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July 2018

Aristophanes: Lysistrata

Lysistrata (Greek: Λυσιστράτη) is a comedy by Aristophanes, which may have been produced for the Lenaea Festival at Athens in 411 BC. It's theme reflects the city's misfortunes in the Peloponnesian War following the defeat of the Sicilian Expedition in 413 BC. The title character is an Athenian woman who contrives to force an end to the war, first by organising women from across Greece to refuse sexual relations with their menfolk, and secondly by leading Athenian wives in seizing the Acropolis, and fighting off the old men of the city.

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Free online texts

Gutenberg: Greek text and English translation. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 179 - Aristophanes III - Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae, Ecclesiazusae, Plutus. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. 

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by Jack Lindsay. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Lysistrata, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Lysistrata. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

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Aristophanes: The Birds

The Birds  (Greek: Ὄρνιθες) is a comedy by Aristophanes first produced at the Athenian City Dionysia in 414 BC. It's fantastic plot may reflect an appetite for escapism during the tense period in which the city awaited the outcome of the Sicilian expedition. The play's protagonists are two Athenians who abandon the city go and live among the birds, who they persuade to build a city in the air, Nephelokokkygia or Cloudcuckooland, from which they force gods and humans to come to terms with them.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Greek text and English translation. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 488 - Aristophanes II - Peace, Birds, Frogs. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: Birds, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Birds. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Comedy in Ancient Greek Theatre. Melvyn Bragg with Paul Cartledge, Edith Hall and Nick Lowe.

History of Ancient Greece: o54- Old Comedy and Aristophanes. Podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Wikipedia: The Birds (Play)

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Birds is listed.


Aristophanes: Peace

Peace (Greek: Εἰρήνη) is a comedy by Aristophanes, first performed at the Great Dionysia in 421 BC, where it won second prize. It satirises the contemporary political situation following the battle of Amphipolis, when the deaths of the Athenian general Cleon, and the Spartan Brasidas, paved the way for the Peace of Nicias, an outcome which Aristophanes enthusiastically anticipates.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Peace. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 488 - Aristophanes II - Peace, Birds, Frogs. Bilingual Greek-English Loeb edition. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: Peace, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Peace. English translation, HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

History of Ancient Greece: o54- Old Comedy and Aristophanes. Podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Wikipedia: Peace (play)

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Thucydides - Our best sources for the political events which provided the occasion for Aristophanes' satire, although one which took a similarly jaundiced view of Cleon's career.

Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.