eat them’).28 The following ἀλλ(ά) … ἐνέκαψε is a ‘magnifying’ para prosdokian because the preceding part is rejected (– eat) only to return in an exaggerated form in the second half (+ +  27 Eur. Hel. 421–2; for the paracomic semiology of that costume see Skouroumouni-Stavrinou 2015, 127–8. For the para prosdokian see Austin/Olson 2004 ad loc. 28 See N. Wilson 2007, 99.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

eat). After ‘By Zeus, no, it did not’, one would expect something like ‘but it threw them away’ (ἀπέρριψε instead of ἐνέκαψε). Pax 363. When Trygaeus approaches the cave where Peace is imprisoned, Hermes furiously asks him: ΕΡ. ΤΡ.

ὦ μιαρὲ καὶ τόλμηρε, τί ποιεῖν διανοεῖ; οὐδὲν πονηρόν, ἀλλ’ ὅπερ καὶ Κιλλικῶν.


Oh wicked and impudent man, what are you plotting? Nothing bad, just something similar to Cillicon.

After οὐδὲν πονηρόν, ἀλλ(ά) … we would expect something like πᾶν ἀγαθὸν (‘only good things’), or ὅπερ καὶ followed by the name of a benefactor (‘just something similar to that great man’). Instead, Trygaeus mentions Cillicon, a notorious traitor of his city who yet had the audacity to say πάντα οὖν ἀγαθὰ ποιῶ (‘All I do is fine!’).29 Thus Trygaeus’ reply means ‘I have nothing bad in mind – just treason’, which is the most severe of crimes. This very sharp para prosdokian makes sense to us too because we happen to know who Cillicon was. We are equally lucky in the case of Molon. In Frogs, Dionysus speaks of the excitement he felt when reading Euripides’ Andromeda (55): ΗΡ. ΔΙ.

πόθος; πόσος τις; σμικρός, ἡλίκος Μόλων.


An excitement? How big? Tiny, like Schwarzenegger.

Had the information that Molon was an actor of big size, and that Cillicon was a traitor, not passed down to us, these cases of magnifying para prosdokian would have remained ‘inside jokes’ among the ancients.30 Pax 823. When Trygaeus returns from Olympus, his servant asks him about his experience in the sky, and he replies:

 29 Cf. schol. ad loc. Cillicon was so often made a target of the comedians that his name became a verb; Ar. fr. 107: εἴ γ’ ἐγκιλικίσαιμ’, ἐξολοίμην, φαθὶ λέγων (‘Go and say: If I ever Cilliconise myself [i.e. act like Cillicon], may I die’); Pherecr. fr. 176: ἀεί ποθ’ ἡμῖν ἐγκιλικίζουσ’ οἱ θεοί (‘Since the gods always Cilliconise us [i.e. mistreat us]’). 30 Cf. Plut. 210: Chremylus promises Wealth to make him see ὀξύτερον τοῦ Λυγκέως. Given that Lynceus had the sharpest sight on earth (Pind. Nem. 10.63), to make Wealth’s sight even sharper is only a hyperbole. A para prosdokian would be: ‘I will make you see better than … Oedipus’. But again, the line only makes sense to us thanks to Pindar’s information.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis ΤΡ.

ἔμοιγέ τοι ἀπὸ τοὐρανοῦ ’φαίνεσθε κακοήθεις πάνυ, ἐντευθενὶ δὲ πολύ τι κακοηθέστεροι.


From above you look totally wicked, but from here even more wicked!

For Paley (1873 ad loc.), κακοήθεις is para prosdokian for φαῦλοι, which makes no sense because these words are synonyms. For Platnauer (1964 ad loc.), κακοήθεις is para prosdokian for μικροί (‘from above you look small’), but κακοήθεις is not surprising at all in the context: Trygaeus observed the people’s behaviour from above and now is judging them in moral terms. The text itself indicates that the emphasis is placed upon the relation of the pair κακοήθεις – κακοηθέστεροι, the latter being a magnifying para prosdokian. One would expect ‘From above, you look wicked, but from here you look decent’. Plut. 372. The peasant Blepsidemus is very suspicious about Chremylus’ rumoured enrichment, which in terms of plot is a prothysteron, since Wealth has not yet been cured from his blindness. This can be attributed either to the unrealism of comedy or to the very realistic fact that rumours spread fast, sometimes even before something has actually happened. Blepsidemus, in a rather overstretched joke (352–89), repeatedly blames Chremylus that he must have stolen something, if he became rich so suddenly. Despite Chremylus’ denial, Blepsidemus insists: μῶν οὐ κέκλοφας ἀλλ’ ἥρπακας; (‘Is it that you didn’t steal, but robbed?’). Here ἀλλ’ ἥρπακας (+ + steal) appears para prosdokian after οὐ κέκλοφας (– steal), magnifying the effect, given that ἁρπαγή includes violence whereas κλοπή is simple larceny.31 Plut. 706. Narrating the treatment of Wealth to Chremylus’ wife, Cario mentions that he broke wind in the Asclepieion during the procedure, but Asclepius’ priest did not react: ΓΥ. ΚΑ. ΓΥ. ΚΑ.

αὐτὸς δ’ ἐκεῖνος; οὐ μὰ Δί’ οὐδ’ ἐφρόντισεν. λέγεις ἄγροικον ἄρα σύ γ’ εἶναι τὸν θεόν. μὰ Δί’ οὐκ ἔγωγ’, ἀλλὰ σκατοφάγον.


And what did he do? He didn’t mind at all, by Zeus. Are you calling the god a boor? Oh no, by Zeus, not at all. Just a shit-eater.

 31 Rogers 1907 ad loc. Cf. Soph. Phil. 644: κλέψαι τε χἁρπάσαι βίᾳ.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

Again, there is a magnifying para prosdokian conclusion: Cario utters a worse blasphemy than the one he has just been accused of.32 The content is justified ‘either because doctors make their living by inspecting the body’s excreta and urine or because Hippocrates, the leader of medicine, was said to have tasted human shit in order to assess whether a patient would live or die’.33 It is noteworthy that magnifying para prosdokian is absent from Acharnians (of the plays under examination), which suggests that Aristophanes experimented on this figure in the course of time, inventing new forms, and consequently that para prosdokian was a conscious poetic choice (rather than simply a trait of his idiolect). In fact, given the statistical prevalence of para prosdokian jokes in this play over all eleven comedies,34 it would not be far-fetched to imagine that it was the success of Acharnians at the Lenaea of 425 which motivated Aristophanes to develop this feature, and any other particularly noticeable feature of the play – e.g. the Telephus parody, the employment of Euripides as a dramatis persona, and the use of barbarian language (cf. Pseudartabas with Triballos from Birds).35

 32 Sommerstein 2001 ad loc. 33 Schol. ad loc. (transl. Kazantzidis). Hippoc. Prog. 11–12 speaks of the colour, quantity, and consistency of faeces and urine. There is no reference to tasting them and the only references to smell (that the faeces of a healthy man should be μὴ λίην δυσῶδες, ‘not too smelly’, and that θανατωδέστερα δὲ τῶν οὔρων τά τε δυσώδεα, ‘the most deadly of all kinds of urine are the fetid’) imply a routine self-check by people rather than a test by the doctor. Only Hippoc. Epid. 7.25 (οὖρα στρυφνά, ὀποειδέα, ‘urine astringent, like fig juice’) might refer to tasting urine – Kazantzidis (2016, 47) takes it as an unmistakable indication of the practice – but it might refer to its consistency instead. At any rate, the joke does not require that such practices were applied – only that this was the common belief (on which, unfortunately, we do not have other testimonies). 34 Rutherford 1905, 450 n. 53; Kanellakis 2020, 138. Mitchell (1836, l) claims that Knights has the most instances of para prosdokian, but he only names six of them (ad 19, 98, 174, 508, 517 and 1238). 35 That these elements could also exist in other poets of Old Comedy does not undermine the hypothesis; competition is a matter of quantity (who has more) no less than a matter of quality (who has something different). For para prosdokian in particular we know that it was considered a χάρις (Demetr. Eloc. 152; Tib. Fig. Demosth. 16) and therefore it might have been used more by Eupolis and Aristophanes than by Cratinus – if we accept Platonius’ statement in Περὶ διαφορᾶς χαρακτήρων that Eupolis and Aristophanes were more gracious with their mockery than Cratinus (τἠν χάριν τοῖς σκώμμασι, ἐπίχαρις, χαρίεις, χάριτος).

  Dimitrios Kanellakis

Satirical para prosdokian In all categories above, satire was repeatedly mentioned as one possible function of para prosdokian, hence it deserves a separate treatment – the satire of tragedy aside. A common subfunction is political criticism, as in Thesm. 530 (‘the lurking orator’), discussed earlier. Other examples are: Ach. 904. A Boeotian is selling animals to Dicaeopolis and asks to be paid in kind with some Athenian goods. After negotiations, Dicaeopolis suggests: ΒΟΙ. ΔΙΚ.

ἀλλ᾽ ὅ τι παρ᾽ ἁμῖν μή ᾽στι, τᾷδε δ᾽ αὖ πολύ. ἐγᾦδα τοίνυν· συκοφάντην ἔξαγε, ὥσπερ κέραμον ἐνδησάμενος.


[Give me] something we don’t have, but you have in plenty here. I see … Export a sycophant! Pack him up like crockery.

The para prosdokian lies in the insertion of a human being after a series of products that were under negotiation, and most importantly, in the characterisation of sycophants as exportable goods. Thesm. 937. When the Prytanis comes to punish Inlaw, the latter asks him for a last favour:36 ὦ πρύτανι, πρὸς τῆς δεξιᾶς, ἥνπερ φιλεῖς κοίλην προτείνειν, ἀργύριον ἤν τις διδῷ, χάρισαι βραχύ τί μοι καίπερ ἀποθανουμένῳ. My Right Honourable gentleman, with your hand – which you are so fond of cupping if someone offers money – offer me some help, even though I’m doomed.

Inlaw lets his acidic comment slip into his petition as if not caring about the consequences. Of course, such realistic objections are not applicable to the dramatic ‘reality’ of comedy; the Prytanis acts as if he never heard the comment but the audience / readers are expected to perceive the paradox. For the image cf. Eccl. 782–3 ἕστηκεν ἐκτείνοντα τὴν χεῖρ’ ὑπτίαν, | οὐχ ὥς τι δώσοντ’ ἀλλ’ ὅπως τι λήψεται (‘They stand holding out the hollow of their hand, so as not to give anything, but to receive something’ – said about the gods). The para prosdokian lies in the juxtaposition of the respectful opening address ὦ πρύτανι with the entire

 36 For this practice cf. Hdt. 1.24.2–5; Eur. Alc. 299–310; HF 327–31; IT 597–615.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

following line. According to the context, one would expect: ‘which hand you like to offer generously, if someone asks for help’.37 Social criticism is no less frequent. We have already seen the Megarian in Acharnians using a para prosdokian to complain about hunger (733), a result of the Peloponnesian War, and Trygaeus in Peace blaming the Athenians for malignancy (823). Other cases are: Pax 425. Hermes is intransigently opposed to the rescuing of Peace, until he is offered a golden libation-bowl as a bribe. Clearly touched, he exclaims: οἴμ’, ὡς ἐλεήμων εἴμ’ ἀεὶ τῶν χρυσίδων (‘Oh, how gracious I’ve always been with golden stuff!’),38 with the last word appearing para prosdokian for τῶν ἱκετῶν (‘the suppliants’; Platnauer), τῶν ἀνθρώπων (‘the people’; Olson) vel sim. Apart from the contrast between moral values and profiteering, the surprise also lies in the disarming sincerity with which Hermes makes this confession – possibly an aside joke. Clearly, Aristophanes’ target is not Hermes and the gods in general, but the merchandising of religion. Plut. 152. Trying to persuade Wealth that people do everything for the sake of money, Chremylus refers to the behaviour of prostitutes: καὶ τάς γ’ ἑταίρας φασὶ τὰς Κορινθίας, ὅταν μὲν αὐτάς τις πένης πειρῶν τύχῃ, οὐδὲ προσέχειν τὸν νοῦν, ἐὰν δὲ πλούσιος, τὸν πρωκτὸν αὐτὰς εὐθὺς ὡς τοῦτον τρέπειν. The Corinthian prostitutes, rumour has it, if a poor man happens to approach them, they pay him no attention, but if he is a rich man, they immediately offer him their bumhole!

In principle, a reference to sex in a context that mentions hetairai is not surprising. However, whereas in the case of poor men the prostitutes do not give ‘their attention’, which is a very coy metonymy for their actual services, in the case of rich men they are said to give ‘their anus’, which stylistically lies at the other extreme and thus constitutes a para prosdokian. At the same time, it is a cultural para prosdokian: anal penetration between men is well attested in late archaic

 37 For the concept of a hand of help cf. Eur. ΙΑ 915–6: ἢν δὲ τολμήσῃς σύ μου | χεῖρ’ ὑπερτεῖναι, σεσώμεθ’· (‘If you find the courage to give me your hand, we will be saved’). 38 For οἴμ’ as cry of joy cf. Nub. 773.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis and early classical vases, but women (even prostitutes) display some kind of opposition or are shown to be forced;39 yet here it is alleged the Corinthian prostitutes pursue anal penetration.40 This is a scathing indictment, in comic terms, of economic inequality. In conclusion we can say that while Aristophanes does not miss the opportunity to satirise individuals such as Cillicon, his main focus is on the phenomena which plagued Athens, and which diachronically plague our societies.

Celebratory para prosdokian Celebratory or festive para prosdokian is a noticeable but not very common category – hence only one example is reserved for the end. The reason for its inclusion here is to demonstrate that this figure, apart from its surprising content, can also have surprising applications. Ach. 255–6. Dicaeopolis wishes his daughter a grotesque birth: ἄγ᾽ ὦ θύγατερ ὅπως τὸ κανοῦν καλὴ καλῶς οἴσεις βλέπουσα θυμβροφάγον. ὡς μακάριος ὅστις σ᾽ ὀπύσει κἀκποιήσεται γαλᾶς σοῦ μηδὲν ἥττους βδεῖν, ἐπειδὰν ὄρθρος ᾖ. Come, my daughter, bring beautifully the basket, beautiful as you are with your lemon-sucking face.41 How blessed the man to marry you and beget you weasels no worse than you in farting early in the morning!

Weasels (γαλᾶς) appears para prosdokian for ‘children’ or ‘daughters’, since a human is not expected to give birth to animals.42 The weasel-metaphor for women traditionally bears unpleasant connotations (Semon. 7.50–3 W):

 39 See Kilmer 1990, 270–2; 1993, 33–43. Cf. Pax 896, Lys. 231, Thesm. 498. 40 While Corinthian prostitutes were the most expensive – there was the saying Ar. fr. 928: οὐ παντὸς ἀνδρὸς ἐς Κόρινθόν ἐσθ’ ὁ πλοῦς (‘Not for every man the trip to Corinth’) – there is no evidence that they offered a wider variety of services than Athenian prostitutes. In fact, Lais would even refuse sex in spite of money (Auson. Epig. 17). 41 Θυμβροφάγον ‘eating lemon’ is a humorous, and perhaps surprising, metonymy (Phryn. Praep. Soph. 75.8: ἀντὶ τοῦ δριμύ, ὅτι καὶ ἡ θύμβρα δριμυτάτη ἐστίν), but not a para prosdokian. 42 Cf. schol., Rogers 1910, Starkie 1909, and Olson 2002 ad loc.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

τὴν δ’ ἐκ γαλῆς, δύστηνον οἰζυρὸν γένος· κείνηι γὰρ οὔ τι καλὸν οὐδ’ ἐπίμερον πρόσεστιν οὐδὲ τερπνὸν οὐδ’ ἐράσμιον. The weasel type of woman: a wretched and miserable creature. For there is nothing beautiful or desirable about her, and of course, nothing joyful or sexy.

In Aristophanes’ passage, these unpleasant connotations become tangible, or better, ‘smellable’. The farting weasel also appears in Plut. 693 (ὑπὸ τοῦ δέους βδέουσα δριμύτερον γαλῆς), again as a metaphor for a female character. Henderson’s suggestion that βδεῖν is a para prosdokian for βινεῖν (‘to fuck’) is doubtful.43 Aristophanes is fond of the word and concept of βινεῖν, so he would hardly miss an opportunity to use it. The concept of a father anticipating that his daughters will become sex-experts, having their mother as an example, is present in the play, in the episode with the Megarian (781–3). However, whereas in the latter case the comic effect lies in the sexual connotations of χοῖρος (‘pig’ / ‘cunt’), the weasel-metaphor had the opposite meaning, i.e. disgust, as the Semonidean passage shows. Therefore, it is true that βδεῖν is a para prosdokian, but only as an extension of the weasel-metaphor, i.e. with no sexual connotations. Within the larger context, one would expect the positive descriptions καλή, καλῶς, and μακάριος (223–4) to be followed by some graceful talent suitable to a young girl, like singing44 – not farting. Surprisingly, the para prosdokian here does not target an enemy – politicians, society, or Euripides – but rather, Dicaeopolis addresses it to his beloved daughter. It is the festive context that enables (or better imposes) such a surprising, Rabelaisian wish: it is said during the phallic litany organised by Dicaeopolis in order to solemnise their family treaty. As in the case of carnivals, obscenity here is merely a ritual necessity, said with no malice. Evoking sex (ὀπύσει) and scatology (βδεῖν) is a kind of sympathetic magic, pleading the gods to favour the fertilisation of the land and the health of animals.

 43 Henderson 1991, 196–7. 44 E.g. Iphigenia in Aesch. Ag. 245.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis

And what about oxymoron? An oxymoron (ὀξύς + μωρός = ‘a sharp foolishness’) is an absolute contradiction. In fact, the very word oxymoron is an oxymoron, since ὀξύς also means δριμύς (‘smart’), hence oxymoron is ‘a witty foolishness’. Hansjörg Büchner’s thesis ‘Das Oxymoron in der griechischen Dichtung’ (1950) is a useful compilation of passages which contain some kind of paradox, but having set no solid theoretical and consistent methodological frames, it fails to identify actual oxymorons, or at least passages with the same kind of paradox. Generally speaking, oxymoron pairs two opposite semantic values. With few exceptions (e.g. Eur. Alc. 141: καὶ ζῶσαν εἰπεῖν καὶ θανοῦσαν ἔστι σοι, ‘You can call her both living and dead’), oxymorons are constructed either by a word + οὐ + the same word, or by a word + the same word with the privative prefix ἀ(ν). This figure is extensively used by Euripides and a brief selection from his plays suffices to show its difference from para prosdokian:45 With οὐ: ἔστιν τε κοὐκέτ’ ἔστιν (Alc. 521); ὁ δ’ οὐ θέλων τε καὶ θέλων (Hec. 566); θανῆι γὰρ οὐ θανοῦσα σὺν νεκρῶι (Tro. 1223); οὐχ ἑκὼν ἑκών (IT 512); ἔστ’, ἄθλιός γε, κοὐδαμοῦ καὶ πανταχοῦ (IT 568); ὁ κατθανών τε κοὐ θανὼν φαντάζομαι (Ion 1444); πέποιθα μέντοι μητρὶ κοὐ πέποιθ’ ἅμα (Phoen. 272); φρονῶν εὖ κοὐ φρονῶν ἀφικόμην (Phoen. 357); τεθνᾶσι κοὐ τεθνᾶσι (Hel. 138); τὸ καλὸν οὐ καλόν (Or. 119); τὸ σοφὸν δ’ οὐ σοφία (Bacch. 395).

With ἀ(ν): νύμφην τ’ ἄνυμφον παρθένον τ’ ἀπάρθενον (Hec. 612); κακῆς γυναικὸς χάριν ἄχαριν ἀπώλετο (IT 566); δι᾿ ἔργ᾿ ἄνεργ᾿ ὄλλυσαι (Hel. 363); καταστένει γάμον ἄγαμον (Hel. 690); δεσμὸν δ᾿ ἄδεσμον τόνδ᾿ ἔχουσα φυλλάδος (Supp. 32).

Even though oxymorons have a much stricter form than para prosdokian as the list above shows, the two figures work in the same way from a cognitive-linguistic perspective: ‘Because the direction of erasure and replacement is from the modifier to the head-word (it is the modifier that does the erasing and the replacing), readers feel an emphasis of meaning placed upon the modifier’.46 In other words, in both figures, the later part of the phrase comes to reinterpret the first part, i.e. it invites a retrospective reading. From a semantic point of view, oxymoron can  45 For more examples see Mitchell 1839, 312–13; Breitenbach 1967, 236–8; Synodinou 1978. 46 Ching 1980, 181 on the oxymoron – even though he uses the umbrella term ‘verbal paradox’ in the title of his article. See also Hughes 1984 and Shen 1987.

Types and Functions of Para Prosdokian in Aristophanes  

be considered a subcategory of para prosdokian: para prosdokian pairs two substantially different scripts and therefore is something surrealistically possible, whereas oxymoron is a para prosdokian to logic, where the two scripts are not just conceptually contradictory (e.g. a living-dead), but pragmatically irreconcilable (a non-dead dead). One might expect that comedy is also full of oxymora. Aristophanic comedy is certainly not.47 In the four plays under examination, we only encounter two instances. Ach. 397. When Dicaeopolis visits Euripides to borrow some rags, Euripides’ servant responds enigmatically: ΔΙΚ. ΘΕ.

ἔνδον ἔστ’ Εὐριπίδης; οὐκ ἔνδον ἔνδον ἐστίν, εἰ γνώμην ἔχεις.


Is Euripides inside? Not inside, inside he is – if you know what I mean.

To repeat, a para prosdokian is something surrealistic, i.e. imaginatively possible, but ‘not inside and inside’ is inconceivable – until it is explained, surrealistically, that οὐκ ἔνδον applies to the tragedian’s mind and ἔνδον to his body (398–9).48 The absurdity is emphasised through the anadiplosis of ἔνδον. As for εἰ γνώμην ἔχεις, it is rather ironic: ‘If you are smart enough to understand Euripides’ … nonsense’. Plut. 600. Chremylus’ agōn against Poverty reaches an impasse, with the former not being actually able to address the latter’s arguments, and therefore resorting to abuse in order to get rid of her. In fact, Chremylus even admits that he approves of one of her arguments (571). Having no more counterarguments, he abruptly concludes: οὐ γὰρ πείσεις, οὐδ’ ἢν πείσῃς (‘You won’t persuade me, even if you persuade me!’) The expectation would be … οὐδ’ ἢν θέλῃ (‘… even if you wish to’, Soph. Phil. 982) vel sim. The oxymoron here is probably inspired by Eur. Phoen. 272, where Polynices mistrusts his mother, i.e. an old woman like Poverty: πέποιθα μέντοι μητρὶ κοὐ πέποιθ’ ἅμα (‘Yes I trust my mother, and mistrust her at the same time’).  47 Other poets of Old Comedy used the figure in one form or another – to what extent we cannot know. E.g. Cratin. fr. 353: δίκας τ’ ἀδίκους (‘unjust justice’); Cratin. fr. 223: πόλιν δούλων (‘a city of slaves’, with Zelnick-Abramovitz 2012, 124); Eup. fr. 249: θήλεια Φιλόξενος (‘a female Womaniser’, with Gilula 1983, 362); Eup. fr. 99.75: ἀ]ν̣ ά̣ν̣ δρους ἄνδρ[ας (‘unmanly men’); Eup. fr. 99.102: τοὺς θανόντας ο⸤ὐ⸥κ ἐᾷς τεθνηκέν⸤αι;⸥ (‘Why don’t you let the dead die?’; cf. Eur. fr. 507.1). 48 Kronauer (1954, 43) notes that the surrealistic explanation here furthers the parody: whereas in tragedy oxymorons make sense and are not further discussed, comedy has to illuminate them in a playful way.

  Dimitrios Kanellakis There are no other oxymorons in our plays, and even these two instances are used in a paratragic manner. In Frogs, too, the tragedian’s oxymorons are both satirised (Ran. 1082: φασκούσας οὐ ζῆν τὸ ζῆν, ‘His heroines are saying that living is not living’) and parodied (Ran. 1477: τίς οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν, | τὸ πνεῖν δὲ δειπνεῖν, τὸ δὲ καθεύδειν κῴδιον; ‘Who knows whether living is to die [= Eur. fr. 638], breathing is to eat, and sleeping is a fleece?’). In all these cases, it is not the Aristophanic voice that uses the figure but the para-Euripidean voice. As it seems, it is precisely Euripides’ preference for this figure of speech that made Aristophanes avoid it. Also, if Aristophanes himself had used oxymoron extensively, his parodies of its use by Euripides would not have stood out. Since oxymoron was a stylistic signature of Euripides, Aristophanes had to invent, and invest in, a signature of his own. Therefore, far from being a ‘not particularly fashionable’ category invented by the scholiasts,49 para prosdokian is an inherent element of Aristophanes’ works and the definition of his comedy. His talent aside, this was made possible because of the literary momentum the comedian found himself in; because he had excellent rivals and predecessors on the tragic and comic stage to compete with. Aristophanes had a great future behind him. University of Oxford [email protected]

 49 Ruffell 2011, 56.

Heinz-Günther Nesselrath

‘Middle Comedy’: An Outdated Term or Still A Useful Notion? Though the term ‘Middle Comedy’ is explicitly attested only since the 2nd century CE, there are valid reasons to believe that it was invented several hundred years earlier in Hellenistic Alexandria to denote a peculiar form of Attic Comedy that was (supposedly) distinct both from Old Comedy (which for us now is best represented by the surviving plays of Aristophanes) and New Comedy (which, again, is now best represented by the fully or partially rediscovered plays of Menander). Some thirty years ago, I tried to point out some of the reasons why ‘Middle Comedy’ should indeed be regarded as an invention of knowledgeable Alexandrian scholars of the third (or, at the latest, early second) century BCE,1 but my reasoning did not remain unchallenged: in the course of the last two decades, a number of scholars have questioned the usefulness of this notion of ‘Middle Comedy’ and preferred to speak (once more) rather of something like ‘transitional’ or ‘post-Aristophanic’ comedy to denote the period of Attic comic writing between the last years of Aristophanes and the first years of Menander. On the following pages I will review the arguments of these scholars (as correctly and unbiasedly as I can) and then try to counter these arguments with some observations of my own (not all of them new, I am afraid – but if not new, then at least still pertinent, I hope). Let me also counter a possible misconception from the very start: I am not setting out to claim an ‘ontological’ kind of existence for Middle Comedy – all I would like to argue for is that there were ancient scholars (starting in Hellenistic times) who concluded from the evidence available to them that one could in fact distinguish a form of comedy that had enough distinctive features of its own to set it apart both from the comedy of the times of Aristophanes and that of the times of Menander. In this way, ‘Middle Comedy’ will not acquire the status of a Platonic idea but rather that of a heuristic tool for better grasping the development of a unique dramatic genre.

 1 Nesselrath 1990, 1–187. For an abbreviated restatement of the 1990 argument see Nesselrath 2015.

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath

Recent critics of the notion of ‘Middle Comedy’ – a survey In the year 2000, two renowned scholars of Greek drama published papers questioning the ‘conventional’ tripartite division of Attic Comedy into Old, Middle and New. Eric Csapo, in ‘From Aristophanes to Menander? Genre Transformation in Greek Comedy’, challenged this ‘traditional’ notion of the development of Athenian Comedy and argued for a more complex picture in which many phenomena coexisted rather than followed one upon the other. Csapo is very critical of ancient theorising, claiming that ‘the tripartite division of comedy was a late Classical or Hellenistic invention not so much based on the evidence of extant texts as itself the criterion for the selection of the texts’ and that ‘the ancient writers on “Old”, “Middle”, and “New” Comedy created the object of their study’.2 Then he tries to demonstrate that already ‘the fragments of fifth-century comedy show a remarkable variety of subjects and styles, including all those traditionally thought typical of fourth-century comedy’.3 In Csapo’s eyes, neither are mythological travesties or tragic parodies exclusively typical of the (earlier) fourth century, nor political comedies of the fifth. His conclusion: ‘that what we normally think of as Old, Middle and New Comedy designate synchronic, not period styles. […] Best to jettison the traditional labels altogether or retain them only on the understanding that they refer to the dominant style in otherwise highly diversified periods …’4 In the same year, Keith Sidwell (‘From Old to Middle to New? Aristotle’s Poetics and the History of Athenian Comedy’) tried to show that there was only a bipartition of Comedy into Old and New and that these two ‘were already distinct and distinguished from each other by the last quarter of the fifth century’.5 Sidwell begins by discussing the Prolegomena Comoediae, some of which (as he notes) associate Middle Comedy more closely with Old Comedy, while others associate it with New Comedy. He also points out the lack of any notion of ‘Middle Comedy’ in either Aristotle or Theophrastus. His crown witness is, of course, Aristotle, ‘our best pre-Alexandrian source for comedy’,6 because in his Nicomachean Ethics (1128a22–5) he only distinguishes between ‘old’ and ‘new’ comedies – actually (to

 2 Csapo 2000, 117. The italicisation is his. 3 Csapo 2000, 118. 4 Csapo 2000, 121. 5 Sidwell 2000, 247. 6 Sidwell 2000, 251.

‘Middle Comedy’  

my knowledge) the first passage to talk about ‘old’ and ‘new’ comic plays. For Sidwell, this distinction already seems present in the side-by-side existence of ‘iambic’ Old comedy (that of Aristophanes, Cratinus and Eupolis with their sustained attacks on contemporary Athenian politicians and intellectuals) and plotbased ‘Sicilian’ New comedy, introduced (according to Arist. Poet. 1449b5–8) by Crates (with more ‘domestic scenes’ involving love affairs, hetairai, and similar things). Compared with that, Middle Comedy is ‘a later invention, made up by scholars who had only texts before them’.7 Sidwell then goes on to equate ‘Middle Comedy’ with ‘Sicilian Comedy’ – so called, because Aristotle locates the first development of plot-based comedy in Sicily (in Poet. 1448a32–4 he mentions Epicharmus) – and to identify Crates as the first Middle Comic Poet.8 In a publication of 2014, Sidwell builds upon his earlier contribution and develops the theory that there were, in fact, ‘two separate highways’ of comedy development, ‘one for satirical comedy and the other for the non-iambic comedy of plot’,9 which Sidwell thinks ran side by side already in the fifth century and therefore should not be regarded as subsequent developmental stages; like Csapo he posits a strong continuity of plays attacking real Athenian individuals and thus ‘the continued existence of satirically grounded comedies’.10 He quite correctly points out that ancient sources exhibit ‘three distinct […] usages of the term “Middle Comedy” and each appears to derive from a different period’,11 and that the third of them is connected with a three-stage development of ‘restrictions on satirical attack’.12 This third model Sidwell regards as best representing what really happened, and he constructs a new history of successive restrictions clamped on comedy during the fourth century according to the parameters of this model.13 He

 7 Sidwell 2000, 255. 8 As for Sidwell’s idea (2000, 255–6) that ‘New Comedy emerged in the fourth century as the result of the crossing of the plot-based tradition with Euripidean tragedy’, it has to be said that Euripidean tragedy becomes important for comic plots already in Aristophanes; see Nesselrath 1993. 9 Sidwell 2014, 72. 10 Sidwell 2014, 68. 11 Sidwell 2014, 68. 12 Sidwell 2014, 69. The other two usages are described on pp. 68–9: (1) the ‘tripartite scheme of “Old”, “Middle” and “New” Comedy’ in Prolegomena Comoediae III ‘with lists of poets for each period’, and (2) the definition of ‘Middle Comedy’ ‘as a sort of “mean” between the extremes of “old” and “new” comedy’ in the Tractatus Coislinianus. 13 Sidwell 2014, 73–4: ‘the requirement not to attack openly does help to account for the loss of the parabasis […] It may also help us to understand better the later careers of fifth-century satirical dramatists such as Aristophanes and Plato […] In fact, they continued writing satirical plays,

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath also envisions a new investigation of the remains ‘of the mythological and paratragic plays of the period 380–350 BCE […] as potentially satirical’.14 One year before Sidwell’s latest contribution, Matthew Wright, too, has called the labels ‘Middle’ and ‘New’ comedy ‘unsatisfactory in all sorts of ways’, because in his eyes ‘an evolutionary model of literary history, artificially divided into distinct (and more or less arbitrary) periods, seems neither appropriate nor useful’.15 Wright issues these statements while dealing with the question whether ‘comedians of the fourth century and later continue[d] to write about literary matters in the same way as their predecessors’ or whether it is possible to ‘detect significant changes in their attitudes’.16 With regard to this, he firmly states his belief that ‘in the area of poetics the later comedians seem to resemble their predecessors extremely closely in comic technique and subject matter. The same old ideas and jokes are continually being recycled’ and that it is ‘really interesting […] how little change and development we see in later comedy in this particular area’.17 Thus he very much stresses the continuity and the stability of ‘the comedians’ intellectual and poetic outlook’ in the 5th and the 4th centuries.18 Wright detects this continuity in comic playwrights’ claims to novelty (605–7),19 in the comparison of literature with food (608–9), in the poets’ interest ‘in the effect of poetry and drama on the audience’,20 in the (selective) reading of tragic passages as a guide for one’s life (615–18), and in a preoccupation ‘with the concept of literary genre, and with intergeneric dialogue’,21 concluding that ‘there seems to be no justification for bracketing off “middle” or “new” comedians as separate categories from their “old” comic predecessors’.22  but enigmatically. […] As for the introduction of the third restriction, where only slaves and foreigners could be attacked, it is possible that it came into force in the 340s, because Isocrates and Plato were still complaining about the deleterious effects of satire until just before then.’ 14 Sidwell 2014, 74. 15 Wright 2013, 603. 16 Wright 2013, 603. 17 Wright 2013, 604. 18 Wright 2013, 622. 19 Let it be noted in passing that Wright (2013, 606 n. 13) wrongly attributes to me (Nesselrath 1990, 239–41) the assumption that the speaker of Antiph. fr. 189 is a comic poet: I discuss this fragment only very briefly on p. 241 and say nothing about its speaker. 20 Wright 2013, 613. 21 Wright 2013, 619: ‘the poets repeatedly explored the limits of their own genre by playing around with elements from other genres. This sort of experimentation seems to have become particularly common in the last few decades of the fifth century […] All of these trends are perpetuated, more or less unaltered, in the comedy of the fourth century and later.’ 22 Wright 2013, 622.

‘Middle Comedy’  

Finally, Jeffrey Henderson in his survey of ‘Comedy in the Fourth Century II: Politics and Domesticity’ stresses the ‘variety of themes and subjects in each era’ and detects ‘no revolutionary breaks between the eras’.23 He illustrates this by remarking that ‘both domestic and political themes and subjects were already in the repertory when our attestation begins ca. 440 and continued to be fruitful as poets in successive generations broadened or refined them in a continuous process of experimenting’. This suggests a rather similar outlook to that of Sidwell’s (2014) conception of the two ‘highways’ of satirical comedy and comedy of plot respectively continuing side by side (see above). Moreover, Henderson states that ‘no element in the repertory was ever entirely abandoned’,24 although some later remarks of his might seem to contradict this statement.25 Still, Henderson seems not to be prepared to abandon the tripartite division into Old, Middle and New Comedies entirely,26 although he considerably devalues its importance, calling the tripartite model ‘at best a blunt heuristic tool’.27

Some answers to the critics I will now try to answer – to the best of my ability – the critics’ main objections, in the order of their presentation above. According to Csapo, there is in our conception of a tripartite division of Attic Comedy a dangerous predominance of theory over evidence: he denies that any of the ancient attempts to divide the history of this comic form into three subsequent periods can be based on reliable material. This approach, however, comes dangerously close to throwing the baby out with the bathwater because Csapo never even begins to consider how these ancient theories were conceived in the first place. One might perhaps argue that in our times the material Csapo requires is no longer extant in sufficient quantity to justify the conception of a tripartition of Attic Comedy – but can we say the same for the scholars in Alexandria, who had the texts of many hundreds (perhaps even thousands) of Attic comedies from

 23 Henderson 2014, 181. 24 Henderson 2014, 181. 25 E.g. the remark that ‘after 307 […] political comedy reappeared for a brief and final encore’ (Henderson 2014, 189). So political comedy was ‘entirely abandoned’ afterwards? 26 As seems to be shown by his last sentence on p. 195: ‘successful plots became plot-types that […] were gradually winnowed into a narrow repertory that prized nuance and virtuosity over originality (as in Old Comedy) and versatility (as in Middle Comedy).’ 27 Henderson 2014, 181.

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath all periods at their disposal? Or did they conjure the term ‘Middle Comedy’ out of thin air, just for fun? And if so, why?28 Sidwell – while assessing the witnesses for either tripartition or bipartition of comedy in his contribution of 2000 – fails to take into account two important details. On the one hand, he does not consider the great chronological distance between the Prolegomena Comoediae and the periods of the genre they discuss: none of the Prolegomena29 can reasonably be dated before Late Antiquity, i.e. considerably more than half a millennium after Attic New Comedy had run its course – and thus it is not surprising at all that these texts30 have very little to show in the way of real ‘evidence’ for a tripartition of the development of comedy and instead display all kinds of misapprehensions of the history of the genre they are talking about.31 On the other hand, Sidwell never asks whether Aristotle and Theophrastus might in fact be too near (chronologically) to Attic Comedy’s ongoing development to be able to perceive three more or less distinct periods.32 As for  28 At some points, Csapo considerably misrepresents my argument. On p. 117 he claims that in Nesselrath 1990 [not 1989, as Csapo writes], 333 I posit a ‘vast gulf that separates Menander from his contemporaries’. I do no such thing – I rather claim the opposite, i.e. that there were subtle differences between the plays of Menander and those of Philemon, Diphilus and Alexis (‘die […] subtilen Unterschiede zwischen ihnen’), which the Alexandrian scholars could still detect rather easily, because they had all the plays’ texts at their disposal, something which we have not. I also do not think that Csapo’s brief quote of Rosen 1995, 136 sufficiently refutes my argument that Middle Comedy had distinct stylistic features (i.e. long passages in anapaests and dithyrambic language). Moreover, Csapo’s claim (p. 118) that there is no detectable development in mythical travesty and tragic parody in comic plays of the fifth and fourth centuries fails to take into account my treatment of this question (Nesselrath 1990, 204–41; and 1993); similarly, his claim (pp. 119–20) that there are no discernible differences in the treatment of politics in the comic plays of these centuries ignores my treatment of this question in Nesselrath 1997. He once cites my paper on the comic plays depicting births of gods (p. 273 n. 20: ‘Nesselrath 1995: 2’), but the item is missing from the volume’s bibliography (in which only my 1990 monograph on Middle Comedy can be found). 29 With the possible exception of the Prolegomena III, which still show clear traces of going back to a Hellenistic source (see Nesselrath 1990, 48 and 174–5), but at the same time also reveal how much material they have lost. 30 Again with the exception of Prolegomena III, for which see the preceding note. 31 Which Sidwell (2000, 248–50) points out quite correctly; see also Nesselrath 1990, 32–34 (Platonius), 36–45 (Schol. Dion. Thr. [XVIII Koster], Prol. IV, Tzetzes [XIa1–2 Koster], Anon. Crameri [XIb–c Koster], Euanthius), 56 (Tract. Coislin.). 32 Aristotle wrote his Nicomachean Ethics probably between 335 and 322 BCE, which is altogether too early to perceive a development from a ‘Middle’ to a ‘New’ comedy. Theophrastus, being some decades younger than Aristotle and active well into the 280s BCE, might have been able to perceive such a development – but so many of his writings have survived in only a very fragmentary state that nothing certain can be made out (see Nesselrath 1990, 149–61).

‘Middle Comedy’  

his calling Middle Comedy a ‘later invention […] by scholars who had only texts before them’, this is in total accordance with the thesis that only Hellenistic scholars in Alexandria were in fact able to perceive a tripartition in the development of comedy, because of the texts they had ‘before them’. In his contribution of 2014, Sidwell continues to set too much store by the presumed historical reliability33 of the Prolegomena Comoediae, especially as far as the group of Prolegomena is concerned which outlines a tripartition according to the development of successive restrictions on personal invective and attack:34 to my mind, however, it is highly doubtful that ‘most of the material provided by these later sources can be traced back to the third century BCE and the activities of librarians from Callimachus to Aristophanes of Byzantium’.35 This may be true of the Prolegomena III,36 but the other transmitted Prolegomena contain so many errors and over-schematic misrepresentations of the developments of Attic Comedy that they can hardly have come into existence before Late Antiquity.37 Sidwell, however, tries to establish a simple and direct connection between these Prolegomena (which in an ‘Aristotelian/Peripatetic’ manner concentrate on the development – or rather phased reduction – of satirical/personal abuse in comedy) and Aristotle’s remarks on comedy. But between Aristotle and these texts lies more than half a millennium, and we simply do not know what exactly happened in the course of all this time, as far as conceptions of comedy are concerned: if these texts really are in the tradition of Aristotelian thinking, as Sidwell

 33 Sidwell (2014, 72) stresses the ‘basic historicity’ of the Prolegomena concentrating on increasing restrictions of comic ‘freedom’ and claims that these texts could not have invented these restrictions. This is very debatable, to say the least. 34 He connects this line of thought with two loci classici in Aristotle (Sidwell 2014, 70): 1. Poetics 1449b5–9 (distinguishing between a ‘satirical comedy’ based on the ‘iambic form’ and a ‘plotbased type’ imported from Sicily and first taken up by the comic poet Crates), 2. Nicomachean Ethics 1182b23–5 (distinguishing between ‘old’ comedies containing ‘open treatment of shameful things’ and ‘new’ ones ‘merely hinting at them’). Though the Nicomachean Ethics passage can be understood chronologically (with ‘new’ meaning ‘more recent’), it has to be pointed out that these two distinctions do not really tally, so that the ‘new comedies’ mentioned in the Nicomachean Ethics cannot simply be equated with the ‘plot-based type’ of comedy mentioned in the Poetics. 35 Sidwell 2014, 64. For ‘proof’ of this statement he refers to a chapter of my monograph (Nesselrath 1990, 172–87), but in these pages I only cite Prolegomena III (174–5, 185; see next note), but never the other Prolegomena. 36 As I have myself argued in Nesselrath 1990, 45–51, 174–5; Nesselrath 2015, 23–5. 37 See above note 31 and Nesselrath 2015, 30–4.

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath believes,38 when, how and under what circumstances did they acquire the tripartition of comedy, which in Aristotle is not yet present? It can only have come from the tradition represented by Prolegomena III and thus was apparently imposed on these texts at a rather late stage. Sidwell assumes that the tradition represented by Prolegomena III ‘may, in fact, have even truncated the “Aristotelian model” to make it fit better’,39 but I would argue that Prolegomena III uses no Aristotelian criteria at all.40 It adopts a literary/aesthetic approach and not the Aristotelian/Peripatetic ‘sociopolitical’ one and develops its tripartite scheme according to its own criteria. By claiming the existence ‘of two separate highways, one for satirical comedy and the other for the non-iambic comedy of plot’, Sidwell accords far too much importance to the rather restricted amount of material pointing (admittedly) to some continuance of invective or satirical content in fourth-century Attic Comedy; compared to the much more extensive material for non-satiric comedy in that period, we will probably have to replace the ‘highway’41 of satirical comedy with a rather small – and far from continuous – sidepath next to the real highway of non-satiric comedy.42 Wright is bothered by the ‘artificiality’ of evolutionary models of literary history and their division of that history into ‘arbitrary’ periods, but this is an accu-

 38 He even calls the model of comic development that they outline ‘very close to Aristotle’ (Sidwell 2014, 71). 39 Sidwell 2014, 71. 40 See Nesselrath 1990, 45–7; Nesselrath 2015, 30. 41 According to Sidwell (2014, 72) this ‘highway’ was ‘regulated out of existence’, but this is highly questionable, because – as Csapo 2000, 120 has already pointed out – we have traces of political comedy as late as 294 BCE (see also the following note). It seems more probable that political content could always surface in comedy under certain circumstances. That Plato Comicus’ ‘turn towards mythical subjects will simply have been a cover for continuing political satire, and this may be why he was singled out by the composer of the “Aristotelian model” as an exemplar of what happened to iambic comedy under the enigma law’ (Sidwell 2014, 73) is mere speculation not supported by any hard evidence. And there is also simply not enough hard evidence to show that – as Sidwell speculates (see above note 14) – ‘the mythological and paratragic plays of the period 380–350 BCE’ might in fact have had a satiric/invective thrust. 42 In this context, the observations of Henderson 2014 about the varying nature and visibility of political content in fourth-century comedy seem relevant: on the one hand he points out that in some decades ‘the spotlight shift[ed] from the political and legal shenanigans of […] leaders to the extravagances of the wealthy’ (185), on the other that political comedy had a brief but vivid revival after 307 BCE (189–90), i.e. considerably later than Sidwell in his model would think possible (see preceding note).

‘Middle Comedy’  

sation easily applicable to every attempt at getting an intellectual grip on a historical phenomenon.43 Wright also seems to acknowledge that his view of the general continuity in comedy may not hold water for all kinds of comic content.44 What is more: despite his talk of continuity, Wright does in fact depict a number of rather significant changes from the fifth to the fourth century in the subject matter he discusses: e.g. the rather prominent role of books in the latter period;45 the comic poets’ apparently declining interest ‘in the circumstances of the festival in which they were competing’;46 the vanishing (after Aristophanes) of the idea ‘that comic and/or tragic drama might be useful for the citizen body’;47 the appearance of moralising gnōmai or maxims;48 and, in comedy’s relationship to tragedy, the shifting of focus from contemporary tragedy towards the now ‘classical’ authors, especially Euripides.49 As for Henderson, we have already seen that he does not reject the tripartite model entirely, but does not think highly of its heuristic value. Still – and this seems rather similar to what we could observe in Wright’s contribution – in a number of observations of detail, he at least implicitly reinstates the model by calling attention to a series of changes detectable in the development of comedy that would seem to confirm something like three phases. Thus, speaking of ‘political comedy’, he concedes that ‘after 403, political comedy receded after its brief run as a dominant type’, although after a few lines he adds: ‘Nevertheless,  43 Thus, dividing European history into ‘Antiquity’, the ‘Middle Ages’ and the ‘Modern Era’ might seem just as arbitrary and artificial, but doing away with these notions will not help us to understand history better. 44 He states, e.g., that ‘people continued to find literary-based humour appealing, at a time when other comic themes (e.g. politics and sex) seem, for whatever reason, to have fallen out of favour’ (Wright 2013, 604) – thus different kinds of content suffered a different fate. 45 ‘The emergence of “reading culture” out of “performance culture” represents a complex process of social and intellectual change’ (Wright 2013, 611). 46 Wright 2013, 611, continuing: ‘This is in marked contrast to the work of earlier comedians, to whom the paraphernalia of the festivals and the outcome of the competitions were matters of explicit interest […] After the fifth century we do not find any surviving references to the competitions from within the plays.’ 47 Wright 2013, 613: ‘These fifth-century theories are not seen in the remains of later comedy. The playwrights remain interested in the moral effects of drama, but the emphasis now seems to have shifted away from its social and civic benefits.’ 48 Wright 2013, 618: ‘comedy in the fourth century and later started to include excerptable maxims of its own. (There are almost no gnōmai in fifth-century comedy apart from paratragic ones – a very significant fact.)’ Wright explicitly calls this ‘a new development’. 49 Wright 2013, 619–20. On pp. 620–1, though, Wright tries to downplay the ‘profound shift’ of comic poets’ attitudes towards Euripides, concluding (on p. 621) that ‘we are not obliged to view the classicising tendency as a distinctively “fourth-century” phenomenon’.

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath it would be many more decades before comedy turned away from political engagement altogether.’50 On the following pages he notes a few periods within the fourth century during which political comedies resurfaced,51 but he rightly refrains from designating these comedies as the ‘dominant’ form, as they seem to have been produced considerably less frequently (and by fewer poets) than their counterparts in the last decades of the fifth century. In the middle decades of the fourth century real Athenians were still ridiculed on the comic stage, but for rather different reasons than in the fifth, namely for their ‘personal foibles’ and ‘the extravagances of the wealthy: gourmanderie […], drinking, lavish spending, partying and gambling, inheritance-squandering, and sexual (mis)behavior’.52 Henderson notices yet other differences vis-à-vis the fifth century: ‘As a prominent comic focus, the symposium world belongs to the fourth century; in fifth century comedy, there are descriptions of symposia […] but few certifiable stagings of symposia themselves’.53 He also draws attention to different comic personnel: ‘Gourmands – only ten are mentioned in Old Comedy […] – are now listed in long catalogues […], and their cooks (none in Old Comedy […]) and suppliers, especially fishmongers (rare in Old Comedy), gain new prominence, as do their companions in high living: hetairai, pimps (one in Old Comedy), and parasites (two in Old Comedy, though these seem to have been not parasites properly speaking […]).’54 Henderson also devotes a number of paragraphs to the development of what he calls ‘hetaira-comedy’, showing how it evolved from a few early examples brought onstage by Pherecrates via the comic portrayal of real hetairai (like Lais) in the earlier fourth century to the typical (and sometimes less typical, but always ubiquitous) hetairai of New Comedy.55 All these observations, it seems to me, fit rather well into a tripartite scheme of comedy development.

 50 Henderson 2014, 183. 51 One of these periods (in which Timocles produced the comic plays which exhibit the greatest quantity of political content among his contemporary rivals) seems to stretch from the 340s until after the death of Alexander the Great, when after the Lamian War Athens fell under direct Macedonian control; another (much briefer) one ran from 307 to 303, when the pro-oligarchic comic poets Archedicus and Philippides attacked democratic opponents with their plays (see Henderson 2014, 189–90); and the last (very brief) one can be dated only to 294, after the ‘tyrant’ Lachares had been overthrown by Demetrius Poliorcetes (Henderson 2014, 190). 52 Henderson 2014, 185–6. For this kind of ridicule on the comic stage during this period see also Nesselrath 1997. 53 Henderson 2014, 186. 54 Henderson 2014, 187. For all these (more or less shady) characters and their new prominence in Middle Comedy see already Nesselrath 1990, 280–330. 55 Henderson 2014, 191–3.

‘Middle Comedy’  

The usefulness of the term ‘Middle Comedy’ according to some older and some more recent scholarship My concluding remarks will, on the one hand, draw attention to some pages by an earlier scholar that are still worth reading and, on the other, point out some promising vistas outlined by some younger researchers. During his attempt to prove that the tripartite division paid little heed to evidence and followed a circular argument, Csapo twice cites Fritz Wehrli’s Motivstudien zur griechischen Komödie of 1936.56 Now, Wehrli – in his first chapter57 – very astutely shows how in the wake of Aristotle and his distinction between ‘old’ comedies with their penchant for open aischrologia and ‘new’ comedies preferring more restraint (hyponoia) a course was set (within Peripatetic circles) for a fundamental bipartite division of the history of comedy, which later on led to the direct comparison (synkrisis) between the greatest representatives of ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Comedy, i.e. Aristophanes and Menander, and even to the theory that Aristophanes could be regarded as the direct ‘father’ of Menander’s Comedy: the Life of Aristophanes (preserved in several Aristophanes manuscripts) declares (XXVIII 50–5 Koster = Ar. Test. 1.46–51 K–A) that Aristophanes’ play Kokalos is to be considered the direct predecessor of typical plot elements found in Menander. Wehrli seems to date this theory connecting Menander directly with Aristophanes rather early – not long after it had become possible to compare the two, i.e. not long after Menander’s plays had acquired a distinct status in the history of Attic Comedy (sometime during the first half of the third century BCE). He also posits that it was corrected soon afterwards to account for the very real sixty-year gap dividing Menander from Aristophanes58 by the introduction of a ‘middle’ period between Aristophanes and Menander and thus of the tripartite division. Wehrli thinks that this adjustment of theory was made in Peripatetic circles, but there is no firm proof for this, and one might perhaps much more easily connect Menan-

 56 Csapo 2000, 271 nn. 2 and 5. 57 Wehrli 1936, 12–20: ‘Die antike Theorie’; see especially pp. 15–18. 58 Wehrli 1936, 16: ‘Die Unzulänglichkeiten einer Theorie, welche die menandrische Komödie unmittelbar aus der aristophanischen hervorgehen lässt, war empfindlich genug, um bald den Versuch einer Korrektur zu veranlassen.’

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath der with Aristophanes directly after extensive knowledge of what came in between had already been lost.59 Only somebody who had extensive comic material from the sixty years between Aristophanes and Menander at his disposal was able to introduce a ‘middle’ period between these two great playwrights in which all the changes could happen that transformed Aristophanic into Menandrean Comedy; and surely the best place where these changes could be catalogued and taken account of was Hellenistic Alexandria. It was certainly here that Aristophanes’ claim to be the inspirator of Menander in fact got a rival, namely Anaxandrides, a Middle Comic poet, of whom nowadays only fragments (even though sometimes extensive ones) can be read, but whose plays were of course present in Alexandria’s great library.60 It is, finally, reassuring that in a younger generation of contemporary classical scholars there are some voices who are still prepared to give ‘Middle Comedy’ a chance (although in some cases with certain reservations). Ioannis Konstantakos, in fact, seems to be in two minds about the term:61 in 2015, he confesses that he would still ‘be at ease’ with the ‘abolition’ of the term ‘Middle Comedy’, but at the same time he insists ‘that the period of ca. 400–320 presents special traits, which broadly distinguish it from what came before and after in Attic comic theatre’, and though he might be willing to accept – as a substitute for ‘Middle Comedy’ – designations like ‘fourth-century pre-Menandrean’ or ‘pre-Hellenistic’ comedy, he also acknowledges that ‘sooner or later a one-word designation would be sorely missed’.62 Four years earlier, in a long article on ‘Conditions of

 59 There are next to no traces of Middle Comedy plays on papyri, so already in early Roman Imperial times, knowledge of this phase of Attic Comedy would largely have been confined to Alexandria and its libraries. Plutarch’s Aristophanis et Menandri Comparatio may give us a chronological hint as to when comparing Aristophanes directly with Menander became fashionable. 60 On Anaxandrides and his rival claim as predecessor of New Comedy see Nesselrath 1993, 183, 190–3. See now also Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 182–3, though she fails to take note of my 1993 contribution. 61 In his unpublished dissertation of 2000 he emphasises that Middle Comedy ‘is basically a chronological distinction, not a term indicating a particular genre or a specific type of comic play’ (2) and stresses ‘the “transitional” character of Middle Comedy, its “middle” position between the “Old Comedy” of the fifth century and the “New Comedy” of Menander and his contemporaries’; but he also regards it as ‘the period during which the Greek comic theatre was transformed’, making it ‘a period of greater importance for the history of European comedy than it would appear at first sight’ (4). 62 Konstantakos 2015b, 161. In this article, he also stresses the ‘diversity of themes and material’ (162) to be found in the plays of Middle Comedy, something which Papachrysostomou also regards as a dominant trait of the genre (see below).

‘Middle Comedy’  

playwriting and the comic dramatist’s craft in the fourth century’ – in which he tries to establish the ‘internationalisation’ of Athenian comic theatre as the main cause of a number of major changes in Attic Comedy – he uses the term ‘Middle Comedy’ without any qualms.63 Another important recent voice on Athenian Middle Comedy – and rather in support of this term – is Athina Papachrysostomou. In the introduction to her 2008 Commentary on Selected Fragments of Middle Comedy she states her belief that the term Middle Comedy ‘is useful for more than chronological purposes’, namely ‘as a hermeneutic tool’, and that ‘there is a good case to be made for this phase as showing distinctive characteristics’.64 In her eyes, Middle Comedy is ‘a period of unusually intense experimentation’; she even maintains ‘that during the period of Middle Comedy the experimentation [inherent in all Athenian Comedy] reaches its peak’.65 In a more recent contribution66 she stresses the overall ‘coherence and continuity’ of the comic genre: according to her, this coherence is ‘mainly established by certain major trends, such as politics, obscenity, personal satire, and stereotype characters’; beyond that, however, she identifies certain ‘sub-trends’ developed by Middle Comedy, which ‘evolved to form part of the Menandrean modus scribendi’.67 One of these sub-trends she calls the ‘“fake philosophising trend”: the comic character, pretending to be serious, embarks on a philosophical analysis of human affairs.’68 After a few fore-runners in Old Comedy,69 it is ‘during the periods of Middle and New Comedy’ that ‘this tendency reaches its peak’.70 As a second sub-trend she identifies ‘the speech pattern of

 63 Konstantakos 2011b passim. On p. 152 he calls ‘the so-called “Middle Comedy” [which he dates to “the period from about 380 to the 330s or 320s”], a time of great productivity and diversity for the Athenian comic theatre’. And this is the only instance where he qualifies the term Middle Comedy with ‘so-called’. 64 Papachrysostomou 2008, 13. 65 Papachrysostomou 2008, 13. 66 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013. 67 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 167. 68 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 168. 69 As such, Papachrysostomou (2012–2013, 169) only cites a passage from Aristophanes’ Wealth (467–609) and one from Wasps (655–724). On p. 172, she remarks that the Aristophanes passages are still very much tied to ‘the contemporary socio-political milieu of fifth century Athens’, while those from Middle and New Comedy ‘are primarily preoccupied with abstract existential issues’ and are ‘clearly detached from any serious sociopolitical implications’, which – in my view – is quite a remarkable change vis-à-vis Old Comedy. 70 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 169, citing a quite impressive number of examples (13 from poets of Middle Comedy, 3 from poets of New Comedy). On pp. 171–2, she provides two examples from Menander.

  Heinz-Günther Nesselrath parasites’:71 starting again with a few examples from Old Comedy,72 she goes on to cite four major examples from Middle Comedy and two73 from Menander. Papachrysostomou emphasises ‘a detectable thread linking the parasite’s speech pattern from Old to Middle Comedy and from there to Menander’, but adds that ‘the traits that make up the parasite’s identity in Middle Comedy continue to exist as independent features integrated in other figures in the Menandrean plays’, which she rightly identifies as a ‘change regarding this sub-trend’.74 As a third sub-trend she names ‘aspects of the misanthrope figure’.75 Once more, there are forerunners in Old Comedy (Phrynichus’ Monotropos and Bdelycleon in Aristophanes’ Wasps), which are then succeeded by a notable range of plays and fragments focussing on misanthropic figures in Middle Comedy,76 to be followed by the notorious Knemon in Menander’s Dyskolos. As a fourth sub-trend Papachrysostomou identifies a ‘repertoire of love affairs, rapes of maidens, exposure of babies, and happy-ending recognitions’,77 in which she emphasises a continuity of development spanning from (late) Aristophanes via Anaxandrides78 and other poets of Middle Comedy79 to Menander. She concludes: ‘Middle Comedy plays a pivotal role in inheriting, elaborating upon, and bequeathing motifs, trends, and stereotypes.’80 Last but not least, Andrew Hartwig’s 2014 paper on ‘The evolution of comedy in the fourth century’ does not regard Middle Comedy as a period of mere ‘transition’, but stresses the fundamental groundwork laid in the first half of the century for later New Comedy.81

 71 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 173. 72 I would, however, hesitate to consider the title figures of Eupolis’ Kolakes full-blown equivalents of the later comic parasites. 73 Though the Perikeiromene example does in fact not involve a parasite but a slave (Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 177–8). 74 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 176. 75 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 178. 76 She cites (Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 179–81) Monotropos plays by Anaxilas and Ophelio and a Dyskolos play by Mnesimachus as well as Philetaer. frr. 6, 7 and 13. 77 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 181–2. 78 On him see above, n. 60. 79 Papachrysostomou (2012–2013, 183–9) cites Antiphanes (fr. 166 from Neottis), Alexis (Agonis or Hippiskos), Amphis (fr. 33), Theophilus (frr. 11–12 from Philaulos), Alexis again (fr. 103). 80 Papachrysostomou 2012–2013, 189. 81 Hartwig 2014, 226. Hartwig agrees with Konstantakos that in the fourth century internationalisation is ‘the most significant development behind changes in comedy’ (218), pointing out that a very high number of Middle-Comedy poets (‘Antiphanes, Anaxandrides, Amphis, Alexis, Anaxilas, Epicrates, Eubulides, Sophilus, and Dionysius of Sinope’) are ‘of apparently foreign origin’,

‘Middle Comedy’  

All in all, the contributions reviewed in the last section of this chapter have pointed out a range of aspects which seem to support the notion that the term ‘Middle Comedy’ is still a useful tool for assessing the development of Attic Comedy – provided that (as I said at the beginning) we do not accord some metaphysical or ontological status to it but simply regard it as what it should be: a tool for making our grasping of the phenomenon of Attic Comedy (hopefully) a bit easier. Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen [email protected]

 and that the trend continues in New Comedy with ‘Philemon, Apollodorus of Gela, Diphilus, Posidippus, Apollodorus of Carystus, and Phoenicides’.

Andreas Fountoulakis

Glimpses of a Male World: Performing Masculinities in Menander In the domestic ambiences represented in Menander’s plays men hold prominent roles as fathers, sons, lovers, relatives, neighbours or friends, and, at the same time, as wealthy citizens, poor working men, professional soldiers, pimps, parasites, cooks or slaves. It is thus worth wondering whether and to what extent their common identity as men contributes to their formation as dramatic characters, the development of dramatic action, and the shaping of the ideology emerging from the plays they come from. Their identity as men is closely related to the notion of ‘masculinity’ which may be regarded as a series of physical, mental or emotional features, social positions, attitudes and modes of behaviour which are thought by society to be peculiar to men. These attributes of the male gender may in some cases include or be based on biological features, but are, in fact, socially and culturally determined.1 The notion of ‘masculinity’ is often linked in Western societies with the notion of ‘patriarchy’ and the related notion of ‘hegemonic masculinity’, which consists of a series of features associated with the image of an ideal male holding a dominant role in power relations and hierarchies developed within a social structure.2 In the patriarchal and male-dominated society of classical Athens the ideal of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ was connected with the image of the free, economically autonomous, physically strong, emotionally and sexually self-controlled, competitive, reasonable and brave hoplite-citizen who had a sense of honour and shame, helped his friends and harmed his enemies, cared about the prosperity of his oikos, actively participated in the affairs of the polis and was ready to defend it in case of war. Slaves, non-citizens, barbarians, male prostitutes, kinaidoi, women and children were groups against which this type of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ was placed and defined.3 While similar perceptions of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ were prevalent also in the Hellenistic period, important social and political

 1 See Carrigan/Connell/Lee 1985, 551–604; Canaan/Griffin 1990, 206–14; Alsop/Fitzsimons/ Lennon 2002, 130–6; Connell 2005, 3–44. 2 See Alsop/Fitzsimons/Lennon 2002, 140–3; Connell 2005, 77–8, 186–99. 3 See Dover 1974, 98–102; Keuls 1985, 33–55, 101–3, 300–20; Blundell 1989, 26–59; Winkler 1990, 45–70; Strauss 1993; Cairns 1993, 305–40, 343–431; Cartledge 1998, 54–67; Fisher 1998, 68–97; Stafford 1998, 43–56; Bassi 2003, 25–58; Roisman 2005 passim; Rademaker 2005, 145–53, 233–47, 305–21; Nortwick 2008, 25–7, 52–62, 74–93, 138–53.

  Andreas Fountoulakis changes imposed a shift towards differentiated notions of ‘masculinity’. The replacement of the hoplite-citizen of the classical polis by the mercenary soldier who fought for money on behalf of the powerful Hellenistic rulers or the elimination of involvement in the Athenian polis contributed to a gradual dissociation of the notion of ‘masculinity’ from that of the citizen and his obligations within the polis. The notion of citizenship continued to play an important role in the construction of ‘masculinity’, although it was more closely related to the notion of social, ethnic and cultural identity in the immense, cosmopolitan and multicultural political ambiences of the Hellenistic kingdoms. Growing importance was attached to the construction of ‘masculinity’ within the oikos which in classical times was already considered a significant element of the polis. Yet the oikos was now also a means of securing the much needed prosperity of the individual within a wider and less secure world.4 The presence of the male body in the Greek theatre as well as the vivid representation of socially and culturally specific male characters and roles in both ritual and drama, turns the latter into a fertile field of exploration of notions of masculinity, although dramatic characters can hardly be taken as reflections of real-life characters.5 Such notions of masculinity depend on factors like time and place, age, class, ethnicity, race, social, civic, financial or marital status, cultural and personal experience, religion, education, speech, appearance or sexual orientation and conduct. It is therefore inevitable to trace not a single type of masculinity, but various masculinities which are related to various types of males and are formed according to the above-mentioned factors. Masculine identities are neither fixed nor unaltered. They are perceived in different ways by different people, while they are constructed by means of men’s relations with others and the adoption of certain socially and culturally produced features and roles.6 In addition to ‘hegemonic masculinity’, one may observe the emergence of ‘subordinated’, ‘complicit’, ‘marginalised’ or ‘resistant masculinities’, which are formulated in terms of a complex nexus of social power relations and hierarchies.7 Thus the masculinity of Parmenon in Menander’s Samia emerges as a ‘marginalised masculinity’ since it depends on his social position as a slave. Although at 641–57 he says that he played no active role in Demeas’ deception, he is threatened with branding and

 4 Cf. Berg 2008, 128–9; Fountoulakis 2009, 106–7, 110–7; Berg 2011, 128–30, 136–7. 5 Cf. Bowie 1993, 178–227, 254–67; Hawley 1998, 85–93; Bassi 1998, 99–143, 192–244; Berg 2008, 127–8; Berg 2011, 100–3. 6 See Kimmel/Aronson 2004, 503–7. 7 For these types of masculinity see Carrigan/Connell/Lee 1985, 551–604; Hearn/Collinson 1994, 97–118; Alsop/Fitzsimons/Lennon 2002, 136–55; Connell 2005, 71–81.

Glimpses of a Male World: Performing Masculinities in Menander  

whipping as if he were a criminal, a disobedient or a runaway slave. Such threats result from his marginal social status as opposed to that of a citizen who had specific legal rights offering him protection. The masculinity of Agathon and Cleisthenes in Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae, on the other hand, may be regarded as a ‘subordinated masculinity’ related to their identity as effeminate passive homosexuals, which resulted in their ridicule and undermined their civic status. Yet such characters are uncommon in New Comedy which focuses on heterosexual male citizens.8 Both types of masculinity are related and may be defined in opposition to the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ associated with the ideal of the free Athenian hoplite-citizen. In Menander’s Dyskolos the conscious attempt of Knemon to display a resistance against what he regards as society’s oppression results in the development of a ‘resistant masculinity’, which leads him to the adoption of a masculine ideal very different from that of the head of the oikos and the citizen who cooperates with other citizens so as to contribute actively to the social life of his polis. However, the majority of masculinities attested in New Comedy fall within the broader category of ‘complicit masculinity’ where free men appear to be struggling to comply with the often elusive norms of ‘hegemonic masculinity’, that is the image of the ideal male. As happens with gender in general, the formation of all those masculinities is a process of role construction enacted within the boundaries of the comic performance which provides the theatrical tools that are necessary for the construction of the comic character as well as for the construction of gender.9 Although such a distinction between various types of masculinity, which derives from gender studies, may appear rather schematic and relevant only to modern Western societies, similar notions and distinctions are discernible in many ancient societies.10 The comedy of Menander, in particular, which was thought by ancient scholars to be a faithful imitation of real life mainly in terms of human character,11 is suggestive of a similar perception of masculinity. Issues such as the insistence on heterosexual relationships, the seduction or rape of virgin girls,  8 For the absence of homosexuality from the plays of Menander see Plut. Quaest. conv. 712c (= Men. Test. 104). For hints of effeminacy or homosexuality see Men. Sik. 199–204, 258–63; Plaut. Mil. Glor. 1111–13, Cas. 449–66, 723, 811–13; Lilja 1983, 33; Pierce 1998, 141–4; Lape 2004, 222–7. 9 See Butler 1990, 24–7, 47–8, 171–90; Morris 1995, 567–92; Butler 1997, 147–59; Alsop/Fitzsimons/Lennon 2002, 97–105; Mangan 2003, 6–13. 10 Cf. Orrells 2011, 22–33. 11 See Syrian. in Hermog. Peri Staseon 1 (p. 29,18 R.), 2 (p. 22,25 R.) (= Men. Test. 83): ὦ Μένανδρε καὶ βίε, | πότερος ἄρ’ ὑμῶν πότερον ἀπεμιμήσατο; (‘Oh Menander and life, which one of you imitated which?’).

  Andreas Fountoulakis marriage or the attitudes of hetairai, are thought by Plutarch (citing Diogenianus of Pergamon) to have a dominant role in Menander and to determine various masculine roles. These issues are regarded not as fictitious renderings of a comic world, but as glimpses of the ordinary world. And Menander must have selected relevant characters, incidents and situations in such a way that Plutarch discerns in them the moralising power of Menandrean comedy.12 It is a power based on the development of a certain vision and the construction of a specific dramatic world.

Staging comic masculinities In opposition to the padded actor with the oversized phallus of Old Comedy or the heroic overtones of the tragic costume, the bodies of New Comedy’s characters were dressed in costumes resembling the clothes of ordinary people. The information on comic costumes provided by Pollux and Donatus imply a stereotypical presentation of character as well as a set of meanings deriving from socially determined gender roles and experience.13 Old men were supposed to have a cloak and a hooked stick, according to Pollux, while their costumes were white, as is noted by Donatus. Such an appearance is linked with conservatism, traditional values and dignity, and this implies the conveyance of an image of ‘hegemonic masculinity’. By contrast, young men appear, according to Donatus, in colourful clothes which are specified by Pollux as a Phoenician or a dark purple cloak. Such an expensive garment implies the luxurious lifestyle of most of the young men in comedy, since according to Donatus dramatic characters who were supposed to be rich were dressed in purple. It also underlines the vehemence of youth, which often results in the seduction or rape of young virgins. The perception of purple clothes as indications of an aggressive and dominant masculinity is corroborated by the fact that, according to Donatus, soldiers also wore purple clothes. Parasites and slaves were, by contrast, dressed in scanty dark or grey clothes, and this suggests their lower social status and thus their ‘subordinated’ or ‘marginalised masculinities’. According to both Pollux and Donatus, pimps

 12 Plut. Quaest. conv. 712c–d (= Men. Test. 104). Cf. Fountoulakis 2004, 24–31. 13 It is, however, not certain that their comments refer specifically to New Comedy or to its plays’ original performances since these authors are later than Menander.

Glimpses of a Male World: Performing Masculinities in Menander  

wore colourfully-dyed clothes and this must have been an indication of the diversification from the hegemonic norms of masculinity adopted by the old men and their younger heirs.14 The classification of the masks of New Comedy by Pollux, which may derive from a treatise On Masks written by Aristophanes of Byzantium,15 suggests that critics and audiences of various eras were ready to see in those masks distinctions pertinent to gender, status and age, which played an important role in the formation and categorisation of comic characters.16 Socially nuanced physical attributes, which are linked with inner features according to Greek physiognomics, are employed in various categories of masks so as to depict different types of masculinity.17 The mask of the panchrēstos neaniskos (the excellent young man), for instance, suggests an ideal ‘hegemonic masculinity’ based on moral excellence (πάγχρηστος), youth (νεανίσκος), sense of shame, good health, physical strength and beauty reflected in his redness and developed in the male field of athletics (ὑπέρυθρος and γυμναστικός), public activities which justify his light tan (ὑποκεχρωσμένος), mental and moral maturity reflected in the wrinkles of his forehead (ῥυτίδας … μετώπου), and social and civic eminence in an urban ambience, as is implied by the crown of hair and the raised brows (στεφάνην τριχῶν, ἀνατεταμένος τὰς ὀφρῦς).18 The same category of panchrēstos figures also among the tragic masks listed by Pollux19 and this is an indication not only of the convergence between tragedy and comedy attested in New Comedy, but also of the reflection of a relevant socially determined type of masculinity in the comic as well as in the tragic mask. Similarly, the mask of the episeistos neaniskos (the wavy-haired young man) implies another type of masculinity. The dark skin betrays an aggressive masculinity developed in battlefields, whereas the long wavy black hair is suggestive of cowardice (τὴν χροιὰν μέλανι καὶ μελαγκόμῃ).20 Yet this is only a perverted comic rendering of the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ of the epic hero and the system of values he represents. The relevant comic character is a braggart soldier boasting of his meagre achievements and displaying emotional, and often violent, outbursts incompatible with the codes of honour and shame of  14 Poll. Onom. 4.118–20; Donatus, On Comedy 8.6–7. Cf. Pickard-Cambridge 1988, 230–1; Wiles 1991, 188–92. 15 Cf. Csapo/Slater 1995, 393–402; Ruffell 2014, 149. For reservations see Pickard-Cambridge 1988, 177–9, 223–31. 16 Poll. Onom. 4.143–54. Cf. Wiles 1991, 74–80. 17 Cf. [Arist.] Phgn. 809a26ff.; Wiles 1991, 85–90; Gleason 1995, 58–9; Petrides 2014, 141–51. 18 Poll. Onom. 4.146. Cf. Petrides 2014, 246–56. 19 Poll. Onom. 4.135–6. 20 Poll. Onom. 4.147 referring to two types of such masks.

  Andreas Fountoulakis epic figures.21 Among the masks of old men that of the prōtos pappos (the first grandfather) conveys the image of the quiet, mature and wise old man. This image is encapsulated in his peaceful brows (ἡμερώτατος τὰς ὀφρῦς), his thin cheeks (ἰσχνὸς τὰς παρειάς), the fact that he looks glum (τὴν ὄψιν κατηφής), his white skin (λευκὸς τὸ χρῶμα) and the pleasant forehead (τὸ μέτωπον ὑπόφαιδρος).22 Similarly, the raised right eyebrow of the mask of the hēgemōn (the leading man) is suggestive of his social eminence and his arrogance.23 Deviations from these indications of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ suggest in the relevant masks the ‘marginalised masculinities’ of the pimp, the kolax, the parasitos and the various types of the comic slave.24 These masculinities often stand as polar opposites and comic caricatures of various ideal forms of ‘hegemonic masculinity’. It is reasonable to suppose that the actors’ postures and movements would comply with the relevant gender-related costumes and masks.25 Despite the stability of the comic costume and mask, and the influential tradition of Old and Middle Comedy, most of Menander’s male personages are formulated in a manner that eschews a stereotyped presentation in favour of individualisation and play with the audience’s horizon of expectations.26 The relevant costumes and masks provided, after all, only some basic traits upon which text and performance built the plays’ personages. This kind of gender representation tended to acquire a conventional character. It was different from that of Old Comedy, which mostly relied upon the presentation of the male body with the use of phallic props, imagery and language or upon the reversal of socially determined male and female roles. These features of Old Comedy suggest its strong dependence upon fertility and apotropaic rituals associated with Dionysiac myth and cult as well as upon ambiguities and reversals attested in the liminal world of ritual.27 Menandrean comedy was, by contrast, more closely related to its actual social context even though realism was often eliminated by convention.

 21 Cf. Petrides 2014, 214–16, 239–45. 22 Poll. Onom. 4.143. 23 Poll. Onom. 4.144. 24 Poll. Onom. 4.145 (the pimp), 4.148 (the kolax and the parasitos), 4.145–50 (the various types of slave). 25 Cf. Wiles 1991, 192–208. 26 Cf. Wiles 1991, 121–8; Ruffell 2014, 147–60. 27 Cf. Bowie 1993, 26–7, 34, 178–217, 212, 254–67; McClure 1999, 206–28; Foley 2014, 259–66, 269–71.

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Masculinities in Menander Despite their important position in the comic plots, male characters in Menander have received little scholarly attention compared to their female counterparts.28 Issues of gender, pertinent also to men, have been studied by Susan Lape in connection with the potential associations of Menander’s plays with the democratic polis.29 Lape has also studied gender in Menander in the light of a double standard that allowed sex beyond marriage for men, but not for decent women as well as in connection with factors such as social class or kinship.30 Helene Foley has examined New Comedy’s depiction of old and young men within the household in relation to major developments in the presentation of masculinity and femininity and on the performance of gender through the comic body from Old Comedy onwards.31 Angela Heap has noted social and historical factors determining the formation of many male characters of Menander,32 while Karen Pierce has shed light on certain ideals related to young unmarried men, older married men and soldiers in New Comedy.33 The emergence of an ‘ideal masculinity’ in Menander in connection with age has been perceptively studied by Henrik Berg noting the development of various related masculinities.34 Berg has also explored the construction of masculinities in early Hellenistic Athens as depicted in Menander and Theophrastus’ Characters. He has noted, in particular, the dependence of ‘ideal masculinity’ on factors such as age, ethnicity, self-control, civic or familial status.35 It is worth therefore examining the formation of masculinities in Menander from a somewhat different gender-theoretical perspective, which takes into account the performative aspects of gender roles. Rather than considering Menander’s male characters as representatives of specific types, as happens in most studies on men in Menander, it may be argued that their action is determined through the emergence of various masculinities, which may be detected even in

 28 For women in Menander see especially Henry 1985 (focussing on hetairai); Krieter-Spiro 1997 (a study of Menandrean hetairai along with slaves and cooks); Rosivach 1998; Traill 2008. 29 Lape 2004 passim and especially 68–72, 137–70, 183–98, 202–42. 30 Lape 2010, 51–78. 31 Foley 2014, 259–74. 32 Heap 1998, 115–29. 33 Pierce 1998, 130–47. 34 Berg 2008, 125–39. 35 Berg 2011, 97–113.

  Andreas Fountoulakis a single character or be projected by various other characters. These masculinities are developed around certain ideals of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and contribute to the formulation of a male vision which determines the plays’ action and is associated with their social and cultural context. When in Menander’s Samia Moschion presents himself before the audience, he refers to certain elements of his identity which betray his ways of developing an idealised ‘hegemonic masculinity’ (10–11, 13–18):36 εἶτ’ ἐν]εγράφην οὐδὲν διαφέρων οὐδενός, τὸ λεγό]μενον δὴ τοῦτο, τῶν πολλῶν τις ὤν˙


[Next], I was registered – an average chap, [That’s how the] phrase goes, just like any other.


τῷ χορηγεῖν διέφερον καὶ τῇ] φιλοτιμίᾳ˙ κύνας γὰρ ἔτρεφέ μοι, ἵππο]υς˙ ἐφυλάρχησα λαμπρῶς˙ τῶν φίλων τοῖς] δεομένοις τὰ μέτρι’ ἐπαρκεῖν ἐδυνάμην. δι’ ἐκεῖνον ἦν ἄνθρωπος. ἀστείαν δ’ ὅμως τούτων χάριν τιν’ ἀπεδίδουν˙ ἦν κόσμιος. I shone with my payments for choruses [and] public service. He kept hounds for me, and [horses]. I starred as a colonel of hussars! I could give modest help to needy friends. He made me grow up. I paid my debt for that, though, nobly: I behaved myself.



Upon coming of age, Moschion, as the adopted son of an Athenian citizen, was registered in the citizen list of his deme and this involved fulfilling for two years the same duties of training as a warrior and acting as a guard as any other Athenian ephebe (10–11). The social role of the hoplite-citizen was thus rehearsed by Moschion in a process of developing his identity as an adult male citizen. Moreover, apparently after the end of his ephēbeia, he acted as a chorēgos and financed choruses (13) thanks to the wealth of his adoptive father who had offered him a luxurious and aristocratic lifestyle, horses, hunting dogs and all (14–15). The fact that he became a chorēgos appears not only as an obligation stemming from that wealth, but also as an indication of his willingness to acquire social eminence and public honours (14). It is for this reason that he also became the  36 Cf. Dover 1974, 177–8; Dedoussi 2006, 102; Sommerstein 2013, 103–4, 106. All texts and translations of Menander’s comedies cited in this chapter come from Arnott’s Loeb edition.

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socially admirable commander of a cavalry contingent of his tribe (15). Moschion’s references are related to age as well as to social and financial status, and describe the process through which a young man may gradually start performing the hegemonic masculine role of an adult male, which also involved an active role as head of the oikos. This role rehearsed by Moschion, whose references point towards the character of the panchrēstos neaniskos (the excellent young man) and the relevant mask described by Pollux (Onom. 4.146), was accompanied by the endorsement of a morality that involved helping his friends, returning favours and developing a socially acceptable decency which entailed the use of reason and emotional self-restraint (15–18).37 Being human (17: ἄνθρωπος) and decent (18: κόσμιος) emerge as the idealised qualities of a male who has managed to adopt a socially admirable and dominant role and identity. Yet such an identity is not stable and this is mainly due to Moschion’s age. Moschion also rehearses the role of the vehement, promiscuous and self-indulgent young man who entertains himself with his peers at dinner-parties, sings, dances, gets drunk, becomes violent and seduces or even rapes virgin girls. Thus one night he impregnated Plangon, the daughter of Nikeratos, a close friend and neighbour, apparently taking advantage of the licentious atmosphere of the festival of the Adonia (49–51).38 Although in the extant part of the play he hesitates to make clear whether he seduced or raped the girl,39 his conduct suggests a deviation from the role of the decent young man who prepares himself for a dominant role in his oikos as well as in the community of his friends and, above all, of his polis. It is for this reason that he faces an internal conflict between the two roles he has assumed and feels shame for his conduct when he considers the role of the vehement youth from the viewpoint of the young man who has done his best to perform an ideal masculine role.40 Moschion’s aggression towards Plangon and his hesitation to speak about it to his father so as to make up for his deeds lead him to a masculinity crisis. His cowardice deprives him of basic male traits, such as courage and honesty, and  37 Cf. Mette 1969, 432–9; Blanchard 2002, 58–74; Dedoussi 2006, 104–5. 38 On that festival see Markantonatos in this volume, p. 173, with further bibliography. 39 It is more likely that the impregnation of Plangon was the result of rape, a common motif in New Comedy, and not of seduction. A seduction would imply the girl’s consent to premarital sex and her subsequent inappropriateness to marry a decent Athenian citizen. See Rosivach 1998, 20–3, 30–3, 35–42, 146–8; Fountoulakis 2019, 35, n. 14 and the bibliography cited there. 40 For Moschion’s perception of his conduct as a hamartia for which he feels aischynē see Men. Sam. 3, 13, 47–8, 67. In Athens both adultery and rape were condemned by law and this must have also shaped such a perception. Cf. Dem. 23.53–5; [Dem.] 59.87; Lys. 1; Aeschin. 1.15–17; Pl. Leg. 874c; Cole 1984, 97–113; Cohen 1991, 98–132; Ogden 1997, 26–32; Heap 1998, 122–3.

  Andreas Fountoulakis that is why Parmenon calls him at 69 ἀνδρόγυνε (half man half woman), a derogatory characterisation which sounds even more pointed in the mouth of a slave. Similar deviations from the requirements of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ are often displayed in Menander by soldiers who manifest their aggression not in the battlefields, but in everyday social contact, and against women in particular. In the opening scene of Menander’s Perikeiromene Glykera must have appeared onstage after her lover Polemon, a Corinthian mercenary soldier, had violently cut her hair off. This happened because as soon as he and his slave Sosias returned home after a military campaign, Sosias saw her embracing another man, not knowing that he was her brother (154–70 (34–50), 172–3 (52–3)). Polemon’s violent outburst was part of an episode of sexual jealousy and appears as a non-institutionalised version of an ‘aggressive masculinity’ normally expected by a man in battle and involving physical strength, bravery, fearlessness, power and aggression (172–4 (52–4)).41 Feeling deceived, humiliated and marginalised by his mistress, Polemon tries to restore his wounded pride as well as his sexual and social hegemony by resorting to violence. At 128–9 (8–9) he is described as a σφοδρὸς νεανίσκος (a vehement youth) and this aspect of his character appears as a major component of his personality that leads his violent action even though he may later feel sorry about it.42 As Karen Pierce observes, the ‘masculinity of youth’ he rehearses is being affected by his identity as a soldier which leads him to a violent behaviour against a woman.43 This ‘military masculinity’ has little to do with the ideals of the classical hoplite-citizen, since he was only a mercenary fighting for money and not driven by the ideals of ‘hegemonic masculinity’, such as bravery, honour and loyalty to the polis.44 Polemon’s ‘military masculinity’ has also little to do with the ideals of the epic warrior. By contrast, New Comedy’s soldiers display aggression towards social inferiors driven by jealousy, arrogance and lack of compassion and self-control.45 What Polemon displays is not andreia, which literally means ‘manliness’ and denotes also the essentially ‘male’ traits of ‘bravery’ or ‘courage’,46 but hybris.  41 Cf. Chaniotis 2005, 102–4. 42 Cf. Fortenbaugh 1974, 434–8. 43 Pierce 1998, 137–8. 44 See Lys. 2.11–14, 16.3, 13–16, 18.7, 26.21–2; Isoc. 18.61; Dem. 40.25, 60.3, 17; Dover 1974, 165– 8; Loraux 1995, 64–87, 152–8; Roisman 2005, 105–13, 117–18. Lape (2004, 68) considers this depiction of mercenaries as a humiliating treatment of an intrinsically Hellenistic institution, which aimed at a positive colouring of the image of the hoplite-citizen of democratic Athens. Cf. also Lape 2004, 202–6. 45 Cf. Berg 2011, 108–9. 46 See Bassi 2003, 25–58.

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It is only after the adoption of a morality based on reason, humanity and selfcontrol that Polemon could develop a ‘hegemonic masculinity’ that would secure him through marriage an acceptable and dominant role both in the oikos and the polis.47 Rape in Menander is a more extreme form of sexual violence which stems from the same ‘aggressive masculinity’ and is always associated with unmarried young men. Their actions normally take place when they are drunk, they feel guilty when they are sober, and are eventually led to marriage with the girls they raped.48 Although in Athens seduction and adultery (moicheia) were considered as having more serious implications since they involved mutual consent, corruption and long-term attachment, and could therefore threaten the stability of the oikos and the acquisition of legitimate children,49 rape was regarded as a form of hybris involving also physical abuse and infliction of dishonour. Death could therefore have been the sentence for rape.50 A rapist is thus characterised in Menander’s Epitrepontes 894 and Georgos 30 as ἁλιτήριος (villain) and μιαρός (polluted/filthy) respectively. In Menander’s Dyskolos emphasis is placed on the dishonour inflicted upon the female victim of rape as well as upon her kyrios (243– 6, 289–92).51 This suggests that the ‘aggressive masculinity’ of the rapist is, in fact, a ‘resistant masculinity’ which is developed in opposition to ‘hegemonic masculinity’ even though they both share the element of male domination and female subordination. Violence and lack of sexual and emotional self-restraint are the main features of the ‘aggressive masculinity’ that turn it into a ‘resistant’ one. The emergence of Charisios’ ‘hegemonic masculinity’ through his marriage with Pamphile in Menander’s Epitrepontes is undermined by a ‘youthful masculinity’ which in its extreme form is turned into an ‘aggressive masculinity’. As normally happens in New Comedy, rape emerges as an indication of youthful vehemence.52 In social contexts young people were also thought to be driven by emotion and prone to hybris.53 Charisios leaves his wife when five months after

 47 See Pierce 1998, 137–8. Cf. Konstan 1995, 109, 117–19. 48 Cf. Gomme/Sandbach 1973, 33; Pierce 1997, 164–70; Scafuro 1997, 238–78; Pierce 1997, 176– 9; Rosivach 1998, 36–42. 49 See Cohen 1991, 98–170 and especially 107–9; Carey 1995, 407–17; Ogden 1997, 32–6; Roisman 2005, 26–32. 50 See Harris 1990, 370–7. 51 Cf. Brown 1991, 533–4. 52 Cf. Sommerstein 1998, 100–5, 109–11. 53 See Lys. 24.15–18; Dem. 54.4; Fisher 1992, 96–7. For the emotional and impulsive nature of young men cf. also Arist. Rh. 1389a3–1389b12; Dem. 19.229, 38.27, 40.57, 61.3; Isoc. 7.43, 7.50; Lys. 20.3; Roisman 2005, 12–14, 171–2.

  Andreas Fountoulakis their marriage she gives birth to a baby ostensibly fathered by another man, without realising that he had impregnated Pamphile when, drunk, he raped her before their marriage one night during the Tauropolia (406–7, 450–4, 472–9).54 Yet it is not so much Pamphile’s supposed misconduct as the acquisition of a supposedly illegitimate child that threatens the stability of his household.55 The vehemence of youth, which is discernible in Charisios’ eagerness to get drunk and mingle with the women celebrating the Tauropolia, is the primary feature of his ‘youthful masculinity’ and culminates in the aggressive and uncontrolled expression of his sexuality and the gendered violence inflicted upon Pamphile. Her rape forms an extreme case of male domination and female subordination.56 This ‘aggressive masculinity’, which emerges as an extreme culmination of his ‘youthful masculinity’, is pertinent to an abusive character as well as to a strong body capable of exercising physical violence to fulfil his sexual appetite. It is worth noting that this type of masculinity is thought to be developed when the victim of rape is a citizen girl and not whenever sexual violence is exercised.57 The role of the promiscuous and self-indulgent young man is assumed by Charisios once again after he leaves his wife and turns towards a lifestyle of perpetual entertainment with his friend Chairestratos and the hetaira Habrotonon, even though he eventually does not have sexual relations with her (437–41). Yet such an identity is not stable. After his marriage Charisios rehearsed a role of ‘hegemonic masculinity’. This involves a dominant role in the oikos, an intention of preserving familial and social order, affection for his wife and remorse for her cruel treatment, shame, pity for the free girl he had insulted, reasonable thought and forgiveness for a woman who had suffered what he himself had supposedly done to another woman (894–900).58 When he realises that he was the man who had raped Pamphile and that her baby is his, he tries in a reasonable and responsible manner to rebuild his ‘hegemonic masculinity’ within the boundaries of his oikos, the restoration of his relation with Pamphile, and the recognition of her baby as his own. The ‘aggressive masculinity’ of a mercenary may become a ‘marginalised masculinity’ if that man does not have citizen status within the polis. When this  54 Men. Epit. 406–7, 450–4, 472–9. For the handling of rape in this play see Pierce 1997, 164–6; Rosivach 1998, 30–2. 55 Cf. Konstan 1995, 145–8; Heap 1998, 124. 56 At 487–90 tearing to pieces her delicate clothes points, as a significant play with theatrical costume, towards the violation and the defilement of her body and decency, even on the level of description (cf. Pierce 1997, 166). 57 Cf. Glazebrook 2015, 82–90. 58 Cf. also Lape 2010, 73–6.

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changes as a result of recognition, his masculine role changes as well, affected by the notions of citizenship, ethnicity, parentage and family status. In Menander’s Sikyonian(s) Stratophanes, a mercenary soldier who has been adopted by a family from Sikyon, lives in Athens, but is unable to enjoy citizen status and marry Philoumene, a girl who is also mistakenly thought to be a non-Athenian. It is through a double recognition that they both discover their Athenian origins and their marriage becomes possible. The marginal and fragile status Stratophanes had in Athens as a foreigner as well as the arrogance and coarseness that derived from his identity as a mercenary gives way to a new role he adopts as an Athenian young man, who cooperates with his fellow citizens, appears reasonable and humble, and is led to marriage with an Athenian girl creating a new oikos within the polis. The fact that Stratophanes is a soldier combines in a new masculine role the ideal of the classical hoplite-citizen with that of the monogamous husband.59 Stratophanes manages thus to acquire the idealised character of an Athenian male, and to perform a ‘hegemonic masculinity’. Citizenship is the key element that leads to its formation.60 Maintaining ‘hegemonic masculinity’ may sometimes be an even more complicated process than it is in Epitrepontes or Sikyonian(s). In Samia Moschion, feeling insulted because Demeas had thought of him as having an affair with Chrysis, pretends that he is going to leave Athens as a mercenary. Demeas’ assumptions have wounded his pride and honour, which form essential elements of the role of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ he has already rehearsed. He therefore declares at 633–6 that he will react in a forceful and yet decent manner, although he does not intend to realise his threats: οὐ μὴν ταπεινῶς οὐδ’ ἀγεννῶς παντελῶς παριδεῖν με δεῖ τοῦτ’, ἀλλὰ τῷ λόγῳ μόνον, εἰ μηθὲν ἄλλ’, αὐτὸν φοβῆσαι βούλομαι, φάσκων ἀπαίρειν. Yet I mustn’t feebly or ignobly disregard this altogether, but just by a trick, if nothing else, I want to scare him, I’ll pretend to go abroad.

 59 Cf. Lape 2004, 215–19, 237–42. 60 Cf. Lape 2004, 202–16; Berg 2011, 103–4; Witzke 2016, 41–65.

  Andreas Fountoulakis Those threats involve the performance of ‘a play within a play’ as well as of another masculine role. This should not be considered an indication of a ‘false masculinity’ or even of cowardice.61 Neither should it be regarded as an indication of Moschion’s inability to move beyond his father’s shadow and acquire a concrete masculine identity.62 His hesitation to make public the offence committed against Plangon or his false threats that he is going to leave Athens as a mercenary may be seen as indications of his plan to safeguard in the best possible way the ideal masculine role he has been rehearsing because of his social and financial status. And this may happen within the oikos. The rehearsal of a role of ‘military masculinity’ aims at the prosperity of the oikos, the good relations between its members and the eventual establishment of his hegemonic position within it. Seen from a dramaturgical perspective, the lack of real bravery behind his military attire may derive from the exploitation of New Comedy’s character of the boastful soldier.63 This metatheatrical focussing on plays and roles emphasises the performative nature and construction of gender roles. In a scene with strong metatheatrical overtones, at 687–8 Moschion’s slave Parmenon brings on stage a soldier’s cloak and a sword probably with a scabbard and a belt, which function as the visual signifiers of the role of the soldier; Moschion gets dressed before the audience stressing thus the theatricality of his new role and the performative nature of the ‘military masculinity’ he is about to rehearse. This sub-category of an ‘aggressive masculinity’ encapsulates the institutionalised aggression of the soldier and a social eminence deriving from earlier versions of the soldier’s persona, such as the epic warrior or the classical hoplitecitizen. It stands between the socially ‘marginalised aggressive masculinity’ of the rapist and the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ of the decent young man who is ready to perform the roles of the head of the oikos and the exemplary citizen. Since a performance needs spectators, Moschion appears anxious to perform his new masculine role before his father, who is his primary addressee. When Demeas appears on stage, he sees Moschion getting dressed at 691–2 and says: ἡ στολὴ τί β[ούλετα]ι; τί τὸ πάθος; μέλλεις ἀπαίρειν, εἰπέ μ[οι, σύ, Μοσχίων;

 61 Pierce 1998, 136–7. 62 Lape 2004, 167–70. 63 For the character of an alazōn soldier see MacCary 1972, 279–98; Zagagi 1995, 29–35; Brown 2004, 1–16; Konstantakos 2015c and 2016.

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What does this fancy dress [mean]? What’s happened? Tell [me, Moschion], do you plan to decamp?

Demeas understands that Moschion is about to leave as a mercenary and notes the signifying function of his son’s attire. The soldier’s cloak encapsulates an aggressive social role reserved for men, the sword a socially acceptable form of violence which may be used by male warriors. The shape of the sword and its use for the penetration of the enemy’s body in battle function as phallic metaphors that point towards the sexual aggression attached to men and their supposedly dominant role in social or sexual relations. When at 719–22 Moschion holds his sword against Nikeratos, he gives a performance of an ‘aggressive masculinity’ which mirrors the performance he gave when he penetrated Plangon during the Adonia. Yet, as happens with most of Menander’s soldiers, Moschion’s false ‘aggressive masculinity’ is replaced by a ‘hegemonic masculinity’ achieved through marriage, the next phase of the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ he has already rehearsed as a young man. This happens after Demeas’ monologue at 694–712 where he asks for Moschion’s forgiveness displaying the moral and emotional maturity expected by a man whose attitude is shaped according to the standards of a ‘hegemonic masculinity’. At the same time, it reaffirms the principles that determine the relationship between father and son which in their case are more fragile since Moschion is an adopted son.64 Their relationship is of crucial importance with respect to the stability and the continuity of their oikos as well as to their masculinity.65 Light is thus shed on the two types of ‘hegemonic masculinity’: that of a mature man and that of a young man. The dramatisation of the betrothal ceremony at 726–7 marks Moschion’s transition from the ‘marginalised aggressive masculinity’ of the seducer or rapist and the mercenary soldier to an ideal ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and his reintegration in the oikos and the polis: NIK.

μαρτύρων ἐναντίον σοι τήνδ’ ἐγὼ δίδωμ’ ἔχειν γνησίων παίδων ἐπ’ ἀρότῳ.


In front of witnesses I give this girl to you as your wife, to harvest lawful children.

 64 That is why Moschion’s adoption is repeatedly referred to (7–8, 346–7, 698–9). Cf. Keuls 1973, 19–20; Grant 1986, 172–84; Fountoulakis 2004, 183–91. 65 Cf. Berg 2008, 134–5.

  Andreas Fountoulakis In this typical betrothal phrase one may note Moschion’s rehearsal of a masculine role involving familial and social acceptance. His relationship with Plangon is no longer something he should be ashamed of and has to be hidden, but a publicly acceptable affair. Moreover, the acquisition of legitimate children according to Pericles’ citizenship law implies that Moschion is gradually taking a position as head of a new oikos which contributes to the prosperity of the polis by providing new citizens.66 Moschion’s new masculine role is reflected on the visual level when he leaves behind the soldier’s attire and appears at 732–3 crowned and decked out. His clothes become again the visual signifier of another masculine identity. Demeas’ adoption of a ‘hegemonic masculinity’ becomes apparent when Moschion admits at 13–17 that his own ability to act as chorēgos, have hunting dogs and horses, become the commander of a cavalry contingent and help his friends financially is due to the social and financial eminence of his father: δι’ ἐκεῖνον ἦν ἄνθρωπος (17: ‘he made me grow up’). Demeas’ concern about the stability and continuity of his oikos is implied by the fact that, although he was not married, he decided to adopt a son and subsequently have him married to Plangon, a decent Athenian girl who is also the daughter of his friend and neighbour Nikeratos (113–19).67 This is a constant concern of Demeas throughout the play (169–204, 444–50, 588–615).68 Such a concern is related to a version of patriarchal hegemony associated with an age of maturity and his identity as head of his oikos. Even though Pierce considers this a separate masculinity, the ‘masculinity of matrimony’, related to free older married men,69 it is, in fact, another form of the versions of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ rehearsed by Moschion as an eminent young man and as a man who gets married and becomes head of a new oikos. That Demeas is no longer a young man adds wisdom and self-control to his character.70 When he suspects that his son has had an illicit affair with Chrysis, he imposes on himself emotional self-restraint and hastens to take for granted Mos-

 66 At the time of the play’s production the acquisition of children through the marriage of a man and a woman who had citizen status did not necessarily mean that their children had citizen rights, since a very high property requirement was also imposed. Cf. Hofmeister 1997, 300–3; Fountoulakis 2009, 106–9. 67 Demeas’ belief in friendship is another aspect of his ‘hegemonic masculinity’. Cf. Roisman 2005, 51–5. 68 Cf. MacCary 1971, 315–16. 69 Pierce 1998, 139–40. 70 For the link between old age, wisdom, and self-control in social contexts see Pl. Resp. 329b– d; Aeschin. 1.23–4; Roisman 2005, 207–8.

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chion’s innocence (327–8). He attempts thus to preserve the male order, prosperity and continuity of his oikos, and to save it from what he considers the disastrous influence of a female intruder.71 Yet, as happens with the characters that have been examined so far, these features of his masculine identity are not permanent. Demeas develops strong emotions and related modes of behaviour which are incompatible with the sobriety, decency and self-restraint of the ideal free adult male. Lack of self-restraint, in particular, is thought by Aristotle to be peculiar not only to young people, but also, and perhaps mainly, to women and effeminate men.72 Despite his shame, Demeas behaved as a senex amator and rehearsed a role of ‘resistant masculinity’. This entailed a loving attitude towards Chrysis peculiar to young men and the development of an aggressive and ridiculous antagonism towards younger rivals of perhaps the same age as Moschion.73 Demeas’ ‘hegemonic masculinity’ was restored when Chrysis was taken into his house as a pallakē. Yet Demeas’ love for Chrysis, the jealousy he feels when he supposes that she has an affair with his adoptive son and his subsequent anger towards her lead him to a masculinity crisis and the rehearsal of a role of ‘marginalised aggressive masculinity’ related to his loss of control over his oikos. His erōs for Chrysis is presented by her at 81–3 as a major force capable of calming him down and at the same time of influencing his mental capacities, including his reason and sobriety: ἐρᾷ γάρ, ὦ βέλτιστε, κἀκεῖνος κακῶς, οὐχ ἧττον ἢ σύ. τοῦτο δ’ εἰς διαλλαγὰς ἄγει τάχιστα καὶ τὸν ὀργιλώτατον. You see, my boy, he too’s as badly in love as you are! That persuades the most hot-tempered man to make an early peace!

The same feeling is part of the antecedent circumstances that reinforce his sense of possession over Chrysis and his sexual jealousy when he feels deceived and  71 See further Fountoulakis 2011a, 92–5. 72 Arist. Eth. Nic. 1118a1–3, 1118b–1119a, 1145a31–1152b27; Rh. 1366b13–15; Pol. 1335b39–42; Xen. Mem. 1.3.14–15. See Foucault 1985, 63–77; Roisman 2005, 164–6, 176–85; Ward 2016, 89–96. Selfrestraint (enkrateia) was necessary for the development of reasonable thought (sōphrosynē). Cf. Berg 2011, 108–9 for the implications of Demeas’ lack of self-restraint. 73 Cf. Pierce 1998, 139–40, who sees in those old men’s attitudes a return to the ‘masculinity of youth’. For Demeas’ unconventional relationship with Chrysis and its importance for the emergence of male hegemonic norms and standards see Lape 2010, 64–6. Cf. also Berg 2011, 108.

  Andreas Fountoulakis marginalised by her. This results in a struggle for power and his violent outburst against her.74 While soliloquising, he describes her at 348 as χαμαιτύπη (a whore) and ὄλεθρος (a disaster) and demands at 352–4 her expulsion from his house. This happens at 380–420. His attitude is encouraged by the fact that she is a woman, a hetaira and a foreigner. These features make her extremely vulnerable before his male hegemony.75 Although anger and aggressiveness are major features of the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ of epic figures like Achilles, in the domestic world of Menander such feelings oppose the civic morality of decency and reason attached to his ideal dominant males.76 Demeas’ attempt to preserve his oikos by expelling the supposedly dangerous female intruder as well as through his reconciliation with his adoptive son and the latter’s marriage reveals a system of values which is far from the mindless expression of aggression. These values comprise forgiveness, reasonable thought, emotional restraint, compassion and a priority given to the welfare of the oikos; they also redefine the important masculine roles of father and son often set in opposition to the notion of bastardy.77 Demeas’ ‘hegemonic masculinity’ has thus been restored and reinforced through his adventures in a world of deception, misapprehension, intense emotions and violence. Yet those aspects of Demeas’ character are not always perceived as indications of a hegemonic masculine role. When Nikeratos thinks that Demeas has not reacted as he ought to have done to the dishonour that has supposedly been inflicted upon him by Moschion and Chrysis, he calls him at 506 ἀνδράποδ[ον (a slave); a socially coloured characterisation that points to the ‘marginalised masculinity’ of a slave which Demeas appears to be rehearsing. By contrast, Nikeratos says at 511–13 that he would have punished Moschion and Chrysis, and this would have made him a man (512: ἀνήρ) in his community. His observations point thus towards a perception of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ as a role aiming at the preservation of a man’s honour and social prevalence even with the display of extreme aggression against those who harm him.78

 74 For Demeas’ sexual jealousy see Fountoulakis 2019, 44–5, 51–2. 75 Note that in Men. Dys. 58–68 a man is expected to display totally different attitudes towards a hetaira and a decent free young girl. Cf. Lape 2010, 62–4. 76 Cf. Arist. Eth. Nic. 1116b28–30; Bassi 2003, 54. 77 See Roisman 2005, 41–6. 78 Cf. Arist. Eth. Nic. 1132b21–1133a5; Dem. 59.12; Blundell 1989, 55; Sommerstein 2013, 259.

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Towards a male world The ubiquity and prevalence of male characters and the value systems they represent in Menander’s plots result in the construction of a predominantly male world. It may provide glimpses of various types of masculinity, but brings to the foreground and portrays positively the norms and values of a specific type of ‘hegemonic masculinity’, even when this is not adopted by some characters. This is suggestive of the dominance of plot over character and the promotion of an ideology deriving from Menander’s social and cultural context. In Menander’s Dyskolos Knemon adopts a system of values which isolates him from his social ambience and his family. He thus finds himself opposed to the idealised roles of the active citizen and the head of his oikos. Hard work is the alternative he opts for in order to construct his own ‘resistant masculinity’, whose features are outlined in the play’s prologue delivered by Pan (30–4): ὁ γέρων δ’ ἔχων τὴν θυγατέρ’ αὐτὸς ζῇ μόνος καὶ γραῦν θεράπαιναν, ξυλοφορῶν σκάπτων τ’, ἀε[ὶ πονῶν, ἀπὸ τούτων ἀρξάμενος τῶν γειτόνων καὶ τῆς γυναικὸς μέχρι Χολαργέων κάτω μισῶν ἐφεξῆς πάντας.


The old husband lives his own life, with his daughter and an old servant woman, carrying wood and digging, always working. He detests the whole world, from his wife and neighbours here right to Cholargos down there, every single man.


Knemon’s labour keeps him away from social and political life. In classical Athens manual labour was for similar reasons considered unsuitable for free males who were expected to devote their time to war, the affairs of the polis and their own moral development.79 Such views apparently echoed the concerns of social elites and their perception of an ideal ‘hegemonic masculinity’. Manual labour may therefore be seen as a negative trait of Knemon’s character which contributes, along with his misanthropy, to the construction of his ‘resistant masculinity’, even though throughout the play emphasis is placed on his unsociable character, and not on his engagement with agriculture, which in social contexts was

 79 See Xen. Oec. 4.2–3; Pl. Alc. 131a–b; Arist. Pol. 1328b, 1337b; Applebaum 1992, 34, 38–45, 60– 6.

  Andreas Fountoulakis considered as less degrading than other forms of manual labour.80 For this reason, this is presented as only a part of his habits and is taken over as a virtue by Gorgias and Sostratos.81 The latter, by acknowledging the value of manual labour in his attempt to approach Knemon and eventually marry his daughter, adopts a feature which is opposed to the ‘hegemonic masculinity’ deriving from his financial and social eminence (365–70): ΔΑ.



ταῖς βώλοις βαλεῖ εὐθύς σ’, ἀποκαλεῖ τ’ ὄλεθρον ἀργόν. ἀλλὰ δεῖ σκάπτειν μεθ’ ἡμῶν σ’. εἰ τύχοι γάρ, τοῦτ’ ἰδὼν ἴσως ἂν ὑπομείνειε καὶ παρὰ σοῦ τινα λόγον, νομίσας αὐτουργὸν εἶναι τῷ βίῳ πένητ’. ἕτοιμος πάντα πειθαρχεῖν˙ ἄγε.


Straight off, he’ll throw his sods at you, call you a lazy devil. No, you’d better do some digging with us. If he saw that, he just might – perhaps – agree to listen to, yes, even you, because he thought your life was that of a poor farmer. I’m prepared to do all I am told. Lead on.




The value of hard work, manual labour and self-sufficiency is put forward by Daos, a slave performing a ‘marginalised masculinity’. Rehearsing for a while a ‘resistant’ or a ‘marginalised masculinity’ through the adoption of non-hegemonic traits, Sostratos manages to invest industriousness, manual work and selfsufficiency with positive overtones as well as to integrate them as virtues into the hegemonic role he is about to perform.82 His body and attire reflect that change since he appears burnt by the sun and dressed with austerity abandoning his luxurious clothes (275, 363–5, 415, 754). Sostratos’ gesture narrows the gap between the rich and the poor, who learn to respect each other, and projects a new model of moderate living through his marriage with Knemon’s daughter.83 This may have been a consoling idea for a large part of the play’s Athenian spectators who were disfranchised because of a high property requirement for citizenship that

 80 See Xen. Oec. 4.2, 6.8; Pl. Leg. 743d; Arist. Pol. 1296b28. 81 See Wiles 1984, 174. 82 Cf. Berg 2011, 106. 83 Cf. Wiles 1984, 171–6, 178–9; Rosivach 2001, 127–34; Lape 2010, 58–61; Berg 2011, 105–6.

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had been introduced.84 Sostratos’ gesture implies also the ability of a single character to rehearse various masculinities through various socially determined traits and the fact that these masculinities and their features change according to social demand and convention. What is thus put forward in Dyskolos is the vision of a new type of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ which is not confined to the ideals of social elites, but meets the needs and expectations of the poorer classes. Quite often a free old man, whose social position would normally have provided him with a hegemonic male role, is deprived of the moral qualities which are a prerequisite for such a role. When in Menander’s Aspis the mercenary soldier Kleostratos is thought to have been killed in battle, Smikrines, an old uncle of his, reveals his intention of marrying Kleostratos’ sister according to an Athenian law that dictated the marriage of an unmarried woman, whose legal male guardian had died, to the eldest and nearest male relative on the father’s side so that the heiress (epiklēros) could find the protection she needed and her property would remain within the family.85 Far from adopting high moral standards, which might contribute to the welfare of the oikos and the polis, Smikrines is, in fact, a selfish, dishonest and greedy old man who only wants for himself the rich booty of Kleostratos that has arrived in Athens together with the news of his death. Smikrines’ villainy undermines the hegemonic role he intends to assume and eventually leads to his marginalisation.86 In social contexts greediness was seen as a lack of self-restraint often associated with selfishness, injustice and a love of wealth.87 In the play’s postponed prologue-speech the goddess Tyche outlines at 114–21 Smikrines’ rehearsal of such an ‘anti-social’ resistant male identity: ὁ γέρων δ’ ὁ πάντ’ ἀνακρίνων ἀρτίως γένει μὲν αὐτῷ θεῖός ἐστι πρὸς πατρὸς πονηρίᾳ δὲ πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὅλως ὑπερπέπαικεν˙ οὗτος οὔτε συγγενῆ οὔτε φίλον οἶδεν οὐδὲ τῶν ἐν τῷ βίῳ αἰσχρῶν πεφρόντικ’ οὐδέν, ἀλλὰ βούλεται ἔχειν ἅπαντα˙ τοῦτο γινώσκει μόνον, καὶ ζῇ μονότροπος, γραῦν ἔχων διάκονον. This old man, though, who’s just been prying into everything – he’s his paternal




 84 See Habicht 1997, 39–41; Fountoulakis 2009, 106. 85 Cf. Harrison 1968, 132–8; Lacey 1968, 139–45; Schaps 1979, 33–5; Brown 1983, 413; Todd 1993, 218–19, 228–31; Scafuro 1997, 281–305; Roisman 2005, 47–8; Fountoulakis 2011b, 162. 86 Cf. Lloyd-Jones 1971, 191–4. 87 See Pl. Leg. 831c–e; Dem. 26.25; Roisman 2005, 173–6.

  Andreas Fountoulakis uncle, the world’s most perfect paragon of villainy. The names of relative and friend he doesn’t recognise, doesn’t care a fig if any action is dishonest. He wants to possess everything, that’s his 120 one thought. He lives alone, an old slave-woman looks after him.

Tyche predicts at 143–6 the outcome of Smikrines’ actions that will put him in familial and social isolation, and eventually lead to the construction of his ‘marginalised masculinity’. Smikrines’ villainy is being contrasted with the moral superiority of Daos, Kleostratos’ slave and former pedagogue. Despite his ‘marginalised masculinity’ as a slave, Daos realises Smikrines’ baseness and sets in motion a plan that is supposed to lead to the marriage of Kleostratos’ sister with the young Chaireas, who is in love with her and is the adopted son of Chairestratos, Smikrines’ brother (329– 70).88 Youth appears as an expected feature of a man who is led to marriage and is about to become head of his oikos performing a hegemonic masculine role.89 Thus the play’s plot evolves around the consolidation of the patriarchal norms of an essentially male world whose construction is greatly assisted by a slave. Performing roles pertinent to the ‘marginalised masculinity’ of slaves may similarly bring to the foreground a male vision determined by the values of ‘hegemonic masculinity’. In Menander’s Epitrepontes the dispute between Daos and Syros over the jewels that accompanied an exposed baby provide Syros with the opportunity to express at 250–2 the view that Daos should not have taken them away as they might function as recognition tokens. Despite the vulnerability of Syros, who is a slave and is therefore not expected to have developed the morality of free and decent individuals, his attitude towards the exposed baby betrays moral standards based on honesty, indifference towards wealth gained in an unfair manner, and a concern about identity and citizenship. That morality is opposed to the morality of Daos who rehearses a ‘marginalised’ as well as a ‘resistant masculinity’ since his attitude is opposed to that of a free man with high moral standards. By contrast, Syros’ morality may lead to the revelation of the identity of the baby as that of Charisios and secure its future position within the oikos and the polis. It may also lead to the reunion of Charisios and his wife and the re-establishment of his hegemonic role in a stable oikos. *  88 For the dramatic – and more specifically the metatheatrical – implications of Daos’ plan see MacCary 1969, 282–3; MacCary 1971, 308–10; Gutzwiller 2000, 123–33; Fountoulakis 2011b, 162–70. 89 Cf. Berg 2008, 131–3 (with respect to the Dyskolos); Berg 2011, 107.

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Considering the cases of male character and action that have been examined so far, it may be noted that even though most of the main types of masculinity that have been specified and examined by modern research on gender are attested in the comedies of Menander, his male characters can hardly be classified in a clear and permanent way. This happens despite New Comedy’s supposed conventional nature of dramatic character, technique and action. The variety of masculinities associated with a single character is suggestive of dramatic characters who are far more elaborate and complicated than the stock characters of folk theatre as well as of a tendency towards moral and psychological exploration and individualisation. This also implies that masculinity is not a set of fixed biological and psychological features connected with specific individuals, but socially and culturally determined, and that it may vary according to factors such as age, class, family, ethnicity, citizenship, kinship, social hierarchy or power. Various individuals may thus be linked with various masculinities, while those different masculinities may also be linked with a single individual. These masculinities do not remain unchanged, but are constantly challenged, altered and reaffirmed. Menandrean comedy tends towards the representation of various masculinities that interact with each other so as to make possible the emergence of an idealised ‘hegemonic masculinity’ that lays emphasis on the self-fulfilment of the individual within the oikos, the polis and the wider world of the Hellenistic kingdoms. This happens even when non-hegemonic masculine identities are brought to the foreground or hegemonic standards and values appear in an ambiguous manner or are even challenged and rejected. Patterns of thought and action pertinent to male identities and the growing importance of the oikos, which have a clear function in Menander’s social and cultural context, are thus reflected and reaffirmed in his plays. At the same time, these plays provide their social and cultural context with representations capable of establishing related perceptions in the collective consciousness of the audience. Even when the notion of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ is not projected by means of specific individuals performing relevant roles, an essentially male ‘hegemonic’ vision remains dominant in the plays. The projection of male hegemonic traits and values provides glimpses of an essentially male world, betrays the dominance of plot construction over character drawing, and meets the needs of the social and cultural ambience represented in Menander’s comedies. University of Crete [email protected]

Francesco Morosi

Fathers and Sons in Clouds and Wasps During the youth protests of 1968 in Italy one of the most acrimonious mottos sung by the protesters was: ‘Old people must inevitably die before us. Don’t be cowards like sheep!’1 Young activists were hinting at a natural fact: time is linear. As a consequence, old people who held power would soon be replaced by younger heirs. This reasonable principle is not self-evident at all, at least in Aristophanic comedy. Comic heroes – and comic choruses – are often old people, with whom we are asked to sympathise.2 Old age entails the protagonist’s social marginalisation, and as a consequence his or her thirst for revenge: this is why their eventual triumph is often a spectacular rejuvenation (see for instance the literal rejuvenation of Demos in Knights). The importance of the protagonist’s palingenesis hints at a fundamental constant of Aristophanic comedy – its temporal circularity.3 Comic time is not at all linear – that is, it does not move endlessly forward – but can be reversed, brought back to an earlier, or indeed primordial state. Thus Aristophanes’ characters can be children twice, escaping from the natural mechanisms of time: as Demos in Knights, Aristophanic characters often fight a successful, yet unnatural, war against younger competitors in order to retain rights and prerogatives to which they should no longer be entitled. Linear and non-linear time, then, are a major battleground between generations, and a major theme of Aristophanic comedy. What happens, though, when this war for rejuvenation is fought inside the oikos, between a father and a son? The old protagonist’s battle against linear time also concerns the dynastic conception of family, according to which the son should follow the father as head of the oikos. What if the old father does not want to let go of his power?  1 ‘I vecchi devono inevitabilmente morire prima di noi. Non fate beeee.’ I wish to thank warmly the two editors of this volume for their patient help and precious suggestions. 2 Even the negatively portrayed old men, like the jurors in Wasps or the old men in Lysistrata, are somehow excused, as their past contribution to, and intentions for, the city are positive (Vesp. 1117–19, Lys. 271–82). See for instance Hubbard 1989; Henderson 1993, 309; Handley 1993; Polyakov 2013. Apart from being convenient comic material, the age of Aristophanes’ characters has often to do with his ideology: old people frequently represent the generation of those who fought in Marathon and Salamis and lived in an older, now almost legendary Athens. As such, they carry political and social values that belong to an idealised past that Old Comedy aims to revive, in contrast to the rotten values that have ruined Athens’ present. When old characters triumph in Aristophanes’ comedies, then old values and old political order win, too. 3 Paduano 2007. For a new overview of time in Aristophanic comedy see Grilli (forthcoming).

  Francesco Morosi The fight between a father and his son is dramatised twice in Aristophanes’ extant plays, in Clouds and Wasps. It is possible to maintain that, among various themes, the father-son relationship is actually the common thread that marks out and unites the two plays.4 As I tried to demonstrate elsewhere,5 the two plays bear a much closer relationship than scholars tend to think:6 several scenes are explicitly paralleled, and the characterisation of the respective fathers and sons is strikingly similar.7 Both Strepsiades and Philocleon are portrayed as ignorant (Nub. 655, Vesp. 1183: σκαιός) old fogeys, while their sons, Pheidippides and Bdelycleon, are depicted as refined and up-to-date sophists. This characterisation directs the whole father-son dynamics: the fathers’ deprivation of authority is described in both plays as their inability to punish and to manage the household and its resources. Above all, the fathers’ subjection is represented as an education gap: fathers and sons belong to different generations and moments in the history of Athens, and therefore refer to opposite cultural and paideutic paradigms: goodold-times Athens vs sophistic Athens. These parallel dynamics inevitably lead to parallel consequences: a ferocious competition for authority – or in other words, for linear succession – and a strong desire on the sons’ part for the death of the fathers, resulting, in both cases, in more or less explicitly attempted parricides. The final result is, both in Clouds and Wasps, the collapse of the centrepiece of Athenian family morals, i.e. the father’s authority: its comic disintegration is shown by Aristophanes as ethically revolting and socially destructive. However, although sharing a disheartening lesson, Clouds and Wasps stage two radically different types of fathers. Philocleon and Strepsiades interpret their roles, and the passing of time, in opposite ways – and this leads the two plays to divergent endings. In this chapter I examine the fathers’ fight against their sons

 4 The generational conflict in Aristophanic dramas, and especially in Clouds and Wasps, is one of the favourite themes of Aristophanic scholars: see for instance Whitman 1964, 119–66; Forrest 1975b; Ostwald 1986, 229–50; Susanetti/Distilo 2013. For specific discussions of the plays see also Reckford 1976; Handley 1993; Strauss 1993, 153–66; Sutton 1993; Telò 2010 and 2016. 5 Morosi 2017, especially 7–23. 6 Scholars have recognised the general affinity between the two comedies (see for instance Whitman 1964, 144; Bowie 1993, 102; Jedrkiewicz 2006, 61), but not a closer and deliberate relationship, except, to my knowledge, for Hubbard 1991, especially 126–39, and Telò 2016 (who has identified in Wasps a number of meta-literary references to Clouds and its rivals). 7 See for instance the two fathers’ poverty (Nub. 56–9 ~Vesp. 251–3), their inability to punish their slaves (Nub. 6–7 ~ Vesp. 448–51), the mental illness they are accused of by their respective sons (Nub. 832–3 ~ Vesp. 844–6) and their sons’ desire to kill them by suffocation (Nub. 1376, 1389 ~ Vesp. 1133–4).

Fathers and Sons in Clouds and Wasps  

to show how the two parents, and the two plays, differ around the crucial theme of time. In both Clouds and Wasps the fight between the generations revolves around the crucial economic theme of sustenance: who should, and in what form, care about the other one’s nourishment?8 The question is clearly stated at the beginning of Clouds, where Strepsiades, swallowed by debt, tries to persuade his son Pheidippides to attend Socrates’ school. Should Pheidippides disobey, Strepsiades would be forced to deny him one of his human rights – food – as well as the luxury of his horses (121–2):9 οὐκ ἄρα μὰ τὴν Δήμητρα τῶν γ’ ἐμῶν ἔδει, οὔτ’ αὐτὸς οὔθ’ ὁ ζύγιος οὔθ’ ὁ σαμφόρας. Then, by Demeter, you shan’t eat anything of mine, not you nor your yoke-horse nor your san-branded thoroughbred.

The theme of nourishment can be traced in Wasps as well. Firstly, in the parodos, where we witness an argument between a father (the old coryphaeus) and a son who asks to eat dried figs (297). The dialogue between the two is illuminating (312–13): ΠΑI. ΧΟ.

τί με δῆτ’, ὦ μελέα μῆτερ, ἔτικτες; ἵν’ ἐμοὶ πράγματα βόσκειν παρέχῃς.


Oh why, my wretched mother, did you bear me? To give me the trouble of feeding you.

Thus the coryphaeus cynically reveals what lies at the heart of his relationship with his son: nourishment (βόσκειν), which the parent must supply to his child. This is exactly what Philocleon refers to in the agōn of Wasps, when he explains that the main benefit of his judiciary activity is his wage and the consequent independence (610–15): καὶ τὸ γύναιόν μ’ ὑποθωπεῦσαν φυστὴν μᾶζαν προσενέγκῃ, κἄπειτα καθεζομένη παρ’ ἐμοὶ προσαναγκάζῃ, “φάγε τουτί, ἔντραγε τουτί.” τούτοισιν ἐγὼ γάνυμαι, κοὐ μή με δεήσῃ

 8 This theme appears crucial already in Acharnians, where the Megarian has to sell his daughters to secure their sustenance (732–3), while, at the same time, the payment he will receive by Dicaeopolis will ensure his own survival. In Peace, too, Trygaeus has to provide food for his daughters (122–3). 9 Transl. Sommerstein (with slight modifications).

  Francesco Morosi εἰς σὲ βλέψαι καὶ τὸν ταμίαν, ὁπότ’ ἄριστον παραθήσει καταρασάμενος καὶ τονθορύσας· ἀλλ’ ἢν μή μοι ταχὺ μάξῃ, τάδε κέκτημαι πρόβλημα κακῶν, σκευὴν βελέων ἀλεωρήν. And the little wife fawns on me, bringing me a puff-pastry and then sitting down beside me and forcing me to have it – ‘eat this, take a nibble of this.’ I delight in all that; and I’ll never need to look at you and your steward, wondering when he’ll come cursing and grumbling to serve lunch. No, if he doesn’t knead it up for me quickly, this is what I’ve got as a bulwark against troubles, an accoutrement to ward off missiles.

Through his income, the father must provide his family with sustenance. This gives him self-sufficiency in return, which allows him not to depend on his son (613: εἰς σὲ βλέψαι). Nourishment, then, is a practical guarantee and a powerful symbol of authority: the duty to supply it secures and represents the father’s role in the oikos. Athenian law provided that the oldest, or only, son succeeded his father as head of the oikos when the latter retired.10 Then the son would take responsibility for the sustenance of all members of the family, including his father. This seems to be the case in Wasps: Bdelycleon has become δεσπότης (67) and as such he has to support his father Philocleon – a duty which he is eager to carry out (736–40): καὶ μὴν θρέψω γ’ αὐτὸν παρέχων ὅσα πρεσβύτῃ ξύμφορα, χόνδρον λείχειν, χλαῖναν μαλακήν, σισύραν, πόρνην, ἥτις τὸ πέος τρίψει καὶ τὴν ὀσφῦν. Yes, and I’ll support him, providing everything that’s suitable for an old man, gruel to lick up, a soft thick cloak, a goatskin mantle, a whore to massage his prick and his loins.

Bdelycleon is ready to support (θρέψω) his father, and his offer seems reasonable: bringing up children implies that they will look after their parents when the latter grow old.11 This is an old law of nature for Aristophanes (Av. 1353–7: νόμος παλαιὸς … πάλιν τρέφειν). Obviously, the principle of πάλιν τρέφειν has to do with a linear conception of time: since time always evolves, a son will eventually replace the father.

 10 Cf. e.g. Pl. Lys. 209c. See also Strauss 1993, 68–71; Biles/Olson 2015 on Vesp. 69–70. 11 The reference to prostitutes is obviously a comic twist, but it is coherent with Bdelycleon’s offer: actually to provide for a number of sensual pleasures, including sex (Biles/Olson 2015 on Vesp. 739–40a).

Fathers and Sons in Clouds and Wasps  

However, Philocleon does not seem convinced by Bdelycleon’s offer; in view of the importance of sustenance described above, giving up his responsibility to support the family entails giving up his own authority. In other words, since reciprocity requires an exchange of roles, if he wants to be supported by his son, he has to cede his authority to him – and this he cannot accept. This is why his salary as a juror is vital for Philocleon. Scholars have often branded Philocleon’s refusal to be richly supported by his son as nonsense – a clear proof of Philocleon’s madness.12 However, it is exactly this refusal that makes Philocleon’s character rational: since his desire is for authority, not for riches, being supported is precisely what he must not accept. Far from being an act of caring, Bdelycleon’s behaviour towards his father is an act of physical and psychological repression.13 Here we find a fundamental difference between Philocleon and Strepsiades. Unlike Philocleon, Strepsiades is always depicted as attempting to avoid supporting his son: he threatens Pheidippides that he will stop financing him (Nub. 121– 2) and even suggests that Pheidippides should be supported by his rich uncle Megacles instead (815: ἀλλ’ ἔσθι’ ἐλθὼν τοὺς Μεγακλέους κίονας). In Clouds an actual competition for food is established between father (106: εἴ τι κήδει τῶν πατρῴων ἀλφίτων) and son (108–9: εἰ δοίης γέ μοι τοὺς φασιανούς).14 However, Strepsiades never manages to free himself from his paternal duty. Unlike Philocleon, who would like to support his son but cannot, Strepsiades would like to stop supporting his son but cannot. And since nourishment is a symbol of authority, this contrast can also be put in the following terms: Philocleon would like to maintain his authority but is forced to hand it over; Strepsiades would like to hand it over but is forced to maintain it. In other words, Strepsiades is eager to enforce the natural linear and dynastic conception of time, which presupposes the handing over of his duties as head of the oikos to his son; Philocleon, on the other hand, is fighting an unnatural war against linear time and would do anything to avoid the succession. Aristophanes, however, has a surprise in store: Strepsiades’ wish, though more natural than Philocleon’s, will prove disastrous, while Philocleon’s irrational fight will end in triumph. Strepsiades’ plan is exactly to have his own son support him, by enforcing the principle of πάλιν τρέφειν that Philocleon hates. Thanks to the tricks Pheidippides will learn in the Thinkery, he will be able to make his father live a quiet life in return for the upbringing he received (860–2):

 12 MacDowell 1971, 10: ‘perverse’; see also Olson 1996. 13 Paduano 1974. 14 Grilli 2001, 41–7.

  Francesco Morosi ΣΤΡ.

ἀλλ’ ἴθι, βάδιζ’, ἴωμεν· εἶτα τῷ πατρὶ πιθόμενος ἐξάμαρτε· κἀγώ τοί ποτε, οἶδ’, ἑξέτει σοι τραυλίσαντι πιθόμενος


But come on, move, let’s go. So do wrong, at your father’s request. I know, I tell you, that once I too complied with your request when you were a lisping six-year-old.

Reciprocity is conveyed even by the structure of these lines: note the inclusio (ring composition) of πιθόμενος in lines 861 and 862, with κἀγώ as a bridge in between. Pheidippides should obey his father (πιθόμενος) just as the latter (κἀγώ) did his son’s bidding in the past. Unfortunately for Strepsiades, however, Pheidippides interprets the principle of reciprocity in a different way from Bdelycleon. Pheidippides’ understanding of filial reciprocity is wicked (1384–9): ΣΤΡ.

κακκᾶν δ’ ἂν οὐκ ἔφθης φράσας, κἀγὼ λαβὼν θύραζε ἐξέφερον ἂν καὶ προὐσχόμην σε. σὺ δέ με νῦν ἀπάγχων, βοῶντα καὶ κεκραγόθ’ ὅτι χεζητιῴην, οὐκ ἔτλης ἔξω ’ξενεγκεῖν, ὦ μιαρέ, θύραζέ μ’(ε) …


And no sooner did you say ‘kakka’ than I’d pick you up, carry you out of doors, and hold you out. Whereas just now, when you were throttling me, though I was shouting and screaming that I wanted to crap, you couldn’t bring yourself to carry me out of doors …

Pheidippides uproariously subverts reciprocity. Here again, Aristophanes highlights a similar action through a polyptoton (θύραζε ἐξέφερον / ἐξενεγκεῖν), but in this case there is no reciprocity: while Strepsiades took baby Pheidippides outside whenever he asked, Pheidippides refuses to do the same for his father.15 Things, however, get even worse for Strepsiades. As a matter of fact, Pheidippides does not turn down completely any form of filial reciprocity. There is one field in which it applies: violence and punishment. The well-known apology for the beating of parents is actually the logical, and perverse, consequence of the πάλιν τρέφειν principle (1408–14):

 15 Freedom to leave his own house is also Philocleon’s main problem in Wasps: the parallel clarifies that in neither play is physical restriction a form of filial caring (as scholars often maintain for Wasps); both in Clouds and Wasps it is a form of subjection and ingratitude.

Fathers and Sons in Clouds and Wasps  



ἐκεῖσε δ’ ὅθεν ἀπέσχισάς με τοῦ λόγου μέτειμι, καὶ πρῶτ’ ἐρήσομαί σε τουτί· παῖδά μ’ ὄντ’ ἔτυπτες; ἔγωγέ σ’, εὐνοῶν τε καὶ κηδόμενος. εἰπὲ δή μοι, οὐ κἀμὲ σοὶ δίκαιόν ἐστιν εὐνοεῖν ὁμοίως τύπτειν τ’, ἐπειδήπερ γε τοῦτ’ ἔστ’ εὐνοεῖν, τὸ τύπτειν; πῶς γὰρ τὸ μὲν σὸν σῶμα χρὴ πληγῶν ἀθῷον εἶναι, τοὐμὸν δὲ μή; καὶ μὴν ἔφυν ἐλεύθερός γε κἀγώ. I shall go on to the point in the argument from which you made me break off, and first ask you this: did you beat me when I was a boy? I did, out of benevolence and concern for your good. Then tell me, is it not likewise right for me to be benevolent to you in the same way and beat you, seeing that that is what being benevolent to a person means – beating him? How can it be right for your body to be immune from blows and mine not? After all, I too am a free man born.

Pheidippides is here appropriating the traditional morals that Strepsiades has been urging him to follow: if beating is a proof of love, then a good son has the duty to beat his parents. As it was right for the father to beat his child, so (ὁμοίως) it is right for a son to beat his father as well (κἀμέ, κἀγώ).16 Strepsiades’ plan to become his son’s dependant and to hand over his authority to him, then, completely fails. This paternal failure is made even clearer at the end of the play. Strepsiades implores his son to help him destroy Socrates’ Thinkery, but Pheidippides refuses with a withering answer (1468–9): ΣΤΡ. ΦΕI.

ναὶ ναί, καταιδέσθητι πατρῷον Δία. ἰδού γε Δία πατρῷον· ὡς ἀρχαῖος εἶ.


Aye, aye: respect Zeus Paternal! Listen to that! Paternal Zeus! How old-fashioned you are!

Pheidippides accuses his father of being ἀρχαῖος – exactly the same accusation Strepsiades brought against him when he invoked Zeus Olympios (φρονεῖς ἀρχαιϊκά, 821). However, the mention of Zeus πατρῷος in particular is even more interesting. The invocation has surprised scholars: we do not have evidence for such a cult in fifth-century Athens, and a passage from Plato seems to rule out

 16 Clearly, this is an exaggerated example constructed by Aristophanes to charge the sophists with amorality. However, it is highly significant that the example chosen by the poet is closely related to the idea of filial reciprocity.

  Francesco Morosi any such possibility.17 Then why mention it here? Conceivably, Aristophanes used this strange invocation just in order to insert an epithet relating to fatherhood. When the father-son relationship definitely breaks up, the father beseeches his son in the name of that paternal authority that he himself wanted to get rid of initially. Pheidippides cannot but reject his father’s belated imploring, as well as the epithet and the awe it was supposed to convey. This brief passage from Clouds has a striking parallel in Wasps. At the beginning of his speech in the agōn Bdelycleon invokes Zeus but is immediately interrupted by his father Philocleon (652): ΒΔ. ἀτάρ, ὦ πάτερ ἡμέτερε Κρονίδη – ΦΙ. παῦσαι καὶ μὴ πατέριζε. BD. But, O our Father, son of Cronus – PH. Stop, none of this ‘father’ stuff!

The line, and Aristophanes’ hapax πατερίζειν, have been variously interpreted: nowadays the prevailing hypothesis is that Bdelycleon is praying to Zeus, but Philocleon mistakenly assumes (in connection with 619–30) that he himself is being addressed.18 It seems to me that Philocleon in the antilabē is not rejecting invoking Zeus in general, but the content of the specific invocation: μὴ πατέριζε means that Bdelycleon should not invoke Zeus as a father. Philocleon’s line is identical to Pheidippides’ in Clouds: the invocation of Zeus is rejected for the ideal of fatherhood at which it hints. Of course, it is to be expected that a son should reject paternal authority. It makes perfect sense, then, that in Clouds Pheidippides rejects any appeal to the paternity of Zeus. Surprisingly, however, in Wasps it is not the son who rejects such an appeal – it is the father. This, I believe, marks out Philocleon’s uniqueness and the process that will lead him to victory, i.e. reversing the father-son relationship. At the end of Wasps Philocleon truly becomes his son’s son: while Strepsiades vainly tries to hand over paternal authority, Philocleon upsets linear

 17 Euthd. 302b–c: Εἴπε μοι, ἔφη, ὦ Σώκρατες, ἔστιν σοι Ζεὺς πατρῷως; – … Οὔκ ἔστιν, ἦν δ᾽ ἐγώ, ὦ Διονυσόδωρε. – Ταλαίπωρος ἄρα τις σύ γε ἄνθρωπος εἶ καὶ οὐδὲ Ἀθηναῖος, ᾧ μήτε θεοὶ πατρῷοί εἰσιν μήτε ἱερὰ μήτε ἄλλο μηδὲν καλὸν καὶ ἀγαθόν. (‘DION. Tell me, Socrates, have you an ancestral Zeus? … SOC. I have not, Dionysodorus. DION. What a miserable fellow you must be, and no Athenian at all, if you have neither ancestral gods, nor shrines, nor anything else that denotes a gentleman!’, transl. Lamb). See Dover 1968 and Guidorizzi 1996 ad loc. 18 MacDowell 1971 ad loc.; Sommerstein 1983 ad loc.; Biles/Olson 2015 ad loc.

Fathers and Sons in Clouds and Wasps  

time and creates a spectacular palingenesis.19 The generation reversal that scholars frequently trace in Clouds20 is really achieved only in Wasps while in Clouds it is frequently longed for, but eventually frustrated.21 At first it appears that, by rejuvenating himself, Philocleon would lose his battle: a father who wanted to safeguard his authority, he seems to end up handing it over to his son and in some way submitting to him.22 However, the finale of the play shows that Philocleon’s rejuvenation is anything but a defeat. On his way back from the symposium, the ‘youngster’ Philocleon meets a flute-player and falls in love with her. What he tells her is one of the most flamboyant inventions of the whole play (1351–9): ἐὰν γένῃ δὲ μὴ κακὴ νυνὶ γυνή, ἐγώ σ’ ἐπειδὰν οὑμὸς υἱὸς ἀποθάνῃ, λυσάμενος ἕξω παλλακήν, ὦ χοιρίον. νῦν δ’ οὐ κρατῶ ’γὼ τῶν ἐμαυτοῦ χρημάτων· νέος γάρ εἰμι. καὶ φυλάττομαι σφόδρα· τὸ γὰρ υἵδιον τηρεῖ με, κἄστι δύσκολον κἄλλως κυμινοπριστοκαρδαμογλύφον. ταῦτ’ οὖν περί μου δέδοικε μὴ διαφθαρῶ· πατὴρ γὰρ οὐδείς ἐστιν αὐτῷ πλὴν ἐμοῦ. But if you act like a nice girl now, then when my son dies I’ll buy you your freedom, my little pussy. At the moment I’m not in control of my own property, because I’m young: and I’m closely watched – my sonny keeps his eye on me, and he’s mean-tempered, and a cressparing cumin-splitter into the bargain. That’s why he’s afraid of me, in case I go to the bad; he’s got no father but me.

Aristophanes asks us to make some logical steps: since Philocleon has handed over his authority to Bdelycleon, he has given up his role as father. But if Philocleon is not Bdelycleon’s father anymore, and they have swapped roles, then Philocleon is now Bdelycleon’s son. Thus he acts as such: he explains his financial state as a consequence of his supposed youth (νέος γάρ εἰμι); he calls

 19 The appreciation of Philocleon’s ephebic traits is owed to Bowie 1993, 81–101. See also Slater 1996 and 2002. 20 See Whitman 1964, 133; Handley 1993, 428. 21 As was rightly observed, frustration is a fundamental trait of Strepsiades’ characterisation: unlike most Aristophanic heroes, who eventually succeed in their plans, Strepsiades invariably fails (as a father, and even as a student at Socrates’ Thinkery). This peculiar trait encourages us to consider him as an anti-hero (Grilli 2001, 24–9). 22 MacDowell 1971 on Ar. Vesp. 749.

  Francesco Morosi Bdelycleon a υἵδιον, which is a comic reshaping of παππίδιον, a form of endearment that sons often used for their fathers (e.g. Vesp. 655); he also describes Bdelycleon as δύσκολος, a defect that Philocleon himself was said to have at the beginning of the play (106: ὑπὸ δυσκολίας); he calls himself an ‘only father’, comically mixing up an actual fact (he actually is Bdelycleon’s father) and his new role as an ‘only child’.23 Moreover, in Aristophanic comedy the desire for the father’s death (explicitly stated at 1352) is the most obvious sign of a son’s rebellion against his father: the parent’s death is the most direct way to seize the paternal property. This desire is also expressed, in exactly these terms, in Clouds, when Strepsiades rebukes Pheidippides (Nub. 837–8): σὺ δὲ ὥσπερ τεθνεῶτος καταλόει μου τὸν βίον. Both Pheidippides – an actual son – and the rejuvenated Philocleon treat their respective ‘fathers’ as if they were already dead. Here again, Philocleon does not act like Strepsiades (as we should expect), but like Pheidippides. But Aristophanes’ relentless logic goes even further: if Philocleon has become Bdelycleon’s son, then he is younger and, according to good sense, Bdelycleon should die before him (Vesp. 1352). And when this happens, Philocleon, the ‘son-father’, will finally take (back) control of his own riches (1354). Thus Philocleon’s handing over of his authority to his son is paradoxically only provisional. ‘Old people must inevitably die before us’: by reversing time, Philocleon temporarily loses his power, but will soon regain it for good. Aristophanic comedy proves again to be the realm of the unnatural. Strepsiades, who wanted to follow the natural linear and dynastic logic of time and give up his duties as father, fails. Philocleon, on the other hand, deeply understands the logic of comedy and of comic time, which can be modified and twisted at the discretion of the comic hero’s fantasy and needs. Thus Philocleon, who wanted to keep a hold of his paternal authority, manages to find a way to prevail on his son: by becoming a child again – the best method to be a father again, one day. Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa [email protected]

 23 See Fabbro 2012, 289 n. 351, and Fabbro 2013.

Eleni Avdoulou

Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes

This chapter examines the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle as presented in Aristophanes’ Wasps, Peace and Lysistrata, with the aim of finding points of contact between its usage in these three comedies.1 In particular, I shall argue that this fable is used by the helpless comic hero, or the weak comic chorus, when they have to face someone who stands in a superior position; and so the fable functions as a valuable weapon for resistance.2 Among the multiple functions of fables in Aristophanic comedy,3 the threatening or abusive usage prevails whenever the dramatist refers to the fable of the dung-beetle. Special attention will be paid for the first time to the context each time the fable occurs: a context which is linked to iambic poetry in one way or another. Before focusing on the specific fable, and to understand why its function is an important question, we should reflect on the significance of insects in Aristophanes in general.4 The comic poet attaches to insects some characteristics

 1 My greatest debt is owed to Ioannis Konstantakos; it was thanks to his seminars that I engaged with Aristophanes and Aesopic fables, and thanks to his constant encouragement that I wrote this paper. For Aristophanes I use the translations by Sommerstein, and for the Life of Aesop the translation by Daly. For the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle in general see Adrados 1988, and with reference to Aristophanes, Möllendorff 1994, 144–7 and van Dijk 1998, 210–3. For more Aesopic fables in his plays see van Dijk 1997, 188–215; Adrados 1999, 216–18; Schirru 2006 and 2009; Pertsinides 2009; and Nagy 2011, 48–61. Kurke 2011 does not devote space to the presence of fables in Aristophanes, as Jedrkiewicz (2012, 208) has also noted. 2 Other scholars have expressed different views. Nagy (2011, 59–60) states that ‘fables could be used as the elevated and sophisticated discourse of powerful elites’ and that there are fables ‘which can be viewed as aristocratic discourse in form as well as in content, even if the actual characters that figure in the narrative can range from the highest to the lowest in social status, as in the case of the Aesopic pairing of the eagle and the dung beetle’. Pertsinidis 2009, who examines the fables in Aristophanes᾽ Wasps, argues that the fables do not belong to any particular class. She states that Philocleon seems to be poor but he is not (216), and that ‘Trygaeus’ economic status is very much secondary to his role as champion of certain moral values in the play’ (219). Moreover, the chorus of women in Lysistrata does not belong to the lower classes (218). Nonetheless, she admits that the fable of the dung-beetle is used in all three comedies with the aim of illustrating the point that the weak can defeat the strong (221). 3 For an analytical typology of the fables’ functions see van Dijk 1997, 376–8. I summarise here the different functions: persuasive, satirical, scaring (and menacing), illustrative, explanatory, entertaining, or a combination of some of these functions. 4 For the dung-beetle in general see Davies/Kathirithamby 1986, 84–9.

  Eleni Avdoulou which are common to people and often uses insects as a means of satirising and attacking his enemies. An entire comedy, Wasps, is named after its chorus, old jurors presented as wasps; in this way, we are led to take the irascible nature of the jurors as a given.5 Ιn Lysistrata the chorus of women remind the chorus of old men of their ability to sting: ‘All I want is to sit virtuously at home like a young girl, annoying no one here, not disturbing so much as a twig – but if people provoke me and rifle my nest, I’ m a real wasp!’ (473–5). In Clouds the references to the waxed flea (149) and the farting mosquito (159) are aimed at ridiculing the sophists.6 In Knights Cleon is portrayed as a bee, and more specifically as a drone browsing the flowers of corruption, sucking in and vomiting out their juice (403).7 Thus it is no surprise that in Peace Aristophanes gives an instrumental role to an insect, the dung-beetle, and refers to it in two more of his plays. The fable under examination, as it has come down to us in the first- or second-century-CE collection of fables known as Collectio Augustana (3 Perry), can be outlined as follows: A hare chased by an eagle seeks the protection of a dungbeetle, but nonetheless the eagle devours the hare. The dung-beetle seeks revenge against the eagle by smashing its eggs. The eagle appeals to Zeus, but the dung-beetle defies the father of the gods and again smashes the eagle’s eggs, which this time were laid in Zeus’ lap. From this time on, the eagle does not bring forth his offspring in the season when the dung-beetle is around. There are also three variants of the fable: one is found in the Life of Aesop (chapters 135–9) and two in the scholia to Peace (on 129–30). In the latter versions there is no hare, and the eagle harms the dung-beetle first, by snatching its young. Aristophanes alludes for the first time to the fable of the eagle and the dungbeetle in Wasps. The old man Philocleon, who is an obsessive juror, begins to narrate the fable in protest when his son Bdelycleon attempts to carry him off stage (1446–9): ΦΙ. Αἴσωπον οἱ Δελφοί ποτ᾽– ΒΔ. ὀλίγον μοι μέλει. ΦΙ. φιάλην ἐπῃτιῶντο κλέψαι τοῦ θεοῦ· ὁ δ’ ἔλεξεν αὐτοῖς, ὡς ὁ κάνθαρός ποτε – ΒΔ. οἴμ᾽ ὡς ἀπολεῖς με τοῖσι σοῖσι κανθάροις. PH. BD.

Aesop was once accused – I’ m not interested.

 5 For the manifestation of the juror-wasps’ irascible nature see Harris 2018, 485–8. 6 See Conti-Bizzarro 2009, 10–12, 19–21. 7 Conti-Bizzarro 2009, 47–66.

Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes  


… by the Delphians of stealing a libation-bowl belonging to the god; and he told them how once upon a time the beetle … You’ ll be the death of me, dammit you and your beetles! [He carries Philocleon into the house.]

It is noteworthy that this reference to the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle comes at the end of a series of ‘iambic’ scenes.8 After his departure from the banquet, Philocleon violently offends any citizen he encounters on his way; he has already abused the bread-seller Myrtia and an anonymous accuser, and now he abuses his own son, employing the same means for all three of them: fables (Aesopic and Sybaritic).9 It seems that Aristophanes knew that fables could be used to attack, threaten, or abuse an enemy,10 and he exploited this generic function towards the end of Wasps in order to provide the cluster of these scenes with unity. Bdelycleon does not let his father complete the narration of the fable. Nevertheless, the audience could understand which story Philocleon refers to, due to the keywords Αἴσωπον, Δελφοί, φιάλην, κλέψαι, and κάνθαρος. The dire fate of Aesop, who was killed by the Delphians, was part of his biographical tradition already in the fifth century BCE.11 According to the Life of Aesop, probably written  8 ‘Iambic’ in the sense of having a threatening and offending character. 9 Philocleon uses fables (1401–5, 1427–31) in response to Myrtia’s and the accuser’s charges about his drunken misbehavior, but instead of thus placating them, he enrages them further; Vaio 1971, 342–3. For the Aesopic tale as a vehicle for aggression see also Zanetto 2001, 68–9. 10 For the iambic character of the fable in Aristophanic comedies see Zanetto 2001, 65–75. For fable and archaic iambus see Steiner 2008, 84–93. 11 Different stories about Aesop were already circulating before the Hellenistic period. For this reason many scholars assume that a book (Volksbuch) about Aesop existed already in the fifth century BCE. It is difficult to find Aristophanes’ exact sources for Aesop. There is important evidence that a part of the Life of Aesop, the Babylonian one, was influenced by the Story of Ahikar (seventh/sixth century BCE) during the fifth century BCE. Schirru 2009 argues convincingly, in view of the similarities between Wasps and the Life of Aesop, in favor of the existence of a βίος of Aesop, which must have had many similarities with the Life of Aesop that has come down to us. The fact that Aristophanes alludes to the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle three times means that he expected his audience to recall that βίος. For Schirru (2009, 42–82) it is difficult to deny the existence of an aesopic βιβλίον in the fifth century: ‘Tale abitudine, tuttavia, sembra ancora sconosciuta all’ epoca di Eschilo e, per noi, si manifesta apertamente soltanto a partire da Aristofane, anche se è agevole ipotizzarne l’ esistenza almeno a partire dal periodo in cui Erodoto componeva la sua opera storica (Schirru 2009, 76) … È senz’ altro vero che, quando Aristofane menziona i λόγοι di Esopo, sembra far riferimento non a una tradizione fluida e aperta, bensì a un numero definito di racconti: ciò spiegherebbe, per esempio, perchè il commediografo sia ‘costretto’, per così dire, a utilizzare più volte il medesimo racconto, quello dell’ aquila e dello scarabeo … (77)’. Furthermore, Schirru convincingly supports the view that the Aesopic βιβλίον

  Eleni Avdoulou in the second century CE, Aesop told the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle just before his execution by the Delphians.12 Philocleon seems to be deliberately drawing some analogies between himself and the famous fable teller. Firstly, Aesop was unjustly accused by the Delphians and Philocleon too believes that he is unfairly maltreated by his son. Secondly, Philocleon imitates Aesop in using a fable while in danger. Thirdly, he uses the same fable and for the same reason as Aesop; the latter wanted to threaten his executioners that, if they killed him, his death would be avenged one day;13 and Philocleon wants to threaten his son that, if he mistreats him, someone will later seek for revenge. The fun part of course is that Philocleon, unlike Aesop, is not innocent at all.14 The frequent use of fables by Aristophanes provides an indication for the relationship between Aristophanic comedy and iambic poetry,15 in which fables are also an old and popular element.16 The dung-beetle, in particular, is an insect which we find in both genres, whether in a fable context or otherwise. This insect is associated with scatology, mockery, invective, abusive and agonistic speech.17 Thus, by choosing the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle, Philocleon adopts an iambic persona which he borrows from the very author (and protagonist) of the fable, Aesop. The latter had concluded his fable by telling the Delphians (LA, G 139 Perry): ὁμοίως καὶ ὑμεῖς, ἄνδρες Δέλφιοι, μὴ ἀτιμάσητε τὸ ἱερὸν τοῦτο εἰς ὃ ἐγὼ κατέφυγον, κἀν εἰ μικρός ἐστιν ὁ ναός, ἀλλ᾽ ἐνθυμήθητε τὸ τοῦ κανθάρου καὶ αἰδέσθητε Δία Ξένιον καὶ Ὀλύμπιον.

 contained not only fables but also stories about the life of Aesop, one of which was about his death in Delphi. Of course, the stories and fables of Aesop were transmitted orally too. For the testimonies about Aesop and Delphi see Perry 1952, 220–3. I should especially mention the testimony of Herodotus (2.134–5; Perry 1952, 217–18) where Aesop’s death is linked with the Delphians. 12 135–9 G Perry and 135–9 W Karla. 13 Here the fable is embedded in a (pseudo-)biographical story of Aesop, i.e. a story in which he is presented as the protagonist; Schirru 2006, 165; 2009, 96. 14 Van Dijk 1997, 197. 15 For iambus and ancient comedy see West 1974, 37; Bowie 2002; Lennartz 2010, 310–38; Rosen 2013. Here I list the basic points of contact between the two genres: a) iambic and trochaic metres, b) lexical and thematic aspects (like sex, food, obscenity), c) animal fables, d) punning on the meanings of names and nicknames. Unfortunately we do not have the necessary evidence to answer with certainty ‘the question of a deliberate, authorially self-conscious, historically verifiable affiliation between iambos and Old Comedy’ (Rosen 2013, 97). 16 See Zanetto 2001, 65–75. 17 See Steiner 2008, 86, 88–93.

Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes  

So, do not, men of Delphi, dishonor this shrine where I have taken refuge, even though the temple is small, but remember the tumblebug and reverence Zeus, the god of strangers and Olympus.

It is clear that Aesop wanted to warn and threaten his enemies in order to escape death. Indeed, in the last section of the Life of Aesop, he narrates a long string of fables to the Delphians, directing his invective against them. As a pharmakos18 Aesop resembles iambic poets such as Archilochus in two important respects: the narration of fables and the mocking and satiric tone of his words. Thus, Philocleon becomes both a fable teller and an iambic poet, as he uses the fable in order to threaten and abuse his enemies.19 In addition, he identifies himself with the lower classes (in contrast to his haughty and ostentatiously high-class son), in the same way as Aesop was a slave and the iambic poets adopted a persona of low-brow underdogs. Like Aesop, who wanted to weaken the Delphians, and like the dung-beetle, which managed to defeat a stronger animal (the eagle) and Zeus himself, Philocleon uses the fable as a means of subverting someone who is in a superior position: i.e. his aristocratic son.20 As Rothwell remarks, while there is no reason in principle why the use of fables should be confined to the lower classes, in practice it was weak people who usually resorted to them; the subversion of the mighty by the lowly is expressed through fables such as the one under examination.21 Kurke, too, claims that the Aesopic fables ‘are humble in content and style, just as Aesop himself is poor, lowly and marginal’.22 More recently, Forsdyke has argued, convincingly enough, that the animal fables are primarily connected with the lifestyle of peasants and slaves. She places special emphasis upon the earliest preserved Greek fables because it is such fables that mostly

 18 For Aesop as a pharmakos see Compton 2006, 19–40. Pharmakos was a Greek ritual scapegoat, a human embodiment of evil. In difficult times for a city the pharmakos was expelled so that the city could prosper again. Aesop has the following characteristics of a pharmakos: he is ugly and belongs to the lowest class, as he is a slave. Nonetheless, he is intelligent and pious. He tells fables to blame his enemies, his death is decided by the people of Delphi, and he meets his death by being thrown off a cliff. Moreover, Apollo is responsible for his death. 19 Recently Telò (2016, 101–9) argued that Philocleon is to be identified with the eagle of the fable, and that he misused Aesop’s iambic legacy. He also claims, unconvincingly, that the protagonist of the fable, Aesop, is to be identified with Bdelycleon, who in turn represents Aristophanes, while Philocleon represents Cratinus. The entire interpretation seems very far-fetched; see also Sommerstein’s 2016 review. 20 More precisely: the aristocratic tendencies of his son. Although Philocleon belongs to the same class as his father, he got his aristocratic attitude from his mother (46–52). 21 Rothwell 1995, 234–6. 22 Kurke 2011, 1–2.

  Eleni Avdoulou passed into the literary genres which are strongly connected to popular culture (such as comedy and iambus).23 A year later, Aristophanes employed the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle in Peace.24 The protagonist, the vine-dresser Trygaeus, is angry with Zeus for not putting an end to the Peloponnesian War, and decides to travel to Olympus and speak to him in person, for the sake of the Greeks. He resorts to an oversized dung-beetle as a means of transport, and when his daughter suggests that this is an inappropriate means, Trygaeus responds: ‘In the fables of Aesop it was the only winged creature that I found had reached the gods’ realm’ (129–30). The daughter doubts that, so Trygaeus now explicitly refers to the fable: ‘It went once, long ago, because it was at feud with an eagle, on whom it was taking revenge by rolling eggs out of its nests’ (133–4). The daughter proposes that it would be better for him to travel with Pegasus, the mythical winged horse, in order to have a tragic appearance; but Trygaeus insists on his decision and explains his reasoning: ‘But, my dear girl, I’d have needed double rations. As it is, whatever food I eat I can use again to feed this creature’ (137–9). In Peace Aristophanes does not simply allude to the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle, but presents the insect on stage.25 He also uses the fable as a dramatic framework to shape the prologue of his comedy. The audience could probably perceive the analogies between the fable and the comic context. Trygaeus himself corresponds to the dung-beetle (which he uses as a mount), and Zeus corresponds to the eagle, his own sacred bird.26 Taking into consideration the entire fable, we can detect the threatening tone of Trygaeus᾽ allusion (133– 4).27 In the version of the Augustana the dung-beetle approaches Zeus seeking revenge against the eagle and throws a ball of dung in Zeus᾽ lap; the god springs up to clean himself, thus dropping the eggs of the eagle. In the version of the Life of

 23 Forsdyke 2012, 49, 59–73, 195 n. 73. 24 For a detailed treatment of the use of this fable in Peace see Zogg 2014, 70–84. 25 Van Dijk 1997, 207. He characterises the use of this fable in Peace as ‘parafabulistic’ due to the fact that a metaphorical element of the fable (the dung-beetle) is visualised on stage. 26 Van Dijk 1997, 210, according to whom Trygaeus is compared with the dung-beetle, Zeus with the eagle, and Greece with the hare. It is not striking that Zeus corresponds to the eagle of the fable and not to Zeus of the fable, because here in Peace, Zeus is the villain, not his sacred bird. It is clear that Aristophanes adjusts the fable to his own comic purposes. 27 It is not clear whether Trygaeus intends to threaten Zeus, but the fable inevitably alludes to such a possibility. Moreover, lines 107–8 imply a hostile attitude (OIK. ἐὰν δὲ μή σοι καταγορεύσῃ; | ΤΡ. γράψομαι Μήδοισιν αὐτὸν προδιδόναι τὴν Ἑλλάδα, ‘SERV. And if he doesn’t tell you? TR. I’ll indict him for betraying Greece to the Medes!’), since γράψομαι ‘implies a literal, not a merely figurative, indictment and an actual prosecution’ (Sommerstein 1985 on 107).

Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes  

Aesop the dung-beetle fills itself with much dung, presumably to make Zeus feel disgusted; again, the god is afraid, springs up and drops the eggs of the eagle. The audience who knew the fable would reasonably wonder what Trygaeus was about to do against Zeus (which of course we never learn, since the gods have left Olympus, except for Hermes). Apart from adding a threatening tone, through the assimilation of Trygaeus with the vindictive dung-beetle, the fable is introduced in a context of contest between comedy and tragedy.28 In this part of the play Aristophanes parodies Euripides᾽ Bellerophon and the failed attempt of the eponymous hero to reach the house of the gods.29 Trygaeus chooses the humble dungbeetle instead of a noble horse like Pegasus. Here Aristophanes exploits the ‘avian poetics’ which one can find embedded already in the famous fable of the hawk and the nightingale in Hesiod᾽s Works and Days: birds are used to represent literary genres and poetic styles.30 Specifically, the noble and strong eagle is traditionally associated with epic poetry and tragedy: a function ascribed to the mythical flying horse in Peace. Furthermore, Archilochus uses animal fables to attack a political or poetic enemy in fragments 172–81 W, which contain the fable of the eagle and the fox, and in 185– 7 W, which contain the fable of the fox and the monkey.31 In Peace Trygaeus prefers to be associated with the dung-beetle, rather than the eagle,32 because as he

 28 Ruffell (2011, 344) aptly observes that ‘the relationship of eagle and dung-beetle in this account mirrors the relationship of tragedy and comedy and their respective plots and content’. See also Mann 2017, 306. The dung-beetle is supposed to be the comic Pegasus and the dungbeetle’s flight to heaven is a parody of Pegasus’ ascent to heaven. In both plays the protagonists (Trygaeus, Bellerophon) want to confront the gods. Ruffell (2011, 346) argues that ‘the multiply overcoded, parodic, and intertextual plot of Peace is presenting the ride for peace as simultaneously an exploration of comic logos and tragic mythos’. Moreover, Trygaeus’ name is a ‘speaking name’, which links him not only to his work (vine-worker) but also to comedy as τρυγῳδία (on which see Silk in this volume, p. 40). Trygaeus’ dialogue with his daughter is a constant effort to defend comedy over tragedy (Ruffell 2001, 347, 355–8). As Farmer (2017, 118–21) observes, Trygaeus’ daughter warns him that he will become a tragic hero, if he flies with the beetle to the gods. Nonetheless, Trygaeus reasserts his comic nature (137–9). There is no chance that he will be a tragic hero. 29 Van Dijk 1997, 206–7. 30 Steiner 2007; 2012, 3–11; Mann 2017, 304. 31 For an examination of these passages see Zanetto 2001, 67–8; Steiner 2012, 12–29 and 2016. 32 Trygaeus says (130) that the dung-beetle is μόνος πετηνῶν εἰς θεοὺς ἀφιγμένος (‘the only winged creature that has ever reached the gods’). As Sommerstein remarks, here we have ‘perhaps the most extreme example of the Greek tendency to use monos “only” loosely and rhetorically; for the very same fable which says that the beetle flew to heaven also says that the eagle flew there first’. He also states that Trygaeus chose the dung-beetle and not the eagle because ‘in

  Eleni Avdoulou declares, only the dung-beetle had ever managed to reach the gods. Nonetheless, we know from the fable that the eagle too had successfully flown to the gods. The inappropriateness of the eagle lies rather in the fact that it is associated with war and violence, whereas Trygaeus desires to make peace.33 Thus he could not have chosen the eagle as a vehicle to achieve his goal. The selection of the dung-beetle by the comic hero also reflects Aristophanes’ preference for the humble Aesopic fables and the ‘low’ genre of iambic poetry. The dramatist wants Trygaeus to triumph and this can only happen if the comic hero refuses ‘tragic’ practices34 and allies with the successful dung-beetle of the fable. In a much-discussed passage from the prologue of the play (43–8) one of Trygaeus’ slaves is wondering what the dung-beetle stands for; a second slave responds that an Ionian would suggest that the dung-beetle constitutes a fable (αἰνίσσεται) for the scatophagous politician Cleon. It has been suggested that here we have a nod towards the Ionian iambographic tradition, in which the fables were regularly used for invective purposes, with their animal characters representing the poet and his enemies.35 It is interesting that, although the dungbeetle has dramaturgically nothing to do with Cleon, as we gather from the following scenes of the comedy,36 Aristophanes exploits the connection between iambic poetry, fables, and invective to abuse him. Therefore, Aristophanes simultaneously undermines and exploits that iambic tradition; he could see the connection between his own poetry and iambus but he aspired to transcend that genre. He implies that his use of the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle goes beyond mere invective; that his poetry is better than tragedy and more complex than iambus. In this way, Aristophanes constructs and shapes his own comic kantharos.

 the fable, the beetle’s flight to heaven had ended in a success, the eagle’s in a failure’ (Sommerstein 1985 on 130 and 133). Mann (2017, 300) claims that ‘Trygaeus’ use of monos is not merely rhetorical, but that it represents a marked rejection of the eagle’. 33 See also Mann 2017, who explores the reason for Trygaeus preferring the dung-beetle and ‘ignoring’ that the eagle had also flawn to Zeus. She concludes that the martial and tragic associations of the eagle (also apparent in Lysistrata and Birds) played a crucial role in Trygaeus᾽ decision. 34 The comic employment of the crane in the opening paratragedy in Peace offers Trygaeus the means to overcome the cosmic limits and achieve a cosmic renewal. See Sells 2019, 133–34l; Ruffell 2011, 356. 35 Steiner 2008, 94–5. 36 Thus, Henderson (1991, 63) is mistaken in claiming that the dung-beetle stands for the ‘corruption and unnaturalness of wartime Athens’.

Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes  

Like Philocleon, Trygaeus does not belong to the higher class of the Athenian society. He is just a poor, yet shrewd, farmer and he finds it appropriate to use an Aesopic fable as the basis for implementing his plan.37 He does not hesitate to threaten Zeus and is optimistic about the success of his plan. The last allusion to the specific fable is found ten years later, in Lysistrata. In the first stasimon of the play two semi-choruses – one of men and one of women – are confronting each other. At some point in their exchange the women threaten to take action against their rivals (686–95): XO.

ἀλλὰ χἠμεῖς ὦ γυναῖκες θᾶττον ἐκδυώμεθα ὡς ἃν ὄζωμεν γυναικῶν αὐτοδὰξ ὠργισμένων. […] ὡς εἰ καὶ μόνον κακῶς ἐρεῖς, ὑπερχολῶ γάρ, αἰετὸν τίκτοντα κάνθαρός σε μαιεύσομαι.


Women, let us quickly undress, so that we may smell like women, in a biting rage! [The women remove their inner garments.] … because if you so much as say an insulting word to me, my anger boils so high I’ll midwife you as the beetle did the breeding eagle!

By threatening to ‘midwife’ their male opponents,38 as the dung-beetle did with the breeding eagle, the angry women allude briefly to the fable. They use it in an abusive manner,39 as is also confirmed by the adverb αὐτοδάξ which epitomises the traditional association of biting with iambic poetry.40 The women expressly correspond to the dung-beetle, and their opponents to the eagle. In this case, too,  37 For the connection between the social status of Aristophanic heroes and the fables they use see Rothwell 1995, 239–44. 38 As van Dijk remarks, this obscure phrase was included in paroemiographical collections. He suggests that in LSJ s.v. μαιεύομαι the proverb should better have come under the second meaning of the verb ‘cause delivery to take place’ or the fourth meaning ‘deliver’ and not under the third meaning ‘bring to the birth’, since the dung-beetle does not hatch an eagle. The word μαιεύομαι is used sarcastically: ‘the dung-beetle did not “hatch” the eagle’s eggs: he did make the eaglets hatch out, it is true, but somewhat prematurely’. We should also bear in mind that the semi-choruses have stripped off and this promotes an obscene interpretation of the verb. The women will do to their opponents’ genitalia what the dung-beetle did to the eagle’s eggs (van Dijk 1997, 216 n. 203, and 217 with n. 210). On the contrary, Kanellakis (2017, 192–3) argues that there is no allusion to the men’s testicles here. In my view, we cannot be sure whether the men’s testicles are implied or not, but the fact that both choruses have stripped off and the overall sexual tone of Lysistrata seem to support such an implication. 39 Zanetto (2001, 68) points out the aggressiveness expressed by the tales of both semi-choruses. 40 Hawkins 2001, 159 n. 40.

  Eleni Avdoulou the teller uses this particular animal fable in an agonistic context. Indeed, the verbal exchange between the rival semi-choruses has been tense a long time now. In lines 360–1, for instance, the men threaten to beat the women as if they were Boupalos, the notorious enemy of the iambographer Hipponax – it is highly possible that Aristophanes there directly alludes to Hippon. fr. 120 W: λάβετέ μεο ταἰμάτια, Βουπάλῳ κόψω τὸν ὀφθαλμόν (‘Take my clothes, I’ll punch Bupalus in the eye’).41 Later on, each of the semi-choruses narrates a fable of Aristophanic (rather than Aesopic) origin;42 one is about Melanion the misogynist, whom the men acclaim as their champion (781–96), and the other is about Timon the philogynist, whom the women prefer (805–20).43 Amid the increasing hostility, the association of the irascible Timon with iambic abuse (815) foreshadows the final reconciliation between the two sexes. Despite its offensive spirit, iambus sets in motion the reconciliation of the opposing parties, which is achieved at the end of the comedy.44 The allusion to the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle is therefore made in an antagonistic context, which also includes other important iambic undertones. If the women adduced the Aesopic fable while enraged with the men, the ‘Aristophanic’ fables of Melanion and Timon convey a reconciliatory mood on the women᾽s part. Once again, we notice that the fable is put in the mouth of weak individuals who face stronger opponents, politically and physically.45 The fact that the women compare themselves to the dung-beetle indicates that they perceive themselves as the weak ones, not the strong. At the same time, however, they are confident that they will eventually dominate over men. So men may be (physically) stronger, but they will not go unpunished. However, unlike the outcome of the fable, men and women are reconciled at the end of Lysistrata. In conclusion, the fable of the eagle and the dung-beetle is used by the weak as a means of threatening and abusing a superior enemy, which shows that Aristophanes was aware of the iambic nature of the fable. In Wasps the fable comes at the climax of a series of ‘iambic’ scenes and Philocleon adopts an iambic persona from Aesop, who had also used fables to threaten and satirise the Delphians. In Peace the allusion to the fable bears a threatening tone against the father of gods. It also gives Aristophanes the chance to abuse Cleon and make scatological jokes, and contributes to the victory of comedy over tragedy. In Lysistrata, too,

 41 Henderson 1987 on 360–1; Hawkins 2001, 159 n. 40. 42 Schirru 2009, 138–49. 43 Hawkins 2009, 143–52. See also Bowie 1993, 189–90. 44 Hawkins 2001, 159, 161. 45 Steiner 2008, 98.

Comic Kantharoi: The Fable of the Eagle and the Dung-Beetle in Aristophanes  

the allusion to the fable is made – rather intentionally – within a wider antagonistic context. The most elaborate appropriation of the fable is that of Peace, where Aristophanes both exploits and undermines the iambic tradition of the kantharos. His own dung-beetle is not simply an αἶνος for satirising a political enemy; his kantharos symbolises the vigour which characterises the comic hero Trygaeus and becomes a most appropriate vehicle in pursuit of his plan. University of Cologne [email protected]

Alessandra Migliara

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds The purpose of this chapter is to investigate how words and visual representation contributed to shaping the audience’s perception of space in ancient comedy, focusing particularly on Aristophanes’ Birds.1 Applying a cognitive approach, I argue that Aristophanes not only uses his words to describe (and make the audience perceive) the transformation of the dramatic space, but also exploits the innate human tendency to follow the others’ gaze. The visual aspect of ancient drama has been the subject of increasing interest by scholars. From Taplin’s search for the ‘dramatised visible event’ to Meineck’s investigation of ‘what was intrinsic and soul-enthralling about dramatic visuality’, scholars have tried to go beyond the poetic words (usually the only thing we can know for certain) with the purpose of reconstructing and understanding the visual power of ancient drama.2 Building on this research, I will also discuss the synaesthetic experience of Aristophanic comedy and how visual and aural stimuli could influence each other.3 As has been shown by studies on ancient aesthetics, the Greeks attached great importance and symbolic power to the human gaze.4 The strong relationship between sight – and the gaze in particular – and cognition has now been

 1 I am very grateful to Angus Bowie and all the participants in the 2017 conference, as well as to the editors Almut Fries and Dimitrios Kanellakis, for their valuable comments. I also wish to thank Peter Meineck for first encouraging me to apply cognitive theories to classical texts and for offering helpful suggestions. 2 Taplin 1978, 3; Meineck 2017, 53. For tragedy’s connection to vision cf. also Harrison/Liapis 2013, Meineck 2012; Chaston 2010; Kraus/Goldhill/Foley/Elsner 2007; Barlow 1971. For comedy and vision cf. Jay-Robert 2016 and 2014; Poe 2000. Discussing the relationship between verbal and visual elements, Poe (2000, 259) argues that ‘in many passages of Aristophanes, even where the language is detailed enough to make clear to the reader what the audience sees (or must have seen), it is visual communication that dominates’. According to Noel (2018, 297) there has been an ‘overemphasis that has been placed upon visual effects, as opposed to verbal effects’. 3 Recent synaesthetic studies have tried to move ‘beyond the visual paradigm’ (Butled/Purves 2013, 2). Application of synaesthetic theories to ancient drama can be found in Telò 2013 and Noel 2018. 4 This strong relationship is deeply entrenched in many Indo-European languages: Greek οἶδα (‘I know’) and εἶδον (‘I see’) share the Indo-European root *weid/*wid/*woid with (among others) Latin video (‘I see’) and Sanskrit vidyā (‘knowledge’). Cf. also Squire 2016, 28: ‘antiquity approached the act of viewing as a much more active process: to see, as indeed to be seen, was to

  Alessandra Migliara confirmed by cognitive research.5 Many recent studies have focussed on the neural underpinnings of visual perception, proving the active nature of human vision: by using and moving our eyes, we create a new meaning. Our brain interacts with the stimuli received from the outside and constructs what to see, and how to see it. External stimuli and brain mechanisms continuously interact with each other in the process of creating cognition. I will concentrate on Birds because in this comedy the spatial setting is totally unrealistic; and therefore this play is asking from the spectators a particular strain of imagination: how could they possibly imagine a city in the sky?

Words and space For some time now, scholars have described the Aristophanic use of the scenic space in terms of ‘flexibility’6 and ‘fluidity’7 or even ‘confusion’8 and ‘anarchy’.9 Unlike in tragedy,10 where the setting tends to remain stable throughout the play, in comedy it is sometimes hard to pinpoint the exact location of the characters at specific moments.11 Not only does the setting change, as the characters move to different locations, and the door of the skēnē assumes different identities, but sometimes two different spaces may coexist on stage. Moreover, the dramatic  engage in a complex two-way relationship, and one attributed with various far-reaching consequences’. For the connection between sight and knowledge in Aristophanes cf. Jay-Robert 2014, 11–18. 5 Cf. Squire 2016, 13: ‘For the sense of sight was itself exploited to provide ancient thinkers with their essential framework for approaching the epistemological project of philosophy: it was around the idea of seeing that the whole question of sensory and cognitive perception came to be understood. That visually oriented paradigm of knowledge, moreover, would set the course for the entire subsequent western intellectual history of approaching the senses’. For discussion about the ancient theories of sight cf. Thibodeau 2016. Jay-Robert 2015 argues that in Clouds Aristophanes provides a parody of the optic theory of the atomists. 6 Bowie 2012, 359. 7 Dearden 1976, 45. Cf. also Saïd 1997, 340–4. 8 Jay-Robert 2007, 176. 9 Revermann 2006, 108. However, he argues that ‘while Greek theatrical space is highly polysemous, the semiosis, unruly as it may appear in comedy, is neither unlimited nor arbitrary’. Lowe (2006, 48) claims that ‘the mapping is not anarchic or incoherent’. 10 Cf. Wiles 1997, 122: ‘while the world of tragedy seems closed and sealed, comedy is open and has no sharp boundaries […] comedy, by contrast, allows the action to melt from one location to another’. Cf. also Ruffell 2011, 342–55. 11 Cf. Silk 2000a, 272; Silk 2000b, 304–5.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

space often shifts from an everyday location – e.g. the outside of an Athenian house – to a fantastical one, like a city in the sky (Birds), heaven (Peace), or Hades (Frogs). Although these changes of scene are relevant to Aristophanes’ dramaturgy, ‘it is noticeable that Aristophanes gives very little description of the physical aspects of the space involved’.12 How then were those spatial transformations rendered on stage and perceived by the audience? As we know, ancient drama was not naturalistic, but was based on scenic conventions. The Athenian audience could visualise the spatial and dramatic context of a play through the words of the actors and the chorus, supported by a few props and the skēnē, which may or may not have been painted:13 Throughout people and objects on stage combine with the words of the characters to produce a rich impression of the different spaces the stage represents. In these scenes, description of the stage-scene is integrated into the action, and indeed in Aristophanes there is generally no description (ekphrasis) of a stage-scene purely ‘to set the scene’ as it were.14

This is what happens in the prologue of Birds. Although this prologue can be considered as ‘atopic’15 – as Peisetaerus and Euelpides have no idea where they are16 – many clues locate the setting in a wild countryside with trees and rocks. As Bowie observes, these clues are integrated in the action: Euelpides asks his jackdaw whether they should proceed straight towards the tree (1: ὀρθὴν κελεύεις, ᾗ τὸ δένδρον φαίνεται;); speaking to the crow, Peisetaerus asks (20–2) ‘And what are you gaping at now? Is it the place where you will lead us, right over those rocks? There’s no road over there’ (καὶ νῦν τί κέχηνας; ἔσθ’ ὅποι κατὰ τῶν πετρῶν | ἡμᾶς ἔτ’ ἄξεις; οὐ γάρ ἐστ’ ἐνταῦθά τις | ὁδός).17 Some actual rocks and stones were probably on stage, as Peisetaerus invites Euelpides to use them to make some noises to attract the birds (54–6). Just before Tereus appears on stage, he requests his servant to open for him not the door, but the foliage: ἄνοιγε τὴν ὕλην (92). All these elements have induced some scholars to conjecture the presence of painted screens depicting rocks and trees.18  12 Bowie 2012, 372. 13 For the skēnē as ‘boundary’ of the stage cf. Revermann 2006, 180–2. Wycherley (1978, 213) points out that the skēnē was ‘non doubt suggestive and symbolical rather than realistic’. According to Dearden (1976, 45) the ‘anonymous background’ is ‘capable of being transformed by the audience’s imagination to whatever scene the poet suggests’. 14 Bowie 2012, 362. 15 Lowe 2006, 52. 16 Cf. Ar. Av. 29. 17 All translations are my own. 18 Cf. Dunbar 1995, 16; Halliwell 1998, 15.

  Alessandra Migliara After the parabasis (676–800), it gradually becomes clear that the setting has changed: the two Athenians are not in the countryside anymore, but in Cloudcuckooland, and this new city is placed between the earth and the sky. Although presumably nothing changes on stage (in terms of settings), there are many verbal clues for this transformation, in addition to Peisetaerus and Euelpides’ metamorphosis into birds, shown by their new costumes (801–8). In helping Peisetaerus find a name for the city, the chorus advises him to draw inspiration from the landscape (817–19): ἐντευθενὶ ἐκ τῶν νεφελῶν καὶ τῶν μετεώρων χωρίων χαῦνόν τι πάνυ something from right here, from the clouds and the regions up in the air, something really airy.

The adverb ἐντευθενί, with the deictic -ί to clarify and reinforce it – and probably accompanied by a gesture of the hand – immediately tells the spectators that the place where they are (‘right here’) has changed, and some features of this new dramatic space are provided:19 they are now in the region of the clouds and celestial spaces, ‘up in the air’. Peisetaerus’ request to Euelpides to go to the air (837: πρὸς τὸν ἀέρα) and help with the construction of the wall could suggest that they are not truly ‘up in the air’. However, the precise position of the city is immediately clarified (843–4): κήρυκα δὲ πέμψον τὸν μὲν εἰς θεοὺς ἄνω, ἕτερον δ’ ἄνωθεν αὖ παρ’ ἀνθρώπους κάτω, Send a herald to the gods above, and another herald downward, to the humans below.

As shown by the adverbs ἄνω, ἄνωθεν and κάτω, the city and the characters with it are between gods and humans, and the herald needs to move ‘from above’ in order to reach the latter.20 The arrival of visitors, while raising some questions (how did common men reach the city in the sky?),21 seems to confirm this arrangement: the poet says ‘I have been praising this marvelous city for ages’ (921: πάλαι

 19 For the use of deictic adverbs and pronouns in Athenian comedy and their relationship with visuality cf. Orth 2018. Cf. also Willi 2003, 244–5. For the use of deictic gesture cf. Poe 2000, 268. 20 Cf. Slater 2002, 136. 21 This could be considered as one of the moments in which, as Bowie (2012, 363) suggests, ‘the space contrives simultaneously to combine two locations’.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

πάλαι δὴ τήνδ’ ἐγὼ κλῄζω πόλιν), giving the impression that he is actually walking in the city he is singing about; Meton brings his geometric tools to ‘measure the air’ (995: γεωμετρῆσαι … τὸν ἀέρα); the inspector proclaims that he has arrived ‘here, in Cloudcuckooland’ (1022–3: ἥκω δεῦρο … | εἰς τὰς Νεφελοκοκκυγίας); before Iris appears on stage, the messenger declares that one of the gods ‘flew into the air through the gates’ of the city (1173: διὰ τῶν πυλῶν εἰσέπτατ᾽ εἰς τὸν ἀέρα) and that he/she ‘is not very far, but is already here somewhere’ (1184–5: κἄστ᾽οὐ μακρὰν ἄπωθεν, ἀλλ᾽ ἐνταῦθά που | ἤδη ᾽στίν), i.e. inside the walls of the city, the completion of which was announced earlier (1124). Peisetaerus and the messenger are therefore inside the city in the sky protected by the external wall. Another deictic accompanies the entry of the embassy of the gods (1565–6): τὸ μὲν πόλισμα τῆς Νεφελοκοκκυγίας ὁρᾶν τοδὶ πάρεστιν, οἷ πρεσβεύομεν. The city of Cloudcuckooland is visible here, where we are going as ambassadors.

All this evidence brings us to the conclusion that in the second half of the play, after the parabasis, the dramatic space represents Cloudcuckooland, although nothing on stage could be used to represent it in a realistic way, apart from the birds’ costumes. There are, however, many elements — verbal and visual — in the first part of Birds that prefigure the birth of Cloudcuckooland and stimulate the audience’s imagination and curiosity. While signalling a change of scene just by the words of the actors is common in ancient comedy,22 in Birds we have something more peculiar: not only do the characters describe the setting of the play, giving the audience the essential data to imagine the landscape, but Peisetaerus also actually conjures up the space around him through wordplay and so contributes to its transformation. Throughout the play there is indeed special attention granted to the creative and rhetorical power of Peisetaerus’ words, which are described as ‘something for the good of all, convincing, right, sweet and useful’ (317: κοινόν, ἀσφαλῆ, δίκαιον, ἡδύν, ὠφελήσιμον) and which can even give wings to men and transform them (432–3, 1436–9). Words are also responsible for the transformation of the space from a wild countryside under the sky to a city in the sky. It is a simple pun, a paronomasia, that changes the πόλος, the vault of the sky, into a πόλις, a new city for

 22 Cf. Bowie 2012, 360.

  Alessandra Migliara the birds (179–84).23 Peisetaerus also provides specific details about the space when he says that ‘this revolves all around’ (181: πολεῖται τοῦτο) and ‘everything passes through it’ (181–2: διέρχεται ἅπαντα διὰ τούτου). That the city will physically occupy the aerial space is confirmed by the instructions he gives to the birds (550–2):24 καὶ δὴ τοίνυν πρῶτα διδάσκω μίαν ὀρνίθων πόλιν εἶναι, κἄπειτα τὸν ἀέρα πάντα κύκλῳ καὶ πᾶν τουτὶ τὸ μεταξὺ περιτειχίζειν μεγάλαις πλίνθοις ὀπταῖς ὥσπερ Βαβυλῶνα. First, I suggest that there should be just one city for the birds. Then encircle the whole sky and enclose all this space here in between with a wall of big baked bricks, like Babylon.

The presence of another deictic here is troubling: why is Peisetaerus talking about fortifying ‘this space here’, as if they were already in the sky? I suggest that the actors’ words – initially used to describe what is on stage, like the rocks – also have the role of challenging the spectators’ perception, leading them to visualise something that is not yet present on stage, but becomes the dramatic space of the second part of the play.

Gaze and spatial perception At the beginning of the play the audience’s perception of the dramatic space is shaped both by the actors’ words, and by what they were actually seeing on stage – props and possibly a painted skēnē. In the course of the play, however, what is described by the actors – a city in the sky – is not visible on stage anymore. The setting becomes surreal, and it can only be imagined by the audience. To foster this process, Aristophanes uses not only words, props, and costumes, but also the alluring force of the human gaze. Exploiting the presence of the sky above the Theatre of Dionysus, he is directing the spectators’ gaze specifically

 23 For the rhetorical and persuasive power of Peisetaerus cf. Whitman 1964, 172–3, and Holmes 2019. Thiercy (1986, 114) speaks of a ‘domination incontestable du Logos sur la réalité. C’est en effet dans la manipulation des mots que Pisétaire va trouver les instruments et les voies de son triomphe’. Cf. also Migliara 2018, 245–7. 24 On this passage cf. Ruffell 2011, 298.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

towards it in order to control their perception of the environmental space and to bridge the gap between imaginary and perceptual experience.25 Gaze and vision in ancient Greek literature have recently been the subject of many studies.26 Just from analysing the presence of words related to vision in Aristophanes’ comedies, it is possible to notice ‘l’indéniable suprématie accordée au regard et à la vue par le poète.’27 In terms of performance, the dynamics related to vision were largely determined by the particularities of an open-air theatre, the daylight and the lack of artificial light. In such a theatrical context the dramatist’s ability to direct the gaze of the spectators fulfills (or substitutes for) one of the functions that stage-lighting has in indoor theatres: pointing towards a specific direction and selecting what the audience should (or should not) see.28 It has been demonstrated that humans have the tendency to follow other humans’ gaze. The first to test this theory was Stanley Milgram in 1969. In a street corner in Manhattan some actors looked up as if watching something. In a short time many passers-by had stopped and oriented their gaze upwards, following the gaze of the actors. The experiment showed that people make the assumption that there is something worth looking at, even if such a thing does not exist.29 Other studies confirmed that our tendency to follow the gaze of others is innate in humankind: everyone is led to follow the others’ gaze.30 We can therefore suppose that the eyes of the spectators in an ancient Greek theatre were attracted by the characters’ gaze, and tended to follow it.31 The eyes of the actors, who were all wearing masks, were probably not visible for the spectators. However, the comic mask had large, highly visible eyes, and the movement of the head and the posture of the body (particularly in the extravagant acting style of Greek theatre)  25 Discussing the relationship between ‘real space’, which includes environmental and theatrical space, and ‘fictional space’, which includes mimetic and diegetic space, Revermann (2006, 108–12) explains how the natural environment was actually integrated into the performance. Cf. also Meineck 2017, 62–7; Meineck 2012. 26 Cf. for example Kampakoglou/Novokhatko 2018 and Squire 2016. 27 Jay-Robert 2016, 19. 28 Cf. also Meineck 2017, 96; Meineck 2011a, 122. On the role of the stage-lighting in focussing the audience’s gaze cf. Reid 2001, 5–6. 29 Cf. Milgram 1969, 81: ‘In the present study, passers-by were oriented by the gaze of the crowd to a scene that had no special holding power. (Pedestrians looked up to the sixth floor of an office building where some dimly perceived figures were peering back from inside. It was not a scene of compelling interest).’ 30 Cf. Driver 1999; Friesen/Kingstone 1998; Langton/Bruce 1999. 31 For this reason, the different theories about the shape of the Theatre of Dionysus in the fifth century (cf. Meineck 2017, 58–62; Powers 2014, 11–28) do not undermine my argument: all spectators could see the head movement accompanying the gazing, regardless of their position.

  Alessandra Migliara easily revealed the direction of the gaze of the actors.32 As shown by Meineck (2011a, 123, 136–7), ‘the human face or its representation elicits a very strong (if not the strongest) visual response. Our eyes are immediately drawn to the face …’ and the mask reinforces the cognitive and emotional communication with the actors. He also suggests that the tragic mask had highly visible sclera, enhancing therefore the perception of the gaze: ‘the gaze direction of the Greek mask may have been an important factor in establishing reciprocal gaze between spectator and performer’ (140).33 Moreover, it has been demonstrated that following the gaze of others is fundamental for receiving information about them, and about the environment and our visual perception of it: the gaze as a deictic pointer facilitates the observer’s intensive approach to particular information in the visual field. […] The gaze can be read as a cue by others. It effectively signals what is of interest to the observer at a given moment in time in a particular setting. The gaze attaches ratings of informativeness to items in the visual environment.34

In the dramatic art the gaze becomes a particular kind of gestural expressiveness which can be skilfully exploited by the playwright to provide additional information to the spectator, particularly information about the dramatic environment. I will analyse some examples of how Aristophanes exploited this tendency of the human brain in his Birds, a play in which the spectators are invited not only to watch the scene but also to imagine the city of birds in the sky. Gaze, as many other elements of the ancient performance, is not easy to reconstruct, but we can do so when a character is explicitly directing (or commenting on) another character’s gaze. In these cases our natural tendency to follow the gaze of others is amplified by the words of the actors. In the prologue Peisetaerus and Euelpides come on stage with two birds, a crow and a jackdaw perched on their respective arms. The birds are guiding the two men in their search of Tereus, and they seem to point in a particular direction (49–52): ΠEΙ. ΕY.

ἡ κορώνη μοι πάλαι ἄνω τι φράζει. χὠ κολοιὸς οὑτοσὶ ἄνω κέχηνεν ὡσπερεὶ δεικνύς τί μοι, κοὐκ ἔσθ’ ὅπως οὐκ ἔστιν ἐνταῦθ’ ὄρνεα.

 32 For the comic mask cf. Wiles 2008; Varakis-Martin 2010. 33 And he notes that ‘[c]omic masks operated in much the same way as their tragic cousins’ (Meineck 2011b, 151). For the power of the mask cf. also Wiles 2007. 34 Lauwereyns 2010, 194–5. Cf. also Meineck 2011a, 140.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  


My crow has been pointing for a long time at something up there. My jackdaw here is gaping up too, as if pointing out something to me. There must be birds around here.

The two birds are looking up towards – we can imagine – the skēnē (from where Tereus will appear).35 We can also note the emphatic repetition of ἄνω, ‘up’, at the beginning of two consecutive iambic trimeters. The birds draw with them the gazes of Peisetaerus and Euelpides and the gazes of the spectators, directing their attention to the skēnē. The verb φράζω, ‘to point out’, ‘show the way’, and the verb δείκνυμι, ‘to show’, ‘point out’ suggest that the two birds, their position, and their gazes were actually perceived as deictic pointers by the characters and the audience. A similar example is found in the prologue of Clouds, where Strepsiades directs his son’s gaze towards the door of the skēnē (91–2): δεῦρό νυν ἀπόβλεπε. ὁρᾷς τὸ θύριον τοῦτο καὶ τᾠκίδιον; Then look there. Do you see the door and the house?

This moment marks the change of scene, as the dramatic space quickly changes from the interior of Strepsiades’ house to the outside of Socrates’ school:36 the gaze is used to connect the scenic space with the extra-scenic space.37 Similarly, in Birds the change of scene is fostered by the movement of the gaze. Peisetaerus, in order to persuade Tereus of the potential strength of birds, invites him to look in different directions (175–8): ΠΕΙ. ΕΠ. ΠΕΙ. ΕΠ. ΠΕΙ. ΕΠ.

βλέψον κάτω.

καὶ δὴ βλέπω.

βλέπω. περίαγε τὸν τράχηλον.

βλέπε νυν ἄνω.

νὴ Δία ἀπολαύσομαί τί γ’, εἰ διαστραφήσομαι·

 35 According to Dunbar (1995: 130), it is more likely that these were actual birds than dummies. However, with the use of props it would have been possible for the actors to hold them pointing upwards with their beaks. 36 Dover (1968, lxxxiv) postulates the use of two skēnē-doors, one representing the door of Socrates’ school, the other used by Pheidippides to exit his own house at 125. 37 I am using here the terminology of Bowie 2012. The connection between scenic space and extra-scenic space (the space immediately off-stage) is provided by the gaze of the actors also in the prologue of Peace.

  Alessandra Migliara ΠΕΙ. ΕΠ.

εἶδές τι; τὰς νεφέλας γε καὶ τὸν οὐρανόν.


Look down there. I’m looking. Now look up there. I’m looking Turn your neck around. By Zeus, it would really do me some good, if I am contorted! What do you see? Clouds and the sky.

The verb βλέπω, ‘to look’, properly means ‘to look towards something’, ‘to move one’s gaze’, and it is different from the verb ὁράω, ‘to perceive with the eye’.38 While ὁράω indicates the act of seeing from a physiological point of view, βλέπω indicates the will to orient one’s gaze towards something. We can therefore imagine that Tereus, invited by Peisetaerus to look around (βλέπει) in different directions, moved his gaze (probably following the pointing hand of Peisetaerus) and all his body first downwards, then upwards, and eventually all around. That this movement involved the head – thus revealing the direction of the gaze – and the entire body, is suggested by the fact that Peisetaerus invites Tereus to turn (περιάγω) his neck around. To this invitation, Tereus answers by moving all his body, as suggested by διαστραφήσομαι, ‘to be distorted’ or ‘twisted’. In Knights 162–78, when the sausage-seller is similarly invited by Demosthenes to look around, the same verb is used to describe the scenic movement of the sausageseller, who moves his body, and not only his eyes, to look around.39 Notably, the movement of the gaze is related not only to the perception of the space, but also to its possible transformation: it is bound to become the new empire of the sausage-seller.40 In the same way the movement of Tereus in Birds is related to the perception of the surrounding environment and to the possibility of changing it: building a city made of walls and bricks where before there was only sky and  38 For the different use of ὁράω and βλέπω in Aristophanes cf. Jay-Robert 2016, 19–20. 39 That διαστραφήσομαι refers to the movement of the whole body is suggested by the fact that the sausage-seller is invited to mount a table (169), look at the islands all around (170), and then to the right and the left (174). Kanellakis 2020a, on the contrary, argues that the verb suggests a squint. 40 Revermann 2006, 118: ‘Knights utilises the rhetoric of space in order to turn a domestic plot centred around the house of Demos and his slaves into an allegory of the Athenian state, its dysfunctional leadership, and the utopian rectification of public mismanagement. Space and localisations, together with masks, are in fact the prime means of generating allegorical meaning in this comedy’.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

clouds.41 We can indeed imagine that Tereus’ movement attracted the eyes of the spectators, orienting their gaze in the same direction as his gaze. The attraction of the gaze was probably reinforced by Peisetaerus pointing with his hand, and moving his body, in different directions.42 All the spectators were therefore made to look around together with the actors.43 The same attention to the surrounding space, probably accompanied by movement and gazes, is paid by Tereus when he conveys Peisetaerus’ plan to the birds: ‘he will persuade you by saying that all is yours, what lies here and what is in that direction and in this direction’ (423–5: ὡς σὰ πάντα καὶ τὸ τῇδε καὶ | τὸ κεῖσε καὶ τὸ δεῦρο προσβιβᾷ λέγων).44 In Peace, before Trygaeus’ appearance on the mēchanē, he is described as ‘looking towards the sky all day long, gaping like this’ (56–7: δι’ ἡμέρας γὰρ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν βλέπων | ὡδὶ κεχηνώς): even though Trygaeus is not on stage at this point, the deictic ὡδί suggests that the slave is imitating Trygaeus’ attitude, gaping and looking at the sky. Again, before a change of setting, the gaze of the audience is directed towards the sky, helping them perceive the shift from Athens to Olympus, where the gods live and where Trygaeus will now travel. Indeed, his setting-off with the mēchanē would also attract the gazes of the audience towards the sky. Back to Birds, when Tereus looks all around and describes what he sees, there is a substantial discrepancy between what the spectators see, guided by the gaze of the actors, and the verbal clues that they receive at the same time. Although Tereus is still supposed to be in the same rocky land where the two Athenians first meet him, he affirms that he only sees the clouds and the sky (178). This discrepancy, which is due to the limitations of the ancient theatre where realistic representation was unattainable, is cleverly exploited by Aristophanes in a way

 41 According to Jay-Robert (2014, 19), the visual phenomenon in Knights is connected with the access to power. 42 For a discussion of the indirect evidence of gesture and movement in Greek comedy cf. Poe 2000, 262 n. 28. 43 The same is true in Pax 887: βουλή, πρυτάνεις, ὁρᾶτε τὴν Θεωρίαν (‘Councillors, magistrates, look at Theoria’), which establishes a ‘communauté d’experience entre acteurs et spectateurs’ (Jay-Robert 2016, 33). 44 Unlike τῇδε, which is an adverb of location, κεῖσε and δεῦρο are adverbs of direction. It is therefore legitimate to think that Tereus is pointing in different directions, as Peisetaerus did earlier when he was trying to persuade him, guiding the gaze of the chorus. Cf. Thesm. 665–7: πανταχῇ δὲ ῥῖψον ὄμμα, | καὶ τὰ τῇδε καὶ τὰ δεῦρο | πάντ᾽ ἀνασκόπει καλῶς (‘Cast your eyes in all directions, and examine everything properly – over this way, over that way, and over here.’).

  Alessandra Migliara that can now be explained by modern cognitive studies on multisensory integration, which have already been applied successfully to ancient drama:45 Multisensory integration, defined as the set of processes by which information arriving from individual sensory modalities (e.g. vision, audition, touch) interacts with and influences processing in other sensory modalities, is now well established and has crucial implications for contemporary sensory neuroscience.46

According to such studies, our brain does not process different sensory inputs (visual, aural, tactile, etc.) with singular, isolated neural representations in different areas of the brain. On the contrary, those inputs interact with each other and are processed in a fluid way in the same brain regions. Human perception is a ‘constructive process’ because it is not simply the sum of all the different sensory inputs, but is also determined by our own predictions and by prior knowledge.47 We constantly make predictions about what we are going to perceive next, and these predictions influence the way in which we process external inputs. For this reason, there is a special connection between perception and imagination: Such perceivers [i.e. all people] are thereby imaginers too: they are creatures poised to explore and experience their worlds not just by perception and gross physical action but also by means of imagery, dreams, and (in some cases) deliberate mental simulations.48

Therefore, the discrepancy between aural and visual inputs experienced in ancient drama would stimulate the audience’s perception of the play in a more elaborate way. The words of Tereus, who claims to see only ‘clouds and sky’ even when he is looking downwards, affect the visual perception of the spectators and help them visualise the avian city. The same discrepancy is found in the second part of the play, where the many deictics point to elements which are not visible on stage, like at lines 817 and 1566 (discussed above). In these cases, too, ‘things that cannot be seen can be represented as if they were visible’.49 A similar strategy is used in the passage of Knights already mentioned (162–78): Demosthenes tells

 45 Meineck (2017, 181) speaks of ‘the multisensory environment of the Festival of Dionysos’ and explores the processing of multisensory inputs (ch. 6). 46 Noel 2018, 298. Noel applies this approach to the analysis of props in the Oresteia. 47 Friston 2010, 129. Cf. also Gentile/Atteveldt/Martino/Goebel 2017. 48 Clark 2015, 85, quoted by Noel 2018, 298. Studies have also shown that visual perception and mental imagery are processed in the same area of the brain (Ganis/Thompson/Mast/Kosslyn 2004). 49 Orth 2018, 240–1.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

the sausage-seller not only where he should look, but also what he should see, thus dictating his (and the spectators’) visual perception. Again the objects of vision that he mentions are not actually visible to the spectators: they are places and buildings neither visible from the south slope of the Acropolis, nor able to be represented on stage by props.50 Exploitation of a similar discrepancy facilitates the entrance of the chorus in Birds and in Clouds. While Peisetaerus and Euelpides are waiting for the appearance of the birds, they look towards the sky (263–4): ΠΕΙ. ΕΥ.

ὁρᾷς τιν’ ὄρνιν; μὰ τὸν Ἀπόλλω ’γὼ μὲν οὔ· καίτοι κέχηνά γ’ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν βλέπων.


Do you see any birds? No, by Apollo, I do not, although I’ve been gaping looking up at the sky.

Here the verb βλέπω (also used in 175–6, discussed earlier) is used in conjunction with the verb κέχηνα (also used in 52, discussed earlier). The perfect tense with stative aspect (> χάσκω, later χαίνω) indicates the duration of this posture.51 After this pause four birds appear on the roof of the skēnē, prompting Peisetaerus and Euelpides to look in that direction and probably to point with their hands, as is suggested by the four occurrences of the deictic οὑτοσί, ‘right there’ (268, 270, 274, 279).52 Something similar happens in Clouds, when Socrates directs Strepsiades’ – and the audience’s – gaze towards the appearance of the clouds, probably pointing again towards the sky (323–8): ΣΩ. ΣΤΡ. ΣΩ. ΣΤΡ. ΣΩ. ΣΤΡ. ΣΩ. ΣΤΡ.

βλέπε νυν δευρὶ πρὸς τὴν Πάρνηθ᾽· ἤδη γὰρ ὁρῶ κατιούσας ἡσυχῇ αὐτάς. φέρε ποῦ; δεῖξον. χωροῦσ᾽ αὗται πάνυ πολλαὶ διὰ τῶν κοίλων καὶ τῶν δασέων, αὗται πλάγιαι. τί τὸ χρῆμα; ὡς οὐ καθορῶ. παρὰ τὴν εἴσοδον. ἤδη νυνὶ μόλις οὕτως. νῦν γέ τοι ἤδη καθορᾷς αὐτάς, εἰ μὴ λημᾷς κολοκύνταις. νὴ Δί᾽ ἔγωγ᾽, ὦ πολυτίμητοι· πάντα γὰρ ἤδη κατέχουσιν.

 50 Cf. Jay-Robert 2014, 25. 51 Similarly in Pax 56–7, also in conjunction with βλέπω. 52 For the first birds emerging from the roof (rather than each from different spots) cf. Halliwell 1998, xxxiii and Dunbar 1995, 229.

  Alessandra Migliara SOC. STR. SOC. STR. SOC. STR. SOC. STR.

Look there, towards Mount Parnes; I already see them coming down quietly. Where? Show me. Many of them are actually proceeding through valleys and woods, there, on the side. What’s the matter? I do not see. Close to the entrance. Now I see them, but hardly. Now you should already be seeing them, if you do not have eyes the size of pumpkins. Yes, by Zeus! O most honoured Clouds, they already cover everything.

In this case too, while the members of the chorus are entering along the parodoi,53 the eyes of the spectators are directed to look – again, βλέπω – in a different direction. Even though the sky is not mentioned, Socrates is pointing towards mount Parnes (modern Parnitha), north of Athens; if we assume that Socrates was pointing towards the real position of Parnes, he would have made the spectators look backwards (they were normally facing south), where they could only see the southern slope of the Acropolis and the sky above. Then their gaze would probably have been directed towards the sides of the theatre, focussing on the natural environment (διὰ τῶν κοίλων καὶ τῶν δασέων), before coming back to the parodoi (326) and finally to the orchestra, where the members of the chorus would then arrive (328). Both these scenes are used to distract the audience while the chorus proceeds along the parodoi, but they also direct the gaze of the spectators towards the sky, prompting them to imagine the appearance of entities – clouds and birds – that would normally inhabit that space. As in Knights 162–78, the words of the actors describe entities that are not physically there (even Strepsiades cannot see them), but they affect and inspire the visual perception of the spectators, preparing them to identify the members of the chorus with the abstract entities they had imagined. This identification is especially relevant here, because the costumes of the Clouds could not have been very realistic. The prevalence of gazes directed towards the sky in Birds, Clouds and Peace is not accidental. In these three comedies the sky plays a dramaturgically important role, and so the eyes of the audience are always drawn towards it. In Clouds, where the action does not move to celestial spaces as in the other two plays, it is the celestial space (in the shape of the chorus of clouds) that invades the terrestrial (and dramatic) space, and Socrates is described, similarly to  53 The audience hears their voice already at 275. According to Dover (1968, 137), the chorus was ‘approaching the orchestra’ while singing. According to Halliwell (2015, 260), members of the chorus are singing from the roof of the skēnē, but ‘most scholars think the Chorus sang from entirely out of sight’.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

Euelpides (Av. 264) and Trygaeus (Pax 56–7), as ‘gaping up’ towards the sky while ‘searching for the paths and the revolutions of the moon’ (171–2: ζητοῦντος αὐτοῦ τῆς σελήνης τὰς ὁδοὺς | καὶ τὰς περιφοράς … ἄνω κεχηνότος). When he appears on the mēchanē,54 like Trygaeus, in his search of a different, supernatural viewing of the universe, he also lifts the spectators’ gaze. In all three comedies there is a specific exploration of the vertical dimension,55 which is dramaturgically articulated not only by the verbal references to the sky, but also by the gazes of the actors. The presence of the sky in the audience’s visual field is one of the main differences between open-air theatre and indoor theatre, and we cannot underestimate the importance of its role in experiencing ancient Greek performances. Cognitive studies have demonstrated that ocular movement towards the upper visual field – in this case, towards the sky – is particularly connected to the development of abstract and creative thought. When we think or try to remember something, our eyes tend to look upwards.56 The sky naturally draws the gaze of the audience – also because sitting in an elevated place in the theatre brings our eyes higher from ground level – but Aristophanes amplifies this phenomenon by making the actors look towards the sky and thus directing the gaze of the spectators. The visual perception of the audience, far from simply processing what is happening on stage, shapes the whole way they approach the performance and helps them to visualise the play, but also their reality, in a new and more creative way. In the case of Birds particularly the sky becomes the protagonist.57 It is the centre of the action and of all the aspirations of the characters. Aristophanes, with his continuous invitations to look up at the sky, is not only leading his audience to imagine something that does not exist, like the city of birds, he is also inviting them to search for a new universe, to move away from the earth, to give more space to imagination and to conceive reality in a new way. The use of the verb διαστρέφω could refer not only to a movement of the body but also to a change of perspective: an invitation to see things in a different way from usual. While Aristophanes is asking his audience to imagine something fantastic and impossible, he is also stimulating their creative abilities by making them look at the sky.

 54 Revermann (2006, 111–12) argues that Socrates’ airwalk is one of the instances where the surrounding environment, the sun in this case, is integrated into the performance. 55 Lowe 2006, 58. 56 Previc 2005. 57 According to Jay-Robert 2006, space is the main topic of Birds.

  Alessandra Migliara

Gaze and metatheatre I have shown how visual and verbal clues interact with each other to shape the spectators’ perception of the space and stimulate their imagination. Although the rhetorical power of the poetic language is what is mostly highlighted in the text – the city is born from a verbal pun and wings are given by means of words – Aristophanes is not unaware of the visual power of his creation. When Peisetaerus, in a flash of inspiration, conceives the plan of founding a city in the sky, he actually sees his plan (162–3): ἦ μέγ᾽ ἐνορῶ βούλευμ᾽ ἐν ὀρνίθων γένει, καὶ δύναμιν ἣ γένοιτ᾽ ἄν, εἰ πίθοισθέ μοι. Ah – I see a grand design in the race of birds, and great power which could come to pass, if you were to trust me.

This passage encapsulates both dimensions, the verbal one (the plan is effective only if the birds trust Peisetaerus’ words) and the visual one (Peisetaerus sees his own project, the city).58 The same correlation between words and vision is present in 457: σὺ δὲ τοῦθ᾽ οὑρᾷς λέγ᾽ εἰ κοινόν. Tell publicly what you see.

When the birds invite Peisetaerus to reveal his plan, they ask him to say not what he thinks, but what he sees. The project is the fruit of a mental vision which Peisetaerus shares with the birds, and with the spectators, helping them to ‘see’ together with him. For this reason, among others, this comedy can be considered as an example of metatheatre.59 As a didaskalos would do (or better: as Aristophanes himself did), Peisetaerus uses his own words to bring into existence the space that he envisions – and all the events that are happening there – while also giving Tereus precise instructions on movements and gestures, to foster the actualisation of his vision.  58 This passage aside, ἐνοράω is only used by Aristophanes in Ach. 1129, for the perception of a mental image (Lamachus sees himself as an old man going to battle), not of a real visual stimulus. In the case of Birds, Peisetaerus manages to make his mental vision real and visible to the other characters. 59 Cf. also Slater 2002, ch. 7. For gazes and metatheatre in Aristophanes cf. Jay-Robert 2016.

Imagining Space: Spatial Perception and the Gaze in Aristophanes’ Birds  

Acting as the director of the play in which he himself is the protagonist, Peisetaerus uses his words and movements to orient the audience’s gaze and create a new reality before the eyes of the spectators, as well as a city in which other characters can live and obtain power. Therefore, imagination here is not only a dramatical tool used by Aristophanes to fascinate his public; it is also the very subject of the performance: the audience is invited to use their imagination to see what imagination can do. The City University of New York [email protected]

Hans Kopp

Comic Euboulia Deliberation, Free Speech, and the Language of Oligarchy in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata The language of Athenian Old Comedy and the language of Athenian politics are inextricably linked.1 Yet identifying their specific relationship can be a tricky business. As Malcom Heath notes, ‘Aristophanic comedy contains echoes and representations of contemporary political discourse. If we are to identify these allusions and interpret them, we must know something of the political discourse that is being echoed and represented – or (as it may be) misrepresented.’2 For any study of public political discourse in classical Athens the testimony of Old Comedy is invaluable evidence, since, as Jeffrey Rusten remarks, ‘the political speeches of Old Comedy are in fact a richer source for public discourse than Herodotus, and an earlier source for it than Thucydides’.3 A particular instance of such ‘echoed’ public discourse will be analysed in this chapter: the prominent, yet largely neglected, role that the notion of euboulia, ‘good counsel’ or ‘good deliberation’, plays in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata of 411 BCE. Recent studies have emphasised the importance of this concept for Athenian notions of political virtue, displayed especially on the tragic stage.4 The pedigree of euboulia in Greek literature can be traced back as far as the Homeric epics,5 and it was, if we believe Plato, central to Protagoras’ teaching of political technē.6 In fifth-century Athens, where a significant portion of the citizenry was occupied with public forms of deliberation on a regular basis, it was almost inevitable that euboulia should become not only a general ethical, but also a genuinely political, ideal and virtue.7 The Athenians’ preoccupation with euboulia is reflected across much of fifth-century literature; as Jon Hesk notes, both ‘popular drama and more elite intellectual writing in Athens are concerned to explore the

 1 I am grateful to Ryan Balot and the editors for their ‘good advice’ concerning the argument of this chapter, and I hope I possess enough euboulia to apply it. 2 Heath 1997, 231. 3 Rusten 2013, 250. 4 Hall 2009 and 2012; Hesk 2011 and 2017; Flaig 2013. 5 Stevens 1933; Schofield 1986. 6 Woodruff 2013. 7 Hall 2009, 91–3. On Athens as a deliberative democracy see Canevaro 2018, 125–39.

  Hans Kopp epistemic and cognitive vulnerabilities which can lead collectives and their leaders to make poor decisions’.8 Although euboulia figures most prominently in tragedy and historiography, the authors of Old Comedy knew the concept as well and were quick to make jokes about it. There are, for instance, frequent allusions to the Athenians’ proverbial dysboulia, their ‘bad deliberation’ in political matters.9 Aristophanes twice uses the term euboulia (Ach. 1008, Av. 1539), and in two of his plays we find jokes alluding to it. For instance, in Peace Hermes asks Trygaeus about the current leading figure in Athenian politics (680). The frank answer ‘Hyperbolus’ (681), a politician often attacked by the authors of Old Comedy for being a ruthless and war-mongering demagogue, would not benefit Trygaeus’ aim of bringing the goddess Peace back to Greece. Yet Trygaeus, endowed with all the wit of the Aristophanic hero, knows how to save the day: Hyperbolus is actually of great service to Athens, he argues, because as a lamp maker by profession he can guarantee that the Athenians become ‘better deliberators’ (689: εὐβουλότεροι γενησόμεθα), providing them with enough light to deliberate on all matters in a more ‘enlightened’ fashion (692: ἅπαντα πρὸς λύχνον βουλεύσομεν). Similarly, in Thesmophoriazusae we find the slightly enigmatic mention of a personified ‘Euboule’, who is said to have surpassed the members of the Athenian boulē in ‘good counsel’ (808).10 Through all these jokes and puns, the ‘idea that euboulia is important for, and yet not fully achieved by, Athens’ democratic institutions’ is the common point of reference.11 Aristophanes, it seems, was not only fully aware of the concept of euboulia but also quick to exploit its comic potential. The argument of this chapter will proceed in three steps. First I will show that in Lysistrata an argument based on the notion of euboulia is central to the titlecharacter’s diagnosis of the shortcomings of Athenian politics. Behind this lies a much richer discourse about freedom of speech and the need to be open to opposing political views. I will then follow the tracks of this discourse in other comedies, whereby it will become clear that, far from being unique to Lysistrata, this discourse permeated Athenian discussions generally concerning the ‘dialogic’ nature of democratic politics. Finally, the historical background and origin of this discourse will be analysed, and special attention will be paid to the recent view12 that in the play Lysistrata is advancing an oligarchic, anti-democratic programme

 8 Hesk 2017, 13. 9 Stevens 1933, 113–14; Hall 2009, 93. 10 Gomme/Andrewes/Dover 1981, 188; Storey 2012, 315–16. 11 Hesk 2011, 122 n. 13. 12 Olson 2012; Santucci 2015.

Comic Euboulia  

that is based on the notion that the lack of true freedom of speech in the democracy had inflicted severe damage on Athenian politics.

Euboulia (or the lack thereof) in Lysistrata Right from the beginning deliberation plays an important role in Lysistrata. It is hardly a coincidence that the verb βουλεύεσθαι, ‘to deliberate’ or ‘to give and receive advice’,13 is mentioned in the play’s very first lines, when Lysistrata complains about the other women who, although summoned to ‘deliberate on no small matter’ (14: βουλευσομέναισιν οὐ περὶ φαύλου πράγματος), fail to show up. The audience, at this moment still unaware of the female conspiracy underway, were thereby given a first inkling that these women, led by Lysistrata, will enter the (political) business of deliberation sooner rather than later and take political matters in their hands, at least temporarily. This is only an opening hint. Fuller discussion of the importance of euboulia and its regrettable absence from Athenian politics is reserved for the political centrepiece of the play, Lysistrata’s lengthy argument with a magistrate, who was a member of the board of ten probouloi appointed in 413. Outraged by the women’s hybris (425) in having occupied the Acropolis and seized the state funds necessary for continuing the war with the Peloponnesians, the Proboulos confronts Lysistrata. He is characterised by Aristophanes as ‘the most unsympathetic possible male character – old, unreasonable, boastful’;14 indeed he is the polar opposite of Lysistrata, who is portrayed as an almost flawless figure devoid of the stereotypical weaknesses of her sex (in marked contrast to the other women in the play, especially the younger ones).15 In the exchange that follows, Lysistrata explains the reasons for this unprecedented intrusion of women into the male public realm (507–28). Men, she argues in a rhetorically polished speech,16 ruined Athenian politics with their mindless decisions, causing the city’s disastrous present state of affairs (511, 517–18, 522); whenever women like her asked their husbands about the reasoning behind decisions in the Assembly, they were simply told to shut up (511–15). In the light of Athens’ desperate situation, the time has come for the  13 Hall 2012, 301. 14 Henderson 1981, 195. 15 Foley 1982, 9–10; Halliwell 1997, 84–7; Hall 2010. On the representation of women in Aristophanic comedy in general see Taaffe 1993; Henderson 2010, 25–9. 16 Halliwell 1997, 87–8. The rhetorical qualities of Lysistrata’s forceful speech are also highlighted by Markantonatos in this volume.

  Hans Kopp women finally to take matters into their own hands and to bring Athens ‘back on the right track’ (528). Admittedly, Lysistrata does not use the term euboulia itself in this conversation with the Proboulos. However, in her speech she combines three notions that are all closely connected to it. The ancient concept of euboulia encompassed both the ability to deliberate and to give good advice based on this deliberation, and the openness to recognise and receive good advice from others, even if one initially disagrees with their views.17 Additionally, freedom of speech could be seen as a necessary precondition of deliberation.18 Authors could easily employ the notion of euboulia without using the term itself, by building an argument on these sub-notions, and Lysistrata employs all three of them in her speech. Instead of praising the merits of good deliberation, she bemoans the omnipresence of ‘bad deliberation’ at Athens (511: κακῶς ὑμᾶς βουλευσαμένους, 517: πονηρότερον βούλευμ’, 522: κακῶς βουλευομένοις). When faced with the devastating effects of their husbands’ deliberations, she argues, the women were not allowed to offer their advice (522). Now, however, the time has come for them to say all the ‘valuable things’ they could have said long ago (527: χρηστὰ λεγουσῶν). That free speech is a precondition of proper deliberation is highlighted by Aristophanes’ frequent use of terms for ‘speaking’, ‘listening’, and ‘being silent’ in Lysistrata’s speech. In less than twenty lines terms for ‘being silent’ are used no fewer than nine times (515 [ter], 516 [bis], 528, 529, 530, 534; cf. 361, 379–80) and those denoting utterances five times (509, 518, 522, 527, 529).19 Lysistrata complains about the lack of dialogue in Athenian marriages by using these terms: whenever Athenian women wanted to talk about politics, they were told to be silent (515). Hence, instead of improving the city’s affairs, they remained silent (516). From now on, however, Lysistrata maintains, it is the men’s (and in particular the Proboulos’) turn to be silent (528) and to listen (527). The Proboulos, reluctant to be silenced (529–30), is symbolically feminised by Lysistrata, who reverses the gender roles of the conversation by putting a veil around his head, forcing him into the position of the one who has to listen (532).20 By such dramatic means Aristophanes subtly transfers the Athenian men’s failure to communicate to the sphere of political discourse.

 17 Stevens 1933, 104; Hall 2012, 301. 18 Balot 2004; 2014, 52–9; Hall 2009, 93–4; Hesk 2011, 122–3. 19 On the issue of free speech in this scene see Balot 2014, 270–2. 20 See Saïd 1987 on cross-dressing in Aristophanic comedy, and Zeitlin 1985, 63–9 on feminisation in Greek drama. On the association between veils and (female) silence see Montiglio 2000, 167–80.

Comic Euboulia  

Previously men spoke and women had to listen, whereas now it is the other way round. Nothing has changed for the better, one might say, since Lysistrata at least temporarily monopolises political discourse and silences her opposition.21 Yet Lysistrata, to maintain the democratic credentials of her position, bases her argument on a cornerstone of Athenian democratic ideology: in a democracy citizens must always take turns when it comes to holding offices (Eur. Supp. 406; Arist. Pol. 1317b2–3) as well as when it comes to speaking in public. As Iolaus argues in Euripides’ Children of Heracles, the right ‘to speak and to listen in turn’ (182: εἰπεῖν ἀκοῦσαί τ’ ἐν μέρει) is what one may expect to be granted in democratic Athens.22 This is the (ideal) state of affairs that Lysistrata also seeks to reinstall, by making the Proboulos ‘listen and being silent in turn’ (527–8: ἀντακροᾶσθαι | κἀντισιωπᾶν). Then it would be possible again to give good advice and to say the ‘valuable things’ (527). Why did Aristophanes choose a woman as his spokesperson for sound deliberation? Were women thought of as capable of deliberation and euboulia? Lysistrata seems to presume so (14), yet the Athenians’ answer to this question was in general equivocal at best. Aristotle grants to women the ‘deliberative part’ (τὸ βουλευτικόν) of the soul, yet not full authority over this capacity (Pol. 1260a12– 13). In the literary texts of Aristophanes’ time, women are often perceived to be incapable of the mental processes necessary for deliberation.23 Even good advice by women, Aethra complains in Euripides’ Suppliant Women, is often dismissed as ‘useless’ (299: ἀχρεῖον τὰς γυναῖκας εὖ λέγειν), just as the chorus of old men in Lysistrata finds the idea of women who ‘instruct the citizens’ (τοὺς πολίτας νουθετεῖν) and ‘chat’ (λαλεῖν, a term often used in a derogatory way) about things that are none of their business simply outrageous (626–7). The silence of women is often the subject of discussion in tragedy, and when women do speak up in tragedy, this is often regarded (on-stage) as a disruption of the established order and an undue appropriation of male freedom of speech.24 Yet there was, roughly contemporary with Lysistrata, a second (but far less pronounced) tradition of thought that viewed sound thinking and the giving of good advice as a more characteristically female capacity, especially in opposition to hasty and aggressive

 21 On the one-sidedness of this agōn see Henderson 1981, 195; 1987, 128–9; Pelling 2000, 213; Silk 2000a, 293. 22 Carter 2018, 102, 103–4. 23 Stevens 1933, 116; Hall 2009, 81, 86–9; Pritchard 2014, 188. 24 Roisman 2004. See also Blok 2001 on the social reality behind this. According to Schaps (1998, 171–2), however, in everyday life ‘[o]ne of the most striking freedoms that a free woman enjoyed was the freedom to speak her mind’ (171).

  Hans Kopp male behaviour.25 Hanna Roisman has further suggested that at least in some tragedies female speech was seen not only as disruptive but also as a necessary counterweight to male (tyrannical) rule,26 a similar scenario to that staged in Lysistrata. One could also refer to Herodotus’ portrayal of Artemisia, the female ruler whose capability to give Xerxes the ‘best advice’ is repeatedly emphasised (7.99.3, 8.101–3; cf. 8.69.2), as a historical and historiographical parallel to such free-speaking women on the dramatic stage. Lysistrata’s programmatic speech, moreover, has a striking parallel in Euripides’ Suppliant Women, written in the early 420s.27 In this play the Athenian king Theseus, initially reluctant to accept the Argives’ plea for supplication, is persuaded by his mother Aethra to change his mind. Her justification for intervening in her son’s political reasoning closely resembles what we find in Lysistrata. Her advice, she argues, is ‘good for the city’ (293), yet she would have kept silent (297– 8) out of fear (300) and because the ‘good things’ women can say are normally regarded as ‘useless’ (299). Theseus, however, seems to be more receptive than the implied average Athenian: even for a woman, he argues, it would be ‘shameful’ (αἰσχρόν) to hide ‘valuable words’ (χρήστ᾽ ἔπη) from friends (296). Indeed, Theseus remarks, women often say wise things (294). Part of what Aethra says may be discounted as tragic cliché,28 yet the parallels between this scene and Lysistrata’s speech are striking (although Lysistrata needs more than purely argumentative means to achieve her aims). Most importantly, both women appeal to the ideals of Athenian democratic ideology which, although normally supposed to be restricted to men, are in these instances appropriated by a woman on stage.29 Like Lysistrata, Aethra assumes an ideologically male role by offering her good advice,30 and just as in Lysistrata, female sigē is accepted as the norm, but a norm that has to be violated when the pursuit of a common good demands it. Otherwise Aethra would have kept silent (305) and retained the restrained demeanour she exhibits at the beginning of the play (40–1). It seems thus likely that Aristophanes’ decision to stage a female figure as the champion of prudence and euboulia in politics was to some extent influenced by such female figures in tragedy, who, endowed with wisdom and soundness of  25 Mendelsohn 2002, 204 n. 114 (on Eur. Supp. 1062): ‘Euboulia here seems to be a specifically feminine virtue’. On the eupsychia-euboulia antinomy see Flaig 2013, 85; Hesk 2011, 126, 136. 26 Roisman 2004, 95–102 (on the chorus of virgins in Aesch. Sept. and Antigone in Soph. Ant.). 27 On the date of the play see Collard 1975, i, 8–14. 28 Collard 1975 on 297–8. 29 Mendelsohn 2002, 166–8. 30 Part of Lysistrata’s claim to authority rests on her capability to transcend female stereotypes by speaking like men and by stating her positions in the male public sphere; see Foley 2014, 269.

Comic Euboulia  

mind, break their imposed silence for the benefit of the whole community.31 Impulsiveness, rashness, and irresponsible behaviour, the very characteristics which the Proboulos exhibits in the play, were often associated with Athens’ (male) democratic leaders,32 so that the attribution of a quieter, more reasonable idea of politics to a woman makes perfect sense.33

Dissent and (refused) debate in Aristophanic comedy Lysistrata is not the only Aristophanic play in which violent reactions to dissent and an unwillingness to enter into dialogue are staged. These themes run like a common thread through several comedies,34 which might come as a surprise given the high value that fifth-century Athens placed on its capability to cope with, and even to benefit from, dissent and to allow for ‘equal speech’ (isēgoria) and ‘frank speech’ (parrhēsia). The latter was a concept which Attic Old Comedy in a way embodied in itself.35 Yet the Athenians, as the evidence of comedy seems to indicate, every so often failed to observe their own democratic ideals. Dissent itself is a far-from-unusual feature of Old Comedy. Its very existence and the ways of dealing with it are integral parts of comedy’s structure. The grand scheme of an Aristophanic hero or heroine is mostly necessitated by some misfortune or general grievance, and when he or she sets about realising his or her plan to counteract and improve the state of affairs, fervent and sometimes even violent opposition is the norm. Overcoming this opposition by means of persuasion, and thus by verbal contest, is the nucleus of the narrative pattern of Old Comedy.36 Hence, it is not surprising that the protagonists of the plays quite often stress the importance of listening to and accepting good advice, from whatever source it

 31 This is not to say that he may not also have been inspired by a real concern for women’s fortunes at the time; see Henderson 2010, 25–6, 30. 32 Großmann 1950, 163–73. 33 See Balot 2014, 271–2 on the ‘feminization of peace’ and ‘the men’s unreflective commitment to andreia’ in the play. 34 See Rusten’s (2013, 257) list of recurring themes in Aristophanes’ depictions of the Athenian Assembly. 35 On free speech (and its few limits) in Athens see e.g. Raaflaub 1980; Halliwell 1991; Henderson 1998; Balot 2004; Wallace 2004; Saxonhouse 2006; Konstan 2012; Carter 2018. 36 On this pattern see Sifakis 1992, 129–31.

  Hans Kopp may ultimately derive.37 In Birds, to quote an especially elaborate example, the outraged eponymous inhabitants of the sky are just about to tear apart Peisetaerus and Euelpides, when Tereus holds them back: the two may be enemies by their (human) nature, yet the birds should listen, as they can receive ‘useful instruction’ (371–2). Those who are wise enough, Tereus goes on to argue, can learn a lot even from foes (375). Tereus’ generalising statements may be, as Dunbar suggested, a parody of sophistic methods of argument.38 However, the insistence on listening to the other party’s advice could equally be an instance of the indispensable precondition of euboulia that Hesk terms ‘other-oriented thinking’, that is, considering the dispositions of those whom one is confronted with, even if they seem to be inferior or even enemies.39 Acharnians (425 BCE) already bears all the marks of this recurring discourse. This play opens with a striking image of Athenian political life where the Assembly is anything but a place of reasonable debate and discussion.40 The Assembly meeting is opened, as usual, by the herald’s call that whoever wants to say something may do so (45), a formula that may be called the ideological centrepiece of Athenian democracy (cf. Eur. Supp. 438–41). Dicaeopolis, who is characterised throughout the play by his opponents as one who ‘dares’ to say things contrary to established views (311, 316, 558, 563, 577), tries to argue for peace with the Spartans, yet instead of finding support he is simply told to ‘sit down and be silent’ (59; cf. 64, 123). A fellow Athenian, Amphitheus, is even violently driven out of the Assembly by the guards (54) because he offered himself as a negotiator of a treaty. This scene sets the benchmark for Aristophanes’ depictions of deliberation in the Athenian Assembly. As Bowie remarks, ‘the most notable characteristic of Athens at the start of the play is violence and violent reaction to anything that is disapproved of. […] Sensible communication is scarcely possible because the basic conventions of Assembly debate are not being observed’.41 Later in the play Dicaeopolis encounters the Acharnians, a group of stubborn elderly farmers eager to thwart his private peace with Sparta. In the lengthy debate between the two sides refusal to listen and violent threats against each other’s views occur frequently, the verb ἀκούειν (‘to listen’) significantly being repeated no less than thirteen times in 292–354. Only after Dicaeopolis resorts to threats of violence and

 37 Henderson 1981, 203; 1987 on Lys. 521–3. 38 Dunbar 1995 on 375–80. 39 Hesk 2011, 124–5, 127, 134–5, 137, 138. 40 On Aristophanes’ depictions of the Athenian Assembly see Rhodes 2004 and Rusten 2013. 41 Bowie 1993, 20. See also Bowie 1982, 34; Rusten 2013, 251–2.

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himself refuses to listen (335) do the Acharnians agree to listen to him, although hardly enthusiastically (338).42 On the level of dramatic structure, the reluctance of the Acharnians and the Proboulos to engage the other side in a formal debate comes close to refusing the agōn.43 Yet the agōn, that is, ‘the scene of debate in which, with varying degrees of formalisation, characters confront each other with opposing views’,44 was not only of extraordinary dramatic and structural importance for the plays, but also reflected a fundamental political practice of Athenian democracy.45 As Canevaro has recently noted, in Athens ‘speakers and Assembly-goers are not meant to enter the debate with absolutely fixed preferences for specific policies, but need to be willing to reformulate their positions, at least to some extent, as a result of deliberation, mutual persuasion, and the reasons and arguments advanced during the deliberation’.46 The voicing of two or more opposing points of view, the discussants’ willingness to listen to each other, and the fair chance of victory for the better view (or simply the more successfully argued one, as exemplified in Clouds) all represent fundamental characteristics of dramatic debates, democratic politics, and in particular the fifth-century notion of euboulia.47 Aristophanes’ comedies are not the only evidence from fifth-century Athens to indicate that offering ‘good advice’ may have been more difficult than is suggested by more idealising representations of democratic freedom of speech (such as Theseus’ remarks at Eur. Supp. 438–41). The silencing of unwelcome opposition, for instance, is a recurring theme also in Thucydides’ description of Athenian domestic politics during the Peloponnesian War.48 The obvious question of how such a state of affairs may have come about is, partially at least, answered by Knights. In this play the Sausage-Seller accuses his antagonist the Paphlagonian (a thinly veiled comic version of Cleon) of ‘scaring away the speakers’ who  42 Other plays besides Acharnians and Lysistrata demonstrate a similar awareness of these issues. In the mock Assembly meeting of Thesmophoriazusae, for instance, the women, surprised by Inlaw’s unexpected defence of Euripides, gradually resort to ever more furious threats of violence, whereas Inlaw claims for himself ‘open discussion’ (471: χρὴ δοῦναι λόγον) and the right of ‘free speech’ (541: παρρησία). On this scene see Pelling 2000, 213; Tsakmakis 2012, 302 (‘This assembly is hostile to freedom of speech’). For a more benevolent reading cf. Rusten 2013, 255. 43 Pelling 2000, 213. 44 Barker 2009, 3. 45 As Halliwell (1997, 87–8) notes, ‘the comic agōn is intrinsically a representation (as well as a travesty) of adversarial rhetoric, designed to appeal to an audience reared in the Athenian culture of public speech and debate’. 46 Canevaro 2018, 131. 47 Hall 2009, 93; Woodruff 2013, 191–3. 48 Greenwood 2004, 187–8.

  Hans Kopp wished to address his master, the Old Demos (60). By excluding all other rhētores from political debate, the Paphlagonian makes sure that Old Demos, the personification of the Athenian dēmos on stage, hears no other voices.49 Later in the play the effects of such behaviour are highlighted by the Sausage-Seller in a remarkable phrase: the Paphlagonian, he complains, ‘tongue-kisses’ the city into silence (352: ὑπὸ σοῦ μονωτάτου κατεγλωττισμένην σιωπᾶν, cf. Ach. 380). A city that used to be the recipient of competing voices, where decisions were made after all (reasonable) opinions were heard, is literally turned into a silent and monophonic one, by means of an astonishing and manipulative sexual act. A notable parallel for these accusations is found in Thucydides’ account of the Mytilenean debate. There Diodotus, who champions euboulia as an antidote to hasty decision-making (3.42.1), denounces Cleon in terms very similar to the SausageSeller’s accusations. Politicians like Cleon, Diodotus argues, produce a climate of fear by resorting to a rhetoric of anti-rhetoric,50 with the effect that dissenters no longer participate in public discourse and the city loses many potential advisers (3.42.4: φόβῳ γὰρ ἀποστερεῖται τῶν ξυμβούλων). Athens, as envisaged by Diodotus, needs citizens who do not react violently to dissent but respect other voices and, after a thorough discussion of various ideas, decide what is best for the city (3.42.5). These, again, are terms very similar to Lysistrata’s arguments.

Aristophanic euboulia in context Lysistrata was produced in 411, most likely at the Lenaea in early to mid-February.51 The proposals for the following year’s plays had to be submitted to the Archon (the epōnymos for the Dionysia, the basileus for the Lenaea) in mid-summer;52 hence, the second half of 412 provides the main background that the play reflects,53 even if we allow for last-minute changes to the text.54 During that time Athens was slowly recovering from its catastrophic defeat in Sicily in the summer

 49 For Knights as a critique of Athenian democratic deliberation see Yunis 1996, 50–8. 50 See Hesk 2000a, chs. 4–5 on the ‘rhetoric of anti-rhetoric’ in Athens. 51 Sommerstein 1977; Gomme/Andrewes/Dover 1981, 184–93; Henderson 1987, xxii–xxv; Avery 1999, 132–4. Tsakmakis (2012, 302) argues for a production at the Dionysia. 52 Wilson 2000, 51–2, 61–2; Revermann 2006, 164–5. 53 Westlake 1980, 39; Gomme/Andrewes/Dover 1981, 187; Avery 1999, 134; Austin/Olson 2004, xliv; Olson 2012, 73–4. 54 On such last-minute changes to the text of plays see Dover 1972, 15, 170; Revermann 2006, 79–80.

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of 413 which had caused the city a severe loss of men, money, and ships and had encouraged many of her Ionian allies to revolt. However, for Athenian domestic politics the events that resulted from Alcibiades’ activities in the Eastern Aegean late in 412 were even more important. Alcibiades, in Spartan exile since 415, had aroused suspicions in his hosts and fled to the court of the Persian satrap Tissaphernes, from where he got in touch with the commanders of the Athenian fleet on Samos. To pave the way for his return to Athens, Alcibiades promised the commanders the financial support of the Great King, on condition that the Athenians replace their ‘debased’ democracy with a more limited form of government (Thuc. 8.47.2). Being finally persuaded, the officers on Samos proclaimed an oligarchy and sent a delegation, led by Peisander, to Athens to achieve a ‘dissolution of democracy’ (8.49). Once in Athens, Peisander disclosed Alcibiades’ plans, probably in several meetings of the Assembly (not in one, as Thucydides’ condensed narrative at first suggests).55 To obtain Persian support, he declared, the Athenians ought to recall Alcibiades and substantially alter their democratic regime (8.53.1: μὴ τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον δημοκρατουμένοις). Those who at first vehemently rejected his proposals and the prospect of an oligarchy (8.53.2, 8.54.1) were finally persuaded that these measures were the only way to ‘save’ their city (8.54.1). How does Lysistrata relate to these events? Thucydides’ somewhat obscure chronology notwithstanding, it seems almost certain that Peisander’s appearance(s) before the Assembly took place only after the performance of Lysistrata in February. At the time of the Lenaea, hardly more than a few rumours about the purpose of his mission would have been circulating, and on (almost) any reconstruction of the chronology of his mission, open debate about abolishing the democracy only took place after the text of the play had been completed.56 Yet we know almost nothing about the prevailing sentiments in Athens at the time that Lysistrata took shape (i.e. the latter half of 412), apart from occasional hints in Thucydides at the existence of secret political clubs ‘for some time already’ (8.54.4) and the Athenians’ initial willingness in 413, after news of the disaster in Sicily had reached the city, to behave in a more ‘orderly’ way (8.1.3).57 For Athenian domestic politics in 412, this transitional year in the city’s history, Lysistrata is our main source. Yet at first glance, as has often been noted, the play seems

 55 Erbse 1989, 13; Hornblower 2008 on Thuc. 8.53.1. 56 The most recent thorough discussion of the chronology of his mission is by Avery 1999, adopted by Hornblower 2008, 911. See also Henderson 1987, xv–xxv; Austin/Olson 2004, xli– xliv. 57 See Gomme/Andrewes/Dover 1981 ad loc. on the implications of this passage (‘quasi-oligarchic flavour’). On the ‘secret clubs’ (ξυνωμοσίαι) see Hornblower 2008, 916–20.

  Hans Kopp free of any signs of the events that were on the horizon. One would hardly guess that, not long after the production of the play, the Athenians abolished their democracy and, half-voluntarily, half under compulsion, entered a short-lived reign of terror and bloodshed.58 In recent years, however, several readings of the play have highlighted its character as a window into a supposed (proto-)oligarchic mindset already prevalent in 412, months before open revolution took place.59 What makes these readings especially worthy of discussion in our context is that they are to a large extent based on contextualising interpretations of Lysistrata’s speech about the lack of euboulia, construed as an echo of contemporary anti-democratic ideology. This poses the following vexing question: is Lysistrata, this highly agreeable and nearly flawless character,60 actually proposing a blueprint for an oligarchic programme? And if, as Henderson stressed, her views were meant to create sympathy in the audience due to the exceptional qualities of her character,61 does this mean that her proto-oligarchic fantasies were also expected to resonate with the audience? The latter is the reading advanced by Douglas Olson, who argues that Lysistrata offers ‘insight not so much into the ideology of the committed oligarchs […] as into widely dispersed patterns of political and social thought’ that made the oligarchic coup of a few months later possible.62 In his view, what remains as Lysistrata’s message, once the issue of gender (which is only ‘a comic red herring’) is stripped off,63 is a claim that the heroine and her fellow-revolutionaries represent an indeterminately large group of loyal citizens who nonetheless insist that the current way of governing the city is unacceptable, and who are prepared to take radical, independent action to bring about what they take to be necessary political changes. […] The more disturbing element in the plot of Lysistrata is the idea of a coup organised by a band of sworn conspirators acting to

 58 Gomme/Andrewes/Dover 1981, 190; Halliwell 1997, 82; Austin/Olson 2004, xliii. However, Robson (2009, 230 n. 24) suggests that the chorus’ refusal to criticise any member of the audience openly at Lys. 1043–9 may be ‘explained by the tense political atmosphere of that year’. See also Henderson 1981, 202 on the fear of conspiracies mirrored in the play. For another reading of the play that situates it firmly within the historical context of Athenian domestic politics in late 412/early 411, see now Thonemann (forthcoming). 59 Olson 2012; Tuci 2013, 98–101; Santucci 2015; Tordoff 2017, 183–6, 199–200. See also Halliwell 2015, 88 (‘Lysistrata is […], rather ironically, a play about a kind of “oligarchic” conspiracy in the city’). 60 Foley 1982, 9–10; Halliwell 1997, 84–7; Hall 2010. 61 Henderson 1987, xxx. 62 Olson 2012, 70. 63 Olson 2012, 74, 77.

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save the city because they no longer have a choice, and regardless of whether the city wants to be saved.

Because the poets of Old Comedy were always concerned to reflect popular majority views, Olson further argues, Aristophanes must have expected this ‘ugly political fantasy […] to resonate with his contemporaries’.64 A careful reading of Lysistrata shows that the idea of a thorough and, if necessary, violent revision of Athens’ political system ‘was apparent to many – perhaps most – average Athenians well before Peisander offered concrete proposals for a move to an oligarchy in the assembly in December 412 BCE.’65 The association between Lysistrata’s programme and the rhetoric of oligarchy is even more prominent in a recent paper by Marco Santucci. He interprets her frequent appeals for more openness and dialogue in politics as a reflection of a bewildering and paradoxical feature of the oligarchs’ propaganda. To judge by the accounts of Thucydides and the pseudo-Aristotelian Constitution of the Athenians, the oligarchs, although later quick to force silence upon any opposition (Thuc. 8.66.1–2), initially seem to have appropriated the notion of free speech for their own purposes and turned it against the democrats.66 After the suspension of the graphē paranomōn directed against illegal proposals (Thuc. 8.67.2; [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 29.4), anyone, they claimed, was allowed to propose whatever he wanted (Thuc. 8.67.2).67 Their obvious (and spurious) suggestion was that the democracy, despite having espoused an open voicing of opinions, had ultimately failed to allow true freedom of speech.68 In Santucci’s view, Lysistrata’s eagerness in the play to silence her male opposition and to establish political freedom of speech for the Athenian women is evidence of the widespread nature of such ideas even before the oligarchic coup.69 There is indeed some evidence in the play that connects Lysistrata’s political proposals with the rhetoric of oligarchy. For example, one may point to the evalu-

 64 Olson 2012, 78. 65 Olson 2012, 78. 66 See Bearzot 2013a, especially 51–76, and David 2014 on the oligarchs’ methods for overthrowing the democracy. 67 Casevitz (1996, 100–1) suggests that Inlaw’s plea for parrhēsia at Ar. Thesm. 540–1 may echo this claim of the oligarchs. 68 Cf. Kagan 1987, 148: ‘the provision inviting any Athenian to make any proposal he liked suggests an atmosphere of freedom of speech totally at odds with the menacing and tightly controlled mood at Colonus’. 69 Santucci 2015, 94–7.

  Hans Kopp ative terms used to describe the women’s high social standing (544–6); their potentially ideologically contentious claim to offer ‘valuable’ (χρηστός) advice (527, 648; cf. 638–9);70 the reference to the women’s sōphrosynē (508; cf. 473), a virtue associated not only with women, but also with conservative and oligarchic groups;71 and the idea that the female revolutionaries might abolish pay for civic services (623–5), a demand usually attributed to the political agenda of the oligarchs,72 who a few months later indeed put it into practice (Thuc. 8.65.3, 8.67.3, 8.97.1; [Arist.] Ath. Pol. 29.5, 33.1). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Aristophanes explicitly associates euboulia with other ‘conservative’, ‘aristocratic’ notions in Birds. In this play, Basileia, Peisetaerus’ divine bride, is accompanied by gifts of Zeus, including ‘good counsel, law and order, prudence’ (1539–40: τὴν εὐβουλίαν, | τὴν εὐνομίαν, τὴν σωφροσύνην). As Zimmermann and Henderson remark on the use of these terms in Birds, Aristophanes endows the play’s protagonist with ‘distinctively elitist, even oligarchic’ language, perhaps to unsettle the audience’s expectations of Peisetaerus, this highly ambivalent comic hero.73 The foregoing discussion of the possible political colouring of Lysistrata’s message leads to a final set of questions: was euboulia, as indeed some scholars have argued,74 an ‘aristocratic’, perhaps even a straightforwardly anti-democratic catchword and as such employed by the Athenian oligarchs? And if so, how should this affect our overall understanding of Lysistrata? In Greek political thought and discourse, words with the prefix εὐ- (‘good’, ‘orderly’) had a certain conservative colouring. The slogan of eunomia, ‘law and order’, a favourite term of the ‘Old Oligarch’, seems, for instance, to have been attached by the oligarchs of 411 to the new regime.75 Conclusive evidence for a comparable use of euboulia during the oligarchic regime is, however, scarce. The

 70 Cf. Carter 2004b, 218 and Burian 2011, 105 on Eur. Supp. 439. The women’s repeated insistence in these lines on the need to accept their ‘useful advice’ is also stressed by Markantonatos in this volume, who emphasises, however, the democratic character of such claims rather than their potentially ideologically contentious nature. 71 On sōphrosynē in Aristophanes see North 1966, 97–100; Rademaker 2005, 225–33 (225 n. 1 on female sōphrosynē); on the use of this notion as a political slogan in Athens see Rademaker 2005, 216–18. 72 Rosenbloom 2002, 288; Sommerstein 2009, 207–8. 73 Zimmermann 1989, 351 with n. 5; Henderson 1997, 146 n. 15. 74 Großmann 1950, 146; Sinclair 1952, 37; Bond 1981, 112. 75 If the reading εὐνομίας in Thuc. 8.64.5 is accepted; on this and more generally on eunomia as a slogan of the oligarchs of 411 see Gomme/Andrewes/Dover 1981 ad loc. and Hornblower 2008 ad loc.

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euboulia-based pun on the name ‘Euboule’ in Thesmophoriazusae (808–9), produced most likely at the Dionysia of 411, not long before the short-lived oligarchic coup,76 at least suggests a certain prominence of this notion in contemporary political thought and debate, even if the precise meaning of the joke is still contentious.77 In addition, we have a passing remark in Thucydides, who reports that in 411 the democrats on Samos complained about the loss of the city’s ‘good counsel’ (βούλευμα χρηστόν) to justify their opposition to the new regime. Their own ‘good advice’ (βουλεύοιέν τι χρηστόν), they argue, is at least as good as the advice the Athenians at home possess (8.76.6). Again, the evidence is far from conclusive, yet passages such as this at least suggest that the oligarchs in Athens may have employed euboulia as one of their ideological justifications. More prominent, however, than any specifically oligarchic usage is a more general relationship between euboulia and opposition to supposedly risky, belligerent politics.78 Euboulia was also closely associated with the idea of a ‘quiet life’ and the repudiation of the democracy’s political activism.79 This correlation, it seems, was closely linked to the experience of the Peloponnesian War, as the very first attestation of euboulia in a genuinely political sense occurs precisely in the context of the first year(s) of fighting between Athens and Sparta.80 In Euripides’ Children of Heracles, a play which dates most likely to 430 BCE,81 the herald of the Mycenaean king Eurystheus argues against Athenian support for the children of Heracles, who had sought refuge at the court of the Athenian king Demophon. Euboulia, the herald claims, is the best way to stay out of trouble (109–10), a phrase that may very well echo (and critically expose) the risk-averse attitude of those who, for whatever reasons, opposed Athens’ policy at the time.82 Otherwise, the Herald argues, the Athenians would act aboulōs (152). Given the play’s historical background, the connection between euboulia, aboulia, and warfare seems significant: as Thucydides’ account (1.139.4) reminds us, there was at least a notable minority opposed to war with Sparta, and their arguments probably included the idea that only those lacking in euboulia would risk such a war. Aristophanic comedy provides further instances of this association between euboulia and the celebration of a peaceful, quiet life: in Acharnians the chorus, initially opposed to Dicaeopolis’ plan, finally compliments him on his euboulia of having  76 On the play’s date see Austin/Olson 2004, xxxii–xliv. 77 Storey 2012, 315–16. 78 Großmann 1950, 146–9; Hesk 2011, 125. 79 Demont 1990, especially 195–252; Michelini 1994, 226–9. 80 Wilkins 1993 on Eur. Heracl. 109–10. 81 On the date of the play see Wilkins 1993, xxxiii–xxxv. 82 Demont 1990, 155–6.

  Hans Kopp secured a private peace (1008), this being one of only two occurrences of the noun euboulia in Aristophanes (the other at Av. 1539). Euboulia, it seems, was a catchword employed especially by those who claimed that their ‘good counsel’ would secure Athens a more peaceful, and less dangerous, existence. The closest parallel, perhaps, to Lysistrata’s complaints can be found in Thucydides’ report about the Assembly meetings prior to the Sicilian expedition in 415 (6.8.2–26.1; cf. Lys. 390–2).83 In Thucydides’ account, Nicias repeatedly draws on the language of euboulia to dissuade the Athenians from sending the armada to Sicily and employs phrases that closely echo Lysistrata’s (Thuc. 6.8.4: οὐκ ὀρθῶς βεβουλεῦσθαι, 6.14: πόλεως βουλευσαμένης,84 6.23.3: δέον εὖ βουλεύσασθαι ~ Lys. 511: κακῶς ὑμᾶς βουλευσαμένους, 522: κακῶς βουλευομένοις). There is, however, more to this parallel than merely verbal echoes, since in Thucydides’ account a notion appears that is also crucial in Aristophanes’ depictions of supressed dialogue: the intimidating behaviour of a majority that silences opposition. The decision to invade Sicily may have been primarily the result of Nicias’ own rhetorical strategy, which ultimately back-fired; yet, as Thucydides remarks, that was not the sole decisive factor. The suppression of opposing voices played a part too, since a certain group among the Athenians that was against the expedition kept silent (ἡσυχίαν ἦγεν) out of fear that they might be regarded as ‘ill-disposed’ towards the city (6.24.4).85 Here we see a glimpse of the limits of democratic freedom of speech in practice, and one is reminded of Aristophanes’ Dicaeopolis or Amphitheus in Acharnians. Thucydides’ remark about those who are intimidated into silence and so refrain from giving good advice in 415 is particularly important, as these Athenians were presumably involved to some extent in the oligarchic movement of 411.86 In this way, then, a belief that euboulia had been severely impaired by the democratic majority’s refusal to listen, with disastrous effects for the whole city, may have entered the oligarchs’ ideological mindset.

 83 See Balot 2014, 271. On the play’s explicit reference to the debates preceding the expedition and Aristophanes’ tendency to highlight ‘male foolhardiness’, see also the chapter by Markantonatos in this volume. 84 Not all MSS have κακῶς, but see Hornblower 2008 ad loc. 85 On hēsychia see Michelini 1994, 226–7. 86 Hornblower 2008, 945.

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The politics of euboulia in Lysistrata To come back to the question posed earlier – does all this turn euboulia into an oligarchic catchword, Lysistrata herself into a proto-oligarchic revolutionary, and the play into evidence for the widespread nature of ‘oligarchic’ ideas even before 411? There are strong arguments against such a reading.87 For one thing, as Stephen Halliwell rightly remarked, Lysistrata’s main political aim of ending the war with Sparta is strikingly at odds with the public proposals of the real Athenian oligarchs at the time, who, at first at least, wanted to fight the war even more determinedly (Thuc. 8.48.1, 8.53.1, 8.63.4), not to end it.88 Furthermore, Lysistrata herself at least claims to be impartial, and to be opposed to the enemies of democracy as well as to overambitious democratcs, at least if one follows Henderson’s reading of lines 577–8.89 This hardly fits with a reading that presents Lysistrata as a champion of anti-democratic action and ideology. Thucydides’ unambiguous remark, moreover, that the Athenians first reacted in a hostile way when confronted with the prospect of an oligarchy (8.53.2, 8.54.1) is further proof that outright anti-democratic sentiments were hardly a majority view some months prior to the play’s production. All this, then, makes it seem rather implausible that Aristophanes should have deliberately endowed his heroine, whose aim of bringing about peace and reconciliation must have seemed thoroughly applaudable, with such loaded language as to turn her into a proto-oligarch, even if in a tongue-incheek way. If anything, Lysistrata’s vision of more ‘sensible’ and ‘prudent’ government shares some features with Aristophanes’ general outline of a ‘better’ version of democracy, vaguely defined though it may be, that indeed sometimes overlaps with genuinely oligarchic ideas.90 To answer the question of how euboulia is to be framed politically, Hesk’s observation that it was not a purely democratic notion but ‘clearly a virtue to which aristocrats, kings, tyrants, and oligarchs could also make claim’,91 is a most important one within the context of fifth-century Athens. Lysistrata’s appeals to attentiveness in politics and freedom of speech, all of which are based on the

 87 For a comparable attempt at reconciling ‘oligarchic’ features of a female’s portrayal with the character’s democratic credibility, see Sheppard 2016 (especially 464–70 and 482) on Praxagora in Ecclesiazusae. 88 Halliwell 1997, 82 n. 2. 89 Henderson 1987 ad loc. 90 Sommerstein 2009, 204–22. Cf. also Rosenbloom 2002, 288: ‘There is more than a casual similarity between comic ideology and oligarchic revision of the democracy.’ 91 Hesk 2011, 126.

  Hans Kopp conceptual range of euboulia, may indeed show some similarities with the oligarchs’ claim of improving the constitution, yet this reflects not so much a distinctly oligarchic colouring of euboulia in the political debates of 412/11 or even earlier as the general openness and vagueness of such catchwords. As noted above on the oligarchs’ claim that they facilitate real freedom of speech, most political catchwords at the time were ideologically contentious and could be appropriated by any group who thought it expedient to do so.92 This not only holds true for sōtēria or sōphrosynē,93 but also for euboulia, which is, in Thucydides at least, both a Spartan and an Athenian virtue (1.84.3, 3.42.1).94 We should thus not expect Aristophanes to provide us with clearly rendered semantic analogies to actual political factions in Lysistrata, simply because such clear distinctions did not exist, or more precisely, were not directly echoed by the use of a certain language in politics. What made euboulia particularly fitting as a rhetorical tool for Lysistrata and what may therefore explain its importance in the play was the strong association it had with anti-war politics, which can be traced back to the first years of the Peloponnesian War and was enhanced by the Athenians’ defeat in Sicily. Thucydides’ account of the Assembly meetings of 415 suggests that a lack of euboulia was regarded as the ghost that had haunted these meetings. From then on, talk that ‘more euboulia and real freedom of speech would have saved us some trouble’, whether justified or not, must have been rather widespread, widespread enough at least to be picked up by Aristophanes when he sketched the main gist of Lysistrata’s political diagnosis at some time in the latter half of 412. Similar arguments may have been employed later by the oligarchs of 411, but this only proves the flexible and open character of such concepts. This ideological ambiguity of political catchwords seems to have been cleverly registered and purposefully exploited by the oligarchs.95 Such observations may help to explain how they managed to overthrow the democracy by resorting to the ideology of democracy itself. Ruhr-Universität Bochum [email protected]

 92 Mitchell 2016, 63–5. 93 North 1966, 44, 101–2; Bearzot 2013b; Mitchell 2016, 64. 94 Hesk 2011, 125–6. 95 David 2014.

Andreas Markantonatos

Comic Pathways for Peace Ritual Allegory and Choral Parabasis in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata It is now a well-established view among scholars of Old Comedy that comic poets, with their critical commentary on recognisable persons and events of Athenian political life of the fifth century BCE, as well as their talent for filtering the contemporary state of affairs through paratragic episodes and amusingly distorted religious ceremonies, aimed not only at exciting the spontaneous laughter of the spectators, but also at educating and mentoring them.1 This view is not without support from ancient documents. It is indicative of Attic drama’s ever-recurring didactic strain that in Aristophanes’ Frogs, Aeschylus and Euripides momentarily set aside their antagonism and agree upon a single point: poets should ‘make people better members of their communities’ by offering useful and wise advice to the polis (1009–10).2 The idea of poetry providing Athenian citizens with solid guidance was powerful enough to break down the walls of animosity between those foremost tragic poets, if only for a fleeting moment. Stimulated by a tendency of contemporary literary criticism to gauge the didactic and moral impact of dramatic performances on audiences, classical scholars have repeatedly attempted to delve deeper into the interesting matter of the educational and, more broadly, instructive function of Attic drama.3 Some critics have rightly argued that Attic theatre resembles the Athenian Assembly and the law-courts in terms of structure and content. The suspenseful viewing of ferocious ‘wars of words’ (agōnes) and the excitement of feelings of

 1 I offer this chapter to my former supervisor and mentor at Oxford, Emeritus Professor Angus M. Bowie, as a token of my gratitude for his unfailing guidance and invaluable encouragement. I truly hope that the impact of his excellent work on Aristophanic comedy will shine through my discussion of the political and religious aspects of Lysistrata. On the didactic dimension of Old Comedy in general and the educational purpose of Aristophanic drama in particular, see principally Croiset 1909; Murray 1933; Hugill 1936; Gomme 1938; Reinhardt 1948, 285–310; Ehrenberg 1974; Newiger 1957; Whitman 1964; Dover 1972; de Ste Croix 1972, Appendix xxix; Kraus 1985; Heath 1987 and 1997; Russo 1994; MacDowell 1995; Cartledge 1999, especially 43–53; Zimmermann 2005; Robson 2009, especially 162–87; Sidwell 2009. 2 Transl. Sommerstein (throughout this chapter). On euboulia in Lysistrata see the chapter by Kopp in this volume. 3 See, for example, Gregory 1991; Croally 1994 and 2005.

  Andreas Markantonatos crisis during those stage conflicts exemplify the democratic and legislative institutions of the Athenian polis.4 One could argue that in fifth-century Athens the theatre of Dionysus is very similar to Pnyx and Heliaia, given that these two fundamental institutions have as their central goal to deliberate concerning a broad range of important political, social, moral and religious issues. Similarly, the theatrical performances at the City Dionysia and the Lenaea, which are both supervised by official state bodies, culminate at the moment when select audiences are asked to reach a decision regarding the quality of the stage ‘acts’, by means of voting, after long days of watching and listening to talking heads debating an extensive array of contemporary questions and problems. In Attic comedy the didactic agenda is more palpable and noticeable than in tragedy, where any contemporary themes are discretely shrouded by the thin veil of myth.5 It is fair to say that in both fifth-century tragedy and comedy political, social, moral and religious rhetoric tends to intensify exponentially in emotionally charged scenes, during which dramatic characters clash with each other, while the chorus frequently seeks to give useful counsel to the protagonists and the audience. It would be a gross misconception to argue that the markedly rhetorical tone of stage speeches and choral odes is simply a stylistic peculiarity of Attic theatre; on the contrary, rhetorical skill and figurative illustration lie at the heart of tragic and comic performances in the sense that, through its Panhellenic influence and mass-mediated communicational effect, Attic drama not only disseminates the democratic ideology throughout the Greek world, but also, and more importantly, exercises its own influential advisory share in the general conduct of affairs within Athens.6 In other words, the contemporary concerns of the classical polis are mapped onto the tragic and comic plays; the events on stage relate to the real lives of audience members and often raise unsettling questions about numerous facets and features of central policies, dominant axioms, and fundamental values of the Athenian empire.

 4 Cf. mainly Hesk 2007a and Rosenbloom 2009 with further references. 5 On the ever-expanding debate over the political and social underpinnings of Greek tragedy, see e.g. Forrest 1975a; Conradie 1981; Goldhill 1986, especially 57–78, 1990 and 2000; Ober/ Strauss 1990; Redfield 1990; Meier 1993; Goff 1995; Griffith 1995 and 1998; Pelling 1997; Cartledge 1997; Iakov 1998, 41–66 and 2004, 73–89; Griffin 1998 and 1999; Saïd 1998; Seaford 2000; Rhodes 2003; Carter 2004a and 2007; Debnar 2005; Boedeker/Raaflaub 2005; Finglass 2005; Henderson 2007; Hesk 2007a; Wilson 2009; Markantonatos 2012a and 2012b. 6 See e.g. Markantonatos/Volonaki 2019 with extensive bibliography. On Attic rhetoric in general with occasional glances at related literary genres see, for instance, Vickers 1988; Kennedy 1994; Worthington 1994 and 2007; Tunis 1996; Lausberg 1998; Habinek 2004; Gunderson 2009.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

As will become apparent in the following discussion, the subject of peace summoned forth from Aristophanes some of his most visceral comic poetry. In this chapter I shall argue that in Lysistrata both the entertainingly slanted rehearsal of the Adonia festival (387–98) and the chorus’ parabasis-like double epirrhematic syzygy (614–705) are aimed at strengthening an agonised call for immediate and uninterrupted peace. The two scenes heighten the intensity of the comic action, which proceeds inescapably to the humiliation of male intransigence and violence, while at the same time paving the way to the final life-saving reconciliation and compromise.7 Both scenes traverse similar terrain. My purpose is to suggest that the humorous inversion of the rites of Adonis, with its manylayered meanings and symbolism, throws into sharp relief the men’s sneering indifference to multiple threatening signs about the fiasco of the Sicilian expedition in particular, and about the utter brutality of the continued hostilities in general. More than that, the lyric-epirrhematic amoibaion of the divided chorus of men and women, which occupies the place typically reserved for a fully-fledged parabasis, demonstrates clearly the play’s clarion call for amity and understanding between the relentlessly warring Athenian and Spartan alliances. Further, in this extraordinary case of parabasis-like lyric dialogue between male and female semi-choruses, Aristophanes utilises the members of the chorus as a vehicle for expressing some political meditations of deeper moment, concerning great principles and eternal problems of the Athenian democracy. With their rhetorical dexterity and love of advocacy, and despite their fierce antagonism, the semi-choruses embrace a long series of essential democratic ideals and concerns. When the passions have risen to the highest pitch, this fascinating ἀντιχορία (the rare partition of the chorus into conflicting halves singing antagonistic syzygies) promotes celebrated topoi of the Athenian ideology and hammers home to the audience the disastrous consequences of warmongering and belligerence. Thus, both the amusingly warped Adonis rituals and the political combats between the semi-choruses not only set up arresting contrasts between the female and the male, but also invite the audience to contemplate the utter recklessness and mortal danger of ill-advised power-politics, and to consider the sorrow and degradation brought by war upon the innocent.

 7 On Aristophanes’ Lysistrata see e.g. MacDowell 1995, 229–50; Konstan 1995, 45–60; Russo 1994, 165–85; Revermann 2006, 236–60; Stuttard 2010 with further bibliographical guidance.

  Andreas Markantonatos

Adonia and peace Often in Aristophanic comedy the various echoes of festive events and religious rituals are inextricably linked to central themes of the plays, enabling the spectators to interpret the story from another point of view.8 In Lysistrata the reference to the ritual celebration of Adonis aims at bringing home to the audience the sharp contrast between male vanity and female piety, while at the same time giving dramatic embodiment to the passionate struggle of female farsightedness with male thoughtlessness. This striking conflict that runs through the play provides an effective perspective for the horrors of war and defeat, the exhibition of misguided power-politics by the Athenians and the Spartans, and the thirst for blind revenge and absolute destruction. After a humorous oath-taking scene, where the rebellious women of Greece decide to proceed with their sex-strike (181–253), and in the wake of a hilarious confrontation between the two semi-choruses (254–386), the Magistrate enters with an escort of Scythian archers. He has just been informed of the occupation of the Acropolis by the defiant womenfolk and angrily denounces the licentious life led by females. He condemns the shameless behaviour and wild chanting of female worshippers during religious festivals, citing as compelling proof of the women’s insolence and incivility a recent event involving the Athenian demagogue Demostratus and a frenzied celebrant given over to Bacchic madness, probably his own spouse. It is noteworthy that the Magistrate is not only critical of the intoxicated woman, but also of the vehemently warmongering politician (387–98): ἆρ’ ἐξέλαμψε τῶν γυναικῶν ἡ τρυφὴ χὠ τυμπανισμὸς χοἰ πυκνοὶ Σαβάζιοι, ὅ τ’ Ἀδωνιασμὸς οὗτος οὑπὶ τῶν τεγῶν, οὗ ’γώ ποτ’ ὢν ἤκουον ἐν τἠκκλησίᾳ; ἔλεγεν ὁ μὴ ὥρασι μὲν Δημόστρατος πλεῖν εἰς Σικελίαν, ἡ γυνὴ δ’ ὀρχουμένη “αἰαῖ Ἄδωνιν” φησίν, ὁ δὲ Δημόστρατος ἔλεγεν ὁπλίτας καταλέγειν Ζακυνθίων· ἡ δ’ ὑποπεπωκυῖ’ ἡ γυνὴ ’πὶ τοῦ τέγους “κόπτεσθ’ Ἄδωνιν” φησίν· ὁ δ’ ἐβιάζετο, ὁ θεοῖσιν ἐχθρὸς καὶ μιαρὸς Χολοζύγης. τοιαῦτ’ ἀπ’ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἀκολαστάσματα.

 8 See primarily Bowie 1993; Lada-Richards 1999.



Comic Pathways for Peace  

So it’s flared up again – women’s licentiousness and their drum-beating and their incessant cries of ‘Sabazius’, and those Adonis rites on the roofs. I heard them once when I was on the Assembly. Demostratus, curse him, was saying we should sail to Sicily, and this woman was dancing and she goes ‘Alas for Adonis!’ Then Demostratus said to enrol some hoplites from Zakynthos, and meanwhile she’d had a bit to drink, this woman on the roof, and she goes ‘Bewail Adonis!’ But he just bashed on regardless, that loathsome, god-detested Brainsickite. That’s the sort of unbridled excesses you get from them.

Paralleling Lysistrata’s description in the prologue of the massive turnout of carousing women in orgiastic rituals for Dionysus, Pan, and the Genetyllides (1–5), the Magistrate’s account includes references to the women’s laments for the untimely death of the handsome Adonis. Probably, the sorrowful events alluded to are the typical climactic moments of a relatively controversial festival, the socalled Adonia.9 Indeed, the domestic celebration of the Adonia as well as the rituals in honour of Sabazius (the Phrygian nomadic horseman-god) are described here as marginal religious activities. For, on the one hand, during the Adonia men are at best only allowed to observe the ecstatic ritual from a distance, and this comes into direct conflict with their dominant social status and causes reasonable suspicion about the exact nature of the mourning rites; and on the other hand, during the Sabazius festival women take part in παννυχίδες – that is, mystic nocturnal celebrations which, too, may be deemed highly inappropriate by men. Aristophanes exploits these male prejudices and promotes well-known female stereotypes in order to highlight further the subversive power of revelling women, while also placing heavy emphasis on the insecurity of male citizens. The alleged Eastern origin of those ecstatic rituals, which are meant to glorify foreign deities, also gives rise to male insecurity. It is widely acknowledged among scholars of Greek religion that such orgiastic gods as Adonis and (perhaps) Sabazius are purposely seen as having an Asiatic origin (by analogy with the non-Greek origin of Dionysus), which made the exotic aspects and strong hedonism of their cult worship more readily acceptable. As a matter of fact, there are good grounds to believe that Adonis, a supposedly ‘dying’ Eastern deity, probably had his origin in Greece and that he had a special relationship with Aphrodite and Persephone.10 At any rate, the worries raised by the foreign derivation of the festivals and the performance of frenetic celebrations by women without the supervision

 9 Cf. principally Parker 1996, 198 and 2005, 283–9; Reitzammer 2016, especially 12–29 with further references. 10 See Henderson 1987 on 389; Parker 2005, 285–6.

  Andreas Markantonatos of men are two traditional elements of those particular cults and do not in any way represent typical male anxieties. Apart from the religious connotations which thicken the atmosphere of dismay, it is interesting to note that the contrast between the lamentations of the anonymous celebrant and Demostratus’ loud-mouthed, violence-inciting exhortations brings the play into the political sphere of its contemporary setting.11 First, the growing heat of the debate over male foolhardiness and impetuosity reflects the great importance of the topic for late fifth-century Athenian audiences. Second, there are direct references to known historical events, such as the expedition to Sicily and in particular the numerous Assembly meetings that took place in early 415 BCE regarding the declaration of war against Syracuse (391–2), and the constant appeals by some demagogues of the time for the immediate recruitment of the Zakynthians for an excessively ambitious expedition (394). Such references leave no doubt that at this point Aristophanes wants to juxtapose the female revellers’ grief-infused frenzy with the unconcealed soldierly enthusiasm of the Athenian men. Through this juxtaposition of deeply contrasting thoughts and sentiments, which brings together paroxysms of ritual delirium and combative impulses, Aristophanes keeps the spotlight of his criticism trained on his compatriots’ ill-advised campaign in Sicily. The recklessness of the expedition becomes even more obvious and indefensible in view of the portents of imminent disaster. These gloomy forewarnings the Athenians chose to ignore at their own peril. Above all, with hindsight, Aristophanes berates his fellow-citizens for their imprudent decision to launch a large-scale military campaign in Sicily and for being misled by deceitful and dishonest politicians. The women’s woeful shrieks over the untimely passing of Adonis come as a diverting but revealing response to the warmongering speeches in the Athenian Assembly. Not only do these shrieks prefigure the looming tribulations, but they also lay much stress upon how futile the whole Sicilian episode came to be, despite the inflammatory promises to the contrary. Aristophanes’ bold stroke to put side by side heart-rending dirges with belligerent declarations in the form of a farcical rivalry clearly demonstrates what many Athenians realised after the obliteration of their troops in Sicily: the transgression of moral boundaries as a consequence of overbearing pride and greed. In concert with Aristophanes’ stern condemnation of Athenian frivolity, and in the context of the Adonia festival, the triviality of earthly life, and in particular the fleetingness of youthful vigour and masculine beauty, are emphatically  11 See Kopp in this volume, pp. 160–6.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

marked through characteristic ritual acts. During the mournful rites in honour of Adonis, around late spring or early summer, grief-stricken women paid tribute to the prematurely lost, young lover of Aphrodite, decorating his wax effigies with floral wreaths in a manner of a real-life funeral procession. The celebrants also planted fast-growing and fast-withering plants such as fennel and lettuce or even fast-sprouting grains such as wheat and barley (the so called ‘gardens of Adonis’) in shallow pieces of broken pottery, baskets, or pots, as symbols of Adonis’ early demise and more generally the transience and shortness of human life. The cultic weeping and howling of the female worshippers, which often climaxed in unrestrained groaning or even wild breast-beating and tearing of clothes, would have invited the spectators to recall the rivers of tears shed for the loss of Athenian youth in Sicily. Seen from another perspective, the uproarious incident with the anonymous female carouser and the quarrelsome Demostratus (387–98) serves as a miniature portrayal of the whole play, in the sense that the women were the first to take heed of those ominous forebodings and attempted to forewarn the Athenian men of the coming Sicilian disaster, but their counsels did not fall on the receptive ears of honest and rational politicians. Similarly, in the aftermath of the catastrophe in Sicily, once more female insurgents revolt (in the play) against men’s irrationality and cry out in alarm to deter the looming calamity. Now it is not a nameless female advocate who cautions about the impending misfortune by emitting shrill cries, but rather – in this extraordinary case of female empowerment – it is widely-recognised Greek women who come forward. These are women belonging to the two warring alliances, who are not in the habit of spreading unfounded rumours but reveal painful truths, unswervingly devoted to Greek peace and conciliation. In the women’s agonised calls for truce and negotiation we recognise how relentless and undecisive was the struggle between the conflicting purposes of war and peace in the breasts of the deeply confused Athenian men. It is therefore above accident that the Magistrate casts aspersions upon Demostratus, an eminent democratic leader and influential orator who was most eager to declare war against the Syracusans and who continued for some years to enjoy the confidence of the people, despite the suffering inflicted upon Athens by that misguided expedition.12 To put it briefly, the comic reference to the Adonia festival in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, apart from highlighting contemporary political and social conflicts, reinforces the peaceful message of the play in the face of floods of warmongering rhetoric pouring in on the Athenian public. The controversial Adonis rituals re 12 Cf. also Henderson 1987 on 394–7; Sommerstein 1990 on 397.

  Andreas Markantonatos plicate in a strikingly amusing fashion Athens’ excruciating attempt to survive the storm of war, though the signs are heavily ominous. There is, however, a light of hope in the midst of this darkness. As remarked above, the Adonia ceremonies are penetrated with the promise of mystical rebirth against the unchanging purpose of inscrutable divine powers; and this is not in some far-off, mysterious, transcendental sense (though there is an apparent strain of mysticism running through the life- and death-rituals), but in a sense which every true Athenian heart could acknowledge as a momentous lesson in humility and reason. Thus it is not too bold to argue that there is still hope that Athens, like another Adonis, is destined to die only to be resurrected in the years to come, more vigorous and powerful than ever before.13

Choral parabasis and peace The development of the play prepares the Athenian audience to take the most stirring impression possible from the closing scene of Panhellenic peace and reconciliation after years of unabated rivalry between the Greeks. To this end, Aristophanes once more puts relief into his powerful message of truce and agreement in the double epirrhematic syzygy between the contending semi-choruses of old men and women (614–705). This time there is no religious allegory reflecting the deepest concerns about Athenian imperialism and highlighting the fact that there always lies a consciousness of terrible doom beneath the vain promises made by demagogues. Rather, there is here an extraordinary lyric-epirrhematic amoibaion of the divided chorus serving as another parabasis; nevertheless this ἀντιχορία is penetrated by thoughts and feelings which are similar between men and women; thoughts and feelings not only about Greek peace but also about the consciousness of an imminent disaster. It is important to remark that, at first glance, this fierce choral feud between elderly men and women does not seem to allow the kind of public speaking that we find in the parabasis of other Aristophanic plays, i.e. extra-dramatic advisory speechmaking. Furthermore, the preceding ‘war of words’ between Lysistrata and the Magistrate is overfull of recommendations for the immediate establishment of peace and the rebuilding of a moral agenda that would define the future enterprises of the Athenian alliance (especially 567–86). In particular, Lysistrata puts forward her suggestions with such bold reasoning and metaphorical virtuosity that an

 13 Cf. Markantonatos 2007, 167–93 with further references.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

equivalent choral exhortation in the form of a full-scale parabasis would appear to be totally futile and lacking in dramatic power.14 In this section I shall argue that at this crucial point of the play Aristophanes, apart from showing the authority of putting an opponent in the wrong and defending one’s own cause, employs a more evocative way to give advice to his fellow citizens and to consider Athens’ fractured political landscape. Notwithstanding the clash of perspectives that removes the prospect of compromise at the end of this syzygy, the forceful rhetoric of the two conflicting semi-choruses highlights familiar political and social concerns. More than that, the unrelenting trading of blow for blow in this choral interplay of arguments invites the spectators to appreciate the complexity of political and social problems, and to approach the emerging questions with a critical mind, rather than with a herd mentality. Arguably, this amusing verbal warfare between helpless aged men and undisciplined old women is nothing but the continuation of the agōn between Lysistrata and the Magistrate (476–613). Here Aristophanes broadens the scope of his criticism to disapprove strongly of his pro-war fellow citizens, following his censure of Athenian militant politicians in the earlier scene. But, as if by instinctive defiance and resistance, a compelling moral notion is set against this gloom of internecine bloodshed, making the silver lining of the cloud. Aristophanes wishes to emphasise that the arguments and counterarguments of the competing semi-choruses cannot in the least displace the time-honoured ideals of the Athenians.15 In particular, it is a hopeful sign for turmoil-stricken Athens that the people’s unwavering commitment to the cardinal principles of democracy, which ensure the defence of the state and protect Panhellenic values and traditions, stands unshaken even in the face of relentless Hellas-wide war. The management of the contrast between the thoughtless instrumentality of men and the clear-sighted prevision of women – and more generally between war-crazy infatuation and democratic common sense – reveals the same axioms which form the very essence of Attic oratory (more specifically, the thematic core of funeral orations and advice-giving speeches). For the Attic art of declamation is distinguishable by those moving recollections of splendid Athenian triumphs and enthusiastic

 14 See primarily Henderson 1987, 149; Sommerstein 1990 on 614–705. Cf. also MacDowell 1995, 239; Robson 2009, 10. 15 Kopp in this volume, who also analyses the agōn, argues that the play advocates ‘the need to be open to opposing political views’, p. 152.

  Andreas Markantonatos praises of the democratic ideals, which morally rearm and emotionally support the addressees.16 The first strophe (614–35) of this quasi-parabasis in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata abounds in alert and ardent democratic patriotism. The old men, after removing their outer garments (a move which intensifies the feeling that there is a deviation from the dramatic illusion at this point exemplifying the directness of a proper parabasis) are quick to express their deep concern that Athenian oligarchic factions are scheming for the violent overthrow of democratic rule with the full support of the Lacedaemonians: οὐκέτ’ ἔργον ἐγκαθεύδειν ὅστις ἔστ’ ἐλεύθερος. ἀλλ’ἐπαποδυώμεθ’, ἄνδρες, τουτῳὶ τῷ πράγματι. ἤδη γὰρ ὄζειν ταδὶ πλειόνων καὶ μειζόνων πραγμάτων μοι δοκεῖ, καὶ μάλιστ’ ὀσφραίνομαι τῆς Ἱππίου τυραννίδος· καὶ πάνυ δέδοικα μὴ τῶν Λακώνων τινὲς δεῦρο συνεληλυθότες ἄνδρες εἰς Κλεισθένους τὰς θεοῖς ἐχθρὰς γυναῖκας ἐξεπαίρουσιν δόλῳ καταλαβεῖν τὰ χρήμαθ’ ἡμῶν τόν τε μισθόν, ἔνθεν ἔζων ἐγώ. δεινὰ γάρ τοι τάσδε γ’ ἤδη τοὺς πολίτας νουθετεῖν, καὶ λαλεῖν γυναῖκας οὔσας ἀσπίδος χαλκῆς πέρι, καὶ διαλλάττειν πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀνδράσιν Λακωνικοῖς, οἷσι πιστὸν οὐδὲν εἰ μή περ λύκῳ κεχηνότι. ἀλλὰ ταῦθ’ ὕφηναν ἡμῖν, ἄνδρες, ἐπὶ τυραννίδι. ἀλλ’ ἐμοῦ μὲν οὐ τυραννεύσουσ’, ἐπεὶ φυλάξομαι καὶ φορήσω τὸ ξίφος τὸ λοιπὸν ἐν μύρτου κλαδί, ἀγοράσω τ’ ἐν τοῖς ὅπλοις ἑξῆς Ἀριστογείτονι, ὧδέ θ’ ἑστήξω παρ’ αὐτόν· αὐτὸ γάρ μοι γίγνεται τῆς θεοῖς ἐχθρᾶς πατάξαι τῆσδε γραὸς τὴν γνάθον.






MEN’S LEADER: No free man has any business now to be asleep; come, men, let’s strip for this action! MEN: For this already seems to me to smell of more and bigger things, and I catch a strong whiff of the dictatorship of Hippias. And I very much fear that some men from Laconia may have congregated here at Cleisthenes’ house and be stirring up these god-detested women by underhand means to seize our money and the daily pay by which I lived! MEN’S LEADER: It’s disgraceful, I tell you, that these women should lecture the citizenry and talk, females that they are, about brazen shields, and on top of that try to make peace between us and men of Laconia who can no more be trusted than can a ravening wolf! No,  16 On funeral orations as powerful disseminators of Athenian democratic ideology see, for instance, Ziolkowski 1981; Loraux 1986; Thomas 1989; Mills 1997, 43–86.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

men, this plot they have woven against up is to set up a dictatorship. But they shall never be dictators over me: henceforth I shall be on my guard and ‘carry my sword in a branch of myrtle’, and do my shopping in armour close beside Aristogeiton, and take my stand next to him, like this – and so be ideally placed to give this god-detested old woman a sock in the jaw!

Aristophanes’ Lysistrata was probably performed at the beginning of February 411 BCE at the Lenaea festival,17 that is, before in June of the same year the oligarchic lobbies would attempt to undermine democratic government with the consent of more than a few prominent democrats. However, the aged Athenians of the play, angered by the unexpected uprising of the womenfolk, raise an alarm by mentioning the tyranny of Hippias, which was forever etched in the collective memory of the city as particularly abhorrent and brutal.18 Μοre generally, the familiar story of the tyrannicides Harmodius and Aristogeiton is a typical example of an indomitable democratic spirit, which the Athenian orators constantly extol in their addresses in order to encourage citizens to emulate those widely celebrated paragons of resistance and honour. After all, invoking the danger of tyranny was a common practice in the fierce confrontations of that time between democratic leaders and oligarchic clubs, as well as in the relentless clashes between eminent democrats. More than this, the meteoric rise of the charismatic, but highly controversial Alcibiades in the political scene of Athens during the second part of the Peloponnesian War inspired fear among citizens that the establishment of either absolute monarchy or oligarchic government was a realistic prospect.19 After the total defeat of the Athenian navy in Sicily many Athenians came to be highly receptive to alarmist rhetoric and conspiracy theories bandied about by spiteful and unprincipled demagogues.20 It is thus wholly appropriate that Aristophanes quotes almost unaltered the first line of a well-known drinking song (skolion) about the tyrannicides Harmodius and Aristogeiton; the song most probably refers to the widespread practice of singers at symposia to hold a branch of myrtle while singing and then to pass it on to the next soloist to continue the banquet chanting (632: καὶ φορήσω

 17 On the date of the play see Henderson 1987, xv–xvi; Sommerstein 1990, 1; Kopp in this volume, p. 160. For a different view see Tsakmakis 2012, who dates the play in 411 BCE at the Great Dionysia. 18 Cf. McGlew 1993; Morgan 2003; Lewis 2009. 19 On Alcibiades’ turmoil-stricken political career see e.g. Ellis 1989; de Romilly 1995; Gribble 1999; Vickers 2008. 20 See MacDowell 1971 on 345, with further references.

  Andreas Markantonatos τὸ ξίφος τὸ λοιπὸν ἐν μύρτου κλαδί = PMG 893 and 895: ἐν μύρτου κλαδὶ τὸ ξίφος φορήσω).21 Obviously, a period of political crisis calls for constant vigilance by democratic citizens, who must not in any way show complacency even at a time of festivity. Indeed, the myrtle leaves provide perfect cover for the daggers of the defenders of democratic rule because of their spear-like and sharp-edged form. The Commissioners are so alarmed at the unexpected turn of events after the occupation of the Acropolis by the recalcitrant women that they consider it necessary secretly to carry a weapon in the Athenian Agora, as once did the tyrannicides in 514 BCE during the Great Panathenaea; thus they can avoid what they feel as the clear and present danger of the overthrow of democratic governance. Furthermore, there are strong grounds to suggest that the myrtle is inseparably linked to soteriological rites,22 especially those directly or indirectly related to the shrine of Eleusis, an important military bastion of Attica of Panhellenic reputation because of the highly respected initiatory rites held there annually. Therefore, it is fair to say that in this case the murderous action of the tyrannicides comes to be purposely imbued with mystical spirit, offering a hopeful prospect of deliverance stemming from the violent death of a hated despot. In the first antistrophe (636–57) the passionately exhortative address, which was previously hidden in the misty speculations of the elders, now gives way to the irresistible logic of the revolutionary women. They directly claim the right to provide their city with useful counsels. This particular emphasis on the need for good advice and helpful recommendations ties in with the opening section of this chapter, where much prominence was given to the positive impact poetry can have on Athenian citizens: οὐκ ἄρ’ εἰσιόντα σ’ οἴκαδ’ ἡ τεκοῦσα γνώσεται. ἀλλὰ θώμεσθ’, ὦ φίλαι γρᾶες, ταδὶ πρῶτον χαμαί. ἡμεῖς γάρ, ὦ πάντες ἀστοί, λόγων κατάρχομεν τῇ πόλει χρησίμων· εἰκότως, ἐπεὶ χλιδῶσαν ἀγλαῶς ἔθρεψέ με. ἑπτὰ μὲν ἔτη γεγῶσ’ εὐθὺς ἠρρηφόρουν· εἶτ’ ἀλετρὶς ἦ δεκέτις οὖσα τἀρχηγέτι· καὶ χέουσα τὸν κροκωτὸν ἄρκτος ἦ Βραυρωνίοις· κἀκανηφόρουν ποτ’ οὖσα παῖς καλὴ ’χουσ’ ἰσχάδων ὁρμαθόν. ἆρα προὐφείλω τι χρηστὸν τῇ πόλει παραινέσαι;



 21 Cf. Henderson 1987 on 630–1; Sommerstein 1990 on 632. 22 Cf. Istros FGrH 334 fr. 29 on Eleusinian myrtle crowns. On the political significance of the Eleusinian Mysteries and how this is deployed in the context of Attic drama, see Markantonatos 2002, 197–220; 2007, 136–9; and 2012b.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

εἰ δ’ ἐγὼ γυνὴ πέφυκα, τοῦτο μὴ φθονεῖτέ μοι, ἢν ἀμείνω γ’ εἰσενέγκω τῶν παρόντων πραγμάτων. τοὐράνου γάρ μοι μέτεστι· καὶ γὰρ ἄνδρας εἰσφέρω. τοῖς δὲ δυστήνοις γέρουσιν οὐ μέτεσθ’ ὑμῖν, ἐπεὶ τὸν ἔρανον τὸν γενόμενον παππῷον ἐκ τῶν Μηδικῶν ἐξαναλώσαντες οὐκ ἀντεισφέρετε τὰς εἰσφοράς, ἀλλ’ ὑφ’ ὑμῶν διαλυθῆναι προσέτι κινδυνεύομεν. ἆρα γρυκτόν ἐστιν ὑμῖν; εἰ δὲ λυπήσεις τί με, τῷδέ σ’ ἀψήκτῳ πατάξω τῷ κοθόρνῳ τὴν γνάθον.



WOMEN’S LEADER: If you do, your mother won’t know you when you come back home! Now, old girls, let us first leave these on the ground. WOMEN: Here we begin, all you citizens, to deliver advice that will benefit the city; and rightly so, for she nurtured me in sumptuous splendor. As soon as I was seven years old, I was an Arrephoros; Then I was a Grinder; when I was ten, at the Brauronia, I shed my saffron gown as one of the Foundress’s Bears; And I was also once a basket-bearer, a beautiful girl, wearing a string of dried figs. WOMEN’S LEADER: So you see I owe it to the city to give her some good advice. And if I was born a woman, don’t be indignant with me on that account if I make some suggestions that are better than the situation we’ve got. I have a stake in the common wealth: I contribute men to it. You wretched old men have no stake; you’ve squandered the fund that came to you from your grandfathers, from the war with the Medes, and now you don’t pay your property-taxes in return – indeed we’re positively in danger of liquidation thanks to you. Can you say a word to that? If you annoy me at all, I’ll give you one in the jaw with this boot – and it’s raw hide!

The didactic purpose of this double epirrhematic syzygy is evident. The aged women point out that the polis serves as nurturer and protector of the citizens, thereby implying that now in the hour of mortal danger the Athenians are dutybound to join in solidarity with their motherland (638–9 and 648). This prudent admonition is not only aimed at the furious old men but also avidly given to the Athenian spectators themselves. Of course it is not to be denied that in the ardent warnings, especially those that urge the Athenians to listen carefully to useful advice, one can see the didactic flame in embryo, only to burst forth much later in the verbal contest between Aeschylus and Euripides in Frogs. The overwhelmingly agonistic environment of such oral confrontations favours the promotion of fundamental principles of Athenian democratic ideology; moreover, the unrelenting pursuit of the truly rare combination of expediency and morality through those fervent stage disputes is the quintessence of broad-based democratic government.23  23 On the highly agonistic nature of Athenian democracy, reflected in the annual dramatic contests, see Osborne 1993.

  Andreas Markantonatos The aged insurrectionists enumerate briefly but proudly the ceremonial roles they were invited to play during their youth in order to gain the right to arbitrate in the present Hellas-wide crisis (640–7). This short reference is enough to create for the audience a sense of ritual regularity which reflects, inter alia, a corresponding political orderliness that is long past but remains within reach if the grace of unity and concord is duly secured. At this most critical stage of the play there is a series of telling allusions to the long term of service of the Arrephoroi on the Athenian Acropolis, the sacred duties of pious Grinders (ἀλετρίδες), the processions and celebrations in honour of Artemis Brauronia (during which probably the young votaries officiated dressed in a special honey-coloured saffron gown, perhaps reminiscent of the hide of a bear, in order to ensure fertility and prosperity for the land) and the κανηφορία of the basket-bearers at the Great Panathenaea festival. These striking references to time-honoured symbols of Athenian grandeur, such as the Acropolis and the rural sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron, which is closely linked to the Acropolis itself,24 place strong emphasis on a network of monuments of particular political and religious importance to Athens.25 The vivid account of the women’s long record of illustrious religious service seeks to demonstrate that they have a sufficient share in the management of those purely Athenian emblems and traditions. In fact, the repeated hints at the broadly recognised purity and blessedness of the Great Panathenaea, at which carefully selected female basket-bearers attract public admiration during a spectacular procession in honour of Athena Polias, underscore the close relationship between religion and politics in fifth-century Athens.26 The sacredness of these female roles stands in diametrical opposition to the superficiality and foolishness of Athenian men, especially those men who have so uncritically squandered the entire inheritance and unmatched legacy of the Persian Wars (652–5). The triumphs of the Athenians during the Persian Wars, and in particular their resounding victory at Marathon where the Athenian hoplites routed the vast Persian forces, are prominent topoi of Attic oratory, which is ever ready to praise the magnificent achievements of those indomitable Marathōnomachoi.27 And it is important to add that the concept of providing in lines 651–4 (εἰσφέρω, ἔρανον, ἀντεισφέρετε, εἰσφοράς) relates here to the great weight

 24 There is an urban sanctuary dedicated to Artemis Brauronia in the southeast of the Propylaea. 25 See Paus. 1.23.7; Henderson 1987 on 645. Cf. also Papachatzis 1974, I.327–9. 26 See principally the seminal contribution by Sourvinou-Inwood 1990. 27 On the battle of Marathon see Markantonatos 2013 with exhaustive bibliography.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

attached to the ideal of self-denial and, more broadly, self-willed sacrifice in wartime; especially, the latter offers undisputable evidence that the citizens are mindful of their country’s blessings, which are bestowed lavishly upon the populace. The closing strophes of this masterfully camouflaged parabasis highlight two other familiar motifs often promoted in the context of Attic epideictic oratory: ταῦτ’ οὖν οὐχ ὕβρις τὰ πράγματ’ ἐστὶ πολλή; κἀπιδώσειν μοι δοκεῖ τὸ χρῆμα μᾶλλον. ἀλλ’ ἀμυντέον τὸ πρᾶγμ’, ὅστις γ’ ἐνόρχης ἔστ’ ἀνήρ. ἀλλὰ τὴν ἐξωμίδ’ ἐκδυώμεθ’, ὡς τὸν ἄνδρα δεῖ ἀνδρὸς ὄζειν εὐθύς, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἐντεθριῶσθαι πρέπει. ἀλλ’ ἄγετε, λευκόποδες, οἵπερ ἐπὶ Λειψύδριον ἤλθομεν ὅτ’ ἦμεν ἔτι, νῦν δεῖ νῦν ἀνηβῆσαι πάλιν κἀναπτερῶσαι πᾶν τὸ σῶμα κἀποσείσασθαι τὸ γῆρας τόδε. εἰ γὰρ ἐνδώσει τις ἡμῶν ταῖσδε κἂν σμικρὰν λαβήν, οὐδὲν ἐλλείψουσιν αὖθις λιπαροῦς χειρουργίας, ἀλλὰ καὶ ναῦς τεκτανοῦνται, κἀπιχειρήσουσ’ ἔτι ναυμαχεῖν καὶ πλεῖν ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς, ὥσπερ Ἀρτεμισία· ἢν δ’ ἐφ’ ἱππικὴν τράπωνται, διαγράφω τοὺς ἱππέας· ἱππικώτατον γάρ ἐστι χρῆμα κἄποχον γυνή, κοὐκ ἂν ἀπολίσθοι τρέχοντος· τάς γ’ Ἀμαζόνας σκόπει, ἃς Μίκων ἔγραψ’ ἐφ’ ἵππων μαχομένας τοῖς ἀνδράσιν. ἀλλὰ τούτων χρῆν ἁπασῶν εἰς τετρημένον ξύλον ἐγκαθαρμόσαι λαβόντας τουτονὶ τὸν αὐχένα.


665 670



MEN: Now are not these doings utterly outrageous? And I think they will grow to be even more so. This is something that must be resisted by every man with any balls! MEN’S LEADER: Let us take off our tunics; a man ought to smell like a man right from the start, he shouldn’t be swathed up like a rissole. MEN: Now come on, you Whitefeet, we who went against Leipsydrium when we still were something, now, now we must become young again and revitalise our whole body and shake off this old skin of ours. MEN’S LEADER: If any of us lots these women get even the least purchase on us, there’s no work to which they’ll fail to set their assiduous hands. They’ll even build warships, and try as well to attack us with them and ram us, like Artemisia. And if they turn to horsemanship, you can forget about our cavalry; there’s nothing so equestrian as a woman or so good a mounter, and even at a gallop she won’t slip off. Look at the Amazons whom Micon painted, on horseback, fighting against men. What we ought to do with these women is grab ’em all by that neck of theirs and fit it through a hole in a wooden board!

Echoing their preceding references to the ever-present threat of tyranny, the Athenian elders look back at those dreadful events of 514 BCE at Leipsydrion, a well-known fortress of Attica situated either above Paeonia or above Mount

  Andreas Markantonatos Parnes. After the killing of Hipparchus, banished Athenian nobles took refuge there under the leadership of the Alcmaeonidae but were made to flee this safe site, as they were eventually overwhelmed by the superior forces of tyrant Hippias (667–9).28 In the rhetorically forceful double amoibaion the repeated allusions to the hateful tyranny of Hippias illustrate that, after all, the Athenian triumph in the Persian Wars and the victory at Marathon were not only powerful symbols of national pride and honour; they were also ready vehicles for the loftiest democratic thoughts, in that Hippias failed miserably in his effort to win the favour of the barbarian aggressors and reclaim his tyranny.29 Further, the passing allusions to the naval battle of Salamis (675) and the Battle of the Amazons (678–9) reinforce the impression that the brusque protestations of the old men are but the necessary comic mantle enfolding unassailable values of the Athenian hegemony. Both the story of Artemisia, the Carian queen and ally of Xerxes whose bravery won her a place of honour in the battle of Salamis (Hdt. 7.99; 8.87–93), and the myth of the Amazons, who excelled in challenging King Theseus and his determined Athenian cavalry warriors, bring before the mental vision of the ancient audience fundamental aspects of the Athenian democratic ideology. These stories showcase the widely celebrated Athenian supremacy in the never-ending conflict with Persian invaders and, more broadly, barbarian assailants.30 We are still at the mid-point of the play, and it is not surprising that the verbal quarrel between the old men and women leads to an absolute impasse; this at least is the implication of the last antistrophe (682–705), where the female revolutionaries attribute the continuing deadly war to the disastrous governmental initiatives taken by the incautious and unreasonable males: εἰ νὴ τὼ θεώ με ζωπυρήσεις, λύσω τὴν ἐμαυτῆς ὗν ἐγὼ δή, καὶ ποιήσω τήμερον τοὺς δημότας βωστρεῖν σ’ ἐγὼ πεκτούμενον. ἀλλὰ χἠμεῖς, ὦ γυναῖκες, θᾶττον ἐκδυώμεθα, ὡς ἂν ὄζωμεν γυναικῶν αὐτοδὰξ ὠργισμένων. νῦν πρὸς ἔμ’ ἴτω τις, ἵνα μή ποτε φάγῃ σκόροδα,


 28 See Sommerstein 1990 on 665. Apparently, at this stage of the play the elders refer to the hopeless passage of the Athenian aristocrats to the Leipsydrion stronghold and not to the ensuing violent attack by the larger army of Hippias. It is worth pointing out that here the elderly defenders of radical democracy are so loath to dispel the haunting spectre of tyranny that they are ready to suppress their strong anti-oligarchic feelings to the point of identifying with the aristocrats. 29 Cf. Markantonatos 2013 passim. 30 Cf. Mills 1997, 30–2, 58–9; Tyrell 1984, especially 1–22.

Comic Pathways for Peace  

μηδὲ κυάμους μέλανας. ὡς εἰ καὶ μόνον κακῶς ἐρεῖς, ὑπερχολῶ γάρ, αἰετὸν τίκτοντα κάνθαρός σε μαιεύσομαι. οὐ γὰρ ὑμῶν φροντίσαιμ’ ἄν, ἤν γέ μοι ζῇ Λαμπιτὼ ἥ τε Θηβαία φίλη παῖς εὐγενὴς Ἱσμηνία. οὐ γὰρ ἔσται δύναμις, οὐδ’ ἢν ἑπτάκις σὺ ψηφίσῃ, ὅστις, ὦ δύστην’, ἀπήχθου πᾶσι καὶ τοῖς γείτοσιν. ὥστε κἀχθὲς θἠκάτῃ ποιοῦσα παιγνίαν ἐγὼ ταῖσι παισὶ τὴν ἑταίραν ἐκάλεσ’ ἐκ τῶν γειτόνων, παῖδα χρηστὴν κἀγαπητὴν ἐκ Βοιωτῶν ἔγχελυν· οἱ δὲ πέμψειν οὐκ ἔφασκον διὰ τὰ σὰ ψηφίσματα. κοὐχὶ μὴ παύσησθε τῶν ψηφισμάτων τούτων, πρὶν ἂν τοῦ σκέλους ὑμᾶς λαβών τις ἐκτραχηλίσῃ φέρων.

690 695



WOMEN: By the Two Goddesses, if you kindle my flame, then I shall unleash the wild sow within me, and this day I’ll shear your fleece so, you’ll be screaming for help! WOMEN’S LEADER: Women, let us also quickly undress, so that we may smell like women, women in a biting rage! WOMEN: Now let anyone have a go at me, if he wants never again to eat garlic or black beans; because if you so much as say an insulting word to me, my anger boils so high I’ll midwife you as the beetle did the breeding eagle! [31] WOMEN’S LEADER: I’m not going to worry about you lot, while there lives my Lampito and my Theban friend the noble girl Ismenia; for you’ll have no power, no, not if you pass your motions seven times over – hated as you’ve made yourself, you wretch, by everybody and especially our neighbours. Why, only yesterday, when I was having a party for the girls in honour of Hecate, I invited my chum from next door – a fine girl and one I was fond of, an eel from Boeotia; but they said they wouldn’t let her come, because of your decrees. And you just will not stop making these decrees – not until someone takes you by the leg and hauls you off to have your neck broken!

It by no means follows that the essential gloom of the situation, worryingly intensified by the unreconciled voices of the contending semi-choruses, is never relieved and lightened with the promise of a brighter day. It should rather be said that the chorally disguised parabasis serves as an important prelude to future reconciliation and harmony. It was to be hoped that the spectators would never forget the multiple hints at certain cardinal rhetorical themes and ideas that lend particular validity and vibrancy to the poet’s powerful messages of peace and truce. Thus, in the second antistrophe, the Athenian women are free to perform their religious duties while at the same time striking up a friendship with women from neighbouring cities, without worrying about any severe sanctions (696– 702). In this antistrophe, where the dramatic power of the confrontation between

 31 On that simile see Avdoulou in this volume.

  Andreas Markantonatos old men and women reaches its chief height, the continuously ascending scale of comic interest in festive occasions foreshadows the closing scene of the play, the reconciliation of Athenian and Spartan men (1216–1321).32 * To sum up: both the religious allegory of the Adonia festival and the ferocious ἀντιχορία of the old men and women who contend with each other over highly important political and social issues, leave an ineffaceable impression on the spectators’ hearts and are intended to educate and instruct. In both passages, the extraordinary female empowerment in the midst of all-out war adds a haunting poignancy, in comic terms, about imminent disasters. So powerful is the Aristophanic machinery for bringing together familiar religious motifs and rhetorical topoi of the Athenian democratic ideology. The play’s heart-felt advocacy of reconciliation in the face of overhanging doom is so strong that it maintains the thrilling expectation of a brighter day of truce to those Athenian spectators who are able to take in the full significance of the recent past. University of the Peloponnese [email protected]

 32 Cf. Markantonatos 2011, especially 516–19; Anderson 2012; Lambert 2018.

Armand D’Angour

The Musical Frogs in Frogs In 1969 Gary Wills published his article in Hermes ‘Why are the Frogs in the Frogs?’, in which he reviewed several decades of scholarship and speculation about the nature and implications of the agōn between Dionysus and the frogs in Aristophanes’ Frogs 209–68.1 Wills concluded that attempts to explain the contest in terms of rhythm (the frogs interjecting βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ to a faster beat than Dionysus’ rowing speed), dynamics (Dionysus out-shouting the frogs), or even violence (Dionysus beating the frogs) were all fatally flawed. The correct interpretation, Wills argued, is that what is being played out is a mock-aesthetic scenario that prefigures the subsequent literary contest between Aeschylus and Euripides. In this case, he suggested, the ‘beauty’ of the frogs’ croak βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ is conquered by the aesthetic superiority, in equivalent terms, of an explosive finale created by Dionysus – a thunderous fart. Elements of Wills’ critique are confusing (not least his doxographical juggling), irrelevant (‘how can the Frogs outrow Dionysus when they are not rowing at all?’, 306), rhetorical (‘Some critics have noticed – how could they not ? – that it makes no sense to have one loud shout put an end to the Frogs’ resolve to croak on “all day”’, 308), and tendentious (‘The metres are not clearly enough distinguished for there to be a dramatic clash between them’, 310). Nor did Wills explain how the supposed final sound-effect could be created in such a way that Dionysus could be heard to have ‘won’ the contest, or how his proposed victory can be squared with his words ‘I will overcome you with the κοάξ’ (266) – rather than, say, with a ψόφος (‘loud sound’), which might better describe the putative fart.2 Of course, stage directions, sound effects, gestures, or changes of speaker are not explicitly indicated in ancient texts (even where paragraphoi are found as indications of speaker-change, they cannot necessarily be trusted). In practice, such matters will have been left to the playwright or producer to instruct on. However, changes of speaker are crucial to interpreting the passage, since it matters who is supposed to be uttering βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ at different stages of the  1 Wills 1969; his rebuttal of earlier views and his solution to how Dionysus defeats the frogs continues to attract support; Di Marco (2015, 1) writes that his explanation ‘is the only one able to provide an adequate answer’. 2 A fart-joke is signalled earlier at 237–8, setting up the phrase βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ, presumably uttered by Dionysus (it is vocally expressive of a rumbling fart) and preceding the melodic reprise of the frogs’ chorus.

  Armand D’Angour contest. Nor do any external reports about the production survive. We have only the text as transmitted to suggest what might have been at issue for the agōn within the broader context of the comedy. The effect of Wills’ attempt to cast doubt on the traditional explanations has been to demote the importance of the musico-metrical play that is undoubtedly central to this passage. At the same time, the metrical explanations given by previous or subsequent editors (such as Rogers, Stanford, Zielinski, Dover, and Sommerstein) have either been over-general or insufficiently compelling to attract general consent. I propose here to elucidate the metre of the agōn and to offer a fresh perspective on the passage’s interpretation, drawing on insights that have arisen from my research into the sounds of ancient Greek music. Allowing that in performance one may change, exaggerate, or even add extraneous elements for effect, my goal in attempting to explain the passage is to try and understand what, given the surviving text and its cultural and musical context, the playwright is most likely to have intended the actors and chorus to perform.

The aulos-playing frogs The first premise of my explanation is that, since this passage is choral and largely in lyric metre, the verses uttered by the frogs will have been composed to be sung or chanted by the twenty-four members of the comic chorus accompanied by an aulete (possibly decked out in frog-costume like the choreuts). Dionysus’ responses were, evidently, not similarly sung or accompanied;3 but the melodic aspect of the chorus cannot be ignored as it generally has been. The second premise, which has also been insufficiently observed, is that this essentially musical agōn is associated specifically with the sounds and techniques of the aulos (double-pipes). The frogs are, as Dionysus claims, a song-loving breed (240: φιλῳδὸν γένος) who rejoice in song (244–5: χαίροντες ᾠδῆς μέλεσιν), who croak ‘with the aulos’ (212: ξύναυλον), and whose home is among the reeds, i.e. the plant species (232: δόνακος) from which the mouthpieces (reeds) and pipes (chanters) of the aulos were and still are constructed. The aulos was notorious in the fifth century for its characteristic visual and sonic effects: it rendered the player’s face ugly, it had a penetrating ‘toad-like’

 3 We have no hard evidence either way, but his iambic dimeters suggest that, as with iambic trimeters in the drama, we should assume a non-melodic utterance.

The Musical Frogs in Frogs  

timbre, and unlike the discrete tones of lyre-strings it produced a voluble, continuous, and fluid sound.4 The recreation of ancient auloi in recent years and the rediscovery of techniques for playing them have made the visual aspect of aulos performance patently evident. The characteristic technique used by auletes, then and now, is circular breathing, which requires the player to take air in through the nose, hold it in the cheeks, and use the puffed-out cheeks as a reservoir to supply air to the reeds while snorting new air via the nose into the lungs. The result is a regular filling and emptying of the cheeks, which gives the player an immediate and unmistakable resemblance to a frog inflating and deflating the vocal sac that makes its croak (oboe, saxophone, and other wind players using this technique demonstrate this effect).5 The circular breathing allows for continuous sound to be emitted, while the movement of pitches can be as rapid and voluble as the fingers and embouchure of the aulete permit. The frog-like appearance, sounds, and actions of the aulete are central to why Aristophanes chose these creatures to constitute the first chorus in this comedy.6 It is indeed surprising that this identification, based on striking visual and aural parallels, has eluded commentators. Here the frogs themselves are, in short, representatives of auletes and aulos-playing, in particular the modernistic kind of aulos-playing associated with Euripidean tragedy and the ‘New Music’.7 The aulos was the most conspicuous avant-garde instrument of the late fifthcentury New Music, of which Euripides was a prominent representative, and it was also the traditional instrument of Dionysus, the god of drama.8 How did Dionysus come to be associated with the aulos? Fifth-century aetiologies of the instrument include Pindar’s account of its invention by Athena after hearing the keening wail of the dying Gorgons slain by Perseus, and Euripides’ narrative of  4 See Csapo 2004a, 218–19. 5 On the myth of Athena’s rejection of the aulos for aesthetic reasons see Wilson 1999, 60. The frog-like movement of cheeks can be well observed in performances of the launeddas maestro Luigi Lai (google e.g. ‘Luigi Lai Ghetto degli Ebrei Youtube’). 6 In Aristophanes Birds the aulete is represented by the nightingale (see Barker 2004); but while the bird’s throat oscillates when it sings, the puffing of frogs’ cheeks offers a much closer parallel. The sound of the aulos was also compared to amphibian croaking: Pratin. fr. 708.10 PMG, τὸν φρυνεοῦ ποικίλου πνοὰν ἔχοντα, refers to the aulos’ ‘toad-like’ visual and sonic properties. 7 Csapo 2004a, 216–21; πολυκολύμβοισι (‘diverse-diving’, 245) and αἰόλαν (‘varied’, 248) are the kind of epithets that are strong associates to the New Music with its variegated sounds and modulations. 8 Aeschylean tragic choruses were also (it is assumed) accompanied by the aulos, but the repetitive, old-fashioned Aeschylean music could be considered more akin to the strumming of the kithara (φλαττοθρατοφλαττοτρατ, Ar. Ran. 1286–95), since it did not exploit the capacity of the aulos in the ways for which the New Music was notorious (D’Angour 2015, 189).

  Armand D’Angour its presentation by Zeus to the Great Mother (syncretised with Demeter) as a consolation during her search for Kore (Persephone).9 Dionysus’ Phrygian connections will have suggested a link to the goddess and her music. Here, however, Aristophanes seems to be creating a new, comic, aetiology for the instrument, since Dionysus is depicted adopting the aulos and its sounds from the frogs themselves: ‘This I am seizing (λαμβάνω) from you’ (251) are his words. Although the phrase is sometimes interpreted as Dionysus ‘taking up’ the frogs’ rhythm against his will, the context makes clear that it is an active gesture of appropriation. Dressed as Heracles, Dionysus is playing the aggressive hero (463: καθ᾽ Ἡρακλέα τὸ σχῆμα καὶ τὸ λῆμ᾽ ἔχων), ready to appropriate opponents’ accoutrements just as he has already appropriated Heracles’ club and boots (108–9). Here his aim is to ‘overcome’ (266: ἐπικρατήσω) the frogs, and he does so by defeating them with the use of their own refrain: the moment at which he does so is the point at which he asserts himself, at least by the logic of comedy, as the god of drama.10 Similar kinds of appropriation will later occur when Aeschylus seeks to defeat Euripides with the repeated refrain of ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν (1209 etc.: ‘lost his bottle of oil, he did!’) in the standard metre of Euripidean prologues, when Euripides seeks to overpower Aeschylus by using his own words and metres against him, and when both tragedians combat each other by parodying the other’s lyrics.11 But a question remains: when Dionysus says ‘This (τουτί) I am taking from you’ (251), what exactly is he indicating that he is appropriating? The frogs’ response to his words is one of alarm: ‘If you do that it will be a terrible outcome for us’ (253), whereupon Dionysus retorts ‘Even more terrible for me if I burst asunder from rowing’ (254–5). I will return to the likely meaning of the deictic τουτί, but one clear implication of the exchange is that Dionysus needs to appropriate the frog’s croak if he is to prevent himself from bursting, and that if he does ‘seize’ it, as claimed, the frogs will be disadvantaged in some way other than by merely being defeated in a contest of words.

 9 Pind. Pyth. 12, Eur. Hel. 1352, on which see Weiss 2018, 167–75. 10 While Dionysus’ victory over the frogs suggests a commandeering of the stage, his appearance in a boat will already have been reminiscent of how a statue of the god was transported on a ship-cart during the Anthesteria (Griffith 2012, 159). 11 Ar. Ran. 1198–1363. Griffith (2012, 136) notes that the rhythm is ‘cretic rather than dactylic’; it would not be lost on an ancient audience that φλαττοθραττοφλαττοθρατ (cf. n. 8) is no less a lekythion than the frogs’ refrain and Aeschylus’ ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν.

The Musical Frogs in Frogs  

The musico-metrical imperative At this point, one aspect of the traditional metrical interpretation, details of which go back at least to Wilamowitz, is unavoidable:12 the frogs are forcing the pace with their song, and Dionysus needs to take charge so as not to be compelled to row faster than he can manage. Given that he is wholly inexperienced at rowing (204: ἄπειρος ἀθαλάττωτος ἀσαλαμίνιος), he must be allowed to row at a slower pace lest he ‘burst asunder’ (255: διαρραγήσομαι).13 Analysis of the metre compels this conclusion.14 The frogs initially sing (211–19) in mixed rhythms (iambic and dactylic), but the refrain βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ with which they begin and end their overture is a lekythion – ⏑ –⏑ – ⏑ –. Starting invariably with a longshort or equivalent (here we find a resolved long, ⏑⏑ ⏑ –, in βρεκεκεκέξ), the lekythion constitutes a ‘falling’, trochaic rhythmical unit, in contrast to iambics, which is a rising rhythm beginning with short-long (⏑ –) or long-long, regularly reprised with short-long in the standard tragic form of the metron (x – ⏑ –).15 The name ‘trochaic’, from Greek τροχαῖος, ‘running’, is indicative of speed, and the initial resolution of the long in βρεκεκεκέξ adds further movement; iambic, by contrast, is said to have been enunciated at a sedate, walking, pace.16 Whatever rhythm Charon sets up for Dionysus to row at with his ὦ ὀπόπ in 208, the irruption of the frogs’ refrain is undoubtedly a challenge to row to a rhythm that is faster than the one initially set. I suggest three further considerations: 1. There is no reason to suppose that either the utterance of Charon’s ὦ ὀπόπ or of the frogs’ refrain should be limited to the verses shown. While the text shows just two repeats of ὦ ὀπόπ and just two lines of βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ at the start of the frog chorus (209–10), both of these are very likely in practice to have been reiterated multiple times and thus extended beyond the two written utterances of the phrase. What we are surely invited to imagine is that Charon, seated facing Dionysus at the boat’s stern and guiding it with the tiller, sets the pace, using as many ὦ ὀπόπs as might be required, and that Dionysus follows his command with

 12 Wilamowitz-Moellendorf 1921, 592–4. 13 Clay (2002, 274) notes that rowers avoided attrition to their rumps by the use of a cushion, but Dionysus has not brought a cushion with him. 14 Detailed metrical analyses are given by Zimmermann 1985, 155–63; Dover 1993b, 219–23; and Parker 1997, 466. 15 The lekythion may also be interpreted as an acephalous (‘headless’) iambic dimeter, but here its trochaic quality sets up an opposition with the ‘rising’ iambics. 16 Korzeniewski 1968, 44, 64; pace Dover 1993b, 222 (the metre ‘tells us nothing about tempo’).

  Armand D’Angour the rhythmical movement of the oars. As he settles into a steady row, he is hijacked by the frog chorus, singing βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ continuously for as long as is needed. Dionysus must appear to battle to maintain his original rhythm while they insist on a different and faster one. All his interjections during lines 221–41 are accordingly in iambic dimeters, indicating that he insists on the original slower rhythm that he wishes, as a novice oarsman, to maintain. Only at 250 does he realise that he can best overcome the frogs by taking over their refrain and adapting it to his own desired speed. 2. Why should the frogs’ croaking disturb Dionysus’ preferred rhythm in such a way that he feels it is inducing him to row faster against his will? The specific context provides the answer: the aulos was, as is well known, the instrument with which time was set and maintained by a κελευστής for oarsmen of Athenian triremes.17 The audience would not be surprised that the refrain of the frogs should be expected to dictate the time for the rowing, insofar as that refrain was accompanied by the aulos. We may thus surmise that the frogs’ refrain was not just a sequence of memorable syllables, but that it was also sung to a melody played on the aulos. This melodic nature of the utterance is emphasised in the text: Charon tells Dionysus to expect the frogs’ beautiful singing (205: μέλη), the frogs describe their utterance as ‘accompanied by aulos’ (212: ξύναυλον), and they sing about their ‘harmonious song κοὰξ κοάξ’ (213–14). We should perhaps visualise the frog-aulete directing the chorus as standing in the middle of the boat between the seated Dionysus and Charon and setting the rhythm just as the aulete presided as κελευστής in the trireme. Initially inactive while Dionysus rows to Charon’s command, the aulete sways into action as soon as the frogs are about to sing, giving them the cue for their refrain with a purely instrumental rendition to indicate its rhythm and melody. 3. The accompaniment by the aulos of βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ means that the refrain will have had a definable melodic shape, and the tune to which it was accompanied would have been that sung by the frog chorus. So my third consideration, which I will expand on below, is a technical one: we might seek to derive a reasonable understanding of that melodic shape from the very phonemes with which Aristophanes constructs the sound of the croak.18

 17 Cf. Clay 2002, 273. Aulos (and also syrinx) kept time for rowers: West 1992, 29 n. 83. 18 The refrain may have mimicked the sound of the European marsh frog (rana ridibunda): Sommerstein 1996, 176–7.

The Musical Frogs in Frogs  

The singing of the frogs Aristides Quintilianus preserves some information on the use of ‘vocables’ by ancient Greek musicians, going back at least to the early fifth century BCE.19 Vocables were the non-lexical monosyllables (like do re mi) whereby instrumental music might be represented, transmitted, and committed to memory. Aristides tells us:20 Four of the vowels that are readily prolonged by the singing voice turned out to be useful for representing the notes. Since a consonant had to be added to them, to avoid the hiatus which would be produced by a sound consisting of vowels alone, we adopt tau, the most attractive of the consonants. […] In the primary systēma, the tetrachord, the first note is sung to the letter epsilon, while the remainder follow the order of the vowels. Thus the second note is sung to alpha, the third to eta, and the last to omega [so te ta tē tō].

These details differ slightly from those given by the author of the musical papyrus known as Anonymus Bellermanni, who sets out the alternative te tē tō ta, with te used for the ‘tonic’ and ta for a fourth above.21 These indications, however, taken together with the melodisation principle of following pitch-accents, may suggest that the aulete and singers in the chorus were directed by Aristophanes (who composed and directed the melodies as well as the words) to use one pitch to indicate the ε of βρεκεκε-, a slightly higher pitch on the barytonic (grave-accented) -κὲξ, and two successive higher pitch changes on the second syllable of κοάξ. A purely conjectural setting of the music of the frogs’ refrain, based on these principles and using the so-called ‘enharmonic’ tetrachord, might suggest note values with a rising tune as follows: Vocables: te-te-te-tē Phonemes: βρεκεκεκὲξ Notes: e e#

tō-ta tō-ta κοὰξ κοάξ f a f a

Regardless of the actual shape of melodisation, the combination of voices and aulos would have created a powerful melodic sound for the frogs’ refrain. The strongly rhythmical and penetratingly auletic sound is what Dionysus is portrayed as seeking to combat with his declaimed, slower iambic interjections, uttered without the accompaniment of the aulos.  19 See D’Angour 2016; Bélis 1984 proposed that the syllables to te and tē indicated on a fifthcentury clay epinetron should be interpreted as vocables. 20 Aristid. Quint. 77.30–79.5, 79.26–80.1 (Barker 1989, 479–81); Anon. Bell. 9–10, 77, 86, 91. 21 Cf. Barker 1989, 481; West 1982, 265.

  Armand D’Angour

The victory of Dionysus We have thus arrived at a picture of Dionysus first rowing according to a steady rhythm, declaiming his interjections in iambic metre, and being interrupted by the frog chorus singing their refrain βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ in melody to the accompaniment of the aulos. The fact that their refrain is nothing but meaningless phonemes is what, I suggest, is implied by Dionysus’ comment that the frogs are ‘nothing other than κοάξ’ (227); that is the frogs have nothing of any semantic sense to contribute, only the sound of their tuneful refrain.22 The implication is made yet clearer in the light of the familiar and repeated exploitation by Aristophanes of the near-homophony of μέλη, ‘songs’, and μέλει, ‘it matters’. In the previous interjection by Dionysus, ‘I suppose you don’t give a song (224: ὑμῖν δ᾽ ἴσως οὐδὲν μέλει)’, a pun on μέλη (as suggested by my italicised translation) is unmistakeable.23 One possible way of interpreting it is that while ‘nothing’ (οὐδέν) is uttered by the frogs, theirs is a melodised nothing. And when Dionysus later triumphantly shouts at them ‘You groan away, I don’t give a song’ (257: οἰμώζετ᾽, οὐ γάρ μοι μέλει) – οἰμώζετε can be construed both as an imperative (‘groan away!’) and an indicative (‘you’re groaning away’) – he may equally be heard to be punning on the express lack of melodisation for his own utterance.24 The conclusion must be that the contest involves Dionysus defeating the fast-singing frogs by asserting a slower, declaimed, utterance to match the tempo of his rowing. This returns us to the god’s claim to be appropriating the frogs’ refrain when he states ‘This I am seizing (λαμβάνω) from you’ (251). The statement implies that the refrain βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ in the previous line (250) is used by Dionysus alone (pace Sommerstein and Wilson, who gives the line to Dionysus and frogs together). It would be strange, however, if the strong deictic was used to imply no more than that Dionysus was taking over the use of a verbal refrain. What τουτί suggests is something more: the μέλος in its total aspect, as sung and accompanied by an instrument.25 Dionysus has appropriated not just the syllables

 22 Wills (1969, 312) interprets the phrase less plausibly as implying the physical absence of the frog-chorus. 23 There was a tradition from archaic times of punning on μέλη/μέλει: D’Angour 2005, 99. 24 The frogs’ first unaccompanied refrain (256) will have had a different and less musical soundquality, contrasting with their singing up to this point: οἰμώζετε suggests an unmelodised or semi-melodic cry. 25 As τουτί is neuter, it cannot refer to the (masculine) aulos but to the melodised refrain βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ (cf. 262: τούτῳ), which Dionysus has just ‘seized’ and stripped of its tune. A

The Musical Frogs in Frogs  

of the refrain, but he has strikingly divorced them of their accompanying melody, so that he can enunciate them at his own, slower, tempo. It may hint at something more concrete for the performer: I would suggest that simultaneously with his utterance of τουτί, Dionysus momentarily abandons one of the oars and physically snatches the aulos (or at least one of the two chanters of the double-pipe) from the grasp of the frog-aulete who is guiding the chorus’s song.26 If so, Dionysus’ unmelodised βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ truly represents something that he has ‘seized’ from the frogs: he has removed the aulos and its capacity to provide the melody, and so made their refrain his own. Dionysus is now able to declaim in ‘trochaic’ lekythia, which he proceeds to do for the remainder of the exchange, because he has slowed the frogs’ tempo to that with which he has set out, and is now allowed to row at his own pace. Just a moment earlier the frogs recognise in alarm that they ‘will be in serious trouble’ (252) if this happens. That is because not only will Dionysus have defeated them in the rhythmical contest, he will have done so by literally ‘seizing’ their song, with its melodic phrasing and auletic accompaniment, leaving them with just a tuneless croak. They can no longer ‘rejoice in their diverse-diving song-melodies’ (244–5: χαίροντες ᾠδῆς | πολυκολύμβοισι μέλεσιν). And more fatally for them, they cannot regain the initiative simply by croaking their refrain bereft of melody and aulos (258: κεκραξόμεσθα, and 259: φάρυξ, seem to emphasise the frog-chorus’s now purely vocal utterance). When they attempt to do so with a defiantly rapid but now tuneless croaking of βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ (256, 261), Dionysus is unconcerned and triumphantly retorts τούτῳ γὰρ οὐ νικήσετε (262), ‘That isn’t going to win the day!’ Dionysus may be presented, in fact, as declaiming in trochees (or lekythia, i.e. syncopated trochees) – presumably at his own preferred pace – from the moment he claims to have ‘taken over’ the refrain from the frogs and initiates his victory by appropriating βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ, unmelodised and in slow time, in line 250. This invites a small adjustment to the standard colometry.27 With the first syllable of 251, Dionysus ‘caps’ the lekythion of 250 to make it a trochaic dimeter, which is followed by a syncopated trochaic dimeter (lekythion). The same is true for 256–7. The frogs attempt to reassert their authority in 258–9, but

 scholium ad loc. suggests that the reference is to τὸ λέγειν, ‘the utterance’, but that would imply that Dionysus stops the frogs saying the refrain, which he manifestly does not. 26 I am grateful to Dimitrios Kanellakis for stimulating me to visualise this detail. 27 The transmitted colometry tells us nothing about how Aristophanes conceived the passage. It should be clear that this is not primarily a textual issue, but a suggestion about how the passage might best be conceived in performance.

  Armand D’Angour they have to croak (258: κεκραξόμεσθα) rather than sing their refrain, as recognised by Dionysus’ οἰμώζετ᾽ (257). When the frogs return with a defiant rapid βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ in 261, this is triumphantly capped off by Dionysus with the first syllable of 261–2, which he follows with his own continuous trochaic run (pnigos), slapping down the frogs’ inadequate attempt to regain control by echoing their threat (260) to ‘croak all day if necessary’ (265). I here present the passage as understood according to the above analysis, first in Greek (with metrical indications) and then in a broadly isorhythmic translation, from the point that Dionysus, speaking at his own slower pace (as marked in bold), seizes the sound of their refrain from the frogs and the aulos from the frog-aulete: ΔI. ΒA. ΔI. ΒA. ΒA.




βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ. τουτὶ παρ᾽ ὑμῶν λαμβάνω. δεινά τἄρα πεισόμεσθα. δεινότερα δ᾽ ἔγωγ᾽, ἐλαύνων εἰ διαρραγήσομαι. βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ. ΔI. οἰμώζετ᾽, οὐ γάρ μοι μέλει. ἀλλὰ μὴν κεκραξόμεσθά γ᾽ ὁπόσον ἡ φάρυξ ἂν ἡμῶν χανδάνῃ δι᾽ ἡμέρας. βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ. ΔI. τούτῳ γὰρ οὐ νικήσετε. οὐδὲ μὴν ἡμᾶς σὺ πάντως. οὐδὲ μὴν ὑμεῖς γ᾽ ἐμέ, οὐδέποτε, κεκράξομαι γὰρ κἂν δέῃ δι᾽ ἡμέρας, ἕως ἂν ὑμῶν ἐπικρατήσω τῷ κοάξ, βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ, ἔμελλον ἄρα παύσειν ποθ᾽ ὑμᾶς τοῦ κοάξ.

2tr lek 2tr 2tr lek 2tr lek 2tr 2tr lek 2tr lek 2tr lek 2tr 2tr 3tr 2tr 3tr




264a 264b 265


(Snatches the aulos and chants at his own pace) Brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax – look, 250 now I’ve seized your song from you. This will mean the end of us! Worse for me my end would be, to burst asunder at the oar! 255 (At their pace, but now chanting without melody or accompaniment) Brekekekex koax koax. (slowing the pace) You groan away, for all I care. (faster) Fine, we’ll croak and croak our hearts out, all day long we’ll croak our hearts out, Croaking, croaking, all day long, 260

The Musical Frogs in Frogs  


brekekekex koax koax – (slowing the pace) That isn’t going to win the day! You will not defeat us, never! (pnigos) Nor will you lot conquer me – never, for I’ll croak my heart out, all day long if that’s required, brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax, until I’ve got you beat with my ko-ax, brekekekex ko-ax ko-ax, I knew I’d put an end to your ko-ax.


Dionysus’s final pnigos (263–7) might thus be represented as a sequence of trochaic metra (fourteen!) that pointedly deprive the chorus and aulete of any melodic contribution or rhythmical authority.28 Dionysus has not just won the exchange with the frogs; he has seized their characteristic melodic croak and turned it into his own enunciated declamation. By establishing, in that moment, his victory over the aulete and control of the stage action, he asserts himself in suitably comic fashion as the god of comedy. University of Oxford [email protected]

 28 The usual view is that Dionysus shouts the frogs into silence and then waits before triumphantly uttering the final iambic trimeter. This alternative setting suggests that by launching a run of continuous trochees, perhaps afforced by further repetitions ad lib. of the refrain βρεκεκεκὲξ κοὰξ κοάξ, Dionysus contrives ‘finally (ποθ’) to stop [the frogs] from croaking’.

Natalia Tsoumpra

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs Much work on Frogs since the second half of the 20th century has focussed on the ritual and initiatory patterns of the play,1 and has discussed the growth of Dionysus’ character, and the transition he undergoes from a comic buffoon and unsuccessful actor to a competent judge and proficient literary critic.2 Likewise, Dionysus’ final preference of Aeschylus over Euripides has generated much discussion among scholars from a dramatic and a political point of view.3 There is, however, an important aspect of Dionysus’ development which remains largely ignored:

 1 I owe much gratitude to Angus Bowie for his academic support and rigorous supervision during my MPhil and DPhil years. It is not an exaggeration to say that his reading of Aristophanes made me appreciate the merits of structural analysis and has had a profound impact on my work. This chapter is a small token of thanks. I also wish to thank the editors for their comments, as well as Calum Maciver for reading the final version. 2 Many scholars trace the educational journey of Dionysus: he develops into a god of ‘communal solidarity’, who embodies the comic spirit and unifies the two halves of the play (Segal 1961); he discovers that his patronage of tragedy should aim at the education of the spectators to a heroic defence of their country (Epstein 1985); he acquires comic vitality (Reckford 1987); he becomes more truly Heraclean (Padilla 1992). The transformation of Dionysus is often bound up with mythical, ritual and initiatory patterns: Reckford 1987 contends that Frogs is about death in several ways (not the least being the death of Old Comedy), with the final procession serving as an inverted funeral rite; Moorton 1989 applies to the play the ideas of Arnold van Gennep’s rites of passage; Bowie 1993 considers the Eleusinian mysteries and their relevance to Dionysus’ journey to the underworld (p. 252 ‘the god regains his identity, as the mystēs underwent the process of the dissolution of his personality and the creation of a new one’). By contrast, Worman 2014 eschews the identification of the path to Hades with the road to Eleusis and associates it with known cultic elements of the Ilissos river region. Lada-Richards 1999 focuses on the ‘rite of passage’ as the operative paradigm and traces the development of Dionysus’ character into a growing valuation of the polis-affirming sensibilities of Aeschylus. 3 For Halliwell (2011, 97) the reason why Dionysus picks Aeschylus over Euripides is ‘far from transparent’, and he also notes that Dionysus refrains from explaining his decision. By contrast, Dover (1993a, 455–8) believes that the decision is less of a surprise and Dionysus’ uncertainly is only included because it is dramatically effective. He suggests that the play may have led the audience to believe ‘that a revival of Aeschylus would cause a revival of the great days of old’ (p. 460). Heiden 1991 argues that neither Aeschylus nor Euripides are truly endorsed in the play, as their poetic and political stances are opposed to the Old Comedy of Aristophanes; Rosen 2002 argues that it is not about Aeschylus winning, but that the contest puts in doubt the question of what, if anything, poetry can teach.

  Natalia Tsoumpra his shifting gender identity.4 This chapter will discuss the gradual construction of Dionysus’ masculine gender identity and his transformation from an effeminate and passive male figure to a masculine and virile one.5 It will argue that Dionysus’ growth into sexual maturity is intrinsically linked to his official recognition as the god of theatre, predominantly of comedy, and to the salvation of the city. It will also be shown that gender identity plays an important role in Dionysus’ final decision: by rejecting the effeminate delicacy of the Euripidean stage and opting for the virile art of Aeschylus, Dionysus identifies with the male element in himself and emerges as a typical male Aristophanic hero who experiences sexual rejuvenation at the end of the play.6 In this way, Dionysus at the end of Frogs is to be associated mostly with the world of comedy, which is virile and fundamentally masculine in its action,7 in contrast to tragic mimesis, which allies

 4 Gender identity is construed here as a learned performance of gendered behavior. As Judith Butler (1990 and 2004) has repeatedly argued, gender should be seen as a fluid variable which shifts and changes in different contexts and at different times, rather than as a fixed attribute in a person. In this sense there is no need for a distinction between sex as a biological category and gender as a historical category: one’s entire sexuality is a product of social discourses. There should be no continuum between sex, gender, and desire. Yet in the context of fifth-century Athens, where binary oppositions are in place, for Dionysus to reach full adulthood, he eventually has to succumb to ‘normative heterosexuality’: he abandons his ‘feminine’ ways, performs ‘masculine’ acts, and exhibits sexual interest in women. ‘Being’ a certain gender means that one will desire in a certain way. 5 Whether one subscribes to the active/passive (Foucault 1985, Dover 1989) or excess/moderation (Davidson 2007) model of sexuality in ancient Greece, the deep-rooted association of phallic assertiveness and display with masculine status is widely acknowledged, as is hostility in relation to homosexual acts towards those who assume the passive role, especially in comedy. Young boys could be pursued as erōmenoi by men, but passive homosexuality for adults was, to say the least, less acceptable and relentlessly ridiculed in comedy. As Skinner (2005, 121) notes, accusations of passive homosexuality are the most frequent form of abuse in the comic plays. In this sense, Dionysus achieves sexual maturity only when he abandons his effeminate ways and his unhealthy fixation with Euripides and becomes the sexual pursuer and aggressor, and in a predominantly heterosexual context at that. 6 Zeitlin (1996, 366) notes that the contest develops into one between masculine and feminine sides, but she does not conclude that the predilection for the virile art of Aeschylus over the feminine one of Euripides reflects the generic conventions of Old Comedy. 7 As Skinner (2005, 123–4) notes, the basic orientation of Old Comedy is heterosexual, male, phallocentric, and aggressive. Sexual jokes are made at the expense of women and effeminate homosexuals; fantasies of sexual assault and objectification of women are recurrent motifs as brazen public articulations of male desire, while the aggressive pursuit of sex by male heroes often becomes synonymous with claiming and establishing power. See Robson 2015.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

itself with the female.8 This distinction will be further displayed by comparing Frogs with Euripides’ Bacchae, produced around the same time or a little prior to Frogs.

Dionysus’ gender identity in comedy The ambivalent gender identity of the god Dionysus is well known.9 In theatre, ritual and art Dionysus traditionally appears to combine female and male characteristics and share in both sexes simultaneously. On the theatrical stage Dionysus often verges upon femininity and is taunted for his effeminate appearance. In Aeschylus’ Edoni (fr. 61) he is scornfully called ‘a woman-man’ (γύννις),10 while in Theoroi (frr. 67–8) he is accused of being a feeble, unwarlike, womanish man (γύννις δ’ ἄναλκις), who is not to be classified among men. In Euripides’ Bacchae he has a feminine appearance, with a pale complexion and locks that inspire desire (453–9). In comedy Dionysus’ effeminate appearance and cowardly attitudes as well as his delight in the physical pleasures of life were often exploited for humour. In Eupolis’ Taxiarchoi (fr. 256) Dionysus enlists himself to learn the arts of war under the general Phormion, and we get nothing less than the stereotypical comic Dionysus, effeminate and luxury-loving, cowardly, averse to hard work and discomfort:11 ὅστις πύελον ἥκεις ἔχων καὶ χαλκίον, ὥσπερ λεχὼ στρατιῶτις ἐξ Ἰωνίας. whoever you are, who have come with a bathtub and a bronze cauldron, like a new mother from Ionia joining the ranks.

 8 Zeitlin (1985 and 1996) has argued that tragedy and the female are strongly related because both are mimetic. Tragedy is an inherently feminine genre as it ‘plays the other’, and displays a number of feminine characteristics such as preoccupation with the body, a paradoxical relationship with the dichotomy of inside/outside, and a propensity for deception and contrivances to advance the plot. 9 Jameson (1993, 44) speaks of the god’s ‘asexuality’ or ‘the coexistence of elements of both genders that may cancel each other out’. Otto 1965 explores the feminine aspect of the god at some length. See also Lada-Richards 1999, 23–6 for Dionysus’ spanning of the male-female polarity. 10 Famously reproduced in Ar. Thesm. 136–45. See below. 11 Text and translation from Olson 2015.

  Natalia Tsoumpra The scorn at Dionysus’ effeminate appearance is well conveyed by στρατιῶτις, while the allusion to Ionia recalls the traditional luxurious stereotype of the Ionians. Dionysus also appears as a comic buffoon in Cratinus’ mythological burlesque Dionysalexandros, where he takes the place of Paris. Even though it has been claimed that the play enacted Dionysus’ heterosexual union with Helen,12 it is hard to imagine Dionysus behaving as a manly lover.13 Indeed, in the fragments he appears in his familiar comic role as the cowardly anti-hero, being the object of the satyrs’ laughter, running for cover at the advent of the angry Greeks, and being handed over to them for humiliation and punishment at the end. His amorous adventures with Helen were probably cast in a comic and ironic light. Since the standard representation of Dionysus in comedy is that of an effeminate buffoon, his first appearance on stage in Frogs, dressed in a saffron robe and kothornoi, would hardly be surprising for a fifth-century audience. Indeed, the first part of the play presents us with the familiar comic figure of Dionysus. What is surprising, however, and unique for the comic context, at least as far as the surviving evidence permits us to say, is that, as the play progresses, Dionysus is gradually transformed into a masculine and virile god. Let us trace this transformation.

Dionysus’ shifting gender identity in Frogs At the beginning of the play the comic incongruity of the Heraclean masculine overgarments that Dionysus enthusiastically sports in imitation of his halfbrother’s manly demeanor is made obvious by Heracles’ reaction (42–8):14 ΗΡ. ΔΙ. ΗΡ.

οὔτοι μὰ τὴν Δήμητρα δύναμαι μὴ γελᾶν· καίτοι δάκνω γ’ ἐμαυτόν· ἀλλ’ ὅμως γελῶ. ὦ δαιμόνιε, πρόσελθε· δέομαι γάρ τί σου. ἀλλ’ οὐχ οἷός τ’ εἴμ’ ἀποσοβῆσαι τὸν γέλων ὁρῶν λεοντῆν ἐπὶ κροκωτῷ κειμένην. τίς ὁ νοῦς; τί κόθορνος καὶ ῥόπαλον ξυνηλθέτην; ποῖ γῆς ἀπεδήμεις;

 12 See Bakola 2010, 94. 13 It has been suggested that Dionysus’ character in the play is meant to satirise the supposedly philandering character of Pericles. See Schwarze 1971, 13–15; Rosen 1988, 52–3. 14 Transl. Henderson 2002.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  


By Demeter, I just can’t stop laughing! Even though I’m biting my lip, I can’t help laughing. Come here, my man; I’d like a word with you. I just can’t get rid of this laughter. It’s the sight of that lionskin atop a yellow gown. What’s the idea? Why has a war club joined up with lady’s boots? Where on earth have you been?

The κροκωτός and κόθορνοι form part of Dionysus’ regular attire with which the audience would be familiar. Thus laughter is caused by the inclusion of the lion skin15 and the club in Dionysus’ apparel, which are out of place since they do not match his otherwise effeminate appearance. Heracles’ reaction to Dionysus’ costume brings to mind the Relative’s reaction in Thesmophoriazusae to Agathon’s ludicrous appearance (both probably drawing on Aeschylus’ Edoni). In Thesmophoriazusae the Relative, as the carrier of manhood in the scene, tries without success to discover a sign of Agathon’s masculinity (141–2) and concludes that Agathon would enjoy being anally penetrated (157–8). Likewise, Dionysus’ outfit in Frogs prompts mockery and the suggestion of sexual relations with the pathic Cleisthenes (48–51): ΗΡ. ΔΙ. ΗΡ. ΔΙ. ΗΡ. ΔΙ.

ποῖ γῆς ἀπεδήμεις; ἐπεβάτευον Κλεισθένει. κἀναυμάχησας; καὶ κατεδύσαμέν γε ναῦς τῶν πολεμίων ἢ δώδεκ’ ἢ τρεῖς καὶ δέκα. σφώ; νὴ τὸν Ἀπόλλω.


Where on earth have you been? I was mounting Cleisthenes. And did you do … battle? Sank some enemy ships too, twelve or thirteen of them. You two? So help me Apollo.

The double entendres are unmistakable in the above passage.16 The suggestion that Dionysus is engaging in erotic liaisons with Cleisthenes is reiterated later on,  15 Lada-Richards (1999, 21–3) claims that the Heraclean lion skin is supposed to remind us of the Dionysiac spanning of the ‘man and beast’ polarity. I find it difficult to see a trace of Dionysus’ affinity with the world of beasts in this particular context. 16 On the obscene use of ἐπιβατεύειν and ναυμαχεῖν see Henderson 1991, 162–3. The humour of the scene is enhanced by Dionysus’ obliviousness to the sexual implications. Heracles is the one

  Natalia Tsoumpra when Dionysus expresses his ‘deep longing’. Heracles repeatedly attempts to guess the object of Dionysus’ longing, and when all of his questions receive a negative response, he revisits the earlier hint at Dionysus’ sexual encounter with Cleisthenes, articulating it clearly this time (58: ξυνεγένου τῷ Κλεισθένει; ‘Did you do it with Cleisthenes’). Dionysus dismisses the idea as a joke (59: μὴ σκῶπτέ μ’, ὦδέλφ’· ‘Don’t tease me, brother’). The humorous implication may be that Cleisthenes, as an effeminate pathic, could not attract Dionysus’ attention. Instead, Dionysus longs for Euripides, who will satisfy his need for an ‘active’ lover, while he will occupy the role of the passive erōmenos (66–70):17 ΔΙ.


τοιουτοσὶ τοίνυν με δαρδάπτει πόθος Εὐριπίδου. καὶ ταῦτα τοῦ τεθνηκότος; κοὐδείς γέ μ’ ἂν πείσειεν ἀνθρώπων τὸ μὴ οὐκ ἐλθεῖν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνον. πότερον εἰς Ἅιδου κάτω; καὶ νὴ Δί’ εἴ τί γ’ ἔστιν ἔτι κατωτέρω.


Well, that’s the kind of longing that’s eating away at me for Euripides. You mean, dead and all? And nobody on earth can persuade me not to go after him. Even down to Hades? By heaven, even lower than that.


As Sfyroeras (2008) has noted, the feminine costume that the god wears upon his first entrance sets the tone for the rest of the play in which Dionysus primarily acts the female part, while Euripides is expected – but fails – to play the male hero. The word πόθος signifies a longing for someone who is absent, but, most importantly, it conforms to traditional gender roles: the person who feel the πόθος is portrayed as the helpless subject, reduced to immobile passivity, waiting for the object of their longing who may actively take the initiative to appear.18 Thus, the choice of the word πόθος first denotes a sexual longing, but also the

 to suggest that Dionysus behaves as the active lover in this scenario but Dionysus does not even register the hint at vulgar insinuation (possibly because he cannot visualise himself as the ‘mounter’). 17 70: κατωτέρω may carry sexual connotations here. 18 For πόθος denoting a longing for a strong male presence and for further examples, see Sfyroeras 2008, 302–3. Funnily enough, though, here it is Dionysus who springs to action and descends to the underworld, like another Orpheus, in search for Euripides, for the sake of the advancement of the plot.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

kind of desire that feminises those who have it. Dionysus also uses the word ἵμερος (59), the kind of desire that requires immediate satisfaction.19 The sexual vocabulary persists further below (92–7): ΔΙ.

ἐπιφυλλίδες ταῦτ’ ἐστὶ καὶ στωμύλματα, χελιδόνων μουσεῖα, λωβηταὶ τέχνης, ἃ φροῦδα θᾶττον, ἢν ἅπαξ χορὸν λάβῃ, μόνον προσουρήσαντα τῇ τραγῳδίᾳ. γόνιμον δὲ ποιητὴν ἂν οὐχ εὕροις ἔτι ζητῶν ἄν, ὅστις ῥῆμα γενναῖον λάκοι.


Those are cast-offs and empty chatter, choirs of swallows, wreckers of their art, who maybe get a chorus and are soon forgotten, after their single piss against Tragedy. But if you look for a potent poet, one who could utter a lordly phrase, you won’t find any left.

In antiquity fertility was strongly bound up with potency.20 Tragedy, here personified, is in dire need of a ‘potent’ poet who will impregnate her and will produce a noble offspring. But, according to Dionysus, all contemporary tragic poets lack masculine generative power, so much so that on being granted a ‘date’ with tragedy, they can only produce piss and not semen.21 By extension, it is Dionysus, as the god of tragedy, who is in desperate need of a potent and fertile poet, a role that only Euripides can fulfil. Dionysus’ effeminacy, coupled with discomfort and aversion to hard work, becomes more evident throughout the frogs’ choral part. When forced by Charon to row, he proves unfit for the activity – hardly surprising for someone who has declared (127) he is not (even) the walking type (197–204): ΧΑ. ΔΙ. ΧΑ. ΔΙ. ΧΑ. ΔΙ. ΧΑ.

κάθιζ’ ἐπὶ κώπην. εἴ τις ἔτι πλεῖ, σπευδέτω. οὗτος, τί ποιεῖς; ὅ τι ποιῶ; τί δ’ ἄλλο γ’ ἢ ἵζω ’πὶ κώπην, οὗπερ ἐκέλευές με σύ; οὔκουν καθεδεῖ δῆτ’ ἐνθαδί, γάστρων; ἰδού. οὔκουν προβαλεῖ τὼ χεῖρε κἀκτενεῖς; ἰδού. οὐ μὴ φλυαρήσεις ἔχων, ἀλλ’ ἀντιβὰς ἐλᾷς προθύμως.

 19 See Weiss 1988. 20 As Dover (1993b, 202) remarks, ‘lacking the microscope, the Greeks did not know that infertility is compatible with high potency’. 21 Both Dover (1993b, 202) and Sommerstein (1996, 165) put forward this suggestion.

  Natalia Tsoumpra ΔΙ.

κᾆτα πῶς δυνήσομαι ἄπειρος, ἀθαλάττωτος, ἀσαλαμίνιος ὢν εἶτ’ ἐλαύνειν;


Sit to the oar. If anyone else is sailing, hurry it up. Hey you there, what do you think you’re doing? Who me? Just sitting on the oar, right where you told me. No, sit over here, pot-belly. All right. Now put out those hands and stretch your arms. All right. Quit playing around! Put your feet against the stretcher and start rowing, pronto. Now how will I manage that? I’m unexperienced, unseamanlike, no Salaminian, and I’m supposed to row?


Sailing and propelling a ship (ἐλαύνειν), being a passenger or mounting a ship (ἐπιβατεύειν), plying the sculls (ἐκτείνω) and fighting a sea battle (ναυμαχεῖν) are commonly used in this play and elsewhere in Aristophanes as metaphors for the sexual act.22 I might not be widely off the mark to read the above nautical metaphors in this light too. Dionysus professes himself as inexperienced at sea: he does not know how to use his oar and where to ply it, he cannot occupy the right rowing position, and, in general, he is unable to ἐλαύνειν: if the oar alludes to the penis, and the act of sailing and oar-thrusting to occupying the active and dominant position in sex, the idea conveyed is that Dionysus cannot achieve an erection or be an ‘active’ lover. He is sitting on the oar like sitting on a dildo.23 This also strengthens, in retrospect, our suspicion that Dionysus was a ‘bottom’ when he was ‘fighting the sea battle’ with Cleisthenes. The idea of Dionysus’ passivity is perhaps enhanced by the obscenities pronounced during the frogs’ choral section, which are scatological and based on the motif of the babbling arse-hole. Dionysus, fat and unaccustomed to exertion, answers the frogs’ refrain by breaking wind (221–2, 236–8, 254–5). Dionysus’ arse opens in sympathetic relationship with the frogs’ φάρυγξ; the sound emitted from both apertures has been viewed as a satire of inferior poets, to which I will turn shortly. Another layer of homosexual humour, however, can perhaps be detected πρωκτός, which is used here for Dionysus (237), is the vox propria for the anus in comedy and is very common in jokes against homosexuals. As Henderson (1991,

 22 Av. 1254–6; Eccl. 37–9, 1091; Lys. 674–5; Ran. 432–4. 23 This dramatisation can be seen in various modern performances (e.g. in Tsianos’ 1998 production in Epidaurus).

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

201) notes, ‘its low tone assured that even in the absence of a joke its mere mention could be counted on to raise a laugh’. Moreover, expressions of opening/gaping orifices (εὐρυπρωκτία, χάσκειν) are most commonly employed for the abuse of pathics, the idea being that the widened state of their πρωκτοί facilitates the emission of sounds and feces (cf. Eq. 639, 1381; Nub. 1088–94). By contrast, virile, masculine, heterosexual men have narrow or closed πρωκτοί, muscled well by exercise rather than buggery.24 The competition between Dionysus and the frogs is also important on a literary level. It has been suggested that the croaking of the frogs anticipates the tragic contest which takes place later in the play and may function as a parody of the music of the dithyrambic poets25 and Euripides’ ‘new music’.26 If this is the case, then by presenting Dionysus as the winner of the croaking contest, Aristophanes foreshadows Aeschylus’ later victory over Euripides. This might be the first sign of Dionysus’ link with Aeschylus: like the thunderous Aeschylus (814: ἐριβρεμέτας), Dionysus will ‘vanquish’ his enemies with his bellowing (266: ὑμῶν ἐπικρατήσω τῷ κοάξ). Moreover, if Aristophanes does indeed use this competition to refer to the contest between himself and Phrynichus at the Lenaea in 405 BCE, as has been suggested,27 he is also likening the character of Dionysus to himself, as they are both the winners of their respective contests: the comic agōn in the world of the living, and the tragic agōn, of Euripides and Aeschylus, in the land of the dead. This is the first instance that the three figures, Dionysus, Aeschylus, and Aristophanes, are connected. This connection is intensified in the parodos of the chorus of the initiates: the chorus addresses Iacchus, the god that by Aristophanes’ time was identified with Dionysus, with the adjective πολυτίμητος (324), which is also used later on by Dionysus to address Aeschylus (851). Dionysus’ links with the genre of comedy become progressively stronger: by touching on the themes of political and poetic debasement (353–71), the Mystae introduce into the play an element of seriousness that is consistent with the later high pronouncements of Aeschylus on the responsibilities of the poet regarding the city (1053–6). Furthermore, the chorus give their credentials and establish their identity: they are not just Dionysiac initiates, but initiates in the Dionysiac  24 Cf. Aeschylus’ complaint against Euripides that his vain chatter has emptied the wrestling schools and worn down the men’s rumps by sitting, not rowing (1069–71). On this see further below. 25 Hubbard 1991, 202. 26 Slater 2002, 182; Worman 2014, 212–17, especially 216 on the vivacious elements of the frogs’ song which connect it with ‘new music’. For connections to Euripides and ‘new music’ see Campbell 1984, Moorton 1989, and D’Angour in this volume. 27 Demand 1970; Campbell 1984.

  Natalia Tsoumpra mysteries of comedy. They pronounce warnings against those who do not appreciate or offend the spirit of comedy (356–8, 366–8). χοροῖσιν (354), Μουσῶν (356) and ἐχόρευσεν (356) could refer to both tragedy and comedy, but the reference to Cratinus (357) points in the direction of comedy. Most importantly, the name of Dionysus is mentioned in connection with comedy: comic ridicule takes place in Dionysus’ ancestral rites (368: κωμῳδηθεὶς ἐν ταῖς πατρίοις τελεταῖς ταῖς τοῦ Διονύσου), while Cratinus, the bull eater, (357: ταυροφάγος) is assimilated to Dionysus. Significantly, ταυροφάγος was one of Dionysus’ cultic epithets.28 The proclamation of the chorus that clownish sayings (358: βωμολόχοις ἔπεσιν) should be avoided harks back to Dionysus’ earlier complaint that vulgar, hackneyed jokes age him (16–18). In contrast, the chorus of initiates now sings of the rites’ rejuvenating effect, which points to the rejuvenation of Dionysus himself as a character in the play (346–50: ἀποσείονται δὲ λύπας | χρονίους τ᾽ ἐτῶν παλαιῶν ἐνιαυτοὺς | ἱερᾶς ὑπὸ τιμῆς, ‘And old men’s knees are aleap as they shed their cares and the longdrawn seasons of ancient years, owing to your worship’).29 Thus, Dionysus’ bonds with both Aeschylus and Aristophanic comedy are manifestly intensified and consolidated during this choral section. Significantly, as his bonds with comedy and Aeschylus become more noticeable, Dionysus appears also to gain his sexual potency: he is aroused at the sight of an attractive female dancer (414–15);30 and in lines 513–25, enthralled by the maid’s promises of the young, ‘freshly plucked’ girl pipers and dancers at the dinner with Persephone, he rushes to assume the persona of Heracles once more. It is perhaps significant that the promise of female company is made to Xanthias/ Heracles and not Dionysus/Heracles: the implication may be that while Dionysus could pass as Heracles as far as his other deeds and misdemeanours are concerned (such as the dog-rustling in the scene with Aeacus, and his strong appetite in the scene with the innkeepers), he cannot yet give a convincing impression of Heracles when it comes to his manliness and sexual potency.31 But it is suggestive that, even as part of a fantasy scenario, Dionysus visualises himself as a scopophiliac, stimulated by the sight of heterosexual sex (542–8).

 28 Cf. Soph. fr. 668, and Euripides’ Bacchae where Dionysus is called a god with bull’s horn (ταυρόκερων θεόν, 100). For Dionysus in the form of the bull see Dodds 1960, xxvii–xx, 79, 197. 29 Cf. in Eur. Bacch. 248–369 the rejuvenating effect of Dionysus on Cadmus and Teiresias, which Pentheus finds laughable. See Riu 1999, 66–7, 116. 30 Technically a male dancer in feminine attire, but in comedy attention is never drawn to the actor’s body beneath the comic costume. 31 See Slater 2002, 188–90 on costume and its problematic relationship with the wearer in these scenes.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

While Dionysus begins to discover his male potency, Euripides during the agōn proves unable to fulfil the task of the manly lover, as Dionysus initially envisaged. Euripides’ style proves to lack virile force and his art exhibits feminine, sensual characteristics. The tension between male and female genders is acted out, more generally, on stage through the antagonism between the rival poets in the agōn.

The agōn In the agōn Aeschylus claims to operate within the male domain of fighting and war. His plays have inspired the Athenians to competitive emulation of the warriors they depicted and have prepared them to meet military threats: they breathe spears, helmets and other armaments, and are endowed with a fighting spirit, prepared to defeat their opponents (1013–17, 1019–22, 1025–7). The Aristophanic Aeschylus may be associated with the military ethos of Homer in the Iliad. Rosen (2004), in his consideration of the relationship between the competition in Frogs and the contest of Homer and Hesiod, argues that Aeschylus is associated with Homer because of their preference for martial themes, while Euripides is a Hesiodic figure due to his interest in house economics. Although I do not share Rosen’s belief in the existence of remarkably similar structures between the contests, the association of Aeschylus with Homer32 is indeed invited by the character himself (1030–6): ΑI.

ταῦτα γὰρ ἄνδρας χρὴ ποιητὰς ἀσκεῖν. σκέψαι γὰρ ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς ὡς ὠφέλιμοι τῶν ποιητῶν οἱ γενναῖοι γεγένηνται. Ὀρφεὺς μὲν γὰρ τελετάς θ’ ἡμῖν κατέδειξε φόνων τ’ ἀπέχεσθαι, Μουσαῖος δ’ ἐξακέσεις τε νόσων καὶ χρησμούς, Ἡσίοδος δὲ γῆς ἐργασίας, καρπῶν ὥρας, ἀρότους· ὁ δὲ θεῖος Ὅμηρος ἀπὸ τοῦ τιμὴν καὶ κλέος ἔσχεν πλὴν τοῦδ’, ὅτι χρήστ’ ἐδίδαξεν, τάξεις, ἀρετάς, ὁπλίσεις ἀνδρῶν;

AES. That’s the sort of thing that poets should practice. Just consider how beneficial the noble poets have been from the earliest times. Orpheus revealed mystic rites to us, and taught us to abstain from killings; Musaeus instructed us on oracles and cures for diseases; Hesiod on agriculture, the seasons for crops, and ploughing. And where did the godlike  32 Not unknown in antiquity; Ath. 8.347e: … τὸ τοῦ καλοῦ καὶ λαμπροῦ Αἰσχύλου, ὃς τὰς αὑτοῦ τραγῳδίας τεμάχη εἶναι ἔλεγεν τῶν Ὁμήρου μεγάλων δείπνων (‘… the comment by the noble and distinguished Aeschylus, who used to claim that his own tragedies were steaks cut from Homer’s great banquets’, transl. Olson 2008).

  Natalia Tsoumpra Homer get respect and renown if not by giving good instruction in the tactics, virtues, and weaponry of men?

In this passage Aeschylus explicitly aligns his poetic agenda with Homer: the educative value of his plays consists in the promotion of military arts and virtues. Particular attention should be paid to the recurrent theme of anger in the representation of Aeschylus throughout the competition: Aeschylus constantly displays an angry disposition while the warriors in his creations are also full of anger (856–7, 922, 928, 992–9, 1007, 1020). The portrayal of Aeschylus as angry and loud has been thought by one scholar to evoke the comic stereotype of demagogues, as exemplified by the Paphlagonian in Knights.33 I would be more inclined, though, to place the anger of Aeschylus in a Homeric context: anger is the central theme of the Iliad, with the first line of the epic famously announcing the μῆνις of Achilles as its subject. Many other heroes in the Iliad experience attacks of anger, such as Agamemnon, Diomedes, Priam and Paris. Anger permeates the divine sphere as well. As Harris (2001, 136–7) notes, the gods’ frequent outbursts of anger in the epic reflects the way that very powerful beings were expected to behave. In an honour-conscious world it seems entirely natural that the heroes should be irascible, and that the greatest hero should be the most irascible. Aeschylus’ anger in Frogs associates him with the heroic world of Homer and places him firmly in the manly sphere of warfare. He steadfastly denies any links with the world of women and romantic themes (1044). By contrast, Euripides seems to operate in the domestic sphere which is considered the domain of women. If Aeschylus opts for mighty warriors and fights in the battlefield, in Euripides’ plays, as represented by Aristophanes, the only fights to take place are situated within the household and involve lost pieces of crockery, broken plates, and half-eaten food (971–88).34 His idle chatter leads young men away from the gymnasia and makes them soft chatterboxes (1069– 71), all womanlike qualities. Euripides suffers further emasculation by the reference to his wife’s infidelity, who followed the example of many of his tragic heroines. Aeschylus and Dionysus are quick to point out the irony (1045–9). According to Lada-Richards (1999, 261–4), Euripides is symbolically transformed into a woman, as cuckoldry has a feminising effect in the eyes of the community, where male honour depends

 33 Scharffenberger 2007; hinted at also by Heiden 1991. 34 Dionysus (980–8) trivialises Euripides’ statement that he taught the Athenians good house management by taking it down to the level of the housekeeper, and not the householder, thus associating Euripides even more strongly with the female domain.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

upon the behaviour of the women. Brandes (1982, 230) notes that ‘in the Mediterranean code of sexual honour a wife’s infidelity can deprive her husband of his masculinity and even go so far as to convert him symbolically into a member of her own sex’. This may be rather a stretch; but, by being implicated in the feminine discourse of the household Euripides verges upon femininity. Euripides’ most spectacular failure in exhibiting male potency occurs in the ληκύθιον-scene. Many interpretations have been put forward about the ‘little oil flask’ of Euripides,35 but I would like to focus on the sexual implications it may carry. By means of the double entendre in ληκύθιον, Aeschylus succeeds in emasculating, one by one, Euripides’ male heroes and, by extension, the tragedian himself. The words λήκυθος and ληκύθιον suggest ληκᾶν, a slang word for sexual intercourse, while ληκώ denotes the sexual organ.36 According to Dover’s rather graphic description, one common type of λήκυθος looks remarkably like a penis, and the use to which a λήκυθος was normally put meant that it dispensed small quantities of thick fluid. Thus Euripides’ loss of his little oil flask may imply his inability to sustain an erection. This joke, as Whitman (1969, 111–12) notes, should be connected with Dionysus’ preference for a γόνιμος poet, and therefore suggests that Euripides is to be demoted to the ranks of the young poets who have lost their potency. Dionysus seems to be particularly annoyed with the reference to his name in connection with the ληκύθιον-joke (1211–14). Indeed, during the agōn, while it becomes clear that Euripides cannot perform the role of the manly lover, Dionysus directs his mockery against people who are reminiscent of his earlier effeminacy and passivity. In lines 1036–8 he is making fun of the clumsy Pantacles who is not able to fasten his helmet properly, while in lines 1089–97 his object of ridicule is a runner whose puffing, panting, and breaking wind remind us of Dionysus’ earlier toil while rowing. Thus Dionysus takes a distance from his earlier behaviour and draws closer to Aeschylus. The appearance of Euripides’ Muse may be suggestive in this respect. The meaning of Dionysus’ exclamation αὕτη ποθ᾿ ἡ Μοῦσ᾿ οὐκ ἐλεσβίαζεν, οὔ (1308: ‘This Muse once, well, she never gave throat to a Lesbian tune!’) has been debated. It may suggest that the Muse cannot form part of the Lesbian tradition of great lyric poetry, as her music is not elegant and dignified.37 But there is a second layer to the joke: λεσβιάζω also means to perform fellatio,38 which indicates that  35 For a summary of the debate see Sommerstein 1996, 263–5. 36 Dover 1993b, 338–9. 37 Dover 1993b, 351–2; Sommerstein 1996, 274. 38 Henderson 1991, 183–4.

  Natalia Tsoumpra the Muse is so ugly that any man would refuse to have sex with her.39 Another interpretation has been proposed by Borthwick (1994): the allusion to the ‘songs of prostitutes and dance music’ (1301: πορνῳδιῶν, 1302: Καρικῶν αὐλημάτων, 1303: χορειῶν), followed by a joke about Cyrene (1328), a notorious and versatile prostitute, may lead us to infer that Aristophanes’ Muse was the ancient equivalent of a ‘go-go girl’, one of the dancers we see depicted on Athenian vases. In this light, Dionysus’ comment should be interpreted as ‘that muse is surely no lesbian’.40 The πούς which Dionysus is invited to contemplate at the end of the Muse’s dance41 could refer both to a metrical foot, but also the Muse’s foot, which she salaciously displays onstage. No matter which interpretation we choose to follow – the Muse is an attractive but extravagant young woman or an old, ugly one – the fact remains that Dionysus is invited to take a sexual interest in her, even if just to deride her for not being ‘fit for the job’. The agōn progresses to the weighing scales and then to the final round, which shifts the theme of the contest to politics, as the salvation of the city is now bound up with the continuation of the dramatic festivals (1417–21). It is not just tragedy anymore that is in need of a potent poet, but the city as well is in difficult labour (1423: ἡ πόλις γὰρ δυστοκεῖ) and yearns for a competent politician, like Alcibiades (1425: ποθεῖ μέν, ἐχθαίρει δέ, βούλεται δ᾿ ἔχειν, ‘She yearns for him, detests him, and wants to have him’). Significantly, Aeschylus appears to endorse Alcibiades (1431–2) – an individual, let us not forget, notorious for his hyper-sexual activity.42 In many ways Alcibiades comes very close to the persona of an Aristophanic hero, like Dicaeopolis in Acharnians, the Paphlagonian in Knights, and Peisetaerus in Birds.43 He is hubristic and extravagant, commits a number of private and public crimes,44 and yet he acts as the people’s champion and calls others enemies of the dēmos. Aeschylus’ (reluctant) endorsement of Alcibiades may

 39 Sommerstein (1996, 274) believes the Muse is supposed to be an old and decrepit woman. Dover (1993b, 351) leaves room for an ugly younger woman. 40 For this meaning of λεσβιάζειν cf. Anacr. fr. 358 PMG with Marcovich 1983. 41 Ran. 1323–4: – ὁρᾷς τὸν πόδα τοῦτον; – ὁρῶ. / – τί δαί; τοῦτον ὁρᾷς; – ὁρῶ (– ‘Notice that foot? – I do. / – And what about that one? – I do.’). Dover 1993b and Wilson 2007 give the first ὁρῶ to Euripides and the second to Dionysus, while Sommerstein 1996 believes that both questions, asked by Aeschylus, are addressed to Dionysus. Henderson 2002 gives the two replies to Euripides. 42 For Alcibiades’ transgression of sexual norms and the desire he inspired in the dēmos see Wohl 2002, 124–70. 43 This may be one of the reasons why Alcibiades was rarely satirised in comedy. 44 Cf. the perplexity about the dēmos’ attitude to Alcidiabes’ transgressions expressed in [Andocides], Against Alcibiades.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

be another indication of how Dionysus should vote: tragedy’s needs should be aligned with those of the city. Dionysus turns from the effeminate model of Euripides to the masculine one of Aeschylus, while he is able to identify the male element in himself: a virile, lion-like man is the answer.

Dionysus vs Pentheus In the last part of my chapter, I will attempt a brief comparative reading between Frogs and Bacchae. Most studies have focussed on the relationship between the tragic and the comic Dionysus in these plays,45 but the comparison I wish to pursue is that of Dionysus and Pentheus. A psychoanalytic reading of Bacchae shows that the play presents a son’s fantasy-solution to his Oedipal rivalry with his father, which ends with the affirmation of the reality principle, the impossibility of the infantile fantasies of a union with the mother.46 Pentheus strives – and fails – to reach sexual maturity. In the absence of the biological father Echion, the grandfather Cadmus functions as the paternal figure, but a gentle and rather subdued one, whom Pentheus mistreats and verbally abuses (253–4, 343–6).47 His hostility towards the maenads, who, led by Agave and her sisters, are surrogates for the desired mother, is mingled with sexual fascination. More accurately, his resentment of the women is based on his conviction that they perform lewd acts in the mountains with men (221–5), or with the stranger himself (236–8), who is a wrecker of marriage (354); rites in darkness surely indicate ‘funny business’ (487); the women are nesting like birds in the grip of love (957– 8). And yet the messenger reports that the women’s rites are chaste (686: σωφρόνως) and have nothing to do with Aphrodite (687–8), and stresses the invalidity of Pentheus’ statements (686: οὐχ ὡς σὺ φῄς, ‘Not, as you maintain’).48 Pentheus, however, cannot tolerate being disrespected by women (785–6: οὐ γὰρ ἀλλ᾿ ὑπερβάλλει τάδε, | εἰ πρὸς γυναικῶν πεισόμεσθ᾿ ἃ πάσχομεν, ‘No, it’s beyond all bearing if we endure what these women are doing to us!’; cf. 842); he threatens to sacrifice them (796) and calls for his armour (809), only to don a feminine dress in  45 See, for instance, Foley 1980. 46 For this interpretation I rely heavily on Segal 1978a, 1978b and 1997, 159–214. 47 Perhaps physically too: Pentheus’ outbursts (253–4: οὐκ ἀποτινάξεις κισσόν; οὐκ ἐλευθέραν | θύρσου μεθήσεις χεῖρ᾿, ἐμῆς μητρὸς πάτερ, ‘Shake off that ivy, grandfather, and free your hand of that wand!’; and 343: οὐ μὴ προσοίσεις χεῖρα, ‘Keep your hands to yourself’) are probably accompanied by the relevant gestures. 48 Transl. Kovacs 2003.

  Natalia Tsoumpra the end. He is eager to spy on the women, but prefers them immobilised (816: σιγῇ δ᾿ ὑπ᾿ ἐλάταις καθημένας, ‘sitting quietly under the fir trees’). Pentheus thus oscillates between an unhealthy interest in the maenads and attraction for the wonderful stranger. His fascination with Dionysus’ looks (453– 60) is heavily loaded with sexual tension and jealousy: he visualises the stranger’s blonde, scented locks (235), then threatens to put a stop to the tossing of the locks by cutting off the stranger’s head (235–41), while the first punishment he inflicts on him is to cut off his ‘delicate locks᾽ (493: ἁβρόν βόστρυχον). Eventually, the homosexual eroticism progresses to effeminacy: his initial reluctance to don a female dress gives way to persistent questioning about the attire (828–34), and later on a fussy concern with his costume and hair (925–38), and, in general, enthrallment with his feminine appearance. In Segal’s words, there is an unresolved tension ‘between delusions of phallic potency on the one hand and rejection of his masculinity in submission to the mother (dressing as a maenad) on the other hand’.49 Pentheus’ inability to confront and accept his full male sexuality takes the form of the regressive mode of voyeurism, through his fascination with spying on the maenads. This movement can be compared to the voyeurism of Dionysus in Frogs, when he spies on the chorus of the initiates. Yet the end of the heroes’ quest is very different: in Pentheus’ case the tension between sexual repression (which manifests itself in feminisation, concealment, and submission) and delusions of phallic potency is ‘resolved’ with his symbolical castration and actual dismemberment by his mother. Pentheus fails to reach sexual maturity and retreats back to a state of infancy, as he longs to be held in his mother’s arms (968–70). When his fantasies of reunion with the mother figure are acted out, he is led to his death.50 Conversely, Dionysus completes a successful transition to masculinity, experiences a symbolical rebirth, and leads the city to its revival.51 Both Pentheus in Bacchae and Dionysus in Frogs strive to reach sexual maturity, and the success or failure of this quest determines the fate of their respective cities: Dionysus’ identification with the male element in himself leads to the choice of the manly Aeschylus over the effeminate Euripides, and to the salvation of Athens (1418–21). By contrast, Pentheus’ failure to make the initiatory crossing to full maturity leads to the demise both of the royal house and  49 Segal 1978a, 140. 50 Segal 1978a, 140–1; 1997, 205. 51 Kay 1985 suggests that Frogs echoes the myth of the god’s descent to Hades to rescue his mother Semele: ‘If Dionysus cannot achieve sexual maturity as the masculine element, his attempted union with her will end in his own death’ (184). However, the mother figure does not seem to play any role in Frogs, so I would be reluctant to stretch the comparison here between Pentheus and Dionysus.

The Shifting Gender Identity of Dionysus in Aristophanes’ Frogs  

the city. While in Frogs Athens’ barrenness and difficult childbirth seem to be resolved at the end of the play, the closing image of Bacchae reeks of sterility: the two survivors, both past the age of childbirth, cannot regenerate new life. They can only commemorate a death as they put together Pentheus’ body for the last rites (1298–1300). In this respect, Dionysus may be considered as an inverted (and more successful) model of Pentheus, who is progressively deprived of every aspect of his masculine identity and, by failing miserably to reach sexual maturity, leads the city to its demise. * Dionysus’ growth into sexual maturity in Frogs is intrinsically linked to the salvation of the city and his recognition as the god of comedy primarily. Dionysus gradually divests himself of his effeminate ways and identifies with the masculine art of Aeschylus. Eventually he emerges as the typical male Aristophanic hero, who experiences sexual rejuvenation at the end of the play. As he exhibits signs of male potency, his bonds with comedy – a genre heavily prejudiced against effeminacy and homosexuals – are consolidated. Thus it becomes obvious that the resolution of Frogs must be achieved not only in literary-critical and political terms but also in sexual ones. It has been suggested that comedy is strangely absent from the agōn in this play. It is very much present, however, at the resolution of the play. If tragedy is to be associated with the feminine, as Zeitlin (1985 and 1996) has famously suggested, we could perhaps argue, in the light of our findings in Frogs and the contrast between the tragic model of Pentheus and the comic model of Dionysus, that comedy is a mimesis fundamentally masculine in its action. University of Glasgow [email protected]

Edith Hall

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth Despite its popularity throughout the Renaissance and Early Modern periods,1 Aristophanes’ Wealth is rarely staged today. But a 2016 production by Once More Theatre in Philadelphia received glowing reviews. The character whose name dominated them was the ‘outspoken and wayward’ Cario,2 played by ‘the brilliantly expressive Carlos A. Forbes’, who revealed the ancient slave’s ‘lively intelligence’.3 The impact that Cario made in this performance has encouraged me to reassess his presentation in Aristophanes’ comedy.4

Fig. 3: James Guckin as Chremylus and Carlos Forbes as Cario in Plutus, directed by Peggy Mecham for Once More Theatre, Philadelphia 2016. Photograph by Alexis Mayer.

In 1825, a translator of Wealth discussed Cario in these terms:5

 1 Hall 2007, 67–8. 2 Miller 2016. 3 Silva 2016. 4 For further readings on Cario see Fernández 2000; Tordoff 2012; Barrenechea 2018, 55, 82–91. 5 Carrington 1825, vii.

  Edith Hall … an impudent arch composition of mischief and playfulness, maliciousness and good humour, a kind of character that has always been a favourite on the stage from his own time to that of the renowned valet Leporello, though without the refinements which the example of modern polish and the improved state of civilisation have stamped upon the roguish attendant of the young Spanish debauchee. Independent of which, the characteristic vein that prevails in both these waiting gentlemen is the same.

This late Georgian classicist, Edmund Carrington, understood the importance of Cario’s role in Aristophanes’ Wealth as few have done subsequently. The comparison with Leporello in the Mozart/Da Ponte Don Giovanni (1787) is astute: one musicologist, noting that it is only at the time of the French Revolution that the ‘clever servant’ role in theatre and opera began to rival that of the aristocratic principals, points out the similarities between Xanthias in Frogs and Leporello.6 Yet Cario, whose role (unlike that of Xanthias) retains its prominence until 39 lines before the play ends, shares the characteristics identified in Leporello by the musicologist, but to a greater degree; he acts on his own initiative, is the star soloist in more than one scene, as ‘a healthily discontented servant’ who is nevertheless ‘forced to side with his master in moments of danger’; he is ‘hardboiled’, with ‘a very worldly and cynical outlook’.7 The sensitivity to the ‘impudent, arch’ Cario displayed by Carrington, a member of a famous Tory family embedded in the British imperial administration in both the Caribbean and India, might be expected. This classicist, during calls for parliamentary reform in the 1820s, recommended William Mitford’s History of Greece (1784–1810) as background reading.8 Mitford was regarded as an ultraconservative even by his contemporaries. He identified the Athenian democracy with the dangerous reforms suggested by contemporary suffrage campaigners.9 Carrington objects to several ‘uppity’ aspects of Cario’s characterisation in a tone reminiscent of the ‘Old Oligarch’s’ statement that in democratic Athens not only are the ‘wanton’ slaves indistinguishable from the free, but slaves do not stand aside for others in the street and may not be struck arbitrarily ([Xen.] Ath. Pol. 1.10). Carrington apologises for having retained (if ameliorated) the reference to Cario’s passing wind in the Asclepieion (see below; Carrington found he could not omit it because of ‘the length of the context connected with it’).10 He censures

 6 Loft 1946, 376. 7 Loft 1946, 383–4. 8 Carrington 1825, ix. 9 Turner 1981, 209; Hall 2007, 76–7; see also the chapter by Peter Swallow in this volume. 10 Carrington 1825, 62.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

Cario’s ‘malicious indifference’ to Hermes’ pleas to be allowed a household post.11 He omits a phrase of Cario’s because it is ‘a highly disrespectful and indelicate observation’.12 For all its class snobbery, however, Carrington’s response to Cario, like the recent Philadelphia performance, suggests that Cario, the cheekiest and most dominant slave in all ancient Greek comedy, deserves a reappraisal. Despite the acknowledgement of scholars ever since Victor Ehrenberg that he stands out alongside only Xanthias in Frogs as a slave in classical Greek drama,13 Cario has yet to find an appreciative scholarly champion. Not registering the instrumentality of Cario has a long pedigree. This is partly because many studies of Aristophanes overlook Wealth or keep discussion of it to a minimum.14 Editions of Wealth, at least since the mid-19th century, have apologised for its perceived inferiority: it is ‘the shortest and slightest of Aristophanes’ comedies, is devoid of political satire, and even contains traces (such as are not found elsewhere in the poet) of slovenly writing’, opined Arthur Sidgwick in 1872.15 But the neglect of Cario even within distinct studies of Wealth extends back to the authors of the four ancient hypotheses to the play. Three of them never mention him, including the ten-line hypothesis in iambics ascribed to Aristophanes of Byzantium.16 Only the first seems aware of Cario, but does not use his proper name: after a description of the action which concludes with the consecration of the cult of Plutus, and the statement ‘such is the argument of the piece’, the writer adds, ‘the servant (θεράπων) delivers the prologue, complaining that his master was unashamed to follow an old blind man’.17

 11 Carrington 1825, 99. 12 Carrington 1825, 108. 13 Ehrenberg 1974, 171. 14 E.g. Harriot 1986; Wealth does not even appear in the index of passages cited. The same goes for Sells 2019. An interesting exception is Church 1893, which ignores the (then still scandalous) Lysistrata and Thesmophoriazusae altogether, but which paraphrases Wealth (pp. 218–35) in a way that foregrounds Cario’s wit and agency. 15 Sidgwick 1872, ‘Preface’ (no page). 16 Chantry 2009, 202–3. 17 Chantry 2009, 200–1.

  Edith Hall Despite the recent interest in the representation of slaves in ancient Greek literature,18 Cario’s importance as dominant subaltern has not been fully appreciated, either. His name is an ethnonym,19 which appears on one mid-fourth-century comedy-related vase by the Paestan painter Asteas.20 Athenians did regular trade with places in Caria, and subjected Carians to the standard anti-barbarian rhetorical abuse that they also directed towards Thracians, Scythians, Lydians, Egyptians and Phoenicians.21 We learn rather more about Cario than about any other Aristophanic slave: he lost his freedom, apparently, because he had not paid some a small debt (147–8). As David points out, this means he cannot have been enslaved at Athens.22 Cario’s presentation may also provide unique information about the ‘missing link’ in the genealogy of slave characters between Old Comedy and the ‘dominating and resourceful slaves’ of New Comedy, such as Getas in Menander’s Dyskolos,23 although no slave even in (surviving) New Comedy remotely rivals Cario’s laughter-generating instrumentality. In her summary of the ‘Main trends of Middle Comedy’, Papachrysostomou notes the emergence of stock character types such as the hetaira and the parasite, while saying nothing about slave roles.24 Yet Olson persuasively argues, on the evidence of the fragments, that the ‘outspoken and occasionally disrespectful’ slaves represented in Aristophanes by Xanthias and Cario, ‘gradually become stock “Middle Comic” characters’.25 Most scholars still ignore not only Cario’s instrumentality in the action of the plot, name, background and contribution to the history of slavery in ancient literature, but also his dramatic and theatrical function. Zumbrunnen for example barely mentions him in a long, seven-page analysis of Wealth.26 However, almost as an afterthought, in the final section of his chapter on both Ecclesiazusae and Wealth, Zumbrunnen suddenly writes, ‘As the central role of Chremylus’s slave Cario suggests, other markers of social status matter less in Wealth than the

 18 E.g. Serghidou 2010; Alston/Hall/Proffitt 2011; Wrenhaven 2012; Akrigg/Tordoff 2013. 19 Tordoff 2013, 24–5. 20 Taranto 121613, illustrated in Trendall 1967, plate Vc. See Bosher 2013, 201–2. 21 Ehrenberg 1974, 118, 152; Long 1986. 22 David 1984, 16. 23 Dover 1972, 207. 24 Papachrysostomou 2008, 18–23. 25 Olson 2007, 131. He cites as examples Epicr. fr. 5, Antiphan. fr. 75, Amphis fr. 6, Alex. fr. 25, Ephipp. fr. 15. The canonical study of the ‘Middle Comic’ slave is Nesselrath 1990, 283–96. See also Akrigg 2013, 211–14. 26 Summed up at Zumbrunnen 2012, 117.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

shared fact of suffering under the misrule of Zeus’; his footnote refers to Dover’s Aristophanic Comedy.27 It was indeed Dover who first insisted at some length on the centrality of Cario’s role: there is an ‘almost even balance’ between him and Chremylus in the last third of the play, when they alternate as the individuals receiving the new arrivals at the household, ‘but up to that point Karion’s has been the heavier role’.28 Dover was most interested in whether the upgraded slave role in Wealth reflected real-world socio-economic shifts in early fourth-century Athens, speculating that, as comedy grew more decorous, ‘earthy’ elements such as violence, vulgarity, and sexuality were transferred to slave characters since the audience still enjoyed them but they were increasingly felt inappropriate to citizen characters.29 Yet, despite noting that Cario may foreshadow Getas’ setting up of the final scene of Dyskolos (the knockabout and musical sequence after the resolution of the main plot issues), even Dover does not attend to Cario’s role as chief instigator of laughter almost throughout the piece.30 Sommerstein certainly acknowledges this role (Cario supplies ‘much of such comic power as the play ever shows’;31 his part ‘demands a livelier and more versatile comedian’ than that of Chremylus; Cario’s actor may have been the protagonist).32 He notes that Cario speaks about a quarter of the total lines, as does Chremylus, but that Cario is on stage more than twice as long as anyone else, including Chremylus, and is far more important than Chremylus’ citizen associate, Blepsidemus.33 Sommerstein has also written an important article on the collaboration between Aristophanic citizens and their slaves in terms of effecting ambitious solutions to problems.34 However, even Sommerstein does not analyse systematically the way Cario controls the comic register and monopolises the punchlines. Others who have discussed Cario in depth remain few. They tend to assume a censorious tone reminiscent of the Georgian conservatives – not a comic writer’s viewpoint – although the criticism of Cario is now moral rather than political. Olson’s influential article, ‘Cario and the New World of Aristophanes’ Plutus’, for example, has no good word to say about Cario. He is ‘a thief’, ‘openly  27 Zumbrunnen 2012; Dover 1972, 204–8. 28 Dover 1972, 205. 29 Dover 1972, 207. 30 Dover 1972, 207. 31 Sommerstein 2001, 24. 32 Sommerstein 2001, 27. 33 Sommerstein 2001, 27, 160. 34 Sommerstein 2009, 137–54.

  Edith Hall resentful of his subordinate position as a slave’, ‘the first to resort to violence and abuse’ with Plutus; ‘presented as a glutton throughout the play’, ‘remains a βωμολόχος in the Asclepieion, and persists there in his devoted service to his own appetites’.35 Olson believes that there is ‘a decisive moment of crisis’ when Cario emerges from the house, his eyes irritated by smoke from Chremylus’ animal sacrifices (716–25). He ‘has thus suffered the same fate as the good-for-nothing demagogue Neocleides’, while ‘Chremylus remains the decent, honest citizen he has been from the start. Cario, on the other hand, undergoes a radical evolution, as his character as an insolent slave is decisively repudiated and changed’.36 Yet Olson goes on to undermine exactly this argument – that Cario undergoes a moral transformation – when he decides that he ‘remains in some ways a “typically slavish” character to the very end. He is still concerned above all else with food’ and ‘still endorses absolute selfishness’.37 Olson’s reading assumes the spectator at the Dionysia was assessing the characters in comedies primarily from a moral perspective, rather than a comic one. If we read the role of Cario in verbal detail from the perspective of a spectator wishing to be made to laugh, a comic dramaturge, a sketch-writer, a comic actor, a solo stand-up comedian, a performance studies specialist, or a discourse analyst, he emerges as by far the most significant – because by far the funniest – character in the play. Moral worth and consistency are neither here nor there. A few scholars, notably Jon Hesk and Nick Lowe, have urged us to retune our critical antennae when interpreting ancient comedy to reinstate the primacy of laughter generation.38 While some lines may be funny in ways to which we are no longer sensitive, and others may have been made amusing by any actor’s delivery, an analysis of a script’s obvious laughter-bids remains possible. Of the bids discernible in Wealth – jokes, puns, punchlines in sequences of dialogue, and physical stunts – Cario is given the overwhelming majority; the play as a comedy would in live performance undoubtedly stand or fall alone on his actor’s ability to cash out all these one-liners, gags and routines. Cario opens the play (and the parodos, and the messenger scene); the celebrated early fourth-century tragic actor Theodorus insisted that even canonical

 35 Olson 1989, 194–6. 36 Olson 1989, 197. 37 Olson 1989, 198. 38 Hesk 2000b and 2007b; Lowe 2007; Hall 2019; see also the essays in the first half of Swallow/Hall 2020.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

plays be rewritten so that his character delivered the prologue, because audiences adopted the prologist’s point of view (Arist. Pol. 1336b27–31).39 In fullblown paratragic style, Cario begins with a gnomic complaint (1–7):40 O Zeus and the gods, how hard it is to be the slave of a deranged master! Even if the slave gives excellent advice, if his owner does not follow it, the slave is compelled to share his hardships. Fortune doesn’t allow him control over his own body – that right belongs to the one who purchased him.

The possibility that a slave might be more intellectually competent than his master is the first proposal made to the spectators of the play, which invites them, programmatically, to pay close attention to the interactions between Cario and Chremylus and decide for themselves. This is perhaps the first great comic ‘double act’ in western literature; despite the definitive status gap, the two men often act in partnership to create humour in cooperation or mild antagonism, neither conforming fully to the role of straight man or funny man, although Cario usually gets the first and last laughs in their extended interchanges. This is interesting because Xanthias in Frogs, on the other hand, conforms more to the ‘straight man’ model in dialogue with the funny Dionysus.41 I suspect that Cario was also represented as tall and physically powerful; he is confident about his ability to overpower uncooperative interlocutors throughout (e.g. Plutus and the Informer), and his confidence is revealed by the stage action to be justified. After doubting the efficacy of Apollo’s oracle at Delphi in high tragic style, Cario deflates his own rhetoric by introducing the comic theme of slave-beating, reminding the audience yet again of the plight of slaves in terms of their masters’ right to punish them corporally: he will not stop asking why Chremylus is following the blind old man (21–7), CAR. CHR. CAR.


… since you can’t hit me when I’m wearing a suppliant wreath. You think? But I’ll tear off the wreath if you harass me, and it will hurt all the more. Rubbish. I won’t stop until you tell me who on earth this man is. I’m only asking out of consideration for your welfare. OK, I won’t hide it. I regard you as the most loyal and felonious of my slaves.

 39 Hall 2006, 50–1. 40 This and all the other translations are my own. 41 Hesk 2000b.

  Edith Hall In this first brief interchange we learn a great deal about the two men’s relationship. Cario speaks with boldness and lack of inhibition to his master. His master trusts him and respects his cleverness, which takes the form of an aptitude for crime. The two seem reciprocally to acknowledge that their best interests coincide and that their mutual welfare is best served by cooperation. In the next sequence, where they both address Plutus, it first looks as though Cario will play ‘hard cop’ to Chremylus’ ‘soft cop’. But as soon as Plutus responds aggressively to Chremylus, Chremylus realises that violence is indeed required to make the old man cooperate. The joke here is that Cario, cynically, saw what was needed to be done from the outset, whereas Chremylus, for all his high-mindedness about addressing the old man with civility, readily opts for the violent alternative when he feels personally threatened (56–71). Knowingness and cynicism are shown to be far more expedient than naïve civility. Knowingness is a helpful concept when it comes to understanding the relationship between actor and audience in many dramas. Knowingness is a stance which characterises individuals engaged in trying to control other people’s behaviour, whether to good or evil purpose, through positioning themselves as in possession of significant knowledge. The notion of dramatic ‘knowingness’ in the cultural-historical sphere is lucidly described by Peter Bailey in his brilliant analysis of the ideological workings of Victorian music-hall:42 The bourgeois man and wife […] were learning to savour the collusive but contained mischief of the performer’s address, in whose exchanges they too could register the competencies of knowing-ness. By the turn of the century, music-halls’ knowingness was fast becoming a second language for all classes, as music-hall itself became an agreeable national alter ego, a manageable low other.

In the nineteenth century, those who used the term ‘knowingness’ or its cognates in a tone of disparagement were invariably asserting a position of superiority in class, taste, and actual education: James Hardy Vaux can in 1812 speak of a thief who ‘affects a knowingness in his air and conversation’.43 But, in the music-hall, all classes could unite in adopting the knowing but manageable collective ‘alter ego’, despite (or perhaps on account of) this persona’s déclassé identity. As I have argued elsewhere, in such heroes as Dicaeopolis, Philocleon and Trygaeus, the ancient Athenians had similarly identified collective, citizen, pragmatic, realist, cynical ‘low others’ who were, however, extremely shrewd and knowledgeable;44  42 Bailey 1994, 167. 43 Vaux 1964, s.v. knowingness. 44 Hall 2013, 283.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

the difference in Wealth is that the dominant character fulfilling this function is not the citizen Chremylus, but Cario his slave. In the ensuing triangular discussion, Chremylus’ questions extract information from Plutus, but it is Cario’s interjections which extract the humour from the situation. Chremylus elicits the information that if Plutus could see, he would only visit virtuous people; Chremylus begs Plutus to believe that he is a good man, but Cario absurdly butts in, ‘By Zeus there is no other man more virtuous than I am!’ (105). The next obviously funny line is Cario’s comment on the god, ‘this man is a real misery-guts’ (118: ἅνθρωπος οὗτός ἐστιν ἄθλιος φύσει), which follows several lines of more serious dialogue in which Plutus has said that he would prefer to remain blind. Olson believes that Cario then ‘interrupts Chremylus’ catalogue of decent human occupations such as shoe-making, bronze-working and carpentry (162–4) in order to bring up disreputable activities such as mugging and burglary’ (165). This is true enough, and Cario’s bathos is intended to raise a laugh. But Olson does not see that Chremylus and Cario are here operating as a double act, sharing the laughs between them at Plutus’ expense; moreover, Chremylus has hardly eschewed ‘disreputable’ talk. He has already cited Corinthian prostitutes (149– 52) and subsequently cites people who make money by informing on adulterers (168). Master and slave egg each other on, with the slave slightly more responsible for the laughter-inducing bathetic triggers; the twenty-two line sequence that follow is arguably the best example of skilled writing for a comedy duo in all Aristophanes (170–92); the rapid antilabē into which it breaks down requires intense cooperation and precise comic timing. The two men exchange solemn claims that it is wealth that enriches the Persian King and allows the Athenian assembly to fulfil civic obligations, until Cario moves the content down one rung of the comic ladder by introducing a personal jibe at a politician, Pamphilus, to which Chremylus responds in kind (174–5). This encourages Cario to move down several more rungs at a leap, with a reference to another politician farting; a couple of lines later, Chremylus follows suit with a sexualised jibe about the plutocrat Philonides and his courtesan (177–9). But Chremylus suddenly comes to his senses, and realises that they are between them drifting away from the serious task of persuading Plutus in favour of silly jokes; when Cario opens a new line portentously with ‘The tower of Timotheus’, Chremylus breaks in with the first antilabē in the sequence, hoping the said tower will fall on top of the slave (180), for once appropriating the punchline. In the ensuing sequence Chremylus succeeds in maintaining a dignified level of

  Edith Hall references to high-flown things, such as love and honour, which wealth can confer, while Cario caps every single one with a bathetic reference to an everyday food item (188–92): CHR.


And [you, Plutus] are responsible for many other benefits, so nobody ever gets too much of you. They get a surfeit of everything else, of love … Bread. Music. Sweetmeats. Honours. Cakes. Battles. Figs. Ambition. Gruel. Military advancement. Lentil soup.

Much of the humour in this scene is therefore created out of the tension between the slave and master, who are simultaneously cooperating with one another in their attempts to win Plutus round, and also competing for control of the rhetorical register, Chremylus trying to elevate it and Cario to vitiate it. Cario is then sent off to the fields to summon Chremylus’ fellow peasantfarmers (223–6) and returns leading them. Some emphasis is given to the speed of his running by both Chremylus and the elderly chorus (222, 257–60); perhaps we see here early signs of the convention of the running slave that Konstan thinks in Menander was confined to much richer households than Chremylus’, and marked a wider status gap between master and slave.45 Be that as it may, the 36 lines of dialogue (253–89) between the returning Cario and the chorus reveal his (in this play, unique) ability to undercut tragically infused mock-solemnity by introducing savage bathos and contrast in his lexical registers (261–9): CAR.

Have I not been long explaining? It is you who do not hear. My master says that you will all find release from your bleak, disagreeable lives and live delightful ones instead. CHO. How will he succeed in what he says? CAR. O poor wretches, he has returned here with an old man – filthy hunchbacked pitiful shrivelled balding toothless. By heaven, he may even be circumcised.

 45 Konstan 2013.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

CHO. What you say is worth its weight in gold! Tell me again; no doubt you mean that he is bringing back a pile of money.

This interchange is typical of the way in which Cario takes the comic initiative. He apocalyptically announces that the farmers are about to have their miserable lives transformed, and yet, when they ask how, he describes the least likely individual in the world to be able to help them; the incongruity is stressed by the asyndetic adjectives (filthy hunchbacked pitiful shrivelled balding toothless) and the final suggestion that the monstrosity may even be circumcised – that is, a barbarian. But still this elderly chorus is so slow on the uptake that they hail Cario’s words as golden, no doubt eliciting an additional laugh from the audience who are already giggling at Cario’s devastating critique of the old man’s appearance. Cario then changes down a gear again, colluding with the audience in puncturing the chorus’ obtuse joy: actually, what he is bringing is not a pile of money but ‘a pile of old age’s decrepitudes’ (270). Finally, the chorusmen realise he is somehow mocking them, and threaten him physically, first with their walking-sticks and then with the stocks and fetters to which Cario, as a slave, could be subjected (271–6). Cario’s answer is brutal: they are so old they are near death. The implication is that he is so much physically stronger than they are that their threats are ludicrous. Cario has kept the chorus waiting for the truth of the situation for thirty lines, constituting several minutes’ dramatic action, and squeezed, at a minimum, three laughs out of the altercation. He is in charge intellectually, physically, and comically. When he finally explains that the old man is Plutus, he is given one more joke to deliver – that they will all be as rich as Midas, provided that they acquire asses’ ears (287). This may relate to the identity of sheep and goats which the chorusmen are about to assume – perhaps they put on furry animal ears or used their hands to suggest animal ears sticking out of their heads. Either way, the joke introduces one of the most fascinating choruses in ancient comedy, a parodos song-and-dance number all the better for being frustratingly but hilariously delayed by Cario’s thirty-line prevarication. Here, Chremylus’ household slave virtually turns into a dramatic author, stage director and star singing actor all at once, building a rapport with both chorus and audience unparalleled by any other character in the piece. Ancient and modern scholars alike have been fascinated by the work that is parodied in the first half of the parodos, Philoxenus’ Cyclops. They have noted its relationship with Odyssey parodies in comedies and in satyr plays, from Epicharmus onwards. They have wondered about the degree to which it prefigured the lovelorn Cyclops of Theocritus’ Idylls 6 and 11. They have remarked on the frequency of references to it, from Aristotle’s Poetics onwards (1448a16; see 815–24

  Edith Hall PMG). One or two have noticed that it is both discussed as a lyric composition (e.g. Ael. VH 12.44) and called a drama (schol. Ven. on Plut. 290ff. = PMG 819); one scholiast speaks of the Cyclops as an ‘actor’ introduced on the ‘stage’ (schol. Junt. on Plut. 296ff. = PMG 820) and others of Philoxenus as a tragedian46 – rather surprisingly, given that his dithyrambic Cyclops almost certainly contained comic elements even before being parodied.47 But we know so little about ancient lyricomimetic performances, which included at least some dithyrambs, that distinctions between nomenclatures become unhelpful. What such discussions prevent us from appreciating is the extraordinary opportunity the Cyclops parody offered the Cario-actor in performance terms. Cario needed to impersonate a citharode who was himself impersonating Polyphemus the Cyclops, in an episode where he drove his flocks out to pasture; Cario is singing to his lyre and strumming it vigorously as the probably onomatopoeic word θρεττανελό implies (290; PMG 819). Philoxenus had clearly built on the line in the Odyssey where Polyphemus whistles while he shepherds his flock (9.315). But simultaneously with strumming and singing, Cario is leading an animal dance in some hilarious manner, ‘lurching from side to side with both his legs’ (291–2). He tells his flock of youngsters to bleat repeatedly – the phrase ἐπαναβοῶντες | βληχώμενοι (292–3)48 offering any comic actor who delivers it an opportunity to make ridiculous noises and gestures himself – while adjuring the chorusmen to smell bad and extrude their penises (294–5), perhaps even self-fellate.49 In the second strophic pair Cario says that the chorusmen are now pigs, and impersonates another opponent of Odysseus associated with animals, Circe, as well as the pigs’ mother. But the Circe persona is itself a vehicle for another set of jokes about the rich man Philonides and his Corinthian courtesan, previously mentioned by Chremylus (179). Whatever the targets of the satire, and even though we do not know whether there was a poetic model underlying it, the ‘Circe’ lyric interchange allows the Cario-actor to lead the chorus in scatological and sexual clowning both verbal and physical. Transvestite buffoonery and pretending to be animals are two of the surest-fire tactics for eliciting laughter in the comic dramatist’s handbook. The comedy-rich feigned identities of both Cyclops and Circe are Cario’s idea; some critics read more serious undertones into Aristophanes’ choice of two supernatural beings in the Odyssey whom Odysseus

 46 Sutton 1983, 38–43. 47 Hordern 1999, 450. Farmer 2017, 215. 48 Here I follow Hall-Geldart, Coulon and Henderson. Wilson prints Bergk’s βληχωμένων. 49 Sommerstein 2001, 157.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

bests,50 but such earnestness misses the point of this flamboyant, hilarious parodos altogether. The next scene dominated by Cario is the equivalent of the tragic messenger scene, where he brings news of what has come to pass at the Asclepieion to Chremylus’ wife. In the fusion of elevated idiom and earthy image which he deploys so deftly, he hails the chorusmen in high tragic style: the first three words, ‘O [you] who greatly at the festival of Theseus’, suggest that he will be honouring them by a reference to pious participation in patriotic festivals for Theseus, the foundation hero of the Athenian democracy. But he does not. What they did at these festivals was dip morsels of bread in the gruel provided free for the poor (627–8). The indignity of this anti-climax does not prevent Cario from reverting vertiginously in the next line to the most high-flown rhetoric: ‘How fortunate you are, how blessed your good fortune, you and all who share your virtuous ways’. He tells the chorus the good news that Plutus has recovered his sight, launching the chorus into enthusiastic cries of celebration (637: ‘Your words make me joyful! Your words make me shout!’). His caustic response ‘It seems being joyful is the thing to do, regardless of whether it is voluntary’ perhaps implies that the chorus are shouting at a great volume, or physically trying to make him participate in their celebration (638). With the emergence of Chremylus’ wife from her house, impatient to hear the news like a tragic queen appearing to hear of her husband’s deeds away from home, Cario’s grip on the control of the comic agenda becomes even firmer. At her expense he extracts at least three more laughs before he begins the Asclepieion narrative proper. He achieves this by the tactic of delaying (of which he has shown himself a master in the interchange with the chorus before the sung parodos); the delay is instigated by the introduction of a distracting suggestion or turn of phrase (641–51): WIFE What is all this shouting? Is there good news? That’s what I’ve been desperately waiting for so long inside! CAR. Quick! quick, get some wine, mistress so you can have a drink too! You really love it! I bring you all benefits collectively. WIFE Where are they? CAR. In my words, as you’ll see shortly. WIFE Hurry up and get on with saying what you have to say! CAR. Listen, then; I am going to tell you everything from the feet to the head. WIFE Please don’t throw anything at my head!

 50 Especially Olson 1989.

  Edith Hall First, Cario bids for a laugh by requesting wine before he can speak, revealing the opportunism of the slave who is rarely in a position to make such a demand; he caps this with the comment (perhaps a knowing aside to the audience) that his mistress enjoys a drink, female proclivity to alcohol being a standing joke in Old Comedy. In both his next responses he simply plays for time, instead of putting her out of her misery; his strange phrase involving the ‘things’ he has to tell in the direction of the ‘head’ forces her into delaying the delivery of the actual news for one more interchange. Like the delaying tactics of the interchange before the parodos, this sequence is there simply for Cario to hold the stage, as Master of the Revels, controlling the speed at which the action and plot evolve and interspersing a series of laughs along the way. Cario’s long-awaited account of the overnight events at the Asclepieion is a sustained exercise in incongruity. The tragic style of the opening two utterances (653–7, 659–63, note especially the periphrastic ‘flame of Hephaestus’ for ‘fire’) and of much of the remainder is undercut by subject-matter (pilfering food, farting, impersonating a sanctuary snake) and above all by Cario’s personal perspective: cynical, knowing, irreverent, self-interested. Once Plutus had been ritually prepared for sleep, Cario with the others made a bed for himself out of leaves. Without avoiding an opportunity for establishing a joke that will run throughout this ‘messenger scene’, with a jibe at the politician Neocleides (665–6), his main narrative centres on a pot of porridge which an elderly female patient had brought with her for sustenance. Emboldened by the example of a priest whom he witnessed stealing food from the sacred table and altars, Cario decided to take the pot of porridge for himself. The old woman stretched out a hand to stop him, so the quick-thinking slave pretended to be the sacred snake, hissed and bit her (688–90). She then farted in terror, emitting a noxious smell, soon to be followed by the arrival of the god Asclepius and Cario’s ‘enormous fart’ (which he specifies was extremely amusing) after devouring the porridge makes him flatulent (693– 9). The important point in the narrative – the epiphany of the healing god – is therefore sandwiched between the account of the two farts which filled the air of the temple. The emphasis and timing, Karen Rosenbecker argues, imply that Cario’s fart is the pivotal moment in his account of the incubation when Plutus is cured. Although the two female divinities attending Asclepius, Iaso and Panacea, are embarrassed, ‘Cario’s fart is the direct precursor to the healing of Wealth and may even be the substance that sets the cure in motion. In describing his breech [sic] of decorum, Cario muses that Asclepius seems to accept this odiferous votive offering. The aroma did not bother the god in the least because, as a physician, he is used to tasting stool […] Asclepius’ “consumption” of Cario’s flatus does

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

what all the previous sacrifices could not: it unblocks the ritual process and prompts a god to act in a way that benefits the good folk of Athens’.51 Rhetorically speaking, Cario’s report also requires the vivid delivery of a description of Asclepius’ treatment of Neocleides’ eyes with a stinging ointment; Neocleides responded thus (722–5): CAR.

He screamed and bawled, sprang up and tried to escape. But the god laughed and said, ‘Stay seated there with your ointment on. That way I’ll keep you from perjuring yourself in meetings of the Assembly.’

This requires vocal dexterity, not only to suggest Neocleides’ howling, but actually to speak the words of the god (another jibe at Neocleides aimed at producing a laugh) in oratio recta. After a further joke about the stereotypical feminine bibulousness Cario assumes in Chremylus’ wife, towards the end of the dialogue he returns to the highflown diction of the opening lines (750–9) when describing the joy of the righteous poor who are joining the entourage of the newly sighted Plutus. This prompts Cario, once again, to act as director of the chorus (760–3); one and all they are to dance and leap and sing, since hunger is a thing of the past. Nobody will be saying to them when they go home, ‘there isn’t any barley in the bag’. While Chremylus delivers just one speech of six lines on his return with Plutus (782–7), Cario yet again sustains the role of chief audience informant, in 21 lines describing the new domestic utopia which the sighted resident Plutus has ushered in (802–22). The tone is joyous, but the humour derives, as so often with Cario, from the fusion of grandiloquence, echoing a tragedy (Sophocles’ Inachus)52 with increasingly bathetic subject-matter. The first visual images are of the type conventional in description of utopian households – overflowing food and wine containers, and plates turned into precious metals. But the list suddenly takes a bathetic comic downturn with the news that the slaves no longer need to wipe their bottoms with stones; now they use garlic leaves (817). The play’s problem – poverty – solved, the action now enters its final phase, with the customary series of individuals arriving to attempt to cash in on the solution’s benefits or to subvert them. Cario, once again, is the master of comic ceremonies, receiving first the Just Man and the Informer. In the interchange with the Just Man Cario is given all the laughs, his humour stemming from his cynical attitude: of course the man was financially ruined by his over-generosity to ‘friends’ in need; naturally they did not return the favour when he inevitably fell  51 Rosenbecker 2015, 90–1. 52 Bowie 1993, 282–3; Farmer 2017, 224–5.

  Edith Hall into penury himself (830–9). Cario then has the two jokes about the man’s wornout cloak and shoes, asking whether he had been initiated into the mysteries in such a beggarly cloak (845), and sarcastically saying that this clothing is a truly ‘delightful’ gift for the god (849). The Informer threatens Cario with torture by the wheel to extract a confession of his crimes, but Cario’s response, that it would be the Informer screaming with pain if he tried to do that (876), implies stage rough-housing, or at least Cario pointing out his own superior size. Cario humorously insults the Informer twice more in quick succession (891–2, 895), building up the comic momentum. When the rapid-fire altercation between the Just Man and the Informer stalls, because the latter will not hand over his cloak, Cario intervenes, and applies (as often) violence, stripping the Informer, replacing his fine cloak with the Just Man’s ragged one; he nails the Just Man’s shoes to the Informer’s head, probably driving a nail through the forehead of his mask, no doubt to enthusiastic cheers from the audience (926–58); Cario extracts the last laugh from the scene by scathingly commenting, when the Just Man suggests that the Informer try to get warm at the bath-house, as ragged men must, that the bath-house attendant would simply grab him by the testicles and evict him (955–6). Cario’s management of the entire altercation ends in him, on behalf of the Just Man, winning game, set and match, morally, physically, verbally and in terms of appropriating every single opportunity for laughter. In Cario’s last scene – his taming and domestication of Hermes – all the characteristics he has previously deployed are united in a bravura comic trouncing of a superior being. The scene starts with a laugh, through some comic misunderstanding between slave and god, or physical clowning, when Hermes knocks on the door (1097–1101). At first it seems as though Hermes seizes the comic initiative: he adopts tactics like Cario’s and nearly steals his thunder when he instructs him to call out all the household members, listing them in order of diminishing status, insultingly but also amusingly putting Cario way behind the other slaves, between the dog and the pig (1103–6). But Cario regains the initiative when he tells Hermes that, quite simply, the gods did not look after humans well enough to continue receiving sacrifices (1116). And he assumes the upper hand by responding to Hermes’ statement that he does not care personally about the other gods, but is motivated solely by self-interest, with the single word σωφρονεῖς (1119), ‘you are wise’. Cario had, briefly, seemed to be taking the moral high ground, but here breaks that temporary illusion by a swift return to his usual pragmatic, knowing, and cynical self.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

In the subsequent verbal rally, Cario asserts comic supremacy with a series of tart responses to Hermes’ complaints about his hunger. In the penultimate interchanges Cario uses untranslatable aural puns to create a crescendo of laughs that climax in the punchline (1128–33) where he offers Hermes the opposite of fine wine to slake his thirst (probably the contents of a chamber-pot):53 ΕΡ. ΚΑ. ΕΡ. ΚΑ. ΕΡ. ΚΑ.

οἴμοι δὲ κωλῆς, ἣν ἐγὼ κατήσθιον. ἀσκωλίαζ᾽ ἐνταῦθα πρὸς τὴν αἰθρίαν. σπλάγχνων τε θερμῶν ὧν ἐγὼ κατήσθιον. ὀδύνη σε περὶ τὰ σπλάγχν᾽ ἔοικέ τι στρέφειν. οἴμοι δὲ κύλικος ἴσον ἴσῳ κεκραμένης. ταύτην ἐπιπιὼν ἀποτρέχων οὐκ ἂν φθάνοις.


Woe for the thigh-roast I used to devour! Exercise your own thighs hopping on wineskins at outdoor festivals! Woe for the steaming innards I consumed! Your own innards seem to be having a funny turn. Woe for the wine I drank, mixed half-in-half with water! Drink this then and get lost!

Cario exploits the position of superiority he has gained by playing the ‘moral indignation’ card, pretending outrage at the very ideas of theft and desertion, while taking the opportunity to remind Hermes of the punishments he personally had suffered, as a slave, for stealing food (1334–50). He revels in Hermes’ position as petitioner, capping with a punning negative response the first four of the household roles the god proposes for himself, inspired by some of his cult titles. There is no need for a Hermes Strophaios, ‘turner’, because there is no need for the behaviour implied by metaphorical twisting and turning any more. There is no call for a Hermes Empolaios, nor Hermes Dolios, because the new wealth has rendered commerce and trickery obsolete. Since Plutus can see, nor is there any requirement for a guide, Hermes Hēgemonios (1153–62). The fifth role proposed is finally accepted, that of Hermes Enagōnios, Hermes god of competitions. Hermes proposes that nothing could be more appropriate for wealth than the conduct of competitions in music and athletics (1163: ποιεῖν ἀγῶνας μουσικοὺς καὶ γυμνικούς). But before the seam of humour opened up by the plurality of Hermes’ titles is exhausted, Cario rams home his verbal supremacy by concluding the scene, and his own spoken part in the play, with two obvious bids for laughter. He takes a swipe at jurors who try to register for service under different names to maximise their chances of being selected (1166–7). And  53 Rosenbecker 2015, 96.

  Edith Hall in his final joke he enlists Hermes as his own slave, giving him the unlovely task of washing animal entrails, and pointedly dismissing him with a new cult title: Hermes Diakonos, Hermes the Menial (1168–70). In installing Hermes Enagōnios, Cario comes close to alluding to the competitive context in which his own play was being performed, the dramatic competitions at the Athenian festival of Dionysus. Hermes Enagōnios is more typically associated with athletics competitions and those in music held at the Panathenaea, for example between rhapsodes. But on one hydria by the Pan Painter, dated to the decade between the Persian invasions, Hermes is portrayed in a Dionysiac context suggestive of the selection or celebration of male dancers in a Dionysiac chorus.54 Cario, who has of course used extensive paratragedy and starred in his own Dionysiac-dithyrambic performance-within-the-performance much earlier in the play, here welcomes Hermes, god of competition, into his own household, a gesture which might be read self-reflexively as the comic playwright’s bid to remind the audience that the play needed to be assessed competitively against the other comedies at the festival.55 Much earlier, Cario had delivered a line which seems even more theatrically self-conscious. After the coup de théâtre he pulled off in the parodos (a riot of animal noises, ludicrous dancing, scatology, transvestism, sexual obscenity, by-name attack on a contemporary and parody of Philoxenus), he orders the chorusmen to alter the tone of their performance (316–17): ἀλλ᾽ εἶά νυν τῶν σκωμμάτων ἀπαλλαγέντες ἤδη ὑμεῖς ἐπ᾽ ἄλλ᾽ εἶδος τρέπεσθ᾽ … Come on now, stop these jests and adopt another form.

Whether εἶδος here means ‘identity’ (i.e. pigs or peasants), ‘strategy of action’, or ‘poetic style’, the context requires that it offers a stark contrast with jesting behaviour – Cario, like a theatre director, orders the chorusmen to adopt a form or line of behaviour that is more serious. After stage-managing and starring in the parodic parodos, Cario is directing the level and type of comedy which the ensuing scene will offer. Let there be serious discussion; but, meanwhile, he personally shows his cynical and self-interested character by declaring that he is off to find something to eat, unbeknownst to his master (318–21).  54 Green 1995a, especially 81–4, with plate 1. The choral significance of the hydria, now in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg (B 201; St. 1538), was first appreciated by Schmidt 1967, 78–9. 55 See Farmer 2017, 213 on the references within Wealth to all generic elements of the festival programme.

In Praise of Cario, the Nonpareil Comic Slave of Aristophanes’ Wealth  

The Cario-actor needs to leave the stage because he must change costume and mask and transform himself into Penia, who looks like an Erinys from a tragedy (423). In the debate with Chremylus, Penia is responsible for delivering an economic analysis, which, as Angus Bowie argues, needs to be taken seriously, and which creates a link through the image of the Cyclops with Cario’s parodos; it explains why hard labour, and therefore slavery, remain unavoidable.56 The same actor who uses mirth to undermine the logic of slavery by showing his cleverness and psychological leadership ironically also plays the role of a tragic goddess who articulates, with precision logic, the necessity of slavery. Wealth is often discussed in conjunction with Plato’s Symposium, in which Poverty makes her other great appearance in classical Greek literature. Socrates relates how Diotima told him that Eros had been conceived when his mother, Poverty, laid with Resource, Poros, after the feast held by the gods to celebrate the birth of Aphrodite (203b–e). At the end of the Symposium, when only the tragedian Agathon and Aristophanes remain awake to drink with Socrates, Aristodemus recalls (223d) that Socrates ‘was pressing them to agree that the same man could have the knowledge needed to compose both comedy and tragedy – that the skilled tragedian could be a comedian as well’. In the roles of Cario and Penia, Aristophanes’ actor in his Wealth of 388 BCE handled substantial sequences of paratragedy, and a serious rhetorical agōn; but he must also have pulled off triumphantly what I hope I have shown here, by detailed analysis of Cario’s control of the laughter in his serial scenes, was one of the most varied and challenging comic roles in surviving ancient drama. King’s College London [email protected]

 56 Bowie 1993, 284–9. See also McGlew 1997.

Almut Fries

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides This chapter offers a systematic, if necessarily selective, study of the ways in which Aristophanic parody of Euripides can help to identify personal traits in the language of this most innovative and influential of the fifth-century tragedians. It deliberately focuses on vocabulary and turns of phrase, features which have never been methodically listed, and merely touches upon better-documented stylistic phenomena, such as Euripides’ tendency towards verbal repetition and his fondness for certain figures of speech (e.g. anadiplosis, oxymoron, paronomasia). The topic first occurred to me when I was preparing my commentary on the pseudo-Euripidean Rhesus.1 One of the tasks this entailed was to analyse the language and style of this very derivative poet, and I was not the first to notice that it is much easier to pinpoint ‘Aeschylean’ or ‘Sophoclean’ elements than ‘Euripidean’ ones.2 The reason is the well-known tendency of Euripides to bring his diction closer to ordinary speech by avoiding many of the rare, or indeed unique, poetic words and phrases of his predecessors, especially Aeschylus. Much of the literary humour in the agōn of Aristophanes’ Frogs already depends on this opposition.3 A complicating factor is the development towards a linguistic stock-in-trade in later fifth- and fourth-century tragedy. This ‘tragic koinē’, as Stevens (1965, 270) usefully called it, is hard to define because of the lack of sufficient textual witnesses beyond the extant plays and clearly-identified fragments of the ‘three great tragedians’.4 At the same time it is reasonably argued that Euripides’

 1 Fries 2014. The book is based on a doctoral dissertation supervised by Angus Bowie between 2004 and 2008. I am deeply grateful for everything he did for me then and has been to me since, and it is my pleasure to offer him this chapter as a small token of appreciation. For helpful comments I thank my co-editor Dimitrios Kanellakis, as well as Michael Silk, Oliver Taplin and Nigel Wilson. 2 See Ritchie 1964, 194. 3 E.g. Ar. Ran. 836–41, 900–4, 922–91. See also Arist. Rh. 1404b24–5, where it is claimed that Euripides was the first to introduce everyday language into tragedy and that he showed the way to others. The first statement is true only insofar as Euripides admitted more, and more varied, elements of ‘neutral’ or indeed colloquial speech into his idiom (see Collard 2018), the second is confirmed by Ran. 89–91 (quoted in n. 4) and numerous fragments of fourth-century tragedy. 4 For late-fifth-century tragedians writing in the manner of Euripides Stevens refers to Ar. Ran. 89– 91: οὔκουν ἕτερ᾽ ἔστ᾽ ἐνταῦθα μειρακύλλια | τραγῳδίας ποιοῦντα πλεῖν ἢ μύρια, | Εὐριπίδου πλεῖν ἢ

  Almut Fries language is much closer to the ‘tragic koinē’ than that of Aeschylus and Sophocles, who, to judge by the available evidence, were both highly individual stylists.5 How then can we escape circular argumentation and distinguish Euripides’ style from the universally tragic – and vice versa? The answer is: never entirely. But as Sansone (2013) observed, some guidance is provided by Aristophanes, who was familiar with a much larger corpus of dramatists and whose supreme talent for parodying tragedy, especially Euripides, was already recognised by his contemporary Cratinus (fr. 342):6 τίς δὲ σύ; κομψός τις ἔροιτο θεατής. ὑπολεπτολόγος, γνωμιδιώκτης, εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων ‘Who are you’, some clever spectator might ask. ‘A quibbler of words, a maker of maxims, an Aristophanic imitator of Euripides?’ (transl. Storey, adapted)

This interpretation of the unique comic verb εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζω is suggested by the early-Byzantine Plato scholion which transmits the fragment and almost certainly is of ancient origin (schol. Areth. (B) Pl. Ap. 19c):7

 σταδίῳ λαλίστερα; (‘Well, aren’t there absolutely myriads of other young lads here writing tragedies, whose verbal gush beats Euripides by miles?’, transl. Sommerstein, as all sub-sequent quotations from Aristophanes’ complete plays – occasionally adapted). Despite the comic hyperbole, this question contains an element of truth. A case in point is the debate over the attribution of the plays Pirithous, Rhadamanthys, Tennes and Sisyphus to Euripides or Critias, which goes back to antiquity and cannot be resolved by modern stylistic analysis of the fragments. On the ‘tragic koinē’ see further Kitto 1977, 318–19; Liapis 2012, lviii–lix; Fries 2014, 29–30. 5 Ritchie 1964, 194; cf. Stevens 1965, 270. 6 Kassel–Austin print no question mark at the end of the second verse because it is not clear whether it continues the first question or is a reply to it. Olson (2007, 77, 110) also dispenses with the stop after the first line, considering it more likely that ‘the adjectives in 2 represent a series of increasingly elaborate glosses on κομψός’ (110). But these adjectives, especially εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων, are better suited to a character in the play than a spectator. See the attestations of their cognates below. 7 Arethas (born ca. 850 and archbishop of Caesarea from ca. 902 until his death after 932) was one of greatest scholars of his time. His personal copy of (most of) Plato, now Oxford Bodleian Library MS Clarke 39, is amply annotated in his own hand. The ancient source(s) of several of his marginalia can be identified, but those of four very learned notes on the Apology, including the present one, remain unknown (Wilson 1983, 122). After Cratinus’ quip the scholion quotes Aristophanes’ ‘defence’ (fr. 488): χρῶμαι γὰρ αὐτοῦ τοῦ στόματος τῷ στρογγύλῳ, | τοὺς νοῦς δ᾽ ἀγοραίους ἧττον ἢ κεῖνος ποιῶ (‘I make use of his neat compact style, but the ideas I express in my poetry are less vulgar’).

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  

Ἀριστοφάνης ὁ κωμῳδοποιός […] ἐκωμῳδεῖτο δ᾽ ἐπὶ τῷ σκώπτειν μὲν Εὐριπίδην, μιμεῖσθαι δ᾽ αὐτόν. Κρατῖνος· τίς […] εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων. Aristophanes, the comic poet […] became the subject of comedy for making fun of Euripides, while at the same time imitating him. Cratinus: ‘Who […] Aristophanic imitator of Euripides?’

Further support for the explanation of the scholion comes from the AristophanicEuripidean vocabulary Cratinus employs in this couplet. The adjective κομψός (‘clever, smart’) is frequent in Euripides and repeatedly used by Aristophanes to characterise him.8 Likewise, ‘λεπτός in the intellectual sense [‘subtle, refined’] is never found in Aeschylus or Sophocles, but occurs three times in Euripides’: Med. 529 νοῦς λεπτός (3ia), 1081–2 λεπτοτέρων | μύθων (anap.), Eur. fr. 924.1 λεπτῶν … μύθων (anap.).9 This semantic range of the word(-field) is in fact not attested at all before the later fifth century, where it belongs to the growing disciplines of philosophy and literary criticism.10 Unsurprisingly, therefore, λεπτός and its cognates are common in Aristophanes’ Clouds and Frogs. For λεπτολογ- (‘speak subtly, quibble’) note Nub. 320 καὶ λεπτολογεῖν ἤδη ζητεῖ (Strepsiades’ soul ‘now longs to chop logic’), 1496 διαλεπτολογοῦμαι (Strepsiades again), Ran. 828 καταλεπτολογήσει (‘will quibble away’, of Euripides) and especially 876–7 λεπτολόγους ξυνετὰς φρένας … | ἀνδρῶν γνωμοτύπων (‘the astute subtlereasoning minds of men who mint new ideas’). This last passage also testifies to Aristophanes’ fondness for another ‘intellectualist’ catch-word of his day which Cratinus picked up on, namely γνώμη or its somewhat dismissive diminutive γνωμίδιον (whence γνωμιδιώκτης) in the sense ‘(little) new idea, maxim’ (e.g. Eq. 100, Nub. 321, Ar. fr. 727). Verbal parody at the level displayed by the Cratinus fragment speaks of deep familiarity with the author(s) in question and so constitutes a veiled compliment rather than serious professional criticism. The same is true of Aristophanes in relation to Euripides. If therefore we apply the above method of linguistic analysis to the utterances of the character Euripides in Aristophanes, as well as to other Euripidean paratragedy (excluding straightforward quotations and paraphrases), it will be possible to single out words and phrases that occur significantly more often in Euripides than in the rest of surviving tragedy, or are indeed confined to him. In some cases this may be an accident of transmission, but the collective evidence gives us good reason to trust Aristophanes’ sense of

 8 See below, pp. 247–8. 9 See Denniston 1927, 119. 10 Cf. e.g. Antiph. 3.8.2; Pl. Resp. 607c2 = Lyr. adesp. 987 (d) PMG; Denniston 1927, 119.

  Almut Fries style to have been just as acute here as, for example, in his creation of grandiloquent mock-Aeschylean compounds. The evidence has been arranged in three categories: (1) poetic words particularly favoured by Euripides; (2) words apparently invented or introduced into tragedy by Euripides; and (3) whole phrases or ‘verse formulae’. The second and third categories also include likely colloquialisms, which I accept as Euripidean, rather than ‘tragic koinē’, if they are not found elsewhere in tragedy or comedy.11 My main sources are Aristophanes’ Acharnians, Thesmophoriazusae and Frogs, all of which feature Euripides as a dramatic character.12 Of these the earliest play, Acharnians of 425, is least productive, presumably because Euripides does not play as large a role in it, and perhaps also because Aristophanes, at the beginning of his career, did not yet look back on as many Euripidean tragedies.13 In the latest play, Frogs of 405, all relevant material comes from the agōn between Aeschylus and Euripides (830–1413), and there the mature Aristophanes can be said to have added authority to his judgement by presenting two of the foremost tragedians trying to determine what is good tragic style. Within the three categories the words and phrases are discussed in the order that seemed most convenient. An asterisk marks expressions that always occupy the same verse position.

Poetic words particularly favoured by Euripides The poetic words which, to judge by their frequency in his dramas, Euripides was particularly fond of and which are confirmed as such by Aristophanes have little in common, except that five of them are attested in Ran. 1331–63, the splendid parody of an astrophic Euripidean solo aria. The singer is Aeschylus,

 11 On the difficulty of defining ‘colloquial expressions in Greek tragedy’ see Collard 2018, 15– 39 (of which 15–22 = Stevens 1976, 1–9). 12 Occasional support comes from the fragments of Aristophanes and other Old Comedy, but too little survives to be of systematic use. 13 By 425 Euripides had been active for thirty years, but Aristophanes (born ca. 450–445) probably only attended the theatre from the mid- to late 430s on. The same time frame will apply to his reading of tragedy, which seems to be a precondition of his detailed linguistic parodies (cf. Hadjimichael 2019, 180, also on the availability of Euripides’ dramas as reading texts). In any case it is likely that the success of Acharnians prompted Aristophanes to delve further into Euripidean parody.

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  

impersonating a working woman who laments the (supposed) theft of her cockerel. (a) The opening invocation of this song boasts two Euripidean favourites at once (1331): ὦ νυκτὸς κελαινοφαὴς ὄρφνα O black-lit darkness of night.

The unique κελαινοφαής belongs to a class of colour adjectives in which the suffix -φαής (literally ‘-gleaming’) barely retains any force. Many of them are first or only found in Euripidean lyrics: ἠλεκτροφαής, ‘amber-’ (Hipp. 741, hapax), μελαμφαής, ‘black-’ (Hel. 518–19 μελαμφαὲς … | δι᾽ ἔρεβος, earliest attestation; cf. Carc. II fr. 5.3), φοινικοφαής, ‘red-’ (Ion 162, earliest attestation) and, with some emphasis on the suffix, λευκοφαής, ‘white-’ (IA 1054, earliest attestation), χρυσοφαής, ‘gold-’ (Hipp. 1275, Hec. 636; first Lesb. fr. inc. auct. 23 Voigt).14 In both meaning and context Aristophanes’ κελαινοφαής comes closest to the oxymoronic μελαμφαής from Helen, a play he had already extensively parodied in Thesmophoriazusae. It is clear, therefore, that Aristophanes aimed not only at Euripides’ general liking for such adjectives, but also at the lengths to which he went in creating them. Secondly, ὄρφνη (‘darkness of night’) occurs six times in Euripides (Heracl. 857, HF 46, 353, Tro. 1073, IT 152, Ion 955) and seven times in Rhesus (42, 69, 570, 587, 678–9, 697, 774), but nowhere else in surviving tragedy, although Aeschylus has ὀρφναῖος (Ag. 21; cf. Eur. Supp. 994 (?), Or. 1225, Critias fr. 4.3–4). Again Aristophanes shows himself an acute observer of Euripides’ style by adopting ὄρφνη in the slightly pleonastic combination with νύξ. In this he exaggerates on IT 150–1 οἵαν ἰδόμαν ὄψιν ὀνείρων | νυκτὸς τᾶς ἐξῆλθ᾽ ὄρφνα (‘such a dream vision I saw in the night whose darkness has just departed’), which comes from an astrophic lament of Iphigenia for her lost brother Orestes (144–77, as part of the parodos). Her evil dream has an immediate equivalent in that of the singer at Ran. 1332–7.

 14 See Hense 1901, 389. At Hyps. fr. 752f.4 ]οφαῆ τιν᾽ αὐγάν the crucial first part of the adjective is lost, but αὐγάν suggests another colour term (cf. Hipp. 741 τὰς ἠλεκτροφαεῖς αὐγάς). By contrast, the hapax κεραυνοφαής at Tro. 1104 gives full meaning to -φαής (‘flashing like lightning’), as does παμφαής (‘all-shining’) in Med. 1251 and Tro. 548, the only adjective in -φαής also found in Aeschylus (Pers. 612) and Sophocles (Phil. 728).

  Almut Fries (b) In Greek poetic fashion this nightmare which the ‘black-gleaming darkness of night’ has sent is imagined as a living creature, a monster that has ‘come forth from obscure Hades’ (1333). It terrifies the singer with its physical attributes, including the way it looks at her (1336): φόνια φόνια δερκόμενον with murderous, murderous gaze.

Here φόνιος is paralleled fifty times in Euripides (and Rhes. 750) as opposed to seven times in Aeschylus (Pers. 81, Supp. 840, Cho. 312 (×2), 400, 836, Eum. 317) and three times in Sophocles (El. 99, Trach. 831, OC 1689). In addition, Aristophanes has doubled the adjective in the style of late-fifth-century tragic, and especially Euripidean, lyrics influenced by the New Music.15 Given that in the following line the nightmare is depicted as having big claws (1337), like the Sphinx in Eur. Phoen. 807–10 and 1025, it is possible that Aristophanes had a concrete model in Phoen. 1030–2 ἔφερες ἔφερες ἄχεα πατρίδι | φόνια· φόνιος ἐκ θεῶν | ὃς τάδ᾽ ἦν ὁ πράξας (‘You brought, brought upon the country woes murderous: murderous was the god who wrought this’).16 (c) When the singer discovers the absence of her cockerel, she immediately suspects one of her neighbours of having stolen it (1343): τὸν ἀλεκτρυόνα μου ξυναρπάσασα φρούδη Γλύκη My cockerel – Glyce has snatched it and made off with it!

With regard to φροῦδος (‘gone’), the statistics from tragedy are not quite so conclusive: thirty-six instances in fifteen plays of Euripides (and Rhes. 662, 743, 814, 865), a maximum of fifteen in ten plays of Sophocles,17 one in Aeschylus (Supp. 863) and two in post-classical tragedy (Moschio Trag. fr. 7.4, fr. tr. adesp. 620.8). However, the idea that the adjective was a recognisable favourite of

 15 See Dover 1993 on Ran. 1329–63 (p. 358). The Phrygian’s aria in Orestes (1369–1502) is particularly rich in such anadiploses. From genuine pieces of New Music cf. Timoth. Pers. fr. 791.76, 129 PMG = Hordern, Telest. fr. 805(a).1 PMG. 16 Sommerstein 1996 on Ran. 1337. For a similar polyptoton, however, note already Aesch. Cho. 312–13 ἀντὶ δὲ πληγῆς φονίας φονίαν | πληγὴν τινέτω (‘and for a bloody stroke let the payment be a bloody stroke’, transl. Sommerstein). 17 These include five fragmentary dramas: Soph. frr. 221.13; 314.13; 576.6; 949.2; 1131.1. The Sophoclean authorship of frr. 221 and 1131 is conjectural, while at 314.13 the text is heavily supplemented.

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  

Euripides is supported by the fact that Aristophanes had already put it into the mouth of Euripides’ comic alter ego at Ach. 470: φροῦδά μοι τὰ δράματα (‘My plays are gone!’).18 (d) Halfway through the monody, and before calling for help in a grandiose tragic manner, the singer identifies herself as a poor flax-spinning woman, who was busy preparing her merchandise before dawn (1348–9):19 λίνου μεστὸν ἄτρακτον εἱειειλίσσουσα χεροῖν wi-i-inding with my hands a spindle full of flax.

Aristophanes here repeats a verbal and musical joke from the preceding parody of a Euripidean choral ode: Ran. 1313–15 αἵ θ᾽ ὑπωρόφιοι κατὰ γωνίας | εἱειειειειειλίσσετε δακτύλοις φάλαγγες | ἱστότονα πηνίσματα (‘and ye spiders in the nooks under the roof who wi-i-i-i-i-ind with your fingers the loomstretched bobbinthread’). As Sommerstein (1996 on 1314) puts it, ‘[t]he verb ε(ἱ)λίσσειν ‘wind, twirl’ was something of a mannerism with Euripides, especially late in his life; in his surviving plays and fragments it occurs at least [forty] times, not counting derivatives and compounds, and only two of these instances (frr. 221 and 382) are from plays likely to have been produced before ca. 417.’ By contrast, the verb is absent from genuine Aeschylus (though note PV 138, 1085, 1092) and found only three times in Sophocles (Aj. 358, El. 746, Ant. 231). In both passages Aristophanes also parodies the prolongation of one syllable over two or more notes, which in tragedy at least seems to have been an innovation of the late fifth century, notably Euripides.20

 18 It is also interesting that φροῦδος appears in Eur. IT 155, three lines from the passage (150– 1) that ex hypothesi supplied Aristophanes with νυκτὸς … ὄρφνα at Ran. 1331 (above, p. 243). 19 This is a new reason why she was awake in the middle of the night, the bad dream and the cleansing ritual it required (1331–40) apparently forgotten. Likewise, the cockerel now seems to have absconded on its own accord (1352). These narrative inconsistencies are part of the parody. 20 Apart from the two Aristophanes passages, there is no contemporary evidence for this practice (on which see West 1992, 201–4). In the papyrus which preserves parts of Eur. Or. 338–44 with musical notation (P. Vindob. inv. G 2315 = P. Rainer 8029, ca. 200 BCE) ὡς is written ωως, with two notes above it (West 1992, 202, 284–5; cf. in general Pöhlmann/West 2001, 12–15). Whether or not the music is original to Euripides, the fact that in (other) Hellenistic musical fragments a syllable is never spread over more than three notes, suggests that Aristophanes exaggerated Euripides’ manner (as may prima facie be assumed).

  Almut Fries Leaving Frogs and the flax-spinner’s monody, two further words deserve to be mentioned in this category. (e) In Thesm. 889–90 Euripides asks Inlaw in full tragic fashion: τί δαὶ σὺ θάσσεις τάσδε τυμβήρεις ἕδρας φάρει καλυπτός, ὦ ξένη; Then, lady, why thus robe-veiled keepest thou Beside the tomb thy seat?

The two are parodying Euripides’ Helen, with Inlaw playing the titular heroine and Euripides pretending to be Menelaus (855–923). But the present couplet is not from Helen. The notoriously thin scholia of the Ravennas 429 (the only manuscript that transmits Thesmophoriazusae) do not identify a source, and while it cannot be ruled out that Aristophanes quoted the lines from some other tragedy, it seems more likely that he invented them.21 In that case he probably chose θάσσω (‘sit’) on purpose. The verb is securely attested twenty-one times in Euripides (and in Rhes. 509), but occurs only once in Sophocles (OT 161) and not safely at all in Aeschylus.22 Aristophanes had already used it paratragically in Vesp. 1482. (f) Again in Thesmophoriazusae Euripides twice within less than fifty lines employs the same term to describe the feminine beauty of Agathon (191–2) and the good looks Inlaw will possess once he is fully dressed up as a woman (233): σὺ δ᾽ (Agathon) … … εὐπρεπὴς ἰδεῖν You’ve … attractive looks. μὴ φροντίσῃς· ὡς εὐπρεπὴς φανεῖ πάνυ Don’t worry! You’re going to look really handsome.

The adjective εὐπρεπής, which can refer to external appearance (‘handsome, attractive’), moral propriety (‘decent, seemly’) or false pretences (‘specious’), is

 21 Radt has the verses as Aesch. Niobe fr. **157a, following Mette (1963, 46 n. 1) in attributing them to that play. But an allusion to Aeschylus is improbable in the Helen context. Rau (1967, 60) assumes paratragedy. 22 At Eur. Supp. 599, which is metrically problematic, Murray suggested θάσσει for the transmitted ταράσσει. In addition to Aesch. Niobe fr. **157a (see n. 22), the verb has been conjectured by Lobel at Aesch. Myrmidons fr. 132a 8.3 ] . ασσεις.

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  

less obviously poetic than the words discussed so far.23 It may be for this reason that it occurs more often in Euripides than in the other tragedians; he has thirteen cases (+ Rhes. 841) as against three in Aeschylus (Pers. 833, Ag. 616, Cho. 664) and one in Sophocles (fr. 871.7). Given the much larger number of plays and fragments extant for Euripides, the difference in proportion is relatively slight, but Aristophanes’ testimony probably counts for something.

Words apparently invented or introduced into tragedy by Euripides In Frogs Euripides accuses Aeschylus that in his plays he habitually uttered ‘a dozen oxhide words with crests and beetling brows, fearsome bogy-faced things that the audience had never heard of’ (924–6 … ῥήματ᾽ ἂν βόεια δώδεκ᾽ εἶπεν, | ὀφρῦς ἔχοντα καὶ λόφους, δείν᾽ ἄττα μορμορωπά, | ἄγνωτα τοῖς θεωμένοις). He himself, by contrast, put tragedy, suffering as it was from such verbal obesity, on a diet of ‘bite-sized phrases’ (942 ἐπυλλίοις) and ‘chatter-juice strained off from books’ (943 χυλὸν … στομυλμάτων ἀπὸ βιβλίων ἀπηθῶν). This is a comically exaggerated, yet accurate, account of the stylistic difference between the two tragedians, and it indirectly makes the point that Euripides too introduced new words into the tragic language. As might be expected, these tend to be more ordinary, at least at first sight, and we should be far less confident in our judgement if Aristophanes did not provide additional evidence. (a) κομψός: The adjective κομψός (‘clever, smart’, with the same semantic ambivalence as in English) and its opposite ἄκομψος (‘unrefined’) are attested eight times in Euripides (Cyc. 315, Hipp. 986, Supp. 426, Tro. 651, frr. 16.2, 188.5, 473.1, 757.831) and once in Rhesus (625); the verb κομψεύω (‘talk smartly, quibble’) occurs once each in Euripides (IA 333) and Sophocles (Ant. 324). Given the frequency of κομψός and its cognates in comedy and Plato, Collard has cautiously classed them as colloquial.24 If so, they are probably not of the lowest linguistic register.25  23 In prose e.g. Hdt. 1.60.1; Thuc. 2.44.1; 6.76.3. 24 Collard 2018, 37–8, 160–1 (~ 2005, 375–6). 25 This seems to be a fair deduction from Plato’s use of the word field in polite dialogue. It also probably explains the single Sophoclean case of κομψεύω. Ant. 324 κόμψευέ νυν τὴν δόξαν (‘You and your clever talk about opinions!’) is Creon’s final reply to the Guard in their first quarrel scene (223–331), which is rich in conversational expressions on both sides (Collard 2018, 203; cf. 211–12).

  Almut Fries It is thus a very appropriate word for Aristophanes to characterise ‘subtle’ Euripides. In Thesm. 93 Inlaw praises Euripides for his plan to let Agathon spy on the Thesmophoriae, disguised as a woman: τὸ πρᾶγμα κομψὸν καὶ σφόδρ᾽ ἐκ τοῦ σοῦ τρόπου (‘An elegant idea, that, and very much in your style’). In Ran. 967 Euripides himself declares the opportunistic politician Theramenes to be κομψός, and at Eq. 18 Nicias wonders how he can speak κομψευριπικῶς, ‘in a smart Euripidean way’. We also recall that in Cratin. fr. 342 it is ‘some clever spectator’ (κομψός τις … θεατής) who can detect the ‘Aristophanic imitator of Euripides’ (εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων).26 (b) μελῳδ-: As far as we can tell, Euripides was the first tragedian to employ μελῳδός (‘musical, melodious’); and together with Aristophanes he is the first author in whom we find words of this family at all. Unlike κομψός, however, he seems to have regarded μελῳδός as ‘high style’27 because all four genuine Euripidean instances – none from plays dated before 415 – are lyric (IT 1105, Hel. 1109, IA 1045, Hyps. fr. 752f.14). The Rhesus poet, on the other hand, uses both μελῳδός and μελῳδία in spoken verse, though each time with reference to a Muse (Rhes. 351–2, 393, 923). It is hardly surprising, therefore, that in Thesm. 99 Aristophanes has Euripides apply μελῳδέω to the ode Agathon is about to perform: σίγα· μελῳδεῖν δὴ παρασκευάζεται (‘Quiet now; he’s getting ready to sing a lyric’).28 Even more significantly perhaps in Ar. fr. 596.3 (from an unidentified play) μελῳδία refers to Euripides’ own lyrics. (c) κακορροθέω: The verb κακορροθέω (‘revile, abuse’) has practically no life outside Euripides and Euripidean paratragedy and may have been coined by him as a more poetic alternative to κακολογέω (e.g. Lys. 8.5, Isoc. 6.98). It is attested four times in Euripides (Alc. 707, Hipp. 340, frr. 661.29, 712). The last fragment comes from Ar. Ach. 576–7 ὦ Λάμαχ᾽, οὐ γὰρ οὗτος ἅνθρωπος πάλαι | ἅπασαν ἡμῶν τὴν πόλιν κακορροθεῖ (‘Lamachus, don’t you know that this man has for some time been openly vilifying our whole city?’), of which the second line is identified by a scholion as part of the extensive Telephus parody in that play.29 The verb also appears in Thesm. 896 ξένη, τίς ἡ γραῦς ἡ κακορροθοῦσά σε; (‘Lady, who is this crone who abuses thee?’), another paratragic trimeter spoken by  26 See above, pp. 240–1. 27 Austin/Olson 2004 on Ar. Thesm. 99. 28 This line is all but repeated from Av. 226 οὕποψ μελῳδεῖν αὖ παρασκευάζεται (‘The hoopoe’s getting ready to sing again’); cf. Av. 1381. Given that Birds was first performed in 414 and IT (the earliest Euripidean testimony for μελῳδός) probably in the same year (see Parker 2016, lxxvi– lxxx), the words must have been fashionable at the time. 29 Schol.R Ar. Ach. 577 κακορροθεῖ· κακῶς ἀγορεύει. καὶ τοῦτο ἐκ Τελέφου (‘He is vilifying: he is speaking ill of. This verse too comes from Telephus’).

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  

Euripides in the Helen parody,30 and in Lyc. Alex. 404. Like the Rhesus poet, Lycophron borrowed many unusual words from tragedy. (d) *ἐξώπιος: Given that ἐξώπιος (‘out of sight, outside’) is attested only three times in Euripides (Alc. 546, Med. 624, Supp. 1038), it looks even less like one of his favourite words than μελῳδός and κακορροθέω. But it is noteworthy that ἐξώπιος occurs nowhere else in classical literature, except in Euripides’ paratragic question at Thesm. 881 αὐτὸς δὲ Πρωτεὺς ἔνδον ἔστ᾽ ἢ ᾽ξώπιος; (‘Is Proteus himself within, or gone from the house?’)31 and Critylla’s repetition of the second verse-half at 884 ἔπειτ᾽ ἐρωτᾷς “ἔνδον ἔστ᾽ ἢ ᾽ξώπιος;” (‘… and then you ask “is he within or gone from home?”’). Aristophanes even reproduced the Euripidean restriction of the adjective to the end of an iambic trimeter.

Phrases or ‘verse formulae’ Euripides is well known to have been more repetitive in his language than either Aeschylus or Sophocles. This includes entire phrases, which often occupy fixed positions in the iambic trimeter, before or after the caesura, and thus come close to tragic ‘verse formulae’.32 It is surprising that this phenomenon is not usually cited as one aim of the lekythion-joke in Ar. Ran. 1198–1247. The passage deals with Euripides’ prologues, and the openings have been carefully selected by Aristophanes to accommodate the catchphrase … ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν (‘… he lost his oil-flask’) at the end of the third line at the latest.33 But it is probably legitimate to apply the jibe more widely to Euripides’ iambic trimeters. They admit everything – ‘it can be “bit of fleece” or “oil-flask” or “little bag”’, as Aeschylus puts it (Ran. 1203) – as long as it fits the metre. Many of these ‘verse formulae’ and set expressions were no doubt part of the developed ‘tragic koinē’. For example, the question τί δράσω; (‘What shall I do?’), preceded by οἴμοι or αἰαῖ, is common in Sophocles, Euripides and paratragedy (e.g. Soph. Aj. 809, Eur. Med. 1042, Ar. Thesm. 1128, 1216, Hermipp. fr. 13). Yet

 30 Cf. above, p. 246. 31 For its content and diction Austin/Olson (2004 ad loc.) compare Eur. Hel. 467 ποῦ δῆτ᾽ ἂν εἴη; πότερον ἐκτὸς ἢ ᾽ν δόμοις; (‘Where might he be? Outside or in the palace?’). 32 See Ritchie 1964, 221–5 for lists from Hippolytus and Bacchae and, more generally, Prato 1978. 33 See Sommerstein 1996 on Ran. 1198–1247 (p. 264).

  Almut Fries others may, at least in the later fifth century, have been perceived as Euripidean, as their distribution in Aristophanes suggests. Three ‘formulae’, which are tied either to the beginning or to the end of the iambic trimeter, stand out: (a) *ἀλλ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽…: As an adversative answer ἀλλ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽… (‘No, not at all …’) is found four times in Euripides (Cyc. 688, El. 577, Hel. 2131, Or. 1109). Twice the same words introduce other types of statement: Supp. 1099 ἀλλ’ οὐκέτ’ ἔστιν … (‘But she is no more …’), Ion 1287 ἀλλ’ οὐκέτ’ ἦσθα Λοξίου … (‘But you no longer belonged to Loxias …’). In the first, ‘formulaic’, function the juncture also occurs in Ar. Ach. 470–2 (471): ΕΥΡ. ΔΙΚ.

ἀπολεῖς μ᾽. ἰδού σοι. φροῦδά μοι τὰ δράματα. ἀλλ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽ (sc. ἀπολῶ σε), ἀλλ᾽ ἄπειμι. καὶ γάρ εἰμ᾽ ἄγαν ὀχληρός, οὐ δοκῶν με κοιράνους στυγεῖν.


You’ll be the death of me. Here you are. My plays are gone! No, not at all. But I’m going. I’m too much of a nuisance – ‘for ne’er thought I the kings did hate me so’.

The Euripidean nature of 472 – the scholia identify it as adapted from Oeneus (fr. 568) or Telephus34 – and the fact that Dicaeopolis’ language generally becomes more Euripidean during his conversation with the tragedian (407–79) suggest that ἀλλ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽… here is part of the parody, although all six tragic instances probably postdate Acharnians. But it is conceivable that Euripides had already used the expression in earlier plays. (b) *⏒ ὦ φίλη παῖ …: Another Euripidean verse opening is ⏒ ὦ φίλη παῖ … (‘… dear child …’), preceded by a long or short monosyllable (Hipp. 288 ἄγ’, ὦ φίλη παῖ …, Hipp. 473, Tro. 697 ἀλλ’, ὦ φίλη παῖ …). In the parody of Euripides’ Andromeda in Thesmophoriazusae (1015–1126), Euripides playing Echo greets Inlaw as Andromeda (1056–7): χαῖρ᾽, ὦ φίλη παῖ, τὸν δὲ πατέρα Κηφέα ὅς σ᾽ ἐξέθηκεν, ἀπολέσειαν οἱ θεοί. Greeting, dear child; and may the gods destroy Thy father Cepheus, who exposed thee thus.  34 Schol. Ar. Ach. 472 τοῦτο πεπαρῴδηται ἀσήμως ἐξ Οἰνέως Εὐριπίδου. ὁ δὲ Σύμμαχος καὶ ἐκ Τηλέφου φησὶν αὐτό (‘This verse is an obscure parody from Euripides’ Oeneus. But Symmachus says that it is also from Telephus’). The attribution to Telephus is perhaps more likely, given the pervasive parody of that play in Acharnians. But in view of Symmachus’ καί (‘also’), it is possible that a similar verse appeared in Oeneus too (Olson 2002 on Ach. 471–2).

Evidence from Aristophanes for the Language and Style of Euripides  

There is no indication in the scholia that this couplet is original to Andromeda, rather than a paratragic invention of Aristophanes, although given the sparseness of the notes in the Ravennas the possibility remains.35 (c) *… (κ)οὐκ ἄλλως λέγω: At the end of the iambic trimeter the strongly affirmative … (κ)οὐκ ἄλλως λέγω (‘I do not deny it’) is found five times in Euripides (Hec. 302, El. 226, 1035, Hel. 1106, Or. 709) and twice in Rhesus (164, 271). It is a variable ‘formula’ because El. 226 actually features the second person future … οὐχ ἄλλως ἐρεῖς, while the first person future already occurs in Aesch. Sept. 490 … οὐκ ἄλλως ἐρῶ. It is thus doubly significant that Ar. Ran. 1140 … οὐκ ἄλλως λέγω marks one of the rare occasions in the play on which Aeschylus is forced to agree with Euripides. The final two expressions to be discussed are not confined to a specific verse position. (d) τί (…) δράσας: Euripides is the only extant tragedian who used the participial question-tag τί δράσας (…); or, more colloquially, τί χρῆμα δράσας (…); (literally ‘doing / having done what (…)?’).36 There are eight instances in his surviving plays and fragments (Med. 693, HF 540, 1136, 1187, Ion 343, 1020, Hel. 782, fr. 602.1) and three further cases of δράσας preceded or followed by indefinite τι as its object (Supp. 40, HF 187, Or. 1164). Aristophanes corroborates the Euripidean character of these phrases by giving them to Euripides three times in Frogs: 1019 καὶ τί σὺ δράσας οὕτως αὐτοὺς γενναίους ἐξεδίδαξας; (‘And what did you do to teach them to be so very “noble”?’), 1062 τί δράσας; and 1064 τοῦτ᾽ οὖν ἔβλαψα τι δράσας; (‘So did I do any harm by doing that?’). We may detect a touch of linguistic humour in the last example. There the verse end only looks like the idiom in question, since τοῦτ᾽ is the object of δράσας, and τι belongs to ἔβλαψα. (e) φόβος μ᾽ ἔχει (vel sim.): Euripides was especially fond of paraphrasing a verb of feeling by way of its abstract noun and ἔχω (‘I am gripped by x’). Instances are both more numerous and more varied than in Aeschylus and Sophocles. In addition to φόβος μ᾽ ἔχει, which is common to all three tragedians (and Rhesus),37 we find, for example, αἰδώς μ᾽ ἔχει (Hec. 970, Or. 460 (~ 101), Bacch. 828; also Aesch. fr. 132c.12), ἔρως μ᾽ ἔχει (Phoen. 622; cf. Soph. fr. 953.1), πόθος μ᾽ ἔχει (Ion 572) and ἀφασία μ᾽ ἔχει (HF 515, IA 837).38 The last phrase was taken over by

 35 Cf. above, p. 246. 36 On the colloquial nature of τί χρῆμα (used pleonastically for τί) see Collard 2018, 60. 37 Aesch. Supp. 379; Ag. 1243; Soph. fr. 314.278 θαῦμα καὶ φόβος μ᾽ ἔχει; Eur. Med. [356]; Or. 1255; Hyps. fr. 759a.1597; Rhes. 722; cf. Aesch. Supp. 736 περίφοβόν μ’ ἔχει τάρβος; Soph. OC 652 ὄκνος σ’ ἔχει. 38 See further Kannicht 1969 on Eur. Hel. 558.

  Almut Fries Aristophanes. At Thesm. 904 Euripides in his role as Menelaus is surprised at the sight of Inlaw unveiling himself as Helen: τουτὶ τί ἐστιν; ἀφασία τίς τοί μ᾽ ἔχει. What can this be? I am gripped by speechlessness.

The line is a very loose adaptation of Eur. Hel. 548–9 ὡς δέμας δείξασα σόν | ἔκπληξιν ἡμῖν ἀφασίαν τε προστίθης (‘By revealing yourself to me, you have astonished me and made me speechless’), and it is noteworthy that Aristophanes has, as it were, hyper-Euripidised the expression.39 * What can we conclude from these observations? Two things. First, the diction of Euripides was more idiosyncratic than is often assumed. Aristophanes was able to characterise him by language in the same way as Aeschylus, and he could expect at least the more educated and/or theatrically experienced members of the audience to recognise the allusion. Secondly, we get an even better impression of Aristophanes’ extraordinary feeling for style, down to the use of individual words. Despite his persistent mockery of Euripides, he must have been an admirer of sorts to honour him with parodies based on such detailed knowledge. On a broader level, this type of investigation allows us, within limits, to distinguish between the Euripidean and the developed ‘tragic koinē’ and thus to unravel some of the very fabric of dramatic diction. It may be fruitful, for example, to apply the results of a broader examination than I have been able to conduct in this chapter as a linguistic yardstick to the tragica adespota. Many of these are likely to conceal fragments of Euripides, who by the middle of the fourth century had become by far the most popular of the classical tragedians and, to judge by the number of extant papyri, was copied more frequently than any other (although some caution is required here because of the increasing influence of Euripides on post-classical tragedy). Conversely, gaining a clearer idea of the ‘tragic koinē’ can help to identify the individual in the style of other dramatists, especially the better preserved ones of the fourth century. Much remains to be done in this field. University of Oxford [email protected]  39 Cf. Ar. Ran. 1331 ~ Eur. IT 151 (above, p. 243). It is tempting to include in this section Ar. Ach. 361 πάνυ γὰρ ἐμέ γε πόθος ὅ τι φρονεῖς ἔχει (‘I am consumed with desire to know what is in your mind’), but the chorus’ words have no connection with Euripides.

Oliver Taplin

Comic Vases and the First Spread of Greek Comedy into Italy It is not sufficiently appreciated what an extraordinary corpus of theatrical culture the comic vases add up to.1 Very few societies or periods in the whole history of theatre before the invention of photography have anything seriously comparable. From the period between about 410 and 330,2 we have at least 125 paintings on pottery from the Greek West3 – that is to say from Greek cities in Southern Italy and Sicily and from neighbouring indigenous areas – that purport to show scenes of comedy in performance. This means scenes that portray actors in costume and masks, often standing on stages, with doors, altars and all sorts of portable props. These used to be known as ‘phlyax vases’. This nomenclature was doubly misleading. Firstly, the actual phlyakes were a special kind of play mixing tragedy and comedy that dated from later than the vases.4 And secondly, ‘phlyax vases’ were believed to show an Italian tradition of farce independent of Athenian Old Comedy; but, as will be discussed below on pp. 260–1, it is now generally accepted that they reflect the Athenian type of old comedy, although the plays may have been locally devised. A leading reason why these comic vases have not fully received the attention they deserve is that the standard catalogue, namely Phlyax Vases, second edition by the great scholar of South Italian vase-painting, (Arthur) Dale Trendall (1909– 1995), is over 50 years old and has become damagingly dated in several respects.

 1 Some of the material in this chapter has been previously published in Taplin 2017, but much has been changed. It is a pleasure to offer this as a homage to Angus Bowie, who has been an exemplary colleague over many years, and whose contributions to the understanding of Greek Comedy have been so important. I thank the editors Almut Fries and Dimitrios Kanellakis for their constructive suggestions. I am especially indebted to Dr Federico Favi for providing the Appendix (pp. 264–6) on the permeation of the Greek language among the Iapygians of Apulia. He also suggested several material improvements. 2 All dates BCE. 3 We have some less distinct comic vases that were painted in Athens. These have been given renewed attention in Csapo 2010, 25–31 and 2014, 97–108. 4 On the proper Phlyakes see now Favi 2017.

  Oliver Taplin First and foremost, there are at least 30 vases, some of great interest, first published since 1967 to be added to Trendall’s tally of 135.5 Most of these came, however regrettably, in the wave of illegally excavated and exported pots in the 1970s and 80s. There are also serious shortcomings to Trendall’s ordering, which is by vase-shape in the alphabetical order of where they are now housed. This fails to reflect the fabric (place of production), even though Sicilian, Campanian and Paestan are quite distinct from the majority Apulian. It also obscures the chronological spread over some seven decades. Last but not least, Trendall includes single comic figures with no dramatic context mixed up alongside fully-fledged scenes with implicit narratives.6 Green (2012, 341) rightly distinguishes ‘scenes’ from ‘single figures’, while acknowledging that the distinction is not always certain. He arrives at a tally of 134 ‘scenes’ and 57 ‘single figures’. It is these comic scenes that are of appreciably greater interest to us, and which are the concern of this chapter. Some telling facts emerge once these various categories are taken into consideration. Some two-thirds of all our surviving comic vases from the West were painted in Apulia (or Lucania);7 and of those that have the particular – hence interesting – scenes at least three-quarters are Apulian. Furthermore, nearly all of those date from the first third of the fourth century; the great majority are kraters, wine-mixing vessels, and they mostly stand close to 35 cms. high, in other words a practicable size for use. I am homing in, then, on the approximately 80 Apulian vases, dating from between 400 and 360, which show specific comic scenes. The provenance of all too many is not known, especially those which were illegally excavated. Of those with known provenance a few were found elsewhere in southern Italy, but the great majority stayed within Apulia. Virtually all of those with known provenance had been buried in tombs: that is how they have survived. Quite a few were found, not surprisingly, at Taras (Taranto), the biggest, wealthiest and most cultured of all the Greek cities in South Italy. What is not so predictable is that a significant proportion of these vases, at least 14 of them, were found at sites in the northern, Adriatic part of Apulia, especially at the wealthy town at Ruvo (di Puglia), not far from Bari.8  5 Pictures and discussions are to be found in, among others, Trendall 1989; 1991; Taplin 1993; Hughes 2012. The most important tracking of these new finds has been contributed by J.R. Green in Green 1989; 1995b; 2008; 2012. Piqueux (forthcoming) will be an important addition. 6 He does, fortunately, separate off vases that show only masks. 7 Not an important distinction in this context. 8 The exceptional quantity of theatre-related art found at Ruvo has been brought out by Montanaro 2007; Biles/Thorn 2014; Robinson 2014b.

Comic Vases and the First Spread of Greek Comedy into Italy  

What has not been sufficiently confronted is that the culture of the inhabitants of these places, often known collectively as ‘Iapygians’, was in anthropological terms Italian, and not Greek; and their first language was Messapian.9 The Greek cities of Apulia and Lucania were strung along the southern coast; and there were, so far as we know, no Greek settlements on the northern coast. This brings us to the key question of this chapter: given that the owners of a significant number of these comic vases, and those who were buried with them, were not Greek, what did they make of their subject-matter?10 Possible answers stretch all the way between two far-separated extremes. One would be to suppose that the subject matter of the paintings meant very little to them, and that they were valued simply as prestigious objects to be admired but not examined. The other extreme would be to claim that the viewers fully recognised that these pictures showed scenes of theatre, and took further pleasure in recognising incidents from particular comic plays. Might they even have commissioned the particular decoration: ‘paint me the scene where …’? I shall open up the implications of what all this might mean by introducing two interesting vases from either end of the chronological spread as examples.11 First, a domestic scene, the ‘Milan Cake-Eaters’ (Fig. 4), the work of one of the finest painters, dated to not long after 400, and found at Ruvo in 1880.12 If this was to mean anything to viewers in Ruvo in the early fourth century, they would have to know the basic theatrical occasion that provides the explanation for the flat wooden platform and the ‘detached’ door on the left. No less essentially, they would have to know why the two male figures have such grotesque faces and bodies and – not least! – phalluses. To the uninitiated these features would appear weird, and even quite possibly gross. Provided the viewer knows that this is comic theatre, the picture is mildly amusing without knowing anything more than that. It is more entertaining if it is recognised that the tray is

 9 See the important appendix by Federico Favi on their language and the extent to which Greek was used among them. There are valuable new studies concerning these Italian peoples in Carpenter/Lynch/Robinson 2014b, especially Lombardo on Iapygians. 10 Some aspects of this question have been raised, particularly in Robinson 2004; Carpenter 2009; Csapo 2010, 51. The notable contribution by Robinson 2014b poses very much this same question at the start, but explores it primarily with reference to tragedy-related material. 11 The Cake-Eaters was also selected for Taplin 2017. The other one discussed there was the burlesque of the myth of the birth of Helen, found at Bari, where the giant egg on stage is remarkably like the situation in Cratinus, Nemesis fr. 115. 12 Trendall dubbed the painter the Choregos Painter after his publication of the Choregos Vase in 1992. Martine Denoyelle indentifies him with the Painter of the Birth of Dionysus: see Denoyelle/Iozzo 2009, 126–7, 132, and in Hart 2010, 111 n. 8.

  Oliver Taplin

Fig. 4: The Charis Vase (‘The Milan Cake Eaters’). Apulian bell‐krater, 400–380 BCE. Milan, Museo Civico Archeologico, AO.9.284. Reproduced by kind permission.

loaded with fancy finger-foods, and that the furtive figure on the right is in the act of filching one. That is about as far as we (in 2020) can get. The painter has, however, supplied all three figures with names, which would, no doubt, prompt further recollections of the comedy for anyone who had actually seen it. The old man has the citizen name of Philotimides; his uglified companion, probably his wife, has the beautiful name of Charis; and Xanthias is a common slave-name. So, for a complete appreciation, inaccessible to us, the viewer needs to have seen (or possibly read) the play in question, and to be able to read the names. It is notable that the Greek script is neat and clear, as it is in almost all of the Apulian fourth-century vase-paintings. This raises the interesting question, to be considered below and in the appendix, of whether some Iapygian people in northern Apulia knew Greek well, and were even literate in it.13

 13 The most extensive of these inscriptions are on the early (ca. 400) ‘New York Goose’ vase – colour pictures in Taplin 2007, fig. 5 on p. 13 and Hart 2010, no. 50 on p. 112. Montanaro (2007, 190) concludes from its previous owners that it was found at Ruvo. This is, however, such a special case that I shall not pursue it further here.

Comic Vases and the First Spread of Greek Comedy into Italy  

For the second example I take another intriguing vase, the ‘Bari Pipers’ (Fig. 5).14 This calyx-krater (not the more usual bell-krater) dates to relatively late in the series, the 360s. It is in the collection of the Malaguzzi Valeri family, which, when it was first published in 1969, was in Bari, though it has now been moved to Rome. It seems likely that it was found in northern Apulia.15

Fig. 5: ‘The Bari Pipers’. Apulian calyx-krater, 365–350 BCE. Rome: Malaguzzi-Valeri 52. Photo by Vincenzo Pirozzi. Reproduced by his kind permission.

It shows four figures on a stage which is rather higher and more ornate than those from earlier in the century. On the left is an old man, who has the characteristic mask, padding, rumpled tights, phallus etc. He is enjoying the scene, which is set in a sacred context (boukranion, altar), where two younger men with rather fancy cloaks and wreaths are dancing by an altar and playing on their auloi at the same

 14 Colour photo with brief discussion in Hart 2010, no. 55 on p.118. Roscino 2017 offers a full and well-informed discussion with photos; see also Giuliani 2017, 136. 15 Lo Porto (1979, 107) reports simply ‘from Apulia’. He offers various possible religious contexts for the scene.

  Oliver Taplin time. It is rare to find comic actors playing the auloi,16 and we have no others as ceremonial as this. Even more extraordinary is the fourth figure, crouched behind a tree (whether real or a stage prop is disputed): a real-life aulos-player, apparently female, playing a real-life instrument with the phorbeia. For anyone to appreciate this picture fully they would have, of course, to know that it is a scene of comic theatre, but they would also need to recognise (as we cannot) the occasion of the ceremonial dancing and piping. This would be greatly enhanced by being acquainted with the comedy in question. It is then a yet further sophistication to enjoy the metatheatrical allusion in revealing a ‘behind-the-scenes’ player who is supplying the sound which is supposed to be being made by the masked players. With these points in mind we return now to the big question: what did the owners of these comic vases make of their subject-matter? How far did they appreciate the particulars of what they saw? I suggest that we can start by ruling out the notion that the subject-matter of the paintings was of no interest to them whatsoever, and that they were purely concerned with the prestige of the object regardless of its decoration. The key point to realise is that, to the best of our knowledge, there had been no previous theatre of any sort in this part of the Greek world, let alone in the neighbouring Italian world. There was no previous tradition of actors impersonating characters in stories; no wearing of masks and costumes; no props, doors or stages. It is difficult for us to imagine a world before theatre, but that is evidently how it was; this was even the case in Athens until some time not long before 500. So a viewer who had never encountered the comic theatre at all would have been utterly bewildered – and quite possibly offended as well. If we imagine someone in that ‘innocent’ state, the stage, the door, masks, padding and the outsize phallus would all be weird and inexplicable; and the whole mode of narrative would have been largely bewildering as well. In other words, anyone who took the trouble to look at these comic vases, if they were to make any sense at all of the pictures on them and not to be completely baffled, must have encountered the comic theatre. What I am saying should become clearer if we turn briefly to the grander and more numerous vases that are associated with tragedy. These days it is generally

 16 Three are collected in Taplin 1993, 72–3 as numbers iii, iv and v.

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accepted that the inhabitants of both Greek and non-Greek Apulia greatly appreciated vase-paintings that are related to tragedy.17 It has, however, been much debated among scholars how their purchasers and viewers knew the tragedies. Was it from performances (as I have myself argued), or from reading, or from some form of solo retelling? Whatever the answer to that much-disputed question, the crucial point is that, in order to derive considerable interest and pleasure from the tragedy-related paintings, a viewer does not necessarily need ever to have seen the relevant play in a theatre – or even, indeed, to know what a theatre is. This is because the pots do not show plays as such: they show mythological scenes. These may well be enhanced and deepened by knowing the tragedy in question, but they can be appreciated to some considerable extent by someone who has never seen any performance of any tragedy, let alone the one in question. The viewer needs to know the tragic plot, but not necessarily its manifestation in the theatre. Clearly the situation with the comedy-related pots is very different. These do not just show stories or incidents: they show them explicitly in a theatrical setting, being enacted by actors in costume and masks, often standing on stages. So this is my first and most important proposal here: that both the Greeks of Magna Graecia, and at least some of the wealthier and more cultured Iapygians of northern Apulia, had already by the time of the early fourth century encountered Greek comedy. And a fortiori they had experienced theatre. And it seems only likely that those who had comic vases buried with them in the tomb had in life enjoyed the theatre. Their knowledge of Greek theatre was something to be proud of, even in death. A string of questions follows on from this claim. What sort of comedy had they seen? Who performed these comedies? Where did these performances take place? How much or how little did they understand the Greek? What sort of comedy? While there was a well-attested independent school of comic theatre in the Sicily of Epicharmus in the mid-fifth-century, there is no evidence for its having spread to mainland Italy.18 Also we have no idea what it looked like: it may have had masks, padded bodies, phalluses etc., but we have no good evidence for or against. Nor is there evidence that any independent kind

 17 While the quality and degree of their relationship to theatre and tragedy remains disputed, the basic case for some kind of significant relation has been established by, among others, Giuliani 1995; Todisco 2003; Taplin 2007; Carpenter 2014; see most recently Robinson 2014b; Giuliani 2017. 18 A case for more extensive influence from the Sicilian school of comedy is made by Dearden 2012.

  Oliver Taplin of comic performances had developed in Italy at this early period. So it is most likely that the kind of comedy to be seen on the vases reflects the kind that had come into being in Athens in the course of the fifth century: the masks, padding, phallus and characteristic props all match what we know of Athenian comedy of the period of Aristophanes.19 The vases reflect Attic-style comedy, then, although not necessarily comedies first produced in Athens.20 Until quite recently there was no positive evidence for the spread or the performance of comedies emanating from Athens as early as this.21 And there was no evidence of any kind for the reperformance of Aristophanes. That was all changed by the publication of the ‘Würzburg Telephus’ in 1980.22 It is now generally accepted that, however surprising this may seem, this vase from about the 380s directly reflects a scene in Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae. It is hard to see how this picture could have had any interest or amusement whatsoever for someone who did not know that particular play, or at least an adapted version of it. Furthermore, it is hardly conceivable that the vase-painter could have created this scene other than by having seen the play in performance. And viewers could not have interpreted the picture through reading or hearing about the play: they must surely have recognised the scene, if they recognised it at all, from having witnessed it in the theatre. Another indicator of connection with Athenian-style comedy is the Attic colouring of the written inscriptions on the vases. The ‘cake-eaters’, for example, has ΦΙΛΟΤΙΜΙΔΗΣ with an Η; and the ‘Choregos Vase’23 is inscribed doubly with

 19 The connection was anticipated by Webster 1948. For similar costumes etc. compare the Attic oenochoe with Heracles in a centaur-drawn chariot, dating from around 410, found at Cyrene and now in the Louvre: see Hart 2010, no. 52 on p. 114–15. An intriguing new Attic sherd with a comic actor has been recently found at Olympia: see Green 2014, 333 and fig. 13d. That important chapter is chiefly about terracotta figurines; cf. also Green 2012, 290–2. 20 Revermann (2006, 71–2) makes the interesting suggestion that Metagenes’ Thouriopersai (ca. 400), which we are told was not performed in Athens, was first produced at Thourioi. 21 Federico Favi points, however, to the possible relevance of Isocrates’ claim (8.14) that abusive comments about Athenian politicians by the comic poets had contributed to the city’s bad reputation abroad. 22 Würzburg H5697. Recent discussions include Austin/Olson 2004, lxxv–vii with frontispiece, and Denoyelle 2010, 109–10 with fig. 3.5. 23 Naples, Museo Nazionale 248778, formerly Getty Museum 96.AE.29 (provenance unknown). There is a wide-ranging discussion in Giuliani 2013, although he tends to downplay the way that acquaintance with performance is essential to basic understanding of the picture.

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ΧΟΡΗΓΟΣ.24 So it emerges that at least some of the comic plays performed in Magna Graecia, as reflected in the comic vases, were Athenian in origin. There may well also have been comedies composed by local playwrights, but it is likely that they were following the basic Athenian model of the genre. In any case, the important thing for this argument is that the plays were performed. Next, is there anything to be said about who performed these comedies? Again, there is no evidence of any independent Western Greek organisation or performance tradition except for that at Syracuse. It has only recently become recognised that it is very likely that as early as 400 there were professional travelling actors playing tragedy, and others playing comedy, in many parts of the Greek world.25 While there is a lack of direct testimony as early as this, there is good evidence that by the middle of the fourth century there must have been many competing actors around. As well as the ever-increasing celebrity of the leading actors, there is Demosthenes’ report that in 348 Philip of Macedon gathered together ‘all the performers’ or ‘all sorts of performers’ (πάντας τοὺς τεχνίτας συνήγαγεν) for a grand festival, and that they included Satyrus the comic actor.26 And there is the complaint in Plato’s Laws (659a–c) about the way that theatre competitions are decided in Sicily and Italy ‘these days’ (ὁ Σικελικός τε καὶ Ἰταλικὸς νόμος νῦν). For this to be the situation in the mid-century, the organisation of skēnikoi agōnes must have been gathering pace throughout the previous decades.27 So the most likely answer is that the performers were professional players who made a living by travelling from festival to festival throughout the Greek world. Many of these will have been Athenian, since that was the theatrical mecca, but the profession recruited from a wide range of places, and some of them were definitely from the Greek West, although they will also, of course, have performed more widely.28 Following this case for professional actors playing at festivals in the Greek West in the early fourth century, the next question has to be: where did these per-

 24 The Doric form ΧΟΡΑΓΟΣ was common in many parts of the Greek world, including presumably the Spartan-founded city of Taras. And if, as is most likely, the two chorēgoi are the financiers of theatrical choruses, then that fiscal institution of choregia also had strongly Athenian associations. See Wilson 2000 passim, especially 260–2; also Biles/Thorn 2014. 25 See Dearden 1999; Csapo 2004b; Hughes 2012, 12–16; Taplin 2012, 226ff. 26 Dem. 19.192–3; cf. Maloney 2014, especially 240–5. 27 See further, with special attention to Aristotle, Taplin 2019. 28 Two of the most celebrated were Archeas from Thourioi and Aristodemos from Metapontion.

  Oliver Taplin formances take place? There is a disappointing lack of direct textual or archaeological evidence for locations from before the mid-fourth century:29 but it is now widely recognised that most earlier theatres, including even that at Athens, were constructed of wood, and so have left little or no material trace. The answer is none the less obvious: the plays will have been performed above all in the wealthy and cultured Greek cities along the southern coast: Taras, Herakleia, Thourioi, Metapontion and Kroton. If it is accepted that the comic vases require the viewer to have encountered comedy in performance, then these are the places in Italy where we can be pretty confident that the Attic-style comedies were regularly played. This amounts, I hope, to a coherent account of how the Greeks in Magna Graecia were able to recognise and appreciate the sophisticated scene-specific comic vases. But what about the non-Greek viewers from northern Apulia? If we accept that the wealthy and cultured elites of places such as Ruvo and Brindisi had been to see comedies for themselves, and that they had not only seen them, but had appreciated them enough to enjoy pictorial representations at their banquets and/or funerals, then the most obvious answer to the question of where they had seen them must be: in those Greek cities along the southern coast. There are, however, two further possibilities that are worth considering as places where Italians from northern Apulia might have witnessed theatre.30 One is that, in view of their location on the north-east facing Adriatic coast, and in view of their known connections with Athens, they might have visited Athens themselves.31 While there is no direct evidence for Iapygians visiting Athens, there is enough evidence of a ‘special relationship’ to make such travel more than likely.32 Most conspicuously, Thucydides (7.33.4) tells how on their way to Sicily in 415 the Athenian fleet gathered some Iapygian troops when they called on the

 29 See the survey of evidence in Csapo/Wilson (2015, 339–42), who find that the earliest archaeological traces are those at Metapontion dating to around 330. 30 These possibilities have been opened up by, for example, Carpenter 2009, especially 271, 277–8; Taplin 2012, especially 247–50; Hughes 2012, 14. 31 Or they might have been to one of the flourishing ‘rural’ theatre festivals in Attica. It seems to me quite a plausible explanation of how the Pronomos Vase came to be in Ruvo that a citizen had brought it back from a visit to Athens. 32 The likelihood of this has been emphasised by Robinson 2004; Carpenter 2009; Robinson 2014b, especially 329.

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Messapian dynast Artas, and how they ‘renewed a long-standing friendship’ (ἀνανεωσάμενοί τινα παλαιὰν φιλίαν).33 The other hypothesis is that Greek actors might actually have played for nonGreek audiences in their own home towns. This is undeniably highly speculative because there is no evidence for it (so far as I am aware) apart from the abundance of theatre-related painted pottery found in this part of the world. While both the comic vases and the tragedy-related mythological compositions call for knowledge of particular plays, it is the comic vases which prove knowledge of actual performance. If these people, especially in Ruvo, were so obsessed with painted theatrical scenes, then is it not reasonable to speculate about whether they may have lavished some of their wealth on commissioning actors to put on shows for them? While these might have been organised through competitive events, it is more plausible to imagine that a single troupe was commissioned for one special occasion at a time. This all remains, however, highly conjectural.34 Greek actors, whether playing in Greek cities (and just possibly in non-Greek contexts) would, of course, have performed in Greek. This raises the question of whether, and to what extent, Iapygians and other ‘indigenous’ neighbours of the Greeks in southern Italy knew the Greek language. Were some of them even bilingual? This is a highly specialised subject, and I am most grateful to Dr Favi for supplying the Appendix below. It seems to emerge clearly from his survey that Greek was quite widely known and employed among the elites in these non-Greek societies in the fourth, third and second centuries. It is, therefore, not implausible to suppose that at least the more privileged people of northern Apulia would have understood the language of Greek comedy, and would have been able to appreciate the plays at quite a sophisticated level. This makes better sense of the atfirst-sight surprising proportion of the comic vases found in this part of the world, and also of the occasional occurrence on them of inscriptions in Greek. In conclusion, I hope at least to have made a case for believing that some of the non-Greek people of northern Apulia in the first third of the fourth century had seen and enjoyed Attic-style Greek comedies in live performance. If my argument is valid, then this is the earliest evidence we have for the spread of theatre

 33 See Hornblower 2008 ad loc. (pp. 606–7) with further material on pp. 5–6. It is worth adding that not long afterwards a comic poet Demetrius recalled this same friendly visit (with a pun on Artos and artos, loaf): this is fr. 1 K–A from Athenaeus 3.109a. 34 Even more conjecturally, did it never occur to anyone to mount similar performances in their own native language? Were there no South Italian precursors to Greek theatre in Latin at Rome? Robinson (2014b, 332) allows the same thought.

  Federico Favi from the Greek into the Italian world. Here are Italians appreciating Greek comedy, and even finding it appropriate to bury evocations of it with their dead, more than 100 years before the first plays in Latin were mounted at Rome.

Appendix: Evidence for the knowledge of Greek among the Iapygians (by Federico Favi) The Iapygian people of ancient Apulia shared the same language, customarily referred to as Messapic.35 The Iapygians’ relationship with Magna Graecia and mainland Greece was intense. There is substantial evidence for a mutual acculturation, and, despite the fact that the surviving epigraphic material from ancient Apulia is scanty, there is a very reasonable case for believing that there was some degree of Greek-Messapic diglossia. Arguably, bilingualism36 should be given serious consideration as well.37 A number of inscriptions testify to the use of Greek among the Iapygians in both official and private texts.38 The evidence for the official use consists of two fifth-century honorific bronze caducei39 and many coin inscriptions issued by Iapygian communities.40 It appears that Greek was the language used in supraregional and international diplomacy, and that the Iapygian communities took pride in considering themselves, and presenting themselves to the outside world, as virtually Greek, or at the very least as Hellenised. The evidence for the use of  35 I am very grateful to Professor Oliver Taplin for inviting me to contribute this appendix and for his helpful advice during its preparation. I am also very glad to participate in the celebration of the honorand. De Simone 2018 provides a very useful survey of Messapic. The standard edition of Messapic inscriptions is de Simone/Marchesini 2002, Monumenta linguae Messapicae (henceforth MLM); see Marchesini 2015 for later findings. All dates are BCE. 36 By ‘bilingualism’ one refers to the use of two languages interchangeably in all situations of life. Diglossia applies to the functional opposition between a higher, usually more prestigious and standardised language or dialect used for a limited number of activities (e.g. literature, religion, education), and a lower linguistic variety limited to everyday life. 37 Marchesini 2013 offers a much more useful discussion of these topics than any previous account. Robinson 2014b approaches the question mainly from the spread of Pythagoreanism among the Iapygians and the linguistic implications of this. 38 The most recent collection of Greek inscriptions from Apulia is Ferrandini Troisi 2015 (henceforth IPuglia). 39 See IPuglia 34 (from Brindisi, 5th cent.; see Favi 2013) and IPuglia 60 (from Gnathia [Egnazia], 5th cent.). Ampolo 2006 provides a good discussion of inscribed caducei. 40 See Siciliano 1992 and Parente 2000.

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Greek in private inscriptions is typologically varied; the material is reasonably substantial as early as the Classical period, although these inscriptions are always very short and often uninformative. Interestingly, the personal names within these texts are partly Greek,41 and partly non-Greek.42 This is telling evidence for the process of linguistic, and presumably also ethnic, hybridisation: not only do the Iapygians seem to have taken up the use of Greek in non-official contexts, but there is also the possibility that Greek settlers may have moved to non-Greek Apulia and entered mixed marriages there. The one vase inscription which has the greatest bearing on our case is a graffito on a vessel from Gnathia (Egnazia) dating to around 320–310.43 This reads πατὴ τ’ ἔφυσε καὶ γυνὴ μοιχεύετα (‘A father begets children, and a woman takes lovers’). This inscription is of the greatest interest, since it is not only a gnomic iambic trimeter, but it also incorporates the Attic vocalism in γυνή. Although this line seems more like a floating maxim than a quotation from a play, it provides an exceptional glimpse into the linguistic and cultural environment of a Iapygian pottery workshop. The artisans were no doubt proficient in Greek and evidently exposed to cultural influences expanding from well beyond the Greek West. Such a conclusion seems to be reinforced by a few isolated Greek words on indigenous vases which are likewise reminiscent of Greek formulas and maxims.44 These inscriptions show that the Iapygians were not only familiar with Greek as a means of communication for diplomacy or trade, but also with a repertoire of semi-literary sayings which presuppose a deeper familiarity with the Greek culture. This linguistic familiarity also leaves important traces on Messapic inscriptions.45 An instructive example is the third-century multilingual text known as ‘Pane di Ruvo’. This reads Artos Atotios tai θoi tai gunaikēai pensklen aupave, i.e.

 41 See IPuglia 26–7 (4th cent.); 29, 65, 67 (6th–5th cent.); 32 (5th cent.); 69 (340–320). 42 See IPuglia 2 (3rd–2nd cent.); 7 (340–320); 25 (= MLM 1 Dub) (4th–3rd cent.); 31 (5th cent.). 43 See Green–Handley 2000. This inscription is not included in IPuglia. 44 See IPuglia 21 (6th–5th cent.) and IPuglia 88 (350–340). 45 Marchesini 2013 supersedes previous discussions of the topic. It should also be pointed out that the alphabets used by the Iapygians are slight elaborations of Greek models, with a few new letters introduced for sounds absent in Greek. This naturally presupposes some degree of linguistic and cultural contact, possibly enhanced by a process of ethnic hybridisation (see Marchesini 1997). The Messapic verbs eipeigrave/ipigrave ‘(he) wrote’ and eipeig[ra]van ‘(they) wrote’, as seen in MLM vol. I 1 Di (3rd cent.), vol. I 3 Ro (date unknown), and vol. I 3 Car (3rd cent.), are clearly borrowed from the Greek ἐπιγράφω, and are closely related to the process of acquiring an alphabet.

  Federico Favi ‘Artas Atoties made the pensklen46 for the female goddess’.47 Several peculiarities stand out. The most conspicuous is that the deity to whom the dedication is made is a Greek goddess, and that her name is not translated nor adapted into a Messapic equivalent, i.e. tai θoi tai gunaikēai is a direct transcription of τᾷ θεῷ τᾷ γυναικείᾳ. Secondly, the juxtaposition of Messapic and Greek in the same text (known as ‘intrasentential code-switching’) is a typical sign of bilingualism. Furthermore, in place of Artos Atotios one might have expected *Artas Atoties; but, as is also the case in other Messapic inscriptions, the expected Messapic endings are taken over by -os and -ios in imitation of the Greek nominative.48 In conclusion: although the Greeks never succeeded in extending their power over non-Greek Apulia, in reality the cultural border between Greeks and nonGreeks must have been much more blurred than one might initially assume, all the more so since the Greek influence over the Iapygians was in no way limited to the places that adjoin the cities of Magna Graecia. That is to say that the knowledge of Greek language and culture among the Iapygians was more widespread than the few surviving inscriptions would prima facie suggest. Some scholars have asked why Ennius, who famously claimed to have a Greek, a Latin, and an Oscan heart, did not claim to have a Messapic one as well, even though he was born in Messapic Rudiae.49 A possible explanation is that, while the three hearts show the coexistence of cultural and linguistic identities that are distinct from one another, Ennius, as a member of the deeply Hellenised Messapian élite, may never have felt any real discontinuity between his identity as a Messapian and as a Greek. Rather than constituting two alternative co-existing identities, they are bound together as a single composite.50 University of Oxford [email protected] [email protected]

 46 The meaning of pensklen escapes us, though it certainly refers to the object being dedicated. 47 See MLM vol. I 12 Ruv (3rd cent.). A more up-to-date edition is provided by Poetto 2003, on whose critical text I rely. 48 See Adams 2003, 150. 49 See Aul. Gell. 17.17.1 (Enn. op. inc. fr. i Skutsch) and Fisher 2014, 24–6 (with previous bibliography). 50 Ennius’ ancestor Messapus was himself a Greek who settled in Italy (see Enn. Ann. 524 Skutsch = Serv. In Aen. 7.691).

Nello Sidoti

‘Paratragic Burlesques’ and Reperformances of Tragedies in the Fourth Century BCE If a scholar of Greek Tragedy were asked to indicate the most important trend of research into Ancient Theatre over the last forty years,1 he or she would probably reply that the ‘once largely text-centred study of traditional philology […] has given way to a series of new methodologies that seek to understand dramatic texts within their many original ancient contexts’.2 In the 1980s this critical approach resulted in a thorough investigation of the relationship between Tragedy and the political, social and religious life of Athens, best exemplified by the collection of J.J. Winkler and F. Zeitlin, Nothing to do with Dionysos? (1990), which symbolically closed that decade. Since then, in reaction to this Athenocentric view of drama and in the wake of a renewed interest in the iconographic evidence, which shows a detailed knowledge of ‘Athenian’ tragedy and comedy in the Greek West, many studies have investigated the dissemination of drama beyond Athens.3 One of the latest outcomes of this investigation is the 2015 volume of Trends in Classics, the first collection of essays entirely devoted to dramatic reperformances in the fifth and fourth century BCE. This volume gathers a lot of evidence against the long undisputed dogma, still stated by Slater in Winkler and Zeitlin (1990), that ‘fifth-century plays were written for single performances’ at the Great Dionysia.4 By doing so, the 2015 publication undoubtedly filled a gap in Ancient Theatre studies. In reconstructing the reperformance tradition in the fourth century, however, more attention should have been paid to comic plays composed in that century, be-

 1 This paper was presented in Oxford, Urbino, Sydney and Vancouver. I thank the audiences for their helpful comments on all these occasions. I also thank L. Lomiento, E. Csapo and the internal reviewers for their invaluable suggestions. I am very grateful to F. Muecke for having revised the English text and to J. R. Green for his advice on the Apulian calyx-krater of the Koumantakis collection. 2 P. Wilson 2007, 2. 3 On the dissemination of theatre outside Athens see e.g. Bosher 2012; Csapo/Wilson 2015; Stewart 2017. 4 Slater 1990, 394. Reperformance is now a buzzword of Classical studies: Hunter/Uhlig 2017 analyses this idea from various perspectives, whereas Lamari 2017 and Sidoti 2018 focus on the revivals of Greek tragedy in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.

  Nello Sidoti cause the relationship of some plots of Middle Comedy with fifth-century tragedies may point to the ongoing success of the masterpieces of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides on fourth-century stages.

Mythological or paratragic burlesques? The evolution of the comic genre from Aristophanes to Menander has been a ‘perennial concern’ for scholars of ancient drama.5 Even though E. Csapo has done well to remind us that the ‘tripartite division of comedy’ could be ‘a late classical or a Hellenistic invention’, and that ‘what we normally think of as Old, Middle, and New Comedy designate synchronic, not period styles’,6 it is undeniable that the remains of the comedies dating from the 380s to the 340s reveal several topoi, which, though disseminated throughout Greek Comedy, ‘are clustered’ in this period: ‘mythological burlesque,7 domestic and erotic themes, a generally depoliticised humour, riddles, stock characters, and a playful humorous style’.8 As far as mythological burlesques are concerned, scholars have often taken into account the possibility that these full-scale travesties of traditional stories and heroes drew inspiration from tragedies, parodying their plots and/or episodes. Angus Bowie has stressed the most important difficulty in this kind of research: it is not always clear whether an author ‘is producing a parodic version of a myth or a parody of a particular tragic version of that myth’.9 This is especially true of Middle Comedy, since a systematic investigation of its relationship with fifth-century tragedy is yet to be written.10 Scholars distinguish between fifth-century ‘paratragedy’, which can be viewed as an insertion

 5 Shaw 2014, 106. 6 Csapo 2000, 117, 121. For a critique of Csapo see Nesselrath in this volume. 7 Whereas the expression ‘mythological burlesque’ is widespread among scholars of Greek Theatre (see most recently Konstantakos 2014 for a pivotal investigation of this feature of Middle Comedy), to my knowledge the formula ‘paratragic burlesque’ was only used by M. Coffey in an old article on Roman Satire (1972; reprinted in 2012). Hunter 1981, in a brilliant analysis of P. Lit. Lond. 77, simply speaks of ‘tragic’ burlesque, but I prefer to adopt the label ‘paratragic’, because it stresses the continuity between fifth-century and fourth-century complex appropriation of tragic models. 8 Shaw 2014, 106. 9 Bowie 2007, 196. 10 Despite the existence of many studies devoted to the relationship between tragedy and later Greek comedy (Nesselrath 1993, Konstantakos 2014, Hanink 2014a, 159–90), we still need a

‘Paratragic Burlesques’ and Reperformances of Tragedies  

of tragic material in the fictional world of comedy, and fourth-century ‘travesty of tragedy’, which (at least so far as we can grasp from the fragments of the period) consisted of extended comic adaptation of tragic plots.11 This reasonable distinction, however, cannot obliterate the fact that both fifth- and fourth-century use of tragic scenes and characters presupposes, in order to be appreciated, some knowledge on the audience’s part of the tragedy parodied or adapted. And in the fourth century, such knowledge of tragedies (staged, for the first time, many decades earlier) can be explained not only by the existence of a growing book-trade, but also by the rising practice of tragic reperformances, which were added to the programme of the Great Dionysia in 38612 (IG II2 2318, col. VIII, 1009-1011 Millis/Olson) and were spreading in all the Greek world even earlier. This means that through the lens of Middle Comedy ‘paratragic burlesques’ we can understand which tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were still popular in the fourth century. In this chapter, I will analyse three examples of such paratragic burlesques, one for each of the three great Athenian tragedians. In this way, I hope to add a small but significant contribution to the understanding of the passage ‘from repertory to canon’, a phenomenon critical to the survival of dramatic texts in the pre-Alexandrian age.13

Euripides’ and Eubulus’ Antiope Among the fifth-century fragmentary tragedies few plays enjoyed greater popularity than Euripides’ Antiope. This story of ‘revenge and rescue’,14 first staged a few years before Aristophanes’ Frogs,15 had a particular resonance in the early fourth century. The debate between the two sons of Antiope and Zeus, which opened the first episode, was certainly a memorable feature of this play. Zethus reproaches his brother for his idle devotion to lyre-playing, inviting him to ‘cease from useless

 fourth-century ‘sequel’ to the seminal book by Rau (1967), which analysed the connections between Aristophanes’ plays and tragedy. 11 Konstantakos 2014, 163. This extended adaption has precedents in Old Comedy (e.g. the textual and scenic dialogue of Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae with Euripides’ Telephus and Helen). 12 All dates BCE. 13 Easterling 1997, 211. 14 Taplin 2007, 187. 15 Schol. vet. Ar. Ran. 53a. The metrical criteria, however, point to an earlier date (425–415; Cropp/Fick 1985, 75).

  Nello Sidoti activities and practise the fine music of hard work’ (Eur. fr. 188.2–3), while Amphion defends the quiet virtues of a vita contemplativa, claiming that if one ‘can think soundly, this is stronger than a sturdy arm’ (Eur. fr. 199.2–3).16 Plato had this tragic agōn in mind when, in the Gorgias, he wrote the discussion between Callicles and Socrates. This section of the Platonic dialogue can be seen, in a way, as a re-enactment of Antiope. On one side we have Callicles, who, by inviting Socrates to abandon philosophy, plays the role of Zethus; on the other side we have Socrates, who would like to pay him back with Amphion’s rhēsis.17 Another well-known section of Antiope was the messenger’s speech which reported the terrible fate of Dirke, who, together with her husband Lykos, kept Antiope imprisoned. Amphion and Zethus tied her body on a bull, which ‘happened to circle round anywhere’ and ‘dragged woman, rock, oak along with it as it ranged about continually’ (Eur. fr. 221, as restored by Collard 2004, 284). This dreadful punishment and other moments of the plot were probably portrayed on a Sicilian calyx-krater dated, like Plato’s Gorgias, in the 380s (Fig. 6).18 This kind of evidence is the subject of a heated debate among scholars, who are split into ‘iconocentrists’ and ‘philodramatists’,19 and it is not easy to build a ‘bridge over the troubled water’ which divides them. As a matter of fact, depictions on Western-Greek pots very rarely were direct illustrations of tragic performances:20 to suppose the opposite would not do justice to the painters’ creativity. Moreover, we should remember that the semiotic codes which organise mythological narrative in iconography and in drama are different: ‘if tragedy is based mainly on a diachronic development of language, with a marginalisation of dynamic events […], the representation of mythical subject on pots tends to a synchronic and synthetic  16 Transl. Collard 2004. 17 Pl. Grg. 485e: ΚΑ. ἐγὼ δέ, ὦ Σώκρατες, πρὸς σὲ ἐπιεικῶς ἔχω φιλικῶς· κινδυνεύω οὖν πεπονθέναι νῦν ὅπερ ὁ Ζῆθος πρὸς τὸν Ἀμφίονα ὁ Εὐριπίδου, οὗπερ ἐμνήσθην (‘CALL. Now, Socrates, I am fairly friendly towards you, so I happen to be in the same situation as Zethus, whom I have mentioned, towards Amphion in the play by Euripides’); Pl. Grg. 506b: ΣΩ. Ἀλλὰ μὲν δή, ὦ Γοργία, καὶ αὐτὸς ἡδέως μὲν ἂν Καλλικλεῖ τούτῳ ἔτι διελεγόμην, ἕως αὐτῷ τὴν τοῦ Ἀμφίονος ἀπέδωκα ῥῆσιν ἀντὶ τῆς τοῦ Ζήθου (SOC. ‘Gorgias, I myself would have liked to discuss with Callicles, until I had paid him back with an Amphion’s speech for his Zethus’ tirade’). 18 I do not venture to surmise that Gorgias was influenced by a Sicilian performance of Antiope. The similar dates of the calyx-krater and of the Platonic dialogue, however, confirm the strong popularity of this tragedy in the first decades of the fourth century. This is not the only pot related to this tragedy: there is also a Lucanian pelike by the Policoro Painter, dated to the last decades of the fifth century (LCS 58, 288, pl. 27.4) and a wonderful Apulian calyx-krater, attributed to the Underworld Painter (Taplin 1998). 19 Taplin 2007, 22–6, and pp. 258–9 in this volume. 20 Trendall/Webster 1971.

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development of action, in an attempt to overcome the static form of the image’.21 This does not mean, however, that Greek tragedies and the art of Western-Greek painters lived in two ‘parallel worlds’:22 the presence of signs of the theatre on many pots (rocky arches, porticoes, tragic boots, stage props) suggests that there was a connection between these artefacts and performance. And in the case of the Sicilian calyx-krater and Antiope, the connection is very strong, for at least three reasons:23 (a) the presence of the arch, which reminds us of the setting of Amphion and Zethus’ s attack on Lykos, as described in the Euripidean text (i.e. the cowherd’s cave); (b) the suspended position of Hermes, which evokes his appearance ex machina at the end of the play; (c) the fact that the plot of Antiope was created by Euripides, so that a ‘full appreciation of the painting is impossible without an exact knowledge of the specific tragedy from which the myth is derived’.24

Fig. 6: The Dirke Painter, Sicilian calyx-krater, ca. 380 BCE. Berlin, Antikensammlung F 3296 © Antikensammlung, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz. Photograph by Johannes Laurentius.

 21 Grilli 2014. 22 Small 2003. 23 Taplin 2007, 188–9. 24 Csapo/Slater 1995, 60.

  Nello Sidoti However, the most interesting testimony of the ongoing popularity of Antiope on the fourth-century stages is a comedy of the same name by Eubulus, an author traditionally ascribed to Middle Comedy, although the Suda (ε 3386) defines him as μεθόριος τῆς μέσης κωμῳδίας καὶ τῆς παλαιᾶς (‘on the border between Middle and Old Comedy’). Among the fragments of Eubulus we find several ‘Euripidean’ titles, such as Αὔγη, Βελλεροφόντης, Ἴων, Μήδεια, Οἰνόμαος, Φοίνιξ, but it is in Antiope fr. 9 that the relationship of this comic playwright with the great tragedian of the previous century emerges most clearly: Ζῆθον μὲν ἐλθόνθ’ ἁγνὸν ἐς Θήβης πέδον οἰκεῖν κελεύει· καὶ γὰρ ἀξιωτέρους πωλοῦσιν, ὡς ἔοικε, τοὺς ἄρτους ἐκεῖ· σὺ δ’ ὀξύπεινος. τὸν δὲ μουσικώτατον κλεινὰς Ἀθήνας ἐκπερᾶν Ἀμφίονα, οὗ ῥᾷστ’ἀεὶ πεινῶσι Κεκροπιδῶν κόροι κάπτοντες αὔρας, ἐλπίδας σιτούμενοι.


[Unknown speaker, possibly Hermes] He (Zeus?) commands Zethus to come and dwell on the pure soil of Thebes; it seems that they sell the bread at a better price over there, and you are a glutton, after all. He invites Amphion, who has a fixation on music, to reach famous Athens instead, 5 where the offspring of the Kekropidai [i.e. the Athenians] never have any difficulty in craving something to eat, either gulping down breeze or feeding on hopes.

In this fragment, an unknown speaker describes the distinct fates of Zethus and Amphion: the former, being a glutton, will go to Thebes, ‘where the bread is cheaper’, while the latter, who is fond of music, will reach Athens, ‘where old Cecrops’ nation fares sumptuously on air and expectation’.25 This fragment is very close to Euripides’ Antiope not only for the mockery of Zethus’ and Amphion’s lifestyles, which reminds us of the tragic agōn between them. If in line 4 we retain the transmitted σύ,26 against Grotius’ correction to ὁ (which gives a less abrupt text, but erases the ‘comically effective’ change from Ζῆθον to the second person pronoun),27 it becomes evident that at least one of the twins was present on stage. Secondly, the language of this fragment is so rich in tragic expressions that Nauck, in his edition of TrGF, printed its first three lines as fr. 224 of Euripides’ Antiope.28  25 Edmonds 1959, 87. 26 Meineke 1840, 209. 27 Hunter 1983, 96–7. 28 Hunter (1983, 97–8) compares these lines with tragic loci and notes that even the rhythm of these verses is tragic: Porson’s law is observed.

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This was before the publication, in 1891, of a third-century BCE papyrus which contains the final scene of this tragedy, thus revealing another interesting similarity between Eubulus’ and Euripides’ staging.29 After their revenge on Dirke, Amphion and Zethus are determined to kill her husband too, but Hermes ex machina stops them, predicting future events: Lykos will ‘cede’ the brothers ‘sole rule over the land of Cadmus’, put his wife on a pyre, and throw her bones ‘into Ares’ spring, so that its outflow may be named Dirke for her’,30 while the twins, ‘once purified’, will ‘enter Cadmus’ city and build a citadel gated at seven mouths’.31 Unfortunately, the text here is lacunose, but it is almost certain that Zethus, who was presented in the agōn as a working farmer, was to become the physical defender of Thebes (Eur. fr. 223.118: ἔρυμα πολεμίων λαβών, a ‘bulwark against enemies’), while Amphion’s lyre had to guide the fortification of the town by magic, moving rocks and trees.32 Eubulus’ fragment is nothing but the comic version of this scene. Zethus, the Euripidean advocate of vita activa, has become a glutton, in line with the traditional greed of the Boeotians (ἀδηφαγία), and Amphion, the musician who argued in favour of a vita contemplativa, is now somewhat similar to an artist in search of success in Athens, the cultural (and frivolous) capital of Greece.33

 29 P. Petrie 1–2 (= P. Lit. Lond. 70, Eur. fr. 223). Editio princeps by Mahaffy 1891. This is one of the oldest tragic papyri (another proof of the ancient popularity of Antiope): see Carrara 2009, 32–4 for a survey of its features. 30 Eur. fr. 223.107–11: ὧν χρή σ᾽ ἀκούειν [καὶ χθ]ονὸς μοναρχίαν | ἑκόντα δοῦνα[ι τοῖσδε Κ]αδμείας, ἄναξ. | ὅταν δὲ θάπτῃς ἄλοχον εἰς πυρὰν τιθεὶς | σαρκῶν ἀθροίσας τῆς ταλαιπώρου φύσιν | ὀστᾶ πυρώσας Ἄρεος εἰς κρήνην βαλεῖν | ὡς ἂν τὸ Δίρκης ὄνομ’ἐπώνυμον λάβῃ. (‘You must obey them, my lord, cede them willingly sole rule over the land of Cadmus. When you give your wife funeral and place her on a pyre, after gathering the poor woman’s mortal substance burn her bones and throw them into Ares’ spring so that its outflow be named Dirce for her’, transl. Collard). I adopt Collard’s text of v. 108 (2004, 290). 31 Eur. fr. 223.115–17: ὑμεῖς δ’, [ἐπ]ειδὰν ὅσιος ᾖ Κάδμου πόλις,| χωρεῖτε,[παῖδε]ς, ἄστυ δ’ Ἰσμηνὸν πάρα | ἑπτάσ[τομ]ον πύλαισιν ἐξαρτύετε. (‘Go, you , and once you are purified and may enter Cadmus’ city, by the river Ismenus build a citadel gated at seven mouths’, transl. Collard). 32 Eur. fr. 223.119–24: Ζήθῳ τάδ’ εἶπον· δεύτερον δ’ Ἀμφίονα | λύραν ἄ[νωγ]α διὰ χερῶν ὡπλισμένον | μέλπειν θεοὺ[ς] ᾠδαῖσιν· ἕψονται δέ σοι | πέτραι τ’ ἐρυμναὶ μουσικῇ κηλούμεναι | δένδρη τε μητρὸς ἐκλιπόνθ’ ἑδώλια | ὥστ’εὐμ[ά]ρειαν τεκτόνων θήσει χερί. (‘That much, I say to Zethus; next, I bid Amphion equip himself with lyre in hand and sing tunefully of the gods; bewitched by your music, solid rocks will follow you and trees leave their seat in mother earth, so you will make light work for the builders’ hands’, transl. Collard). 33 The Thebans’ gluttony is the subject of another fragment from Eubulus’ Antiope (11), spoken in Boeotian dialect.

  Nello Sidoti Moreover, we can be almost certain from the presence of κελεύω in v. 2 of Eubulus’ fragment, that these words were spoken by a deus ex machina, as in Euripides’ Antiope; and the use of the third person singular, in particular, reveals that these orders come from another divinity, again as in the Euripidean verses, where Hermes often speaks in the first person (Eur. fr. 223.119, 120, 125), but indicates Zeus as the source of Amphion’s τιμή (Eur. fr. 223.125). Richard Hunter, commenting upon this fragment, stated that ‘it would not be rash to suppose’ that Euripides’ Antiope ‘was the most important source for the comedy’,34 but I would rather say that it would be rash not to suppose this connection. Furthermore, as far as the comic deus ex machina is concerned, I do not see why ‘it cannot be assumed’ that he was Hermes, since at least Zethus was present on stage too (if we accept the transmitted text of v. 4) and since Hermes, who gave Amphion the lyre, was the messenger of Zeus according to the Euripidean version of the story. But how could this ‘paratragic burlesque’ be appreciated by the audience without knowledge of the original tragic scene? The fact that Eubulus evoked a scenically effective moment of the Euripidean staging suggests only one possible answer: that this tragedy was often reperformed in the first decades of the fourth century. And since Euripides’ Antiope was staged a little before Frogs (405), and Eubulus’ Antiope possibly around 378,35 we can fairly estimate a certain number of reproductions of the tragic play in between.

Eubulus’ Oedipus and Sophocles’ Oedipus plays Eubulus’ Antiope clearly shows that in the first half of the fourth century classical tragedies were an important reference point for the comic playwrights, who were probably inspired by the tragic revivals staged at the Great Dionysia and elsewhere.36 Now I will turn to a less clear instance of this tendency, revisiting an old

 34 Hunter 1983, 96–7. 35 Eubulus’ Antiope cannot be dated with certainty, but fr. 10 mocked Callistratus of Aphidna for his effeminacy: he was one of the most important political leaders of the first third of the fourth century. Edmonds (1959, 86–7) hypothesised a first production of the comedy in 378, when Callistratus, as στρατηγός, organised the finances of the second Athenian confederacy (Theopomp. FGrH 115 fr. 98, Diod. Sic. 15.29.7). 36 Hanink 2014b, 270.

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idea of T. B. L. Webster about the only extant fragment of Eubulus’ Oedipus (fr. 72):37 ὁ πρῶτος εὑρὼν τἀλλότρια δειπνεῖν ἀνὴρ δημοτικὸς ἦν τις, ὡς ἔοικε, τοὺς τρόπους. ὅστις δ’ ἐπὶ δεῖπνον ἢ φίλον τιν’ ἢ ξένον καλέσας ἔπειτα συμβολὰς ἐπράξατο, φυγὰς γένοιτο μηδὲν οἴκοθεν λαβών.


[Oedipus, acting as a comic parasite?] The man who first invented scrounging dinners at someone’s else table was kind-hearted to common people, it appears. But he who invites a friend or a foreigner to dinner, and then demands a payment from him, should be exiled, without taking any of his property with him. 5

The speaker of this lively text, after having praised the man who invented ‘dining on someone else’s food’,38 prays that he who, after a meal, asks friends and guests for a contribution may be expelled and dispossessed. Webster, in his analysis of how mythological comedy often transfers tragic stories to the ‘lowest level of contemporary life’ cited these verses, imagining that they were pronounced by Oedipus acting as a parasite.39 However, in view of Athenaeus’ text, which is the source of this fragment, this interpretation seems not entirely convincing. Our comic verses are preceded by the elliptical formula Εὔβουλος δὲ ἐν Οἰδίποδι (‘Eubulus in Oedipus’), without any further specification; and in the same section, Athenaeus, introducing a fragment by Diphilus, seems to make it clear that he is quoting texts in which the speaker is a ‘simple’ parasite, not a tragic character converted into a comic one: Δίφιλος δ’ ἐν Παρασίτῳ μελλόντων γίνεσθαι γάμων τὸν παράσιτον ποιεῖ λέγοντα τάδε (Ath. 6.238f: ‘Diphilus in The Parasite represents the title-character as saying the following as a wedding-feast is about to take place’).40 Yet a character casting a curse – although a funny one – in a comedy entitled Oedipus is worth noting. In the Thebais Oedipus ‘laid terrifying curses on both his sons’ (fr. 2.7–8 PEG: παισὶν ἑοῖσι μετ’ ἀμφοτέροισιν ἐπαρὰς | ἀργαλέας ἠρᾶτο) because ‘they offered him a cup that he had forbidden’ (Ath. 11.465e: ὅτι αὐτῷ παρέθηκαν ἔκπωμα ὃ ἀπηγορεύκει). The Sophoclean Oedipus was especially

 37 Konstantakos 2014, 172. 38 Olson 2008, 87. 39 Webster 1970, 85. 40 Olson 2008, 87. On this point see Nesselrath 1990, 311.

  Nello Sidoti ‘fond of curses’.41 In OT, for example, after having heard Phoebus’ response about the pollution of Thebes, he forbids all the citizens to receive the murderer, to speak with him and to let him participate in prayers and sacrifices (236–43): τὸν ἄνδρ’ ἀπαυδῶ τοῦτον, ὅστις ἐστί, γῆς τῆσδ’, ἧς ἐγὼ κράτη τε καὶ θρόνους νέμω, μήτ’ εἰσδέχεσθαι μήτε προσφωνεῖν τινά, μήτ’ ἐν θεῶν εὐχαῖσι μήτε θύμασιν κοινὸν ποεῖσθαι, μήτε χέρνιβος νέμειν· ὠθεῖν δ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων πάντας ὡς μιάσματος τοῦδ’ἡμὶν ὄντος, ὡς τὸ Πυθικὸν θεοῦ μαντεῖον ἐξέφηνεν ἀρτίως ἐμοί. I forbid all the people of this land, over which I rule and I sit upon the throne, to host this man and to speak to him; to share with him prayers or sacrifices to the Gods, to let him wash his hands in the holy water; everybody must drive him away from their homes, because this pollution is impending on us, as the Pythian oracle of the God has now disclosed to me.



The ὅστις clause is a feature common to both our texts, although that means little in itself, since it is typical of public curses.42 Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that the mean host in Eubulus’ comedy and the regicide in the Sophoclean tragedy share the same destiny: they must be driven into exile (Eub. fr. 72.5: φυγὰς γένοιτο μηδὲν οἴκοθεν λαβών ~ Soph. OT 241: ὠθεῖν δ’ ἀπ’ οἴκων πάντας). This is not enough, of course, to claim that Eubulus had Sophocles’ text in mind when he wrote these verses; but if we are willing to see in our fragment an example of how Middle Comedy uses mythological heroes as stereotypical figures,43 we should take into account the possibility that this use of myth was mediated by tragedy, and if that is the case, Sophocles’ Oedipus plays are the most likely candidates for this mediation.44

 41 Hunter 1983, 162. 42 Hunter 1983, 162. 43 Konstantakos 2014, 171. 44 The first line of our comic fragment is also very similar to a satyric verse by Euripides (fr. 894), quoted by Theopomp. Com. fr. 35: Εὐριπίδου τἄριστον, οὐ κακῶς ἔχον | τἀλλότρια δειπνεῖν τὸν καλῶς εὐδαίμονα (‘the best saying by Euripides, one which is not bad, is that the man who is really blessed dines at someone’s else expense’). But in the absence of any evidence on the

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I say ‘Oedipus plays’ because once an identification between the son of Laius and a comic parasite is imagined, it is possible that such a ‘humorous distortion’ of the Theban hero was also influenced by the characterisation of Oedipus in Oedipus at Colonus.45 Could the parasite in search of free meals be a comic development of the Sophoclean character, who, wandering in exile, asks for little and gets even less (Soph. OC 3–6)? τίς τὸν πλανήτην Οἰδίπουν καθ’ ἡμέραν τὴν νῦν σπανιστοῖς δέξεται δωρήμασιν, σμικρὸν μὲν ἐξαιτοῦντα, τοῦ σμικροῦ δ’ ἔτι μεῖον φέροντα, καὶ τόδ’ ἐξαρκοῦν ἐμοί; Who will host Oedipus the wanderer today, offering him very few gifts? I ask for little and I obtain even less, but this is enough for me.

If this very speculative connection is accepted, then we have another indication of the ongoing popularity of Sophocles’ Oedipus plays on the fourth-century stage. There is no need here to recall the importance of Oedipus Tyrannus in Aristotle’s theorisation of drama. It may not be superfluous to emphasise, however, that even though Aristotle states that reading reveals tragedy’s true qualities (Poet. 1462a12), the constant attention he pays to fifth-century plays shows that he relies on the audience’s familiarity with the performance of these ‘classics’. Notably, a scene of Oedipus Tyrannus chosen by Aristotle in his treatment of περιπέτεια, i.e. the arrival of the Corinthian shepherd (Poet. 1452a22–6), was probably portrayed on a Sicilian calyx-krater roughly contemporary with the philosopher.46

 original source of these gnomic words, this resemblance hardly allows us to conclude that Euripides’ Oedipus inspired Eubulus homonymous play, as Kassel and Austin believe. And the very fact that the words are gnomic should prevent us from putting too much store by them. 45 Konstantakos 2014, 171. 46 This vase, probably a work of the Capodarso Painter, is now in the regional museum of Siracusa (no. 66557); Taplin (2007, 91) offers a reproduction of it. Its connection with OT was first proposed by Trendall/Webster (1971, 69) and it has been recently emphasised by Taplin (2007, 90–2) and Vahtikari (2014, 181–3). Unfortunately, this widely accepted theory is unable to explain the presence of a fourth female figure on the right of Jocasta, who despite her detached position, seems nonetheless to react to the bad news brought by the messenger (Hall 2016).

  Nello Sidoti The connection between this vase and a tragic performance seems unquestionable. It is true that the two little daughters of Oedipus are present there,47 while in Sophocles’ original staging they only appeared in the final scene (Soph. OT 1472–1523), but it is typical of the ‘language’ of vase painting to combine several phases of the narration in a unique tableau, as said earlier. In OT, the old shepherd’s words are disconcerting revelations for Oedipus, who believed himself to be the son of Corinth’s rulers, but not for Jocasta, who soon realises that her current husband is the son whom she once gave to a shepherd to be exposed. This is clear from v. 1056, where she begs Oedipus not to continue his investigation. The painter has strikingly captured this turning point in the plot, and by representing Oedipus as theatrically blocked between the two other characters, as well as Jocasta’s ‘wordless moment of horror’ (she raises her cloak, seemingly to hide her face), he is very probably appealing to someone who has seen the play in performance.48 Oedipus at Colonus may have been reperformed in the fourth century too. On an Apulian calyx-krater dated to ca. 340 (Fig. 7) we see an old blind man sitting on an altar, together with two young girls, the one on his left veiled, the other on his right dressed more elegantly; on the left of this group stands a young man, on the right a mature and bearded man, while a winged Erinys hovers above their heads.49 These are probably the characters of Sophocles’ play: Oedipus, accompanied in exile by Antigone, and joined by Ismene – who informs him of the oracle linking his fate to Thebes’ salvation in the imminent war between Oedipus’ sons (Soph. OC 310–509); Creon, who champions Eteocles’ cause (Soph. OC 728– 1024);50 and Polynices, who, although supported by Antigone, is cursed terribly by his father (Soph. OC 1383–6). Since, as in the case of Euripides’ Antiope, the

 47 Hall 2016 contested that those little figures are Antigone and Ismene: even though they wear long dress and ringlets, they could be boys, since ‘there are far more brother doublets than sisters in Greek mythology’; Taplin 2017a rejected her interpretation, restating the relationship of this vase-painting with OT: given the prominence of the two daughters in the Sophoclean treatment of Oedipus’ story, the original viewers of the vase could not have been deterred from the identification with OT ‘by the thought that pairs of children in tragic myths are usually male’. 48 Taplin 2007, 92. As always in such cases, one could argue that it is not necessary to have seen the play performed in order to appreciate this painting, but the painter’s choice to capture this very moment of the plot seems to have a theatrical meaning. 49 Melbourne, Koumantakis Collection; RVAp Supp. II.1, 136 no. 81; I closely follow the analyses of Taplin (2007, 100–2) and Vahtikari (2014, 232). 50 Green (2003, 28) believes the figure on the left is Theseus instead.

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Fig. 7: Apulian calyx-krater, ca. 340 BCE, close to the De Schultess Painter, Melbourne, Koumantakis Collection. Photograph by J. R. Green.

story of Oedipus at Colonus was dramatised by only one tragedian, this pot appeals to someone who has precise knowledge of that play, not simply of the Oedipus myth in general. Finally, we can add that, according to a doubtful anecdote, these two Oedipus tragedies were in the repertory of Polus, one of the most famous actors of the fourth century.51 Thus, given the great popularity of these plays in that century,

 51 Epict. Diss. fr. 11.7–9 Schenkl (anachronistically attributed to Socrates): οὐχ ὁρᾷς, ὅτι οὐκ εὐφωνότερον οὐδὲ ἥδιον ὁ Πῶλος τὸν τύραννον Οἰδίποδα ὑπεκρίνετο ἢ τὸν ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ ἀλήτην καὶ πτωχόν (‘Don’t you see that Polus never used to play the role of Oedipus the King with a sweeter voice or more pleasure than Oedipus at Colonus, the man who was exiled, the beggar?’). It is difficult to identify this Πῶλος, since the ancient sources mention three different actors of

  Nello Sidoti we can conclude that behind Eubulus’ (supposed) travesty of the Theban hero, there probably lies a subtle appropriation of the Sophoclean image of Oedipus, which presupposes the audience’s knowledge of both these tragedies.52

Aeschylus’ Eumenides and Timocles’ Orestautokleides In fifth-century Athens Aeschylean tragedies were reperformed by decree, but the evidence of revivals of Aeschylus in the following century is very scanty.53 However, a fragment of a comedy by Timocles, tellingly entitled Orestautokleides, seems to imply that Aeschylus’ Eumenides was so familiar to fourth-century spectators that a comedian could stage a travesty of it. Timocles’ identity and chronology are debated,54 but we can assume with a fair degree of certainty that his activity roughly covered the third quarter of the fourth century. Orestautokleides is no exception, since Autokleides, the comic target of Timocles, is probably to be identified with the Autokleides mentioned among notorious pederasts in Aeschines’ Against Timarchus.55 This speech is  this name, but O’Connor’s (1908, 128) considerations in favour of the existence of a single Polus, dated to the last quarter of the fourth century BCE, are probably right. 52 Unlike in the case of Antiope, it is difficult to speculate about the chronology of Eubulus’ Oedipus, since fr. 72 is the only extant fragment, with no reference at all to political or historical facts. Given that Eubulus flourished at the time of the 101st Olympic Games (376/372, Suda ε 3386), we must limit ourselves to observing that his Oedipus was produced at least two decades after Sophocles’ OC, posthumously staged in 401 (TrGF I DID C 23), and at least four decades after Sophocles’ OT, which probably dates back to 440–420 (Finglass 2018, 2–3). It is tempting to think that during this time-span these two plays had already become ‘classics’, often reperformed, even though we should not neglect other forms of dissemination which could enhance the audience’s knowledge of fifth-century tragedies (symposia, book-trade, schools). 53 Biles 2006–2007 cast doubts on the reliability of our sources on fifth-century Aeschylean reperformances by decree, but his interpretation of Ar. Ach. 9–12 is unconvincing. That passage made sense only if the re-staging of Aeschylus’ plays was something real, and not, as he believes, a ‘reverie’ (225) of Dicaeopolis. For a less sceptical reappraisal of the evidence see Lamari 2015, 192–202 and Sidoti 2018, 55–66. 54 For an overview of this vexed question see Summa 2009, 135–49. Against the communis opinio of scholars, she argues that Timocles, the author of the satyr-drama Lycurgus (IG II2 2320, col. II 19, Millis/Olson), and the Timocles credited with a comic victory at the Lenaea (IG II2 2325, E58 Millis/Olson) are the same poet. 55 Aeschin. 1.52. The orator defines him as ἄγριος, a word denoting ‘excessive sexual habits’ (Fisher 2001, 184); compare also Harp. p. 67.3 Dindorf.

‘Paratragic Burlesques’ and Reperformances of Tragedies  

dated to 346/345,56 so if this identification is accepted, we can suppose that these two texts are close in time. The only extant fragment of this comedy describes a bizarre scene (fr. 27): περὶ δὲ τὸν πανάθλιον εὕδουσι γρᾶες, Νάννιον, Πλαγγών, Λύκα, Γνάθαινα, Φρύνη, Πυθιονίκη, Μυρρίνη, Χρυσίς, † Κοναλίς, † Ἱερόκλεια, Λοπάδιον.

‘Around a miserable man’, says the unknown speaker of these verses, ‘old women are sleeping, Nannion, Plangon, Lyca, Gnathena’ and the list goes on. These are well-known fourth-century hetairai, and their presence makes it highly likely that the πανάθλιον of v. 1 is the very Autokleides, given his sexual incontinence. These comic lines immediately remind us of the Pythia’s terrified description of the Erinyes surrounding Orestes in Delphi’s shrine, where the priestess speaks of an ‘extraordinary band of women asleep’ (Aesch. Eum. 40–52):57 ὁρῶ δ’ ἐπ’ ὀμφαλῷ μὲν ἄνδρα θεομυσῆ ἕδραν ἔχοντα προστρόπαιον, αἵματι στάζοντα χεῖρας, καὶ νεοσπαδὲς ξίφος ἔχοντ’, ἐλαίας θ’ ὑψιγέννητον κλάδον λήνει μεγίστῳ σωφρόνως ἐστεμμένον, ἀργῆτι μαλλῷ· τῇδε γὰρ τρανῶς ἐρῶ πρόσθεν δὲ τἀνδρὸς τοῦδε θαυμαστὸς λόχος εὕδει γυναικῶν ἐν θρόνοισιν ἥμενος. οὔτοι γυναῖκας ἀλλὰ Γοργόνας λέγω· οὐδ’ αὖτε Γοργείοισιν εἰκάσω τύποις. εἶδόν ποτ’ ἤδη Φινέως γεγραμμένας δεῖπνον φερούσας· ἄπτεροί γε μὴν ἰδεῖν αὗται μέλαιναί δ’, ἐς τὸ πᾶν βδελύκτροποι




I see a man sitting on the navelstone – a man abominable in the eyes of the gods – as a suppliant for purification. Blood is dripping from his hands and he is holding a sword just drawn, together with an olive-branch from the top of the tree, gracefully crowned by a large wreath of wool, a bright fleece – I shall make myself clear by saying this. 45 Before this man there is an extraordinary band of women asleep, sitting on thrones. I will not call them woman, but Gorgons! Yet, I cannot compare them to the forms of Gorgons either.  56 Fisher 2001, 6–8. 57 Sommerstein 2008, 361.

  Nello Sidoti Once I saw these creatures in a painting, stealing food 50 from Phineus; but these ones clearly are black and without wings, and they are absolutely disgusting.

An entry in the lexicon of Harpocration, catalogued by Kassel and Austin as fr. 28 of Orestautokleides (= Harp. p. 237.1 Dindorf) most particularly allows us to suppose a strong connection between this comedy and the Aeschylean tragedy. This lemma reveals that in Timocles’ comedy there was mention of the ‘Parabyston’, the court of the Eleven, whose task was to enforce judicial decisions: eleven, just like the prostitutes listed in fr. 27: Παράβυστον· οὕτως ἐκαλεῖτο τι τῶν παρ’ Ἀθηναίοις δικαστηρίων, ἐν ᾧ ἐδίκαζον οἱ ἕνδεκα·[…] μνημονεύουσι δ’ αὐτοῦ ἄλλοι τε τῶν κομικῶν καὶ Τιμοκλῆς ἐν Ὀρεσταυτοκλείδῃ Parabyston: that was the name of an Athenian court, in which the Eleven were judges. […] It was mentioned by several comic playwrights, including Timocles in the Orestautokleides.

Thus, we cannot but follow Meineke in suspecting that just as Orestes was persecuted by the Furies because of his matricide, so Autokleides in Timocles’ comedy was tormented by the prostitutes because of his pederasty.58 However, seeing that Meineke evidently reconstructs the plot of Orestautokleides on the basis of Eumenides, it is strange that he doubts that this comedy was a travesty of the Aeschylean tragedy. First, he observes that Orestes was pursued by Erinyes ‘apud tragicos poetas’, not ‘apud Aeschylum’; secondly, he surmises that if a larger section of Timocles’ comedy was available, it would be possible to see that Orestautokleides was modelled on an Orestes’ play of the fourth century: he mentions, for instance, those of Carcinus, Theodectes, and Timesitheus.59 This interpretation is not unlikely in itself, but since almost nothing of these plays has survived, it is impossible to compare Timocles’ fragment with the version of the Orestes myth staged by contemporary tragedians. Given the striking similarities between Timocles’ and Aeschylus’ treatment of the Orestes story, it is worth investigating the possibility of a direct relationship between Eumenides and Orestautokleides.60 Was this relationship influenced by an ongoing reperformance tradition of Aeschylus’ play? This idea is attractive because fr. 27 seems to contain a visual allusion to Eumenides, where Orestes and the sleeping Furies were actually  58 Dobree (1833, 343), before Meineke, already showed the connection between the two plays. 59 Meineke 1839, 432–3. 60 It was an Aeschylean invention to show the hero in Delphi after the murder and before the trial, as Taplin (2007, 58) observes; Aeschylus was also the first to bring the Erinyes on stage and to give them anthropomorphic form (Sommerstein 1989, 1–6).

‘Paratragic Burlesques’ and Reperformances of Tragedies  

shown on stage.61 We cannot be certain, of course, that in Timocles’ comedy the actor impersonating Autokleides was actually brought on stage together with a group of sleeping prostitutes, but if such a staging is imagined, then it is tempting to conclude that the comic playwright was relying on the audience’s knowledge of Aeschylus’ scene.62 In this regard, one wonders whether the famous anecdote on the terror provoked by these Aeschylean Erinyes in the audience (TrGF III, Test. 1A, 31–3) can be considered as further evidence for the reperformance of Eumenides. The story of children fainting and of miscarriages caused by the sight of this terrifying chorus is of course untrustworthy. Yet the ancient scholar mentions an interesting detail, namely the entrance of the Erinyes ‘one by one’ (σποράδην), which, despite being inconsistent with the transmitted text (they seem to be already sleeping on stage),63 may point to a different staging of the scene on the occasion of a revival. Moreover, if we turn once again to Western-Greek pots possibly related to tragedy, we have further proof that this very scene of Eumenides was still popular in the fourth century. On an Apulian calyx-krater, roughly dated to 350 and painted in the spectacular Gnathian technique (Fig. 8), we see Orestes in a minitemple, surrounded by Erinyes, while a woman, most likely the Priestess of Delphi, is fleeing from them.64 There is an impressive similarity, stressed by Oliver Taplin, between this vase and the Pythia’s speech: the Erinyes are sleeping, they have dark skin and they are without wings, a combination which is nowhere to be seen in the many fourth-century vase-representations of them, but which is strikingly close to Aeschylus’ text (Eum. 50–1). To this we can add that Orestes is sitting near the omphalos with his sword, as we read in Eum. 41–2, instead of keeping his knees on the ground in the pose of a suppliant, as is usual in the depictions of the hero at Delphi. Last but not least, this pot was produced by the

 61 Much has been written about the staging of this scene, which also attracted the attention of ancient scholars (Easterling 2005, 26). Taplin (1977, 363–74) once argued that the Erinyes were not visible to the audience until their awakening (v. 140), but this interpretation was rejected by Brown (1982, 26–7) and even Taplin (2007, 275 n. 33) abandoned it. We should think either that Orestes and the Erinyes were on stage from the beginning of the action (Di Benedetto/Medda 1997, 90), or that they were displayed after the Pythia’s exit (v. 63), on the ἐκκύκλημα (Brown 1982, 28), or through the removal of a moving screen (Di Benedetto/Medda 1997, 90). 62 As D. Kanellakis suggests to me, even if Timocles did not bring Autokleides and the prostitutes on stage, one may still see a textual allusion to Eumenides, especially if Timocl. fr. 27 comes from the prologue of the comedy. 63 Lefkowitz 2012, 74. 64 Trendall/Webster 1971, III.1 10; Taplin 2007, 64–5; Vahtikari 2014, 159–63.

  Nello Sidoti Konnakis Painter, in a Tarentine workshop whose repertoire shows constant attention to the theatrical world: among the subjects of its output we find actors, masks, and tragic scenes.65 If we put these elements together, it is logical to deduce that this vase was influenced by a performance, or at least by a text, of Aeschylus’ tragedy. In other words, as Rebaudo 2013 recently pointed out, the workshop of the Konnakis Painter is a concrete and identifiable location where the Parallel Worlds of Classical Art and Text (Small 2003) met.

Fig. 8: Apulian calyx-krater, ca. 350 BCE, Konnakis Painter, The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Inv. No. GR-4676 (B. 1743). Photograph © The State Hermitage Museum. Photo by Svetlana Suetova.

Thus, combining the evidence of Timocles’ text and of the Apulian krater, we can easily imagine that Aeschylus’ Eumenides was reperformed on fourth-century stages. For several reasons this third case of Middle-Comedy’s ‘paratragic burlesque’ is more attractive than the previous ones. Firstly, it is a rare testimony of Aeschylus’ popularity in the fourth century; secondly, it is one of the latest examples of mythological comedy, for the heyday of this genre started in 400 and  65 On this painter and his relationship with theatrical performances see Rebaudo 2013.

‘Paratragic Burlesques’ and Reperformances of Tragedies  

lasted until 340;66 thirdly, it probably refers not only to thematic, but also to scenic features of the tragedy parodied, thus being somewhat similar to the use of tragic models displayed by Aristophanes in the fifth century. In this survey, I have shown that an investigation on tragic reperformances in the fourth century should analyse the evidence provided by fragments of Middle Comedy. Many of them are grouped under the label of ‘mythological burlesques’, but in several cases these travesties are evidently ‘paratragic’, inasmuch they are based on fifth-century tragic versions of mythical stories. This means that fourth-century comic playwrights could rely on their audience’s knowledge of ‘classical’ tragedies, a knowledge most probably owed to reperformances, since the comic appropriation of tragic themes sometimes evokes scenic features of the tragedy parodied. University of Urbino [email protected]

 66 Konstantakos 2014, 161.

Peter Swallow

Translating and Editing Aristophanes in the Nineteenth Century Thomas Mitchell and John Hookham Frere Before the start of the nineteenth century, Aristophanes was hardly ever read in Britain. Few translations, and no commentaries, had been produced in English; scholars who revelled in so much Greek literature, from Homer to Sophocles, balked at Old Comedy’s oblique frames of reference. As Walton notes, ‘the translator of Aristophanes is faced with a kind of dramatic piece for which we have no parallel’, characterised by ‘Aristophanes’ fondness for anachronism, for absurdity, for the fantastic’.1 Thus, it was only with the growth of Hellenism and in the wake of Greek tragedy’s burgeoning reputation that Aristophanic plays in the 1800s ‘were finally given sustained and sympathetic attention from translators’ and editors.2 Two of the most influential scholars to work on these texts were Thomas Mitchell and John Hookham Frere; each produced translations of several plays, with Mitchell also writing commentaries on five texts. Whether approaching Aristophanes in English or in Greek, the first reception of Greek comedy any reader (nineteenth-century or otherwise) has is necessarily mediated through the translation or textual edition the reader chooses to use, and for a significant number of Victorians that choice was invariably either Frere or Mitchell.3 Therefore, for many, the nineteenth-century Aristophanes was constructed at least in part by Mitchell or Frere. Both authors were Tories, and both interpreted Aristophanes as a starkly political author reinforcing their own world-view. Both were also keen to suppress Aristophanes’ crudity, a recurring concern in the nineteenthcentury reception of his plays more broadly. At the same time, though, Mitchell’s Aristophanes and Frere’s were two subtly different beasts, and their texts were

 1 Walton 2006, 157. 2 Walsh 2016, 238. Not all of Aristophanes’ plays were received in the same way at the same point in time. Clouds, Frogs, Peace and above all Wealth had a limited but not insignificant reception history dating back to the Early Modern period in Britain (Walsh 2016, 221; Hall 2007, 67–75). Conversely, Aristophanes’ ‘women plays’ (Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae and Ecclesiazusae) were not received widely until well into the nineteenth century. 3 Previous English translations of a handful of Aristophanes’ plays predate Frere and Mitchell; Wealth had been translated as early as 1659. But of these, only Henry Francis Cary’s translation of Birds (1824) can be said to have been as important. See Giannopoulou 2007.

  Peter Swallow read and utilised by very different audiences. Thus their influence on the reception of Aristophanes was significant, but not always in chorus. Before we venture further, a brief note on the state of British politics in the early nineteenth century is necessary, particularly as it pertains to the Tory Party. The period saw successive governments struggling to deal with, and being destroyed by, a host of fraught political issues – male suffrage and political reform, Irish home rule, the Corn Laws, Poor Laws, the Woman Question, Catholic emancipation and a number of other related issues. The French Revolution of 1789 and subsequent political waves in continental Europe and at home provided the backdrop for this turbulent period of British political history.4 Partisanship also developed over this period, leading to ‘the existence by the end of the 1830s of a fairly clear-cut two-party alignment in the House of Commons’ between the Whigs and the Tories.5 As Jenkins argues, however, these party groupings were ‘sufficiently flexible to ensure that party leaders could never presume upon the support of their back-benchers’ on any given issue.6 Tory politicians by-and-large supported the Establishment – the monarchy, the government, the aristocratic and propertied classes and the Church of England – in defence of the status quo; Tory Ultras were therefore defined by their Reactionary politics. Whigs were Reformists who valued above all personal freedoms and libertarianism,7 and who largely wanted a more gradual approach to change than that advocated by Radicalism. The Whigs’ greatest contribution to politics in a period when they were almost terminally locked out from power was to pass the Great Reform Act in 1832,8 which went some way to expanding the franchise and redrawing constituencies more equitably. Again, however, this party division was mutable; as we will see, Frere identified with a group of Tories who supported reform. It is in a sense easier to define the politics of this period by the prevailing forces of Reaction, Reform and Radicalism than by party politics. With that dialectical frame in mind, we can more easily compare the politics of Mitchell and Frere, both of whom were Tories but whose politics were nevertheless very different. As we will see, their different outlooks also shaped their distinct receptions of Aristophanes.

 4 See Spence 1996, 1–12. 5 Jenkins 1996, 29. 6 Jenkins 1996, 37. 7 McCormack 2004, 26. 8 Ramsden 1998, 42–4.

Translating and Editing Aristophanes in the Nineteenth Century  

Thomas Mitchell Thomas Mitchell (1783–1845) was educated at Christ’s Hospital, a public school in West Sussex, and then at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He graduated with a BA in 1806 and an MA in 1809 and became a fellow of Sidney Sussex College, but was forced to stand down in 1812 after refusing to be ordained. Although he would continue to work as a private tutor and publish academic works, Mitchell would never teach at a university again.9 It is clear that he was working on his Aristophanes translations by 1813,10 and he eventually released them in two volumes. Volume one, published in 1820, contained Acharnians and Knights; volume two, published in 1822, contained Wasps and Clouds, although his Clouds was actually a reprint of Cumberland’s translation.11 In the 1830s he also released several critical editions of the plays – Acharnians and Wasps in 1835, Knights in 1836, Clouds in 1838 and Frogs in 1839. These texts were primarily designed as teaching aides – each title-page declared that the commentary was written for ‘the use of schools and universities’ – and Mitchell was proud that his efforts meant ‘the conductors of our great public schools were in possession of […] a safe text of five of the most important of the Aristophanic plays’.12 Despite being immediately used by public schools, Mitchell’s works were not reprinted. This may have been because they were already considered old-fashioned by the standards of the time. His translations are well-written and in charming verse, but, as Frere wrote, their major ‘defect […] is to be attributed to the adoption of a particular style; the style of our ancient comedy in the beginning of the 16th century.’13 This adoption of an archaic, heightened tone often leads him to overtranslate – for example, for the single line Ach. 11 ὁ δ᾽ ἀνεῖπεν, εἴσαγ᾽, ὦ Θέογνι, τὸν χορόν, Mitchell provides four:14

 9 Goodwin 2004. 10 In an article written for the Quarterly Review, Mitchell includes translated extracts from Wasps, Peace, Knights, Clouds, Ecclesiazusae and Thesmophoriazusae. He did not publish full translations of most of these texts, and his published Wasps does not reuse the translation prepared for this article, but he does reuse the Knights extract (the play’s prologue) in his later translation (Mitchell 1813, 139–61). It is unclear why he should reuse one but not the other. 11 Cumberland’s Clouds ‘has been too much admired, and, generally speaking, it is too masterly a production […] to render another version of it necessary’ (Mitchell 1822, 3). 12 Mitchell 1841, 5. 13 Hookham Frere 1820, 474. 14 Mitchell 1820, 14–15.

  Peter Swallow Sudden a hasty summons shakes the roof: And – ‘Hoa, Theognis! please to introduce Your company of actors!’ brazen-lung’d Exclaims the Herald …

This sixteenth-century tone was very much a choice; as early as 1777, Rev. Robert Potter’s ‘rightly admired’ translations of Aeschylus, ‘the first complete English translation’ of the tragedian published,15 had demonstrated the effectiveness of translating Greek tragedy into vernacular language. If vernacular verse was sufficient for rendering tragedy, Mitchell might have felt at liberty to translate comedy in a similar tone. In fact, he adopted the archaising ‘particular style’ Frere criticises him for. As Turner has demonstrated, Mitchell’s interpretations are heavily dependent on the Tory MP and Greek historian William Mitford, whom Mitchell frequently refers to as simply ‘the English historian of Greece’; Mitchell ‘strongly perpetuated Mitford’s image of Athens.’16 But he is also familiar with a number of French and German scholars. Schlegel is returned to often, and Mitchell’s own copies of Brunck’s Aristophanes, heavily annotated, survive in the British Library archives;17 at the start of his Acharnians commentary Mitchell also refers to ‘Boeckh, Müller, Wachsmuth, Kruse, and others’.18 Much of Mitchell’s commentary is highly speculative, however, with his imagination being drawn on more frequently than actual evidence. For example, he boldly asserts that Knights concludes thus: 19 Four-and-twenty bath-men, each armed with an enormous syringe or an arytaena, advance in slow procession; then come four men, bearing on their backs a huge chopping-block, and on that block sits Cleon in most disconsolate posture […] Four-and-twenty streetnymphs bring up the rear […] The bath-men pour upon him deluges of dirty water, while the ladies salute him with specimens of that language, which is henceforth to be the only dialect he is to hear […] The mock Cleon, wiping the foul bath from his face, throws forward with extended arm a silent, but expressive denunciation ‘from me to thee’ upon [the real Cleon in the audience]. The pageant again moves on, and the theatre finally breaks up amid convulsions of laughter, mixed with cries of ‘No Cleon!’ ‘Down with the tanner!’ ‘Aristophanes for ever!’

 15 Hall/Macintosh 2005, 209. 16 Turner 1984, 209. 17 BL cat. no. 11705 dd 6. Unfortunately, Mitchell’s notes, written interchangeably in English, German, Greek and Latin, are largely illegible. 18 Mitchell 1835a, iii. 19 Mitchell 1836, 262.

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A complete fabrication, with no evidence whatsoever, Mitchell nevertheless sets it down without qualification – not for academics who can readily dismiss it as an unsupported theory but for his more impressionable intended audience, schoolboys, who would only have their schoolmasters to guard them from it!20 Mitchell’s passion for Aristophanes is clear from the many vivid ideas he expresses about how Old Comedy was staged and should be interpreted, and from all the years he dedicated to translating and editing these works. At the same time, though, he views much of Aristophanes as uncomfortable, even immoral. As he writes in an 1813 article for the Quarterly Review, in these plays:21 The worst of things are called by the worst of names; and the meanest of our appetites and grossest of our necessities are perpetually called in to make sport for the audience, who, if we are to judge of them by those exhibitions, (and they certainly took a singular delight in them,) can have been little better than semibarbarians.

This censure is ever-present across his editions, and is invariably tinged with classism. It is for the lower members of society that Aristophanes debases himself – and ‘if [the reader] has any knowledge of “the sovereign multitude” of Athens, he will not be surprized [sic] at the lowness of humour with which the poet artfully endeavours to cheat them into good sense.’22 Once Aristophanes has thus gulled the hoi polloi,23 then it is that he suddenly strikes the deadliest blow. To the better part of his audience his admonitions might have the ludicrous appearance of a Bacchus preaching sobriety from a tub; but to the vicious no reproof comes so home as that which they hear from persons who appear to think as little of virtue as themselves.

He argues that the upper-class Athenians would not stand for Aristophanes’ crassness if it weren’t a necessary concession to the immoral masses. Mitchell’s translations utilise two methods for dealing with Aristophanes’ dirty humour. Sometimes, he avoids translating either the specific joke or the entire section in which it is found. More commonly, however, he simply translates

 20 We should preclude the possibility that Mitchell was thus giving stage directions for potential school performances. Here he is clearly talking about the original performance (‘the real Cleon in the audience’). Extracts from Aristophanes were performed at annual school Speech Days throughout the nineteenth century, although these were more recitations than performances. 21 Mitchell 1813, 141–2. 22 Mitchell 1835a, 10. 23 Mitchell 1813, 142.

  Peter Swallow the passage but sanitises the crudity. For example, in Acharnians, he translates Aristophanes’ joke about the King of Persia having constipation (81–2):24 ἀλλ᾽ εἰς ἀπόπατον ᾤχετο στρατιὰν λαβών, κἄχεζεν ὀκτὼ μῆνας ἐπὶ χρυσῶν ὀρῶν.

As: [He had] Physick’d his royal person on the mountains. Eight months in that abode his highness purg’d him.

Although he has almost entirely lost the scatological humour, his translation is not wildly inaccurate, and the sense of κἄχεζεν is not absent from ‘purg’d’. In his commentaries, however, Mitchell unfailingly excises almost every dirty bit of Greek. In most places he repairs any half-lines thus cut by stitching them together into new, complete lines; where this is not possible, he uses three asterisks to indicate the missing word or phrase. Apart from these asterisks, he offers no hint that the Greek has thus been tampered with, utilising his own internal line numbering to cover up the Bowdlerisation. As he explains, ‘on the fouler stains of antiquity, it will form no part of this publication to dilate.’25 In a sense, it is not all that surprising that an edition produced for schoolboys would be edited in this way, but the extent to which Mitchell takes his censorship, coupled with his blatant attempts to cover up the process, is remarkable – certainly, the text he was working from, Brunck’s, had not felt the need to excise Aristophanes’ filthiness from the Greek. Throughout these texts – and despite his rejection of Anglicanism – Mitchell frequently identifies himself with Toryism, conservatism and the aristocracy, to such a degree that he rejects Athens, that prime exemplar of radical liberalist democracy, for Sparta. Ignorance of Sparta may lead us to value Athens higher – as Mitchell concedes, it ‘stands before us in the bodily frame and substance of a glorious literature, of which we have all more or less partaken, and which has entailed upon us a debt of gratitude and reverence’.26 Yet Sparta, he asserts, was ‘a nation of gentlemen’,27 and it is with them that our allegiances should lie. The Peloponnesian War ‘was aristocracy against democracy, and the combination of

 24 Mitchell 1820, 24. 25 Mitchell 1835a, 36. 26 Mitchell 1835a, v. 27 Mitchell 1835a, viii.

Translating and Editing Aristophanes in the Nineteenth Century  

free Greeks against the evil ambition of one state.’28 The issue was fundamentally a constitutional one. Sparta was ruled by the right sort of people, whereas Athens was not:29 However nations may sometimes be disposed to trifle with their own happiness or honour in the choice of those whom they please to place at the head of their affairs, the only safe guides in conferring such a distinction, can be substantially but four: clear and unencumbered property, – the more of birth and blood the better, – that general intelligence, which arises from the average developement [sic] of the intellectual powers, – and that integrity which results from a proper cultivation of the moral and religious feelings […]

Although he uses Aristophanic comedy and its context to outline his argument, Mitchell is not talking specifically about the Peloponnesian War here. He is talking about the best form for any government to take. And notably, in the nineteenth century, at least three of his criteria for the proper ruling class were only practicably achievable by the aristocratic or sufficiently wealthy: property required money; nobility was unattainable except through marriage, which required money; and ‘that general intelligence’, by which one must surely read ‘a classical education’, could only be achieved by attending the right schools and then university – which required money. Moreover, Mitchell’s first criterion is the most obviously significant for contemporary readers – Acharnians was published in 1835, three years after the passing of the Great Reform Act, which for the first time extended suffrage beyond those who had ‘clear and unencumbered property’. One can sense Mitchell’s disapproval. In support of these conservative sentiments, Mitchell reads Aristophanes simply as a political commentator who toed his party’s line:30 The ‘Old Comedy’ must have been to the political world of that time, what certain newspapers and journals are to the political world of the present day – the channels through which the leaders of party make known such parts of their own policy, or that of their opponents, as they wish or think necessary to go forth to the public. Aristophanes must in this point of view have been an invaluable addition to the aristocratical or peace party.

 28 Mitchell 1835a, xvii. 29 Mitchell 1835a, vii. 30 Mitchell 1835a, 115.

  Peter Swallow Thus, references to peace throughout the plays are interpreted as support for a theorised ‘aristocratical or peace party’ led by Nicias.31 Following Mitford, Mitchell asserts that Aristophanes was ‘a man of rank’ himself, although the lack of evidence for this assumption is acknowledged.32 Knights and Acharnians both lend themselves well to Mitchell’s reading of Aristophanes, and by emphasising the right points the scholar is able to interpret both as pro-aristocratic texts. Frogs is less political as a text, but Mitchell’s commentary is not without political interpretation here either. In the scene following the parabasis (738–813), Aristophanes presents an hilarious portrait of Xanthias and (presumably) Aeacus discussing their masters’ many flaws and revelling in their own. But as Hall has shown,33 Mitchell interprets this in such a way as to minimise criticism of the masters and emphasise revulsion towards the slaves (whom he euphemistically terms ‘lacqueys’ [sic]):34 And do our two lacqueys hold a dry colloquy? Forbid it every feast of Bacchus, of which we ever heard! forbid it all the bonds which have tied lacqueyism together, since the world of man and master first began! […] We can admit here but one huge common flask, and two separate cups; Xanthias, of course, drinking thrice to Aeacus’s once, and in a goblet, which had its depth equalled its breadth, the lank, spare partner in his potations might absolutely have floated in it.

Needless to say, there is nothing in the text actually to suggest Xanthias and Aeacus are drinking, but Mitchell’s assumptions ignore this. It is in his Wasps that Mitchell shows the greatest amount of politically-motivated interference. He interprets the play as a diatribe against property confiscations, which he claims attacked the noble elite and allowed the state to gather money for raucous festivals to appease the masses. Although Mitchell is concerned about the power common Athenians held over their political institutions, as he discusses in Knights and Acharnians, it is the democratic nature of Athenian jurisprudence which alarms him the most:35 The real power of the Athenian Demus, as he himself well knew, lay in the courts of law. There was his throne, and there his sceptre: there he found compliment, court, and adula-

 31 Mitchell 1820, 139. 32 Mitchell 1836, 55. 33 Hall 2007, 76–7. 34 Mitchell 1839, 147. 35 Mitchell 1835b, vi.

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tion rained upon him so thick, that his imagination began at last to believe what his flatterers assured him, that he was a god, and not a man. And a god in some sense he was; for property and fortune, honour and infamy, life and death, were in his hands […]

Lest his readers miss the allusion, Mitchell is sure to connect Athenian property confiscation directly with the horrors of the French Revolution.36 In this reading Bdelycleon, who stands up against his juryman father, is interpreted ‘as a single representative of that class of Athenian society, whom the Chorus of the Equites represents in its united form’37 – although of course if the son is a noble eques, then the father would have to be as well. Mitchell’s interpretation quickly comes up against an even greater problem, however. Aristophanes’ Wasps can be split into two halves. In the first part the juror Philocleon is cured of his addiction by his son, Bdelycleon. This narrative easily conforms to Mitchell’s reading – the juror redeemed through his noble son. But in the second part, after the parabasis, Philocleon takes advantage of his new-found life of leisure and becomes degenerate, worse even than when he was a juror. The perceived moral lesson, ‘Don’t be an Athenian juror’, is lost. In Mitchell’s translation of Wasps, therefore, the scholar splits the play into these two separate halves, naming the first section Wasps and the second The Dicast Turned Gentleman. He justifies this action by claiming ‘it is clear that this comedy ought to have ended immediately with these addresses of the CHORUS, or even before them. The action was complete; and whatever else is added must be a mere superfetation.’38 Although Mitchell’s assessment is not precisely unfair from an aesthetic point of view, Aristophanic plays are never characterised by a particularly strong plot unity. Yet this is the only play Mitchell splits into two. The new title he coins for his second half is also misleading – if the dicast does indeed become a gentleman (and note the loaded term), he does so only briefly before relapsing. Mitchell’s intervention is even more drastic in his commentary; here, he cuts the entire second half of the play, ending the text with the parabasis. Characteristically, he does not signal this deletion with a footnote, and the only allusion he makes to it is an oblique comment in the introduction.39 Any reader who only has access to Mitchell’s edition would not notice what has happened. It is an extraordinary editorial decision. Whether through isolating it or simply deleting it, then,  36 Mitchell 1822, 165, quoting Mitford 1822, 13. 37 Mitchell 1835b, 25. 38 Mitchell 1822, 281. 39 ‘That the action of the play is too far extended for modern ears, there can be little doubt: and it is therefore hoped, that the curtailments here made will be less objected to’ (Mitchell 1835b, iii).

  Peter Swallow Mitchell acts to minimise the concluding section of Wasps and prevents a holistic reading of both parts of the play, allowing him to emphasise the part which conforms most easily to his reading of Old Comedy. Mitchell’s Aristophanes was intensely political, a party-man, a proto-Tory advocate for the aristocracy – and through these readings of Aristophanes Mitchell activates Old Comedy to advocate his own Tory leanings too. If this requires him to stretch the meaning of a text, or even delete a whole section, so be it. For most of the nineteenth century, Mitchell’s texts were the main vehicles through which the schoolboys and university students who would go on to run the country read Aristophanes – they also, conveniently enough, happened to be handbooks for social and political conservatism. As one contemporary reviewer asked, do ‘Mr Mitchell, and those with whom he sides, […] not press their case a little too hard?’40 Of course, Mitchell is perfectly conscious of what he was doing: ‘That the political opinions advanced in these productions would be unacceptable to some, the editor was well aware’, he writes.41 At the same time, he is also aware of Aristophanes’ huge potential to influence his readers:42 Could language like [Aristophanes’] sink deep into the ears of solitary scholars, and have no corresponding effect on the minds of those to whom the flower of our youth is entrusted – that youth, who at some future day must have, or ought to have, the guidance of those by whom such language is held?

His unforgivingly partisan scholarship is intended to teach Aristophanes, but only the Aristophanes Mitchell believes in.

John Hookham Frere We know that John Hookham Frere was familiar with Mitchell’s translations because he reviewed the first volume for the Quarterly Review in 1820. A letter in his memoirs indicates that he received the second volume in 1824, along with Cary’s Birds43 – he noted that Cary’s ‘is much better than Mitchell’s translations’.44 The

 40 Sandford 1835, 326. 41 Mitchell 1835b, xiii. 42 Mitchell 1841, 16. 43 Bartle Frere 1874, 193. 44 Bartle Frere 1874, 195.

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introduction to Frere’s Knights also cites Mitchell’s earlier version.45 It is impossible to say whether Frere was familiar with Mitchell’s commentaries. In turn, it isn’t clear whether Mitchell had read Frere’s translations, although he was familiar enough with Frere’s Quarterly Review article to quote it in his Acharnians commentary.46 Hookham Frere (1769–1846) was the son of a Tory MP and went to Eton, where he formed a close friendship with the future prime minister George Canning.47 After school, he moved to Caius College, Cambridge, earning a BA in 1792 and an MA in 1795. He won a number of prizes for classical compositions in verse and prose and became a fellow.48 In 1796, he was returned as a Tory MP for West Looe in Cornwall (a ‘rotten borough’) and went to work in the Foreign Office.49 His first major foray into the literary world was as a writer for the Anti-Jacobin, a satirical periodical designed to combat dangerous republican sentiment stirred up by the French Revolution and edited by Canning. It was so popular that it was shut down after only eight months’ publication, possibly at Prime Minister Pitt’s personal intervention50 – despite a limited circulation, it had offered a little too much satire from writers a little too close to the establishment. Frere was sent as ambassador to Portugal in 1800,51 then to Spain in 1802.52 He lost his post in 1804 after failing to stop Spain joining the Napoleonic War and falling out with the Spanish Prime Minister. In 1808 Spain revolted against Napoleonic rule and Frere was re-appointed ambassador53 – this time, however, he only lasted eight months before being relieved of duty for interfering in military matters.54 Feeling betrayed, he resolved to withdraw from public life despite being offered a seat in the House of Lords or another appointment in St Petersburg.55

 45 Hookham Frere 1874b, 65. 46 Mitchell 1835a, 34–5. 47 Bartle Frere 1874, 13. As ‘British foreign secretary from 1822, [Canning] allowed [British philhellenes] to raise money privately’ in support of the Greek War of Independence whilst Britain was still formally neutral (Hanink 2017, 143). 48 Bartle Frere 1874, 18. 49 Bartle Frere 1874, 20. 50 Bartle Frere 1874, 40–1. 51 Bartle Frere 1874, 52. 52 Bartle Frere 1874, 54. 53 Bartle Frere 1874, 82. 54 Bartle Frere 1874, 97; House of Commons Debate: Historical Hansard 24 February 1809 series 1 vol. 12. 55 Bartle Frere 1874, 98.

  Peter Swallow After his wife Lady Erroll caught a ‘severe cold’ whilst visiting the Elgin Marbles, Frere left England for good in 1820, settling in Malta.56 It was after this political embarrassment that Frere turned to Aristophanes. He started translating the plays in 1817,57 and ‘during 1818–1819 […] devoted much of his time to the translations.’58 Although it would not be published for almost 20 years, Frogs had been completed and some copies printed by 1824, and Acharnians was almost finished as well.59 Frere would continue working on Aristophanes over the course of the next two decades, eventually producing complete versions of Frogs, Acharnians, Knights and Birds. In 1837 two London publishers rejected the offer to publish his translations,60 but he was encouraged to print them at the Government Printing Office at Malta,61 a project finally completed in 1839. Further prints were completed in 1840 in London. Frere maintained that this was a private print run, though he produced a full 500 copies. Many of these he sent to friends and respected intellectuals, but he also sent 250 copies to booksellers across five universities,62 and 160 were sent to a bookseller in Chancery Lane.63 Although this still speaks to a small circulation, Frere’s texts were by no means kept private.64 The dissemination of Frere’s text really begins with its extensive reprinting history, and for this reason his influence is felt much more strongly in the second half of the nineteenth century than it is in the first. Frere’s translations, including as-yet-unpublished extracts from Peace produced late in his life, were included in a collected edition of his works produced posthumously in 1872, then reprinted in 1874; this was the first time the translations had been widely available to the public. Then, in 1886, his Acharnians, Knights and Birds were printed in Sir John Lubbock’s Hundred Books series; these same plays were printed in Morley’s Universal Library series in 1886, 1887, 1890 and 1895, as only the third classical text of the series after Dryden’s Virgil and Chapman’s Homer. The Everyman’s Library

 56 Bartle Frere 1874, 180–2. 57 Bartle Frere 1874, 179–80. 58 Bartle Frere 1874, 177. 59 Bartle Frere 1874, 192. Frere was not happy with this original print run due to poor punctuation, but a copy surviving in the British Library archives indicates nothing but stylistic changes between this edition and later reprints. 60 Bartle Frere 1874, 279. 61 Bartle Frere 1874, 276. 62 Bartle Frere 1874, 296. 63 Bartle Frere 1874, 314. 64 We do not know the reasons for the delay and difficulties in publishing the translations; his biography merely reports that the manuscripts were rejected.

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printed all four of Frere’s plays in 1909, 1911, 1917, 1924 and 1949; The World’s Classics series printed him in 1907, 1912 and 1928. Across versions, this indicates that the text, although originally designed as a private work, had a public afterlife stretching well into the early twentieth century. And although Frere originally circulated it only amongst the educated classes, his text was latterly published repeatedly by book series designed specifically to bring the classics to everyday readers who did not have such advantages, and who would not be expected to know Aristophanes in the original Greek. By the end of the nineteenth century, Frere’s texts had even come to be associated with the performance of Aristophanes. In 1873 the Scottish engineering professor Henry Charles Fleeming Jenkin privately produced Frogs in Edinburgh, and used Frere’s translation – this was Aristophanes’ ‘earliest known British performance in the English language’ outside of adaptation.65 Editions of Frere’s texts were also produced for several of the Oxford and Cambridge Greek plays;66 whilst the actors were speaking Greek, much of the audience would read along with Frere’s English text. There was probably little overlap between the audience of an Oxbridge Greek play and the readership of the Everyman’s Library series, yet remarkably Frere was a vehicle through which both audiences received Aristophanes. Frere’s translations are remarkable for their adoption of vernacular language and for their verse form, which by-and-large replicates the metre used in the original Greek as it was understood at the time.67 He does not always feel required to stay as close as possible to the original Greek. For example, he replaces the difficult-to-translate word game at the start of Knights (24–6) …68 NIK.

ὥσπερ δεφόμενος νῦν ἀτρέμα πρῶτον λέγε τὸ μόλωμεν, εἶτα δ' αὐτό, κᾷτ’ ἐπάγων πυκνόν. ΔΗΜ. μόλωμεν αὐτὸ μόλωμεν αὐτομολῶμεν.

… with a similar, but distinct, word game in English:69 NIC.

Say ‘Let us’ first; put the first letter to it, And then the last, and then put E, R, T. ‘Let us Azert.’ I say, ‘Let us Azert.’

 65 Hall 2007, 85. 66 Hall 2007, 85. 67 For a brief history of Aristophanic metre and text, see Parker 1997, 94–119. 68 ‘NIC: Now say “Let’s run”, like you’re wanking, gently at first, then “away”, and then close the gap. DEM: Let’s run. Away. Let’s run. Let’s run away.’ (My translation.) 69 Hookham Frere 1874b, 72–3.

  Peter Swallow ‘Tis now your turn – take the next letter to it. Put B for A. DEM. ‘Let us Bezert’ I say– NIC. ‘Tis now my turn – ‘Let us Cezert,’ I say; ‘Tis now your turn. DEM. ‘Let us Dezert,’ I say.

His ‘translation’ obviously fills the same role as the Greek passage – Nicias still leads Demosthenes to consider deserting through wordplay – but picks up on none of Aristophanes’ language specifically. Yet it is not jarring, as an attempt to translate the Greek literally might be. (He also removes the reference to masturbation.) In Acharnians he rather ingeniously translates Pseudartabas’ name as ‘Shamartabas’.70 Frere’s vernacular translations are defined throughout by this readability. The title page of Birds even notes that his translation was ‘intended to convey some notion of [the comedy’s] effect as an acted play’,71 which implies consideration of how Aristophanes might be re-performed – as indeed it frequently was later in the century. Mitchell is only interested in the plays’ original performance contexts. However, like Mitchell, Frere is very uneasy about Aristophanes’ crassness and takes the greatest liberties when translating his humour. Rarely, he will not translate a passage – so in Frogs, he notes that lines 416–30 are ‘not capable of translation’ because they are ‘accompanied by a great license of abuse and ribaldry’.72 Frere does not always signal when he has left out a section from his translation, but he does so far more often than Mitchell. More usually, though, Frere simply disguises the rudeness of a passage through his translation. For example, to return to Ach. 81–2, Frere translates the lines as:73 [He had] Gone with his army to the Golden Mountains, To take his ease, and purge his royal person; There he remain’d eight months.

Just as Mitchell had done, he renders the meaning of the lines and even hints at the scatological humour, but refuses to embrace it. Indeed, both translators render the obscenity κἄχεζεν as the sanitised ‘purge’. Yet whilst Frere also blames Aristophanes’ inappropriateness on ‘the lower class’ for whom he was writing,

 70 Hookham Frere 1874b, 10. 71 Hookham Frere 1874b, 145. 72 Hookham Frere 1874b, 259. 73 Hookham Frere 1874b, 10.

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following Mitchell,74 he is not as passionate in his censure. Rather, Frere goes to extraordinary lengths to explain away both the passages’ inclusion in Aristophanes’ plays and his own refusal to translate them fully, claiming that Aristophanes would be pleased to be rid of them: ‘In discarding such passages […], the translator is merely doing that for his author, which he would willingly have done for himself.’75 Reading Mitchell, one is routinely reminded of Aristophanes’ and the Athenians’ irredeemable wickedness. Reading Frere, one finds a patient but embarrassed apologist for Aristophanic crudity. Just as with Mitchell, Frere sees Aristophanes’ plays as didactic. However, he suggests their educational purpose is well-disguised, perhaps in acknowledgement of the controversy surrounding this point:76 The object of the poetic and dramatic art is to instruct without offence; to give men hints of their faults and errors, sufficiently strong to enable them, each for himself, to make the personal application to his own case, but so, that neither the author nor the actor shall appear in the character of an accuser, or even of a monitor, which, among equals, is always odious.

Frere does not deny poetry’s power, of course. In his youth he had written some fiery poetry of his own, in opposition to the French Revolution and with acknowledged didactic intent; he was a leading contributor to the satirical anti-republican newspaper Anti-Jacobin. In one poem Frere uses classical imagery to describe his verses as warriors:77 Empty all thy quiver on the foe: – No pause – no rest – till weltering on the ground The poisonous hydra lies, and pierced with many a wound.

Yet this is not the proactive, firebrand sort of poetry Frere assigns to Aristophanes. His translations never reach the fever-pitch of his youthful writings in the Anti-Jacobin. If Mitchell’s Aristophanes was a Tory firebrand and scourge, Frere’s was no less political, and still Tory – but certainly more subtle. Frere’s Knights is presented in this vein. His Cleon is, like Mitchell’s, a rogue, ‘a fawning, obsequious slave’.78 Undoubtedly, Frere reads the play as an attack on Cleon, a harangue against demagoguery, and as somewhat favourable to Ni-

 74 Hookham Frere 1820, 491. 75 Hookham Frere 1820, 491. 76 Hookham Frere 1820, 478. 77 Hookham Frere 1874a, 149. 78 Hookham Frere 1874b, 67.

  Peter Swallow cias and Demosthenes. But this reading, whilst not the only interpretation possible, is well-founded in the actual source-text and could be reached by anybody engaging with the play. It is not controversial, and it does not require an understanding of Frere’s own particular political views to contextualise. In Acharnians Frere highlights the ‘independent spirit’ of Dicaeopolis79 and notes that the protagonist ‘wishes for a speedy peace’.80 In this he is ‘the Poet’s dramatic representative’.81 Yet Dicaeopolis is not an oligarch or a monarchist, but simply ‘a humourous shrewd countryman (a sort of Athenian Sancho)’.82 He in fact has a ‘rustic republican spleen’.83 As with Knights, Frere’s reading is uncontroversial and consistent with the source-text, even if it is not the only interpretation possible. There is no underlying praise for Sparta either, unlike in Mitchell. Frere’s Birds, meanwhile, scarcely mentions Athens at all. Rather, Frere’s metatext focuses predominantly on the figure of Peisetaerus, whom he praises excessively:84 He is represented as the essential man of business and ability, the true political adventurer; the man who directs every thing and every body; who is never in the wrong […] He maintains a constant ascendancy, or if he loses it for a moment, recovers it immediately.

Frere’s Peisetaerus is thus the ultimate politician, running rings around his colleagues Euelpides and the hoopoe. Even the aristocratic Neptune finds himself ‘opposed to a politician infinitely his superior in resources and address’.85 Of course, if Peisetaerus is so unquestionably the hero of the piece, then the monarchy he sets up is likewise positive, and by removing any doubt of the protagonist’s virtue Frere guides his reader to an uncomplicated reading of the play’s eulogies for Cloudcuckooland’s new king:86 Prosperous happy Birds! – Behold your King, Here in his glorious palace! – Mark his entrance, Dazzling all eyes, resplendent as a Star […]

 79 Hookham Frere 1874b, 5. 80 Hookham Frere 1874b, 3. 81 Hookham Frere 1874b, 15. 82 Hookham Frere 1874b, 3. 83 Hookham Frere 1874b, 5. 84 Hookham Frere 1874b, 147. 85 Hookham Frere 1874b, 223–4. 86 Hookham Frere 1874b, 232.

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Precisely by focussing on the individual and not the play’s overall message, then, Frere makes Aristophanes demonstrate the benefits of monarchy. Yet once again, the intervention is not blatant – Frere shifts his readers’ attention onto Peisetaerus and then allows them to come to their own conclusions. Frere may well have presented Birds in this way because he personally empathised with Peisetaerus. The protagonist is, in Frere’s view, ‘an Athenian citizen, but disgusted with his own country’87 – essentially a self-proclaimed exile. Likewise, Frere was a British citizen but retreated to Malta after his native land, and its politicians, disgraced him. Curiously, it is the least overtly political of Frere’s plays, Frogs, where his intervention is the strongest. As he notes, the play’s parabasis is potentially the most sustained and earnest of all Aristophanes’ political intercessions, and the clearest evidence in support of a serious interpretation of Greek comedy:88 The unusually vehement and earnest political remonstrances in the address of the Chorus […] [provide] abundant reason to conclude that some part of the action of the stage must have been intended to be understood in a political sense.

In a long note before this parabasis, Frere argues that Aristophanes sought Alcibiades’ return from exile – not only in the parabasis itself but throughout the drama. Alcibiades was ‘living in exile upon his own estate in Thrace, while [the Athenians] were struggling with difficulties from which his genius and abilities might have relieved them’.89 Those who favoured his repatriation believed it would lead to ‘success abroad and a Government at home partly Democratic and partly Dictatorial’90 – essentially, it would produce a mixed constitution. Like Peisetaerus, Alcibiades seems to embody Frere’s own outlook and experiences. However, this message cannot easily be read in the text. It certainly pleads for clemency on behalf of disenfranchised Athenians, but as Frere’s own translation makes clear, it is talking about the supporters of Phrynichus:91 First [we propose] that all that were inveigled into Phrynichus’s treason, Should be suffer’d and received by rules of evidence and reason To clear their conduct – Secondly, that none of our Athenian race Should live suspected and subjected to loss of franchise and disgrace […]

 87 Hookham Frere 1874b, 147. 88 Hookham Frere 1874b, 270. 89 Hookham Frere 1874b, 270. 90 Hookham Frere 1874b, 271. 91 Hookham Frere 1874b, 277.

  Peter Swallow Phrynichus and Alcibiades were rivals, and the repatriation of Phrynichus’ supporters would thus do little to bring about Alcibiades’ reinstatement. It is true that the second proposition, that ‘none of our Athenian race’ should be exiled, could refer to Alcibiades – but without Frere’s metatextual interpretation, neither the Greek nor Frere’s translation makes such a reading obvious. Moreover, Frere’s analysis reaches beyond the parabasis; he also argues that ‘in the preceding scenes in the infernal regions, Xanthias is the representative of Alcibiades, and Bacchus of the Athenian people, and that the changes of character represent the changes in their political relation to each other.’92 Such an extraordinary interpretation of Xanthias’ character is set in opposition to ‘the continuator of Brumoy’,93 Raoul-Rochette, who had argued that Xanthias’ final scene after the parabasis was intended ‘to critique the admission of foreigners and slaves to the rank of citizens’ after Arginousai.94 Frere prefers to see Xanthias as a model of mixed constitutionalism rather than as a critique of reform. This substantial metatextual intervention is uncharacteristic, but it does demonstrate Frere’s desire to see Aristophanes read in a politically motivated way. It is easy enough to see why Aristophanes was able to grip Frere’s imagination so intensely – Frere saw in the ancient Greek a reflection of his own values. Like his friend Canning, Frere was a Tory Reformist. At the same time, he was a literary figure and renowned wit admired by both Lord Byron and Sir Walter Scott.95 This was same blend of politics and literature he saw in Aristophanes. Mitchell was also an outsider, having been driven from university because of his religious convictions, and likewise saw a kindred spirit in Aristophanes – although his Aristophanes is more overt, more partisan, even more conservative and less radical; a true oligarch, not a mixed constitutionalist. At the same time, Mitchell is careful to separate himself from those aspects of Aristophanes he disagrees with, constantly criticising the Greek poet for his impropriety, whilst Frere routinely apologises for Aristophanes’ crudity. Contemporary events, including the struggle towards democratic reform in Britain and the lasting effects of the French Revolution beyond it, colour the interpretations made by both. Yet Mitchell is far more prepared than Frere to bend Aristophanes to his agenda, as demonstrated by his editions of Wasps in particular. Frere’s vernacular editions demonstrate a commitment to readability whilst still seeking to preserve the metrical

 92 Hookham Frere 1874b, 270. 93 Hookham Frere 1874b, 271. 94 Brumoy/Raoul-Rochette 1823, 166; the translation is my own. We have already discussed Mitchell’s reading of Xanthias as a drunken buffoon. 95 Bartle Frere 1874, 163, 233.

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form of the original; though designed for well-educated friends and acquaintances, they became a vehicle for Aristophanes’ working-class reception. Mitchell’s texts, particularly his commentaries, were designed as classroom aides for the nobility. Both, then, created a distinctly different Aristophanes, despite their similar outlooks. Perhaps it is fitting that Aristophanes, whose reputation has always been so dubious, was to be redeemed by two exiles on the fringes of the establishment. Regardless, the legacy of these translations and commentaries was significant; Mitford’s claim of the aristocratic pseudo-Tory Aristophanes was actualised by Mitchell and Frere and placed so firmly into the Victorian British reception of the poet that, for half a century, it would be almost impossible to interpret him in any other way. Nor could he still be dismissed as too insignificant, or too crude to approach at all. Aristophanes had returned from exile. King’s College London [email protected]

List of Contributors Eleni Avdoulou (MA Athens) is a doctoral candidate at the University of Cologne and scholar of the Academy of Athens, preparing an edition and commentary on the third book of Philodemus’ Rhetoric under the supervision of Jürgen Hammerstaedt. Her main research interests are Greek papyrology, Herculaneum, Aristophanes, Aesopic fables, Flavius Philostratus, the reception of Greek philosophy in modern times and the study of the various certamina in classical literature. Armand D’Angour (PhD University College, London) is Professor of Classical Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Jesus College. He has a particular interest in Greek music and metre, and has studied piano and cello at the Royal College of Music. In 2004 his Pindaric Ode to Athens was recited at the Olympic Games, and an Ode commissioned by the Mayor of London was presented at the London Olympics 2012. He is the author of the monographs The Greeks and the New: Novelty in Ancient Greek Imagination and Experience (2011) and Socrates in Love (2019). Federico Favi (PhD Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa) is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in Classics at the University of Oxford and a Junior Research Fellow at Oriel College. His research revolves around Greek Comedy, dialectology, epigraphy, fragmentary literature and pseudepigraphy. He has published Fliaci: Testimonianze e frammenti (2017) and he is currently preparing a new critical edition with commentary of Epicharmus’ fragments. Andreas Fountoulakis (PhD Manchester) is Associate Professor of Greek Literature and Drama at the University of Crete. His research focusses on Greek tragedy and comedy (both classical and post-classical), ancient popular theatre, Hellenistic poetry, the Second Sophistic and the reception of antiquity in Modern Greek literature. He is the author of Violence and Theatricality: Studies on Violence as a Dramatic Element in Classical and Post-Classical Greek Tragedy (1995) and In Search of the Didactic Menander: An Approach to Menander’s Comedy and an Exploration of the Samia (in Modern Greek, 2004). He is also co-editor of Thoughtful Adaptations: Cross-Cultural and Didactic Aspects of Cavafy’s Poetry (in Modern Greek, 2007) and Theatre World: Critical Perspectives on Greek Tragedy and Comedy (2017). Almut Fries (DPhil Oxford) is Lecturer in Classics at The Queen’s College, Oxford. Her research centres on archaic and classical Greek poetry. An edition with introduction and commentary of the pseudo-Euripidean Rhesus was published by De Gruyter in 2014. She is currently finishing a similar edition of Pindar’s First Pythian Ode and is the author of several articles in the fields of Greek metre, Byzantine scholarship on Pindar and drama, and the Indo-European background of Greek poetry and myth. Edith Hall (DPhil Oxford) is Professor of Classics at King’s College, London. She is co-founder and Consultant Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) at Oxford. She has published thirty books, the most recent of which is A People’s History of Classics: Class and Greco-Roman Antiquity in Britain and Ireland 1689-1939 (co-authored with H. Stead, 2020). She was awarded the Erasmus Medal of the European Academy in 2015 and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Athens in 2017.

  List of Contributors Dimitrios Kanellakis (DPhil Oxford) is a Research Associate in Classics at the University of Oxford. His research interests include Greek drama, archaic iambus, Modern Greek poetry and classical reception. He is the author of Aristophanes and the Poetics of Surprise (De Gruyter 2020), which began as a masters’ thesis supervised by Angus Bowie, and editor of The Pathology of Love in Greek and Latin Literature (2021). Ioannis M. Konstantakos (PhD Cambridge) is Professor of Ancient Greek Literature at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, where he has been teaching since 2003. His scholarly interests include Greek and Roman comedy, the history of European comic theatre, Herodotus, ancient fiction, folktales and popular lore, the literatures and cultures of the ancient Near East and the reception of classical texts in East and West. His monograph Akicharos: The Tale of Ahiqar in Ancient Greece (2008) has been awarded an Academy of Athens prize for the best classical monograph published between 2004–2009. Hans Kopp (PhD Freie Universität Berlin) is a Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter at the Department of Ancient History at Ruhr University, Bochum. His main research interests are Greek comedy, Thucydides, and the maritime history of antiquity. For his dissertation on Thucydides he was awarded the Bruno-Snell-Preis of the Mommsen-Gesellschaft. He has written the monograph Das Meer als Versprechen: Bedeutung und Funktion von Seeherrschaft bei Thukydides (2017) and co-edited the volumes Thalassokratographie: Rezeption und Transformation antiker Seeherrschaft (with C. Wendt, 2018) and Seemacht, Seeherrschaft und die Antike (with E. Baltrusch and C. Wendt, 2016). He is currently working on discourses of mutiny and disobedience in Roman historiography. Andreas Markantonatos (DPhil Oxford) is Professor of Greek in the Department of Philology at the University of the Peloponnese. He was supervised by Angus Bowie for his doctoral thesis (Tragic Narrative: A Narratological Study of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus, De Gruyter 2002) and in 1999 he edited the Greek translation of the honorand’s book Aristophanes: Myth, Ritual and Comedy. He is also the author, among many other books, of Oedipus at Colonus: Sophocles, Athens, and the World (De Gruyter 2007) and Euripides’ Alcestis: Narrative, Myth, and Religion (De Gruyter 2013), and co-editor of several multi-authored volumes, the most recent of which are Poet and Orator: A Symbiotic Relationship in Democratic Athens (with E. Volonaki, De Gruyter 2019) and Brill’s Companion to Euripides (2020). Alessandra Migliara (MA Catania) is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and Adjunct Lecturer at the Hunter College and the City of New York, writing her thesis on ‘The Fantastic in Ancient Greek Literature’ under the supervision of Dee Clayman. The Second Sophistic and Old Comedy are also among her prime interests. Her Master’s thesis entitled ‘Il fantastico letterario antico: Luciano e Aristofane’ (2014) won recognition from the Associazione Italiana di Cultura Classica as the best thesis in ancient Greek literature. She published ‘Truth and Falsehood in Aristophanes and Lucian: Fantastic Connections’ in Sileno (2018). Francesco Morosi (PhD Pisa) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa, where he has recently completed his thesis on ‘Space in Aristophanes’. He has published several articles on Greek drama (most recently a multi-authored paper on ‘Skēptron in Sophocles’

List of Contributors  

Oedipus Rex’ in CQ) and co-edited the two-volume Sofocle per il teatro (with F. Cannizzaro, S. Fanucchi and L. Ozbek, Pisa 2018). Heinz-Günther Nesselrath (PhD Cologne) is Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Göttingen and member of the Academy of Sciences of Göttingen. His research interests span Greek literature of the Roman Imperial times, Classical Greek comedy, and Greek historiography. He is co-editor of the ‘Untersuchungen zur antiken Literatur und Geschichte’ series (De Gruyter), of the ‘Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam Religionemque Pertinentia’ series, and the ‘Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum’. His monograph on Greek comedy Die attische Mittlere Komödie: Ihre Stellung in der antiken Literaturkritik und Literaturgeschichte (1990) was published by De Gruyter. Nello Sidoti (PhD Urbino) has recently completed his thesis on the pre-Alexandrian dissemination of tragedy, under the supervision of Liana Lomiento. In 2016 he was a visiting student at the Centre of Classical and Near Eastern Studies of the University of Sydney. His main research interests are the history of Greek drama, the early transmission of tragic texts, and the ancient reception of Classical tragedy. He has presented papers in conferences held in Eichstätt, Sydney, Vancouver, Corfu, Mainz, Basel and Oxford. Michael Silk (PhD Cambridge) is Emeritus Professor of Classical and Comparative Literature at King’s College, London, Adjunct Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC, Chapel Hill, and a Fellow of the British Academy. From 1991 to 2006 he was Professor of Greek Language and Literature at King’s. He has published extensively on poetry, drama, language, thought and theory from Homer to Aristotle, and Shakespeare to Ted Hughes. His books include Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy (2000), and The Classical Tradition: Art, Literature, Thought (co-authored with I. Gildenhard and R. Barrow, 2014). He was a keynote speaker at the international conference organised in honour of Angus Bowie in May 2017. Peter Swallow (PhD King’s College London) teaches at KCL and Goldsmiths, and has recently completed his thesis on ‘The Reception of Aristophanes in Britain during the Long-Nineteenth Century’, supervised by Professor Edith Hall. He has formerly been supervised by Angus Bowie at Oxford. He is co-editor of Aristophanic Humour: Theory and Practice (with E. Hall, 2020). Other research interests include the performance context of ancient Greek drama and ancient gender and sexuality. Oliver Taplin (DPhil Oxford) is Emeritus Professor of Classics at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, Fellow of the British Academy, co-founder of APGRD and former President of the Classical Association. His primary research as a scholar is on the staging and materiality of Greek drama (e.g. The Stagecraft of Aeschylus, 1977; Greek Tragedy in Action, 1978; Comic Angels, 1993; Pots and Plays, 2007); he has also worked with productions in the contemporary theatre. The volume Performance, Iconography, Reception (eds. M. Revermann and P. Wilson, 2008) was published in his honour. He was a keynote speaker at the international conference organised in honour of Angus Bowie in May 2017.

  List of Contributors Natalia Tsoumpra (DPhil Oxford) has been a Lecturer in Classics at the University of Glasgow since 2014. Supervised by Angus Bowie, she wrote her thesis on ‘Comic Leadership and Power Dynamics in Aristophanes’. Her research interests lie in the field of Greek Old Comedy, especially Aristophanes, while she is broadly interested in Greek drama, gender studies, performance theory and myth and ritual. She has co-edited Morbid Laughter: Exploring the Comic Dimensions of Disease in Classical Antiquity (with G. Kazantzidis, 2018) and is currently preparing a volume on costume in the comedies of Aristophanes.

List of publications by Angus M. Bowie Monographs (1981), The Poetic Dialect of Sappho and Alcaeus, New York. (1993), Aristophanes: Myth, Ritual and Comedy, Cambridge/New York. (2007), Herodotus: Histories, Book VIII, Cambridge. (2013), Homer: Odyssey, Books XIII and XIV, Cambridge. (2019), Homer: Iliad, Book III, Cambridge. (in preparation), Homer: Iliad 21–24, Milan.

Articles and chapters (1982), “The Parabasis in Aristophanes: Prolegomena, Acharnians”, in: CQ 32, 27–40. (1983), “The End of Sophocles’ Ajax”, in: LCM 8, 114–15. (1984), “The Language of Sappho and Alcaeus: A Lesbian Vernacular?”, in: Janos Harmatta (ed.), Actes du VII Congrès de la FIEC I, Budapest, 191–5. (1984), “Lysistrata and the Lemnian Women”, in: Omnibus 7, 17–19. (1987), “Ritual Stereotype and Comic Reversal: Aristophanes’ Wasps”, in: BICS 34, 112–25. (1990), “The Death of Priam: Allegory and History in the Aeneid”, in: CQ 40, 470–81. (1993), “Religion and Politics in Aeschylus’ Oresteia”, in: CQ 43, 10–31. (1993), “Oil in Ancient Greece and Rome”, in: Martin Dudley/Geoffrey Rowell (eds.), The Oil of Gladness: Anointing in the Christian Tradition, London, 26–34. (1994), “Homer, Herodotus and the ‘Beginnings’ of Thucydides’ History”, in: Henry David Jocelyn/Helena Hurt (eds.), Tria Lustra: Essays and Notes Presented to John Pinsent, Liverpool, 141–7. (1995), “Greek Sacrifice: Forms and Functions”, in: Anton Powell (ed.), The Greek World, London, 463–82. (1997), “Thinking with Drinking: Wine and the Symposium in Aristophanes”, in: JHS 117, 1–21. (1997), “Tragic Filters for History: Euripides’ Supplices and Sophocles’ Philoctetes”, in: Christopher Pelling (ed.), Greek Tragedy and the Historian, Oxford, 39–62. (1998), “Exuvias effigiemque: Dido, Aeneas and the Body as Sign”, in: Dominic Montserrat (ed.), Changing Bodies, Changing Meanings: Studies on the Human Body in Antiquity, London, 57–79. (2000), “Myth and Ritual in the Rivals of Aristophanes”, in: David Harvey/John Wilkins (eds.), The Rivals of Aristophanes: Studies in Athenian Old Comedy, Swansea, 317–39. (2003), “Fate May Harm me, I Have Dined Today: Near-Eastern Royal Banquets and Greek Symposia in Herodotus”, in: Pallas 61, 99–109. (2004), “Social and Religious Rituals in Herodotus’ Histories”, in: Dimitrios Yatromanolakis/ Panagiotis Roilos (eds.), Greek Ritual Poetics, Cambridge, MA, 261–78. (2004), “Aristophanes”, in: Irene de Jong/René Nünlist/Angus Bowie (eds.), Narrators, Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature, Leiden, 281–95. (2006), “Herodotus on Survival: City or Countryside?”, in: Ralph Rosen/Ineke Sluiter (eds.), City, Countryside, and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical Antiquity, Leiden, 119–37.

  List of publications by Angus M. Bowie (2007), “Aristophanes”, in: Irene de Jong (ed.), Time in Ancient Greek Literature, Leiden, 305– 17. (2008), “Myth in Aristophanes”, in: Roger Woodard (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Mythology, Cambridge/New York, 190–209. (2008), “Aeneas Narrator”, in: PVS 26, 41–51. (2009), “Athens and Delphi in Aeschylus’ Oresteia”, in: Simon Goldhill/Edith Hall (eds.), Sophocles and the Greek Tragic Tradition, Cambridge, 208–31. (2010), “Myth and Ritual in Comedy”, in: Gregory W. Dobrov (ed.), Brill’s Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy, Leiden/Boston, 143–76. (2012), “Aristophanes”, in: Irene de Jong (ed.), Space in Ancient Greek Literature, Leiden, 359– 73. (2012), “Mythology and the Expedition of Xerxes”, in: Emily Baragwanath/Mathieu de Bakker (eds.), Myth, Truth, and Narrative in Herodotus, Oxford, 267–86. (2013), “Baleful Signs: Letters and Deceit in Herodotus”, in: Owen Hodkinson/Patricia Rosenmeyer/Evelien Bracke (eds.), Epistolary Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature, Leiden, 71– 83. (2014), “Krater and Kratos: The Politics of Greek Dining”, in: Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai 59, 308–21. (2016), “Plato, Homer and the Poetics of Politeness”, in: Rick Benitez/Keping Wang (eds.), Reflections on Plato’s Poetics: Essays from Beijing, Berrima, 85–96. (2017), “Aristophanes”, in: Koen De Temmerman/Evert van Emde Boas (eds.), Characterization in Ancient Greek Literature, Leiden/Boston, 375–90. (2018), “Herodotus the Story-Teller”, in: Ewen Bowie (ed.), Herodotus: Narrator, Scientist, Historian, Berlin/Boston, 25–36. (2018), “Human & Divine Violence & Politics in the Iliad’, in: Eduard Nemeth (ed.), Violence in Prehistory and Antiquity/Die Gewalt in der Vorgeschichte und im Altertum, Kaiserslautern/Mehlingen, 141–51. (forthcoming), “Fate and Authority in Mesopotamian Literature and the Iliad’, in: Adrian Kelly and Christopher Metcalf (eds.), Divine Narratives in Ancient Greece and the Near East, Oxford. (forthcoming), “How ‘Sacred’ are the Lyrics of Aristophanes?”, in: Lucia Athanassaki/André Lardinois (eds.), Lyric and the Sacred, Leiden/Boston.

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Index Locorum Passages which are simply cited as similia, rather than quoted and/or commented upon, are not indexed. Aeschylus Eum. 40–52 Eum. 41–2 Eum. 50–1 frr. 61, 67–8 Sept. 490

281 283 283 201 251

Alexis fr. 146

12 n.14, 15–16

Anthologia Palatina 4.1.6 5.115

52 55

Archilochus 172–81 W 185–7 W

127 127

Aristophanes Acharnians 11 45, 54, 59 81–2 119 223–4 255–6 292–354 311, 316 335, 338 378 397–9 407–79 464 470–2 500–3 558, 563 576–7 577 615 630–1 644–5, 655

289–90 158 292, 300 54 65 64 158 158 159 39 67 250 57 245, 250 2, 40, 46 158 248 158 50 n.7 36 45

733 781–3 904 909 967 1008 Birds 1, 20–2 49–52 54–6, 92 162–3 175–8 179–84 263–4 268, 270, 274, 279 317 371–5 423–5 432–3 457 550–2 676–800 801–8, 817–19 837, 843–4, 921 995, 1022–3 1124, 1173, 1184–5 1353–7 1436–9 1539–40 1565–6 1574‒1692 Clouds 18b–c 91–2 106, 108–9 121–2 149, 159 320 323–8 524–6 655

54, 63 65 62 51 50 n.7 152, 166 135 140–1 135 148 141–3 138 145, 147 145 137 58 143 137 148 138 136 136 136 137 137 114 137 164, 166 137 20 41 141 115 113, 115 122 241 145–6 43 112

  Index Locorum 815 821 837–8 860–2 1384–9 1408–14 1468–9 1496 Ecclesiazusae 371 782–3 888–9 Fragments 596.3 928 Frogs 16–18 42–8 48–51 55 58–9 66–70 89–91 92–7 108–9 127 197–204 204 205 208 209–68 209–10, 211–19 212 213–14, 221–41 221–2 224, 227 232 236–8 240 244–5 250 251–5 251 252 253 254–5 255

115 117 120 115–16 116 116–17 117 241 39 62 40 248 64 n.40 208 202–3 203–4 59 204, 205 204 239 n.4 205 190 205 205–6 191 192 191 187 191 188, 192 192 206 194 188 206, 213 189 189, 195 192, 194–5 190 190, 194–5 195 190, 213 n.47 190, 206 191

256 257 258–9 261–2 263–7 265 266 324 346–50 353–71 354–8 366–8 389–90 414–15 416–30 503‒604 513–25, 542–8 738–813 814 828 851 856–7 876–7 922 924–6 928 942–3 967 971–88, 992–9, 1007 1009–10 1013–17 1019 1019–22 1020 1025–7 1030–6 1036–8 1044–9 1053–6 1062, 1064 1069–71 1082 1089–97 1140 1198–1247 1203 1209

195 194–6 195–6 195–6 197 196 187, 190, 207 207 208 207 206 208 38 208 300 20 208 294 207 241 207 210 241 210 247 210 247 248 210 169 209 251 209 210 209 209–10 211 210 207 251 210 68 211 251 249 249 190

Index Locorum  

1211–14 1298–1300 1301–3 1308 1313–15 1328 1331 1331–63 1332–7 1333, 1336–7, 1343 1348–9 1417–21 1423, 1425, 1431–2 1477 Knights 18 24–6 50‒60 60 95‒108 101‒2 162–78 352 403 715‒18 1192‒1225 Lysistrata 1–5 14 181–253, 254–386 360–1 387–98 391–2, 394 425 473–5 476–613 507–534 508 511, 522 527 544–6 567–86 577 614–705 614–35 623–5 626–7

211 215 212 211 245 212 243 242 243 244 245 212, 214 212 68 248 299–300 14 160 15 14 144, 146 160 122 14 14 173 153, 155 172 130 171–2, 175 174 153 122 177 153–5 164 166 157 164 176 167 171, 176 178 164 155

632 636–57 638–9 640–7 648 651–5 659–81 667–9, 675, 678–9 682–705 686–95 696–702 781–96, 805–20 1108–9 1216–1321 Peace 7 43–8 56–7 129–30 133–4, 137–9 171–2 363 425 680–1, 689, 692 736–7 823 887 899 Thesmophoriazusae 93, 99 141–2, 157–8 191–2, 233 530 532 540–1 808–9 855–923 857 881, 884 889–90 896 904 935 937 1056–7 1201

179–80 180 181 182 164, 181 182 183 184 184 129 185 130 45 n.58 186 58 128 143, 145 n.51, 147 122, 127 n.32 126 147 59 63 152 40 59–60, 63 143 n.43 52, 54 248 203 246 52, 54, 62 53–4 163 n.67 152, 165 246 55–6 249 246 248 252 57–8 62–3 250–1 56–7

  Index Locorum Wasps 57‒60 66 67 106 297, 312–13 610–15 652 655 736–40 1046–7 1183 1351–9 1352 1446–9 1482 Wealth 1–7 21–7 56–71 105, 118 147–8 149–52 152 162–5, 170–92 174–5, 177–9 179 180 188–92 210 222–6, 253–89 257–60, 261–9 270–6, 287 290–5 316–17 318‒21 352–89, 372 423 557 571, 600 627–8 637–8, 641–51 645 653–7, 659–63 665–6 672‒95 688–90, 693–9

18 42 114 120 113 113–14 118 120 114 40 112 119 120 122–3 246 223 223–4 224 225 220 225 63–4 225 225 228 225 226 59 n.30 226 226 227 228 234 14, 234 60 235 37 67 229 229 54 230 230 14 230

693 706 716–25 722–5 737 750–9, 760–3, 782–7 802–22, 817 830–9, 845, 849 876, 891–2, 895 926–58, 955–6 1097–1101, 1103–6 1116, 1119 1128–33 1139‒45 1153–67 1168–70 1334–50

65 60–1 222 231 53–4 231 231 232 232 232 232 232 233 14 233 234 233

Aristotle [Ath. Pol.] 29.4 [Ath. Pol.] 29.5 [Ath. Pol.] 33.1 Eth. Nic. 1095b16 Eth. Nic. 1128a13–14 Eth. Nic. 1128a22–5 Eth. Nic. 1182b23–5 Poet. 1448a16 Poet. 1448a29‒b2 Poet. 1448a30–8 Poet. 1448a32–4 Poet. 1449a32–3 Poet. 1449b5–8 Poet. 1452a22–6 Poet. 1462a12 Pol. 1252b28–9 Pol. 1260a12–13 Pol. 1317b2–3 Pol. 1336b27–31 Rh. 1384b9–11 Rh. 1404b24–5

163 164 164 44 44 70–1 75 n.34 227 17 33 71 33 71 277 277 35 155 155 223 33 239 n.3

Athenaeus 6.238 11.465e 14.621d‒e

275 257 12

Index Locorum  

Cratinus frr. 223, 353 fr. 342

67 n.47 240, 248

Demosthenes 19.192–3

31 n.14, 261

Epicharmus fr. 97.8 fr. 239

49 n.3 15

Eubulus fr. 9 fr. 72

272 275

Eupolis frr. 99, 249 fr. 256

67 n.47 201

Euripides Alc. 141 Bacch. 221–5 Bacch. 235–41 Bacch. 236–8, 253–4 Bacch. 343–6 Bacch. 354 Bacch. 453–60 Bacch. 453–9 Bacch. 487 Bacch. 493 Bacch. 686–8, 785–6 Bacch. 796, 809 Bacch. 816, 828–34 Bacch. 925–38 Bacch. 957–8 Bacch. 968–70 El. 226 fr. 188.2–3 fr. 199.2–3 fr. 221 fr. 223 fr. 224 fr. 382 fr. 638 fr. 858 fr. 924.1 Hel. 548–9

66 213 214 213 213 208 214 201 213 214 213 213 214 214 213 214 251 270 270 245, 270 273–4 272 245 68 54 241 252

Hel. 1–3 IT 150–1 Heracl. 109–10, 152 Heracl. 182 Med. 529 Phoen. 272 Phoen. 1030–2 Phoen. 1071 [Rhes.] 351–2, 393 [Rhes.] 923 Supp. 40–1 Supp. 293–300, 299 Supp. 406 Supp. 438–41

55 243 165 155 241 67 244 71 248 248 156 156 155 158–9

Herodotus 7.99 8.87–93 8.101–3

156, 184 184 156

Hesiod Op. 639


Hippocrates Prog. 11–12

61 n.33

Hipponax 120 W


Homer Od. 9.315


Isocrates 1.1, 1.31 2.44 8.14

38 39, 44 41

Lycophron Alex. 404


Lysias 24.18


Menander Aspis 114–21 143–6, 329–70

105–6 106

  Index Locorum Dyskolos 30–4 243–6 275 289–92 363–5, 365–70 415, 754 Epitrepontes 250–2 406–7, 437–41 450–4, 472–9 894–900 894 Fragments 400.1–2 Georgos 30 Perikeiromene 154–70 (34–50) 172–3 (52–3) Samia 10–11 13–18 69 81–3 113–19, 169–204 327–8 348, 352–4 444–50 506, 511–13 588–615 633–6 641–57 687–8, 691–2 694–712, 719–22 726–7 732–3

92 92, 100 94 101 100 101 102 100 102 100 97 86 98 99 99 100

Philippides fr. 25.7


Pindar Isthm. 2.3 Nem. 2.24 Pyth. 8.70

34 34 34

103 95 104 95 104 104 106 96 96 96 95 53 95 94 94

Plato Apol. 18b–19d Criti. 118b Euthyd. 300e, 307a Leg. 659a–c Phdr. 253e Phdr. 261b Phlb. 50b Resp. 395e Resp. 606c Symp. 203b–e Symp. 223c–d

41 35 38 261 55 38 39 36 39 235 41, 235

Semonides 7.50–3 W


Sophocles OC 3–6 OC 310–509 OC 728–1024 OC 1383–6 OT 236–43 OT 1056, 1472–1523

277 278 278 278 276 278

Theocritus Idylls 7.56


Thucydides 1.84.3 1.139.4 2.80.8 3.42 6.8.2–26.1 6.8.4 6.23.3 6.24.4 7.33.4 8.1.3 8.47.2 8.48.1 8.53–54 8.63.4 8.65.3 8.66.1–2 8.67.2–3 8.76.6 8.97.1

168 165 35 160, 168 166 166 166 166 262–3 161 161 167 161, 167 167 164 163 163–4 165 164

Index Locorum  

Timocles fr. 27


Xenophon Anab. 3.5.3 [Ath. Pol.] 1.10 [Ath. Pol.] 2.18 Hell. 2.3.19 Hell. 4.1.20

35 218 32 39 35

Index Nominum et Rerum Terms which are vastly used throughout the book (e.g. comedy, tragedy, genre, polis, Aristophanes, chorus), titular terms confined to individual chapters (e.g. para prosdokian, euboulia, Thomas Mitchell), and most names of dramatis personae are not indexed. accumulation 24, 53. Achilles 102, 210. actors 10, 21–2, 26, 27 Fig. 2, 31, 53, 59, 88, 90, 135, 137–40, 141 nn.35 and 37, 143, 146–7, 188, 199, 208 n.30, 221–2, 224, 227–8, 235, 253, 258–9, 260 n.19, 261, 263, 279, 283–4, 290, 299, 301. Adonia festival 93, 99, 171–6, 186. adultery 93 n.40, 95, 225. Aesop 121–31. Agathon 2, 41, 87, 203, 235, 246, 248. agōn 67, 113, 118, 155 n.21, 159, 169, 177, 187–8, 207, 209–13, 215, 235, 239, 242, 261, 270, 272–3. aischrologia/αἰσχρόν 36, 43 79, 157. alazōn 8, 16–17, 23–4, 98 n.63. Alcibiades 161, 179, 212, 303–4. Alexis 12, 15, 74 n.28, 82 nn.79 and 81. Amazons 183–4. anadiplosis 67, 239. Anaxandrides 80, 82. Anglicanism 292. antilabē 56 n.22, 118, 225. Antiope, Eur./Eub. 269–74. Aphrodite 173, 175, 213, 235. Archilochus 31, 125, 127. Aristides Quintilianus 193. Aristophanes of Byzantium 21–2, 29, 75, 89, 219. Aristotle 9 n.8, 16 n.27, 17–18, 31, 33–5, 37–9, 42–4, 70–1, 75–6, 79, 101, 155, 163, 227, 277. Arrephoroi 182. Artemis 182. Artemisia 56, 156, 183–4. aside jokes 63, 230. Athena 182, 189. audience vi, 18, 40, 42 n.46, 43, 44 n.55, 45, 54, 56, 58, 62, 72, 89–90, 92, 98, 107, 123–49, 153, 159 n.45, 162, 164,

169–72, 174, 176, 182, 184, 190 n.11, 192, 199 n.3, 202–3, 221, 223–4, 227, 230–2, 234, 247, 252, 263, 267 n.1, 269, 274, 277, 280, 283, 285, 288, 291, 299. aulos/pipe 9 n.8, 10, 188–96, 208, 257– 8. Bacchae, Eur. 46, 201, 208 n.28, 213–15, 249 n.33 (and index locorum). Bari Pipers, vase 257–8. bilingualism 263–4, 266. Bowie, Angus M. v-viii, 4, 29 n.2, 49 n.4, 57 n.24, 86 n.5, 90 n.27, 112 n.6, 119 n.19, 130 n.43, 133 n.1, 134 n.6, 135, 136 n.21, 137 n.22, 141 n.37, 158, 169 n.1, 172 n.8, 199 nn.1–2, 231 n.52, 235, 239 n.1, 253 n.1, 268, 311–12. braggart/boastful soldier 7–8, 16, 25, 89, 98, 153. buffoon/bōmolochos 17 n.31, 18, 39, 199, 202, 208, 222, 229, 304 n.94. burlesque, mythological 19–21, 202, 255 n.11, 268–85. Callimachus 75. censorship 33 n.17, 36 n.25, 41, 46, 221, 291–2. Choregos Vase 255 n.12, 260–1. chorēgos, -ia 30, 92, 100, 261 n.24. class, social 7, 45 n.58, 86, 91, 105, 107, 121 n.2, 125, 129, 219, 224, 288, 291, 293, 295, 299–300, 305. Cleon 40–1, 46, 122, 128, 130, 159–60, 290, 291 n.20, 301. cognition 66, 133–4, 140, 144, 147, 152. Collectio Augustana 122, 126. colloquialism 239 n.3, 242, 247, 251. commedia dell’arte 13, 18, 25–6. cook 7, 8, 16, 21–2, 24, 78, 85, 91 n.28.

  Index Nominum et Rerum Corinth 9–10, 14–15, 23–4, 27 Fig.1, 63– 4, 94, 225, 228, 277–8. costume/attire/padding 10, 25, 58, 88, 90, 96 n.56, 981–100, 104, 136–8, 146, 188, 203–4, 208 nn.30–1, 214, 235, 253, 257–60. Crates 8, 71, 75 n.34. Cratinus 18, 61 n.35, 67 n.47, 71, 125 n.19, 202, 208, 240–1, 248, 255 n.11. Cyclops 57 (Eur.), 227–8, 235 (Philox.). deikēlistai 9, 11–17, 19, 21, 23–4. dēmos 9 n.6, 14, 32, 37, 41, 44, 111, 142 n.40, 160, 212. didaskalos 148. diglossia 264. Dionysia, City/Great 30–1, 57 n.24, 160, 165, 170, 179 n.17, 222, 267, 269, 274. Dionysius of Halicarnassus 29, 47. dithyramb 37, 74 n.28, 207, 228, 234. Donatus 88–9. eirōn 17. Eleusinian mysteries 180, 199 n.2. epic 37, 89–90, 94, 98, 102, 127, 151, 210. Epicharmus 8, 11, 15, 19, 46, 49 n.3, 71, 227, 259. epiklēros 105. erōs/Eros 101, 200 n.5, 204, 235. Eubulus 269–80. Eumenides, Aesch. 280–5. eunomia 164. Eupolis 8, 18, 40, 61 n.35, 71, 82 n.72, 201. exaggeration 58, 117 n.16, 188, 243, 245 n.21, 247. folk theatre 9–18, 24, 26, 207. food 14–17, 19–24, 72, 113, 115, 124 n.15, 126, 210, 222, 226, 230–1, 233, 256, 275, 282. formulae, verse/rhetorical 49 n.2, 51, 53–4, 57, 158, 242, 249–52, 265, 275. French Revolution 218, 288, 295, 297, 301, 304. Freud 49.

geloion/γελοῖον 29 n.4, 32 n.16, 38–9, 42 n.46, 43. glutton 19–24, 222, 272–3. gnōmai 77, 223, 265, 277 n.44. graphē paranomōn 163. Great Reform Act 288, 293. hapax 57, 118, 243. Harmodius and Aristogeiton 179. Harpocration 282. Helen/Helen, Eur. 55–6, 58, 202, 243, 246, 249, 252, 255 n.11, 269 n.11. Heracles 19–22, 24, 27 Fig.2, 165, 190, 199 n.2, 202–4, 208, 260 n.16. Hermes 59, 63, 127, 152, 219, 232–4, 271–4. hero, comic 13, 111, 119 n.21, 120–1, 128, 129 n.37, 131, 152, 157, 164, 190, 200, 202, 212, 215, 225, 276, 302. Herodotus vi, 35, 124 n.11, 151, 156. Hesiod 34–5, 127, 209. hetaira/prostitute 7, 63–4, 71, 78, 85, 88, 91 n.28, 96, 102, 114 n.11, 212, 220, 225, 281–3. Hippias 178–9, 184. Hippocrates 61. Homer vi, 37–8, 46, 151, 209–10, 287, 298. homosexuals/pathics/gay 55, 87, 200 nn.5 and 7, 203–7, 214–15. Horace 29, 36, 47. hybris 94–5, 153, 212. hyperbole 58, 59 n.30, 240 n.4. iambos/‘iambic’ comedy 37, 42 n.43, 71, 75 n.34, 76, 121, 123–6, 128–31 / metrics 141, 188 n.3, 191–4, 197 n.28, 219, 249–51, 265. Iapygians 253 n.1, 255–6, 259, 262–3, 264–6. Iliad vi, 209–10, 311. improvisation 10–11, 16, 18, 24–6. inclusio (ring composition) 116. Indo-European 34, 133 n.4. invention (see: novelty). isēgoria 157.

Index Nominum et Rerum  

Karagiozis 13, 18, 22–3, 26. kinaidos 86. knowingness 224. Kokalos, Ar. 79. kothornoi 202. Late Antiquity 74–5. laughter 1–2, 18, 26, 32 n.16, 38, 42–3, 169, 202–3, 207, 208 n.29, 220–35, 290. Lenaea 30, 40, 61, 160–1, 170, 179, 207, 280 n.54. Life of Aristophanes 79. lyre 189, 228, 269, 273–4. Maison 21–4. Marathon, Battle of 111 n.2, 182, 184. masculinity 85–107, 174, 200–15, masks 12, 17, 21, 25, 31, 89–90, 93, 139– 40, 142 n.40, 232, 235, 253, 254 n.5, 257–60, 284. mēchanē/machina/crane 128 n.24, 143, 147, 271, 273–4. Megarian comedy 9–10, 14, 15 n.25, 16– 24. Menander 1, 13, 29–30, 35 n.21, 47, 53, 69–70, 74 n.28, 79–82, 85–107, 220, 226, 268. Messapian 255, 263–6. metaphor 64–5, 99, 126 n.25, 206, 233. Milan Cake-Eaters 255–6. mime 11–12, 23, 228. mimesis 33, 38–9, 43, 200, 201 n.8, 215. misanthrope 7–8, 82, 103. Mitford, William 218, 290, 294, 305. myth v, 13, 41–2, 70, 72, 75 n.41, 90, 126–7, 170, 184, 189 n.5, 199 n.2, 214 n.51, 263 (see also: burlesque, mythological). New Music 189, 207, 244. Nicias 166, 248, 294, 300. novelty/invention 21–2, 50, 53, 61, 68– 72, 75, 119, 189, 242, 246–9, 251, 253, 268, 275, 282 n.60.

obscenity 54–5, 65, 81, 124 n.15, 129 n.38, 203 n.16, 206, 234, 300. Odyssey vi, 44 n.55, 56, 227–8. oxymoron 50, 66–8, 239, 243. padding (see: costume). Panathenaea 180, 182, 234. paragraphoi 187. parasite 7, 9 n.6, 20, 24, 78, 82, 85, 88, 90, 220, 275, 277. paratragedy 49–51, 54–8, 68, 72, 76 n.41, 77 n.48, 128 n.34, 169, 223, 234– 5, 246, 248–9, 251, 267–85. parody 1, 15 n.25, 19 n.39, 35 n.21, 54, 56–8, 61, 67 n.48, 68, 70, 74 n.28, 127, 134 n.5, 158, 190, 207, 227–8, 234, 239–43, 245–6, 248–50, 252, 268–9, 285. paronomasia/pun 124 n.15, 137, 148, 152, 165, 194, 222, 233, 239, 263 n.33. parrhesia 157, 163 n.67. pederasty 280, 282. Peisander 161, 163. Peloponnesian War 8 n.6, 31, 63, 126, 159, 165, 168, 179, 292–3. Pentheus 208 n.29, 213–15. Persephone 173, 190, 208. Persian Wars 182, 184. phallus/penis 9 n.8, 15, 37, 65, 88, 90, 99, 200 nn.5 and 7, 206, 211, 214, 228, 255, 257–60. pharmakos 125. Pherecrates 8, 35 n.21, 51 n.9, 59 n.29, 78. Philip of Macedon 31 n.14, 261. Philoxenus 227–8, 234. phlyax vases 10, 253. phorbeia 258. Phrynichus 8, 64 n.41, 82, 207, 303–4. pipe (see: aulos). Plato 30–1, 35–6, 38–9, 41–2, 44, 46, 55, 69, 72 n.13, 117, 151, 235, 240, 247, 261, 270. Plautus 1, 13, 20 nn.43–4 and 48, 87 n.8. Plutarch 80 n.59, 88. pnigos 196–7. Pollux 88–9, 93.

  Index Nominum et Rerum Polus, actor 279. Polyphemus 56, 228. polyptoton 116, 244 n.17. Prolegomena Comoediae 70–1, 74–6. propaganda 2, 163. props 90, 135, 138, 141 n.35, 144 n.46, 145, 253, 258, 260, 271. Protagoras 151. prothysteron 60. proverbs 15, 23, 49–54, 129 n.38, 152. pun (see: paronomasia). punchline 221–2, 225, 233. Radicalism (British politics) 288. rape 82, 87–8, 93, 95–6, 98–9. Reactionism (British politics) 288. Reformism (British politics) 218, 288, 304. ritual v, 30, 65, 86, 90, 125 n.18, 171–6, 182, 199, 201, 230–1, 245 n.20. Sabazius 173. Salamis, Battle of 111 n.2, 184, 206. satire 8, 36, 41, 54, 57–8, 62–4, 68, 71– 3, 75–6, 81, 121 n.3, 122, 125, 130–1, 202 n.13, 206, 212 n.43, 219, 228, 297, 301. satyr play/satyrs 57, 202, 227, 276 n.44, 280 n.54. Satyrus, actor 31 n.14, 261. scatology 65, 124, 130, 206, 228, 234, 292, 300. Schlegel 290. senex amator 101. settings 134–8, 140, 143, 259, 271. Shakespeare 18. Shklovsky 46. Sicilian comedy 8–9, 11, 14–15, 19, 71, 75 n.34, 253, 259, 261, 270 n.18, 271, 277. Sicilian expedition 160–1, 166, 168, 171, 173–5, 179, 262. skēnē 51 n.11, 134–5, 138, 141, 145, 146 n.53. slander 33, 36, 40. slave, cunning 7, 13–15, 18, 21 n.50, 24, 82 n.73, 85, 86–8, 90, 91 n.28, 94, 98,

102, 104, 106, 128, 142 n.40, 143, 217– 35, 257. Socrates 31, 36, 40 n.35, 41–2, 113, 117, 118 n.17, 119 n.21, 141, 145–6, 147 n.54, 235, 270, 279 n.51. sophists 112, 117 n.16, 122, 158. Sosibius 11–17, 19 n.39. Spartan comedy (see: deikēlistai). spoudaion/σπουδαῖον 38–9. stock/stereotypical characters 3, 7, 8 n.6, 11, 20–26, 81, 88, 90, 107, 153, 220, 268, 276. surrealism 50, 67, 138. Theagenes, tyrant 17. Theocritus 55, 227. Theodorus, actor 222. Theognis 44, 290. Theophrastus 70, 74, 91. Theopompus, Com. 23, 35 n.21, 276 n.44. Theseus 156, 159, 184, 229, 278 n.50. Thucydides 35, 151, 159–61, 163, 165–8, 262. Timocles 20 n.43, 78 n.51, 280–5. Tissaphernes 161. Tories 287–8, 290, 292, 296–7, 301, 304–5. tragic koinē 239–40, 242, 249, 252. translating, -ion, -ors v, 1, 3, 36, 45 n.60, 196, 217, 233, 266, 287–305. trickster 13–17, 20–1, 24. trochaics 124 n.15, 191, 195–7. tyranny 17, 78 n.51, 156, 167, 179–80, 183–4. violence 60, 89, 93–6, 99, 102, 116, 123, 128, 157–8, 159 n.42, 160, 163, 171, 174, 178, 180, 184 n.28, 187, 221–2, 224, 232. voyeurism 214. Würzburg Telephus 260. Xenophon 35. Xerxes 156, 184.