Sunday, January 8, 2012

Biography of Aristophanes

We don't know much about the life of Aristophanes other than what we can learn through his plays. He wrote 40 plays but only 11 of them still survive. He was a great comic playwright, and through him we get a more complete picture of daily life in Ancient Athens.
One notable thing about Aristophanes is that he wasn't afraid to get in a fight with some of the heavies of the day. In 'Clouds' he mercilessly lampoons Socrates and had previously mixed it up with other powerful members of Athenian society. I don't know how much this effect this has on his repeatability score. No one else really does either. One of the challenges of piecing together Ancient history is that there are few accounts and it isn't always easy to tell which one is definitive.


  1. I couldn't find Clouds in a free format so I had to buy the complete works of Aristophanes - for $.95. How am I supposed to stomach paying almost a dollar! A whole buck for ancient plays that have survived thousands of years and through times when the majority of humanity could never have dreamed about ever buying a book in their life... Yes, information and literature at our fingertips sounds trite, but it really isn't when you sit back and think about it.

  2. Steve, totally agree. And if you want your mind blown a bit more, think of this. Barring some kind of dark age, we are probably part of the last generation that won't just grow up like this.

  3. We generation X'ers really were on the cusp, weren't we. I remember Brenda sending me a letter in college telling me to go to my college library and send her something called an email. I never did it because I didn't have the foggiest idea what she was talking about...

  4. So, I finished Clouds yesterday and am working on Lysistrata. Not a big fan of Aristophanes so far, but glad to say I have read the earliest known playwright.

    Also, I look forward to asking people at cocktail parties if they can name the dramatic work with the earliest know flatulence joke. I believe the first recorded lawyer joke is in this play as well.