The Acharnians: the clouds [u.a.]. Aristophanes. Translated with an introduction by Alan H. Sommerstein

Front Cover
Penguin, 1973 - Drama - 255 pages
0 Reviews
Writing at a time of political and social crisis in Athens, Aristophanes (c. 447-c. 385 BC) was an eloquent, yet bawdy, challenger to the demagogue and the sophist. In Lysistrata and The Acharnians, two pleas for an end to the long war between Athens and Sparta, a band of women and a lone peasant respectively defeat the political establishment. The darker comedy of The Clouds satirizes Athenian philosophers, Socrates in particular, and reflects the uncertainties of a generation in which all traditional religious and ethical beliefs were being challenged. For this edition Alan Sommerstein has completely revised his translation of the three plays, bringing out the full nuances of Aristophanes' ribald humour and intricate word play, with a new introduction explaining the historical and cultural background to the plays. Book jacket.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1973)

ARISTOPHANES, the most famous comic dramatist of ancient Greece, was born an Athenian citizen in about 445 B.C. Forty-four plays have been attributed to Aristophanes; eleven of these have survived. His plays are the only extant representatives of Greek Old Comedy, a dramatic form whose conventions made it inevitable that the author would comment on the political and social issues of fifth-century Athens. This Aristophanes did so well that Plato, asked by the tyrant of Syracuse for an analysis of Athenians, sent a copy of Aristophanes' plays in reply.
    
His earliest play, the Banqueters, won the second prize in 427 B.C. when the dramatist must have been less than eighteen years old, since, as he notes in the Clouds (423), he was too young to produce it in his own name. Another early play, the Babylonians, criticized the demagogue Cleon, who responded by subjecting Aristophanes to legal persecution, and as the author charges in the Acharnians, Cleon had "slanged, and lied, and slandered and betongued me . . . till I well nigh was done to death." Nevertheless, in the Knights (424), he renewed his attack on the popular Athenian leader and won first prize in that year's contest. Plutus (388) was the last of the author's plays to be produced in his lifetime.

Sommerstein is Professor of Greek at the University of Nottingham, where he is also the director of the Centre for Ancient Drama and its reception.

Bibliographic information