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1749 Latin edition of Odyssey and Batrachomyomachia

Batrachomyomachia (Greek: Βατραχομυομαχία, from βάτραχος, "frog", μῦς, "mouse", and μάχη, "battle") or the Battle of Frogs and Mice is a comic epic or parody of the Iliad, definitely attributed to Homer by the Romans, but according to Plutarch the work of Pigres of Halicarnassus, the brother (or son) of Artemisia, Queen of Caria and ally of Xerxes.[1] Most modern scholars, however, assign it to an anonymous poet of the time of Alexander the Great.[2][3] Even later authors have been suggested, such as Lucian.[4]

The word batrachomyomachia has come to mean "a silly altercation". The German translation, Froschmäusekrieg, has been used to describe disputes such as the one between the School of Math and the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study.[citation needed]


A mouse (Psycharpax) drinking water from a lake meets the Frog King (Physignathus), who invites him to his house. As the Frog King swims across the lake, the Mouse seated on his back, they are confronted by a frightening water snake. The Frog dives, forgetting about the Mouse, who drowns. Another Mouse witnesses the scene from the bank of the lake, and runs to tell everyone about it. The Mice arm themselves for battle to avenge the Frog King's treachery, and send a herald to the Frogs with a declaration of war. The Frogs blame their King, who altogether denies the incident. In the meantime, Zeus, seeing the brewing war, proposes that the gods take sides, and specifically that Athena help the Mice. Athena refuses, saying that mice have done her a lot of mischief. Eventually the gods decide to watch rather than get involved. A battle ensues and the Mice prevail. Zeus summons a force of crabs to prevent complete destruction of the Frogs. Powerless against the armoured crabs, the Mice retreat, and the one-day war ends at sundown.


  1. ^ Plutarch. De Herodoti Malignitate, 43, or Moralia, 873f.
  2. ^ Batrachomyomachia: A Classical Parody
  3. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Batrachomyomachia". Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 529.
  4. ^ On when the Batrachomyomachia was not written

English translations[edit]

  • Chapman, George (trans.) Homer's Batrachomyomachia, Hymns and Epigrams. Adamant Media Corporation, 2001. ISBN 1-4021-8183-3

External links[edit]