Today, we tend to picture ancient Greece as a land of togas, lyres and plenty of philosophical pondering -- but even back then, people were annoyed with the likes of Socrates, Plato and other intellectual blowhards. Brilliant playwright Aristophanes mercilessly skewers pretentious intellectuals in his comic masterwork The Clouds.
A poet who hated an age of decadence, armed conflict, and departure from tradition, Aristophanes' comic genius influenced the political and social order of his own fifth-century Athens. But as Moses Hadas writes in his introduction to this volume, 'His true claim upon our attention is as the most brilliant and artistic and thoughtful wit our world has known.' Includes The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Lysistrata, Peace, Plutus, Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps.
The Birds is a comedy by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. It was performed in 414 BC at the City Dionysia where it won second prize. It has been acclaimed by modern critics as a perfectly realized fantasy remarkable for its mimicry of birds and for the gaiety of its songs. Unlike the author's other early plays, it includes no direct mention of the Peloponnesian War and there are few references to Athenian politics, and yet it was staged not long after the commencement of the Sicilian Expedition, an ambitious military campaign that had greatly increased Athenian commitment to the war effort. In spite of that, the play has many indirect references to Athenian political and social life. It is the longest of Aristophanes' surviving plays and yet it is a fairly conventional example of Old Comedy.
The Acharnians or Acharnians is the third play — and the earliest of the eleven surviving plays — by the Athenian playwright Aristophanes. It was produced in 425 BCE on behalf of the young dramatist by an associate, Callistratus, and it won first place at the Lenaia festival. The play is notable for its absurd humour, its imaginative appeal for an end to the Peloponnesian War and for the author's spirited response to condemnations of his previous play, The Babylonians, by politicians such as Cleon, who had reviled it as a slander against the Athenian polis. In The Acharnians, Aristophanes reveals his resolve not to yield to attempts at political intimidation. Along with the other surviving plays of Aristophanes, The Acharnians is one of the few - and oldest - surviving examples of a highly satirical genre of drama known as Old Comedy.
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