Aristophanes (ca. 446 BC - 385 BC)


Biographical note

Aristophanes was a Greek comic poet, famous for writing plays, especially comedies such as The Birds for the two Athenian festivals: the Dionisia and the Lenea. Many of his plays were political, and he is known to have been prosecuted for Athenian law's equivalent of libel more than once. A famous comedy, The Frogs, was given the unprecedented honor of a second perfomance.

He appears in Plato's Symposium, giving a humorous mythical account of the origin of Love. The Clouds pokes fun at famous figures, notably Socrates, and may have contributed to the common conception of the philosopher as a Sophist. Lysistrata was written during the Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta and presents a pacifist theme in a comical manner: the women of the two states deprive their husbands of sex until they stop fighting. This play was later illustrated at length by Pablo Picasso

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