Comedy

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 (Internet Archive): 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 (Internet Archive): 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 source 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.


Aristophanes: The Wasps

The Wasps (Ancient Grek Greek: Σφῆκες) is a play by Aristophanes which won second prize at the Lenaea festival in Athens in 422 BC. It satirises the Athenian jury system and the influence of orators, such as Aristophanes' frequent target Cleon, over ordinary citizens.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Eleven Comedies, Volume 2 - The Wasps - The Birds - The Frogs - The Thesmophoriazusae - The Ecclesiazusae -- Plutus. English translation, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Aristophanes I - Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps.  Greek text and English translation. Public domain Loeb edition, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Wasps. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

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

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Wasps. English translation, HTML format.

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

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Aristophanes: The Knights

The Knights (Ancient Greek: Ἱππεῖς) is a comedy by Aristophanes which won first prize at the Lenaea festival at its first performance in Athens in 424 BC. It is effectively an allegory in which the the old man Demos represents the Athenian people, while his slaves Demosthenes and Nicias represent prominent generals. The latter are tormented by a new slave, 'the Paphlagonian', who flatters their master, in a satirical reference to the popular politican Cleon.

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Aristophanes I - Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps.  Greek text and English translation. Public domain Loeb edition, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Knights. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

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

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Knights. 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: The Knights.

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

Thucydides - Our best source 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.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Knights is listed.


Aristophanes: The Acharnians

The Acharnians (Greek: Ἀχαρνεῖς) is the oldest surviving play by Aristophanes and thus the oldest extant comedy in the world. It satirises the plight of rural Athenians during the early Peloponnesian War, through its central character Dikaiopolis, who concludes his own private peace treaty with the Spartans.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Acharnians. English translation, HTML format.

Internet Archive: Aristophanes I - Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps.  Greek text and English translation. Public domain Loeb edition, multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Acharnians. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. Greek text and English translation. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation. HTML and XML formats.

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

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Acharnians. English translation, HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. Multiple formats.

Other Resources

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

Librivox: The Acharnians (Billson translation). Public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: The Acharnians.

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

Aeschylus - briefly mentioned with respect in the play.

Euripides - satirised here as in many of Aristophanes' plays.

Herodotus - several passages are thought to allude to Herodotus' work.

Thucydides - Our best source for the political events which provided the occasion for Aristophanes' satire.

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


Aristophanes: The Frogs

The Frogs (Greek: Βάτραχοι,  Latin: Ranae)  is an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes first produced in 405 BC. It won first prize at the Lenaea, a festival of the god Dionysus, who features as the play's protagonist. 

The Frogs was written shortly after the deaths of the tragedians Sophocles and Euripides, and the play opens with Dionysus determined to bring the latter back from Hades. While journeying in the company of the ferryman Charon he encounters the chorus of frogs which gives the play its name. Various adventures ensue in Hades before Dionysus is asked to judge a contest between the tragedians Aeschylus and Euripides. After much literary debate, Dionysus decides in favour of Aeschylus.

The choice of the older playwright has often been taken to reflect the same conservative values seen in Aristophanes' attack on Socrates and the sophists in The Clouds.

The Frogs at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Bacchicstage: The Frogs, translated by G. Theodoridis. HTML format. This text is also available at Poetry in Translation.

Bartleby: The Frogs, translated by B.B. Rogers. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Frogs,  translated by B.B. Rogers. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Frogs, translated by Gilbert Murray (1912). Multiple formats.

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

Internet Classics Archive: The Frogs. English translation, HTML and TXT format.

Perseus: Aristophanes Comoediae, ed. F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart, vol. 2. Clarendon Press, Oxford. 1907. Greek etext. HTML and XML format.

Perseus: The Frogs, translated by Dr Matthew Dillon. HTML and XML formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Frogs. English translation, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Βάτραχοι. Greek text. HTML, PDF and EPUB formats.

Wikisource: The Frogs. Anonymous translation, presumed to be Oscar Wilde (1912). HTML, PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats.

Other Resources

Ancient-literature.com: Aristophanes' The Frogs.

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

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

Librivox: The Frogs, public domain audiobooks.

National Theatre: An Introduction to Greek Comedy and Satyr Drama - video, featuring Edith Hall, Sean McEvoy, Alan Sommerstein, Laura Swift.

New York Times, 'Frogs' They Would A-Swimming Go, by Paul Gardner, 19 May 1974.

TheatreDatabase: The Frogs, summary.

TheatreHistory.com: The Frogs, summary.

University College London: Aristophanes' Frogs study guide.

Wikipedia: The Frogs.

Youtube: The Frogs by Aristophanes 2013, Matthew McCann.

Youtube: Aristophanes' Frogs (Cambridge Greek Play 2013). Performed with Aeschylus' Prometheus as the Cambridge Greek Play for 2013.

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

Aeschylus: The Persians.

Sophocles

Euripides: Andromache, Hippolytus.

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

Bloom's Western Canon: The Frogs is listed.


Aristophanes: The Clouds

The Clouds (Ancient Greek: Νεφέλαι)  is a comedy by Aristophanes, originally produced in 423 BC. The play satirises the philosophical scene in Athens, featuring Socrates as a central character. In direct contradiction to the later dialogues of Plato and Xenophon, Aristophanes portrays Socrates as interested in physical rather than ethical questions, and as teaching rhetoric for money like the sophists.

The Clouds at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Clouds, translated by W.J. Hickie, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Comedies of Aristophanes, Vol I - The Acharnians, Knights, Clouds, Wasps, Peace and Birds, translated by W.J. Hickie. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Clouds, Greek text edited with notes by Lewis Forman (1915). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Clouds. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: Aristophanes I: Acharnians. Knights. Clouds. Wasps. PDF of public domain Loeb edition.

Perseus: The Clouds, Greek text, ed. ed. F.W. Hall and W.M. Geldart (1907). English text, translated W.J. Hickie. HTML and XML formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Clouds, multiple formats.

Wikisource: Νεφέλαι - Greek text. Clouds (Aristophanes), English texts, multiple translations.
Other Resources

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

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

History of Philosophy without any gaps: Socrates without Plato, podcast by Peter Adamson.

Librivox: The Clouds, public domain audiobook.

Literature and History: The Great Thundercrap Aristophanes' The Clouds - podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

National Theatre: An Introduction to Greek Comedy and Satyr Drama - video, featuring Edith Hall, Sean McEvoy, Alan Sommerstein, Laura Swift.

Wikipedia: The Clouds.

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

Plato: Apology.

Plato: The Symposium - includes a speech by Aristophanes.

Xenophon: Memorabilia.

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

Bloom's Western Canon: The Clouds is listed.