Talk:Aristophanes

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what did he say[edit]

did he say "give me where to stand, and i will move the earth","there is only one good knowledge,and one evil ignorance","in all things of nature,there is something of the marvelous","you have all the characters of a popular politician: a horrible voice, bad breeding and a vulgar manner",or "democracy,which is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder..."? Campolongo48 (talk) 23:27, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

this needs a new image[edit]

Okay - looks like we need to find a new Aristophanes image, and I don't see anything on wiki commons. It'd be best if we had the current image or another old bust like this, if someone can provide a public domain one. Failing that, there is this 2-d image: http://www.crystalinks.com/aristophanes.jpg - I don't know the source though, who created it and is it sufficiently old?

Aristophanes and Plato[edit]

I strongly question whether the author of this article has ever read The Symposium. Aristophanes is portrayed as an absolutely incontinent and intemperant fool. His "humorous" account of the origin of love is bitter sarcasm from Plato who could only be pointing out and attacking the rampant hedonism of Aristophanes. If this is considered reconciliation then Palto must really have hated his friends. Plato never forgives Aristophanes and frequently will make statements that imply he blames no one else more for Socrates' death.

If the article is flawed please go ahead and fix it. Don't just complain. ;-) --Michalis Famelis (talk) 09:50, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

"Can't live with them" saying[edit]

I removed the following:

The well-known saying "can't live with them, can't live without them" comes from one of Aristophanes' plays. Aristophanes' words in Lysistrata (411 B.C.), line 1038 as translated by Dudley Fitts was: "These impossible women! How they do get around us! / The poet was right: can't live with them, or without them!"

The claim is dubious on a number of levels: the well-known saying is an English saying, which suggests that if Lysistrata is where it comes from, then it probably comes from Fitts' translation, not Aristophanes. The quote that is given also implies that the saying isn't originally Aristophanes' but an unnamed poet. The Sommerstein translation also implies that the saying (in Greek) was already well-known before Aristophanes: "...Still, the saying's true - / We can't live with you, we can't live without you!" (Lines 1038-1039). If other editors object, I think this claim at least needs a source. Schi 02:11, 21 September 2006 (UTC)

"Standard Edition"[edit]

How is a standard edition determined? My university did not consider any one translation authoritative, and I think that listing a standard edition clutters up the article and may be misleading. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by AprilEns (talkcontribs) 14:57, October 21, 2006 (UTC).

Currently the only "standard edition" mentioned is of the fragments of Aristophanes' lost plays—in Greek. There is no question that this is the only standard edition, this is uncontroversial scholarly common knowledge. Wareh 16:46, 29 May 2007 (UTC)
Reference to English translations cited as "standard edition" were removed from this article in April 2007 AprilEns (talk) 08:05, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Aristophanes the Asteroid: Dramatist from Space![edit]

What's the point of a link to an article about an asteroid? The average person viewing this page is here on the topics of famous Greeks or dramatists in general and is unlikely to find the small asteroid stub of any interest, even if it is named for Aristophanes. I do not believe it has any place in the "See Also" section of this article, but I'll let someone else decide whether to keep it or leave it. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 68.235.177.74 (talkcontribs) 08:58, December 2, 2006 (UTC).

The sketch[edit]

Now, I think the picture is a good one and I think pictures generally enhance an article and I support keeping it, but it is highly inaccurate and based on the equally inaccurate Roman sculptures of Aristophanes. In his various plays he makes references to the fact that he was a short, plump and bald man. While he may exaggerate some things for comic effect, it is commonly accepted that the Roman busts are not representative of how Artisophanes looked Gegen 09:47, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

Kock-numbers are now outdated and should not be used.[edit]

Um... what? Plenty of non-specialists will read this article; an unexplained comment like the above is not helpful. 81.153.107.160 02:33, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Time can never be 'outdated'... METALFREAK04 (talk) 10:29, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Removal of false anecdote[edit]

I have removed the section referring to Aristophanes' judging of a poetry contest. That was the other, 2nd century BC Aristophanes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.71.41.6 (talk) 03:13, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Death year[edit]

First line says he died in ca. 386 BC, although he is categorised under "[[Category:388 BC deaths]]". Could someone change one or the other? Jared Preston (talk) 09:45, 27 May 2008 (UTC)

The Finger[edit]

Does anyone here actually know if his play "the clouds" is the first reference to the finger. 2000 years and going! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 72.136.144.182 (talk) 02:15, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Work in Progress[edit]

I intend to give this article a face lift as well as significantly upgrade the articles on Aristophanes' plays. Please be patient as this is a work in progress. Both our knowledge of Aristophanes the man and our knowledge of Old Comedy are very largely derived from his 11 surviving plays and for that reason I think this article should include a comprehensive section on Old Comedy. I know there is another article on ancient Greek comedy, which includes sections on both Old and New Comedy, but I think it makes more sense for that article to link here for details rather than for this article to link there for those details. Similarly, what we know about New Comedy is mostly just Menander by another name. But I'm willing to change my thinking as the work progresses. Basically I'm aiming to upgrade this article to B status within a few weeks and to leave a strucure that others can build on by steady increments. Lucretius (talk) 02:31, 9 December 2008 (UTC)

I've now edited the biography and there are a couple of issues. First, I'd like this article to be linked comrpehensively to Greek texts and their English translations. I've found that some translations don't include paragraph or section numbers, which makes it difficult to refer the reader to them (e.g. Wikisource copy of Plato's Apology, Jowett's translation). Hopefully this can be fixed before it discourages others from attempting such links - can paragraph/section numbers be inserted into Wikisources? Second, the Play 'Wealth II' is called Plutus (play) and that article title needs to be changed since all the Aristophanic plays here at Wiki are titled by English names. Lucretius (talk) 01:50, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Impending edits: new sections under these headings

  • Aristophanes the poet: his use of language and imagery, including brief, layman's overview of metres and their dramatic role, use of music and dance, use of puns, invented compounds, his literary criticism, mimicry of other poets, his 'pure Attic' (one of the main reasons why his works survived)
  • Old Comedy: a)distinction from tragedy and New Comedy i.e. fully functional Chorus, use of funny and obscene costumes, use of masks to caricature contemporaries like Cleon, obscene language, greater complexity of structure, agons that are resolved early in the play and their farcical consequences, marriage scenes, the very few limits on subjects for satire, criticism of Old Comedy by really old farts like Aristotle, Plutarch and so on; b) the ideal structure (as in The Wasps) including for example the use of 'symmetrical scenes' and all the elements of a parabasis.
  • Performances - issues relating to the Lenaia and City Dionysia such as the times of year, presence of foreigners (review Cleon's prosecution of A for slandering the polis), interaction with the contemporary audience, technical problems such as number of actors, stage machinery perhaps and subsequent performances up to the present day.
  • Influence and Legacy: the development of a 'safer' genre (New Comedy), list of writers influenced by A, such as Gilbert and Sullivan, The Theatre of the Absurd etc
  • Transmission of the manuscript - this is territory for real scholars and I haven't even started to look at the issues involved.

Anyone interested in these edits can start putting the info in now (if it has documentary support, otherwise it could disappear in subsequent edits). Lucretius (talk) 21:58, 13 December 2008 (UTC)

Translations[edit]

I've now added a new section 'Aristophanes the poet'. There are some brilliant translations of A's plays (notably Barrett's) but none that is faithful to the metrical structure of the plays, so I've come up with my own translations to highlight important poetic devices mentioned by secondary sources. These translations match the originals closely though there is a bit of paraphrasing rather than translating involved (actually there is less paraphrasing than in the published copies such as Barrett's). There is another section to come titled 'Old Comedy' and that will fit between the biography and the new 'poetry' section. Hopefully sometime soon after Xmas. Lucretius (talk) 04:57, 21 December 2008 (UTC)

Aristophanes and Old Comedy[edit]

I've now added another section, as titled here. The citations are not complete - I have yet to dig up some line numbers to go with citations to the original plays, but I'll complete that over the next few days. Also, I must admit my collection of secondary sources is pitifully small and these are over-represented in the list of citations. The citations however cover generally accepted facts and commonly held opinions and there should be no trouble replacing them with citations to other works - supposing of course one had such works at one's fingertips, which I don't. I think an encyclopaedia like Wiki, with its credibility problems (anyone can edit it) requires lots of citations per article, as a way of convincing readers that we aren't making this stuff up. But I can only use the texts available to me. On the other hand, if this is a long-term commitment, I have lots of time to find and access other texts and to make the necessary changes. Time will tell.

The biography section really should include some mention of the failure of Clouds and A's response to it. Also A's suggestion that he reached some kind of deal with Cleon and reneged on it.

Sections still to come - Parabasis in Aristophanic comedy - Ancient performances - Influence and legacy (including modern performances) - The manuscripts - Further reading.

If anyone sees any problems with my approach or my style in writing this article, please let me know before I go any further. Is the new section too wordy or chatty? It's hard for an author to evaluate a large slab of his own writing and I'm not sure about this one. Feel free of course to edit if so inclined. Lucretius (talk) 03:21, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Basically finished[edit]

I've now basically finished my contributions to the article. A final subsection dealing with ancient performances could be added to the section 'Aristophanes and Old Comedy' but otherwise I can't see anything else that wants doing. I think the existing sections are OK for incorporating new material but other editors will decide that question for themselves. I'll continue to watch over the article and probably add little bits to it now and then. Lucretius (talk) 02:52, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

this is a very well written article, thank you.Ishmaelblues (talk) 17:30, 11 July 2009 (UTC)



Sorry for my bad formatting, but just pointing out that the conclusion contradicts the introduction. The introduction talks about the influence of Aristophanes' work while the conclusion basically denies that he had any influence at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 74.85.72.51 (talk) 05:05, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Producers out directors in[edit]

It is common to refer to 'didaskalos' as the 'producer' of plays - see e.g. MacDowell's edition of The Wasps, page 124 - but the correct terminology for someone who directs the performance of the cast is 'director'. Also, the choregus better fits the job description of producer. So, though I can't find a precedent, I have now replaced 'producer' with 'director' throughout the article. This makes intuitive sense and, as far as I know, it doesn't spit in the face of any established convention (e.g. - my lexicon does not include 'producer' in the definition of 'didaskalos'). Amphitryoniades (talk) 13:53, 17 May 2010 (UTC)

removed a cited passage and its quote[edit]

I removed this edit:

The Cambridge guide to theatre wrote:
A bracing feature(or a deplorable one, according to taste) of all the plays except Plutus is their total lack of moral uplift. Honesty, decency and courage barely exist, and subjects for cheerful humour include, torture, rape, blindness, and starvation. The way to deal with enemies is sometimes to defeat them by argument (of a sort), but just as often to cudgel them from the stage.(ref name="Banham1995"Martin Banham (1995). The Cambridge guide to theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 36. ISBN 9780521434379. Retrieved 11 March 2011. /ref)

I removed it firstly because it's not accurate. You only have to think of the heroine in Lysistrata, or the patient and loving son in The Wasps, to realize that it is a gross generalization. Secondly, the cited source makes only a passing reference to Aristophanes and it is concerned with theatre generally, so it can hardly be taken as authoritative. Thirdly, even if the passage did deserve inclusion, it was placed in the wrong section. A more appropriate section would be Festivity, which deals with the holiday spirit and freedom from restraint. My personal inclination is to exclude this edit completely. Not every comment, even if backed with a source, deserves inclusion. McZeus (talk) 23:22, 11 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree. The quote seems like an axe-grinding and dyspeptic statement from someone who hasn't quite earned the right to issue such sweeping statements. Wareh (talk) 01:35, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Usually Cambridge guides related to literature are accurate...but in this case it wasn't so. The quote, as amusing as it was to me, probably doesn't belong in the article. So you guys were right to remove it.Smallman12q (talk) 00:32, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for being reasonable. Of course there's some truth in there, but Mr. Banham is having just a wee bit too much fun indulging the need to show us something witty, opinionated, and provocative. Wareh (talk) 00:55, 13 March 2011 (UTC)

Some problems...[edit]

I realize that it's bad form to complain about problems in an article but do nothing about them. That said, this article is nearly unreadable and I wouldn't know where to start in fixing it. I just skimmed it but I could barely go two sentences without coming across something that stopped me dead.

Look at this line: "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."

Obviously a citation is needed on the "parabasis" but how is it appropriate to write "'straight from the horse's mouth', so to speak" in an encyclopedia article?!?!?! Or "can be got"?!?!? How is that up to wikipedia standards? Even having written "so to speak" would be bad enough. I question why the end of this sentence even needs to be there.

Or this: "For Aristophanes' contemporaries the works of Homer and Hesiod were as instructive as the Bible became for many Greeks in the Christian era."

Not only does this read like a 13 year old wrote it, but it's totally unnecessary... If you want to make the point that Homer and Hesiod were influential, then fine (though you'd still need a citation). The bit about the Bible comes out of nowhere and adds nothing to the discussion.

I don't think anyone is asking for something written in so terse a fashion that it becomes uninteresting, but almost every sentence in this article is longer than it needs to be.

This one, for instance, might be useful as an example of why not to use run-on sentences: "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."

Not only is it a run-on but even broken up it's still far longer than it has to be. "Yet comedy did continue"? Why not "Yet comedy continued"? The writers of this article seem to use 4 words where 3 will do any chance they get. What does "thereafter" add to this sentence other than showing that the writer knows the word "thereafter"? The answer is absolutely nothing.

The use of parentheses is also out of control. Like this line: "Listed below is a random and very tiny sample of works influenced (more or less) by Aristophanes."

More or less?!?! Seriously?

The only silver lining here is imagining Aristophanes somewhere reading this poorly-written article and laughing at it until he farts... I really am sorry to be so negative and if we can come to some sort of consensus on how a major revision would look I'd be happy to take on a chunk of the work.

Peace, Kid maximus (talk) 09:26, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Political Affiliation[edit]

Calling Aristophanes "Conservative" just because he's against the populist demagogue Cleon is a bit of a stretch. "Lysistrata", perhaps his best known play, can be better described as "Peacenik." It's arguably the origin of the catch-phrase "Make love not war," not to mention "Question Authority"; it's a lot closer to Hippie than it is to Conservative. And while I agree the hippies weren't particularly liberal, they were not conservative either. If I had to pick a political affiliation, I'd say that Aristophanes was, like all the best comics, a subversive.