Talk:The Frogs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Should the musical be put in a seperate article? i.e. The Frogs (musical)

Yes. - Nunh-huh 20:15, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Done, and corrected all the links to the musical that were pointing here (and corrected the links to the band while I was at it). - Ravenous 16:40, 29 December 2005 (UTC)
Yes because the musical is a re-branding, with different individuals fit into the same template.

The call of the Frog Chorus (brekekekex, ko-ax, ko-ax) is briefly recited in the Star Trek episode "Plato's Stepchildren." I would like very much to put that in the References section, but I haven't got a citable source. Perhaps someone who is both more assiduous than I am and a better researcher to boot could find such a reference and enter it.  :) (talk) 23:46, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

About the new rewrite[edit]

The article was a little confusing, and there was some info I couldn't find in two different translations of the text. So I went ahead and just rewrote it. If there was something from the earlier version that I removed that can be verified, feel free to add it back where appropriate. - Ravenous 22:30, 29 December 2005 (UTC)

About the translations[edit]

Shouldn't all translations have a link to ... something? Otherwise, any Greek student who did a translation for their teacher, and kept it private, should have a translation here...

If their translations were published or somehow noteworthy than maybe they should be listed here. Why would an encylopedia link to a student's private translation? - Ravenous

You misunderstood. Sorry. Hence I delete the effect of the misunderstanding, which I caused.

The listing "Steven Killen et al., 2006 - prose and verse" contains no link, neither a hyperlink nor a pointer to a paper version. So why is it there? Should the names and not links of everyone who translated anything be here?

It seems to me that there would be two good reasons to list a particular translation -
1. it's a well-known and well-respected version that the serious reader should hunt up, or
2. it's an acceptable version which is immediately accessible to the reader (i.e. online or in the public domain).
Lattimore, for instance, is a prominent translator and should probably remain on the list. Arrowsmith should perhaps be there, as well.
As far as online versions go, if a translation is readily available from Perseus or another reliable site, then I feel that individuals who have put up their own non-published (in the traditional sense) online translations should probably be excluded, unless there can be a peer-review process to look them over. They certainly might be good, but this should be verified by a group of knowledgeable people. Such a process has essentially already happened with the translations put up by Perseus and similar academic sites, whether in the original publishing process or in choosing which to use... whereas anyone can put one up on a website.
The webcomic has curiosity value, and - as it actually incorporates some of the original Greek text into the translation while explaining it in side notes - an educational element as well, so perhaps it should be retained but under a different heading - i.e. as an extra resource or "link of interest" rather than with the regular translations.
Just my two cents' worth to try and help resolve the chaos... :) Hierophany 13:10, 11 December 2006 (UTC)
So, why is it that this play is the only one by Aristophanes or by any other ancient Greek playwright for that matter, still bereft of a "Translations" list? 1st Feb. 2011 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:47, 31 January 2011 (UTC)

Festival of Dionysus?[edit]

I'm pretty sure it was performed at the Lenaea in 405 B.C. , not during the festival of Dionysus.

The following were the known dramatic festivals of ancient Attica: the Great, or City Dionysia, held in Athens, directly beneath the Acropolis, the Lenea held outside Athens at the nearby town called Lenea, (AKA Lenaia), the Rural Dionysia held almost everywhere around the rural areas of Attica, the Anthesteria and the Panathenaia, of which little is known. The above were all festivals held in honour of the god Dionysus who was the "last" god to come to Athens and who had a great difficulty in being accepted by the people (see Euripides' "Bacchae" where one can also discern strong similarities between this god’s appearance one earth and that of Jesus.)

I had no idea that this forum type section existed and I must admit, I was insulted when I saw the errors made by the original writer about Aristophanes' language. I was also offended by the removal of my second essay. It would have been so much more logical if someone had sent me a letter directly at my address at and let me know their objections - not that I care to contribute to something as serious as this thus played with by children! The sentence about Aristophanes’ language being appropriate for the ears of his audience, the one you’ve characterised as “rocks!” Is neither a simple POV nor a protracted one for anyone whose attention span lasts for a little longer than that of a gnat. These are the sentences that a prof. or a lecturer would reward with profuse adulations. Slaves, in that era, were gentle rascals: too expensive to maintain, too loud with their criticisms of the boss, too untrustworthy with the wives of their masters, too hungry, too thirsty, too defiant, in short, men who caused a great distress to their owners and, under this sort of distress, the owners reacted with extreme vernacular. There is an enormous number of books discussing Aristophanes’ “indecent” or “vulgar” or obscene language, one of the more important being that by Henderson, “The Maculate Muse.” Do read it. Therein you’ll find much explication of the dramaturge’s language expressed by many “run-on!” sentences. Better still, read all of Aristophanes: there are only eleven plays extant!

I had always thought that the wikipedia was a serious publication. What a pity it is up to any and every graffiti lover to interfere with its contents! A proper discussion between contributors would be a much better solution. Contributors should also be those of the higher possible calibre when it comes to their expertise. In this case, I suggest a strong knowledge of Aristophanes would be the least prerequisite for being a contributor and it should be left to other, equally knowledgeable people to ask pertinent questions. If you wish to contribute in any way, then I suggest you make a concerted effort to find the right people to do the writing of articles or essays and once you do, you leave it to them. Don’t go unilaterally (do you work in Mr Bush’s administration?) changing everything if you don’t know what you’re talking about. Your lack of understanding of the English language alone renders you incompetent to do anything else other than read the articles. Begin by getting to know your apostrophes.

George Theodoridis (see how I spell my name?) I’ve put it at the end of the article to be seen as a signature applied to something I believe and know about, as well as to be held accountable directly and not in some forum, behind my back.

Your second essay hasn't been deleted, it's been moved to Aristophanes. The subject was much broader than The Frogs and applies to the author in general. Don't be suprised if it gets deleted or heavily edited there though. The fact that it sounds like an "essay" and not an encylopedia is the main problem. A prof. or a lecturer might indeed reward your writing with profuse adulations, but that's not the point of wikipedia. First see the about page: Wikipedia:About, and then take a look at some of the wikipedia policies Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view, Wikipedia:Verifiability, Wikipedia:No original research, Wikipedia:Citing sources, Wikipedia:What Wikipedia is not.
As far as contacting you about your edits, people here are more used to discussing on the talk page of the article or the talk page of the user. Click the "watch" tab at the top of the article you are interested, and from then on you can go to the "my watchlist" link at the top, and it will show if someone has made a change to that article or to the talk page. Go to the "my talk" page - and you'll see I've already made a few attempts to contact you on your talk page.
Sorry to hear you are offended by our actions. Clearly you have a stronger knowlege of Aristophanes than the rest of us, but you still have a poor knowledge of what wikipedia is. This isn't a publication of scholars writing for other scholars. Like any other encyclopedia, this is just a starting point for further research. Like I said on your talk page - I hope you'll continue to add contributions here. We NEED more people who know what they are talking about. But if you don't make an attempt to follow the guidelines, your contributions will probably get deleted or gutted by those who do. I learned that the hard way myself. - Ravenous 15:16, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

commentary on the Reconstructing Humour section - moved from article[edit]

I fear that both, Mr Johnston and the commentator above are wrong when it comes to the explanation of Aristophanes' language in this passage. If the commentator is correct about Mr Johnston’s interpretation, then it seems to me that Mr Johnston is far too timid or inhibited with his translation. The passage referred to here (at the very beginning of The Frogs) is one which the ancient greek ear would undoubtedly understand as a passage composed in the formula of a slave's speech, the slave, no less of Dionysus the god of wine, the god to whom this festival was dedicated. It would not be the speech of a polite monk or nun, nor would it be the speech of a university professor, afraid that he might be reported by some over-prudish student for using –gasp!- foul language. “Foul” speech, or what some people, in this day and age might consider to be "foul," abounds in Aristophanes ' plays and this bit in his Frogs is but one such example. A more conscientious look at all of his other plays would leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that what some consider “foul” these days was not considered such back in the days of the “golden age of Pericles,” in 5th CBE. It must also be remembered (though Aristophanes would make no differentiation) that this play was first staged during the Lenean festival, a festival held outside Athens and during the winter month of January when there would be hardly any visitors to watch the plays so a playwright might well have felt a little freer to use whatever language he wanted. Not that these particular men would be overly concerned about what “others” thought about their work, a a phenomenon which exhibits both, the strength of their Democracy as well as the strength of their conviction. It would be doing the great comic an enormous injustice if one, particularly in this 21st century and the age of freedom of expression, were to expurgate Aristophanes’ every “common” utterance as if it were anathema. “Piezomai” in fact, is used to mean “I urgently need to fart” just as much as it means “I am (awfully) pressed” and “thlivomai” means “I need to shit” just as much as it means “my bowls are moving urgently” or "I'm being saddened (by something)" and there is no question at all as to what the word "hezitias" means, only a couple of lines later; or, "apoparthisomai" a little later still! It requires but a little of the art of histrionics on the part of the actors to give the right understanding of the meaning of these words, though "hezitias" and “apoparthisomai” require nothing more than their utterance to have the audience rolling in the aisles clasping their bouncing bellies! Aristophanes needs to be read with the view not of expurgating his words but, rather, the words of his earlier translators who give one the impression that their audiences sat in dusty pews and musty lecture theatres that resembled those pews, or else, publishers of “clean, family literature.” Ancient Athens, it seems, was nowhere to be found in their minds. In other words Aristophanes, of the 5th century BCE, was the classic dramaturge of the comedic genre who included pretty much every manner of comedy and every manner of speech. To dilute his work so as to serve the present-day “politically correct” agendas, as did his earlier translators, is to do it a great disservice and to admit, in us, a lack of honesty and intellectual strength, so vital in a Democracy, yea, even ours. George Theodoridis [1]

This is an interesting commentary, but it sounds like your point of view (see Wikipedia:Neutral point of view), rather than an encyclopedia. So it probably belongs here (especially since you signed it at the bottom). -Ravenous 21:25, 17 August 2006 (UTC)

Reconstructing Humor - solowords[edit]

This is going to need some work to remove POV statements, add sources, and keep on the topic of The Frogs. -Ravenous 00:51, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I (Phlip) put in the original Reconstructing Humor section, and I felt safe not knowing enough about the topic to have a POV.

Someone (possibly G. Theodorsis) replaced my modest and readable version with prose that is erudite, learne'd, and mostly POV. It also indulges in run-on sentences, and its supporting link is false. This is going to need a lot of work (and bravery) to fix, because Wikis should be incremental and organic. GT broke that rule with one big edit, not many careful little ones.

Further, GT accuses my original text, uncited, of claiming that Aristophanes did not indulge in potty humor. My original text did no such thing; it only pointed out that some translators resorted to it in individual cases when a high-brow joke was available - still in the language of low-lifes and slaves!

So, because GT can clearly write faster and more copiously than me, I'm not up for fixing the page. WikiPedia wins again!


I propose we either revert to Phlip's version or do away with the section entirely until we can work out what to do with the solowords (AKA G. Theodorsis) text. Solowords, if you are reading this - please check out some of the wikipedia policies, such as: Neutral point of view, Verifiability, & No original research. We appreciate your contributions, but in the current state, it's not really appropriate for wikipedia. - Ravenous 18:17, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm sure this is a first for WikiPedia, but we also have a case of researchers using a page to compete. Someone moved the citation for my webcomic up and put it after Ian Johnson's citation, as if I only used his version for a source. (I start with his verbiage, and constantly compare it against several other translations, and the original.)

So the change to Reconstructing Humor can also be interpretted as another instance of this competition. It formerly contained a link to my >cough< webcomic.

Hence I'm not qualified to fix the page, but neither is any other translator. --Phlip

That would be me who moved your translation up - at the top of page linked to it states "Translated by Ian Johnston", so I thought that would be more appropriate. If yours is it's own unique and "noteworthy" translation (as far as text goes), perhaps it deserves it's own line.
I'm not sure if external links to your sites are a bad thing so long as the link has good info and it's appropriate to section being linked from. If it's a link to a translation and is in the translation section, that's probably fine. But it's hard for yourself to make the judgement call on whether or not it's "noteworthy". When the link to a site about the topic is simply thrown under your contribution, but the site isn't specifically about the contribution (more like your just signing it), then I would say that's probably bad regardless.
I would imagine a translator would be qualified to work on this page as I'm sure you all know quite a bit more about the subject than the casual reader (such as myself). Just follow the guidelines and site your references, while avoiding citing your own original work as a reference. - Ravenous 07:17, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

I like solowords's deconstruction of Aristophanes, in general, so I moved it to that page. We may give Reconstructing Humor a vacation. --Phlip

Good place for it. Plus there'll be more people editing that page, so it'll have a better chance of getting "overhauled" there. -Ravenous 17:46, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

This sentence rocks[edit]

In the "Frogs," Aristophanes’ language is one which the ancient greek ear would undoubtedly understand as the language of a slave, the slave, no less of Dionysus the god of wine, the god to whom this festival was dedicated, the god who, philosophically speaking, “decapitated” the people three times a year for about a week, to allow their deeper, darker, more impulsive nature to act out its desire.

That one does indeed rock. However, it is also POV, original research, run-on, and off-topic.
The Dionysus in The Frogs is a pompous boor, but not drunk or out of control. The Frogs is not about catharsis, or relieving up your primal urges. It is about the crisis of Athens's society, embroiled in a war that profits their warmongers. Dionysus seeks the departed tragic playwrights as simple escapism; as a diversion (and as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after the disastrous Battle of Arginusae). He will instead find tragic rhetoric that reminds Athens of its earlier bronze-age heroism.

Explain the joke[edit]

"Aeschylus gets the upper hand in the argument, and begins making a fool of Euripides. He has Euripides quote lines from many of his prologues, each time interjecting with '...lost his bottle of oil'."

This description doesn't really make sense unless you've already read the play; it should either be left out or explained. The joke here is that Aeschylus claims (and then proceeds to demonstrate) that Euripides' verse is so monotonously predictable that you could substitute the phrase lhku/qion a)pw/lesen ("lost his little oil-flask") for the end of any random line and it would fit, both grammatically and metrically... a bit like the modern claim that any poem by Emily Dickinson can be sung to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas". :) Hierophany 17:41, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

It's not the monotony. In a society that must exchange letters to communicate long distance, poets take the time get many details right, such as meter. For example, JrrTolkien could have, at a stretch, done a little Haiku. So everyone should know what meters their various works are in. The modern equivalent would be every song in the same key. Aeschylus psychologically warfares Euripides by tricking him into wracking his brain to think of a prolog that did not start in iambic tetrameter. He never realized it was his favorite meter, and Aeschylus teases him mercilessly over this.

Here's the relevant scenes of the contest:

- Aeschylus tricks Euripides into getting pompous about his music ~ especially his prologs.

- Dionysus adjudicates that the next phase of the trial (for a sentence _out_ of Hades, folks!) should be a prolog competition. (Prologs are especially important because the music must kick in hard, and the story must at the same time hook the audience. "This wooden O" kinds of things.)

- Aeschylus recites a few masterpieces, and Euripides nitpicks uselessly & aimlessly at their first few words.

- Dionysus announces it's Euripides' turn to recite a prolog.

- Amid the banter, Aeschylus claims "I will now destroy your prologs, with just a little bottle, of oil".

- Euripides scoffs, yet foolishly presses for details

- Aeschylus introduces "iambic tetrameter" - da DUMP da DUMP da DUMP da DUMP.

- Euripides recites a few stanzas of pompous but passable prologs

- Aeschylus allows each one to run a little, then overlays the words "he LOST his LITTle FLASK of OIL", on top of E's lyrics. The trick is the last syllable always hits the last syllable of Euripides' babble, no matter what sentence Euripides is on. Aeschylus has silently counted in from the beginning; that's his trick.

- The cadence, ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν, lyKUTH-iON aPOWleSEN, literally means "oil-flask depleted". So it could idiomatically refer to losing the bottle, or running out of the contents (both of which would bring many ancient Greek sexual trysts to a clammy halt).

- Euripides gets completely rattled. He can't tell if Aeschylus is making fun of his meter or his words. Aeschylus bombs plenty of Euripides' prologs with oily innuendos. But he keeps trying to find a play that does not devolve, and he foolishly claims he has plenty of them.

- Dionysus sometimes follows Aeschylus' humor, and sometimes counsels Euripides to calm down

- Euripides runs out of plays that Aeschylus can't destroy at their beginning.

- Here's an especially zinging innuendo: Dionysus (on the right) has to explain it to Euripides, who is stewing trying to think of a successful play.

- All plays began with iambic tetrameter, but Aeschylus never interjected at the very beginnings of the first few prologs that Euripides had started with. So this tricked Euripides into thinking that some of his prologs might not start in iambic tetrameter

- Aeschylus tapped Euripides' stubborn streak ~ he essentially played him like a playwright would.

- Dionysus tries to sweet-talk Euripides into giving up and admitting all his plays start in one meter, and eventually he calls an end to this phase of the trial. Euripides leaps into a show-stopping song and dance, putting flamboyant lisps on A's songs from "Myrmidons", as if all those thousands of soldiers were busy getting it on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:04, 30 August 2012‎

Not to imply any endorsement of the rest of the above, I just want to put it on record, since "iambic tetrameter" is mentioned above and keeps popping up in edit summaries, that there is no "iambic tetrameter" to be found in relation to this topic. The prologues are in iambic trimeter, the standard metrical form for dialogue in tragedy. Aeschylus' joke is at Euripides' habitual placement of the main caesura in his prologues: following the fifth position (or third anceps or brevis, depending upon your taste). This common reference to tetrameter we keep seeing at this article involves a misapprehension of iambic verse: each iamb is not what is enumerated in the terminology, but each pair of iambs is regarded as the metrum. But in any event, the joke does not involve full metra, for Aeschylus interjects in the middle of an iamb. Meter is more than counting syllables, and that upsilon is short, there ain't no pure iambs here, and the cadence described above for this phrase is simply wrong. Take a look at lekythion.  davidiad.:τ 03:02, 18 September 2012 (UTC)
Thank you. And about this [2] silly revert: I'm really at a loss how to make this any more clear, but I'll try once more, User:Phlip2005:
  1. There is no "iambic tetrameter" anywhere in the play. As Davidiad just pointed out, the "lekythion apolesen" phrase is part of an iambic trimeter. I really don't know where this whole "tetrameter" meme has sprung from. Somebody here on Wikipedia made that error and then somebody else ran with it.
  2. Even within the iambic trimeter, you scanned the "lekythion" phrase wrong above. It's not "lyKUTH-iON aPOWleSEN", and there's nothing about "da DUMP da DUMP da DUMP da DUMP" in the Greek text. If anything, it's "LE-kyth-ION a-PO-le-SEN" ("DUMP da DUDUMP da DUMP da DUMP"), with the heavy syllables, of course, not marked by stress but purely by length. See the lekythion article.
  3. Even if there were "tetrameters", it would be nonsense to insist on the English translation imitating that metre. A Greek tetrameter is a completely different thing from an English tetrameter. The joke is about the metre in Greek, not about whatever a translator might put in.
  4. Grammatically, adding "he..." to the English translation makes no sense, because the whole joke is about the phrase completing a sentence whose subject has already been stated ("Pelops, coming to Pisa with swift horses..." – "lost his oil flask" etc.) There's no place for a "he" there. Fut.Perf. 18:15, 18 September 2012 (UTC)

relax, dude. "le Ky thi ON a POL e SEN" also scans as 4 iambs, and they fit the prolog citations in the translation I used [Ian Johnston]. Your point is the trimeter runs at the same place in the verse structure; the audience would of course pick that up. My bad for studying Greek since childhood, and internationalizing user interfaces to it. We will leave the "he" off. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:52, 24 September 2012 (UTC)

I've reverted your changes to your old postings. Per WP:Talk page guidelines, you are very welcome to correct errors in your own postings, but if they have already been the object of responses, please do it by striking out your old text, not by just removing it, thus: "old text new text", so that the dialogue remains understandable. And never interject your edits into those of somebody else. Also, please, finally, learn to sign your posts correctly; it is very impolite not to do that. Fut.Perf. 12:02, 24 September 2012 (UTC)
Oh, and no, "ληκύθιον ἀπώλεσεν" still doesn't scan as "le Ky thi ON a POL e SEN". It may do so according to the stress-patterned metrics of Modern Greek, but not according to the quantity metrics of Ancient Greek. You evidently don't understand how ancient Greek verse works. Fut.Perf. 12:06, 24 September 2012 (UTC)


The article refers to the underworld as 'Hades' but the god of the underworld as 'Pluto'. Is Hades not the name of both the place and the God? And would it not be more consistent to use the God's Greek name rather than the latinized version, considering the latinized 'Pluto' would not have been used in a Greek tragedy by Aristophanes? TreboniusArtorius (talk) 06:15, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

No. This reflects the usage of Aristophanes. The character's name in the Greek text is Plouton. It's a common misconception that this is a Latin name; see Pluto (mythology). By the Classical period (that is, in the works of Aristophanes, the tragedians, and Plato), Hades was far more often used as the name of the place, and Plouton as the name of the deity. Plato is the main source on what the name Plouton meant to the Greeks. It seems to have developed in relation to the Eleusinian Mysteries, which Aristophanes alludes to at points in the play. Whatever the actual etymology, the Greeks interpreted the name Plouton as meaning "Rich"; the Latin equivalent is in fact Dis, though the Greek name was also used in Latin literature (though not really all that often). For some reason, translators have often substituted "Pluto" (the Latinized form) when the source text has "Dis", creating the impression for those who don't read the original languages that Pluto was a Latin name. Horace at one point even uses the Greek accusative form instead of the Latin for the name, indicating that even in the Augustan period it was still regarded as a Greek import. For more details and citations on the name in general, see the Pluto article. But the Greek text of Aristophanes uses Plouton for the character. Cynwolfe (talk) 11:45, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Thank you for explaining that so well. I see now that Pluto is the latinized form of the name Plouton. I am guessing the reason we use Pluto rather than Plouton is that it has been the common use of translators? Given that his name is Plouton in the Greek text, it seems inconsistent. TreboniusArtorius (talk) 14:42, 2 May 2013 (UTC)
Right, it's just the conventional anglicizing via Latin: same as the name of Plato instead of the Greek Platon. The other characters' names have been similarly anglicized for this article, and not just transliterated, which might've given us Dionysos, Herakles, Aiakos. For article titles, we go with the "most common" principle. But I'm not sure what we would do if the translation of the text we used for quotations used transliterations, as many modern translations do. I think, but I'm sure, that consistency within a single article might be preferred. Cynwolfe (talk) 15:52, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Star Trek reference[edit]

I added a line today regarding the inclusion of the Frog Chorus' call in a Star Trek episode; interested parties should be able to see and hear it at this link at about 12:30 in. The episode is notable not only for its inclusion of a smidgen of Aristophanes, but also for its inclusion of the first interracial kiss on US prime-time TV. (talk) 22:32, 24 February 2014 (UTC)

Of far more significance is the Yale Long Cheer, dating from the 1880s. (This is in distinction to the less imaginative Short Cheer, which is "Yale, Rah Rah, Team.") It's rather surprising it's not mentioned in the article, as there is no shortage of sources. [3], [4], [5], [6], cheering, [7], [8] (notes the use of the Frogs' chant in the chorus of Cole Porter's Out of This World. I would imagine the chant is part of the reason for the staging of the Frogs in Yale's Payne Whitney Gymnasium. - Nunh-huh 05:27, 25 February 2014 (UTC)