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Aristophanes. By Alexandra Briggs. Aristopha-who?. Aristophanes was a comic poet and playwright who lived in Greece, circa. 448-380BC

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Aristophanes l.jpg

Aristophanes

By

Alexandra Briggs


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Aristopha-who?

  • Aristophanes was a comic poet and playwright who lived in Greece, circa. 448-380BC

  • Very little is known about the man and his life, including his year of birth and death (which have been estimated from the dates of his works), where he was from and his parentage.

  • Many different cities claim that he was born there. However, it is thought that he was an adopted citizen of Athens due to Athenian parentage. The most probable story is that his was the son of Philippus of Ægina.

  • It is almost definite that he was educated in Athens and was a student of Prodicus.

  • His 3 sons – Araros, Philippos and Nicostratus – were also comic poets.


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Comedy Career

  • Aristophanes is known as the “Father of Comedy” and the “Prince of Ancient Comedy”.

  • He was a Greek Old Comic dramatist, who deeply developed the Old Attic Comedy.

  • His works are the only surviving examples of Old Attic Comedy.

  • Old Attic Comedy still greatly used the techniques of the chorus, mime and burlesque, and used bold fantasy and invective (abusive or violent language), satire, humour and political criticism.

  • He is thought to have written 40-44 plays, 11 of which survive today.

  • There was a lot of political content in his plays, one of which is thought to be the first example of an anti-war play.

  • They satirised well known Athenians of the time and their conduct in the Peloponnesian War. This included Statesman Cleon, who prosecuted him several times due to the content of his material and who also tried to deprive Aristophanes of his civic rights, on the grounds of illegitimacy, in revenge.


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The Lost Plays (Dated)

  • Banqueters (427BC)

  • Babylonians (426BC)

  • Farmers (424BC)

  • Merchant Ships (423BC)

  • Clouds (1st version - 423BC)

  • Proagon (422BC)

  • Amphiaraos (414BC)

  • Plutus (Wealth, 1st version - 408BC)

  • Gerytades (probably 407BC)

  • Kokalos (387BC)

  • Aiolosikon (2nd version - 386BC)


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The Lost Plays (Undated)

  • Polyidos

  • Seasons

  • Storks

  • Telemessians

  • Triphales

  • Thesmophoriazusae (Women at the Thesmophoria Festival, second version)

  • Women in Tents

  • Aiolosikon (first version)

  • Anagyros

  • Frying Pan Men

  • Daidalos

  • Danaids

  • Centaur

  • Heroes

  • Lemnian Women

  • Old Age

  • Peace (second version

  • Phoenician Women


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Surviving Plays

  • The Achamians (425BC)

  • The Knights (424BC)

  • The Clouds (original - 423BC, revised - 419-416BC)

  • The Wasps (422BC)

  • Peace (first version - 421BC)

  • The Birds (414BC)

  • Lysistrata (411BC)

  • Thesmophoriazusae (Women at the Thesmophoria Festival, first version - c. 411BC)

  • The Frogs (405BC)

  • Ecclesiazusae (The Assemblywomen - c. 392 BC)

  • Plutus (Wealth second version – 388BC)