Biography of Aristophanes
Aristophanes, son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his 40 plays survive virtually complete. These, together with fragments of some of his other plays, provide the only real examples of a genre of comic drama known as Old Comedy, and they are in fact used to define the genre. Also known as the Father of Comedy and the Prince of Ancient Comedy, Aristophanes has been said to recreate the life of ancient Athens more convincingly than any other author. His powers of ridicule were feared and acknowledged by influential contemporaries — Plato singled out Aristophanes' play The Clouds as slander contributing to the trial and execution of Socrates although other satirical playwrights had also caricatured the philosopher. His second play, The Babylonians (now lost), was denounced by the demagogue Cleon as a slander against the Athenian polis. It is possible that the case was argued in court but details of the trial are not recorded and Aristophanes caricatured Cleon mercilessly in his subsequent plays, especially The Knights, the first of many plays that he directed himself. "In my opinion," he says through the Chorus in that play, "the author-director of comedies has the hardest job of all."
Less is known about Aristophanes than about his plays. In fact, his plays are the main source of information about him. It was conventional in Old Comedy for the Chorus to speak on behalf of the author during an address called the 'parabasis' and thus some biographical facts can be got 'straight from the horse's mouth', so to speak. However, these facts relate almost entirely to his career as a dramatist and the plays contain few clear and unambiguous clues about his personal beliefs or his private life. He was a comic poet in an age when it was conventional for a poet to assume the role of 'teacher' (didaskalos), and though this specifically referred to his training of the Chorus in rehearsal, it also covered his relationship with the audience as a commentator on significant issues. Aristophanes claimed to be writing for a clever and discerning audience, yet he also declared that 'other times' would judge the audience according to its reception of his plays. He sometimes boasts of his originality as a dramatist yet his plays consistently espouse opposition to radical new influences in Athenian society. He caricatured leading figures in the arts (notably Euripides, whose influence on his own work however he once begrudgingly acknowledged), in politics (especially the populist Cleon), and in philosophy/religion (where Socrates was the most obvious target). Such caricatures seem to imply that Aristophanes was an old-fashioned conservative, yet that view of him leads to contradictions.
The writing of plays was a craft that could be handed down from father to son, and it has been argued that Aristophanes produced plays mainly to entertain the audience and to win prestigious competitions. The plays were written for production at the great dramatic festivals of Athens, the Lenaia and City Dionysia, where they were judged and awarded places relative to the works of other comic dramatists. An elaborate series of lotteries, designed to prevent prejudice and corruption, reduced the voting judges at the City Dionysia to just five in number. These judges probably reflected the mood of the audiences yet there is much uncertainty about the composition of those audiences. They were certainly huge, with seating for at least 10 000 at the Theatre of Dionysus, but it is not certain that they were a representative sample of the Athenian citizenry. The day's program at the City Dionysia for example was crowded, with three tragedies and a 'satyr' play ahead of the comedy, and it is possible that many of the poorer citizens (typically the main supporters of demagogues like Cleon) occupied the festival holiday with other pursuits. The conservative views expressed in the plays might therefore reflect the attitudes of a dominant group in an unrepresentative audience. The production process might also have influenced the views expressed in the plays. Throughout most of Aristophanes' career, the Chorus was essential to a play's success and it was recruited and funded by a choregus, a wealthy citizen appointed to the task by one of the archons. A choregus could regard his personal expenditure on the Chorus as a civic duty and a public honour, but Aristophanes showed in The Knights that wealthy citizens could regard civic responsibilities as punishment imposed on them by demagogues and populists like Cleon. Thus the political conservatism of the plays might reflect the views of the wealthiest section of society, on whose generosity comic dramatists depended for the success of their plays.
When Aristophanes' first play The Banqueters was produced, Athens was an ambitious, imperial power and The Peloponnesian War was only in its fourth year. His plays often express pride in the achievement of the older generation (the victors at Marathon) yet they are not jingoistic and they are staunchly opposed to the war with Sparta. The plays are particularly scathing in criticism of war profiteers, among whom populists such as Cleon figure prominently. By the time his last play was produced (around 386 BC) Athens had been defeated in war, its empire had been dismantled and it had undergone a transformation from the political to the intellectual centre of Greece. Aristophanes was part of this transformation and he shared in the intellectual fashions of the period — the structure of his plays evolves from Old Comedy until, in his last surviving play, Wealth II, it more closely resembles New Comedy. However it is uncertain whether he led or merely responded to changes in audience expectations.
Aristophanes won second prize at the City Dionysia in 427 BC with his first play The Banqueters (now lost). He won first prize there with his next play, The Babylonians (also now lost). It was usual for foreign dignitaries to attend the City Dionysia, and The Babylonians caused some embarrassment for the Athenian authorities since it depicted the cities of the Athenian League as slaves grinding at a mill. Some influential citizens, notably Cleon, reviled the play as slander against the polis and possibly took legal action against the author. The details of the trial are unrecorded but, speaking through the hero of his third play The Acharnians (staged at the Lenaia, where there were few or no foreign dignitaries), the poet carefully distinguishes between the polis and the real targets of his acerbic wit:
People among us, and I don't mean the polis,
Remember this — I don't mean the polis -
But wicked little men of a counterfeit kind....
Aristophanes repeatedly savages Cleon in his later plays. But these satirical diatribes appear to have had no effect on Cleon's political career — a few weeks after the performance of The Knights, a play full of anti-Cleon jokes, Cleon was elected to the prestigious board of ten generals.Cleon also seems to have had no real power to limit or control Aristophanes: the caricatures of him continued up to and even beyond his death.
In the absence of clear biographical facts about Aristophanes, scholars make educated guesses based on interpretation of the language in the plays. Inscriptions and summaries or comments by Hellenistic and Byzantine scholars can also provide useful clues. We know however from a combination of these sources, and especially from comments in The Knights and The Clouds, that Aristophanes' first three plays were not directed by him — they were instead directed by Callistratus and Philoneides, an arrangement that seemed to suit Aristophanes since he appears to have used these same directors in many later plays as well (Philoneides for example later directed The Frogs and he was also credited, perhaps wrongly, with directing The Wasps.)Aristophanes's use of directors complicates our reliance on the plays as sources of biographical information since apparent self-references might have been made on behalf of his directors instead. Thus for example a statement by the chorus in The Acharnians seems to indicate that the 'poet' had a close, personal association with the island of Aegina, yet the terms 'poet' (poietes) and 'director' (didaskalos) are often interchangeable since dramatic poets usually directed their own plays and therefore the reference in the play could be either to Aristophanes or Callistratus. Similarly, the hero in The Acharnians complains about Cleon "dragging me into court" over "last year's play" but here again it is not clear if this was said on behalf of Aristophanes or Callistratus, either of whom might have been prosecuted by Cleon.
Comments made by the Chorus on behalf of Aristophanes in The Clouds have been interpreted as evidence that he can have been hardly more than 18 years old when his first play The Banqueters was produced. The second parabasis in Wasps appears to indicate that he reached some kind of temporary accommodation with Cleon following either the controversy over The Babylonians or a subsequent controversy over The Knights.[ It has been inferred from statements in The Clouds and Peace that Aristophanes was prematurely bald.
We know that Aristophanes was probably victorious at least once at the City Dionysia (with Babylonians in 427)and at least three times at the Lenaia, with Acharnians in 425, Knights in 424, and Frogs in 405. Frogs in fact won the unique distinction of a repeat performance at a subsequent festival. We know that a son of Aristophanes, Araros, was also a comic poet and he could have been heavily involved in the production of his father's play Wealth II in 388.Araros is also thought to have been responsible for the posthumous performances of the now lost plays Aeolosicon II and Cocalus, and it is possible that the last of these won the prize at the City Dionysia in 387. It appears that a second son, Philippus, was twice victorious at the Lenaia and he could have directed some of Eubulus’ comedies.A third son was called either Nicostratus or Philetaerus, and a man by the latter name appears in the catalogue of Lenaia victors with two victories, the first probably in the late 370s.
Plato's The Symposium appears to be a useful source of biographical information about Aristophanes, but its reliability is open to doubt. It purports to be a record of conversations at a dinner party at which both Aristophanes and Socrates are guests, held some seven years after the performance of The Clouds, the play in which Socrates was cruelly caricatured. One of the guests, Alcibiades, even quotes from the play when teasing Socrates over his appearance and yet there is no indication of any ill-feeling between Socrates and Aristophanes. Plato's Aristophanes is in fact a genial character and this has been interpreted as evidence of Plato's own friendship with him (their friendship appears to be corroborated by an epitaph for Aristophanes, reputedly written by Plato, in which the playwright's soul is compared to an eternal shrine for the Graces). Plato was only a boy when the events in The Symposium are supposed to have occurred and it is possible that his Aristophanes is in fact based on a reading of the plays. For example, conversation among the guests turns to the subject of Love and Aristophanes explains his notion of it in terms of an amusing allegory, a device he often uses in his plays. He is represented as suffering an attack of hiccoughs and this might be a humorous reference to the crude physical jokes in his plays. He tells the other guests that he is quite happy to be thought amusing but he is wary of appearing ridiculous. This fear of being ridiculed is consistent with his declaration in The Knights that he embarked on a career of comic playwright warily after witnessing the public contempt and ridicule that other dramatists had incurred.
Aristophanes survived The Peloponnesian War, two oligarchic revolutions and two democratic restorations; this has been interpreted as evidence that he was not actively involved in politics despite his highly political plays. He was probably appointed to the Council of Five Hundred for a year at the beginning of the fourth century but such appointments were very common in democratic Athens.Socrates, in the trial leading up to his own death, put the issue of a personal conscience in those troubled times quite succinctly:
"...he who will really fight for the right, if he would live even for a little while, must have a private station and not a public one.
Aristophanes the Poet
The language in Aristophanes' plays, and in Old Comedy generally, was valued by ancient commentators as a model of the Attic dialect. The orator Quintilian believed that the charm and grandeur of the Attic dialect made Old Comedy an example for orators to study and follow, and he considered it inferior in these respects only to the works of Homer. A revival of interest in the Attic dialect may have been responsible for the recovery and circulation of Aristophanes' plays during the 4th and 5th centuries AD, resulting in their survival today. In Aristophanes' plays, the Attic dialect is couched in verse and his plays can be appreciated for their poetic qualities.
For Aristophanes' contemporaries the works of Homer and Hesiod were as instructive as the Bible became for many Greeks in the Christian era. Thus poetry had a moral and social significance that made it an inevitable topic of comic satire. Aristophanes was very conscious of literary fashions and traditions and his plays feature numerous references to other poets. These include not only rival comic dramatists such as Eupolis and Hermippus and predecessors such as Magnes, Crates and Cratinus, but also tragedians, notably Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, all three of whom are mentioned in e.g. The Frogs. Aristophanes was the equal of these great tragedians in his subtle use of lyrics. He appears to have modelled his approach to language on that of Euripides in particular, so much so that the comic dramatist Cratinus labelled him a 'Euripidaristophanist' addicted to hair-splitting niceties.
A full appreciation of Aristophanes' plays requires an understanding of the poetic forms he employed with virtuoso skill, and of their different rhythms and associations. There were three broad poetic forms: iambic dialogue, tetrameter verses and lyrics:
Iambic dialogue: Aristophanes achieves an effect resembling natural speech through the use of the iambic hexameter (corresponding to the effects achieved by English poets such as Shakespeare using iambic pentameters). His realistic use of the metre makes it ideal for both dialogue and soliloquy, as for instance in the prologue, before the arrival of the Chorus, when the audience is introduced to the main issues in the plot. The Acharnians opens with these three lines by the hero, Dikaiopolis (rendered here in English as iambic pentameters):
How many are the things that vex my heart!
Pleasures are few, so very few — just four -
But stressful things are manysandthousandsandheaps!
Here Aristophanes employs a frequent device, arranging the syntax so that the final word in a line comes as a comic climax. The hero's pleasures are so few he can number them (t?tta?a, four) but his causes for complaint are so many they beggar numerical description and he must invent his own word for them literally 'sandhundredheaps', here paraphrased 'manysandthousandsandheaps'). The use of invented compound words is another comic device frequently found in the plays.
Tetrameter catalectic verses: These are long lines of anapests, trochees or iambs (where each line is ideally measured in four dipodes or pairs of feet), used in various situations within each play such as:
formal debates or agons between characters (typically in anapestic rhythm);
excited dialogue or heated argument (typically trochaic rhythm, the same as in early tragedy);
long speeches declaimed by the Chorus in parabases (in either anapestic or trochaic rhythms);
informal debates barely above the level of ordinary dialogue (typically iambic).
Anapestic rhythms are naturally jaunty (as in many limericks) and trochaic metre is suited to rapid delivery (the word 'trochee' is in fact derived from trechein, 'to run', as demonstrated for example by choruses who enter at speed, often in aggressive mood) However, even though both these rhythms can seem to 'bowl along' Aristophanes often varies them through use of complex syntax and substituted metres, adapting the rhythms to the requirements of serious argument. In an anapestic passage in The Frogs, for instance, the character Aeschylus presents a view of poetry that is supposed to be serious but which leads to a comic interruption by the god, Dionysus:
AES.:It was Orpheus singing who taught us religion and how wrong people are when they kill,
And we learned from Musaeus medicinal cures and the science of divination.
If it's farming you want, Hesiod knows it all, when to plant, when to harvest. How godlike
Homer got to be famous, I'll tell if you ask: he taught us what all good men should know,
Discipline, fortitude, battle-readiness. DIO.: But no-one taught Pantocles — yesterday
He was marching his men up and down on parade when the crest of his helmet fell off!
The rhythm begins at a typical anapestic gallop, slows down to consider the revered poets Hesiod and Homer, then gallops off again to its comic conclusion at the expense of the unfortunate Pantocles. Such subtle variations in rhythm are common in the plays, allowing for serious points to be made while still whetting the audience's appetite for the next joke.
Lyrics: Almost nothing is known about the music that accompanied Greek lyrics, and the metre is often so varied and complex that it is difficult for modern readers or audiences to get a feel for the intended effects, yet Aristophanes still impresses with the charm and simplicity of his lyrics.Some of the most memorable and haunting lyrics are dignified hymns set free of the comic action In the example below, taken from The Wasps, the lyric is merely a comic interlude and the rhythm is steadily trochaic. The syntax in the original Greek is natural and unforced and it was probably accompanied by brisk and cheerful music, gliding to a concluding pun at the expense of Amynias, who is thought to have lost his fortune gambling.
Though to myself I often seem
A bright chap and not awkward,
None comes close to Amynias,
Son of Sellos of the Bigwig
Clan, a man I once saw
Dine with rich Leogorus.
Now as poor as Antiphon,
He lives on apples and pomegranates
Yet he got himself appointed
Ambassador to Pharselus,
Way up there in Thessaly,
Home of the poor Penestes:
Happy to be where everyone
Is as penniless as he is!
The pun here in English translation (Penestes-penniless) is a weak version of the Greek pun, Penéstaisi-penéstes, "destitute". Many of the puns in the plays are based on words that are similar rather than identical, and it has been observed that there could be more of them than scholars have yet been able to identify. Others are based on double meanings. Sometimes entire scenes are constructed on puns, as in The Acharnians with the Megarian farmer and his pigs: the Megarian farmer defies the Athenian embargo against Megarian trade, and tries to trade his daughters disguised as pigs, except "pig" was ancient slang for "vagina". Since the embargo against Megara was the pretext for the Peloponnesian War, Aristophanes naturally concludes that this whole mess happened because of "three cunts".
It can be argued that the most important feature of the language of the plays is imagery, particularly the use of similes, metaphors and pictorial expressions. In 'The Knights', for example, the ears of a character with selective hearing are represented as parasols that open and close.In The Frogs, Aeschylus is said to compose verses in the manner of a horse rolling in a sandpit. Some plays feature revelations of human perfectibility that are poetic rather than religious in character, such as the marriage of the hero Pisthetairos to Zeus's paramour in The Birds and the 'recreation' of old Athens, crowned with roses, at the end of The Knights.
Aristophanes and Old Comedy
The Greek word for 'comedy' (komoidía) derives from the words for 'revel' and 'song' (komos and ode) and according to Aristotle comic drama actually developed from song. The first, official comedy at the City Dionysia was not staged until 487/6 BC, by which time tragedy had already been long established there. The first comedy at the Lenaia was staged later still, only about 20 years before the performance there of The Acharnians, the first of Aristophanes' surviving plays. According to Aristotle, comedy was slow to gain official acceptance because nobody took it seriously yet, only sixty years after comedy first appeared at 'The City Dionysia', Aristophanes observed that producing comedies was the most difficult work of all.Competition at the Dionysian festivals needed dramatic conventions for plays to be judged, but it also fuelled innovations. Developments were quite rapid and Aristotle was able to distinguish between 'old' and 'new' comedy by 330 BC. The trend from Old Comedy to New Comedy saw a move away from highly topical concerns with real individuals and local issues towards generalized situations and stock characters. This was partly due to the internationalization of cultural perspectives during and after the Peloponnesian War. For ancient commentators such as Plutarch, New Comedy was a more sophisticated form of drama than Old Comedy. However Old Comedy was in fact a complex and sophisticated dramatic form incorporating many approaches to humour and entertainment. In Aristophanes' early plays, the genre appears to have developed around a complex set of dramatic conventions and these were only gradually simplified and abandoned.
The City Dionysia and the Lenaia were celebrated in honour of Dionysus, a god who represented Man's darker nature (Euripides' play The Bacchae offers the best insight into 5th Century ideas about this god). Old Comedy can be understood as a celebration of the exuberant sense of release inherent in his worship It was more interested in finding targets for satire than in any kind of advocacy. During the City Dionysia, a statue of the god was brought to the theatre from a temple outside the city and it remained in the theatre throughout the festival, overseeing the plays like a privileged member of the audience. In The Frogs, the god appears also as a dramatic character and he enters the theatre ludicrously disguised as Hercules. He observes to the audience that every time he is on hand to hear a joke from a comic dramatist like Phrynichus (one of Aristophanes' rivals) he ages by more than a year. The scene opens the play and it is a reminder to the audience that nobody is above mockery in Old Comedy — not even its patron god and its practitioners! Gods, artists, politicians and ordinary citizens were legitimate targets, comedy was a kind of licensed buffoonery and there was no legal redress for anyone who was slandered in a play. There were some limits to the scope of the satire, but they are not easily defined. Impiety could be punished in 5th century Athens but absurdities implicit in traditional religion were open to ridicule. The polis was not allowed to be slandered but, as stated in the biography section of this article, that could depend on who was in the audience and which festival was involved.
For convenience, Old Comedy, as represented by Aristophanes' early plays, is analysed below in terms of three broad characteristics — topicality, festivity and complexity. Dramatic structure contributes to the complexity of Aristophanes' plays. However it is associated with poetic rhythms and meters that have little relevance to English translations and it is therefore treated in a separate section.
Influence and legacy
The tragic dramatists, Sophocles and Euripides, died near the end of the Peloponnesian War and the art of tragedy thereafter ceased to develop, yet comedy did continue to develop after the defeat of Athens and it is possible that it did so because, in Aristophanes, it had a master craftsman who lived long enough to help usher it into a new age. Indeed, according to one ancient source (Platonius, c.9th Century AD), one of Aristophanes's last plays, Aioliskon, had neither a parabasis nor any choral lyrics (making it a type of Middle Comedy), while Kolakos anticipated all the elements of New Comedy, including a rape and a recognition scene. Aristophanes seems to have had some appreciation of his formative role in the development of comedy, as indicated by his comment in Clouds that his audience would be judged by other times according to its reception of his plays. Clouds was awarded third (i.e. last) place after its original performance and the text that has come down to the modern age was a subsequent draft that Aristophanes intended to be read rather than acted.The circulation of his plays in manuscript extended their influence beyond the original audience, over whom in fact they seem to have had little or no practical influence: they did not affect the career of Cleon, they failed to persuade the Athenians to pursue an honourable peace with Sparta and it is not clear that they were instrumental in the trial and execution of Socrates, whose death probably resulted from public animosity towards the philosopher's disgraced associates (such as Alcibiades), exacerbated of course by his own intransigence during the trial.The plays, in manuscript form, have been put to some surprising uses — as indicated earlier, they were used in the study of rhetoric on the recommendation of Quintilian and by students of the Attic dialect in the Fourth and Fifth Centuries AD. It is possible that Plato sent copies of the plays to Dionysius of Syracuse so that he might learn about Athenian life and government.
Latin translations of the plays by Andreas Divus (Venice 1528) were circulated widely throughout Europe in the Renaissance and these were soon followed by translations and adaptations in modern languages. Racine, for example, drew Les Plaideurs (1668) from The Wasps. Goethe (who turned to Aristophanes for a warmer and more vivid form of comedy than he could derive from readings of Terence and Plautus) adapted a short play Die Vögel from The Birds for performance in Weimar. Aristophanes has appealed to both conservatives and radicals in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries — Anatoly Lunacharsky, first Commissar of Enlightenment for the USSR in 1917, declared that the ancient dramatist would have a permanent place in proletarian theatre and yet conservative, Prussian intellectuals interpreted Aristophanes as a satirical opponent of social reform. The avant-gardist stage-director Karolos Koun directed a version of The Birds under the Acropolis in 1959 that established a trend in modern Greek history of breaking taboos through the voice of Aristophanes.
The plays have a significance that goes beyond their artistic function, as historical documents that open the window on life and politics in classical Athens, in which respect they are perhaps as important as the writings of Thucydides. The artistic influence of the plays is immeasurable. They have contributed to the history of European theatre and that history in turn shapes our understanding of the plays. Thus for example the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan can give us insights into Aristophanes' plays and similarly the plays can give us insights into the operettas.The plays are a source of famous sayings, such as "By words the mind is winged."
1909: Wasps, original Greek, Cambridge University undergraduate production, music by Vaughan Williams;
2004, July–October: The Frogs (musical), adapted by Nathan Lane, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, performed at The Vivian Beaumont Theatre Broadway;
1962-2006: various plays by students and staff, Kings College London, in the original Greek:Frogs 1962,1971,1988; Thesmophoriazusae 1965, 1974, 1985; Acharnians 1968, 1992, 2004; Clouds 1977, 1990; Birds 1982, 2000; Ecclesiazusae 2006; Peace 1970; Wasps 1981
2002: Lysistrata, adapted by Robert Brustein, music by Galt McDermot, performed by American Repertory Theatre, Boston U.S.A.;
2008, May–June: Frogs, adapted by David Greenspan, music by Thomas Cabaniss, performed by Classic Stage Company, New York, U.S.A.
The romantic poet, Percy Shelley, wrote a comic, lyrical drama (Swellfoot the Tyrrant) in imitation of Aristophanes' play The Frogs after he was reminded of the Chorus in that play by a herd of pigs passing to market under the window of his lodgings in San Giuliano, Italy.
Aristophanes (particularly in reference to The Clouds) is mentioned frequently by the character Menedemos in the Hellenic Traders series of novels by H N Turteltaub.
A liberal version of the comedies have been published in comic book format, initially by "Agrotikes Ekdoseis" during the 1990s and republished over the years by other companies. The plot was written by Tasos Apostolidis and the sketches were of George Akokalidis. The stories feature either Aristophanes narrating them, directing the play, or even as a character inside one of his stories.
The Wasps, radio play adapted by David Pountney, music by Vaughan Williams, recorded 26–28 July 2005, Albert Halls, Bolten, in association with BBC, under Halle label;
Acropolis Now is a comedy radio show for the BBC set in Ancient Greece. It features Aristophanes, Socrates and many other famous Greeks. (Not to be confused with the Australian sitcom of the same name.) Aristophanes is characterised as a celebrity playwright, and most of his plays have the title formula: One of Our [e.g] Slaves has an Enormous Knob (a reference to the exaggerated appendages worn by Greek comic actors)
Aristophanes Against the World was a radio play by Martyn Wade and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Loosely based on several of his plays, it featured Clive Merrison as Aristophanes.
In The Odd Couple, Oscar and Felix are on Password, and when the password is bird, Felix’s esoteric clue is "Aristophanes" because of his play The Birds. During the commercial break (having failed to guess the password and lost the round), Oscar orders Felix not to give any more Greek clues and angrily growls, "Aristophanes is ridiculous"! Then when it's Oscar’s turn to give the clue on the team’s next shot, the password is ridiculous and Oscar angrily growls "Aristophanes", to which Felix gleefully responds, "Ridiculous!"
Satiric Dances for a Comedy by Aristophanes is a three-movement piece for concert band composed by Norman Dello Joio. It was commissioned in commemoration of the Bicentennial of April 19, 1775 (the start of the American Revolutionary War) by the Concord (Massachusetts) Band. The commission was funded by the Town of Concord and assistance was given by the Eastern National Park and Monument Association in cooperation with the National Park Service.
The Acharnians (425 BC)
The Knights (424 BC)
The Clouds (416 BC)
The Wasps (422 BC)
Peace (421 BC)
The Birds (414 BC)
Lysistrata (411 BC)
Thesmophoriazusae or The Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria (411 BC)
The Frogs (405 BC)
Ecclesiazusae or The Assemblywomen; (392 BC)
Wealth (388 BC)
Undated non-surviving (lost) plays
Aiolosikon (first version)
Peace (second version)
Thesmophoriazusae (Women at the Thesmophoria Festival, second version)
Women in Tents
Attributed (doubtful, possibly by Archippus)
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Song Of The Clouds (From The Clouds)
CLOUD-MAIDENS that float on forever, Dew-sprinkled, fleet bodies, and fair, Let us rise from our Sire's loud river, Great Ocean, and soar through the air
A Rainy Day On The Farm
How sweet it is to see the new-sown cornfield fresh and even, With blades just springing from the soil that only ask a shower
Chorus Of Women
They're always abusing the women, As a terrible plague to men: They say we're the root of all evil, And repeat it again and again;
The Call Of The Nightingale
Awake! awake! Sleep no more, my gentle mate! With your tiny tawny bill,
Oh, 'tis sweet, when fields are ringing With the merry cricket's singing, Oft to mark with curious eye
The Cloud Chorus
Hither, come hither, ye Clouds renowned, and unveil yourselves here;
The Poet's Apology
Our poet has never as yet Esteemed it proper or fit To detain you with a long Encomiastic song
A Parody On Euripides's Lyric Verse
Halcyons ye by the flowing sea Waves that warble twitteringly, Circling over the tumbling blue, Dipping your down in its briny dew,
The Origin Of The Peloponnesian War
Be not surprised, most excellent spectators, If I that am a beggar have presumed To claim an audience upon public matters,
Grand Chorus Of Birds
Come on then, ye dwellers by nature in darkness, and like to the leaves' generations,
The Appeal Of The Chorus
If A veteran author had wished to engage Our assistance to-day, for a speech from the stage, We scarce should have granted so bold a request:
A Rainy Day On The Farm
How sweet it is to see the new-sown cornfield fresh and even,
With blades just springing from the soil that only ask a shower
Then, while kindly rains are falling, indolently to rejoice,
Till some worthy neighbor calling, cheers you with his hearty voice.
Well, with weather such as this, let us hear, Trygaeus tell us
What should you and I be doing? You're the king of us good fellows.
Since it pleases heaven to prosper your endeavors, friend, and mine,
Let us have a merry mee