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Table of contents :
Cover
Tragedy on the Comic Stage
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
Acknowledgments
Note to the Reader
Introduction
Part I: The Fragments of Greek Comedy
1. Electra and the Coal Pan: Tragic Culture in the Comic Fragments
2. Give Me a Bit of Paratragedy: Tragic Parody in the Comic Fragments
Part II: Aristophanes
3. The Man Is Obsessed with Song: A Contest of Genres in Wasps
4. Euripides in the Echo Chamber: Poets and Their Poetry in Women at the Thesmophoria
5. Writing Beyond Genres: The Dionysiac Festival in Gerytades and Wealth
Conclusion
Bibliography
Index Locorum
General Index
Recommend Papers

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Tragedy on the Comic Stage

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Tragedy on the Comic Stage

z MATTHEW C. FARMER

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1 Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and certain other countries. Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America. © Oxford University Press 2017 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by license, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reproduction rights organization. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above. You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Farmer, Matthew C., author. Title: Tragedy on the comic stage / Matthew C. Farmer. Description: New York, NY : Oxford University Press, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2016005968 (print) | LCCN 2016016244 (ebook) | ISBN 9780190492076 | ISBN 9780190492090 | ISBN 9780190492083 () | ISBN 9780190630713 () Subjects: LCSH: Greek drama (Tragedy)—History and criticism. | Greek drama (Comedy)—History and criticism. | Aristophanes—Criticism and interpretation. Classification: LCC PA3201 .F37 2016 (print) | LCC PA3201 (ebook) | DDC 882/.0109—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016005968 1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2 Printed by Sheridan Books, Inc., United States of America

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For Sarah

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Contents

Acknowledgments 

ix

Note to the Reader 

xi

Introduction 

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PART I : The Fragments of Greek Comedy 

1. Electra and the Coal Pan: Tragic Culture in the Comic Fragments 

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2. Give Me a Bit of Paratragedy: Tragic Parody in the Comic Fragments 

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PART II : Aristophanes 

3. The Man Is Obsessed with Song: A Contest of Genres in Wasps 

117

4. Euripides in the Echo Chamber: Poets and Their Poetry in Women at the Thesmophoria 

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5. Writing Beyond Genres: The Dionysiac Festival in Gerytades and Wealth 

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Conclusion 

229

Bibliography 

237

Index Locorum 

257

General Index 

263

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Acknowledgments

This book, such as it is, would not have been possible without the generosity and kindness of many gifted teachers, supportive colleagues, and devoted friends. Anne Mahoney planted the seed when she introduced me to Wasps during my freshman year of college; she not only taught me Greek (and for that matter, Latin), she taught me to laugh at Aristophanes’ jokes. Ralph Rosen has been my Mentor on every step of the journey, encouraging me to pursue the doctorate, advising my dissertation, and reading multiple drafts of the book; I  have been immeasurably fortunate to be the student and friend of such a humane, insightful critic and scholar. Cynthia Damon, Bridget Murnaghan, and Emily Wilson all read and commented helpfully on my dissertation, and the resulting book has benefited tremendously from their guidance. Cynthia, like Ralph, encouraged me on this path even before I was properly her student, and I owe her a genuine debt of gratitude for her continued willingness to share her wisdom with me. My friends Ginna Closs, Sam Beckelhymer, Jason Nethercut, Sarah Scullin, Jeremy Lefkowitz, and Carl Shaw have all lent me their expertise at various points in this project and buoyed me along with their camaraderie. My mother, Dr. Becky L. Farmer, was the first and most generous reader of the dissertation that preceded this book. I owe a particular debt of gratitude to my lovely colleagues at the University of Missouri:  Mike Barnes, Jim Crozier, Sean Gurd, Dan Hooley, Naomi Kaloudis, Darcy Krasne, Ray Marks, Anatole Mori, David Schenker, Dennis Trout, and Barbara Wallach. I cannot imagine a more congenial and supportive group of people to work with, and I consider it a singular privilege to belong to a department that sets such a high standard of both teaching and scholarship. Thanks also to Douglas Olson for providing me excerpts of his and Zachary Biles’ commentary on Wasps in advance of its publication. The department, the Research Board of the University of Missouri, and the Loeb Classical Library Foundation all contributed to granting me the leave necessary to complete this work. My gratitude goes also to my editor, Stefan Vranka, to his staff,

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Acknowledgments

particularly Sarah Svendsen and Thomas Finnegan, and to the Press’s two anonymous readers for many salutary criticisms and suggestions. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Dr. Sarah E. Scheckter, to whom this book is dedicated, for her unfailing patience with me, her faith in the value of my work, and her love of laughter.

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Note to the Reader

I cite the comic fragments from the edition of Kassel and Austin (KA); for tragic fragments I have used the volumes of Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta by Kannicht, Radt, and Snell (TrGF); for the text of Aristophanes I have followed N. G. Wilson. Other editions will be noted as they arise and are cited in the bibliography. All translations, unless otherwise attributed, are my own. References to the names of comedians who share their names with authors of other genres are always to the comic poet unless otherwise indicated: thus “Plato” is the author often called Platon or Plato Comicus, Phrynichus is the comedian and not the tragedian, etc. In the notes I typically cite these authors according to the system of abbreviations in Liddell, Scott, and Jones’s Greek-​English Lexicon (henceforth LSJ); other abbreviations follow the system of L’Année Philologique. With the titles of Greek plays I have aimed for clarity over rigid consistency: I give extant plays by their most familiar, translated titles (so Frogs, Women at the Thesmophoria); in the absence of a standardized set of translations for the titles of fragmentary plays, I have preferred to refer to them by their transliterated Greek titles (Pytine, Krapataloi, etc.); with plays whose titles are the names of mythological or historical characters, however, I give the most familiar form of the name (so Aeolus, not Aiolos). The abbreviation “F” before a number indicates a fragment, and “T” a testimonium.

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Tragedy on the Comic Stage

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Introduction

In the prologue of Aristophanes’ Frogs, Dionysus, god of the theater, arrives at the house of his half-​brother Heracles, with a Heraclean lion draped over his usual, rather effeminate yellow robe. Heracles can’t contain his laughter, but Dionysus begs his fellow god to take him seriously, and explains that he’s on his way to the underworld on a mission of vital importance (52–​72): (Διόνυσος) καὶ δῆτ’ ἐπὶ τῆς νεὼς ἀναγιγνώσκοντί μοι τὴν Ἀνδρομέδαν πρὸς ἐμαυτὸν ἐξαίφνης πόθος τὴν καρδίαν ἐπάταξε πῶς οἴει σφόδρα. (Ἡρακλῆς) πόθος; πόσος τις; (Δι.)         σμικρός, ἡλίκος Μόλων. (Ηρ.) γυναικός; (Δι.)    οὐ δῆτ’. (Ηρ.)         ἀλλὰ παιδός; (Δι.)               οὐδαμῶς. (Ηρ.)          ἀλλ’ ἀνδρός; (Δι.)               ἀπαπαῖ. (Ηρ.)     ξυνεγένου τῷ Κλεισθένει; (Δι.) μὴ σκῶπτέ μ’, ὦδέλφ’· οὐ γὰρ ἀλλ’ ἔχω κακῶς· τοιοῦτος ἵμερός με διαλυμαίνεται. (Ηρ.) ποῖός τις, ὦδελφίδιον; (Δι.)          οὐκ ἔχω φράσαι. ὅμως γε μέντοι σοι δι’ αἰνιγμῶν ἐρῶ. ἤδη ποτ’ ἐπεθύμησας ἐξαίφνης ἔτνους; (Ηρ.) ἔτνους; βαβαιάξ, μυριάκις γ’ ἐν τῷ βίῳ. (Δι.) ἆρ’ ἐκδιδάσκω τὸ σαφές, ἢ ’τέρᾳ φράσω; (Ηρ.) μὴ δῆτα περὶ ἔτνους γε· πάνυ γὰρ μανθάνω.

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(Δι.) τοιουτοσὶ τοίνυν με δαρδάπτει πόθος Εὐριπίδου. (Ηρ.)    καὶ ταῦτα τοῦ τεθνηκότος; (Δι.) κοὐδείς γέ μ’ ἂν πείσειεν ἀνθρώπων τὸ μὴ οὐκ ἐλθεῖν ἐπ’ ἐκεῖνον. (Ηρ.)      πότερον εἰς Ἅιδου κάτω; (Δι.) καὶ νὴ Δί’ εἴ τί γ’ ἔστιν ἔτι κατωτέρω. (Ηρ.) τί βουλόμενος; (Δι.)      δέομαι ποιητοῦ δεξιοῦ. οἱ μὲν γὰρ οὐκέτ’ εἰσίν, οἱ δ’ ὄντες κακοί. (Dionysus) Anyway, while I was on the boat reading the Andromeda a sudden longing struck my heart as hard as you can imagine. (Heracles) Longing? How big a longing? (D.) A little one, the size of Molon. (H.) For a woman? (D.) Indeed not. (H.) A boy then? (D.) No way! (H.) Then—​a man? (D.) Ah ah! (H.) Did you do it with Cleisthenes? (D.) Don’t make fun of me, brother, for I’m suffering badly, so great is the desire that’s destroying me. (H.) What sort, little brother? (D.) I don’t know how to put it. But I’ll try to explain it to you with an analogy. Have you ever conceived a sudden longing for pea soup? (H.) Pea soup? Hah! Only about a thousand times in my life! (D.) Am I explaining this clearly enough, or should I put it another way? (H.) You don’t need to say any more about pea soup, I understand that perfectly. (D.) Well, just that sort of longing is biting at me for Euripides. (H.) Even though he’s dead? (D.) And no man alive could persuade me not to go after him. (H.) Even down to Hades? (D.) Yes, by Zeus, and if there’s somewhere even further down I’ll go there too! (H.) What is it you want? (D.) I long for a skillful poet, for some exist no more, and those who live are bad.

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Introduction

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There is a pleasant, easy humor to this colloquial conversation between gods: Heracles puts a rather earthy spin on Dionysus’ description of his longing for Euripides, and Dionysus responds with an explanation in Heracles’ register, drawing on the comic tradition of the gluttonous Heracles Aristophanes rejects elsewhere as beneath him (e.g., Wasps 60). Beyond the superficial pleasure of this scene, however, there is a startling degree of literary sophistication. Dionysus in disguising himself as Heracles for a trip to the underworld is reenacting, as Gregory Dobrov has argued (2001: 133–​ 56), Euripides’ Perithous: the first half of Frogs is not merely a parody of Perithous, but, with Dionysus explicitly adopting a new role through a change of costume, a metatheatrical play-​within-​the-​play. Dionysus presents himself, moreover, not only as a Euripidean character or performer, but even as a Euripides fan. He is both a mythological figure and a sort of contemporary Athenian, who, like Aristophanes’ real audience, attends plays at the City Dionysia, his own festival (cf. 18: ὡς ἐγὼ θεώμενος, “when I’m in the audience …”); has preferences in comedy (12–​18) and tragedy (73–​97); goes insane for Euripides (103: μαίνομαι); can readily describe the kind of poetry he likes (100–​102). He not only watches tragedy in the theater, he reads tragic scripts to himself years after they’ve been performed (52: ἀναγιγνώσκοντί μοι /​τὴν Ἀνδρομέδαν). Even when he doesn’t seem to mean to, he quotes Euripides subconsciously: “some exist no more, and those who live are bad,” is a line from Euripides’ Oeneus (F 565.2). Like most such parodic allusions, the tag Dionysus steals from Euripides here becomes even funnier if some members of the audience recognize it: in the Oeneus, the pitiful old man Oeneus speaks this line when Diomedes asks whether he is being destroyed by a lack of powerful allies; in Frogs, we have the absurdly costumed Dionysus in place of the wretched Oeneus and the hungry Heracles in place of the bold Diomedes. Dionysus, unlike Oeneus, is only being “destroyed” by the poor quality of contemporary tragic poetry. Aristophanes is a genius, and Frogs a sublime comic masterpiece. Like all great artists, however, Aristophanes operates within a generic tradition. Frogs is not the first comedy to depict tragedians in the underworld; it is not the first comedy about Dionysus disguised as another mythological hero; it is not the first comedy where the advice of the dead is sought to save Athens from the perils of the Peloponnesian War; it is not the first comedy to depict rabid tragedy fans, or critical conversations about tragedy; it is not the first comedy to present itself as a reperformance of a specific tragedy, or to stage tragic plays-​within-​the-​play, or to merge the everyday world of the Athenian audience with the generically tragic world of myth. This is a book about that generic context; I will argue here that Aristophanes, however extraordinary and virtuosic he may be, engages with

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tragedy according to a set of tropes and techniques that are shared across the poets of Old Comedy and adapted by their successors in Middle Comedy. Aristophanic paratragedy has been an object of critical interest since the scholiasts; the modern study of the phenomenon began with Peter Rau’s 1967 Paratragoidia, a systematic catalogue of allusions to tragedy across the extant eleven plays of Aristophanes.1 Criticism of paratragedy in Aristophanes has grown increasingly sophisticated in recent decades,2 drawing on broader developments in the study of parody and advances in classical scholarship on intertextuality.3 Certain critics have begun to expand the study of paratragedy into the works of the fragmentary comic poets, but this work has been done piecemeal: we have good discussions of paratragedy in monographs and commentaries on specific comic poets,4 as well as surveys of particular themes and motifs in fragmentary paratragedy.5 There exists no study, however, that attempts a systematic analysis of paratragedy across the comic fragments; this is the void I  attempt to fill in this book. In Part I, I focus on the fragments of Old and Middle Comedy. The boundary between these two periods is often difficult to discern, and in the early fourth century comic poets continue to deploy the tropes and techniques developed in the fifth; no discussion of one period would, I feel, be satisfactory if it omitted the other. By the era of New Comedy, however, increased naturalism and rigid formalism confine paratragedy to a few specific motifs, which have been amply discussed6; I will refer to the fragments of Menander and his fellows only

1. In keeping with most contemporary Anglophone scholarship on Greek comedy, I use “paratragedy” to refer broadly to any engagement with tragedy in comedy, and limit “parody” to comic imitations of tragedy. “Parody” is thus a species of “paratragedy”; neither term, as I will repeatedly state, necessarily entails any hostility toward tragedy. 2. Consider Silk 2000; Dobrov 2001, Rosen 2006a, 2006b; Foley 2008, Hunter 2009; Telò 2010; Halliwell 2011; Ruffell 2011; Wright 2012; Bakola et al. 2013. 3. On intertextuality, I have found particularly helpful Conte 1986; Fowler 1997; Depew and Obbink 2000; Edmunds 2001; Farrell 2005; Harrison 2007; Swift 2010. For scholarship on parody, see Chapter 2. 4.  Storey 2003 (Eupolis); Olson 2007 (selected fragments arranged thematically); Bakola 2010 (Cratinus); Miles 2009 (Strattis, with particular emphasis on his engagement with tragedy); Orth 2009 (Strattis); 2013 (Alcaeus, Ameipsias, Apollophanes); Pirrotta 2009 (Strattis); Bagordo 2013 (Teleclides); and the forthcoming volumes of the Fragmenta Comica series (to which Orth 2013 and Bagordo 2013 belong), which aims to provide commentaries on all the fragmentary poets of Old, Middle, and New Comedy. 5. Kaimio and Nykopp 1997 (on the mockery of minor tragedians), Zanetto 2006 (on generic rivalry); Wright 2012; 2013b (on literary criticism). 6.  See especially Webster 1960; Katsouris 1975; Goldberg 1980; Porter 1999–​ 2000; Gutzwiller 2000.

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Introduction

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where it seems necessary to follow a particular comic technique to its furthest end. I begin Part I with a discussion of what I will call the “culture of tragedy” in Greek comedy; by that I refer to all the ways the comic poets depict tragedy as part of the everyday life of their contemporary Athens. The comic poets stage conversations about tragic poetry and performance, portray devoted fans and partisans of specific tragedians or eras of tragedy, bring the tragic poets themselves as characters into their comedies, and depict conversations about the festivals of Dionysus, where comedies and tragedies were performed. By gathering the fragments of Old and Middle Comedy that present us with this tragic culture, I show in Chapter 1 that the comic poets create a consistent, hilarious vision of tragedy’s place in Athenian life; although comedy’s tragic culture must be in some form a distorted reflection of the real cultural position of tragedy in Athens, my interest is in the dramaturgical techniques the comic poets use to create this comic culture of tragedy. As we move into the fourth century, the comic representation of tragic culture shifts from depicting a lively contestation over a canon still in formation to lampooning experts and fools (not mutually exclusive categories) who try to borrow the prestige of the now-​established tragic canon with apt quotations and elaborate analogies between fifth-​century tragedy and fourth-​century daily life. Comedy’s culture of tragedy forms one half, I argue, of paratragedy; the other half consists of parody. In Chapter 2, I assemble the fragments of Old and Middle Comedy that show parody, that is comic imitation, of tragedy. Two central observations emerge from my analysis of these fragments. First, outside the extant plays of Aristophanes, tragic parody frequently occurs in a mythological context; the comic poets mark myth as a generically tragic space. Second, comic parody of tragedy is a form of allusion that makes sophisticated demands on its audience comparable to those of Hellenistic and Roman poetry. Don Fowler argued almost twenty years ago that the point of an Aristophanic parody could hinge on the audience recognizing something as subtle as a change in particle from the original tragic text7; in this chapter I seek to go as far as our evidence permits in arguing that this level of intertextual sophistication is to be found in tragic parody across Old and Middle Comedy. From this examination of paratragedy in the comic fragments I move into a series of studies of comedies by Aristophanes. All of the eleven extant plays of Aristophanes display some degree of paratragedy, but I  have chosen to discuss three plays that seemed to me to be particularly vivid illustrations of the elements 7. Fowler 1997: 29, on Thesmo. 868, parodying Helen 56. Cf. Taplin 1986: 170 (“I suspect that a single gesture or a single syllable was often sufficient to indicate paratragedy”). In refusing to reject subtle interpretations of comic intertextuality, I follow (in addition to Fowler and many others) Silk 2000 (see esp. 3 n. 4), Telò 2010 (esp. 280–​81), and Wright 2012.

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of tragic culture identified in Part I: Wasps I tie to depictions of tragic fandom, Women at the Thesmophoria I use to examine the portrayal of tragic poets as characters, and Wealth I read alongside the fragmentary Gerytades as a pair of comedies that recreate the City Dionysia in miniature. All of these plays, moreover, show a combination of tragic culture and tragic parody that is typically impossible to identify in fragmentary comedies. Inevitably this selection may disappoint some readers, but I have chosen those plays that seemed to me to benefit most from being read in tandem with the paratragic fragments.8 I begin the second half of this book with a reading of Aristophanes’ Wasps. Recent attention to this play has revealed the importance of its engagement with tragedy; I build on this work in Chapter 3 by situating the character of Philocleon within the broader portrayal in comedy of the madness of fandom. Philocleon, I  argue, has a diseased obsession with tragedy, and when circumstances turn against him, he interprets his own life through a tragic lens. Bdelycleon restores Philocleon to the world of comedy with a series of comic plays-​within-​the-​play; Aristophanes thereby claims metatheater avant la lettre as a dramaturgical power that distinguishes comedy from tragedy. The drunken dancing finale of Wasps thus becomes in my argument a celebration of comedy that simultaneously co-​ opts for Aristophanes the wine-​soaked poetics espoused by his rival Cratinus in the play that defeated Clouds the year before Wasps, and enacts comedy’s superiority to tragedy through the metaphor of literary consumption. Wasps is a play ostensibly about the Athenian legal system whose engagement with tragedy emerges only from careful attention to a series of paratragic moments over the course of the play; Women at the Thesmophoria is a play indisputably about tragedy. In Chapter 4, I use the latter play to demonstrate the level of sophisticated literary criticism a comic poet could perform by making real tragedians into characters in his play, a device Aristophanes (we now see) shares with a number of his contemporaries. My reading of Women at the Thesmophoria insists for the first time that the conversation between the poets Agathon and Euripides in the prologue of the comedy be read together with the series of tragic performances that follows: their discussion of the relationship between poets and their poetry, I argue, circular and absurd though it is, provides the interpretive key to understanding the failures of Euripidean tragedy—​and the final success of a Euripidean comedy. Comedy and tragedy were united above all by their shared performance context at the Athenian festivals of Dionysus; at the grandest of these festivals, 8. I do, however, discuss at some length several of Aristophanes’ plays that are not the subject of their own chapters: see Chapters One and Three on Peace, Two on Assemblywomen, Four on Acharnians, and see the Conclusion for more on Frogs.

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Introduction

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however—​the City Dionysia—​the scale of comic and tragic performances was dwarfed by the competition in dithyramb. In Chapter  5, I  present readings of two plays by Aristophanes, Gerytades and Wealth, to expand my discussion of paratragedy into the realm of paradithyramb. In Gerytades, an assembly of the poets of Athens elects three of its members as ambassadors for a delegation to the dead poets in the underworld; they select a comic poet, a tragic poet, and a dithyrambic poet, all real, named, frequently mocked contemporaries of Aristophanes. By including a comic poet in his embassy to the dead, I  argue, Aristophanes moves beyond the engagement with other genres found in the fragmentary comic poets, positioning himself not only as a poet of a genre superior to tragedy and dithyramb but as a poet superior to genre itself. In Wealth, I  see Aristophanes experimenting at the end of a long career with a fusion uniting the generic engagement of earlier comedy with the increased demand for naturalism in later comedy. A series of isolated set pieces mock dithyramb, tragedy, and even satyr play, but always implicitly, and within a framing plot that never—​or almost never—​ acknowledges itself as a performance. In all of the comedies I examine in Part II, I see Aristophanes combining the two forms of tragic engagement I analyze in Part I: tragic culture and tragic parody. This combination was undoubtedly present in the works of Aristophanes’ contemporaries as well, but it is seldom visible in the scattered evidence we possess. This, I will argue, is how Greek comedy must be read: although the fragments can be understood in many cases only with reference to the intact plays of Aristophanes, the plays of Aristophanes should also be understood as grounded in the generic context the comic fragments provide.

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PART I

The Fragments of Greek Comedy

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1

Electra and the Coal Pan Tragic Culture in the Comic Fragments

Aristophanes’ characters love tragedy. Consider Trygaeus, for example, in Peace: his name might mean “Mr. Comedy,” but of all the many pleasures he’s looking forward to enjoying after the end of the war, it’s tragedy he talks about the most. Modeling himself on the titular hero of Euripides’ Bellerophon, Trygaeus soars up to heaven on his dung beetle Pegasus, dodges War and befriends Hermes, gathers a band of Greek farmers, and digs the goddess Peace out of the cave where she’s been imprisoned. He takes a deep breath of the fragrant goddess and says (530–​38)1: ταύτης δ’ ὀπώρας, ὑποδοχῆς, Διονυσίων, αὐλῶν, τραγῳδῶν, Σοφοκλέους μελῶν, κιχλῶν, ἐπυλλίων Εὐριπίδου … κιττοῦ, τρυγοίπου, προβατίων βληχωμένων, κόλπου γυναικῶν διατρεχουσῶν εἰς ἱπνόν, δούλης μεθυούσης, ἀνατετραμμένου χοῶς, ἄλλων τε πολλῶν κἀγαθῶν She smells of harvest, hospitality, the Dionysia, pipes, tragic actors, the songs of Sophocles, thrushes, little speeches by Euripides … ivy, straining-​ cloth, bleating flocks, the breasts of women running to the kitchen, a drunken slave girl, a spilt pitcher, and all kinds of other good things.

1. See Olson 1998: 185 for the issue of which goddess Trygaeus is smelling here: he’s already smelled Harvest, so he should now be sniffing Festival; but it would be odd for Festival to then smell like Harvest, and Olson concludes Trygaeus should be smelling Peace herself.

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The pleasures of a happy life as Trygaeus sees them consist of food, wine, sex, parties, and tragedy; prominent in this catalogue of delights are not only Sophocles and Euripides but the Dionysia where tragedies were performed, the actors who performed them, and the pipes that provided musical accompaniment to these performances. Trygaeus takes a visceral delight in the tragedies of his favorite poets: the speeches of Euripides, the songs of Sophocles are pleasures as real to him as roast thrushes and brimming wine bowls. But I’ve left out the remark by Hermes that interrupts this list of delights, just after Trygaeus’ mention of “little speeches by Euripides” (532–​34): κλαύσἄρα σὺ ταύτης καταψευδόμενος· οὐ γὰρ ἥδεται αὕτη ποιητῇ ῥηματίων δικανικῶν. You’ll regret slandering her! For she is not at all pleased by that poet of little law-​court addresses. For Aristophanes’ characters, the only thing more delightful than watching a tragic performance is mocking a tragic poet. As contemporary Athenians, these characters enjoy tragedy as part of their everyday lives. Many have clear preferences in tragedy: Dicaeopolis and Strepsiades like Aeschylus, Philocleon likes the even more ancient Thespis and Phrynichus, but the sophisticated (that is, made sophistic) Pheidippides prefers Euripides and is willing to start a fight over it; Mnesilochus thinks Philocles is shameful, Xenocles bad, and Theognis frigid, and Dicaeopolis counts among his bitterest memories the time when he thought he’d gone to see a revival of Aeschylus and heard the herald announce Theognis instead.2 And Aristophanes gives us more than just these ordinary everyday Athenians talking about tragedy:  he frequently brings on stage the tragedians themselves, and these poet characters enable the most nuanced, and often the most hilarious, discussions of tragic poetry. By bringing into their plays tragedians, tragedy fans, and ordinary Athenians well versed in tragedy, Aristophanes and his fellow comic poets create what I will call a “culture of tragedy” in their comic Athens. I use this term to encompass all the ways the comic poets depict their characters interacting with tragedy:  they discuss tragedy with each other, expressing preferences about tragic poets, critiquing specific performances, interpreting tragic verses; they discuss the tragic festival, recalling particular memories of the City Dionysia or Lenaia,

2. Dicaeopolis: Ach. 9–​11; Strepsiades: Nu. 1364–​70; Philocleon: V. 268–​70, 1476–​79, on which see Chapter 3; Pheidippides: Nu. 1366–​78; Mnesilochus: Th. 168–​70, on which see Chapter 5.

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or complaining about the choices of the festival organizers; and of course they encounter the tragic poets themselves. By repeatedly depicting their characters engaging with tragedy in these ways, the comic poets create a consistent culture with its own tropes and vocabulary: across the extant plays and the comic fragments, in detached scenes and in plays concerned primarily with literature, we see references to tragedy’s decline from a distant golden age, for example; complaints about tragic plotting, choruses, actors, and other elements of performance; jokes about greater and lesser tragedians’ positions in a rapidly solidifying canon. The term tragic culture allows us to examine under a single rubric all of these scattered depictions of comic characters talking about tragedy. Several important distinctions must be made before we can proceed to an examination of the fragments that depict this tragic culture. First, the focus of my study here is comedy’s tragic culture, not the actual tragic culture that must have existed in the reality of ancient Athens. Comedy gives us a highly distorted, exaggerated, often patently false vision of its contemporary Athens; it is deeply problematic, and often impossible, to use comedy to discover what the everyday life of fifth-​and fourth-​century Athenians was really like. My study of comedy’s culture of tragedy does not attempt to use comedy as evidence for the real cultural place of tragedy in fifth-​and fourth-​century Athens. No doubt the Athenians who witnessed tragic performances did discuss them with each other; particular tragedians must have had their own devoted fans; the tragic poets were themselves real people. This study, however, is an investigation of comedy’s tragic culture, of how characters on the comic stage engage with tragedy. Second, I have found it useful in my examination of the comic fragments to distinguish tragic culture and tragic parody. Tragic culture encompasses all the ways the comic poets depict their characters talking about tragedy; tragic parody, by contrast, describes those instances in which the comic poets imitate tragedy directly.3 In the extant plays of Aristophanes, these two phenomena are closely related, and one often leads directly into the other: Dicaeopolis’ conversation with Euripides in Acharnians, for example, sets up his parodic reperformance of a scene from Euripides’ Telephus (Ach. 393–​556); Trygaeus’ catalogue of earthly delights in the scene from Peace discussed above follows a flight to heaven that extensively parodies Euripides’ Bellerophon (discussed in Chapter  3). In the fragments the phenomena of tragic culture and tragic parody are largely separate: certain exceptions do exist, but our fragments are ordinarily so brief and our sense of their place in a plot or even a scene so vague that we can seldom detect both phenomena at once. I have found it productive, therefore, to discuss tragic culture and tragic

3. For a more thorough discussion of the definition of parody, see the introduction to Chapter 2.

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parody separately, but I do not intend for this organizational convenience to be mistaken for an argument that only Aristophanes combined tragic parody and tragic culture. On the contrary, I hope to use Aristophanes’ extant plays in the later chapters of this book to shed some light on how the disparate instances of these phenomena in the fragments might have worked to form a cohesive whole in the plays of the other comic poets. Third and finally, I wish to distinguish my approach to tragic culture from studies of literary criticism in Greek comedy. Previous examinations of comic paratragedy have often presented this material as a form of literary criticism: O’Sullivan, Halliwell, and Wright, for example, trace the ways comedy’s jokes about literature set the terms for the “proper” literary criticism of the philosophers Plato and Aristotle and their successors in various critical genres4; Silk, Dobrov, and Foley show how Aristophanes uses mockery of tragedy to promote and define his own poetics of comedy5; Storey and Bakola apply this conception of paratragedy as a technique for establishing comic poetics to the fragments, respectively, of Eupolis and Cratinus6; Rosen and Hanink argue that comic criticisms shape the tragic canon.7 All of these are valuable, nuanced, and persuasive studies of comic poetry, and my debts to each will be apparent in the pages that follow. All of these previous approaches, however, privilege the comic poets themselves as literary critics whose insights into tragic language and performance shape and reflect how tragedy is judged, valued, and interpreted by contemporary and later audiences and readers.8 Reorienting ourselves to view this material as a comic “culture of tragedy” enables us to focus on the fictional context in which literary critical remarks are made, rather than the effect beyond the comic stage of the opinions comic characters express. My point of departure for this approach to paratragedy is an observation made by Dobrov in his study of comic imitations of tragedy:  in our extant comedies, tragedy tends to be discussed within the mimetic fiction of the play—​the characters are, or are assimilated to, contemporary Athenians, and tragedy is part of that contemporary world—​whereas

4. O’Sullivan 1992: passim, esp. 7–​22; Halliwell 2011: 93–​154; Wright 2012: passim, esp. 1–​30. 5. Silk 1993, 2000; Dobrov 2001; Foley 2008. 6. Storey 2003: 327–​33; Bakola 2010: 118–​79. 7. Rosen 2006a; Hanink 2014: 159–​90; cf. Most 1990: 51–​53. 8. Which is not to say that these critics mistake the words of comic characters for the sentiments of their authors; nevertheless, previous studies of comic paratragedy as literary criticism have tended to emphasize the critical acumen of the comic poets themselves. For the difficult question of locating the poet’s voice in comedy, see (among many others) Bowie 1982; Foley 1988; Hubbard 1991: 41–​59; Goldhill 1991: 167–​222, esp. 188–​201; Fisher 1993; Dobrov 1995b; Rosen 2000, 2007; Bakola 2010: 36–​39; Biles 2011: 56–​96; Wright 2012: 10–​16.

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comedy itself tends to be discussed in parabases, prologues, and other moments where the comic poet seems to speak directly to the audience (2001: 102–​3). By grouping together under the rubric of “tragic culture” all of the fragments in which comic characters engage with tragedy within the mimetic fiction of their comedies, therefore, I have sought to emphasize the dramaturgy of paratragedy; in other words, I am interested here in how the comic poets stage instances of literary criticism, rather than in the lasting effect of the literary critical opinions such scenes portray. In this chapter, then, I will discuss the depiction of tragic culture in the fragmentary remains of Aristophanes’ contemporaries and successors, the comic poets of the fifth and fourth centuries. I begin with these poets, rather than with Aristophanes himself, in order to situate Aristophanes within a genrewide practice. Individually many of these fragments have been commented on before: what I offer here for the first time is a systematic discussion of references to tragedy across the fragments of Old and Middle Comedy.9 Aristophanes is a key figure in comedy’s engagement with tragedy—​perhaps the key figure—​but what I demonstrate here is that tragic culture was part of the genre of Greek comedy, not the exclusive interest of Aristophanes. This synoptic approach to references to tragedy in the comic fragments reveals a real, active, self-​conscious culture of tragedy that is characteristic of the genre of comedy.

Fortifying the Art: Tragic Culture in the Fifth Century In the fifth century, comedy depicts a culture surrounding tragedy in which tragic poets, tragedy fans, and regular audience members debate the qualities of a genre whose canon is still very much in formation. Although much of Greek comedy’s depiction of this tragic culture comes, as we shall see, in the form of momentary—​ even unexpected—​jokes and references, a number of plays made tragic culture itself their primary focus. Plato’s Skeuai is a prime example.10 Produced probably in the final decade of the fifth century, the fragments of Skeuai show us a comedy altogether centered on the theater; the title in this context must therefore mean either “props” or “costumes.”11

9. Where relevant, I will also discuss New Comedy, but I have not attempted breadth of coverage with the poets of Menander’s era. 10. As noted above, Plato in this study is always Plato Comicus (aka Platon), unless otherwise indicated. 11. On Skeuai, see Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 33 and Pirrotta 2009: ad loc.

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Skeuai includes many of the tropes that come to typify comedy’s presentation of tragic culture. One scene, for example, depicts a debate between fans of different tragedians (136): ἅψαι μόνον σὺ κἂν ἄκρῳ τοῦ Μορσίμου, ἵνα σου πατήσω τὸν Σθένελον μάλ’ αὐτίκα. You just touch my Morsimus with the tip of your finger and I’ll trample your Sthenelus in an instant! In an important article of 2006, Ralph Rosen reads the argument between Pheidippides and Strepsiades in Aristophanes’ Clouds (1354–​79) as a depiction of tragic fandom (2006a). In this scene from Clouds, father and son wrangle over whether Aeschylus or Euripides would be more suitable for recitation at a symposium; Rosen suggests that we should understand their debate as a clash between an old man unthinkingly devoted to Aeschylus (frequently the exemplar of the traditional tragic canon) and a young fan obsessed with the dangerous, modern Euripides. Such fans, Rosen argued, help define a poet’s persona and career at its earliest stages, and shape poets’ reception and canonization in later generations. Plato presents here in Skeuai a similar argument between fans of rival tragic poets, but while Strepsiades and Pheidippides are devoted to tragedians who receive lavish attention from contemporary and later comedians, Plato’s fans are devotees of poets ordinarily mentioned in momentary jokes and “one-​liners.”12 The violent, physical language in Plato’s Skeuai is familiar from Clouds, but with another crucial difference: instead of one fan threatening to beat another, here we have fans threatening physical violence against the tragedians themselves! The language may be purely metaphorical—​a threat to mock or criticize the rival’s favorite poet—​but one wonders if Plato may have gone so far as to include physical representations of the two tragic poets’ works, such as a pair of scrolls—​or even, as mute characters or just offstage, Sthenelus and Morsimus in person.13 Although we don’t know who these tragedy fans are, it’s easy to see the hilarity of a violent dispute between “connoisseurs” whose taste, it turns out, is highly questionable.14 12.  Morsimus:  Ar. Eq. 400, Pax 802, Ran. 151; Sthenelus:  Ar. V. 1311, F 158 (discussed in Chapter 5). 13. Pirrotta 2009: 274 also understands this scene as a literary argument between fans, but she does not relate the fragment to the broader comic discourse on fandom identified by Rosen. 14. For the tendency of minor tragedians to be treated as marginal in comedy, see Kaimio and Nykopp 1997; on this particular fragment, they suggest that these lines would have been spoken by members of a divided chorus fighting over their favorite tragedians (1997: 33), but there is no evidence for a divided chorus in the play and no particular reason to ascribe these lines to the chorus. Whittaker (1935: 186) sees the fragment as part of the buildup to an agon.

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Plato’s Skeuai also includes a tragic poet discussing his place in the tragic canon (F 142): Εὐριπίδης δὲ ἐποίησεν ὑδροφοροῦσαν †αὐτὴν†. ἐμοὶ δὲ †πυραυνακτιανειησο … ον† καὶ καινὸν, εἰ πύραυνον ὀστράκινον ἔχοι; Euripides put her on stage carrying water, so for me wouldn’t it be … and novel, if she held a clay coal pan? Despite the irreparably mangled condition of these lines, they seem certain to refer to Euripides’ depiction in the opening scene of his Electra of the titular heroine carrying a water jug.15 The speaker contrasts this striking moment with his own plan to show Electra carrying a coal pan; his desire to innovate on or surpass Euripides should make him another tragedian.16 The speaker’s innovation is, however, humorously pathetic: the significance of Euripides’ decision to bring Electra on stage carrying a water jug is not the choice of prop but the implication that she has been compelled by poverty to perform manual labor herself; swapping the water jug for a coal pan would thus constitute no real innovation at all, making the speaker’s plans a joke on tragedy’s repetitiveness, its inability to innovate on the scale of comedy. The jokes in F 136 and F 142 hinge on the audience understanding that both the tragedy fans and the imitator of Euripides are expressing enthusiasm for what is treated on the comic stage as bad poetry. The foolish poet’s focus on props is, moreover, suggestive in a play whose title may well mean “props.” Stage properties in extant tragedy are used sparingly and often to striking effect; the comedy’s title and this fragment taken together may thus suggest that stage properties were a major focus of Plato’s mockery of tragedy in this play.17 There was also some explicit critical discussion of tragic style and performance in Plato’s Skeuai. Melanthius, another minor tragedian, was called in this play “a babbler” (140: ὡς λάλον σκώπτει),18 and some quality is referred to as fitting a person’s style like a glove—​or rather, a “shoe” (137: καὶ τοῖς τρόποις ἁρμόττον ὥσπερ

15. Hunger 1967: 9–​10, 28; West 1968: 202; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 33; Pirrotta 2009: ad loc. 16. So West 1968: 202; Wright 2012: 168 treats the comment as if it were made by Plato himself, but this seems less probable. 17.  For the distinction between tragic and comic use of props, see Poe 2000:  283–​87 and Tordoff 2013. 18. Cf. Pirrotta 2009: ad loc.; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 31; Beta 1999b and 2004: 148–​74.

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περὶ πόδα). A character likely speaking in an agon complains about the decline in choral dance (138): ὥστ’ εἴ τις ὀρχοῖτ’ εὖ, θέαμ’ ἦν· νῦν δὲ δρῶσιν οὐδέν, ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ ἀπόπληκτοι στάδην ἑστῶτες ὠρύονται. So that, if someone danced well, it was a sight to see; now they don’t do anything, they just stand around bellowing like apoplectics. Athenaeus’ citation of this fragment in the course of a discussion of the history of dance makes it clear that it refers to choral performance. The verb ὠρύομαι, relatively rare in Attic, is typically used to describe the howling or roaring of wolves and lions, or the bellowing of primitive men19; it is thus a criticism of choral singing as well. The meter of this fragment, iambic tetrameters, strongly suggests that it comes from the agon of Plato’s comedy; the wrangling over different tragedians in F 136 could easily have come from the buildup to an agon focused on mockery of tragedy.20 The decline of tragedy from a golden age, as we shall see, is a favorite motif in comedy’s depiction of tragic culture, and may well be inherent in the reference to Euripides’ Electra as well: Euripides’ tendency to inject everyday life into his tragedies is one of the comic Aeschylus’ central criticisms of him in Frogs, and, whether implicitly or explicitly, the invocation of Euripides’ water-​bearing Electra must have reminded the audience of Aeschylus’ more dignified portrayal of her.21 The fragments of Plato’s Skeuai suggest a sort of backstage view of the tragic competition, with tragedians, fans, and audience members arguing about their favorite poets, planning their next productions, and complaining about the

19. Cf. LSJ s.v.; Pirrotta 2009: ad loc. 20.  Whittaker 1935:  186 (who thought Aeschylus might be the speaker); Gelzer 1960:  280; Perusino 1968: 113; Pirrotta 2009: ad loc. On treatment of tragic dance in comedy, see Roos 1951, with 116 n. 3 on this fragment. 21. We are on less firmly paratragic ground with two other comedies of Plato, Poietes (“Poet”) and Lakones or Poetai (“Laconians” or “Poets”). The fragments of the former give no indication of the play’s literary content. The title of the latter is given simply as Lakones everywhere except the Suda, but its fragments do suggest some literary content: Sthenelus was accused of plagiarism (72), and some critics have understood the references to a person “returned from the dead like Aesop” (70) and “prying up clever phrases” from some established quarry (69) to indicate that the play treated Sthenelus’ dependence on Aeschylus (perhaps also the thrust of some of Aristophanes’ mockery of Sthenelus in his Gerytades, on which see Chapter 5). There can be no certainty about the meaning of either fragment, however, and given the dubious double title the joke about Sthenelus’ plagiarism may well have been a one-​off reference, not a focus of the play.

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state of tragic poets today. The play encapsulates many of what we will come to know as the recurring elements of tragic culture:  tragedy fans and tragic poets as characters, literary-​critical discussions of tragic poetry and performance, hints about the festival contexts where both tragedy and comedy were performed. A number of comic poets take this relatively realistic world of tragic culture, however, and merge it with the impossibilities of comic fiction: they bring long-​ deceased tragic poets back from the dead, show us gods and muses discussing contemporary tragedy, and even create personifications of Tragedy, Poetry, and other literary figures. Pherecrates’ Krapataloi (before 421 bce), for example, featured an undead Aeschylus boasting of the lasting impact of his art (Σ Ar. Pax 749, with Pherecrates 100): ταῦτα καὶ Φερεκράτης ἐποίησε τὸν Αἰσχύλον λέγοντα ἐν τοῖς Κραπατάλοις. ὅστις αὐτοῖς παρέδωκε τέχνην μεγάλην ἐξοικοδομήσας. These words Pherecrates also made Aeschylus say in Krapataloi: I who handed down to them the art I fortified and made great. Anapestic tetrameters like these are typical of the parabasis and the agon in comedy; an agon seems to be indicated by the scholiast’s comment that the speaker of this line is the character Aeschylus, rather than Pherecrates’ chorus, and if this line did come from an agon, Aeschylus will have been a major character in the play.22 Other fragments of Krapataloi, together with the ancient explanations of the play’s title as a form of currency in Hades, indicate a journey to the underworld (T 1, F 85, 86), perhaps along the lines of Frogs or Gerytades; we seem to have here, then, an agon in which the shade of Aeschylus complains about the state of tragedy after his death or boasts of his own reputation as the originator of whatever continues to be good about later tragedy.23

22. That is, if Aristophanes’ handling of the agon was typical of Old Comic practice. Even in the extant Clouds, where the participants in the first agon are personifications detached from the plot, their arrival is noted in advance and their argument distills the set of themes and issues running through the entire play; the second agon, moreover, between Pheidippides and Strepsiades seems to have been the primary agon of the original play. On Pherecrates F 100, see Norwood 1931: 160; Whittaker 1935: 186; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 119–​25; Olson 1998: ad 749. 23. Cf. Meineke 1839: ad Pherecrates, Krapataloi VIII; Norwood 1931: 159–​60; Kaibel apud KA: VII.143. Norwood and Meineke assign Pherecrates 199 to Krapataloi as well, in which case the play would have contained a comparison of old and new styles of tragedy; the fragment is quite reminiscent of Plato 138, on which see below.

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Although we lack precise context for Aeschylus’ remark in Krapataloi, Aristophanes’ repeated reuse of the line strongly suggests that Pherecrates here had Aeschylus praise himself in contrast with later generations of tragedians, the αὐτοῖς of the fragment.24 In the parabasis of Peace (749), Aristophanes adapts these words to describe his own role in the development of comedy, contrasting himself with other comic poets; and in Frogs, the chorus again quote this line to address Aeschylus in favorable contrast to the younger Euripides (1004).25 In distinguishing his own poetry from the poetry of his successors, Pherecrates’ Aeschylus participates in the discourse of tragedy’s decline from a long-​ago golden age that, as we are beginning to see, is a prominent motif of comedy’s portrayal of tragic culture. The contest in Krapataloi involving the ghost of Aeschylus defending his poetic reputation would lend point to the chorus’ address of the festival judges in the same play (102): τοῖς δὲ κριταῖς τοῖς νυνὶ κρίνουσι λέγω, μὴ ’πιορκεῖν μηδ’ ἀδίκως κρίνειν, ἢ νὴ τὸν φίλιον μῦθον εἰς ὑμᾶς ἕτερον Φερεκράτης λέξει πολὺ τού–​ του κακηγορίστερον. I warn the judges who are judging now not to forsake their oath or judge unjustly, or by the god of friendship Pherecrates will tell another story, against you this time and much more slanderous than this one! Whether we assign this fragment with Whittaker to the pnigos of a parabasis (1935: 189) or with Gelzer to the exodus (1960: 124 n. 5), we can see Pherecrates creating a neat parallel between Aeschylus boasting of his importance among tragedians within the fiction of the play, and the chorus boasting of the comic powers of Pherecrates in this metadramatic passage. We don’t know who Aeschylus’ opponents are in the argument in Pherecrates’ Krapataloi—​one could as easily imagine other deceased tragedians, later living tragedians, poets of other genres, or practitioners of other professions entirely—​ but it does seem clear that

24. Norwood 1931: 160; KA: ad loc; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 119–​25; Olson 1998: ad 749. 25. Cf. Biles 2011: 5–​6, 37; Sidwell 2009: 241–​45 sees Aristophanes’ reference to Aeschylus at Peace 749 as a momentary exception to what Sidwell perceives as Aristophanes’ general opposition to Aeschylus.

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Pherecrates developed literary contestation as a prominent motif of his comedy. In fifth-​century comedy’s representation of tragic culture, the tragedians themselves are presented as the most expert critics of tragic poetry; bringing Aeschylus back from the dead allows Pherecrates to put a complaint about the decline in recent tragic poetry into the mouth of the most qualified critic his audience could imagine. Callias’ Pedetai (420s bce) likewise merges the quotidian reality of Athenian tragic culture with the impossible world of comic fiction. Another personification seems likely to be the second speaker in this fragment of the play (15): (A.)  τί δὴ σὺ σεμνὴ καὶ φρονεῖς οὕτω μέγα; (B.)  ἔξεστι γάρ μοι· Σωκράτης γὰρ αἴτιος. (A.)  Why on earth are you so solemn and arrogant? (B.)  Because I can be: and Socrates is to blame. Diogenes Laertius cites this fragment as part of a catalogue of evidence that Socrates assisted Euripides in composing his tragedies; the female Character B, who seems to take the blame for the arrogance of Euripides’ poetry, has alternately been held to be Euripides’ Muse, Tragedy herself, or even Euripides in female disguise.26 The meaning of the play’s title (“Bound Men”) remains a mystery, but the play does seem to have involved quite a bit of mockery of tragedy. One character (or perhaps Callias’ chorus?) in Pedetai dismisses the tragedian Acestor, for example, with the striking claim (17): καὶ Σάκαν οἱ χοροὶ μισοῦσι. Choruses also hate Sakas. “Sakas,” the scholiasts tell us, was the comedians’ name for Acestor.27 This notion of the chorus as an independent entity with its own will and opinions recalls the

26. Raines 1934: 341 thought the speaker might have been Euripides (in woman’s costume? so also Sidwell 2009: 139 n. 59), or his muse; Edmonds in his edition and Patzer 1994: 56 suggest Euripides’ muse; Gallo 1992: 133 n. 23 thought of Tragedy herself. Cf. Imperio 1998a: ad loc and Olson 2007: 236. 27. On this fragment, see Meineke 1839: ad Pedetai III; Imperio 1998a: 230–​32. For accusations of foreign birth, see MacDowell 1993:  365–​67; Sommerstein 1996b:  348; Imperio 1998a:  ad Callias 17; Pellegrino 1998: ad Metagenes 14.

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chorus’ claim in the parabasis of Knights that they would not have been willing to perform a parabasis for any lesser comedian; that is, both Callias and Aristophanes in these passages represent the chorus as an enduring entity, not simply a set of performers but a powerful group that can choose to accept or reject a poet who “asks for a chorus.”28 Elsewhere in Pedetai the tragic poet Melanthius is criticized as well (14): (Α.) τί δ’ ἆρα; τοὺς Μελανθίου τῷ γνώσομαι; (Β.) οὓς ἂν μάλιστα λευκοπρώκτους εἰσίδῃς. (A.) Well then, how will I recognize the sons of Melanthius? (B.) Just look for the ones who are the most white-​assed. The scholiast who quotes these lines claims that Melanthius had leprosy, and that he is being mocked for spreading the disease, but it seems equally likely that his whiteness indicates effeminacy, with a pun on the root meaning “black” that begins his name; the combination of λευκός and πρωκτός suggests not merely effeminacy but the sexual passivity he was also accused of by a character in Eupolis’ Kolakes (178).29 The first character’s question implies either that he is being warned to avoid the tragedian’s sons, or that he is for some reason being sent after them. We know almost nothing about the cast or plot of Pedetai, but the inclusion of this character actively seeking or avoiding the tragedian Melanthius and his family, in addition to a Euripidean apologist (possibly a personification representing his poetry), and a character claiming that choruses can’t stand the tragic poet Acestor, indicates a comedy charged with tragic culture.30 The comic poets make Euripides’ connection with Socrates a consistent rumor in their presentation of tragic culture. Teleclides shapes a strange epithet for this connection (42): Εὐριπίδης σωκρατογόμφους Euripides patched-​up-​by-​Socrates …

28. Knights 507–​11; cf. also Strattis’ description of the dithyrambist Cinesias as a “chorus killer” (16) and Cratinus F 361.2. In comedy, at least, the poet is always said to “ask for a chorus” (χορὸν αἰτεῖν), e.g., Cratinus F 17, Ar. Eq. 513. 29. Cf. Keil 1885: 58; Henderson 1991a: 211; Imperio 1998a: ad Callias 14. 30. We should also note that F 14 and 15 are in iambic trimeters, but F 17 is in trochaic tetrameters, suggesting that mockery of tragedy was not isolated to a single moment in Callias’ play.

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And in another unknown comedy Teleclides even stages a scene of Euripides’ compositional methods with Socrates on the stage (41): Μνησίλοχός ἐστ᾽ ἐκεῖνος φρύγει τι δρᾶμα καινὸν Εὐριπίδῃ, καὶ Σωκράτης τὰ φρύγαν᾽ ὑποτίθησιν. That one there’s Mnesilochus, who’s cooking up some new play for Euripides, and Socrates is putting wood on the fire. Although this fragment is cited both in a life of Euripides and by Diogenes Laertius, neither names the comedy to which it belongs. Nevertheless these lines do seem to indicate a scene of poetic composition, like the visit to Euripides’ house in Acharnians or to Agathon’s in Women at the Thesmophoria. Our speaker explains to another character, or perhaps even more likely, directly to the audience, that what appears to be a pair of men preparing a meal is actually a physical instantiation of the metaphor common in comedy of poetry as cooking.31 The image of the philosopher providing “fuel” for Euripides’ plays suggests the same sort of association of Euripides with sophistic rhetoric or natural philosophy made elsewhere in the comic culture of tragedy.32 The notion of Euripides’ compositions as a group effort is another familiar joke,33 and the double-​edged implications of the term καινόν, not just “new” but often “newfangled,” may indicate another instance of comedy’s portrayal of Euripides as a dangerous innovator.34 Accusations of collaboration or plagiarism are frequent in the comic poets’ mockery of one another:  by drawing Euripides into this discourse, Teleclides assimilates him, in a sense, to a comic rival.35 This scene, however, also perfectly captures the distinction in how comic poets treat their actual rivals in comedy

31. E.g. Callias, Metagenes 15, Cratinus 182, Ar. F 347, etc. See Wright 2012: 129–​39, who argues that the metaphor of poetry as food was substantially comedy’s contribution to Greek critical discourse. 32. On Teleclides 41 and 42, see Conti Bizzarro 1999: 178–​86; Olson 2007: ad F5; Bagordo 2013: 195–​207; on Socrates in comedy, Dover 1968: xxxii–​lvii; Nussbaum 1980; Patzer 1994; Imperio 1998b: 99–​114; Olson 2007: ad F1–​F5. 33.  Theopompus 35 (discussed below), with its reference to Euripides “eating another man’s meal,” may also be a veiled accusation of such plagiarism. 34. For novelty in Greek comedy and poetry generally, see Zanetto 2006; Wright 2012: 70–​102, 2013b: 604–​7; D’Angour 2011; and see Chapter 4 on the implications of the term καινός in Mnesilochus’ claim in Thesmo. that he will “imitate the new Helen” (850: τὴν καινὴν Ἑλένην μιμήσομαι). 35. For accusations of plagiarism or collaboration in comedy, see Stemplinger 1912; Halliwell 1980 and 1989; Heath 1990:  151–​52; Sidwell 1993; Sonnino 1998; Storey 2003:  278–​303;

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and their literary rivals in tragedy: comic poets are accused of plagiarism in parabases and other passages that exceed the ostensible boundaries of the fiction of the comedy, but Euripides’ plagiarism is here instantiated as part of the fiction of Teleclides’ play. Teleclides’ Hesiodoi (440–​426 bce) seems to have merged a broader vision of literary culture, including a joke about the decline of tragedy, with political satire. The title suggests the play featured a chorus of fans of Hesiod,36 but Athenaeus also tells us that the play mocked “Olympian Pericles” for an affair with a prostitute.37 In F 15 of Hesiodoi a character criticizes the tragedian Philocles, nephew of Aeschylus: ἀλλ᾽ ἡ τάλαινα Φιλοκλέα †βδελλ … … οθεν οὖν·† εἰ δ᾽ ἐστὶν Αἰσχύλου φρόνημ᾽ ἔχων But the poor wretch reviles Philocles … even if he does have the mind of Aeschylus. Despite the fragment’s corruption, it is apparent that some female character is reviling38 Philocles for attempting to imitate the great thought of Aeschylus.39 If the woman who is described as reviling Philocles in these lines is a human woman, this would be a rare, perhaps unique instance in Old Comedy of a female character expressing a literary opinion about tragedy: Aristophanes certainly shows us women complaining about the effects of tragedy on their lives, as in Women at the Thesmophoria, or women deploying tragic language, as Lysistrata repeatedly does in her eponymous comedy (e.g., 125–​28, 713, etc.), but in the extant comedies opinions about the literary quality of tragedy are restricted to male characters. The character has typically, however, been held to be Tragedy, the Muse of Aeschylus, or a similar female personification; the use of a personification complaining about her treatment at the hands of lesser poets is familiar from, among other places, the celebrated fragment of Pherecrates’ Cheiron in which Music describes the abuse

Kyriakidi 2007:  172–​96; Sommerstein 2009:  118–​19; Biles 2011:  137–​38, 147 n.  55; Wright 2012: 90–​99. 36. Bagordo 2013: 117–​18; cf. Cratinus’ Archilochoi. 37. F 18 = Ath. 10.436f. 38.  The letters “βδελλ” certainly represent βδελύττεται (Dübner 1877:  ad Thesmo. 198)  or βδελύττομαι (Cobet 1858: 37–​38). If the latter, the translation should read “But wretched me, I revile Philocles….” 39. Dübner 1877: ad Thesmo. 198; Kaibel apud KA: ad Teleclides 15; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 173–​ 78; Bakola 2010: 177 n. 180; Bagordo 2013: 121–​25.

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she has been subjected to by avant-​garde dithyrambists (155).40 With a chorus of the followers of Hesiod and a poetic personification complaining, as in Krapataloi, of the decline of tragedy from the days of Aeschylus, Teleclides’ Hesiodoi would present a richly imagined version of literary culture combining the familiar with the impossible: no doubt Hesiod did have his partisans in contemporary Athens, but a Muse or personification is the sort of literalization of figurative language possible only in comedy.41 We may note, moreover, that Teleclides mocks Pericles in this play by equating him with Zeus, as the comic poets seem frequently to have done during Pericles’ rule42; a reference to Pericles as “Zeus” will have been all the more fitting and hilarious delivered by a character or chorus member identified as “a Hesiod.” Although a comedy entitled Hesiodoi is not likely to have been concerned primarily with tragedy, the reference to Philocles and Aeschylus in F 15 indicates that Teleclides incorporated an instance of engagement with tragic culture into the broader scope of this literary comedy. Phrynichus’ Tragoidoi must have made tragic culture its focus, with its chorus of tragedians or tragic actors.43 Two fragments suggest characters rendering literary critical judgments: F 56 αἰτίαν ἔχει πονηρὸς εἶναι τὴν τέχνην He’s accused of being shameful in his art F 58 τῇ διαθέσει τῶν ἐπῶν … by the arrangement of his words … The title of the play—​and thus the identity of the chorus—​makes it likely these remarks pertain to tragic poetry, but our citation sources provide no context for

40.  On female personifications in comedy (with discussion of some fragmentary plays), see Hall 2006: 170–​83; at 173–​74 she defends the view that the Muse of Euripides appears on stage at Frogs 1304–​64. Cf. Phrynichus’ Mousai, discussed below. 41. The tragedian Nothippus seems also to have been mocked in this play, probably as a glutton (17, cf. Hermippus 46). 42. Cratinus 73, 118, 258; Acharnians 530; Teleclides 18. See Schwarze 1971; Vickers 1997; Olson 2002: ad Ach. 530; Bakola 2010: 181–​208. 43. For the meaning of the term τραγῳδός, see Pickard-​Cambridge 1968: 127–​32 and Ghiron-​ Bistagne 1976: 119–​25.

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either remark. Several other fragments of the play parody tragic language in referring to everyday matters of food and hygiene: F 52 ὦ χρυσοκέφαλοι βεμβράδες θαλάσσιαι O golden-​headed oceanic anchovies! F 54 σὺ δὲ τιμιοπώλης ὤς γ᾽ Ἀχιλλεὺς οὐδὲ εἷς You’re a driver of hard bargains, worse than some Achilles F 57 ἄσιτος, ἄποτος, ἀναπόνιπτος Foodless, drinkless, bathless The first of these fragments imitates the bombastic style and non-​Attic forms of tragedy; the last parodies a line of Sophocles’ Ajax (324), adding the comic adjective “bathless” to Tecmessa’s description of her wretched husband cut off from human contact. The citation of Achilles as a paradigmatic τιμιοπώλης, “driver of hard bargains,” in F 54 seems to refer to a post-​Homeric version of the story in which Achilles negotiates with Priam over Hector’s corpse44; whether this version was a tragedy or not, such a mythological reference, in the mouth of a tragedian or figure otherwise associated with tragedy, could certainly take on a tragic resonance. These fragments show the clash of everyday life and tragic elevation typical in comic portrayals of tragic culture; we can get a sense of the humor of Phrynichus’ comedy from these lines, even though we have no knowledge of the plot. We are on less certain ground with Phrynichus’ Mousai, which took second to Aristophanes’ Frogs at the Lenaia of 405 bce.45 Although it has been argued that the play contained a contest of tragedians in the underworld along the same lines as the battle between Aeschylus and Euripides in Frogs, the evidence, it must be admitted, is thin: F 33 gives us instructions for voting in a contest, but no indication as to what sort of contest it was; if Phrynichus had his chorus of Muses judge the contest it seems likely to have been a literary one of some sort, but we have no further evidence

44. Storey 2011: 3.73. 45.  For discussion of this play see Meineke 1839:  ad Phrynichus 2; Norwood 1931:  152–​53; Demand 1970; Harvey 2000; Conti Bizzarro 2001: 319–​23; Hall 2006: 174–​75; Olson 2007: ad D9; Biles 2011: 185–​86.

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to determine the nature of the contest. The one distinct connection to tragedy in the play is a brief makarismos or eulogy of Sophocles (F 32); as usual in comedy’s presentation of tragic culture, the only good tragedian is a dead tragedian.46 For the characters in many of these fifth-​century comedies, tragic culture is the central focus of their lives: some are poets themselves, including Aeschylus in Pherecrates’ Krapataloi, Euripides in the play to which Teleclides F 41 belongs, the anonymous imitator of Euripides’ Electra in Plato’s Skeuai; others are fans, characters devoted, sometimes violently, to particular poets or genres of poetry, in plays like Teleclides’ Hesiodoi or Plato’s Skeuai; some are even personifications or muses, divine beings whose whole existence is defined by their relationship to tragedy. But tragedy was a feature of the everyday lives of many, perhaps all, Athenians: large portions of the city’s population witnessed a dozen or more tragedies a year at the two major festivals, in addition to whatever other performances they may have attended in the demes, and a certain percentage of the city’s male population would themselves perform in tragic choruses at some point in their lives.47 And so, even in plays where tragic culture is not necessarily a central focus, characters often discuss, argue about, even quote tragedy. In comedy’s depiction of tragic culture, the conversations of these characters frequently dwell on the technical details of tragic performance. A scholiast commenting on Aristophanes Birds 31, where the tragedian Acestor is called by his frequent nickname “Sakas,” explains that “Callias and Cratinus mocked him for his poetry” (εἰς τὴν ποίησιν αὐτὸν κεχλευάκασι Καλλίας μὲν … , Κρατῖνος δὲ …), and cites as evidence a fragment from Cratinus’ Kleoboulinai in which a character threatens Acestor with violence over his plotting (92): Ἀκέστορα γὰρ ὅμως εἰκὸς λαβεῖν πληγάς, ἐὰν μὴ συστρέφῃ τὰ πράγματα. But Acestor’s likely going to take a beating if he doesn’t get his plots in order. The scholiast’s introduction of this quotation as a joke against Acestor’s ποίησις indicates that πράγματα here must have its meaning, frequent in comedy, of the 46. Though of course, even a dead tragedian is not necessarily “good,” as Frogs makes clear; see Chapter 5. 47. For the size and composition of the theater audience in Athens, see Pickard-​Cambridge 1968:  263–​78; Henderson 1991b; Csapo and Slater 1995:  286–​305; Goldhill 1997; Dawson 1997; Revermann 2006b; Sommerstein 2010: 118–​42; Rusten 2011: 407–​13; Roselli 2011. For participation in dramatic choruses, see Winkler 1990; Csapo and Slater 1995: 351–​53 (with associated testimonia); Wilson 2000: 75–​81; Revermann 2006b: 107–​12.

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plot or action of a play.48 Cratinus has another character in an unknown play make a similar remark about Philocles (323): ὅνπερ Φιλοκλέης τὸν λόγον διέφθορεν. which story Philocles utterly destroyed. Although the term λόγος has a wide spectrum of possible meanings (story, speech, argument, style, etc.), the relative pronoun indicating the “λόγος” was already under discussion here suggests something like “story” is what the speaker has in mind.49 This story may have been one treated in an earlier tragedy and thus, in the view of this character, ruined by Philocles’ revision of it—​we know, for example, that he composed a Tereus after Sophocles’ famous Tereus—​but the precise meaning of this criticism is less important than the simple fact of it: these characters from Cratinus have the familiarity with tragedy and the critical vocabulary to complain about specific aspects of tragedians’ works.50 In Plato’s Sophistai a character mocks Xenocles, the son of Carcinus, with an epithet that could have had a variety of technical implications (143): Ξενοκλῆς ὁ δωδεκαμήχανος, ὁ Καρκίνου παῖς τοῦ θαλαττίου Xenocles of the twelve mechanai, son of oceanic Carcinus A scholiast cites these lines in reference to Aristophanes’ description of the sons of Carcinus in Peace as μηχανοδίφαι, seekers after mechanai, and explains that both epithets are in reference to Xenocles’ plotting (Σ Ar. Pax 792a):

48.  Meineke 1839:  ad Kleoboulinai and F I; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997:  32; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 54–​58; Hall 2006: 179. Meineke cites the account of Diogenes Laertius (1.89) recording Cleobulina as a historical figure, but Wilamowitz 1935: 60–​63 argued that she was an invention of Cratinus derived from her supposed father Cleobulus. Cf. Kaibel apud KA 4: 168 and “Cleobulina” in West 1971 v. 2. For πράγματα as a technical term, see Chapters 3 and 4: both Xanthias in Wasps and Mnesilochus in Thesmo. refer to the plots of their plays as πράγματα. 49.  The term is even more obscure in a fragment of Crates (F 28):  τοῖς δὲ τραγῳδοῖς ἕτερος σεμνὸς πᾶσιν λόγος ἄλλος ὅδ’ ἔστιν (“all the tragedians have this whole other solemn logos”). Probably drawn from a parabasis, this fragment is usually interpreted as a reference to the differences between comic and tragic style, but the meaning of λόγος here remains unclear. See Goossens 1952 (who thought λόγος here referred to plot, and that the fragment indicated that the play included a comic treatment of a myth treated previously in tragedy), Kock 1880: ad 24; Whittaker 1935: 188; Schmid 1946: 92; Bonanno 1972: 120–​22; Kaibel apud KA: ad 28; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 113–​17. 50. Meineke 1839: Fab. Inc. CLVI; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 32. Conti Bizzarro 1999: 90–​91 notes several titles that suggest Philocles attempted myths treated already by Sophocles: Oedipus,

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Ξενοκλῆς γὰρ ὁ Καρκίνου δοκεῖ μηχανὰς καὶ τερατείας εἰσάγειν ἐν τοῖς δράμασιν. For Xenocles the son of Carcinus seems to have brought on mechanai and marvels in his plays. But the word mechane can have a variety of meanings in comedy; it can mean plot devices, as the scholiast understands it here51; but it can also refer to the stage crane,52 and another scholium to this same passage in Peace offers this as an explanation of the term (Σ Ar. Pax 792b): μηχανοδίφας· εἶπεν αὐτούς, ἐπειδὴ πολλάκις ὡς τραγῳδοὶ μηχανὰς εἰσέφερον, ἡνίκα θεοὺς ἐμιμοῦντο ἀνερχομένους ἢ κατερχομένους ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ἢ ἄλλο τι τοιοῦτον. seekers-​after-​mechanai:  he called them this, because tragedians often brought on mechanai when they represented gods coming up from below or down out of the sky or some other such thing. Aristophanes himself uses the same epithet as Plato had, “of the twelve mechanai,” in Frogs (1328), where Aeschylus compares Euripides as a song writer to a prostitute notorious for the variety of sexual positions she was willing to adopt.53 The character in Plato’s Sophistai who refers to Xenocles as the “man of twelve mechanai” may have had any or all of these criticisms in mind: contrived plotting, overuse of the stage crane,54 debased musical composition.55 In another of Plato’s comedies, Heortai, a character (or perhaps the chorus) even mocks Euripides for his diction, accusing him of composing sigmatic, that is excessively sibilant, verses (29): εὖ γέ σοι , ἡμᾶς ὅτι ἔσωσας ἐκ τῶν σίγμα τῶν Εὐριπίδου We wish you all the best for saving us from the sigmas of Euripides! Philoctetes, and especially Tereus, which the scholiast to Aristophanes Birds 279 notes Philocles wrote after Sophocles. For more on the tragedian Philocles, see also Bagordo 2002. 51. For this meaning of mechane, see Chapter 4, on its characteristic use as a description of the plot devices of Euripides. 52. For references to the crane in comedy, see below, on Alexis F 131. 53. Dover 1993a: 357. 54. Overuse of the crane would itself constitute a species of contrived plotting, since the god-​ on-​the-​machine could be brought in to end a feeble play, as the speaker of Antiphanes 189 complains; see below. 55. Olson (1998: 227) suggests that the term μηχανοδίφης could also refer to dancing (so also Pirrotta 2009: 286) or to linguistic innovation.

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Plato brilliantly adapts the very line he’s mocking; in the Medea Euripides has (476–​77): ἔσωσά σ’, ὡς ἴσασιν Ἑλλήνων ὅσοι ταὐτὸν συνεισέβησαν Ἀργῶιον σκάφος I saved you, as all the Greeks know who embarked on that same ship Argo. Plato’s character thus demonstrates the very fault, the excessive use of sigma, he criticizes in Euripides, while also inverting the sense of the quotation: in Euripides, Medea complains that although she saved him, Jason remains ungrateful; in Plato, the words are made to express gratitude for an acknowledged rescue from Euripidean poetry. Although this accusation is inaccurate—​Euripides is no more given to the use of σ than any other poet56—​it became a fixed part of Euripides’ portrayal in comedy’s depiction of the culture of tragedy: Eubulus, as we shall see in a moment, continues to mock Euripides’ sigmatism well after the poet’s death (F 29).57 In all four of these fragments depicting tragic culture, comic characters express a hilarious degree of disturbance at the supposed horrors of these tragic poets: Acestor is threatened with bodily harm if he can’t improve his plotting; Philocles “ruins” his plays with a verb more normally used to sack cities or corrupt the youth; Xenocles is branded with a mock-​heroic epithet for his overreliance on “devices”; and Euripides’ overuse of sigma is equated with the fire-​breathing bulls from which Medea protected Jason. Many of these technical details for which comic characters mock contemporary tragedians are paralleled by jokes the comic poets aim at one another in prologues and parabases: they often insult one another’s plots, language, staging and so on, making the same sorts of criticisms in their direct addresses to the audience that their characters make against tragedians in the fictional portions of the play.58 One category of technical criticism not found among the comedians’ comments on comic poetry, however, is mockery of actors. The comic poets may well have been unwilling to mock performers who had already appeared, or might

56. Clayman 1987. 57.  Hunter 1983:  119–​20. For the various authors who cite this fragment and its relationship to Eur. Med. 476–​77, see Pirrotta 2009: 104–​6; she includes a helpful discussion of the ancient views on sigmatism, but does not relate Plato’s quotation back to its original context in Medea. 58. Sommerstein 2009: 116–​35 provides the definitive account of the comic poets’ mockery of one another.

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one day, in their own plays,59 but they do not have their characters grant tragedy the same exemption.60 The actor Hegelochus is particularly mocked for supposedly misdelivering a line from Euripides’ Orestes. The tragic original has (Or. 279): ἐκ κυμάτων γὰρ αὖθις αὖ γαλήν’ ὁρῶ. for from the waves I see once more a calm. If the word γαλήν’ is, however, pronounced γαλῆν, the audience hears not “calm” but “weasel.” Whether the original audience of the Orestes heard “weasel” when Hegelochus delivered this line or not, several comic poets seize on the obvious potential for such an error.61 In Sannyrion’s Danae, Zeus worries that if he transformed into a weasel to enter Danae’s chamber, Hegelochus would see him from the audience and give him away (8): τί οὖν γενόμενος εἰς ὀπὴν ἐνδύσομαι; ζητητέον. φέρ’ εἰ γενοίμην < –​> γαλῆ· ἀλλ’ Ἡγέλοχος με μηνύσειεν ὁ τραγικὸς ἀνακράγοι τ’ ἂν εἰσιδὼν μέγα· ἐκ κυμάτων γὰρ αὖθις αὖ γαλῆν ὁρῶ. What then should I turn into to slip into a hole? I’ve got to figure it out. Say, what if I turned into a weasel? But Hegelochus the tragic actor would give me away right off the bat, he’d give a great shout soon as he saw me: “for from the waves once more I see a weasel!” I will discuss the mythological context of this scene in the following chapter, but for now suffice it to say that Sannyrion treats Hegelochus here as a person defined entirely by his famous error: Hegelochus is envisioned as simply lurking out there in the audience, waiting for the right moment to once again spout the line of

59. Sommerstein 1996b: 329 n. 13. Actors, like playwrights, were divided between genres: Plato Rep. 396A; cf. Sutton 1987: passim and esp. 10; Csapo 2010: 88. 60.  For the mockery of actors in comedy, see esp. Csapo 2010:  117–​39, with discussion of Mynniscus and Callipides (though not Hegelochus). For the available historical details on all of these specific actors, consult Ghiron-​Bistagne 1976 and Stephanis 1988. On the emergence of the actor as public figure, see Slater 1990 and Wallace 1995. 61.  On Hegelochus’ mistake, see Dover 1972:  213–​14; Daitz 1983; Devine and Stephens 1994: 239; Meriani 2002: 412–​18; Orth 2009: ad 1 and 63 (where Sannyrion 8 is also briefly discussed).

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Euripides that for the comedians has become the defining moment of the actor’s career. Zeus, moreover, is assimilated to an ordinary Athenian theatergoer, who knows the details of the careers of Athenian tragic actors. Aristophanes recreates the mistake in Frogs, again citing Hegelochus by name (301–​5): (Ξανθίας) δεῦρο δεῦρ’, ὦ δέσποτα. (Διόνυσος) τί δ’ ἐστι; (Ξα.)      θάρρει· πάντ’ ἀγαθὰ πεπράγαμεν, ἔξεστί θ’ ὥσπερ Ἡγέλοχος ἡμῖν λέγειν· “ἐκ κυμάτων γὰρ αὖθις αὖ γαλῆν ὁρῶ.” ἥμπουσα φρούδη. (Xanthias) Come over here, master. (Dionysus) What is it? (X.) Take heart: Everything’s turned out well for us, and now like Hegelochus we can say, “For from the waves I see once more a weasel!” Empousa is gone. Xanthias treats this erroneous version of the line from Orestes as if it has become a sort of proverb for describing a peaceful situation: he means that with Empousa gone, everything is calm, but he quotes the version of the line in which the word “calm” is pronounced as “weasel.” To understand why Xanthias quotes this line here, the audience must remember the correct version; only three years after Hegelochus supposedly made his error, it has become sufficiently famous that theater audiences could be expected to recall what would otherwise have been a completely unremarkable line from Euripides’ play.62 In an unknown play, Strattis focuses on the mistake itself, and has two characters reenact the audience’s supposed misunderstanding (63): (A.) γαλῆν᾽ ὁρῶ. (Β.)     ποῖ πρὸς θεῶν, ποῖ ποῖ γαλῆν; (Α.) γαληνά. (Β.)     ἐγὼ δ’ ᾤμην σε “γαλῆν” λέγειν “ὁρῶ.” (A.) I see a weasel. (B.) Where by the gods, where where a weasel? (A.) Calm weather! (B.) I thought you said, “I see a weasel.” 62. See Dover 1993a: ad loc.

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Only by undoing the original elision in Euripides’ version of the line does the first speaker finally render the word unambiguously as γαληνά, “calm.” These recurrent depictions of characters mocking Hegelochus show that actors, like tragedians themselves, were given fixed reputations in comedy’s depiction of tragic culture that every comedian could play off in composing conversations about tragedy and its performers. Whenever a comic poet recalls Hegelochus’ mistake, Hegelochus’ name and the erroneous appearance of the weasel become more and more permanently identified with one another within comedy’s culture of tragedy. Lurking behind these jokes about Hegelochus, of course, is a criticism against Euripides for having written such an easily and absurdly misunderstood line in the first place. In his Anthroporestes, however, Strattis places the blame firmly on Hegelochus (1): καὶ τῶν μὲν ἄλλων οὐκ ἐμέλησέ μοι μελῶν, Εὐριπίδου δὲ δρᾶμα δεξιώτατον διέκναισ’ Ὀρέστην, Ἡγέλοχον τὸν Κυντάρου μισθωσάμενος τὰ πρῶτα τῶν ἐπῶν λέγειν. I’m not worried about the rest of his songs, but [he /​I] murdered Euripides’ quite clever play, the Orestes, by hiring Hegelochus the son of Cyntarus to speak the most important lines.63 Part of the interpretation of this fragment hinges on the vowel elided at the end of διέκναισ᾽: if it represents διέκναισα, the speaker is an archon or producer regretting his decision in selecting Hegelochus to act in the festival; if διέκναισε, this character might instead be a Euripides fan who was disappointed to see Hegelochus’ mistake spoil what would otherwise have been a “most brilliant” play.64 By incorporating the title of Euripides’ Orestes into the name of his comedy and then mentioning the tragedy overtly in this passage, Strattis seems to signal that his comedy was prominently directed at its Euripidean forebear.65 The 63. I have given a literal translation here to the expression τὰ πρῶτα τῶν ἐπῶν λέγειν, which signifies that Hegelochus was hired as protagonist; see Orth 2009: 54 and cf. esp. the expression at Demosthenes 19.246. On the casting of actors (probably still by the playwright himself in this period), see Pickard-​Cambridge 1968: 93–​95 and Csapo 2010: 88–​89. 64. On this fragment see Meriani 2002 and Orth 2009: ad loc. 65. A number of comedies were given such compound-​name titles, including Cratinus’ Dionysalexandros, Aristophanes’ Aiolosikon, Pherecrates’ Anthropheracles, and Timocles’ Orestautokleides; compound names are also deployed in the texts of certain comedies, such as Cratinus’ coinages “Euripidaristophanizing” (342: εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων) and “Choerilecphantides” (502: Χοιριλεκφαντίδης). In Dionysalexandros Cratinus gives us Dionysus disguised as Alexander (T 1, with Bakola 2010, 82–​101), but in Timocles’ Orestautokleides (F

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speaker of this fragment suggests, then, in his disappointment over the original production of the Orestes, that Strattis has somehow given Euripides’ “most brilliant” play another chance on the festival stage: the hiring of Hegelochus spoiled the original Orestes, but this new Orestes play will, presumably, get it right. It is no coincidence, moreover, that Strattis would refer to Hegelochus’ mistake in a play that presented itself as a revision of a tragedy: Hegelochus’ error proves that, although comic characters can deliver tragic lines without disrupting a comedy, a single humorous line in a tragedy is fatal to the performance. Comedy emerges as, in a sense, the more durable genre, since even a mistake as dire as Hegelochus’ would only make a comedy even funnier. As we shall see, Aristophanes as well makes comedy’s capacity to absorb tragedy and still remain generically comic a central element of both Wasps and Women at the Thesmophoria. These recurrent jokes about Hegelochus present us with our clearest image of how comic poets built the mockery of actors into their presentation of tragic culture. As with the tragic poets themselves, tragic actors could also be subjected to personal insult: in an unknown comedy by Plato, for example, a character complains that Hegelochus has an unpleasant voice (F 235: ὡς ἀτερπῆ τὴν φωνὴν σκώπτει), and Athenaeus tells us that a character in Plato’s Syrphax also mocked a certain actor Mynniscus as a glutton (8.344d, with Plato F 175): Μυννίσκος ὁ τραγικὸς ὑποκριτὴς κωμῳδεῖται ὑπὸ Πλάτωνος ἐν Σύρφακι ὡς ὀψοφάγος οὕτως· (A.) ὁδὶ μὲν Ἀναγυράσιος ὀρφώς ἐστί σοι. (Β.) οἶδ᾽, ᾧ φίλος Μυννίσκος ἔσθ᾽ ὁ Χαλκιδεύς. (Α.) καλῶς λέγεις. Mynniscus the tragic actor is mocked by Plato in his Syrphax as a glutton, as follows: (A.) This Anagyrasian sea perch is for you. (B.) I know, the one Mynniscus of Chalcis is good friends with. (A.) Quite right. 27) we have instead Autocleides stuck in a situation quite like Orestes’ at the beginning of Eumenides (see Chapter 2); compound names of the form XY thus seem capable of indicating a play in which X behaves like Y or Y behaves like X. Though Pherecrates’ Anthropheracles provides the closest parallel to Strattis’ Anthroporestes, the precise meaning of this title is also unclear. If it is the same play as Pherecrates’ Pseuderacles, it seems likely the play involved someone falsely disguising himself as Heracles, but it remains possible that these are separate plays. Pacuvius’ Dulorestes does seem to indicate a play in which Orestes disguises himself as a slave, but this is of course a Latin play and moreover a tragedy. Ultimately our evidence does not permit us to determine whether Strattis’ Anthroporestes preserved the mythological setting of Euripides’ Orestes or somehow merged Euripides’ play with a modern Athenian setting.

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Our evidence suggests Mynniscus was an actor with a long career, performing under Aeschylus but also winning a prize at the Dionysia of 422.66 Finally, Strattis wrote an entire play entitled Kallipides, apparently satirizing the tragic actor of that name.67 Sadly our fragments give us no hint as to how Strattis treated the actor in this comedy, but the title alone represents a bold step in the mockery of actors beyond the comic poets’ treatment of tragic poets: tragedian-​ characters occupy prominent positions in a number of comedies, as we have seen, but there is no evidence for a comedy having been given a tragic poet’s name as its title until Eubulus’ Dionysius in the midfourth century (discussed below). In Old Comedy, it seems, this was a treatment ordinarily reserved for political figures.68 In our evidence, then, the comic poets refrain from mocking comic actors, but in their depiction of comedy’s culture of tragedy, they grant tragic actors no such immunity. Comedy’s depiction of tragic culture thus extended beyond discussion of the tragedians themselves, encompassing the rest of the personnel required to bring a tragedy to the stage: this comes to include not only discussion of actors, but also references to the festivals themselves and the various people responsible for them. In the suggestively titled Gelos, “Laughter,” Sannyrion has a character mock the tragedian Meletus in terms of the specific festival where he had presumably lost, referring to him as “that corpse from the Lenaion” (2: Μέλητον τὸν ἀπὸ Ληναίου νεκρόν), referring to the theater where the Lenaia festival was celebrated.69 Cratinus even has a character in Boukoloi complain about the archon who awarded tragic choruses for a particular year (17): ὃς οὐκ ἔδωκ’ αἰτοῦντι Σοφοκλέει χορόν, τῷ Κλεομάχου δ’, ὃν οὐκ ἂν ἠξίουν ἐγὼ ἐμοὶ διδάσκειν οὐδ’ ἂν εἰς Ἀδώνια. … who didn’t give Sophocles a chorus when he asked for one, but gave one to the son of Cleomachus, a man I wouldn’t deem worthy to train a chorus even for the Adonia!70 66. Or possibly there were two actors by this name. See IG II2 2318.119; Aristotle Poet. 1461b 34–​35; Aeschylus T 1.57; Pirrotta 2009:  ad Plato 175 (with bibliography of the nineteenth-​ and early-​twentieth-​century debate over the number of Mynnisci); Stephanis 1988: no. 1757; Csapo 2010: 117–​18. For the glutton as the “friend” of the food he delights in, cf. Ar. Ach. 888 (a Theban eel is said to be “dear to Morychus,” possibly a tragic poet). 67. Braund 2000; Orth 2009: 88–​93. 68. Plato’s Peisandros, Hyperbolos, Kleophon, Theopompus’ Teisamenos, Archippus’ Rhinon; see Sommerstein 2000. 69.  For the difficult question of where the Lenaion actually was, see Pickard-​Cambridge 1968: 37–​9 and Slater 1986. 70.  Athenaeus makes clear that Gnesippus is the “son of Cleomachus”; for his identity as a poet of tragedy and perhaps other lyric poetry as well, see Davidson 2000, Cummings 2001, Hordern 2003, Prauscello 2006.

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Various interpretations of this fragment have been proposed,71 but the mockery of Gnesippus here is actually quite straightforward: Cratinus’ character is amazed that Gnesippus was given a chorus at a time when Sophocles was not, and claims that he would be unworthy to train a chorus even for a festival that would ordinarily not have publicly funded choral performances.72 The joke is primarily on Gnesippus himself, about whom more will be said in a moment, but we see here a further expansion of the topics of conversation in comedy’s tragic culture, involving the whole process of the tragic festivals. The sources of our comic fragments often provide their citations as if they were quoting the words of the comic poets themselves, a tendency exacerbated by the use of catalogues of komoidoumenoi, which seem simply to have contained lists of accusations by particular poets against particular individuals with little regard for the original context.73 A fortuitous side effect of the otherwise regrettable reliance of our sources on these catalogues rather than texts of the comedies themselves is that they sometimes preserve evidence for the tendency of comic poets to make variations on the same jokes about specific individuals. We have seen, for example, how the comic poets compete with one another in crafting more and more elaborate jokes about the actor Hegelochus’ mistake during the premier of Orestes, or about Euripides’ relationship to Socrates. The extant plays of Aristophanes suggest that this is no mere accident or bias in the transmission of our fragments: Aristophanes returns again and again to jokes about the effeminacy of Cleisthenes, for example; never tires of reminding his audience of Cleon’s association with leather tanning; creates ever more elaborate portraits of Euripides as a wordy trickster.74 The tragedian Gnesippus is known to us almost entirely from just such a series of jokes: Athenaeus provides a list of comic fragments mocking Gnesippus’ sexuality that seems certain to have originated in a list of komoidoumenoi (14.638d–​ 639a). He quotes a fragment of Eupolis’ Heilotes in which the chorus describe the utility of Gnesippus’ songs for inviting married women to adultery (148)75:

71. Meineke 1839: ad Boukoloi II; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 33; Wilson 2000: 62; Davidson 2000; Hordern 2003: 612; Prauscello 2006: 60–​62; Olson 2007: ad D8; Bakola 2010: 57–​59. 72. On the Adonia, see Olson 1998: ad Peace 420 (with bibliography); Simms 1998; Dillon 2003. Pace Storey (2003: 179), this fragment does not indicate that Gnesippus was an inferior poet, but merely that the character who delivered these lines felt he was. 73.  On the sources of our comic fragments, see Arnott 2000; Olson 2007:  26–​32; Rusten 2011: 7–​16. On komoidoumenoi, see Steinhausen 1910 and Sommerstein 1996b. 74. For this process of comic poets competing to outdo or cap one another’s jokes, see Heath 1990; Ruffell 2002; Collins 2004; Hesk 2007; Biles 2011: passim, esp. 137–​38. 75. On this fragment, see Kugelmeier 1996: 77 n. 131; Davidson 2000; Cummings 2001; Storey 2003: 178–​79, 332–​33; Hordern 2003: 611–​12; Prauscello 2006; Olson 2007: ad D13 (with a

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τὰ Στησιχόρου τε καὶ Ἀλκμᾶνος Σιμωνίδου τε ἀρχαῖον ἀείδειν, ὁ δὲ Γνήσιππος ἔστ’ ἀκούειν. κεῖνος νυκτερίν’ ηὗρε μοιχοῖς ἀείσματ’ ἐκκαλεῖσθαι γυναῖκας ἔχοντας ἰαμβύκην τε καὶ τρίγωνον.76 It’s old-​fashioned to sing the songs of Stesichorus, Alcman, or Simonides. Instead, it’s Gnesippus you hear nowadays: he discovered songs for adulterers to call out women to themselves by night, holding a iambuke or a trigonon. Eupolis’ chorus blur the line in their mockery of Gnesippus here between poetic content and biography, recalling Aeschylus’ accusation against Euripides in Frogs that his depiction of women on stage corrupted the real women of Athens (1008–​88, esp. 1043–​47, 1079–​82): the chorus of Helots suggest that Gnesippus’ songs could be put to practical, immoral use in real life, not merely mocking Gnesippus for including lascivious content in his poetry, but feigning to warn the audience that Gnesippus’ poetry is actually dangerous. Their complaint that great old poetry has been discarded for modern trash accesses the motif of tragedy as a genre in decline: here modern tragic poetry fails by comparison with older lyric poetry, as in Clouds.77 The fragments Athenaeus collects in this passage repeatedly play on this combination of aesthetic and moral disgust at the erotic qualities of Gnesippus’ poetry. Cratinus’ Horai contains a description of an entire Gnesippean chorus of the depilated (276): ἴτω δὲ καὶ τραγῳδίας ὁ Κλεομάχου διδάσκαλος, †μετὰ τῶν† παρατιλτριῶν ἔχων χορὸν λυδιστὶ τιλ-​ λουσῶν μέλη πονηρά. Let that tragic poet, the son of Cleomachus, go forth taking with him his chorus of depilators plucking their shameful limbs/​songs in the Lydian way. The ingenious pun λυδιστὶ τιλλουσῶν μέλη, which could mean “plucking songs [i.e., on an instrument] in the Lydian mode” or “plucking [the hair from their]

catalogue of the motif of moral decline in poetry). Cf. Pherecrates 155, in which the decline in music (focused mostly on dithyramb) is lamented by Music herself. 76. For the unusual meter of this fragment, see Storey 2003: 179 and Olson 2007: 181. Cf. West 1982: 97 and Parker 1997: 256–​61. 77. The mixture of lyric poetry proper with lyric passages from drama sung out of context is the same here as in Clouds 1353ff, where Strepsiades asks first for a song from Simonides and then for one from Aeschylus.

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limbs like the Lydians do,” perfectly captures this combination of artistic and moral judgment; the speaker further blurs the lines between poetry and reality by suggesting that Gnesippus depart (from the stage? or into exile?) along with his chorus.78 If the chorus Cratinus has in mind was an actual chorus of, say, Lydian slaves from one of Gnesippus’ tragedies, the comment critically recalls a specific, perhaps infamous, play; if on the other hand Cratinus has invented this chorus as a band of suitable companions for Gnesippus, the effect is even more striking, as Cratinus seems to wish Gnesippus would disappear into the world of his own immoral poetry. In “considering” Gnesippus as a didaskalos for the Adonia (F 17, above), the speaker in Cratinus’ Boukoloi likewise combines aberrant behavior—​ Gnesippus shouldn’t be participating in the Adonia, a women’s festival—​with aberrant performance, since the Adonia did not actually have state-​funded choral presentations. The association of Gnesippus with the Adonia, a women’s festival lamenting the death of a quintessential mythological figure of male sexual attractiveness, Adonis, may also hint at the accusations of adultery and deviant sexuality in these other references to Gnesippus. Athenaeus tells us that Teleclides, too, participated in this mockery of Gnesippus’ sexual behavior: without quoting Teleclides’ actual language he tells us that the comic poet had a character in his Sterroi accuse Gnesippus of adultery (F 36). Each comic poet seeks to cap the previous joke against Gnesippus with an even funnier and more vivid accusation against him; whatever his actual poetry may have been like, his reputation within comedy’s culture of tragedy became that of an adulterer who suited his verses to his lifestyle. In a similar catalogue, Athenaeus provides a list of comic poets who accused the tragic poet Melanthius of gluttony, including Eupolis, Leucon, Pherecrates, and Archippus; what this must, of course, actually mean is that these poets all showed characters in their comedies referring to Melanthius as a glutton.79 Archippus develops this mockery by bringing Melanthius himself into his comedy Ichthyes (“Fishes,” probably shortly after 403/​2 bce) to suffer revenge for his culinary crimes. As John Wilkins has shown, Archippus’ comedy resembled Aristophanes’ Birds: the fish set up a state of their own, securing a treaty with the humans and an exchange of hostages (F 27); they seek revenge on fish sellers (F 23); they appoint fishes to particular offices indicated by puns on their names (F 16, 17).80 There is no reason to suspect, then, that the play was itself a comedy

78. Meineke 1839: ad Cratinus Horai 2; Kock 1880: ad 256; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 31; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 84–​90; Davidson 2000: 48; Hordern 2003: 612–​13, Prauscello 2006: 62. 79. Ath. 8.343c, with Leucon F 3; Ar. Pax 803–​13; Pherecrates F 148; Archippus F 28. 80. Wilkins 2000a: 529; Farioli 2001: 156–​73.

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primarily concerned with tragic culture, but Archippus does seem to have drawn on the widespread mockery of Melanthius as a glutton for a wonderful enactment of piscine vengeance.81 Athenaeus describes this scene (8.343c = Archipp. F 28): ἐν δὲ τοῖς Ἰχθύσιν Ἄρχιππος τῷ δράματι ὡς ὀψοφάγον δήσας παραδίδωσι τοῖς ἰχθύσιν ἀντιβρωθησόμενον. In the play Ichthyes Archippus has him bound as a glutton and gives him over to the fish to be fed on in turn. This description indicates that Archippus depicted Melanthius being devoured by the fish who composed the chorus of his comedy. Eustathius, describing the same scene, adds that Melanthius was depicted as Hesione being sacrificed to a sea monster (In Il. p. 1201.3): παίζων ὁ ποιητὴς Ἄρχιππος εἰς τὸν κατὰ τὴν Ἡσιόνην μῦθον, ὃς αὐτὴν βορὰν τῷ κήτει ἐκτίθεται, πλάττει Μελάνθιον τὸν τραγῳδὸν ἔν τινι αὐτοῦ δράματι δ εθῆναι, καὶ οὕτω παραδίδωσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἰχθύσιν ἀντιβρωθησόμενον. The poet Archippus, playing on the story of Hesione in which she is sacrificed as food to the sea monster, has Melanthius the tragedian being bound in one of his plays, and then gives him to the fish to be fed on in turn. Although we don’t know whether Melanthius himself wrote a tragedy on the myth of Hesione, Eustathius does thus make clear that in Archippus’ comedy the “death” of this tragedian was enacted paratragically.82 Whether Archippus’ Melanthius was reperforming a role from one of his own tragedies, as Euripides does in Women at the Thesmophoria, or simply behaving in the tragic manner befitting a tragedian, the scene must have been wonderfully absurd:  the sea monster, which would have been limited in tragedy to appearing offstage by way of terrifying descriptions delivered in messenger speeches, has been replaced with a comic chorus in fish costumes right before the audience’s eyes, threatening a man behaving like a (tragic) woman. Given how seldom characters actually die on the Athenian stage, the scene will almost certainly have 81. Birds was itself a comedy with important literary scenes: see the discussion of Cinesias the Dithyrambist in Chapter 5. 82. So also Miles 2009: 103–​4. As she notes, we do not possess evidence of a Hesione tragedy (by Melanthius or anyone else), but see Arnott’s discussion of Alexis’ Hesione for evidence suggesting there had been such a play (1996: 232).

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reached its bathetic climax either as Melanthius is rescued, or as the fish-​chorus prove unable to devour him. Like other poets who merge realistic elements of tragic culture (e.g., poets and their fans) with the fantastic creations of comic fiction (e.g., poetic deities and personifications), Archippus here takes the standard joke everyone in comedy makes about Melanthius and then pushes it beyond the bounds of reality by inserting Melanthius into his maritime republic. Just as with the series of jokes about Gnesippus’ sexuality, these recurrent references establish Melanthius’ gluttony as part of his reputation within the culture of tragedy on the comic stage.83 The poets of Old Comedy create their culture of tragedy by a process of accretion. Every time a tragedy fan appears on stage, or an everyday Athenian expresses a technical opinion about tragic performance, every time someone refers to the tragic competition, or complains about the decline from tragedy’s golden age, the comic poets draw on and participate in this comic vision of tragic culture. Tragic culture becomes part of the repertoire of dramaturgical resources available to the comic poet, and, as with any other aspect of the comic repertoire, the poets compete to outdo one another, capping each other’s jokes with more and more elaborate, more and more hilarious instances of tragic culture. Some comic poets deploy the culture of tragedy in momentary jokes; some build scenes around tragic culture in plays otherwise occupied by other concerns; a few even make tragedians themselves characters in their plays, or structure whole comedies around tragic culture. Aristophanes, as we shall see, participates in every aspect of comedy’s culture of tragedy: in Wasps, he presents Philocleon as a man whose tragic fandom threatens to overwhelm his personality; in Women at the Thesmophoria, he uses a conversation between two tragic poet characters to ground a series of miniature tragic performances; and in Wealth, he encapsulates the entire Dionysiac festival within a single comedy. Wealth, however, belongs to the period of Middle, not Old, Comedy; and as we shall see, it presents tragic culture in a markedly different manner from the fifth-​century comedies of Aristophanes and the other poets of Old Comedy. To contextualize the entirety of Aristophanes’ long career, then, we need to examine how comedy’s tragic culture changes in the fourth century. 83. We may have another accusation of gluttony against a tragedian in Hermippus F 46, which mocks Nothippus as a glutton. Nothippus is not attested elsewhere, but Athenaeus in citing the fragment insists that he was a tragic poet. Although there may be some allusion to Nothippus’ poetic activities implied within Hermippus’ wonderful description of him devouring the Peloponnese whole, our lack of information about this poet precludes us from drawing any firm conclusions. See Gkaras 2008: 88–​90 for commentary on the fragment.

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Selling Fish from the Crane: Tragic Culture in  the Fourth Century Throughout the fourth century, comic poets continued to draw on the repertoire of comic techniques established around tragic culture by their predecessors in the fifth century, relying on many of the same dramaturgical devices, literary critical tropes, and sources of humor. In an important recent article, Matthew Wright has argued that the comic poets of the fourth century show “a remarkable degree of continuity” in the literary critical aspect of their poetics, pursuing the same issues of, for example, originality, the effect of poetry on its audience, and the relationship between comedy and tragedy (2013b: 604). I hope to build here on Wright’s analysis by shifting the focus from literary criticism to comic dramaturgy: Wright’s interest is in the content of critical remarks about tragedy (and other forms of literature), and their relationship to the earliest literary criticism; mine is in the dramatic circumstances the poets create in order to portray their characters’ engagement with tragedy. Several important aspects of comedy’s tragic culture persist into the fourth century: the portrayal of tragic fandom, the use of tragic poets as characters, and the depiction of everyday Athenians conversing about tragedy. As Wright notes, one major aspect of fifth-​century paratragedy absent from the fourth-​ century fragments is overt reference to the dramatic festivals themselves (2013b:  612):  in Chapter  5, I  will argue that Aristophanes’ Wealth gives us a sense of what fourth-​century engagement with the dramatic festivals might look like, but here I wish to focus on aspects of comedy’s tragic culture that are apparent in the fragments. In the fifth century, tragic fandom surfaces both in comedies focused on tragic culture, like Plato’s Skeuai, and in comedies largely concerned with other topics, like Aristophanes’ Clouds. The poets of the fourth century, however, elevated fandom into the central premise of whole plays, with titles like Alexis’ Philotragoidos and Axionicus’ and Philippides’ Phileuripides. Axionicus’ play is the only one of these comedies whose fragments give us a sense of the portrayal of tragic fandom: this play seems to have depicted fandom not simply as devotion to particular poets, as in Skeuai and Clouds, but as a madness, a disease. Mark Duffett, the scholar of modern media fandom, calls this “the pathological tradition” in depictions of fans, and although he, Joli Jenson, and others tend to discuss this notion of fandom-​as-​insanity as a purely modern phenomenon (tied to midtwentieth-​ century concerns about, for example, “Beatlemania,”), Axionicus’ play clearly indicates that it was possible to conceive of an insane obsession with an artist

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long before the modern era.84 Johanna Hanink points to Aristophanes’ Frogs as a model for such a portrayal of fandom, with Dionysus expressing a “longing” (πόθος) for Euripides that is “driving him mad” (διαλυμαίνεται).85 Axionicus’ presentation of Euripides–​mania is also indebted, as we shall see, to an even earlier portrayal of tragedy-​induced madness: Philocleon, in Aristophanes’ Wasps. Two fragments of Axionicus’ Phileuripides survive. The first, cited by Athenaeus in his discussion of the gingras, a shrill pipe, describes the titular diseased fan—​or rather, fans (3): οὕτω γὰρ ἐπὶ τοῖς μέλεσι τοῖς Εὐριπίδου ἄμφω νοσοῦσιν, ὥστε τἆλλ’ αὐτοῖς δοκεῖν εἶναι μέλη γιγγραντὰ καὶ κακὸν μέγα for the two of them are so crazed for the songs of Euripides that all other songs seem to them fit for the gingras and a great evil These lines are evidently part of a longer speech (hence γάρ) in which the two people in question have already been identified, explaining the fans’ refusal to listen to, or their horrified reaction against, some music other than the songs of Euripides. That there are apparently two Euripides fans in this play complicates our understanding of the title: if only one of these two characters is the phileuripides of the play’s name, is there some sense in which one of the characters emerges as the only true fan of Euripides? Like Pheidippides in Clouds (e.g., 1362: “And then he said Simonides was a bad poet!”), these fans of Euripides reject other poets and want to hear only the works of their favorite. They differ from Pheidippides, however, in several significant ways. First, their love of Euripides is portrayed as irrational: they are insane (νοσούσιν) in their obsession with Euripides (at least in the view of the speaking character, obviously not himself a fan), whereas Pheidippides comes by his preference through his education in the Phrontisterion and the apparent use there of Euripides as a model for sophistic rhetoric. Hanink points to Dionysus as a model for the irrational love of Euripides; Elizabeth Scharffenberger notes the similarity of this description to the presentation of Philocleon in Wasps, where, just as in Axionicus’ fragment here, the slaves repeatedly describe their master as afflicted with a strange νόσος, “disease.” Neither, however, notes that one aspect of Philocleon’s madness is his insane love of tragedy:  as I  shall demonstrate in 84.  Jenson 1992; Duffett 2013:  85–​122 (n.b. 86, where he describes fandom as “a Dionysian force”). 85. 2014: 180–​1, with Frogs 52–​9.

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Chapter 3, obsession with tragedy is one of the driving forces behind his insane behavior. In the prologue of Wasps, two slaves inform the audience that Philocleon’s madness can be described with a term beginning with φιλο-​; the cast of the play then provide a long list of possible φιλο-​compounds to describe Philocleon, culminating in φιλῳδός, “lover of tragic song.” Whether or not Axionicus specifically has Philocleon the φιλῳδός in mind, then, by naming his fan φιλευριπίδης and then describing tragic fandom as a νόσος, he is drawing on a tradition that begins (in our evidence) with Aristophanes’ Wasps. The fan or fans in Axionicus’ comedy also resemble Philocleon in their love specifically of tragic song. In Clouds, Pheidippides prefers to recite a Euripidean speech (1371: Εὐριπίδου ῥῆσιν) instead of singing a song (1355–​56: ἐγὼ ᾽κέλευσα/​ᾆσαι Σιμωνίδου μέλος …); he particularly rejects the notion of singing at dinner, and recites instead a speech from the Aeolus.86 Aristophanes frequently portrays Euripides as a tragedian of speeches, a prosy babbler, in contrast to Aeschylus and other poets of song, of choral lyric, but the fans in Axionicus love even the songs of Euripides. The second fragment of Axionicus’ play gives us in fact a rather Euripidean song (4): ἄλλον δ’ ἰχθὺν μεγέθει πίσυνόν τινα τοῖσδε τόποις ἥκει κομίσας γλαῦκός τις ἐν πόντῳ †γαλούς σῖτον ὀψοφάγων καὶ λίχνων ἀνδρῶν ἀγάπημα φέρω κατ’ ὤμων. τίνα τῷδ’ ἐνέπω τὴν σκευασίαν; πότερον χλωρῷ τρίμματι βρέξας ἢ τῆς ἀγρίας ἅλμης πάσμασι σῶμα λιπάνας πυρὶ παμφλέκτῳ παραδώσω; ἔφα τις ὡς ἐν ἅλμῃ θερμῇ τοῦτο φάγοι γ’ ἑφθὸν ἀνὴρ Μοσχίων φίλαυλος. βοᾷ δ’ ὄνειδος ἴδιον, ὦ Καλλία. ἦ σὺ μὲν ἀμφί σῦκα καὶ ἀμφὶ ταρίχι᾽ἀγάλλῃ τοῦ δ’ ἐν ἅλμῃ παρεόντος οὐ γεύῃ χαρίεντος ὄψου.

86. See Dover 1968: 255 both for the identification of the play in question as Aeolus and for the correct reading of line 1371; pace Wilson the mss. ᾖσ᾽ will not do, as Dover points out.

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A sort of glaukos–​fish, caught (?) in the sea, arrives bringing another fish to these parts, one that trusted in its size, the food of gourmands, and this delight of gluttonous men I bear on my shoulders. What preparation shall I command for it? Shall I marinate it with a green spice rub, or shall I anoint its body with sprinklings of wild brine and consign it to the all-​blazing fire? Someone said that Moschion, the aulos lover, used to eat it boiled in warm brine. He shouts a rebuke just for you, Callias! “You may enjoy figs and sardines but you don’t taste this delightful treat served in brine.” Scharffenberger discusses in detail the song’s Euripidean qualities, and identifies the speaker as a chef preparing a dinner for a group of men, perhaps including or celebrating the success of the phileuripides himself (2012: 162–​70). The possibility also exists, however, that this chef is one of the titular Euripides fans, and that his diseased obsession with the songs of Euripides leads him to sing of his own work in an (unintentionally, for him) hilarious imitation of his favorite poet. These fans’ complete immersion in tragic culture, that is, leads them to behave as though they are in one of Euripides’ tragedies themselves, just as Philocleon’s tragic obsession in Wasps will cause him to respond to adverse circumstances as if he is a character in a tragedy. Finally and most importantly, Axionicus’ fans are, unlike Pheidippides, obsessed with a poet who is dead. Pheidippides’ fandom is for a poet who is in some sense part of an avant-​garde in his day; as Rosen (2006a) argues, his preference is for Euripides as a challenging, younger, fringe poet over the established, canonical, comfortable—​and deceased—​Simonides and Aeschylus. Even in Frogs the recently deceased Euripides is still portrayed as a controversial poet; but by the fourth century, Euripides has become not only canonical but perhaps the defining poet of the tragic genre. The love of Axionicus’ fans for Euripides is no more controversial than that of Philocleon for Thespis and Phrynichus in Wasps: in both cases, therefore, the fans’ madness must lie in the unusual strength of their devotion, not in their choice of poets. As I suggested above, these two tragedy fans are not alone on the fourth-​century comic stage. Philippides also wrote a Phileuripides, although the fragments give us no sense of its content.87 Alexis wrote a Philotragoidos; we don’t know who this “lover of tragedy” was, but the one fragment preserved looks like the beginning of the same sort of consolatory or moralizing speech that often leads to citations from tragedy in fourth-​century comedy.88 In an uncertain play a character of Philemon’s 87. Three fragments survive: 22 (a man asks a child for directions), 23 (someone thinks he has had a coin stolen), and 24 (a man states, perhaps cries out, that he is surrounded). 88. See the discussion of tragic quotations as consolation in fourth-​century comedy below. On Alexis’ play see Arnott 1996: 717.

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gives voice to just the sort of frustration that could be described as the “madness” of a character like Axionicus’, obsessed with a poet long dead (118): εἰ ταῖς ἀληθείαισιν οἱ τεθνηκότες αἴσθησιν εἶχον, ἄνδρες, ὥς φασίν τινες, ἀπηγξάμην ἂν ὥστ’ ἰδεῖν Εὐριπίδην. If, men, the dead can truly be perceived, as some say, I’d hang myself so that I could see Euripides.89 Satyrus cites this fragment in his Vita as proof of Philemon’s own excessive devotion to Euripides. Obviously we must rather speak of Philemon’s character’s devotion to Euripides; Satyrus gives us no context, not even a title, but this character must be just the sort of person Axionicus’ speaker in F 3 describes as insane. It looks like part, perhaps the culmination, of a longer speech expressing his devotion to Euripides before a group of men—​other fans, outdone by his suicidal devotion? Men unconvinced of Euripides’ excellence among poets? But the speaker, whoever he and his audience may be, is clearly another Phileuripides; this devoted conversation about Euripides among a group of people is another suggestion of the prominent place of tragic culture in certain later comic plays.90 As often in later comedy, Philemon displays an awareness here not simply of fifth-​century tragedy, but of fifth-​century comedy’s engagement with tragedy as well: already in Aristophanes’ Frogs (120–​22), Heracles told Dionysus to hang himself in order to get to Hades and satisfy his longing to see Euripides. When Philemon has his Euripides fan express a willingness to hang himself to see Euripides, he not only presents a belated tragedy fan, a fan born too late to enjoy the tragedy he is obsessed with; he marks himself as a belated comic poet, operating in a long and highly self-​conscious tradition of depictions of tragic culture.91 In addition to the portrayal of tragic fandom, one of fifth-​century comedy’s most effective methods for presenting tragic culture was to bring the tragic poets themselves on stage; in addition to the famous appearances of tragedians in extant

89. For the idiom αἴσθησιν ἔχειν, “be perceived” (not “have sensation”), see Thuc. 2.61, Xen. An. 4.6. 90. Philemon F 153 (“Euripides, who alone is able to speak, says somewhere …”) may also be the words of a fan, although the praise looks like a calculated attempt to support the quotation that must have followed, rather than a genuine expression of devotion to Euripides. 91. On Philemon 118, see Lefkowitz 1981: 98–​99; Hanink 2010: 547, and 2014: 181–​82 (who argues compellingly that Philemon presents a longing for Euripides here that is modeled on the extreme emotions of Euripides’ own characters); Wright 2013b: 620.

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plays, we have Aeschylus returning from the dead in Pherecrates’ Krapataloi, Euripides cooking up a new tragedy in an unknown play of Teleclides, Meletus descending into the underworld in Aristophanes’ Gerytades (see Chapter 5), and the anonymous tragedian who compares himself to Euripides in Plato’s Skeuai. The fragments of Eubulus’ Dionysius indicate that fourth-​century comedy as well pursued this technique: the tyrant of Syracuse also fancied himself a tragic poet, and Eubulus seems to have taken some considerable delight in juxtaposing Dionysius with the great poets of the fifth century he emulated.92 Eubulus’ play opened with a quotation or parody of verses from Aeschylus’ Edonoi. As it turns out, these are the same lines from Aeschylus’ Edonoi quoted by Mnesilochus in his interrogation of Agathon in Women at the Thesmophoria. In Women at the Thesmophoria, Mnesilochus announces his quotation explicitly (Ar. Thesmo. 134–​37 = Aesch. F 61): καί σ’, ὦ νεανίσχ’, ἥτις εἶ, κατ’ Αἰσχύλον ἐκ τῆς Λυκουργείας ἐρέσθαι βούλομαι. ποδαπὸς ὁ γύννις; τίς πάτρα; τίς ἡ στολή; τίς ἡ τάραξις τοῦ βίου; And you, young man, whatever sort of girl you are, I wish to ask you some questions like Aeschylus does in his Lykourgeia. Whence comes this womanish man? What fatherland? What is this clothing? What is this disturbance of life? The scholiasts explain that these lines are taken from a scene in Edonoi in which Lycourgus interrogates the “captured Dionysus,” and add (Eub. F 24 = Σ Ar. Th. 137): ἐντεῦθεν τὴν ἀρχὴν Εὔβουλος ἐποιήσατο τοῦ Διονυσίου, τὰ ἀνόμοια τῶν ἐν τῇ Διονυσίου οἰκίᾳ καταλέγων· ἐπὶ πλέον μέντοι. From here Eubulus made the beginning of Dionysius, recounting the dissimilar things in the household of Dionysius; but he goes further. By “recounting the dissimilar things” the scholiast must mean that Eubulus has his character continue with something like the catalogue of incongruities Mnesilochus delivers in Women at the Thesmophoria (137–​39):

92. We do not know whether Dionysius was alive or dead at the time of Eubulus’ play, but he was certainly a poet whose tragedies were performed in Athens in recent memory. For commentary on this play, see Hunter 1983: 116–​22. Hanink 2014: 176–​78 helpfully draws attention to Eubulus’ juxtaposition of Dionysius with older tragedy, but she understands the ghost of Euripides to be the speaker of F 26, and does not address the importance of the parody of Edonoi in F 24.

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τί βάρβιτος λαλεῖ κροκωτῷ; τί δὲ λύρα κεκρυφάλῳ; τί λήκυθος καὶ στρόφιον; What does the barbitos have to say to the dress? The lyre to the hair net? Why an oil jar and a bra? By “he goes further” the scholium indicates that Eubulus quotes or parodies more verses from Edonoi than Aristophanes, although there is some debate about precisely where in Women at the Thesmophoria the quotation ends and the pure comic invention begins.93 Wilhelm Süss argued that in Eubulus’ play these verses were addressed to Dionysius, dressed in a woman’s costume while writing a tragedy like Agathon in the scene from Aristophanes.94 As Hunter notes (1983: 118), the punning available between the names Dionysus and Dionysius makes this an attractive suggestion, but it remains speculative. What we do know is that Eubulus opened his play about the tyrant and tragedian Dionysius with tragic verses, lines from Aeschylus concerned with incongruity. The incongruity in question may as easily have been Dionysius’ activities as both poet and ruler, since the scholiast indicates that the incongruities were “in Dionysius’ household”:  in Aristophanes the houses of tragic poets are always stuffed with tragic paraphernalia, costumes, props, and so forth, and such a scenario would create a striking incongruity if the house in question were a tyrant’s palace. By opening his Dionysius with verses from Aeschylus, Eubulus signals not only that his comedy will engage with Dionysius as a tragedian, but implicitly that he will juxtapose him (no doubt unfavorably) with the great poets of the tragic canon. This becomes explicit in another fragment from the play, when a poet objects to someone’s complaints about sigmatism, that is, the overuse of the letter σ in poetic verse (26): Εὐριπίδου δ’ “ἔσωσα σ᾽ ὡς ἴσασ᾽ ὅσοι” καὶ “παρθέν’ εἰ σ’, ἕξεις μοι χάριν;” καὶ τοῖς ἐμοῖσιν ἐγγελῶσι πήμασιν τὰ σῖγμα συλλέξαντες, ὡς αὐτοὶ σοφοί

93.  The scholiasts cite only Ποδαπὸς ὁ γύννις as from Edonoi, but see my discussion of the Thesmo. passage in Chapter 4, with Rau 1967: 109–​10; Riu 1999: 191–​92; Prato 2001: ad loc.; Austin and Olson 2004: ad loc. 94. Süss 1966: 306–​7.

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Euripides has “I saved you as so many know” and “Virgin, if I  should save you, will you have some gratitude for me?” And yet they laugh at my labors, collecting up the sigmas, as if they were wise themselves… .95 These verses look to be drawn from a longer speech by a poet who is defending himself with citations from canonical authorities, like the poet in Plato’s Skeuai who compares his presentation of Electra to Euripides’; the speaker rebukes his critics for accusing him of sigmatism, since Euripides himself was notorious (in comedy) for his sibilant verses.96 The speaker actually misquotes both verses to render them more sigmatic, dropping Ἑλλήνων from the first (Eur. Med. 476)  and changing εἴσῃ to ἕξεις in the second (Eur. Andromeda F 129). Although the suggestion has been made that this poet (speaking perhaps only the last two lines) is Euripides, returned from the grave, it seems more likely to be Dionysius himself, complaining about modern critics who are not even poets (σοφός must have its special sense of “skilled at poetry” here) and who are ignorant (he suggests) of the tragic canon.97 The speaker has, moreover, chosen two Euripidean quotations whose original contexts concern gratitude or ingratitude for services rendered, making them all the more apt for an indignant reproach against an audience that has failed to give this poet the praise he feels entitled to. Dionysius himself struggled to achieve a victory in the tragic competitions at Athens until finally winning at the Lenaia of 367 bce; the story told by Diodorus (15.74), that Dionysius died as a result of excessive celebration after this victory, almost certainly stems from comedy, and there is no more likely source than this play. Dionysius may or may not be the speaker of F 26, but the character who defends his “labors” by quoting Euripides must be a tragedian; he even speaks like a tragedian, (note πῆμα, a tragic word). The focus here is once again on the relationship between modern tragic poetry and the fifth-​century canon; a play that opens with lines from Aeschylus and openly discusses Euripides marks Dionysius for his belatedness. A life of Euripides (Vit. Eur. 2) claims that Dionysius purchased the harp, tablet, and stylus of Euripides, hoping the great poet’s equipment would enable him to win the tragic competition; Lucian in his diatribe Against 95. I have chosen to give a literal translation of these verses, rather than attempting to recreate the s-​alliteration of Euripides’ verses; Rusten 2011: 473 gives “safety sounds so swell!” and “Miss, should safety secure service?” Cf. Olson 2007: 179. 96.  The charge of sigmatism often made against Euripides was technically inaccurate:  see Clayman 1987. Hunter 1983: 120 suggests that it must have been based on a handful of memorable lines, such as those quoted here. 97. See Webster 1970: 28–​29; Hunter 1983: 119–​20; Olson 2007: 179; Hanink 2014: 177–​78.

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the Uneducated Man Who Has Purchased Many Books tells the same story but with Dionysius purchasing Aeschylus’ equipment instead (Adv. Ind. 15).98 Some version of this story may have originated with Eubulus’ play; regardless, both the Vita and Lucian attest to a comic tradition of mocking Dionysius for his concern over his belatedness, his position in a tragic canon dominated by the great poets of the fifth century.99 Athenaeus cites a further fragment from Eubulus’ Dionysius as a description of the tyrant’s behavior toward his flatterers (6.260c = F 25): ἀλλ’ ἔστι τοῖς σεμνοῖς μὲν αὐθαδέστερος καὶ τοῖς κόλαξι πᾶσι, τοῖς σκώπτουσι δὲ ἑαυτὸν εὐόργητος· ἡγεῖται  δὴ τούτους μόνους ἐλευθέρους, κἂν δοῦλος ᾖ. But to the haughty he is rather stern and to all flatterers. To those who mock him, however, he is good-​tempered, for he believes that these men alone are free, even if one happens to be a slave. There is some rather self-​conscious humor at work when a character in a play mocking Dionysius claims that Dionysius is well disposed toward those who mock him.100 Diogenes Laertius relates an anecdote in which Dionysius quotes some lines of Sophocles to the philosopher Aristippus that closely resemble this sentiment in Eubulus (DL 2.82, with S. F 873): ὅστις γὰρ ὡς τύραννον ἐμπορεύεται κείνου ’στὶ δοῦλος, κἂν ἐλεύθερος μόλῃ. Whoever comes to a tyrant is his slave, even if he came a free man. If Eubulus intended a reminiscence of these lines in his description of Dionysius, we could see all three of the tragedians of the fifth-​century canon invoked in Eubulus’ treatment of Dionysius, but the allusion, if there is one, is much subtler than the references to Aeschylus and Euripides; it may be mere coincidence that Diogenes associates with Dionysius these lines from Sophocles that are so similar to Eubulus’ description of him.

98. Hunter 1983: 118. 99. Cf. Hanink 2014: 178. 100.  For σκώπτειν as the definitive activity of the comic poet, see Chapter  3, on Aristophanes’ Peace.

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The other two fragments of Dionysius (27, 28) suggest more tragic or at least elevated language in the comedy, but shed no further light on Eubulus’ engagement with Dionysius’ works. Nevertheless this play stands out among paratragic comedies of the fourth century in its explicit treatment of a contemporary tragic poet. As we have seen, the depiction of tragic poets as characters was one of the central elements of comedy’s culture of tragedy in the fifth century; Eubulus displays a marked self-​consciousness toward the issue of belatedness in a literary tradition, then, by reviving a popular fifth-​century device for a fourth-​century comedy about a fourth-​century tragic poet’s relationship to fifth-​century tragedy. Aristophanes’ paratragic comedies, particularly Women at the Thesmophoria as we shall see, draw much literary energy from the ironic tension Aristophanes creates by mocking tragedy for its repetitiveness while simultaneously imitating tragedy himself, and I believe we see the same sort of delightful tension here, as Eubulus revives a dramaturgical form from a previous era to reveal the belatedness of a contemporary tragedian. Eubulus calls attention to his awareness of the comic tradition he’s operating within by parodying the same verses from Aeschylus’ Edonoi that Aristophanes parodied in Women at the Thesmophoria, and mocking the same lines from Euripides’ Medea that Plato already mocked in his joke about Euripides’ sigmatism (F 29). Perhaps Wright is correct to assert that “it is hard to identify any major advances in the treatment of poets and poetry in the work of the later comedians,” but Eubulus does, I would argue, take a remarkably sophisticated approach to his own belated place in the comic tradition here, implicitly marking the fifth-​ century comic sources of the techniques he uses to mock a fourth-​century tragic poet for being himself obsessed with the tragedy of the fifth century.101 Eubulus’ Dionysius stands out among the remains of fourth-​century comedy as an unusually overt treatment of a contemporary tragic poet. One of the defining qualities of comedy after the end of the Peloponnesian War is its decrease in topicality, in explicit reference to specific contemporary individuals.102 The shifting political climate, the growing need for exportability, the evident preference of later audiences for universalizing drama, all contribute to a move toward comedies less firmly grounded in the offstage events, places, and personalities of contemporary Athens. But this narrative, true as it no doubt is in its broad outlines, can be taken too far. It has sometimes been said, for example, that no fourth-​ century comic poet ever refers to another by name, but this is not quite correct.103

101. Wright 2013b: 622. 102. For this shift, see among many others Arnott 1972; Nesselrath 1990: 1–​180; Rosen 1995; Csapo 2000a; Sidwell 2000; Sommerstein 2009: 272–​88; Wright 2013b. 103. Slater 1985: 103; Wright 2013b: 611.

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In Alexis’ Parasitos, a character boasting about the cold temperature of his well water works in a jab against Ararus, the comic poet and son of Aristophanes (F 184): καὶ γὰρ βούλομαι ὕδατός σε γεῦσαι· πρᾶγμα δ’ ἐστί μοι μέγα φρέατος ἔνδον ψυχρότερον Ἀραρότος And I want you to taste the water: I’ve got a great well inside that’s more frigid than Ararus. As I  have noted above, by and large in our extant evidence comments about other comic poets tend to cluster in the prologue and parabasis, places where the dramatic illusion is at its thinnest; with the parabasis abandoned in the fourth century, we would therefore expect a certain decrease in the amount of explicit reference to the poet’s comic rivals, but passing comments such as these would still have been possible.104 Given the state and sources of our evidence for fourth-​century comedy—​and, for that matter, for fourth-​century tragedy—​we would not expect to see a wealth of references to contemporary tragedy in the later comic fragments. We do, however, possess a handful of instances in addition to Eubulus’ Dionysius, where we glimpse the role of more recent tragic poets in later tragic culture.105 Ephippus, for example, also has a character mention Dionysius, in the course of an oath in which the speaker calls down various curses on his own head should he violate his word (F 16): Διονυσίου δὲ δράματ’ ἐκμαθεῖν δέοι καὶ Δημοφῶντος ἅττ’ ἐποίησεν εἰς Κότυν, ῥήσεις τε κατὰ δεῖπνον Θεόδωρός μοι λέγοι, Λάχητί τ’ οἰκήσαιμι τὴν ἑξῆς θύραν, κυμβία τε παρέχοιμ’ ἑστιῶν Εὐριπίδῃ. May I be forced to memorize Dionysius’ plays, and what Demophon wrote against Cotys, and may Theodorus perform his speeches for me at dinner, and may I live next door to Laches, and may I provide cups for Euripides, hosting him for dinner.

104.  See Nesselrath 1990:  313–​14 and Arnott 1996:  549 for discussion of this fragment; Nesselrath (1990: 313) rightly labels it “the only evidence from this period for polemic against a fellow poet.” 105. For the development of tragedy in this period, see Webster 1954 and Easterling 1993.

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The identities of the Demophon and Laches mentioned here are unknown, but Dionysius must be the tyrant and tragic poet, and Theodorus is probably the contemporary tragic actor.106 The notion of bad tragedy as a punishment is familiar to us from Aristophanes’ Knights, where the chorus pray (400–​401): εἴ σε μὴ μισῶ, γενοίμην ἐν Κρατίνου κῴδιον καὶ διδασκοίμην προσᾴδειν Μορσίμου τραγῳδίᾳ. If I  don’t hate you [sc. the Paphlagonian], may I  become a blanket in Cratinus’ house, and be taught to sing in a tragedy by Morsimus! Ephippus’ speaker, like Aristophanes’ chorus, portrays the plays of Dionysius and the speeches of Theodorus as a species of torture. This is a striking collocation of two forms of engagement with tragedy outside theatrical performance: memorizing the plays of Dionysius is presumably an activity that would involve reading from a written text, and the speaker specifies that the performances of Theodorus’ he fears are his recitation of speeches at dinner, rather than his formal acting in the theater. The chorus of Knights fear being forced to perform the works of Morsimus, but Ephippus’ speaker here fears exposure to bad tragedy in the context of the culture of tragedy that exists outside the tragic competition. The “Euripides” in the final line, however, may or may not be the great tragedian:  on the one hand, Athenaeus quotes this fragment as one of a series of references to a drunken Euripides who, he insists, is not the tragic poet (11.482c–​ d); on the other, two of the three fragments he cites to prove this claim pair the Euripides in question with other tragedians. He first quotes a different fragment of Ephippus (F 9): οὐ κύλικας ἐπὶ τὰ δεῖπνα Χαιρήμων φέρει; οὐ κυμβίοισι πεπολέμηκ’ Εὐριπίδης; Doesn’t Chaeremon bring wine glasses to dinner parties? And hasn’t Euripides battled with cups? Athenaeus then cites Anaxandrides for another quotation about this drunken Euripides (F 33), and finally quotes Ephippus F 16, where Euripides is paired with Dionysius and Theodorus. If Chaeremon in F 9 is the tragic poet, then, contrary to Athenaeus’ statement, these may all be instances of a running joke

106. Olson 2006–​2012: 5.343 n. 241 (ad Ath. 11.482d).

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in fourth-​century comedy about Euripides as a drunkard; if Athenaeus is correct, then the repeated juxtaposition of this other Euripides’ name with the names of actual tragic poets must be intended as a sort of joke comparing him with his famous poetic namesake.107 At the very least, Ephippus F 16’s reference to Dionysius and Theodorus is certainly an instance of the naming of contemporary figures in tragedy, and his F 9 may well be a joke about the fourth-​century tragedian Chaeremon. These references in Ephippus and Anaxandrides to the cups of Euripides may indicate the development of a stock joke about the tragic poet as a drunkard. We also see in Alexis a reference to a contemporary tragedian, Cleaenetus, as a glutton (F 268): μὴ ὥρασι … μετὰ τῶν κακῶν ἵκοιθ’ ὁ τοὺς θέρμους φαγών, ἐν τῷ προθύρῳ τὰ λέμμαθ’ ὁτιὴ κατέλιπε, ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἀπεπνίγη καταφαγών. μάλιστα δὲ Κλεαίνετος μὲν οὐκ ἐδήδοκ’ οἶδ’ ὅτι ὁ τραγικὸς αὐτούς· οὐδενὸς γὰρ πώποτε ἀπέβαλεν ὀσπρίου λέπος· οὕτως ἐκεῖνός ἐστιν εὐχερὴς ἀνήρ May he come to an untimely end along with all his evil deeds, the man who ate the lupines, since he left the pods in the doorway but didn’t choke to death after he devoured the beans. Especially … But Cleaenetus the tragedian didn’t eat them, that I  know well, for he never left behind a beanpod: that’s how much of a glutton he is. The precise dramatic circumstances of this fragment are a little difficult to reconstruct: evidently a character is complaining about a mess of lupine pods left before a door, and either he or another character, likely after a gap in the text, concludes that Cleaenetus the tragedian couldn’t have been responsible because such a glutton would’ve eaten even the pods.108 Whether the speaker specifies Cleaenetus as “the tragedian” to distinguish him from another real bearer of that name or a

107. Athenaeus cites Antiochus, the author of a work on komoidoumenoi in Middle Comedy, as his authority; see Steinhausen 1910: 49–​50 and Nesselrath 1996: 59. 108. Arnott 1996: 750–​54.

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fictional Cleaenetus within the play, he fortuitously guarantees for us that this is a joke about the gluttony of a contemporary tragic poet. Ephippus F 16 shows us that, as in the fifth century, comic depictions of tragic culture in the fourth century refer not only to the tragic poets themselves, but also to figures like the actor Theodorus who were involved in bringing tragedy onto the stage. As criticism of tragedy off the stage becomes increasingly professionalized, we even begin to catch absurd glimpses of the scholars and critics who, like Plato and Aristotle, took over the process of codifying and canonizing tragedy. Wright has recently discussed the delightful fragment from Alexis’ Linus, for example, in which Linus invites his pupil Heracles to select a volume from his library (140).109 From among the canonical texts of epic, tragedy, lyric, Heracles chooses what he takes for a cookbook by Simus, a man Linus describes as “the best chef among actors, the best actor among chefs”; as Arnott notes, “the joke … makes sense only if a real-​life Simus (by name or nickname) doubled as tragic actor and cook in Alexis’ Athens” (1996: 412). Wright shows how the conversation between Heracles and Linus merges the mythical past with the burgeoning culture of reading and writing about tragedy in fourth-​century Athens, featuring jokes about a contemporary figure in tragedy, the actor Simus, and Linus assimilated to a modern expert in literary criticism, his library stocked with contemporary works on poetry of every sort. In Antiphanes’ Kares (“Men from Caria”), another scholar undermines his own reputation with lewd behavior at a symposium (111): οὐχ ὁρᾷς ὀρχούμενον ταῖς χερσὶ τὸν βάκηλον; οὐδ’ αἰσχύνεται ὁ τὸν Ἡράκλειτον πᾶσιν ἐξηγούμενος, ὁ τὴν Θεοδέκτου μόνος ἀνευρηκὼς τέχνην, ὁ τὰ κεφάλαια συγγράφων Εὐριπίδῃ Don’t you see that eunuch dancing with his hands? He should be ashamed, the man who explained Heraclitus to all, who alone discovered the art of Theodectes, who composed the summaries to Euripides. This man who is dancing like a βάκηλος, a eunuch priest of Cybele, is apparently a scholar of wide learning (Athenaeus calls him “one of the sophoi”) who has written on the philosopher Heraclitus, the rhetorician and tragic poet Theodectes, and the great Euripides.110 For maximum rhetorical effect this speaker should 109. Wright 2013b: 609–​11; cf. Webster 1970: 85; Nesselrath 1990: 227–​29; Olson 2007: 266–​68. 110. The term κεφάλαιον appears three times in the extant hypotheses of our tragedies, and each time it denotes a list of the most important events in the plot of the play: for Sophocles’ Oedipus

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arrange his description of the scholar’s accomplishments in ascending order: it would be shameful for a man learned in Heraclitus to dance with his hands like a foreign priest, but all the more so an expounder on Theodectes, to say nothing of an expert on Euripides! Theodectes himself wrote tragedies as well as rhetorical treatises, and if tragic τέχνη is what this speaker has in mind, the scholar-​character may even have been particularly known for his work on tragedians, modern and classic; regardless, the fragment mingles references to contemporary and canonical tragedians.111 In addition to these references to tragic poets, actors, scholars, and other professionals of the world of tragedy, we see in the fourth century to an even greater extent than in the fifth the depiction of tragedy as part of the ordinary fabric of the everyday world. In this evolving depiction of tragic culture, famous scenes and characters from fifth-​century tragedy are repeatedly adduced as analogies for contemporary life. Alexis, for example, has a character compare the titular sponger of his Parasitos to Aeschylus’ Telephus (183): καλοῦσι δ’ αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ νεώτεροι Παράσιτον ὑποκόρισμα· τῷ δ’ οὐδὲν μέλει. δειπνεῖ δ’ ἄφωνος Τήλεφος, νεύων μόνον πρὸς τοὺς ἐπερωτῶντάς τι… All the younger men call him the nickname “Parasite,” but he doesn’t care. At dinner he’s a silent Telephus, simply nodding towards anyone who asks him something… Aeschylus’ predilection for silent protagonists in the prologues of his tragedies was made notorious by Aristophanes’ Frogs, and in the fourth century the Tyrannus it consists of “Oedipus’ recognition of his own crimes, the disabling of his eyes, and the death of Jocasta by hanging” (Arg. 3); for his Antigone, “the burial of Polyneices, the taking up of Antigone, the death of Haemon, and the fate of Eurydice the mother of Haemon” (Arg. 1); and for the Prometheus Bound, “the binding of Prometheus.” If it has this technical sense in Antiphanes, then the wise man in question has simply composed what amount to bullet points of the crucial events of the plays, but his summaries may well have consisted of something more elaborate. See Denniston 1927: 115; Weinreich 1948: 137–​38; Dover 1993a: 299. For Antiphanes’ Kares see Amouroux 1999: 72 and Hanink 2014: 174–​75. 111. The scene is strikingly similar to a moment in Petronius’ Satyrica (52), in which Trimalchio attempts to show off his learning by recounting incredibly garbled tales of the sack of Troy by Hannibal, Cassandra killing her sons, and Daedalus enclosing Niobe in the Trojan Horse, and then begins to dance with his hands (ipse erectis supra frontem manibus …) before his wife whispers in his ear that such things are beneath his dignity (dixerit non decere gravitatem eius tam humiles ineptias). Both Antiphanes and Petronius show us the same clash between literary culture and lewd behavior in the symposium context: these are both belated characters, whose

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paradigmatic example of such a character becomes Telephus in Aeschylus’ Mysoi; so famous was this silent entrance that Aristotle can refer to Telephus simply as ὁ ἄφωνος (Poet. 1460a).112 Although “silent Telephus” may simply have become a proverbial expression by this time for a person who refuses to speak, the tragic origins of the expression are still important for Alexis’ joke here. As Arnott has shown, before Alexis’ comedy the term “parasite” meant simply a priest who received a free meal in exchange for his religious duties; Telephus, on the other hand, remains silent even when spoken to because he has been tainted by blood guilt.113 Alexis thus sets up a neat clash in the meaning of the two names he calls his protagonist here—​“Parasite” because he is like a holy man, “Telephus” because he is like an unholy one—​both of which in turn contrast with the banality of the character’s actual situation, as a man too devoted to food (Athenaeus’ πολύφαγος) to bother speaking to his messmates. In likening his character to the silent Telephus, moreover, Alexis compares him in the prologue of his comedy to the famous behavior of a character in the prologue of a tragedy, priming the audience to wonder just how this parasitic “Telephus” will behave when he enters the stage. Amphis in his Planos likewise has a character deploy the proverbial silent Telephus and likewise draws on its original tragic context (30)114: πρὸς τοὺς στρατηγοὺς ῥᾷόν ἐστι μυρίαις μοίραις προσελθόντ’ ἀξιωθῆναι λόγου λαβεῖν τ’ ἀπόκρισιν ἂν ἐπερωτᾷ τις ἢ πρὸς τοὺς καταράτους ἰχθυοπώλας ἐν ἀγορᾷ. οὓς ἂν ἐρωτήσῃ τις † λαβών τι τῶν παρακειμένων, ἔκυψεν ὥσπερ Τήλεφος πρῶτον σιωπῇ (καὶ δικαίως τοῦτό γε· ἅπαντες ἀνδροφόνοι γάρ εἰσιν ἑνὶ λόγῳ), ὡσεὶ † προσέχων δ᾽ † οὐδὲν οὐδ’ ἀκηκοὼς ἔκρουσε πουλύπουν τιν’· ὁ δ’ ἐπρήσθη … … καὶ τότ’ οὐ λαλῶν ὅλα

status depends not on their own accomplishments but on their education in an increasingly remote canon of classicized poetry, and both reveal their true qualities as they fail to behave in a manner befitting the supposedly well-​educated. 112.  Although the other examples Aristotle cites in this passage are drawn from Sophocles, Telephus cannot have entered silent in Sophocles’ Mysoi, as F 411 shows (see TrGF 4: 349–​50). 113. The term prior to Alexis’ play was κόλαξ; the explanation of the nickname in this fragment makes it clear that this is a new formulation coined by Alexis. See Arnott 1996: 542–​50; and cf. Nesselrath 1990: 312–​14 and Mesturini 2001: 261–​81. 114. See Olson 2007: 362–​64 for commentary on this fragment.

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τὰ ῥήματ’, ἀλλὰ συλλαβὴν ἀφελὼν “τάρων βολῶν γένοιτ’ ἄν·” “ἡ δὲ κέστρα;” “κτὼ βολῶν.” τοιαῦτ’ ἀκοῦσαι δεῖ τὸν ὀψωνοῦντά τι It’s a thousand times easier to be deemed worthy to come speak before the generals and to get an answer to whatever you ask than before those cursed fish sellers in the market. Whatever anyone asks, picking up something of what’s for sale, first he hunches like Telephus in silence (and justly so, for they’re all, in a word, murderers); then, as if he hasn’t noticed or heard anything, he slaps some squid; the shopper’s inflamed … but then not even bothering to say whole words but clipping his syllables he says, “That’d be fo’bols.” “And the fish?” “Eigh’bols.” That’s the sort of thing you have to listen to when you go shopping for seafood… . The distance between the silent grandeur of the brooding Telephus and the hostile ill manners of the fish merchant makes the latter absurdly squalid. This distance is emphasized when Amphis’ speaker insists that the analogy is really an accurate one, because fish sellers are all, like Telephus, murderers, a hilariously exaggerated term in this context for a churlish merchant; as Olson notes, there are a number of references in tragedy to a custom that murderers would remain silent until purified (2007:  363).115 Both Alexis and Amphis, then, draw on the original tragic context of Telephus’ silent behavior, rather than simply deploying his name as a proverb for silence; both conjure up an image of Aeschylus’ Telephus on stage, hunched and nodding but refusing to speak. Amphis’ character’s analogy ultimately leaves us with the absurd notion that the tragic Telephus himself sat in silence not out of blood guilt or fear of spreading pollution but because he was just the sort of rude person you might as well call a murderer. Both Alexis’ and Amphis’ characters show themselves as participants in tragic culture whose familiarity with tragedy causes them to understand events in their daily lives as analogous to events on the tragic stage. A character in Alexis’s Lebes makes another comparison between fish sellers and figures from tragedy, but this time the analogy is even more absurd (131): οὐ γέγονε μετὰ Σόλωνα κρείττων οὐδὲ εἷς Ἀριστονίκου νομοθέτης· τά τ’ ἄλλα γὰρ

115.  Nesselrath 1990:  294 (with n.  26)  notes the absurdity of the comparison, but does not emphasize the importance of the original tragic context of Telephus’ behavior.

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νενομοθέτηκε πολλὰ καὶ παντοῖα δή, νυνί τε καινὸν εἰσφέρει νόμον τινὰ χρυσοῦν, τὸ μὴ πωλεῖν καθημένους ἔτι τοὺς ἰχθυοπώλας, διὰ τέλους δ’ ἑστηκότας· εἶτ’ εἰς νέωτά φησι γράψειν κρεμαμένους, καὶ θᾶττον ἀποπέμψουσι τοὺς ὠνουμένους, ἀπὸ μηχανῆς πωλοῦντες ὥσπερ οἱ θεοί. There never was any better lawgiver after Solon than Aristonicus. He’s made all kinds of other good laws, and now he brings in a new law that’s solid gold: that fish sellers can’t sell sitting down, but have to stand the whole time. Then he says next year he’ll write one that they have to be hanging up, and they’ll send their customers off faster, because they’ll be selling off the crane just like gods! At first it seems this character—​in Arnott’s reading (1996: 365), a bomolochos echoing the somewhat more rational remarks of the speaker of F 130, another eulogy of Aristonicus—​has simply made a logical, if silly, extension of Aristonicus’ supposed ban on fish sellers selling seated: if they are to be raised from their chairs to their feet, why not from their feet to a levitating height dangling off the crane? But the penultimate line of this little speech shows us that this character has conceived of the encounter with the fish seller as itself a sort of tragedy. The famous fragment of Antiphanes’ Poiesis in which a comic poet complains of the comparative ease of writing tragedy makes it clear that the arrival of a god on the crane has become by this period a proverbial—​and proverbially feeble—​way to hasten the end of a tragedy (F 189.13–​16)116: θ’ ὅταν μηθὲν δύνωντ’ εἰπεῖν ἔτι, κομιδῇ δ’ ἀπειρήκωσιν ἐν τοῖς δράμασιν, αἴρουσιν ὥσπερ δάκτυλον τὴν μηχανήν, καὶ τοῖς θεωμένοισιν ἀποχρώντως ἔχει. Then whenever they don’t have anything left to say and they’ve simply lost the will to continue with their plays, they lift the crane like a finger raised in surrender, and the spectators are satisfied. Similarly, the description in Alexis’ Lebes of fishmongers suspended like gods cues us to consider the crane there as a reference to the abrupt end of a tragedy brought about by a deus ex machina.117 The fish seller is thus able to send his customers off 116. For fuller discussion of this fragment, see Chapter 2. 117. Although the crane was presumably as available to comedy as to tragedy, in our evidence the comic poets very frequently associate it with tragedy:  Ar. Pax 80–​178 (Trygaeus’ flight

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more quickly not because he is somehow more efficient suspended from a crane, but because, to this speaker, a god on the crane signals a conclusion. Not only is the transaction with the fish seller made humorous by its contrast with the grandeur of a tragic exodus, but tragedy itself is moreover represented as a mere marketplace transaction between audience and performers.118 Unlike the characters in Alexis’ Parasitos or Amphis’ Planos, the speaker in Alexis’ Lebes here sees his life not as analogous to the content of certain tragic plots, but rather as analogous to an actual tragic performance. The most pointed way for characters in fourth-​century comedy to connect their circumstances with tragedy is through quotation. In comic scenes of consolation, for example, characters in Nicostratus and Philippides cite the opening line of Euripides’ Stheneboea (F 661: οὐκ ἔστιν ὅστις πάντ’ ἀνὴρ εὐδαιμονεῖ, “no man is happy in every way”); both characters attribute the line to Euripides by name, simultaneously seeking to console their companions and to ensure that no one misses their displays of erudition. Even as the comic poets portray this selective approach to tragedy, however, they also undermine it: Wright suggests that the claim of Nicostratus’ character that Euripides has encapsulated the whole of life into a single line should be felt as an absurd exaggeration; Rosen similarly argues that the famous fragment of Timocles praising the consolatory power of tragedy (F 6) is to be understood as an ironic indictment of the whole notion of tragedy as a source of consolation.119 When Daos in Menander’s Aspis feigns grief by quoting a whole slew of consolatory tragic verses, including the famous line from Euripides’ Stheneboea, his interlocutor is quickly exasperated, and cries, “Gnomologizing, you three-​times-​wretched fool? Won’t he ever stop?”120 Many of these characters treat fifth-​century tragedy, Euripides in particular, as an indisputable source of authority; they seem to expect that an apt tragic sententia should win an argument without further objection, and grow indignant

on the beetle, modeled on Eur. Bellerophon); Av. 1196–​1261 (Iris; see Dunbar 1995: ad loc. for her tragic language throughout the scene); Th. 1098–​1135 (Euripides reperforming his own Andromeda; see Chapter 4); F 192 (from Daedalus, an address to the crane operator in tragic language); Cratinus F 218, 222, with adesp. 1104 (Seriphioi, with Perseus in tragic costume on the crane? See Bakola 2010: 158–​68); Strattis F 46 (Dionysus quoting Euripides from the crane; see Chapter 2); Antiphanes F 189. Cf. Plato, Cratylus 425d. For the definitive account of the crane, see Mastronarde 1990, and cf. Lendle 1995; Beta 2004: 232–​34; and below, Chapter 4, on Thesmo. 118. On Alexis’ Lebes see Nesselrath 1990: 302–​4 and Arnott 1996: 361–​93. For the fishmonger as a literary figure, see Wright 2013b: 608. 119. Wright 2013b: 617; Rosen 2012. 120. 414–​16. For discussion of this famous passage, see Gomme and Sandbach 1973: 95–​99; Katsouris 1975:  110–​12; Goldberg 1980:  29–​43; Slater 1985:  104–​5; Hunter 1985:  119–​21; Gutzwiller 2000: 122–​34; Konstantakos 2003–​04: 40–​41; Hanink 2014: 163. For Menander’s general practice of tragic quotation, see Webster 1960: 155–​62.

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when their interlocutors question the sources of their citations. These characters show us the formation of comedy’s culture of tragedy as an ongoing negotiation, in which the right approach to tragic texts and the correct use of tragedy in everyday life remain open questions. As Johanna Hanink puts it, the paratragic plays of fourth century comedy “do not, like the plays of Aristophanes, seem to question the value, quality, or even morality of the classical tragedies (or tragedians) themselves. Instead the comic playwrights take for granted that their audiences already recognize the authority and prestige of Euripidean tragedy” (2014: 175). These later comic characters treat tragedy as a set of texts known by the educated, a source of prestige for those who can display their knowledge of it. Of course, in comedy this often turns into humorously inept attempts to win such prestige, as characters reveal their hilariously superficial knowledge of the tragic canon. In Antiphanes’ Traumatias, for example, a bombastic character attempts to cite Euripides but is interrogated by a doubting companion (205): μὴ μεστὰς ἀεὶ ἕλκωμεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ λογισμὸς εἰς μέσον παταξάτω τις, καί τι καὶ μελίσκιον, στροφὴ λόγων παρελθέτω τις. ἡδύ τοι ἔστιν μεταβολὴ παντὸς ἔργου πλὴν ἑνός …    (Α.) παραδίδου δ’ ἑξῆς ἐμοὶ τὸν ἀρκεσίγυιον, ὡς ἔφασκ’ Εὐριπίδης. (Β.) Εὐριπίδης γὰρ τοῦτ’ ἔφασκεν; (Α.) ἀλλὰ τίς; (Β.) Φιλόξενος δήπουθεν. (Α.) οὐθὲν διαφέρει, ὦ τᾶν· ἐλέγχεις μ’ ἕνεκα συλλαβῆς μιᾶς Let’s not always quaff full cups, but let some argumentation knock on the door and come in, and some little song, let there be some exchanging of speeches among us. For it is sweet to have a change from every task except one… . (A.) Pass me in turn the “limb strengthener,” as Euripides said. (B.) Did Euripides really say that? (A.) Well, who then? (B.) Philoxenus surely. (A.) It doesn’t make any difference, my good man: you’re interrogating me over a mere syllable! It is unclear whether in the gap in line 6 of this fragment we have a change of speaker—​one man at a symposium suggests abandoning wine for literary conversation, another replies by asking for wine—​or if the speaker of the opening lines continues his train of thought by asking for wine in a literary way. Either way, the character I have labeled A defends his request for wine by voicing it in just the

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sort of language this gathering might approve of, a group of men at least one of whom claims to prefer discussion and song to drinking. In attempting to cite his poetic source, however, he reveals his ignorance: we don’t know whether the epithet “limb strengthener” was applied to wine by Euripides, Philoxenus, or another poet entirely, but the fact that this character doesn’t even think it’s important reveals the total superficiality of his poetic knowledge. Not only is he ignorant of the original context of the word, he’s not even sure whether he’s quoting a tragic or a dithyrambic poet. As Hanink points out (2014: 172), the speaker’s lack of concern about the difference between Euripides and Philoxenus suggests that he regards the classicized poetry of prior generations as a sort of undifferentiated mass of potential erudite quotations: his condescending ὦ τᾶν suggests that he feels his interlocutor has entirely missed the point, which is to elevate one’s speech with poetic language, rather than actually to know anything at all about poetry.121 A parasite in Diphilus’ Synoris articulates this approach to tragic texts explicitly in the course of a conversation with the titular prostitute about the dice throw nicknamed “Euripides” (74): (Παράσιτος) ἄριστ’ ἀπαλλάττεις ἐπὶ τούτου τοῦ κύβου. (Συνωρίς) ἀστεῖος εἶ. δραχμὴν ὑπόθες. (Παρ.) κεῖται πάλαι. (Συν.) πῶς ἂν βάλοιμ’ Εὐριπίδην; (Παρ.) οὐκ ἄν ποτε Εὐριπίδης γυναῖκα σώσει’. οὐχ ὁρᾷς ἐν ταῖς τραγῳδίαισιν αὐτὰς ὡς στυγεῖ; τοὺς δὲ παρασίτους ἠγάπα. λέγει γέ τοι “ἀνὴρ γὰρ ὅστις εὖ βίον κεκτημένος μὴ τοὐλάχιστον τρεῖς ἀσυμβόλους τρέφει, ὄλοιτο, νόστου μή ποτ’ εἰς πάτραν τυχών.” (Συν.) πόθεν ἐστὶ ταῦτα, πρὸς θεῶν; (Παρ.) τί δέ σοι μέλει; οὐ γὰρ τὸ δρᾶμα, τὸν δὲ νοῦν σκοπούμεθα. (Parasite) You’re getting off quite well with this die. (Synoris) How urbane you are. Put down a drachma. (P.) I put it down ages ago. (S.) Now, how can I throw a Euripides? (P.) Euripides would never save a woman. Don’t you see how he hates them in his tragedies? But he loved parasites. You know, he says, “Truly a man who has a good livelihood but doesn’t nourish at least three

121. On this fragment see also TrGF 5.2: 1018 (Eur. F 1098); Nesselrath 1990: 248; Amouroux 1999: 109–​10; Wright 2013b: 612 n. 46. On the title of this play, see Arnott 1996: 663.

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non-​contributors, may he be destroyed without ever achieving his return to his homeland.” (S.) Where on earth is that from? (P.) W  hat do you care? It’s not the play, it’s the meaning we’re considering. The parasite first shows off his knowledge of Euripides with a pun on the name of the dice throw, but his ideas about Euripides—​that he was a misogynist who loved immoral characters—​are derived, as Wright and Hanink have shown, from comic portrayals of the poet rather from any familiarity with his work.122 The character then rather harshly assembles a Euripidean pastiche to defend his claim that Euripides loved parasites: the first line is derived from Euripides’ Antiope (F 187.1), the third from Iphigenia among the Taurians (535), but the second is obviously not a tragic line; the comic word ἀσύμβολος is a particular giveaway.123 Although the first line serves the parasite’s purpose well enough, its original context enhances the humor of his effort at quotation: it derives from a speech by Zethus in the Antiope in which he attempts to convince his brother Amphion that he should abandon poetry and music, a particularly apt speech for this parasite with his superficial approach to literature.124 When Synoris doubts the validity of his quotation and asks what play he’s quoting, he responds with parasite the striking defense that the play itself is irrelevant; like the speaker who asks for wine with a Euripidean tag in Antiphanes’ symposium scene, Diphilus’ parasite is indignant when his audience fails to understand that the purpose of a tragic quotation has nothing to do with understanding its origins.125 As we have seen, however, the comic poets themselves select their tragic quotations and allusions with great attention to their tragic source texts; for that portion of the audience who were capable of recognizing the sources of tragic verses in comedy, these scenes of superficial quotation not only make a joke of such shallow attempts to participate in tragic culture, but also emphasize the comic poets’ own learned treatment of canonical tragedy. 122. Wright 2013b: 616; Hanink 2014: 168. 123. Olson 2007: 179–​81. 124. See Chapter 2 for further discussion of parody of Euripides’ Antiope. 125. A similar play is undoubtedly at work in Antiphanes F 1 (Agroikos), in which a chef describes a feast in grandiloquent language, is asked what on earth he’s talking about, and replies, “I’m reciting a tragedy by Sophocles!” Unfortunately we are unable to discern what portion of his quotation, if any, derives from Sophocles (either the great poet or, in Kock’s view, his homonymous grandson); he may be quoting directly from an unknown play; mixing together Sophocles, Euripides, and perhaps other poets; or simply speaking “tragic” verses composed by Antiphanes. Nevertheless we see in this fragment the same merger of the tragic with the everyday, and the same superficial concern with citation. See Nesselrath 1990: 246–​48 and Hanink 2014: 172–​73.

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We see therefore that in the fourth century the poets of comedy continued to make use of the comic culture of tragedy developed by their predecessors in the fifth:  Axionicus depicted fans of Euripides, like the fans of Aristophanes’ Clouds and Plato’s Skeuai; Eubulus brought the tragedian Dionysius on stage, as Pherecrates, Plato, Teleclides, and Aristophanes had done with Aeschylus, Euripides, and other tragic poets; and many of the poets of Middle and New Comedy showed tragedy as part of the everyday world of their comic characters. The poets use this repertoire of devices I have labeled “tragic culture,” however, with more and more sophistication: fourth-​century fans are devotees of the dead Euripides, whose obsessions raise questions of canon formation and the experience of art; Eubulus signals his debt to earlier poets who had written tragedian characters by surrounding his Dionysius with allusions to Plato’s and Aristophanes’ jokes about Aeschylus and Euripides; Ephippus, Alexis, and Antiphanes merge familiar jokes and complaints about tragic poetry with references to the increasingly textual nature of the audience’s relationship with tragic plays.

Conclusion: Theatrical Conversations In the prologue of Aristophanes’ Peace, Trygaeus’ two slaves interrupt their discussion of the dung beetle and their master’s insanity to present a little vignette of literary conversation in the theater (43–​48): (Οι.β) οὐκοῦν ἂν ἤδη τῶν θεατῶν τις λέγοι νεανίας δοκησίσοφος, “τόδε πρᾶγμα τί; ὁ κάνθαρος δὲ πρὸς τί;” (Οι.α) κᾆτ’ αὐτῷ γ’ ἀνὴρ Ἰωνικός τίς φησι παρακαθήμενος. “δοκέω μέν, ἐς Κλέωνα τοῦτ’ αἰνίσσεται, ὡς κεῖνος ἐν Ἀΐδεω σπατίλην ἐσθίει.” (Second Slave) Might not some young man among the spectators who thinks himself clever say, “What’s that thing? What’s the point of the beetle?” (First Slave) And then some Ionian sitting next to him says, “I think it’s a riddle about Cleon, that he’s down in Hades eating shit.” This is a brilliant moment of self-​mockery on Aristophanes’ part: his plays have so steadily mocked Cleon for his whole career up to Peace that even after Cleon has died, these audience members assume the as-​yet-​inexplicable events on stage in Peace must somehow be a satirical allegory directed against him. At the same

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time, the slaves’ depiction of these two spectators is so disdainful that the joke is ultimately on anyone so simpleminded as to think that Aristophanes could write comedies only about Cleon.126 In an unknown play, perhaps even one pre-​dating Peace, Cratinus gives us a similar moment of conversation among spectators in the theater (342):   τίς δὲ σύ; κομψός τις ἔροιτο θεατής. ὑπολεπτολόγος, γνωμιδιώκτης, εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων. “Who’re you then?” some clever spectator might ask. “A man too subtle by half, a chaser after little maxims, a Euripidaristophanizer.” We have much less information about the context of this remark—​the anapestic meter may indicate a parabasis—​but the label θεατής and the brilliant coinage εὐριπιδαριστοφανίζων suggest that this is another envisioned moment of literary-​ critical conversation taking place in the theater during a dramatic performance; the “you” this speaker is imagined objecting to might be a character who speaks like a sophist, a rival poet, or even Cratinus himself.127 Both the slaves’ vignette from Peace and the celebrated but obscure fragment of Cratinus show us comic poets imagining the conversations their audiences have about comic poetry. These moments of what we might call the “comic culture of comedy” are mostly confined to prologues and parabases, to passages like the opening of Frogs, where Xanthias and Dionysus banter over the stale jokes of Aristophanes’ rivals, or the grand parabasis of Knights, where the chorus present an ironic history of the audience’s treatment of earlier comic poets. Within the mimetic fiction of comedy, comic characters do not for the most part seem to be aware of the genre “comedy” performed at their dramatic festivals: when Dicaeopolis refers to Aristophanes’ Babylonioi in the opening of Acharnians, for example, he describes the events of the plot as if they had actually happened.128 Dicaeopolis goes on, however, to discuss the tragedies of Aeschylus and Theognis as performances he witnessed in the theater. The evidence I have gathered in this chapter shows that Dicaeopolis was not alone: the comic poets consistently depict their characters as interested in and opinionated about tragedy, sometimes composed whole plays around characters

126. On this passage see Rosen 1984. 127. On this fragment see Sidwell 1995: 62–​63; Conti Bizzarro 1999: 91–​104; Luppe 2000: 19; Ruffell 2002:  160; O’Sullivan 2006; Ornaghi 2006:  87–​93; Olson 2007:  ad B41; Bakola 2010: 24–​29; Biles 2011: 124; Wright 2012: 7–​9. 128. Ar. Ach. 5–​8; see Olson 2002: ad loc.

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obsessed with tragedy, and even brought tragic poets themselves as characters into their comedies. I have argued that these various modes of engaging with tragedy amount to a repertoire of dramatic techniques we should consider together as comedy’s culture of tragedy: a culture of fans, poets, and theatergoers who recur throughout the corpus of Greek comedy and whose discussions of tragedy draw on a consistent but ever-​expanding set of shared tropes and motifs. As we shall see, the comic culture of tragedy and the tropes that accompany it in our fragmentary comic poets are present in Aristophanes as well; indeed he may well be the driving force behind comedy’s obsession with tragedy, as Michael Silk has long argued.129 In Wasps, we’ll see the effects of tragedy on a comic character obsessed with tragic poetry. In Women at the Thesmophoria, we’ll see tragedians brought on stage not only to discuss tragedy but to stage miniature performances of both tragedy and comedy. In Wealth we’ll see the dramatic festivals themselves structure a comedy that also begins to display many of the traits observed in this chapter as typical of fourth-​century comedy’s engagement with tragedy. As we have seen, comedy’s culture of tragedy evolves in the fourth century into something rather subtler, perhaps even muted, by comparison with the very open tragic engagements of the fifth century:  with all three of these Aristophanic plays, I hope to provide a sense of how the paratragedy we catch glimpses of in the fragments works on the scale of whole plays, but with Wealth in particular we have an opportunity to see Aristophanes grappling with the festival context in which comedy and tragedy were performed in a manner far too subtle to ever be detected in a fragmentary play. In all of these extant plays, however, Aristophanes’ depiction of tragic culture merges with his imitation of tragedy: conversations about tragic poetry become parodies of tragedy, and parodies in turn spark critical discussions among comic characters. Before we proceed to Aristophanes’ intact plays, then, we need to examine parody of tragedy in the comic fragments.

129. See Silk 1993 and 2000.

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Give Me a Bit of Paratragedy Tragic Parody in the Comic Fragments

An old man steps outside to relieve himself in the early hours of the morning; he wears a woman’s nightgown, claiming it was all he could find to put on in the dark. His neighbor comes by and shares a piece of news that spoils his day: the Assembly has already met, and the old man has missed his chance to earn the three obols he would’ve been paid for showing up to the meeting on time. His name is Blepyrus, his neighbor is Chremes, and the reasons for the assembly’s early meeting and for his inability to find any men’s clothing in his house are the same: his wife and the wives of the other Athenians stole their husbands’ clothes, sneaked out in the early hours of the morning, and held an assembly while their husbands slept, voting themselves into power. The play is Assemblywomen. When Blepyrus gets the bad news about his loss of the day’s Assembly wages, he cries out like a character in a tragedy (391–​93): οἴμοι δείλαιος. Ἀντίλοχ’, ἀποίμωξόν με τοῦ τριωβόλου τὸν ζῶντα μᾶλλον. τἀμὰ γὰρ διοίχεται. Oh wretched me! Antilochus, don’t cry for the three obols, cry for me, still alive! For I have lost everything that was mine. It’s enough for the audience to hear Blepyrus’ elevated language: the address to “Antilochus,” not the name of a character in this play, signals quotation; ἀποιμώζω and διοίχομαι are tragic vocabulary1; there is a stylized poetic artificiality to 1. ἀποιμώζω: A. Ag. 329, Ch. 1014; S. Ant. 1224, Phil. 278; Eur. Alc. 635, 768, Med. 31. διοίχομαι: S. Aj. 973, OC 574; Eur. Ion 765, Or. 182, 855, Suppl. 530, IA 958, F 1063.16.

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the distorted word order, with με separated from τὸν ζῶντα by the phrase τοῦ τριωβόλου, the meaning of whose genitive case becomes clear only with the final μᾶλλον. Characters in tragedy are always receiving bad news, and when comic characters get bad news, they tend to react with tragic language; elevated language over the loss of a mere three obols is funny enough on its own.2 This moment of parody, however, becomes much richer if the audience recognizes the source of the quotation. In Aeschylus’ Myrmidones, Achilles utters this cry when Antilochus, the son of Nestor, brings him the news that Patroclus has died (F 138): Ἀντίλοχ’, ἀποίμωξόν με τοῦ τεθνηκότος τὸν ζῶντα μᾶλλον. τἀμὰ γὰρ διοίχεται. Antilochus, don’t cry for the dead man, cry for me, still alive! For I have lost everything that was mine. Blepyrus is not merely deploying the generic language of tragedy to signal his distress: he is reenacting tragedy’s version of one of the most famous moments of grief and loss in all of Greek literature. Aeschylus’ Achilles, in commanding Antilochus to lament the living rather than the dead, insists that the loss of Patroclus is his complete ruination, a fate worse than death itself; Blepyrus, then, not only uses unnecessarily elevated language to lament the loss of his three obols, but equates their loss with the death of Patroclus, and the contrast between his loss and Achilles’ “fate worse than death” makes the quotation unbearably absurd. Achilles’ τἀμά, “all my possessions,” moreover, was metaphorical: by “all that was mine,” he means “everything I  cared about in the world.” Blepyrus renders the phrase literal again by making it refer to actual property: he means “all the income I expected today.” Aristophanes wants at least some portion of his audience to recognize the quotation: the name “Antilochus” will remind the learned of his role in both the Iliad and Myrmidones as the person who brought the news of Patroclus’ death to Achilles, and Blepyrus’ τὸν ζῶντα is completely meaningless until it reminds these audience members of the contrast between τὸν ζῶντα and τοῦ τεθνηκότος in Aeschylus. As we shall see in the second half of this book, this is often how tragic parody in Aristophanes works: it’s sufficiently funny if the majority of the audience recognizes a shift from comic to tragic language, but it’s much funnier and more compelling if at least some audience members are able to treat

2. Ussher (1973: 130) quotes van Leeuwen as commenting on these lines that “such grief could not be fittingly expressed except by the tongue of Aeschylus.”

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Aristophanes’ parody as a form of allusion and trace it back to its source.3 What I will argue in this chapter is that the same is often true of the other comic poets of the fifth and fourth centuries. Parody matters for these poets: it matters that the audience makes the effort to recognize the tragic sources behind comic parody, and this recognition in turn matters for the audience’s understanding of the comedy itself. In the previous chapter, I argued that overt references to tragedy in the comic fragments—​tragedians and tragedy fans as characters on stage, conversations about good and bad tragedy—​create a culture of tragedy in fifth-​and fourth-​ century comedy. In this chapter, I focus instead on tragic parody, on comic imitations of tragic language, characters, plot, and spectacle. Instead of contemporary Athenians discussing tragedy, here we see characters whose lives suddenly and without warning begin to resemble tragedy: their speech becomes elevated, their emotions heightened, often in stark contrast to the banal comic realities that surround them. Much of the parody of tragedy that survives in the comic fragments belongs, I will argue, to mythological comedy: here instead of depicting tragedy’s place in a comic version of the real Athens, comedy signals that it is venturing into the world of tragedy itself, taking the actual plots and characters of tragedy and rendering them comic. Tragic culture involves overt discussion of tragedy: characters criticize particular aspects of tragic performances, complain about poets they hate, long for the dead poets of prior generations, cite embarrassing lines of tragic bombast. Parody is a much subtler and more intimate form of engagement with tragedy: instead of depicting characters talking about tragedy, the comic poets arrange for their characters to begin speaking as if they are in a tragedy themselves. My own approach to parody is deeply indebted to Linda Hutcheon, whose broad but nuanced definition of the term enables an approach to parody that is sufficiently flexible to do good interpretive work without being so general as to render it meaningless as a distinct category. Hutcheon writes of parody as “a form of imitation … characterized by ironic inversion” and as “repetition with critical distance” (1985: 6, 37). Parody, in other words, constructs a relationship between two works of art in which the meaning of the parodied text is ironized by the context in which it appears in the parodying text. The words of Achilles in Aeschylus’ Myrmidones form a potent, unsettling statement of grief; their distance from ordinary human speech makes them all the more moving. When Blepyrus repeats them 3. There may be some further play in having a character in drag deliver a quotation from Achilles, Greek mythology’s most famous transvestite hero; as we’ll see in Chapter 4, in his recreation of Euripides’ Telephus in Women at the Thesmophoria, Aristophanes again puts a transvestite (this time the infamous Cleisthenes) in the role of a tragic Achilles.

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in Assemblywomen, the pathos of the grieving hero’s words in Aeschylus’ tragedy becomes bathos when spoken by an old man in women’s clothing defecating in the street and regretting the loss of a few obols; an ironic disjunction is created between the ostensibly elevated form of the language and the comic effect it creates in its new context. Hutcheon adds a crucial point to her definitions: parody is “not always at the expense of the parodied text” but instead “can be serious criticism, not necessarily of the parodied text, or it can be a playful, genial mockery of codifiable forms” (1985: 6, 15). Parody is thus not an assault on the parodied text; it is a rhetorical device that can be employed to a variety of ends.4 The purposes of any given instance of parody must be understood from the parodying text itself; to assume every instance of parody to be inherently hostile would severely limit the range of interpretive possibilities required for a nuanced understanding of parody generally and of Greek comedy’s parody of tragedy in particular.5 Parody by its very nature requires and enacts literary criticism: the comic poet identifies and draws out the most marked features of his tragic source, the very features that define tragedy as a genre and each tragedian’s poetry as distinctly his own work; by staging his exaggerated revision of the tragic text, the comic poet shares his intimate knowledge of tragedy with the audience, simultaneously enshrining the qualities that make tragic poetry what it is and undermining those qualities by presenting them in a new, ironic context. Peter Rau was the first to demonstrate systematically the extent of tragic parody in the intact plays of Aristophanes: from one-​line imitations to metrical reminiscences to full-​scale reenactment of tragic scenes, Aristophanes’ poetry is never far from tragic parody in one form or another. Helene Foley, Froma Zeitlin, Ralph Rosen, Michael Silk, Gregory Dobrov, and Mario Telò, among others, have revealed the complex and subtle ways Aristophanic parody can be not merely a momentary source of humor but a constitutive element in the construction of meaning in Aristophanes’ plays6; in the subsequent chapters of this book, I will attempt to build on their work in

4.  Hutcheon is indebted to Bakhtin in this view of parody; in Bakhtin’s own formulation, “ancient parody was free of any nihilistic denial… . The direct and serious word was revealed [by parody] in all its limitations and insufficiency … but it was by no means discredited in the process” (1981: 55–​56). For more strictly Bakhtinian readings of Aristophanes, see Möllendorff 1995; Platter 2007. The Greek word παρῳδία also lacked the sense of hostility it sometimes has in modern usage; see Householder 1944. 5. In addition to Hutcheon and Bakhtin, my understanding of parody is further informed by Rose 1979, 1993; Morson 1981; and Dane 1988. For the importance of a broad-​minded approach to parody in the study of Old Comedy, see also Bakola 2010: 120–​22. 6. Rau 1967; Foley 1988, 2008; Zeitlin 1981; Rosen 2006a, 2006b; Silk 1993, 2000; Dobrov 2001; Telò 2010.

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discussing parody in Wasps, Women at the Thesmophoria, and Wealth. In this chapter I argue that tragic parody is an essential feature of all Greek comedy: parody was an important, complex, and frequently used tool for the other comic poets of the fifth and fourth centuries as well. This argument requires close reading of a number of comic fragments: I wish to press our evidence as far as possible in interpreting tragic parody as not merely an occasional bit of humor in our fragments but as essential to the work of the comic poets. Parody emerges as a feature of the genre of Greek comedy and, I argue here, demands a sophisticated response from the audience, a capacity to recognize tragic source texts and to interpret the relevance of the original tragic context to the meaning of the comic text.

A Beggar among Nobles: Parody as Allusion in  the Comic Fragments Our fragments preserve a number of instances of tragic parody in which the comedy is enriched by the audience’s recollection of the original tragic text. Among the comic poets of the fifth century, Cratinus seems to have been one of the most active and nuanced in this use of tragic parody, and Emmanuela Bakola has demonstrated that several plays of Cratinus, including Plutoi and Drapetides, use parody as an essential constitutive element of their structure. In Plutoi, she argues, Cratinus’ chorus of Wealth Gods repeatedly imitate the language and behavior of the choruses in the pseudo-​Aeschylean Prometheus Unbound and the genuine Eumenides; their use of elevated tragic language lends tragic authority to the play, but audience members who recognize the specific references to Aeschylus can understand Plutoi as part of Cratinus’ broader strategy of associating himself with Aeschylus.7 In Drapetides, Bakola argues, Cratinus has his chorus of effeminates evoke the language and staging of suppliant plays like Aeschylus’ Hiketides: most of the audience should understand the humor of such characters speaking in elevated language, but those who recognize the specific allusions will be further struck by the bathetic modeling of the effeminate chorus on the female suppliant choruses of these tragedies.8 Even in fragments where we lack the more detailed context afforded by the relatively significant remains of plays like Plutoi and Drapetides, we can see Cratinus using tragic parody to evoke specific tragic models. In a fragment from

7.  On Plutoi, see 2010:  122–​41 and 2013; on Cratinus’ association with Aeschylus, see 2010: 24–​29. 8.  2010:  141–​58. She also discusses paratragic engagement in Cratinus’ Seriphioi, Nemesis, Eumenides, and other plays (158–​79).

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an unknown comedy, he offers a parody of Euripides’ Stheneboea that is greatly enriched by the audience recognizing the source of his quotation. In Euripides’ version, Stheneboea, thinking Bellerophon has been killed, prays for him mournfully every time she drops something under the table (F 664): πεσὸν δέ νιν λέληθεν οὐδὲν ἐκ χερός, ἀλλ’ εὐθὺς αὐδᾷ· ‘τῷ Κορινθίῳ ξένῳ’. She doesn’t overlook anything that falls from her hand, but immediately mutters “to the Corinthian stranger.” Athenaeus cites this bit of Euripides (at 10.427e) to demonstrate his claim that the ancients used to dedicate things that fell from the table to their deceased friends. In Cratinus’ version, however, the queen who whispers mournfully for the dead has been replaced by a drunken woman lewdly dedicating to her lover’s anatomy her shots in a game of kottabos (F 299)9: πιεῖν δὲ θάνατος οἶνον ἢν ὕδωρ ἐπῇ. ἀλλ’ ἴσον ἴσῳ μάλιστ’ ἀκράτου δύο χοᾶς πίνουσ’ ἀπ’ ἀγκύλης ἐπονομάζουσα < > ἵησι λάταγας τῷ Κορινθίῳ πέει It would kill her to drink wine with water in it. Instead, she drinks two pitchers of strong stuff, mixed one-​to-​one; and she calls out his name and tosses her wine lees with a flick of the wrist in honor of the Corinthian dick.10 Cratinus preserves the broad context of the Euripidean passage: in both scenes, a witness describes a woman’s behavior at a banquet, offering toasts to an absent lover. The end of Cratinus’ description, however, contains a rapid double surprise: first, the toast “to the Corinthian” revises the whole preceding description, as a typical drunken comic woman is made for an instant to resemble the tragic queen Stheneboea; and second, when Stheneboea’s respectable ξένῳ (“stranger”) becomes Cratinus’ obscene πέει (“penis”). Cratinus masterfully lifts the tone of this messenger speech for a slender moment, before dropping it even lower than

9. Beta 1992: 101 discusses the valence of the term πέος here, but does not discuss Cratinus’ reuse of Stheneboea beyond noting that the technique of inserting an obscene term into a tragic quotation is frequent in Aristophanes as well. 10. I have adapted this translation from Olson 2006–​2012: 5.249.

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before: a woman getting drunk and playing kottabos may constitute a low narrative, but there is nothing untoward about the language itself until the final word. This fragment may have formed part of a broader engagement with tragedy, as in Plutoi and Drapetides, or it could have been a simple flash of parodic genius animating an otherwise purely comic description of a character in a play with no particular paratragic orientation. Either way, the humor of the fragment depends on the audience’s ability to recognize the allusion to Euripides: those who realize that Cratinus has revised Euripides’ Stheneboea here see Stheneboea’s mournful longing for her lover become a typical comic woman’s desire for wine and sex. Eupolis’ remains show relatively little tragic parody—​he seems to have inclined more toward political commentary—​but several plays do show a merger of the political and the parodic. His debut comedy Prospaltioi (429 bce),11 for example, seems to have been in several respects the forerunner of Aristophanes’ Acharnians:  it was a comedy concerned with Athens’ conduct of the early years of the Peloponnesian War, featuring a chorus of rural demesmen.12 Like Aristophanes, Eupolis found a way to incorporate tragic parody into a substantially political comedy. In F 260, a reasonably well-​preserved papyrus fragment published only in 1933,13 one character (B) attempts to persuade another (A) to some action; when A refuses, B dispatches a group of characters (C—​the chorus?) to obtain help from the Prospaltians, and then resumes his efforts to persuade A with language drawn from Sophocles’ Antigone (260.10–​31): (Α) ἐ]γὼ δ’ ἵν’ εἰσὶν οἱ κακο[ .] . . . . σδε χρηστῶν μ̣.[ ε]ἰ μὴ ποοίην ω. . . . [ (Β) βαδίζεθ’ ὑμεῖς ὡς τ̣ά[χι]στ̣’ ε[ καὶ φράζεθ’ οἷα τἀνθάδ’ ἐστ[ Προσπαλτίοισιν ἢ στρατιὰν̣[ πέμπειν κελεύετ’ ἢ κομίζεσθ[ ἵνα μὴ καθῆσθαι φῶσ’ ἀναλίσκ[ ὡς οὗτος οὐδέν, ὡς ἔοικε, πείσετ[αι. (Γ) ἀλλ’ ἐρχόμεϲθ’∙ ἀτὰρ τὸ δεῖνα χρὴ [ πόσ’ ἄττα σοι πέμπωσιν. (Β) εξεστι[ εἰ δεῖ γε τοῦτον ἐν κύκλῳ πε̣[ ἀλλ’, ὦγάθ’, ἔτι καὶ νῦν πιθοῦ πά[σῃ τέχνῃ. 11. For the date, see Storey 2003: 230–​31. 12. Bowie 1988; Storey 2003: 243–​44. 13. Norsa and Vitelli 1933.

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ὁρᾶις παρὰ ῥείθροισιν ὅταν η[. . .]δ[ ἢν μέν τιϲ εἴκηι τοῖς λόγοις ἐκσῴζε[ται, ὁ δ’ ἀντιτείνων αὐτόπρεμνος οἴχε[ται. αὔτως δὲ ναός (Α) ἀπό μ’ ὀλεῖς, ἄνθρωπ[ε, σύ. (Γ) ἅνθρωπος οὗτος νοῦν ἔχοντας[ (Α) ἀλλ’ οὐχὶ δυνάτ’∙ εἰ γὰρ πιθοίμ[ην σοι τάδε, τίν’ ἂν τ[.]χ. ην ε. . . . . [ (Β) μέγα στένοι μέντ̣ἂν ακ[ ἡμεῖς δὲ ναῶν ναυτίλο[ (A.) And I  where the bad ones are … of honest people … if I  were not to do (B.) You people, go as quickly as you can and tell what’s going on here. Order the Prospaltians either to send an army or to convey … so that they cannot say that I just sit here wasting … since this person, it seems, won’t be persuaded. (C.) We’re going. But you must say what they are to send you. (B.) It is possible … if I have to … in a circle. But, my good fellow, by all means heed even now. You see beside the water banks when … if someone yields to argument, he is saved. But he who resists perishes root and branch. Similarly of a ship, (A.) You’ll be the death of me, sir. (C.) This man … things that make sense. (A.) It’s not possible. If I were to heed … (B.) … would be quite sorry … we, like sailors of the ships …14 Character B presents here a version of Haemon’s argument from Sophocles’ Antigone, when he attempts to persuade his stubborn father Creon to relent in his decree of punishment against Antigone (710–​18): ἀλλ’ ἄνδρα, κεἴ τις ᾖ σοφός, τὸ μανθάνειν πόλλ’ αἰσχρὸν οὐδὲν καὶ τὸ μὴ τείνειν ἄγαν. ὁρᾷς παρὰ ῥείθροισι χειμάρροις ὅσα δένδρων ὑπείκει, κλῶνας ὡς ἐκσῴζεται, τὰ δ’ ἀντιτείνοντ’ αὐτόπρεμν’ ἀπόλλυται. αὔτως δὲ ναὸς ὅστις ἐν κράτει πόδα τείνας ὑπείκει μηδέν, ὑπτίοις κάτω στρέψας τὸ λοιπὸν σέλμασιν ναυτίλλεται. ἀλλ’ εἶκε θυμοῦ καὶ μετάστασιν δίδου.

14. I provide here the text and translation of Storey 2011: 2.205–​7.

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But even if a man is wise, it is not embarrassing for him to learn a great deal and not to resist too much. You see how beside flooding rivers the trees that bend save their branches, but those that fight back are destroyed root and branch. In the same way if whoever captains a ship holds the sheet tight and doesn’t yield at all, he sails from then on overturned with his benches upside-​down. But yield from your anger and let it cease. Eupolis’ would-​be persuader mirrors Sophocles’ language very closely: both he and Haemon begin with the same phrase (ὁρᾷς παρὰ ῥείθροισι), use the same verbs for “persuade” and “survive” (εἴκῃ /​ὑπείκει; ἐκσώιζεται), and finish the tree analogy with almost identical language (ὁ δ’ ἀντιτείνων αὐτόπρεμνοϲ οἴχε[ται /​τὰ δ’ ἀντιτείνοντ’ αὐτόπρεμν’ ἀπόλλυται).15 Eupolis’ character, however, absurdly blends the terms of his attempted analogy: he never manages to mention actual trees, but jumps straight from setting the scene by the riverbank to describing a man who fails to yield to persuasive argument. This nonsense is understandable only with reference to Sophocles: without Haemon’s properly deployed analogy in the background, Eupolis’ speaker seems to be babbling incomprehensibly in his irrelevant description of rivers and his unearned expression “root and branch.” After patiently enduring the tree analogy, character A is horrified when B launches into a second analogy about ships; the phrase αὔτως δὲ ναός, “similarly of a ship,” lifted directly from Sophocles, is meaningless—​a new analogy could never work “similarly” to the previous one, since the previous analogy didn’t work at all. At first, B’s speech seems absurdly ineloquent by comparison with Sophocles’ version of the same argument; when he attempts to continue his speech and is rudely interrupted, however, the humor suddenly comes at Sophocles’ expense. In the decorous tragic world in which Haemon argues with Creon, both characters, despite their heightened emotional states, listen respectfully while the other delivers lengthy arguments and series of analogies to support their perspective; in the base world of comedy, however, no one is interested in putting up with this sort of tragic blathering, and A interjects that he simply can’t survive to the end of B’s extended tragic speech. Characters in comic literature are often unable to endure extended recitations of tragedy, from Eupolis’ victim here, to Smicrines in Menander’s Aspis, to the “Friend” of Lucian’s Menippus, who begs Menippus to “quit talking like a tragedian” and says he must be “insane to recite poetry at friends!”16 Sophocles’ calm tragic exchange seems elegantly stylized 15. Storey 2003: 328 notes the relationship of the fragment to Sophocles’ Antigone, but concludes that it “hardly counts as parody, since there is nothing really humorous about the quotation.” 16. Lucian, Men. 1. On Menander’s Aspis, see below.

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in its original context, but in the light of Eupolis’ boisterous comic revision it appears absurdly artificial. Sophocles’ play was, like Eupolis’, concerned with the conduct of a city’s ruling powers during a war involving incursions by foreigners; by parodying the Antigone in his comedy about wartime Athens, Eupolis thus draws a humorous distinction between the calm but artificial eloquence of political debate in tragedy and the absurd, boisterous political argumentation of comedy.17 Eupolis’ Marikas (421 bce) again combines the literary with the political, using parody of Aeschylus’ Persians to enrich his mockery of the demagogue Hyperbolus. In this comedy, Eupolis depicts Hyperbolus as a foreign slave called “Marikas,” evidently a Persian term for a boy or slave that later authors (perhaps under the influence of this play) would gloss as κίναιδος.18 The chorus, early on or perhaps even at the very beginning of the play, describe Marikas in language drawn from Aeschylus’ Persians: A. Pers. 65–​67 πεπέρακεν μὲν ὁ περσέπτολις ἤδη βασίλειος στρατὸς εἰς ἀντίπορον γείτονα χώραν The city-​sacking royal army has penetrated already into the neighboring land across the sea Eup. F 207 πεπέρακεν μὲν ὁ περσέπτολις ἤδη Μαρικᾶς The city-​sacking Marikas has penetrated already … As Sommerstein points out (2000: 441), to portray Hyperbolus as a Persian is to make him into an invading enemy who has taken over Athens. By equating Hyperbolus with Aeschylus’ Xerxes in this choral praise, moreover, Eupolis hints to his audience that Hyperbolus’ success will, like the Persian king’s, be short-​ lived: in this line from Persians, the chorus are praising Xerxes for a victory when he has in fact already suffered defeat; and we know that Eupolis’ comedy treated Marikas’ downfall at considerable length over a series of tribulations leading to

17. The mention of Stheneboea in F 259 of Prospaltioi seems to indicate that there was further engagement with tragedy in Eupolis’ play, but the state of this papyrus commentary does not permit us even to speculate about what sort of reference to the Stheneboea Eupolis’ comedy may have contained. See Storey 2003: 231–​33 for thorough discussion of this fragment. 18. See Cassio 1985; Morgan 1986; Storey 2003: 198–​99; Missiou 2005.

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his death.19 This line from Aeschylus thus effectively prepares the audience for the ruination of a “Persian” leader just at the moment of what should be his triumph. The other fragments of Marikas suggest a broader engagement with Aeschylus than this single line. A papyrus commentary on the play preserves a mention of Aeschylus’ Persians, which could be a note on this line or could indicate another parody of the tragedy elsewhere in the play (F 192.44). Aristophanes’ Clouds 551–​ 59 and Eupolis F 209 indicate that Hyperbolus’ mother was a character in the play, and Sommerstein suggests that, since Marikas seems to have been in some sense equated to Xerxes in Aeschylus’ Persians, his mother may have been presented as a parody of Aeschylus’ Atossa.20 Finally, Eupolis himself in the parabasis of Marikas draws attention to the relationship between his own play and tragedy (205):   ἀφυπνίζεσθαι χρὴ πάντα θεατήν, ἀπὸ μὲν βλεφάρων αὐθημερινὸν ποιητῶν λῆρον ἀφέντα It’s time for every spectator to wake up and wipe the babble of the day’s prior poets from their eyes! Marikas was almost certainly presented at the Lenaia of 421, and it must be admitted that our knowledge of the festival program there does not allow us to state with complete certainty whether the plays presented earlier in the day would have been comedies or tragedies; nevertheless, as Storey points out, λῆρος is a word particularly associated with tragedy by the comic poets, and it seems likely that what we have here is an address by Eupolis’ chorus to the audience informing them that the boring tragedies they have just witnessed are over and a more interesting comedy has begun.21 In a play that presented itself as in some sense a revision of Aeschylus’ Persians, this claim takes on a double meaning: not only will Marikas permit the audience to wake up after a boring day of tragedy, it will replace a tragedy of the previous generation with a comedy deeply concerned with the politics of the contemporary Athens in which the audience lives. In the fourth century, comic poets continued to practice tragic parody in ways that require the audience to recognize their tragic sources. The state of our evidence does not permit us to identify parody of contemporary tragic poetry in

19. On Marikas generally, see Sommerstein 2000; Storey 2003: 197–​214; Bakola 2010: 34–​35. 20. Sommerstein 2000: 441. It seems she danced a lewd dance (Ar. Nu. 551–​59) and (perhaps in the same scene) brought Marikas’ bones onto the stage on a platter (F 209). See also Sonnino 1997 and Storey 2003: 204–​5. 21. Storey 2003: 212. Against this view see Biles 2011: 32 n. 83 and Wright 2012: 21. For λῆρος see O’Sullivan 1992: 112–​20; Bakola 2010: 34–​35; Biles 2011: 32 n. 83; Wright 2012: 63.

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these later comic fragments: without intact texts of comedy or tragedy from this period, and the apparatus of scholia that attends such manuscripts, we are simply at a loss to differentiate moments of tragic language in the comic fragments from parodies of specific, contemporary tragic texts. Nevertheless, we do see the poets of the fourth century continuing to parody the now-​canonical tragedy of the great fifth-​century tragic triad: the later comic poets were even willing to parody tragic verses that had already been parodied by their fifth-​century comic predecessors. Antiphanes, for example, parodies the same lines from Antigone that Eupolis had already parodied in his Prospaltioi (F 228, from an unknown comedy)22: τὸ δὲ ζῆν, εἰπέ μοι, τί ἐστι; τὸ πίνειν φήμ’ ἐγώ. ὁρᾷς παρὰ ῥείθροισι χειμάρροις ὅσα δένδρων ἀεὶ τὴν νύκτα καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν βρέχεται, μέγεθος καὶ κάλλος οἷα γίγνεται, τὰ δ’ ἀντιτείνοντ’ αὐτόπρεμν’ ἀπόλλυται.23 Life, tell me: what is it? I say it’s drinking. You see beside flooding rivers the trees that are rained on day and night, how they grow in size and beauty, but those that resist are destroyed root and branch. Antiphanes takes a different approach from Eupolis in his parody here. Eupolis as we saw modifies the analogy in Sophocles to the point where it is impossible to understand what the comic character is talking about without reference to the tragic source text. When the speaker persists in his attempts to recycle Sophoclean analogy, his interlocutor protests that he is unable to endure any more tragic speechifying; the whole conversation depicts the tragic scene as unbearably mannered and artificial. Antiphanes, by contrast, simply has his character insert a new element into the metaphor: not only are the plants who yield to storms and floods preserved, but the additional water causes them to grow. This allows the comic character to present the Sophoclean analogy as much more literal than it was originally intended: just as trees grow when they are watered, so men prosper when they drink. The elevated majesty of Sophocles’ flood imagery, then,

22.  This parody is noted by Webster 1970:  83 (“a pleasant perversion by Antiphanes of Haimon’s wisdom … presumably this is part of a parasite’s speech”); Amouroux 1999: 124; Olson 2007: 178; Hanink 2014: 173–​74 (“an anonymous drinker invokes and adapts lines of Haemon’s great speech in Antigone into a kind of drinking song”). 23. I print the text of this fragment following Naber’s excision of the gloss that has intruded into the final two lines; see KA 2: 448.

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becomes a hilarious image of a man subjected to a winter storm of wine, yielding and absorbing the flood rather than being swept away by it.24 But only audience members who recall the original text of the Antigone will realize that Antiphanes’ speaker has replaced the image of trees merely surviving a storm with one of trees “growing in size and beauty,” like, the speaker argues, men who indulge in the pleasure of drinking. Antiphanes is not alone among fourth-​century comic poets in his willingness to parody lines already parodied by comic poets of the fifth century. Alexis in his Eisoikizomenos parodies a line from Euripides’ Telephus that Dicaeopolis had already spoken in Aristophanes’ Acharnians: Eur. F 703 μή μοι φθονήσητ’, ἄνδρες Ἑλλήνων ἄκροι, εἰ πτωχὸς ὢν τέτληκ’ ἐν ἐσθλοῖσιν λέγειν. Do not begrudge me, you men who are the best of the Greeks, if though a beggar I have dared to speak among noble men. Ar. Ach. 496–​97 μή μοι φθονήσητ’, ἄνδρες οἱ θεώμενοι, εἰ πτωχὸς ὢν ἔπειτ’ ἐν Ἀθηναίοις λέγειν μέλλω περὶ τῆς πόλεως, τρυγῳδίαν ποιῶν. Do not begrudge me, you men of the audience, if though a beggar I intend to speak among Athenians about the city, making a trugedy. Alexis F 63 οὐ γὰρ ἐμυρίζετ’ ἐξ ἀλαβάστου, πρᾶγμά τι γιγνόμενον ἀεί, κρονικόν, ἀλλὰ τέτταρας περιστερὰς ἀφῆκεν ἀποβεβαμμένας εἰς οὐχὶ ταὐτὸν μὰ Δία τὴν αὐτὴν μύρον, ἰδίῳ δ’ ἑκάστην. πετόμεναι δ’ αὗται κύκλῳ ἔρραινον ἡμῶν θαἰμάτια καὶ στρώματα. μή μοι φθονήσητ’, ἄνδρες Ἑλλήνων ἄκροι· ἠλειφόμην ὑόμενος ἰρίνῳ μύρῳ. for the perfume wasn’t distributed from a jar, that old fashioned thing people usually do, but instead they released four doves that had been

24. Olson 2007: 178 also suggests that the shift implies the speaker “wishes to be constantly drenched with wine.”

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dipped not even in the same myrrh, by Zeus, but each in a different kind! Flying about in a circle they sprinkled our clothes and cushions. Do not begrudge me, you men who are the best of the Greeks, for being anointed by a rain of iris perfume. In Euripides’ Telephus, Telephus speaks these lines when he first addresses the assembled Argives in the costume of a beggar, before being forced to kidnap the infant Orestes to prevent them from killing him on the spot. Aristophanes’ imitation of these lines is part of an extended reperformance of Euripides’ tragedy: Dicaeopolis has already performed his version of the baby-​snatching scene, and has even been to visit Euripides himself to secure the authentic costume for his great speech. What began merely as a humorous recourse to tragic rhetoric becomes a profound reflection on the place of each genre in Athenian society: Dicaeopolis’ insistence that comedy has as much right to advise the city as tragedy simultaneously elevates comedy’s position in Athenian life and calls into question tragedy’s pretensions to civic wisdom.25 In Alexis’ Eisoikizomenos, the situation is rather different. Here we seem to have a braggart boasting of a high-​class dinner party in terms that suggest he is exaggerating, if not outright inventing his whole narrative.26 For those members of the audience who notice only the elevated language of the braggart’s description, there is some humor in the clash between tragic grandeur and his squalid boasting. For those who recall the context of these lines in Euripides’ Telephus, however, the contrast is much more striking: Telephus asks his audience not to begrudge him his well-​deserved right to speak, despite his base appearance; the braggart already assumes he has every right to address his audience, and instead asks them not to begrudge his supposed experience of luxury. Both Antiphanes’ parody of Sophocles’ Antigone and Alexis’ of Euripides’ Telephus may have been partially enabled by these earlier comic parodies: despite the gulf of time between these comedies and their tragic sources, earlier comic parody may have ensured that the particular lines in question became famous, quotable, even proverbial. Fifth-​century tragedies were, however, also being revived throughout the fourth century,27 and this too might enable the comic poets to parody verses they could expect their audiences to recognize. Alexis, for example, parodies a line from Euripides’ Orestes in his Agonis or Hippiskos:

25. For more on Aristophanes’ repeated parodies of Euripides’ Telephus, see Chapter 4. 26. Webster 1970: 64; Nesselrath 1990: 327–​28; Arnott 1996: 188–​94. 27. See Pickard-​Cambridge 1968: 99–​100; Easterling 1993; Wagner 1995; Wilson 2000: 22–​24; Nervegna 2007; Hanink 2014: 60–​89.

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Eur. Or. 255–​57 ὦ μῆτερ, ἱκετεύω σε, μὴ ’πίσειέ μοι τὰς αἱματωποὺς καὶ δρακοντώδεις κόρας· αὗται γὰρ αὗται πλησίον θρῴσκουσ’ ἐμοῦ. Oh mother, I  beseech you, don’t set those bloodstained snake-​women after me: for here they come, here rushing at me! Alexis F 3 ὦ μῆτερ, ἱκετεύω σε, μὴ ’πίσειέ μοι τὸν Μισγόλαν· οὐ γὰρ κιθαρῳδός εἰμ’ ἐγώ. Oh mother, I beseech you, don’t set Misgolas after me: for I’m no citharode. Although the comic context is uncertain, it seems that Alexis here gives us a young man telling his mother not to threaten him with the name “Misgolas,” a politician of the latter half of the fourth century apparently infamous for his predilection for young cithara-​players; perhaps, as Arnott suggests, the mother has reproached him for loose living (with the titular prostitute Agonis?) with the threat that he will somehow end up the victim of Misgolas.28 The lines Alexis parodies here are from the famous “mad scene” of Euripides’ Orestes; there the “mother” is a hallucination, and she threatens her son not with the attentions of a lascivious politician but with the vengeance of the Furies. F 4 of the Agonis suggests that Alexis’ comedy, too, had a mad scene, in which a character saw or pretended to see someone returned from the dead; it is tempting to suggest that Alexis might have quoted from the most famous tragic display of insanity in his own comic version of such a scene.29 We know, moreover, that Euripides’ Orestes was revived at Athens in 340 bce30; a date just after this revival would be consonant with the career of Misgolas,31 and it seems likely that Alexis parodied these lines and perhaps the entire mad scene in the knowledge that his audience had recently witnessed his tragic source being performed and would thus recognize his manipulation of Euripides’ text. The full appreciation of these instances of tragic parody requires at least some portion of the audience to possess a high degree of theatrical competence.

28. On the play, see Webster 1970: 73, 76; Arnott 1996: 51–​72. 29. So Webster 1970: 73. 30. See Pickard-​Cambridge 1968: 109. 31. Arnott 1996: 63.

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There are two possible ways to understand such competence:  with Martin Revermann, we can emphasize the frequency with which Athenians witnessed dramatic performances and the number of Athenians who had themselves performed in dramatic choruses, and conclude that many audience members would have been capable of understanding tragic parody in a highly sophisticated way during a performance in the theater; or, with Matthew Wright, we can take the demands made on the audience by parody and other complex elements of Greek comedy as evidence for the idea that the comic poets wrote at least in part for a reading audience who would have the time and education to dwell on comic texts at length after they had been performed.32 These two approaches to comedy’s sophisticated intertextuality are not, to my mind, mutually exclusive: Revermann’s assemblage of evidence for the Athenian audience’s capacity to understand tragic parody is compelling, but Wright is surely also correct to argue that a comic poet could, just as Thucydides did, imagine his work as a κτῆμα ἐς αἰεί, a “possession for all time.”33 We need not feel compelled to decide whether the audience the comic poets had in mind was an elite sliver of the theatrical crowd, a large portion of habitual theatergoers, or some number of later, educated readers. Nevertheless we can conclude, I  believe, that the comic poets wrote for an audience they expected to be capable of identifying the original tragic sources of their parodies and to incorporate those tragic sources into their understanding of the parodic comedy. Tragic parody, that is to say, is as sophisticated a form of intertextuality as the learned allusions, Alexandrian footnotes, and window references of Hellenistic or Augustan poetry. Not only Aristophanes but a variety of comic poets in the fifth and fourth centuries participated in this nuanced, subtle use of parody, knowing that there was an audience, whatever form it took, who had the time and competence to appreciate their work. Often when we are dealing with fragmentary comedy, the strongest conclusions we can draw simply show that the other comic poets also did what we already knew Aristophanes had done. Unlike in the extant plays of Aristophanes, however, much of the sophisticated tragic parody that survives in the comic fragments belongs to plays that seem to have been set in the same heroic world of mythology to which very nearly all of tragedy also belonged.34 In pursuing our investigation of tragic parody, then, we must now turn to the lost world of mythological comedy. 32. Revermann 2006b; Wright 2012: 141–​72. 33. Wright 2012: 62 on Thuc. 1.22.4. 34.  The two exceptions to this rule being, of course, Phrynichus’ Miletou Halosis (“Sack of Miletus”), and Aeschylus’ Persians.

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Bring out the Tragic Masks: Mythological Parody in  the Fifth Century Comedies written in the fifth and fourth centuries could be set either in the contemporary world of the audience or in the mythological past. Tragedy, on the other hand, was almost exclusively set in the world of gods and heroes, however relevant its themes and concerns may have been to contemporary life. This generic distinction enabled the comic poets to make use of the mythological past as a setting for their parodic engagement with tragedy: not every mythological comedy necessarily had anything at all to do with tragedy, but, when they chose to, the poets of mythological comedy could represent their plays as an intrusion into the generic territory of tragedy. Antiphanes makes this distinction between the contemporary world of comedy and the mythological world of tragedy most explicitly, in the famous, solitary fragment of his lost Poiesis (189): μακάριόν ἐστιν ἡ τραγῳδία ποίημα κατὰ πάντ’, εἴ γε πρῶτον οἱ λόγοι ὑπὸ τῶν θεατῶν εἰσιν ἐγνωρισμένοι, πρὶν καί τιν’ εἰπεῖν· ὥσθ’ ὑπομνῆσαι μόνον δεῖ τὸν ποιητήν. Οἰδίπουν γὰρ †φῶ, τὰ δ᾽ ἄλλα πάντ’ ἴσασιν· ὁ πατὴρ Λάιος, μήτηρ Ἰοκάστη, θυγατέρες, παῖδες τίνες, τί πείσεθ’ οὗτος, τί πεποίηκεν. ἂν πάλιν εἴπῃ τις Ἀλκμέωνα, καὶ τὰ παιδία πάντ’ εὐθὺς εἴρηχ’, ὅτι μανεὶς ἀπέκτονε τὴν μητέρ’, ἀγανακτῶν δ’ Ἄδραστος εὐθέως ἥξει πάλιν τ’ ἄπεισι … θ’ ὅταν μηθὲν δύνωντ’ εἰπεῖν ἔτι, κομιδῇ δ’ ἀπειρήκωσιν ἐν τοῖς δράμασιν, αἴρουσιν ὥσπερ δάκτυλον τὴν μηχανήν, καὶ τοῖς θεωμένοισιν ἀποχρώντως ἔχει. ἡμῖν δὲ ταῦτ’ οὐκ ἔστιν, ἀλλὰ πάντα δεῖ εὑρεῖν, ὀνόματα καινά, … … κἄπειτα τὰ †διῳκημένα πρότερον, τὰ νῦν παρόντα, τὴν καταστροφήν, τὴν εἰσβολήν. ἂν ἕν τι τούτων παραλίπῃ Χρέμης τις ἢ Φείδων τις, ἐκσυρίττεται· Πηλεῖ δὲ πάντ’ ἔξεστι καὶ Τεύκρῳ ποιεῖν.

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Tragedy is a blessed type of poetry in every way, since first of all the stories are known by the spectators before anyone says a thing, so all the poet has to do is remind them. If he just says “Oedipus,” for example, they know everything else: his father is Laius, mother Jocasta, who his daughters and sons are, what he’ll suffer, what he’s done. And again, if he says, “Alcmeon,” straightaway he’s mentioned the children, and that he went crazy and killed his mother, and Adrastus straightaway getting angry and coming back and going away … then whenever they don’t have anything left to say and they’ve simply lost the will to continue with their plays, they lift the crane like a finger raised in surrender,35 and the spectators are satisfied. None of this is possible for us, but instead we have to come up with everything ourselves, new names … and then how things were before, and what’s happening now, the end, the beginning. If a Chremes or Pheidon leaves out any bit of all this, he’s hissed off the stage, but Peleus and Teucer can do anything at all. The dramatic circumstances of this declaration remain largely mysterious. The speaker has often been thought to be the eponymous “Poetry” herself, perhaps delivering a prologue speech, or a similar personification such as “Comedy.”36 The natural way to understand the ἡμῖν of line 17, however, is not simply “those of us on the side of comedy” but “us comic poets,” in which case the speaker should himself be a comic poet:  “Antiphanes,” as in Cratinus’ Pytine the protagonist was “Cratinus”; an invented comic poet character (fitting, given the speaker’s insistence on the need to invent new characters in comedy); or another “real” contemporary comedian (like Sannyrion in Aristophanes’ Gerytades).37 The last possibility seems the least likely, given that fourth-​century comic poets in our evidence very seldom refer to one another by name, but since this is the only fragment preserved from this play and Athenaeus provides no context in citing it, we ultimately cannot know who the speaker was. As Konstantakos points out, echoing a number of readers before him, nearly everything Antiphanes has this character say about comedy and tragedy is ironic, disingenuous, and contradictory: his reference to “new names,” for example, is undermined by the stock comic names Pheidon and Chremes he cites a moment

35. For the meaning of the expression αἴρουσιν ὥσπερ δάκτυλον, a reference to the gesture of surrender used by boxers and pancratiasts, see Olson 2007: 174. 36. See KA 2: 419. 37. Konstantakos 2003–​04: 12–​13 gives a concise summary of the arguments over the identity of the fragment’s speaker; see especially Nesselrath 1990: 240–​41; Amouroux 1999: 149–​66; and more recently, Zanetto 2006: 320–​22; Olson 2007: 172–​75; Wright 2013b: 607.

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later; the supposed blessing of tragedy’s ability to draw on myths the audience already knows could be considered one of its primary challenges, that is the need to innovate within a strong and increasingly classicized tradition; and the distinction between contemporary comedy and mythological tragedy is itself false, since (as we shall see) Greek comedy of all periods treated mythological subjects, including the specific myths cited by Antiphanes’ character here.38 Antiphanes’ speaker begins and ends this speech by distinguishing comedy and tragedy on the grounds that comedy takes place in the real world, but tragedy is set in the world of mythology: tragedies, the speaker argues, are about Oedipus and Alcmeon, Peleus and Teucer, but comedy is about Chremes and Pheidon, characters drawn from the world of the audience. This distinction may not be true, but for the comic poets, it is useful:  by marking the mythological past as the generically indicated setting of tragedy, the comic poets can use mythological comedy as a particularly emphatic mode of engagement with tragedy. Comedy had begun to treat the mythological past as the realm of tragedy already in the fifth century. Cratinus, for example, in his Seriphioi, a comic retelling of the myth of Perseus, has a character exclaim (218): αἶρε δεῦρο τοὺς βρικέλους bring here the brikeloi! The lexicon that quotes this line explains that brikelos was a term for the masks worn in tragedy. Some character, then, perhaps Perseus himself, in embarking on some portion of the mythological plot of this play, explicitly signals his need to assume the form of a character in a tragedy.39 If Bakola’s persuasive assignment of F adesp. 1104 to Seriphioi is correct, the play also contained a reference to the stage crane; despite its apparently widespread use in comedy, comic poets almost always associate the crane with tragedy.40 It seems, therefore, that Cratinus saw the opportunity in composing a mythological comedy to present his characters as in some sense “doing tragedy.”41 38.  Konstantakos 2003–​04:  22–​23. Nesselrath (1990:  241)  suggests that Poiesis may have belonged to the later period of Middle Comedy, when mythological subjects had fallen out of fashion, but as Konstantakos rightly points out, Antiphanes would still be criticizing a practice he had himself indulged in for much of his career. For the importance of this fragment in the development of a concept of fiction, see Lowe 2000. 39. Kaibel apud KA: ad loc.; Bakola 2010: 159–​62. 40. For the tragic crane in comedy, see the discussion of Alexis’ Lebes in Chapter 1. 41. See Bakola 2010: 158–​68 on Seriphioi generally, with 164–​68 on F 1104. His Nemesis may also have made use of tragic parody in a mythological context:  see Casolari 2003:  79–​97;

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Sannyrion, a contemporary of Aristophanes, similarly marks the world of mythology as a tragic space. His Danae (407–​404 bce?), for example, seems to have told some portion of the story of Danae, since Photius indicates she was a character in the play (F 10): Ἀνταυγὲς κάλλος· πάνυ ἐναργὴς ἡ φωνή. Σαννυρίων Δανάῃ λέγει ἐπαινῶν τὸ κάλλος αὐτῆς. “Resplendent beauty”: the expression is very clear. Sannyrion says this in Danae, praising her beauty. The only substantial fragment of the play seems to show Zeus contemplating how to enter Danae’s chamber, and Sannyrion merges his mythological tale here with a reference to the contemporary tragic stage (8): τί οὖν γενόμενος εἰς ὀπὴν ἐνδύσομαι; ζητητέον. φέρ’ εἰ γενοίμην < –​> γαλῆ· ἀλλ’ Ἡγέλοχος με μηνύσειεν ὁ τραγικὸς ἀνακράγοι τ’ ἂν εἰσιδὼν μέγα· ἐκ κυμάτων γὰρ αὖθις αὖ γαλῆν ὁρῶ. What then should I turn into to slip into a hole? I’ve got to figure it out. Say, what if I turned into a weasel? But Hegelochus the tragic actor would give me away right off the bat, he’d give a great shout soon as he saw me: “For from the waves once more I see a weasel!” The joke plays on the famous mistake of the actor Hegelochus, whose poor enunciation supposedly ruined a line of Euripides’ Orestes by causing the audience to hear “weasel” (γαλῆν) instead of “calm” (γαλήν’); we saw in the previous chapter how various comic poets mocked Hegelochus and, by extension, Euripides with references to and reenactments of this line. As in other instances of tragic parody, Sannyrion expects his audience here to recognize his quotation and recall the original tragic text: the “weasel” joke is meaningful only if the audience members recall that the correct pronunciation would yield the word “calm” instead. Sannyrion’s approach to tragic parody here is to create a scenario in which “weasel,” rather than “calm,” is at last the correct thing for Hegelochus to say. Zeus’ words deftly merge the mythological with the contemporary: not only does he comment on a real tragic performer and refer to an event much of the audience will have experienced in their real lives, he then worries that Hegelochus will in a sense enter the plot of Sannyrion’s comedy and disrupt Zeus’ fictional efforts to reach the character Danae. This joke marks the

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mythological setting of the play as a tragic space that a τραγικός could enter at will; Zeus’ feigned concern that a tragic figure could transgress the boundaries of such a mythological comedy marks the play itself as a transgression into a generically tragic world.42 If the mythological world is marked as the generic territory of tragedy, often quite explicitly, then tragic parodies within mythological comedies take on a particular force: when comic characters speak tragic lines in a contemporary setting, the clash between banal reality and tragic grandeur is the source of the parody’s humor; comic imitations of tragedy set within tragedy’s own mythological world, however, seem to reveal tragedy itself as mannered and ridiculous. In Aristophanes’ extant comedies, that is to say, we always see the mythological world of tragedy imported into a modern, comic setting that renders tragic language absurd; in the mythological parodies of tragedy we see in the fragmentary plays, by contrast, comedy invades and takes over tragedy’s own domain. Aristophanes himself wrote a number of mythological comedies, though none survive intact, and several show evidence of this sort of tragic parody. His Polyidus (413–​407 bce?; F 468–​76), for example, seems clearly to have been a mythological comedy, not only from its title but from the presence of Phaedra and Minos as characters.43 In one fragment, a character delivers a parody of a line from Sophocles’ Electra44: S. El. 1171–​73 θνητοῦ πέφυκας πατρός, Ἠλέκτρα, φρόνει· θνητὸς δ’ Ὀρέστης· ὥστε μὴ λίαν στένε· πᾶσιν γὰρ ἡμῖν τοῦτ’ ὀφείλεται παθεῖν.

Henderson 2012 for the reconstruction of the play; and Bakola 2010: 168–​73 on its paratragic elements. 42.  For more on Sannyrion, see Chapter  5, on Gerytades, in which Aristophanes makes Sannyrion one of the three poetic ambassadors to Hades. 43. F 469 shows someone offering up Phaedra as a bride: the speaker must be Minos, but whether he is addressing Theseus or another character is unclear. See Sommerstein 2013: 178; he also detects an allusion in this fragment to Euripides’ F 429, but this is less clearly evident. Whether Aristophanes drew on any particular tragic model for the plot of his play is unclear: tragic tellings of the story of Polyidus include Aesch. Kressai, Soph. Manteis or Polyidus, Eur. Polyidus. Carrière (2000: 226) writes that Aristophanes’ play “must have been a parody of Polyidus,” but that F 469 “shows that the legend was treated quite freely by the comic author.” F 476 includes the relatively rare word προσεμφερής, which Kaibel read as indicating Euripidean parody, but little can be said about this single word. 44. Carrière 2000: 227.

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Remember that you were born from a mortal father, Electra, and that Orestes too is mortal: so do not lament too much, for we are all obliged to suffer this. Ar. F 468 τὸ γὰρ φοβεῖσθαι τὸν θάνατον λῆρος πολύς· πᾶσιν γὰρ ἡμῖν τοῦτ’ ὀφείλεται παθεῖν Fearing death is sheer nonsense, for we are all obliged to suffer this. In the Electra, Electra has just been told that Orestes has died (told by Orestes himself, of course, still disguising his identity); the chorus warn her to recall that all men must die, and therefore not to indulge in excessive grief. Aristophanes’ comedy, however, probably told the story of Polyidus reviving Minos’ son Glaucus after he was drowned in a vat of honey; the tragic sentiment that “all men must die” becomes absurd in a play about resurrection from death. Aristophanes renders the chorus’ sympathetic attempt to limit Electra’s grieving comically harsh: instead of simply reminding the addressee of these lines that everyone is mortal, Aristophanes has his character dismiss the fear of death itself as mere rot. The word λῆρος is, moreover, so often associated with tragic bombast that it suggests dismissal of the tragic mentality entirely when it is followed immediately by a tragic quotation. Aristophanes seems, then, to have taken the opportunity of a play in which a man is brought back from the dead to parody the tragic insistence on universal mortality. The quotation Aristophanes has chosen from Sophocles’ Electra is perfectly fitted to this purpose: these are the very lines that reveal to the disguised Orestes that this grieving woman is his sister Electra and that precipitate their mutual recognition. Already, then, in Sophocles’ tragedy, the chorus’ moralizing about universal mortality is undermined, since the person whose death they cite as evidence is, in fact, not dead, but standing right there on the stage before them. Aristophanes’ Lemniai likewise employed tragic parody in a mythological context.45 In a fragment that seems likely to have been drawn from a longer paratragic prologue, a character sets the scene of the play with a distorted imitation of Euripides’ Iphigenia among the Taurians46: 45.  Aeschylus (F 123)  and Sophocles (F 384–​39) both wrote tragedies with this title; Harpocration seems to connect the comedy with Euripides’ Hypsipyle (F 752–​69) when he tells us that girls serving Artemis are called “bears” in both Aristophanes’ Lemniai and Euripides’ Hypsipyle (Ar. 386 = Eur. 767), but Euripides’ Hypsipyle was set not on Lemnos but in Nemea (F 752h.20–​21). 46. Gil 1989: 87; Carrière 2000: 221; Olson 2007: 94.

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Eur. IT 28–​33 ἀλλ’ ἐξέκλεψεν ἔλαφον ἀντιδοῦσά μου Ἄρτεμις Ἀχαιοῖς, διὰ δὲ λαμπρὸν αἰθέρα πέμψασά μ’ ἐς τήνδ’ ᾤκισεν Ταύρων χθόνα, οὗ γῆς ἀνάσσει βαρβάροισι βάρβαρος Θόας, ὃς ὠκὺν πόδα τιθεὶς ἴσον πτεροῖς ἐς τοὔνομ’ ἦλθε τόδε ποδωκείας χάριν. But Artemis robbed the Achaeans by substituting a deer for me, and sending me through the shining ether she settled me here in the land of the Taurians, a land where a barbarian rules barbarians, Thoas, who stepping with a foot as swift as wings came by his name because of his swiftfootedness. Ar. F 373 ἐνταῦθα δ’ ἐτυράννευεν Ὑψιπύλης πατὴρ Θόας, βραδύτατος τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις δραμεῖν Here the father of Hypsipyle used to rule, Thoas, the slowest among men at running Aristophanes mocks Euripides’ etymologizing in Iphigenia with its mannered repetition ὠκὺν πόδα … ποδωκείας by substituting a silly and transparently false explanation of the same name. As often, various levels of humor in this joke appeal to increasingly well-​informed strata of the audience: most might be expected to understand that the name Thoas should be connected to θoός, “swift,” and therefore the name stands in humorous tension with the etymology marking Thoas as slow; some will also notice the tragic language of the passage, which renders this silly explanation even funnier by couching it in elevated speech; and the most familiar with tragedy may recall that the original text of Euripides’ Iphigenia contained such an emphatic, repetitive explanation of Thoas’ name, which was precisely the opposite of the one offered here. How early Thoas, the king of Lemnos, and Thoas, the king of the Taurians, were considered identical figures is unclear; Aristophanes may even be distinguishing his Thoas from Euripides’ as “the slow Thoas.” F 372 of the same comedy (“Lemnos who nourishes lovely beans that melt in the mouth”) suggests that Aristophanes may have described the setting of his play in a longer tragic-​style prologue, repeatedly mocking tragic conventions by substituting absurd geographical details and patently false etymologies for the information such passages in tragedy ordinarily contain. F 382 of Lemniai

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mocks the tragedian Dorillus with an obscene pun (Et. Gen. ΑΒ; cf. Hesychius δ2230):47 δορίαλλος: λέγεται καὶ δόριλλος. Ἀριστοφάνης· Αἱ δὲ γυναῖκες τὸν δορίαλλον φράγνυνται. ἔστι δὲ τὸ γυναικεῖον αἰδοῖον, ἐφ’ ὕβρει τραγῳδοποιοῦ Δορίλλου. doriallos: also dorillos. Aristophanes has “The women shave their doriallos.” It refers to the female genitals, as an insult against the tragedian Dorillus. There is a delightful self-​consciousness to this obscene pun: by having a character in a comedy set in the mythological past make a joke about a contemporary tragedian, Aristophanes suggests that his mythological characters are fully aware of the tragic genre that inspires their play. These characters simultaneously inhabit their tragic-​mythological world and the same contemporary world as the audience, who in turn recognize the comedy as both a mythological story in itself and a literary imitation, a parody.48 Many mythological comedies whose remains show tragic parody share their titles with earlier tragedies. Few, however, give any clear sign in their extant remains to indicate whether or not they engaged with their specific homonymous tragedies: Sannyrion’s Danae, for example, contained as we have seen at least a momentary parody of Euripides’ Orestes, but whether the play parodied on a large or even a small scale Euripides’ Danae we cannot know. At least two mythological comedies of the fifth century, however, do seem to have presented themselves as parodies of a specific tragedy with an identical title, and these are, likely not by coincidence, Aristophanes’ Phoenician Women, and Strattis’ Phoenician Women.49 Both plays signal their relationship to Euripides’ Phoenician Women by parodying lines from the tragedy. Aristophanes’ version combines assorted verses drawn from Euripides’ play to describe the contest between Eteocles and Polyneices (F 570)50: ἐς Οἰδίπου δὲ παῖδε, διπτύχω κόρω, Ἄρης κατέσκηψ’, ἔς τε μονομάχου πάλης ἀγῶνα νῦν ἑστᾶσιν. Ares has fallen upon the pair of Oedipus’ sons, the twofold youths, and now they face the contest of a single-​combat match. 47. Gil 1989: 87; Carrière 2000: 221. For Dorillus, see TrGF 1: 169-​70. 48. F 380 also mentions Boeotian eels, suggesting a further disruption of the mythological setting by references to the quotidian details of the modern world of the audience. 49. I have broken my usual policy here of giving fragmentary plays their transliterated Greek names (Phoinissai, in this case), since these comedies’ titles are identical with Euripides’ intact Phoenician Women. 50. For Euripidean language here see KA 3.2: 293.

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The reference to the sons of Oedipus, made in language drawn from Euripides’ Phoenician Women, in a play also titled Phoenician Women, makes clear that Aristophanes’ play involved the same story of the clash of Eteocles and Polyneices.51 F 574, although not specifically attributed to this play, is also a quotation of Euripides’ Phoenician Women, and Kassel and Austin confidently assign it here. The title of the play itself should also indicate that Aristophanes’ play, like Euripides’, featured a chorus of women from Phoenicia; there is no particular reason, however, to associate the sons of Oedipus with a chorus of Phoenician women, except in imitation of Euripides’ play, in which the women are caught in Thebes by the war while making their way toward Delphi. Other fragments, however, show Aristophanes significantly departing from his model: 573 gives us a song in Euripidean style addressed to a lamp52; 571 and 576 mention tools and implements of everyday life; and 575, referring to sellers of theater tickets, suggests the sort of metatheater we might expect in any Old Comic play, though rendered all the more striking by its departure from the tragic-​mythological setting. Strattis’ Phoenician Women also parodied Euripides’ Phoenician Women with lines drawn from the tragedy delivered by the same mythological characters, as Athenaeus shows in citing Strattis’ combination of the words of Euripides’ Jocasta with a comic proverb (4.160b = Strattis 47): κατὰ τὴν Στράττιδος τοῦ κωμῳδιοποιοῦ Ἰοκάστην, ἥτις ἐν ταῖς ἐπιγραφομέναις Φοινίσσαις φησίν· παραινέσαι δὲ σφῷν τι βούλομαι σοφόν· ὅταν φακῆν ἕψητε, μὴ ’πιχεῖν μύρον. According to the Jocasta of Strattis the comic poet, who says in the play called Phoenician Women, “I wish to give you both a piece of wise advice: when you’re cooking lentil soup, don’t add myrrh.” Athenaeus’ attribution of these words to Jocasta indicates that the play involved the same mythological set of characters as Euripides’ original. Even more crucially here, the first line of this fragment is a direct quotation of a speech delivered by Jocasta in Euripides’ Phoenician Women (460–​64): παραινέσαι δὲ σφῷν τι βούλομαι σοφόν· ὅταν φίλος τις ἀνδρὶ θυμωθεὶς φίλῳ ἐς ἓν συνελθὼν ὄμματ’ ὄμμασιν διδῷ,

51.  On this play as a parody of Eur. Phoen. see Gil 1989:  104; Carrière 2000:  234; Orth 2009: 208; Miles 2009: 185–​86. 52. Kaibel at KA 3.2: 250; cf. Euripides F 382.13.

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ἐφ’ οἷσιν ἥκει, ταῦτα χρὴ μόνον σκοπεῖν, κακῶν δὲ τῶν πρὶν μηδενὸς μνείαν ἔχειν. I wish to give you both a piece of wise advice: when one friend becomes angry with another and comes to look at him face to face, he should only consider the reasons why he came, and should not recall any of the evils done before. I will discuss the nature of Strattis’ parody here below; for now, suffice it to say that a comedy in which the same character speaks the same lines as her counterpart in a tragedy with the same title seems certain to be an extended parody of that tragedy.53 F 48 from Strattis’ Phoenician Women gives us another parody of a line spoken by Jocasta later in the same scene of the Euripidean original, and F 49 proves the setting of Strattis’ play to be Thebes. If the title of Strattis’ play indicates, as it surely must, that it featured a chorus of Phoenician women, the relationship with Euripides’ Phoenician Women is further strengthened: as I said a moment ago, there is no particular reason to associate Jocasta and Thebes with such a chorus except in a parody of Euripides’ play. A number of other comedies of the late fifth and early fourth centuries may or may not have been tragic parodies, but the evidence for such plays is slender and problematic. For some, only the titles seem significant: Callias’ Atalantai,54 Cratinus’ Eumenides,55 Cantharus’ Medea and Tereus,56 Autocrates’ 53.  On Strattis’ Phoenician Women as a parody of Euripides’ Phoenician Women, see Cobet 1840: 117–​18; Norwood 1931: 33; Bowie 2000: 323; Orth 2009: 208; Miles 2009: 183; Fiorentini 2010; Storey 2011: 3.259. Fiorentini’s article is the most significant treatment of Strattis’ play to date; he emphasizes the importance of Strattis’ choice to include Jocasta, on which see more below. 54.  Various poets of both comedy (Epicharmus, Phormus, Strattis, Philyllius, Euthycles, Philetaerus, Alexis) and tragedy (Aeschylus, Aristias) composed plays called Atalanta, Atalantos, or Atalantai, and the fragments give us no sense what relationship, if any, these plays share. Callias also wrote an Aegyptios, and Aeschylus composed plays entitled Atalanta and Aegyptios (or possibly Aegyptioi, see TrGF 3: 125); we might expect a comedian of Callias’ relatively early date to focus his parody on Aeschylus, but we know too little of Callias’ comedies and of paratragedy in general during this period to draw any firm conclusions (cf. Imperio 1998a). 55. Although the meager remains of Cratinus’ Eumenides don’t show any specific contact with Aeschylus’ play, the coincidence of the titles, given Cratinus’ programmatic affiliation with Aeschylus, is striking; we can add, moreover, that the word εὐπάλαμος occurs in the fifth century only in Cratinus’ Eumenides F 70, a line Aristophanes quotes as the opening of a famous song from the play, and at Aeschylus’ Agamemnon 1531. The titles of both Aeschylus’ and Cratinus’ Eumenides are, however, in doubt (Sommerstein 1989: 11–​12; Bakola 2010: 174–​75, and 2013). 56. None of the fragments of these two plays shows specific connections with tragedy, though both plays show discussion of literary matters: F 1 of Medea complains of a chorus who didn’t

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Tympanistai,57 Plato’s Europa, Io, and Laius,58 Nicochares’ Agamemnon,59 Philyllius’ Auge60 and Pluntriai or Nausicaa;61 many of Strattis’ plays fit this know when to stop singing; F 8 of Tereus mocks “wagon-​sized boasts” (ἁμαξιαῖα κομπάσματα), an expression reminiscent of the criticisms of Aeschylus’ language in Aristophanes’ Frogs (e.g., 839:  κομποφακελορρήμονα, 924:  ῥήματ᾽ ἂν βόεια, 940:  κομπασμάτων καὶ ῥημάτων ἐπαχθῶν, 961: οὐκ ἐκομπολάκουν). Fragments 5–​7 of Tereus suggest an eroticized version of the encounters between Tereus, Philomela, and Procne (so KA 4: 59); if Aedones (“Nightingales”) is an alternative title for this play, the chorus will then have been Procne’s fellow nightingales, suggesting the comedy mocked the transformation of humans into birds, which, Aristophanes’ Birds suggests, was a striking feature of Sophocles’ Tereus (F 581–​95). 57. Autocrates’ comedy shares its title with a play by Sophocles; the only significant fragment (1) describes the dancing of a group of Lydian girls worshipping Artemis. 58. On these plays see Pirrotta 2009: 118–​23 (Europa); 141–​42 (Io); 154–​61 (Laius). The latter (F 65–​68) has often been suggested to be a parody of the Oedipodeia of Meletus; although Meletus is mocked for this tetralogy elsewhere (Aristophanes calls him “the son of Laius,” F 453), the fragments of Plato’s comedy give us no evidence of a particular tragic model. Aeschylus also wrote a Laius (F 121–​22), and Euripides’ Chrysippus featured Laius as a prominent character. Photius cites a partial line from Plato’s comedy in which someone encourages a woman giving birth (F 66); if Webster was correct to see here Laius encouraging Jocasta to give birth to Oedipus (1954: 297), then F 65 may also show Laius humorously scorning the oracles around his son’s birth with references to contemporary Athens, and the unassigned fragments 212 and 213, which deal with the Delphic oracle, may also belong to this play. No fragments remain of Meletus’ tragedies, though Aeschylus F 122 from his Laius seems to concern the exposure of the infant Oedipus, and thus to suggest that the tragedy covered similar ground to Plato’s comedy. 59. F 1 involves a woman insisting she is “no false prophet” in tragic language highly reminiscent of Aeschylus’ Cassandra (esp. Ag. 1194–​95, 1240–​41), but we know nothing else about this comedy. 60. Philyllius’ Auge (F 3–​5) may have parodied Euripides’ Auge (F 264–​81): the three fragments preserved for us all indicate scenes of feasting and drinking, and F 272b of Euripides’ Auge does show that Heracles blamed his rape of Auge on his excessive consumption of wine. We possess a wonderful Sicilian comic vase of the midfourth century bce (Trendall and Webster 1971: IV.24) that depicts a scene from a comedy involving a humorous reversal in the usual encounter between Heracles and Auge:  Heracles has pulled Auge away from the statue of Athena, where she sought sanctuary, but seems startled by her appearance now that she’s been unveiled; an old man and woman watching the scene from either side seem likely to be Auge’s father Aleus and her Nurse, both characters in Euripides’ tragedy. Sadly we cannot know for certain whether the vase shows Philyllius’ play or the comedy of the same name by Eubulus, but it does seem to indicate that whichever play the vase depicts featured Heracles as a less eager lover than he was in the Euripidean original. See Geissler 1925: 69; Hunter 1983: 104–​5; Casolari 2003: 190 n. 33; Storey 2011: 3.25. 61. The title of Philyllius’ comedy is transmitted to us by the Suda as Pluntriai or Nausicaa (“Washer Women or Nausicaa”); Sophocles also wrote a play whose title is alternately given as Pluntriai or Nausicaa (439–​41). When the tragedy’s double title arose we cannot be sure, but the play does seem to have been presented early in Sophocles’ career, since he is said to have performed the role of Nausicaa himself; if the title Pluntriai became attached to Sophocles’ play during the fifth century, then Philyllius may have identified his comedy as a parody of it by using that title. All we can say with certainty here, however, is that both authors treated the material of Odyssey 6 in dramas starring Nausicaa and featuring a chorus of washer women. For the question of double titles, see Sommerstein 2010: 16–​20.

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category, including Philoctetes,62 Myrmidones,63 Atalantos,64 Lemnomeda,65 and Zopyrus Perikaiomenos.66 Some comedies also match the mythological circumstances of their homonymous tragedies, as in Strattis’ Medea,67 where we see Creon addressed by name68 and poisoned gifts sent, presumably, to Glauce69; or his Chrysippus, where the complaint of a would-​be lover against an overprotective father seems likely to be Laius lusting after Chrysippus.70

62.  F 44 preserves the phrase “a treasure cast out on a dung heap” (ἐν κοπρίᾳ θησαυρὸν ἐκβεβλημένον) and although the verb ἐκβάλλω is of course by no means rare, it is used five times in Sophocles’ Philoctetes to describe the Atreidae ridding themselves of the burdensome hero, including twice in the crucial stichomythia between Neoptolemus and Philoctetes near the end of the play: 257, 600, 1034, 1390, 1391. See Orth 2009: 204–​5. 63. Kock’s explanation that the term Myrmidones refers to Alcibiades’ aloof soldiers is excessively clever; we simply have no real evidence as to the content of this play. Orth 2009: 175 concludes that the most likely explanation for the title is parody of Aeschylus’ play. 64. See above, on Callias’ Atalantai. 65.  The title Lemnomeda has been understood to suggest a compound parody of either Sophocles’ Lemniai (F 384–​89) or Euripides’ Hypsipyle (F 752–​69) with Euripides’ Andromeda (F 114–​56), though what precisely this would mean for the content of the comedy remains unclear; an imitation of a line from Cratinus’ Pytine is the only point of literary interest in the play’s fragments. 66. Meineke suspected this title indicated the play was a parody of the tragedian Spintharus’ Ἡρακλῆς Περικαιόμενος, The Burning of Heracles, but the fragments give us no assistance and it is unclear precisely when either play would have acquired its expanded title. Orth 2009: 80 suggests that Spintharus’ play was probably a satyr play, and may even postdate that of Strattis. Bowie’s unqualified statement (2000: 324) that Strattis’ Zopyrus was a parody of Spintharus’ Heracles seems overconfident in light our lack of evidence here and of our better knowledge of comedies over whose parodic nature he expresses more skepticism. 67. In addition to the famous version by Euripides, Medea tragedies were also composed by Neophron and Melanthius. Orth 2009:  164–​66 identifies Strattis’ Medea along with his Phoenician Women as the two plays most likely to be direct reworking of tragic material. 68. F 35: οἶσθ’ ᾧ προσέοικεν, ὦ Κρέων, τὸ βρέγμα σου;/​ἐγᾦδα· δίνῳ περικάτω τετραμμένῳ (“Do you know what your forehead resembles, Creon?/​I know: a jar turned upside-​down”). The comparison suggests the symposium game (εἰκασμός) in which the participants compare one another to animals or material objects in a funny but often mildly insulting manner. Whatever the precise context of these lines, we can see Strattis here creating a humorous clash between the lofty figure of the king of Corinth and the everyday world of modern Athens; Orth (2009: 173) suggests that if the plot of Strattis’ play closely followed Euripides’, we should see this as Medea insulting Creon as he banishes her from Corinth. On the game see Halliwell 1991: 291 with n. 49; Pütz 2007: 48 with n. 197, 192 n. 147. 69. F 34 seems to imitate Medea’s words at 956–​58 and 969–​75, where she gives the deadly robe and diadem to her children to pass on to Jason’s new bride. The reference to contemporary perfume makers again creates the humorous clash of modern and mythological. See Orth 2009: 171–​73. 70. On Strattis’ and Euripides’ Chrysippus plays, see Hubbard 2006; Orth 2009: 228–​35; Storey 2011: 3.261–​63. F 54 gives the lover’s complaint; F 55 suggests a scene resembling Apollodorus’

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Among these many possibilities, however, only Aristophanes’ and Strattis’ Phoenician Women seem certain to have been parodies of a specific, individual tragedy. Because no such play survives intact, it will be worth examining the fragments of Strattis’ comedy in some detail: as we shall see, Strattis goes far beyond a mere comic reworking of Euripides’ play, not only importing details from the contemporary world of the audience, but also weaving in elements from other Euripidean tragedies to create a play that is simultaneously a hilarious sendup of its tragic original and a self-​aware reflection on the nature of parody itself.

Myrrh on Lentils: Strattis’ Phoenician Women The Greek proverb “myrrh on lentils” refers to incongruous or unsuitable combinations; although myrrh was primarily a perfume, it was sometimes mixed into wine, but adding a rich and expensive scent to so lowly a dish as bean stew would have been absurd.71 In citing the fragment of Strattis in which he has his Jocasta utter this proverb in place of the “wise advice” she offered in Euripides, Aristotle explains that Strattis was “making fun of Euripides” (de Sens. 443b30: Εὐριπίδην σκώπτων)72; Alexander of Aphrodisias in his commentary on Aristotle’s citation elaborates by suggesting that Strattis was mocking Euripides for his incongruous language (σκώπτων Εὐριπίδην ἐπὶ τῇ τῶν ἐπῶν ἀκαιρίᾳ), and it is certainly possible that Strattis used this proverb to mock Euripides for combining base or quotidian elements with tragic grandeur, a criticism familiar from Aristophanes.73 In the hands of a poet who seems to have devoted much of his career to paratragedy, however, such parody can also do striking, programmatic work. The proverb Strattis puts in Jocasta’s mouth neatly describes Strattis’ own act of parody here:  in combining the elevated words of Euripides’ tragic queen with the comic language of a common proverb, Strattis creates the precise mixture of high and low against which the proverb warns. Lentil soup spiced with myrrh is, more broadly, a perfect image to describe Strattis’ Phoenician Women itself, a comedy laced with tragic language, scenes, and characters; paratragedy

account of the seduction of Chrysippus during a riding lesson; F 56 records the potentially obscene word κοχῶναι (buttocks or perineum), a term Henderson notes is nearly always associated with anal intercourse (1991a: 200). 71. Aelian VH 12.31 describes the practice of creating οἶνος μυρίνης by adding myrrh to wine, mentioned by Diphilus F 17, Philippides F 39, Posidippus Comicus F 17. On the proverb, first mentioned by Strattis, see Pearson 1963; Lilja 1972: 109; Pütz 2007: 222–​23; Orth 2009: 212–​13. 72. Aristotle omits the crucial first line of the fragment, which is quoted only by Athenaeus. 73.  So Orth 2009:  213, but Fiorentini 2010 rightly emphasizes that the later commentators’ understanding of this fragment is influenced by comic criticism of Euripides elsewhere.

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frequently relies on the incongruity of this mixture of elevation and scurrility for its humor. A similar metaphor underlies the reference to the tragedian Sthenelus in Aristophanes’ Gerytades. In F 158, a character wonders how he could possibly gag down the words of the tragedian Sthenelus, and another speaker (or perhaps the same character, answering himself ) advises adding a sauce of wit: (Α.) καὶ πῶς ἐγὼ Σθενέλου φάγοιμ’ ἂν ῥήματα; (Β.) εἰς ὄξος ἐμβαπτόμενος ἢ ξηροὺς ἅλας. (A.) And how could I possibly eat the words of Sthenelus? (B.) By dipping them in vinegar, or some deadpan salt! Here the emphasis is not on the incongruity created by the combination of comic and tragic poetry, but the improvement to tragedy made by the addition of witty, which is to say comic, language; the fundamental metaphor in both Strattis and Aristophanes, that paratragedy is a dish formed of comic and tragic ingredients, remains the same.74 Although it is impossible to say which other episodes from Euripides’ Phoenician Women Strattis included in his parody, he makes a significant choice, as Fiorentini points out, by including the scene in which Jocasta attempts to mediate the confrontation between Polyneices and Eteocles. Euripides’ inclusion of Jocasta, though possibly modeled on Stesichorus,75 represents a striking departure from the more canonical accounts of the travails of the house of Oedipus; by calling attention to Euripides’ decision to include a still-​living Jocasta in the story of the Seven, Strattis parodies the most innovative element of Euripides’ tragedy. Strattis does seem to have reproduced the brothers’ confrontation at length, given that he also parodies in a similar manner a line spoken by Jocasta later in the same scene (Strattis 48)76: εἶθ’ ἥλιος μὲν πείθεται τοῖς παιδίοις ὅταν λέγωσιν “ἔξεχ’ ὦ φίλ’ ἥλιε” And so the sun obeys the children whenever they chant “Come out, dear sun!”

74.  For more on the comic metaphor of poetry as food, see Gowers 1993; Wilkins 2000a; Wright 2012: 129–​40; and Chapter 5, on Gerytades. 75. See Mueller-​Goldingen 1985: 34–​35 and Mastronarde 1994: 25–​26. 76.  On this fragment see Kugelmeier 1996:  149–​50; Olson 2007:  373; Orth 2009:  215–​17; Fiorentini 2010: 59–​61.

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In Euripides’ Phoenician Women, Jocasta’s argument to her sons hinges on the notion that ἰσότης, “equality,” is a natural state of being, and therefore Eteocles should permit Polyneices to have an equal share of their inherited position as rulers of Thebes. Her argument culminates in the image of the sun and moon taking turns ruling the sky (541–​47): καὶ γὰρ μέτρ’ ἀνθρώποισι καὶ μέρη σταθμῶν Ἰσότης ἔταξε κἀριθμὸν διώρισεν, νυκτός τ’ ἀφεγγὲς βλέφαρον ἡλίου τε φῶς ἴσον βαδίζει τὸν ἐνιαύσιον κύκλον, κοὐδέτερον αὐτῶν φθόνον ἔχει νικώμενον. εἶθ’ ἥλιος μὲν νύξ τε δουλεύει βροτοῖς, σὺ δ’ οὐκ ἀνέξῃ δωμάτων ἔχων ἴσον; For Equality arranged measures and weights for mankind and defined their number; the lightless eye of night and the light of day walk equal spans of the year’s cycle, and neither feels envy or is defeated.77 And so the sun and the night both serve mortals, but you will not endure having an equal share of the house? In both fragments 47 and 48 of his Phoenician Women, Strattis recalls the original language of the tragedy by beginning with direct quotation and then mirroring grammatical structure as he veers into his own comic language.78 Given that both of these fragments are in trimeters (as in the tragic original), Jocasta’s speech seems unlikely to have been part of the formal discourse of a comic agon, but it may have helped set up an agon between Eteocles and Polyneices, as her speech in the original sets up the tragic confrontation between the brothers; Fiorentini suggests Jocasta may have occupied the role of a βωμολόχος, undermining the brother’s quarrel with banal advice instead of desperately seeking reconciliation between her sons as she did in Euripides’ tragedy.79 Strattis’ choice to parody Jocasta’s appeal to the sun in her argument with Eteocles and Polyneices shows him, moreover, as a subtle reader of Euripides’ play. Anthony Podlecki observed that one of the unifying patterns of imagery in Euripides’ Phoenician Women consists of a network of references to the sun

77. As Mastronarde (1994: 305) points out, this must be the meaning of the phrase and not, as it is sometimes translated, that neither feels envy “when defeated.” 78. Cf. Miles 2009: 191, 193 and Fiorentini 2010: 61. 79. Fiorentini 2010: 61.

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and moon, light and darkness, sight and blindness, concentrated particularly in Jocasta’s prologue scene, the first stasimon, and the first episode, that is the confrontation between the brothers over which Jocasta presides (1962: 357–​62). Euripides’ Phoenician Women opens with Jocasta addressing the sun80; Podlecki argued that as the play proceeds and the fates of the various Labdacids are sealed one by one, sunlight gives way to darkness, sight to blindness. Jocasta’s hopeful first words are echoed even into the final scenes of the play, as when Antigone and Oedipus exchange a series of references to darkness and blindness while she explains to him the fate of their family, culminating in a reference to the chariot of the sun (1562–​63: εἰ δὲ τέθριππά γ’ ἔθ’ ἅρματα λεύσσων/​ἀελίου …) that looks back to Jocasta’s appeal to the sun on its chariot in the opening lines of the play (3: Ἥλιε, θοαῖς ἵπποισιν εἱλίσσων φλόγα …). Jocasta’s recourse to the example of Helios in her plea to her sons stands out, therefore, as a crucial turning point in the development of Podlecki’s pattern of sun imagery, recalling her hopeful address at the beginning of the play but, once she is rejected by her uncooperative sons, looking forward to the darkness that will reign by the end of the tragedy. Strattis deflates this critical moment in Euripides’ tragedy by combining Jocasta’s words with a reference to a child’s game, in which the children stand outside on a cloudy day, clapping and chanting ἔξεχ’ ὦ φίλ’ ἥλιε until the sun appears.81 As Olson points out, The joke of course is that the sun will always appear eventually, and so Strattis undermines Jocasta’s argument here not simply by replacing her grand comparison with the low image of a child’s game, but by suggesting that her logic depends on a simple misunderstanding of the inevitable behavior of astronomical bodies; the sun and moon no more “serve mankind” than they obey the chanted words of children in the street. We cannot know whether this scene starring Jocasta in Strattis’ comedy occupied the same prominence as its model in Euripides’ tragedy, but however the scene was structured and however much emphasis it received, we can see in Strattis’ choice to parody Jocasta’s reference to the sun his sensitivity to the imagery that helps unify Euripides’ expansive tragedy. Strattis’ reproduction of Jocasta’s most striking scene parodies a typically Euripidean innovation in Euripides’ tragedy; the comic poet also shows himself, however, willing to import typical Euripidean elements not present in the original Phoenician Women itself. In a papyrus fragment listing examples from Old

80. Depending on one’s reading of the text, Ἥλιε may even be the opening word of the play; regardless the play begins with Jocasta’s address to the sun. Mastronarde prints Ἥλιε as the first word of the text, removing the first two transmitted lines; see his discussion at 1994: 139–​43. 81. For the combination of tragic language with this children’s game, see Mastronarde 1994: 305; Olson 2007: 373; Fiorentini 2010: 60.

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Comedy of characters referring to the stage crane as a “fig tree,” we find these lines cited from Strattis’ Phoenician Women (46): Διόνυσος ὅς θύρσοισιν † αὐληταὶ δει·λ κω[…] ἐνέχομαι δι᾽ ἑτέρων μοχθ[ηρ]ίαν ἥκω κρεμάμενος ὥσπερ ἰσχὰς ἐπὶ κράδης I, Dionysus, who … fennel stalks … auletes … I’m caught by others’ wickedness, arriving hung up like a fig on a branch. Despite the gaps in this text we can clearly see from it that Dionysus appeared as a deus ex machina in Strattis’ comedy.82 Although Euripides’ Phoenician Women lacked a deus ex machina, this was a device frequently employed by Euripides; by adding the arrival of a god on the crane to his own version of Euripides’ play, Strattis has thus created a drama more Euripidean than its Euripidean model. In our fragment, Dionysus comes on stage speaking words drawn from another play by Euripides, the Hypsipyle (Eur. F 752):83 Διόνυσος, ὃς θύρσοισι καὶ νεβρῶν δοραῖς καθαπτὸς ἐν πεύκῃσι Παρνασσὸν κάτα πηδᾷ χορεύων παρθένοις σὺν Δελφίσιν. Dionysus, who, equipped with thursoi and the skins of fawns, leaps among the pines on Parnassus, dancing with Delphic maidens… . In the Hypsipyle, it was not Dionysus who spoke these words, but Hypsipyle herself; the scholiast who cites this fragment identifies it as the opening words of the play.84 Dionysus does, however, seem to have appeared as a deus ex machina at the conclusion of the Hypsipyle.85 In putting an invocation of Dionysus from the opening of the play into the mouth of Dionysus himself, appearing on the crane as he did in the exodus, Strattis encapsulates the whole of the Hypsipyle in a single moment. Dionysus is a particularly appropriate deity, moreover, for Strattis to insert into his parodic Phoenician Women. There is some evidence that Euripides’

82.  On this fragment and the papyrus it appears in, see Austin 1973:  45–​47 and Orth 2009: 209–​11. 83. Luppe 1971: 120–​21; Hunter 1981: 22; Orth 2009: 210. 84. Bond 1963: 53–​54. 85. Hunter 1981: 22.

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Hypsipyle and Phoenician Women were presented at the same festival,86 in which case Strattis would be combining elements from two plays of the same trilogy into a single comic parody, as Aristophanes had done in combining parodies of Helen and Andromeda within Women at the Thesmophoria.87 Perhaps more importantly, Dionysus, despite never appearing on stage in Euripides’ Phoenician Women, is a forceful presence throughout the tragedy: as one of the tutelary deities of Thebes he is invoked repeatedly in the chorus’ cycle of songs (228, 649, 785, 1751). As Orth points out (2009: 211), Ares and Dionysus are explicitly opposed in the choral odes (esp. 784–​833), but since Ares comes to rule the world of the tragedy by the end of the play, it would be a fitting reversal for Dionysus to preside over a comic revision. As with his parody of Jocasta’s appeal to the sun, Strattis’ inclusion of Dionysus as a character in his comedy shows his fine attention to the language and imagery that unify Euripides’ tragedy, and his ability to draw out the subtle structures of Euripides’ play through parody. Strattis transforms the crucial but implicit presence of Dionysus in Euripides’ Phoenician Women into an explicit, literal presence in his comic revision; when he brings a typical Euripidean deus ex machina onstage, in a parody of a play that lacked a deus, speaking in quotations from other tragedies of Euripides, Strattis renders his play even more “typically” Euripidean than Euripides’ original Phoenician Women. Strattis’ Phoenician Women, for all that it seems to have occupied the same mythological time and place as its tragic model, was also capable of moving outside the bounds of the tragic setting to mock the conventions of Attic drama. F 49, the longest preserved remnant of Phoenician Women, shows a character making fun of the Theban dialect at some length88: ξυνίετ’ οὐδέν, πᾶσα Θηβαίων πόλις· οὐδέν ποτ’ ἄλλ’. οἳ πρῶτα μὲν τὴν σηπίαν ὀπιτθοτίλαν, ὡς λέγουσ’, ὀνομάζετε, τὸν ἀλεκτρυόνα δ’ †ὀρτάλιχον, τὸν ἰατρὸν δὲ † σάκταν, βέφυραν τὴν γέφυραν, τῦκα δὲ τὰ σῦκα, κωτιλάδας δὲ τὰς χελιδόνας,

86. Cf. Σ Ar. Frogs 53; TrGF 5.2: 736; Mastronarde 1994: 13–​14; Austin and Olson 2004: xxxiii–​ xxxiv; Miles 2009: 184–​87. 87. See Chapter 4. 88. On this fragment and the meaning of its various terms, see Dover 1987: 240–​41; Colvin 1999:  277–​78 (who ties it to contemporary hostility toward Thebes, and argues that the Boeotian terms in the fragment must have been known to the audience for the joke to be effective); Orth 2009: 217–​22 (who suggests the expression πᾶσα Θηβαίων πόλις may have had a tragic ring to it, noting similar expressions at Eur. Herc. 227, 1333, and Bacch. 50).

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τὴν ἔνθεσιν δ’ ἄκολον, τὸ γελᾶν δὲ κριδδέμεν, νεασπάτωτον δ’, ἤν τι νεοκάττυτον ᾖ. You the entire city of Thebes, understand nothing, nothing at all. First, as they tell me, you call the cuttlefish a “rear-​squirter,” the rooster a “chicken,” the doctor a “bag-​man”; for “bridge” you say “gridge,” “tigs” for “figs,” and for swallows “twitterers.” You call a morsel of food “a bite,” and for to laugh you say “to screech.” If something is newly stitched, it is “new-​leathered.”89 Unfortunately Athenaeus in citing these lines gives them no context beyond the explanation that “Strattis shows in Phoenician Women that the Thebans use strange vocabulary.” The comparison of Attic with Theban forms strongly suggests that the speaker was an Athenian, though whether a mythological Athenian or a contemporary figure somehow present among the mythological characters of the Euripidean original we cannot say.90 In his Attic mockery of the Theban dialect, Strattis calls attention to his play’s close modeling on tragedy: in his paratragic Thebes he follows the tragic convention by which everyone speaks Attic, instead of the convention of comedies set in contemporary Athens, where foreigners speak in (comic versions of ) their own dialects.91 Dover (1987: 240–​41) suggests that a number of the specific terms the speaker refers to in this fragment had obscene implications; this conversation would thus have been quite hilarious, as the speaker mocks the dialect spoken by contemporary Thebans among a group of mythological Thebans who speak Attic, peppering his critique with vulgar double entendres to create an even more jarring contrast with the elevated tragic language of the Theban royalty. Strattis’ Phoenician Women seems therefore to have been not merely a parody of Euripides’ homonymous tragedy but a play about parody, a play that took pains to call attention to its own comic poetics. It may come as little surprise, then, that the fragments give us our first attestation of the term “paratragedy” (Strattis 50): ἐγὼ γὰρ αὐτὸν παρατραγῳδῆσαί τι μοι For I  him to give me a little paratragedy….

89. I reproduce here the translation of Storey 2011: 3.261. 90. Orth 2009 (219) suggests the speaker of F 49 may have been Dionysus, although (as Orth notes) the phrase ὡς λέγουσ in line 3 should indicate that the speaker has not previously been to Thebes. 91. Cf. Orth 2009: 218 n. 345. On the dialects spoken by foreigners in Greek comedy, see Colvin 1999 and 2000; Willi 2003: 198–​225; and below, on Eubulus’ Antiope.

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Cited in a lexicon simply for the spelling of the verb “paratragedize,” this tantalizing fragment is without context.92 Given that the line is cited as a trimeter, it will have come from an episode of the comedy, not from the parabasis; it may well derive from one of the metatheatrical discussions of comedy familiar from several Aristophanic prologue scenes.93 Strattis F 1, from Anthroporestes, also appears to be a prologue statement calling attention to the parodic nature of the comedy; could Strattis have been in the habit of explicitly discussing his tragic models in the prologues of these parody plays, as the Roman comedians did with their Greek comic models? Whether spoken by a new character introduced by Strattis and extraneous to the mythological context, or by the comic version of one of Euripides’ tragic characters,94 this line will have been a striking disruption of the pretense of a drama set in the heroic age. Whatever its precise context, the verb “paratragedize,” appearing in a play that was a direct parody of a tragedy, must have had a programmatic significance, and seems likely to have been spoken, if not in the poet’s own voice, at least directly on his behalf. The remaining fragments of the play shed no further light on its content or structure. Numerous questions remain:  Did Dionysus appear on the crane in the play’s exodus or in its prologue, and, if in the prologue, could he then be the speaker of fragments 49 or 50, the character able to comment on the tragic-​ mythological world from the perspective of modern Athens? How did Strattis treat the chorus, who, we presume from the title of his comedy, must have been women from Phoenicia as in Euripides’ tragedy? Did Strattis follow the plot of his tragic model, or did he graft scenes from Euripides onto a more typically comic plot structure? Do Strattis’ Eteocles and Polyneices kill one another in battle, or did the play have, as Aristotle suggests mythological comedies often did (Poet. 1453a), a happy ending? The fragments do not permit us to answer these questions. Nevertheless, the remains of Strattis’ Phoenician Women do grant us an important window onto the world of mythological tragic parody, a world excluded from the extant plays of Aristophanes. Even in fleeting moments of tragic parody, I have argued, like Cratinus’ revision of a phrase from Euripides’ Stheneboea, audience members are required to recognize the tragic sources of comic imitation to fully appreciate the poets’ engagement

92. The line is reminiscent of Cratinus F 270, in which two characters discuss whether or not to sing a tragic monody; see KA 4: 258–​59. 93. So Kaibel, quoted at KA 7: 647. 94. Orth (2009: 223) suspects the latter; Edmonds (1957: 830–​31) suggested Euripides himself might have been brought on stage to deliver the prologue of the play; Wright (2012: 150) understands this fragment to be a pronouncement in Strattis’ own voice of his intention to “parody the tragedy myself.”

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with tragedy. In Strattis’ Phoenician Women, we see something of the extraordinary complexity and sophistication a comic poet could achieve with a parody of an entire play. Everyone in the audience could appreciate the humor of seeing familiar mythological characters spouting banal platitudes or complaining as they dangle on the crane, but for those in the audience who could identify Strattis’ Jocasta and Dionysus as revisions of Euripides’, who could recall the original tragic verses that Strattis distorts and the tragic contexts in which they were spoken, the comedy becomes simultaneously hilarious and profound, a vulgar, silly treatise on the nature of tragic poetry. It is a striking fact that the two plays from this period that seem most clearly to parody specific, individual tragedies with which they share an identical title are Strattis’ Phoenician Women—​and Aristophanes’ Phoenician Women. One of these poets wrote his Phoenician Women as a reaction to the work of his rival; clearly the two comedians who made tragic parody the most central to their poetic practice must have seen this as an opportunity to compete directly in the parody of the same tragic model.95 We lack any indication as to the relative chronology of these two Phoenician Women parodies: Strattis may have fastened on Phoenician Women as a chance to demonstrate his superior powers of parody on a play already treated by the older master Aristophanes; or Aristophanes may have thought to reclaim the throne of parody after a strong challenge from a younger poet, seeking to show by mocking the same target how tragic parody ought to be done. If the “him” (αὐτόν) of Strattis F 50 were Aristophanes, we might even read the reference to this person “giving me a bit of paratragedy” as an admission by Strattis that the Phoenician Women had been “paratragedized” before.

The Abodes of the Bread Pans: Mythological Parody in the Fourth Century Parody of tragedy in a mythological context was an established element of the genre of comedy in the fifth century, in the works of Cratinus, Aristophanes, Strattis, Sannyrion, and others. In the fourth century, mythological comedy, with or without reference to specific tragic models, became highly popular; among the many mythological comedies of the fourth century, several plays preserve fragments that indicate tragic parody. We are hampered in dealing with parody in this period by the fragmentary state of fourth-​century tragedy; nevertheless, we can at least see a number of instances in which these later comic poets parodied the now-​canonical works of the great fifth-​century tragedians.

95.  On the two comic versions of Phoenician Women in relation to one another, see Orth 2009: 209 and Miles 2009: 275–​85.

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Aristophanes himself may well have paved the way for such later mythological parodies: at the end of his life, he presented through his son Ararus a comedy with the odd title Aiolosikon (386/​5 bce?), which Platonius tells us was a parody of Euripides’ Aeolus (Diff. Com. 25–​29)96: σκοποῦ γὰρ ὄντος τῇ ἀρχαίᾳ κωμωιδίᾳ τοῦ σκώπτειν δημαγωγοὺς καὶ δικαστὰς καὶ στρατηγούς, παρεὶς ὁ Ἀριστοφάνης τοῦ συνήθως ἀποσκῶψαι διὰ τὸν πολὺν φόβον Αἴολον τὸ δρᾶμα τὸ γραφὲν τοῖς τραγῳδοῖς ὡς κακῶς ἔχον διασύρει. Although the aim of Old Comedy was to mock demagogues and jurors and generals, Aristophanes set aside his usual jeering out of great fear and mocked instead the Aeolus, the one written by tragedians, as being a bad play. The relationship between Aristophanes’ and Euripides’ plays hinges on the interpretation of the title: if we have a comedy in which Aeolus behaves like the chef Sicon, then the play will have been essentially mythological; if, however, Aristophanes depicted a chef behaving like Euripides’ Aeolus (e.g., permitting incest among his children), then the play would have more closely resembled Timocles’ Orestautokleides (discussed below), with a modern figure caught up in circumstances somehow analogous to a particular myth.97 Athenaeus cites a fragment that parodies the opening lines of Euripides’ Hecuba:98 Eur. Hec. 1–​2 Ἥκω νεκρῶν κευθμῶνα καὶ σκότου πύλας λιπών, ἵν’ Ἅιδης χωρὶς ᾤκισται θεῶν I have come here leaving behind the vaults of the dead and the gates of darkness, where Hades dwells apart from the gods Ar. F 1 ἥκω Θεαρίωνος ἀρτοπώλιον λιπών, ἵν’ ἐστὶ κριβάνων ἑδώλια 96.  On this play see Rau 1967:  209; Webster 1970:  18; Nesselrath 1990:  235 n.  155; Carrière 2000: 202; Brockmann 2003: 339 n. 48; Casolari 2003: 175–​76. There seem to have been two versions of Aiolosikon, but, as Sommerstein points out (2009: 281 n. 39), two plays that combined the figure of a cook called Sicon with Euripides’ Aeolus can scarcely have differed as significantly from one another as, say, the two versions of Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria. 97. For such compound titles, see Chapter 1, on Strattis’ Anthroporestes. 98. Aristophanes will parody this line again in his Gerytades; see Chapter 5.

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I have come here leaving behind the bakery of Thearion, where the abodes of breadpans are In one sense, this is a typical instance of tragic parody, merging the elevated language of its tragic source with the everyday, contemporary language and concerns of comedy. The combination is also, however, emblematic of Aristophanes’ particular approach in this play, in which a tragic character is fused with a modern chef, perhaps the most typical figure of the Middle Comic stage99:  we hear an echo of the tragic grandeur of the opening of Hecuba, but this elevated language is deployed simply to describe a bakery. We are told by a scholiast on Aristophanes’ Peace that Aiolosikon included a depiction of the gluttonous Heracles (F 11), further supporting the notion that Aristophanes focused on food as a way of merging the mythological and the quotidian. Antiphanes follows Aristophanes’ lead most directly: he too wrote a comic version of the mythical marriage of Aeolus’ children. Athenaeus preserves a fragment of the prologue indicating that Antiphanes’ play treated the same story as Euripides’, namely, the incestuous love of Aeolus’ children Macareus and Canace, and their plot to hide the shame of their marriage by convincing their father to marry each of his sons to one of his daughters (F 19): Μακαρεὺς ἔρωτι τῶν ὁμοσπόρων μιᾶς πληγεὶς τέως μὲν ἐπεκράτει τῆς συμφορᾶς κατεῖχέ θ’ αὑτόν· εἶτα παραλαβών ποτε οἶνον στρατηγόν, ὃς μόνος θνητῶν ἄγει τὴν τόλμαν εἰς τὸ πρόσθε τῆς εὐβουλίας, νύκτωρ ἀναστὰς ἔτυχεν ὧν ἠβούλετο. Macareus was struck with love for a woman born from the same seed; at one time he overcame his misfortune and restrained himself, but later on, taking wine for his general (which alone brings mortals’ daring ahead of their wisdom), he got up during the night and found what he had been desiring. The language of this prologue statement is tragic, especially Euripidean, without imitating any single passage we know of.100 There is no mention of wine in the fragments of Euripides’ Aeolus; although it remains possible that Macareus was drunk when he slept with Canace in Euripides’ version of the story, Antiphanes 99. See Nesselrath 1990: 297–​309 and Wilkins 2000b: 369–​414. 100. Nesselrath 1990: 205–​9; Amouroux 1999: 39–​40; Casolari 2003: 16; Mangidis 2003: 74–​77.

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may also have imported this element of the plot from Euripides’ Auge, in which Heracles blames his rape of Auge on his having drunk too much wine (Eur. Auge T 2a, F 272); Antiphanes would, then, like Strattis in his Phoenician Women, be incorporating elements of multiple Euripidean tragedies into his parody of the Aeolus. Even if the wine-​drinking element was originally part of Euripides’ Aeolus, Antiphanes’ explanation that Macareus needed the wine to steel himself for the forbidden act he had long been desiring seems almost certainly his own comic spin on Euripides’ story: the fragments of the tragic Aeolus make it clear that Macareus is the willing partner who must persuade his sister and his father to accept an incestuous pairing. The only other fragment of Antiphanes’ play describes a man everyone calls “wineskin” because of his drunkenness and obesity; if this character is Macareus, his wine drinking will thus have been a major emphasis of the play, and his fatness will have provided a hilarious contrast to the handsome youth (emphatically Aeolus’ youngest son) in Euripides’ version.101 The tragic Aeolus ended in sorrow and bloodshed, with the suicide of Canace and perhaps exposure of the child.102 This cannot have been the conclusion of Antiphanes’ comedy, and Nesselrath ingeniously argues that Antiphanes could have drawn on the device common in New Comedy in which the true identities of comic lovers are only revealed in the conclusion of the play: Canace and Macareus, he suggests, would turn out in Antiphanes’ version to be unrelated, and thus able to marry and raise their child (1990:  208–​9). Nesselrath categorically rules out the possibility that Antiphanes would have had Macareus and Canace succeed in an incestuous marriage; but to my mind this puts too little faith in the force of parody. If Antiphanes signaled to his audience that his Aeolus was a comic revision of Euripides’ tragedy, a conclusion in which Macareus and Canace were happily married as brother and sister would be the ultimate exposure of the absurdity latent in Euripides’ play103; if Antiphanes’ Aeolus was a parody of Euripides’, not merely a comic version of the myth itself, the blame for Macareus and Canace’s incest lies with Euripides, and the more gleefully Antiphanes embraced this forbidden love in his comedy, the funnier his parody would become. Finally, we should note that in choosing to parody Euripides’ Aeolus, Antiphanes, like other fourth-​century comic poets parodying tragic verses and whole tragedies, has chosen to parody a fifth-​century tragedy

101. Rusten 2011: 489 n. 4 suggests there may have been a pun on the “winesack of Aeolus” that Odysseus was given in the Odyssey (10.19). 102. Eur. Aeolus T3a, 3b, 7b (= Ov. Her. 11); see Collard and Cropp 2008: 12–​15. 103. An absurdity already suggested by Strepsiades’ reaction to his son’s quotation of a passage from Euripides’ Aeolus at Clouds 1371–​72.

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that had itself already received considerable parody by Aristophanes, not only in Aiolosikon but even earlier, in Peace.104 Eubulus’ Antiope gives us a fuller sense of what the comic distortions of later fourth-​century Euripidean parody would have looked like.105 Euripides’ Antiope contained a famous debate between Antiope’s sons Amphion and Zethus over the best way to live106:  Zethus defends an active, military life, while Amphion argued that music, learning, and contemplation were more important. Part of Zethus’ vision of the active life centers around food production (Eur. F 188): ἀλλ’ ἐμοὶ πιθοῦ· παῦσαι ματᾴζων, καὶ πόνων εὐμουσίαν ἄσκει· τοιαῦτ’ ἄειδε καὶ δόξεις φρονεῖν, σκάπτων, ἀρῶν γῆν, ποιμνίοις ἐπιστατῶν, ἄλλοις τὰ κομψὰ ταῦτ’ ἀφεὶς σοφίσματα, ἐξ ὧν κενοῖσιν ἐγκατοικήσεις δόμοις But trust me: stop being a fool, and practice the good music of work. Sing about these sorts of things and you will seem wise: digging, plowing the earth, watching the flocks. Leave these clever tricks to others before you find yourself living in an empty house. Amphion in his counterargument suggests that men who willingly lead lives focused on the body become slaves to their appetites (Eur. F 201): καὶ μὴν ὅσοι μὲν σαρκὸς εἰς εὐεξίαν ἀσκοῦσι βίοτον, ἢν σφαλῶσι χρημάτων, κακοὶ πολῖται· δεῖ γὰρ ἄνδρ’ εἰθισμένον ἀκόλαστον ἦθος γαστρὸς ἐν ταὐτῷ μένειν. And indeed those who arrange their life toward keeping their body in good condition, if they run out of money they become evil citizens: for it’s necessary for a man accustomed to an unrestrained habit of stomach to remain in that same state.

104. On Peace as a parody of Aeolus, see Telò 2010. 105. Hunter 1983: 96–​103, Nesselrath 1990: 223–​27. 106. Its fame in the fourth century is attested by Plato, Gorgias 484–​85. On the relationship between Gorgias and Antiope, see Nightingale 1992.

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But even Amphion’s attack on the active man’s devotion to his stomach is couched in the lofty language of good citizenship; Zethus, in turn, focuses on the ethical implications of Amphion’s way of life, arguing that a man devoted to music is of no use to his city (e.g., F 187). Eubulus takes the base, physical elements present within Euripides’ agon and brings them to the forefront, disregarding the loftier ethical considerations. Euripides’ tragedy culminated in an appearance by Hermes ex machina, in which the god delivered Zeus’ command to the brothers to proceed to Thebes to build its new walls (Eur. F 223.67–​103). Eubulus revises this theophany with a reductio ad absurdum of Euripides’ distinction between Zethus’ and Amphion’s way of life (Eub. F 9): Ζῆθον μὲν ἐλθόνθ’ ἁγνὸν ἐς Θήβης πέδον οἰκεῖν κελεύει, καὶ γὰρ ἀξιωτέρους πωλοῦσιν, ὡς ἔοικε, τοὺς ἄρτους ἐκεῖ· σὺ δ’ ὀξύπεινος.τὸν δὲ μουσικώτατον κλεινὰς Ἀθήνας ἐκπερᾶν Ἀμφίονα οὗ ῥᾷστ’ ἀεὶ πεινῶσι Κεκροπιδῶν κόροι κάπτοντες αὔρας, ἐλπίδας σιτούμενοι. He commands Zethus to go and dwell in the holy plain of Thebes, since, it seems, they sell bread cheaper there: you’re always so hungry! But the most musical Amphion he commands to go forth to glorious Athens where the sons of the Cecropidae hunger at ease, gulping down the winds, feeding on hopes. The form κελεύει in line 2 strongly suggests that we have a messenger delivering Zeus’ commands,107 and it seems almost certain to have been Hermes, as in the finale of Euripides’ tragedy.108 The language and meter here is mostly suitable for tragedy,109 but the content of Hermes’ commands has been rendered absurd. Only Zethus is to be sent to Thebes in Eubulus’ version, and not because he will build the famous seven-​g ated walls there, but simply because bread is cheap and he’s always hungry! The tragic brothers’ emphasis on the civic and ethical implications of the life of the body has been replaced with a simple accusation of gluttony. Amphion’s fate too has been altered and exaggerated: instead of a 107. Hunter 1983: 97. 108. So Nesselrath 1990: 224, against Hunter 1983: 97. 109. Hunter 1983: 97 describes it as “tragic burlesque, as opposed to paratragedy,” which is to say, generically marked tragic language without reference to a specific tragic model.

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life devoted to music in preference to exercise, he has been given a life devoted to music to the complete exclusion even of food; and instead of Thebes, he is to be sent to Athens, famous for music and, as Rusten points out, also famous in this period for famine.110 Euripides’ philosophical dispute over the good life has been transformed into a caricature of the brothers and a pair of topical ethnic jokes. We saw how Strattis’ Phoenician Women merged the mythological and the contemporary with jokes about the Theban dialect and metatheatrical references to his own production; Eubulus, too, seems to have brought his version of Euripides into a contemporary idiom. Despite its corrupt state, F 11 shows us further joking about the distinction Hermes makes between Athens and Thebes, in a humorous version of Boeotian: πώνειν μὲν ἁμὲς καὶ φαγεῖν μάλ ἀνδρικοὶ καὶ καρτερεῖμεν † τοῖς δ’ Ἀθηναίοις λέγειν καὶ μικρὰ φαγέμεν, τοὶ δὲ Θηβαῖοι μέγα. We’re very manly at working and eating and holding out; Athenians are just good at talking and eating little, but Thebans eat a lot. As with the Athenian character who mocks Thebans in Strattis’ Phoenician Women, we must have here either a mythological Theban comically speaking the contemporary Theban dialect, or a contemporary Theban character who has somehow entered the mythological world of Eubulus’ comedy. F 10, which mentions the politician Callistratus and addresses a character with the contemporary name Chariades, shows that Eubulus did include features of the modern world in his story of Amphion and Zethus.111 F 11 here looks like a foolish Theban character who unthinkingly repeats Hermes’ mocking distinction between Thebes and Athens as if it were praise of the Theban lifestyle; unless Zethus, accepting his assignment to Thebes, could somehow have begun speaking like a Theban, gratefully accepting Hermes’ instructions on the grounds that, as a glutton himself, he will fit in among the gluttonous Thebans.112 Timocles seems to have taken a different approach to mythological tragic parody in his Orestautokleides: instead of inserting modern references into the 110. Rusten 2011: 471 n. 22. Hunter (1983: 102) connects the reference instead to other comic jokes about Athenians eating small or meager meals. 111. Nesselrath 1990: 225–​26. 112. Nesselrath (1990: 226) rejects this idea, on the grounds that Zethus would have needed to speak in the Boeotian dialect for the entire play; but it would be much more effective to have him start speaking Boeotian only after he is told to go live in Thebes.

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mythological world of tragedy, he embroils a modern character in a suspiciously tragic scenario.113 In this comedy, Timocles reproduces the famous opening scene of Aeschylus’ Eumenides, in which the hideous furies lie sleeping around Orestes in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi; in Timocles’ version, Orestes has been replaced by the notorious pederast Autocleides, and instead of the furies we have… furious prostitutes (27): περὶ δὲ τὸν πανάθλιον εὕδουσι γρᾶες, Νάννιον, Πλαγγών, Λύκα, Γνάθαινα, Φρύνη, Πυθιονίκη, Μυρρίνη, Χρυσίς, † Κοναλίς †, Ἱερόκλεια, Λοπάδιον Around the wretched man sleep old women, Nannion, Plangon, Lyca, Gnathaena, Phryne, Myrrine, Chrysis, Konalis (?), Hieroclea, Lopadion The lines imitate the Pythia’s description of the furies surrounding Orestes in the prologue of the Eumenides (46–​47): πρόσθεν δὲ τἀνδρὸς τοῦδε θαυμαστὸς λόχος εὕδει γυναικῶν ἐν θρόνοισιν ἥμενος. Before this man sleeps a shocking band of women seated in thrones. Aeschylus’ Eumenides are twice called γραῖαι in this scene (69, 150); their designation as γραῖαι παλαιόπαιδες would be particularly apt for Timocles’ gang of aging prostitutes as well, old women still engaged in a profession that proverbially required them to appear as youthful as possible. Harpocration tells us that Timocles referred to the Parabyston in his Orestautokleides, a law court where a group of judges called “The Eleven” tried, among other defendants, captured exiles. Given that eleven prostitutes are named in the band pursuing Autocleides, it seems likely that Timocles continued his revision of Eumenides with a version of Aeschylus’ famous trial scene, set in the Parabyston with Autocleides in place of the exiled Orestes. Autocleides’ pederasty is almost all we know about him, but if this was his most famous characteristic, the prostitutes may have accused him of neglecting women in favor of boys, as Comedy herself had accused Cratinus of neglecting her for boyish wineskins in Pytine.

113. See Maidment 1935: 13; Webster 1970: 59, 82–​83; Olson 2007: 175–​76.

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In the fourth century, then, the poets of mythological parody continued to draw on the now-​canonical, established texts of fifth-​century tragedy. I argued in the previous chapter that the later comic poets continued to use tragic culture as a mode of engagement with their contemporary tragic poets, not just the tragedians of the fifth century; our evidence regarding parody is too slim to permit the same claim. Nevertheless, we can at least see that the fourth-​century comic poets continued to make use of the mythological past as a medium for the parody of fifth-​century tragic texts, often drawing on the technique inaugurated by plays like Strattis’ and Aristophanes’ Phoenician Women of parodying specific tragedies with identical titles. Fourth-​century tragic parody continued to make sophisticated demands of its audience, and to reward those spectators or readers who had the knowledge of the tragic canon to recognize tragic sources and to interpret comic allusions as subtle, complex commentaries on tragedy.

Conclusion: Parody and Paratragedy Tragic culture and tragic parody are two sides of the same comic coin: the comic poets can engage with tragedy either by depicting their characters discussing tragedy, as real Athenians must often have done, or by directly imitating the tragedies their audiences were used to seeing performed with more gravity in the tragic competition. For the most part, the comic fragments of both the fifth and the fourth centuries preserve examples of tragic culture and tragic parody in isolation from one another: characters discuss tragedy, or they imitate tragedy, but very seldom does a single fragment—​or even a set of fragments representing a single play—​show us both. There are, however, a handful of exceptions to this rule. The comic poet Theopompus, whose career spanned the late fifth and early fourth centuries bce, wrote a series of comedies drawing on the Odyssey, including an Odysseus, a Penelope, and a Sirens. His Odysseus seems to have been particularly self-​aware, starring an Odysseus who is well versed in Homeric poetry, as a fragment preserved by Eustathius shows (In Od. 1863.50 = Theopompus F 34): τὸ ῥηθὲν λέπυρον καὶ λεπύχανόν φασιν εὑρῆσθαι παρὰ Θεοπόμπῳ τῷ κωμικῷ, εἰπόντι ὡς ἐκ προσώπου τοῦ Ὀδυσσέως τό χιτῶνά μοι φέρων δέδωκας δαιδάλεον, ὃν ᾔκασεν ἄρισθ’ Ὅμηρος κρομμύου λεπυχάνῳ

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The word “rind” and “onion skin” they say have been found in Theopompus the comic poet, saying the following as from the character of Odysseus: You have brought me the gift of an exquisite cloak, which Homer brilliantly compared to the skin of an onion. This Odysseus not only quotes Homeric language, he praises the accuracy of a Homeric simile.114 The characters of Theopompus’ Odysseus, however, aren’t just familiar with their own epic lineage; they also know the dramatic works of Theopompus’ Athenian contemporaries. One character quotes some language from Euripides (F 35)115: Εὐριπίδου τἄριστον, οὐ κακῶς ἔχον, τἀλλότρια δειπνεῖν τὸν καλῶς εὐδαίμονα That excellent bit from Euripides, not at all badly put, that “a man lives well when he dines on others’ food.” Theopompus combines here the two strands of comic engagement with tragedy I have been tracing in the first portion of this book: he simultaneously portrays a character participating in the culture of tragedy, and parodies tragic poetry itself. Like other comic characters who live in a world where discussion of tragedy is an essential part of daily life, this character not only quotes tragic verses, but cites his source, and makes an evaluative comment on the poetry he quotes. In bringing Euripides’ words back onto the dramatic stage, particularly in a mythological context, Theopompus also produces an instance of parody, in which tragic verses are excerpted, perhaps altered—​Theopompus may have substituted δειπνεῖν for some more suitably tragic activity—​inserted into comedy, and thus rendered humorous and ironic by the disjunction between tragic language and comic context.116 This fragment also represents a subtle moment of self-​reflection on Theopompus’ part: by explicitly citing Euripides as the source for his praise of the parasite’s life, Theopompus figures himself as yet another parasite, a poet who reaps the benefits

114. Cf. Norwood 1931: 32. 115.  Nesselrath 1990:  311 n.  70 suggests that this character should be either Odysseus at the feast of the Phaeacians, or one of the suitors in Odysseus’ palace; Casolari 2003: 221 prefers Odysseus, but Sommerstein 2009: 285 n. 51 thinks a suitor is more likely. 116. Nauck at TrGF 1: 508 suggests that δειπνεῖν was a substitution for a tragic φεύγειν or other similar word.

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of other poets’ labors; paratragedy is ironically, self-​deprecatingly presented as parasitism.117 Strattis achieves a similar effect in his Phoenician Women, when his revision of the Euripidean Jocasta’s advice simultaneously warns against mixtures of high and base elements, and creates just such a mixture through parody. A handful of other fragmentary plays suggest this same combination of tragic culture and tragic parody. Phrynichus’ Tragoidoi, for example, parodies a verse from Sophocles’ Ajax, but must also have featured a chorus of tragic poets or tragic actors; Archippus’ Ichthyes inserts the tragic poet Melanthius into a scene from tragedy; Plato’s Heortai parodies language from Euripides’ Medea to criticize Euripides’ diction; Axionicus’ Phileuripides has both Euripides fans and a parody of Euripidean lyric; Diphilus’ Synoris has a parasite parodically mashing up a pastiche of Euripidean verses to defend his assertion that Euripides was a parasite. In Part II of this book, I turn to the intact plays of Aristophanes, all of which contain to some degree both of these elements of paratragedy. The comic poets of the generations before, during, and after Aristophanes’ career depicted characters talking about tragedy, created fans devoted to particular tragedians, and brought the tragedians themselves onstage. These same poets also imitated tragedy, repeating individual verses in absurd contexts, recreating familiar tragic scenes, or even revising entire tragedies as comedies under the same tragic title. By treating the fragmentary poets first, I have attempted to make the argument that Aristophanes’ engagement with tragedy occurred within a broader generic context: that is, to argue that paratragedy had become by the late fifth century an element of comedy as a genre, and continued to be an essential element of Greek comedy down through the fourth century. Only within this context are we enabled to read Aristophanic paratragedy as a virtuosic performance of a generic feature of comedy, rather than as the isolated obsession of a single comic poet.

117. Nesselrath 1990: 310–​11; Damon 1997: 28 n. 18; Sanchis Llopis 2002: 116; and Casolari 2003: 221 all label the speaker of this fragment a parasite, but none observe the relevance of the charge of parasitism to Theopompus himself. For the parasite in Greek comedy generally, see Damon 1997: 23–​36.

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Aristophanes

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3

The Man Is Obsessed with Song A Contest of Genres in Wasps

The title characters of Axionicus’ Phileuripides were apparently so devoted to the works of the late Euripides that their fandom could be described as insanity (3): οὕτω γὰρ ἐπὶ τοῖς μέλεσι τοῖς Εὐριπίδου ἄμφω νοσοῦσιν … for the two of them are so crazed for the songs of Euripides … Their fandom is a νόσος, a disease or madness of the type that often afflicts characters in Euripides’ own tragedies. Axionicus was not the first comic poet, however, to conceive of tragic fandom as a species of madness. In this chapter, I will argue that Philocleon, the wily old judiciophile of Aristophanes’ Wasps, is already depicted as a tragedy fan whose obsession leads him into tragic madness. In Wasps, we witness the efforts of Bdelycleon to reform his father Philocleon, and the latter’s progression from a lover of law courts to a despiser of the law; as we shall see, however, this progression is also a narrative of the triumph of comedy over tragedy. Wasps presents Philocleon as an unstable character obsessed with tragedy. Whenever events turn against him, he reacts like a character in a tragedy: he begins speaking tragic verses, aping typical tragic behavior, and even acting out specific tragic scenes. The character of Philocleon enables Aristophanes to combine tragic culture with tragic parody:  Philocleon, like the Euripides lovers in Axionicus’ Phileuripides or the devotees of Sthenelus and Morsimus in Plato’s Skeuai, is a tragedy fan, one of the central participants in the comic culture of tragedy; but his fandom leads him into the realm of tragic parody, as he begins speaking in tragic

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quotations and causing Aristophanes’ comedy to resemble, momentarily, a tragedy. Bdelycleon, a character markedly associated, like Dicaeopolis in Acharnians, with comedy, repeatedly wards off the influence of tragedy on his father with the unique resources of comic dramaturgy, staging a series of metatheatrical events to avert tragedy’s intrusions into the play. Finally successful in winning his father over to comedy, Bdelycleon unwittingly releases an unstoppable comic force, and Philocleon, inspired by wine and comic madness, takes over the stage, transforming the confrontation between comedy and tragedy from metaphor to reality by staging a dancing competition with a family of tragic performers.1 The competition between tragedy and comedy in Wasps is a struggle to influence Philocleon: initially devoted to tragedy, Philocleon reacts to events in his life as if he is a character in a tragedy; finally conquered by comedy, he even becomes capable of staging a comedy of his own.2 In Aristophanes’ Peace, a similar struggle between tragedy and comedy is played in out in miniature: Trygaeus’ actions threaten to transform him into a tragic character, his play into a tragic plot; drawing on the resources of comedy, Trygaeus is easily able to avert this supposed threat. Before exploring the plot-​length contest between comedy and tragedy in Wasps, we therefore turn first briefly to Peace.

Don’t Break a Leg: The Tragic Threat in Peace Aristophanes’ Peace begins as we have seen with a spectacular paratragic set piece:  the hero, Trygaeus, is preparing to ascend to heaven in the manner of Bellerophon, but the famous winged steed Pegasus has been replaced by an enormous dung beetle. The importance of the Euripidean original for this sequence has been recognized since the scholia (and was doubtless apparent to much of the

1. The conclusion of Wasps has long troubled interpreters, some of whom have even dismissed it as unconnected to the rest of the play. Wilamowitz (1935: 307), for example, wrote of the exodus, “mit der Fabel des Stückes hat sie nicht das mindeste mehr zu tun.” Its defenders have depicted it variously as an outpouring of festival spirit (Whitman 1964: 160; Slater 2002: 108–​ 11; Carrière 2004), as the end of a series of agones (Russo 1994: 127–​30; Biles 2011: 131–​32), as political satire (Konstan 1985; Olson 1996), or as the climax of Philocleon’s disease (Vaio 1971; Reckford 1977; Sidwell 1990); psychoanalytic (Paduano 1974) and ritualist (Bowie 1993, accepted also by Slater 2002) readings have also been attempted. Beta 1999a correctly notes the importance of tragedy in the play, but sees the conclusion as the outcome of a play-​length parody of Euripides’ Heracles, an argument that relies on unconvincing parallels and an otherwise unnecessary backdating of Euripides’ play. Jedrkiewicz 2006 and Wright 2013a come closest to my own argument in foregrounding the importance of tragedy in Wasps; more will be said about both in a moment. 2.  For commentary on all the passages of Wasps discussed here, see Biles and Olson 2016; I regret that this important volume appeared too late for me to take full account of it here.

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original audience), and the intertextual relationships Aristophanes builds here, as well as their implications for the interpretation of the play as a whole, have been thoroughly explored, most recently by Gregory Dobrov, Mario Telò, and Ian Ruffell.3 Here I want simply to note two moments in Trygaeus’ preparations for departure that encapsulate in the space of a few lines the whole struggle between comic and tragic influence in Wasps. With Trygaeus’ departure for the heavens imminent, he engages in a brief paratragic dialogue with his daughter, who is worried about what will happen to him on his journey. After a run of perfect tragic trimeters she asks him (135–​36): οὔκουν ἐχρῆν σε Πηγάσου ζεῦξαι πτερόν, ὅπως ἐφαίνου τοῖς θεοῖς τραγικώτερος; Shouldn’t you have yoked the wing of Pegasus, so that you would seem to the gods more tragic? The word τραγικώτερος surprises us not only for its disruption of (tragedy’s) dramatic pretense, but for its metrical disruption as well: after a long series of unresolved iambs, the word tragic itself is the first to require a resolution.4 Here Trygaeus’ modeling of himself on a tragic original, until now left implicit (albeit obvious), is made explicit, and the possibility that he might become a tragic character is raised. The daughter’s suggestion, to replace the dung beetle with an actual flying horse, would rob the scene of the central focus of its paratragedy: Trygaeus ascending to heaven on Pegasus instead of on a dung beetle would simply be tragic, not paratragic. Trygaeus responds, however, with a reassertion of his comic nature, complaining of the added expense he would incur keeping a winged horse in place of a dung beetle (137–​39): ἀλλ’, ὦ μέλ’, ἄν μοι σιτίων διπλῶν ἔδει· νῦν δ’ ἅττ’ ἂν αὐτὸς καταφάγω τὰ σιτία, τούτοισι τοῖς αὐτοῖσι τοῦτον χορτάσω. But, my dear, it would need twice as much food from me: now whatever food I eat myself, I'll feed him with it as well!

3.  Dobrov 2001:  89–​104; Telò 2010 (who also sees Trygaeus as programmatically recalling Philocleon); Ruffell 2011:  314–​60. On this passage of Peace, see also Silk 2000 226–​27. On Bellerophon and Aeolus, the two plays that form the chief tragic source texts for Peace, see Olson 1998: xxxii–​xxxv; Taplin 2007: 169; Collard and Cropp 2008: 12–​15, 289–​317. 4. Olson 1998: ad loc.

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This dose of scatological humor, lowering the nobility of the daughter’s vision of a tragic ascent to heaven with the practical details of comedy, quickly dispenses with the threat that Trygaeus might become a hero out of tragedy. After a few lines of punning banter, the daughter again raises the possibility that Trygaeus might become a tragic character, this time even more clearly expressing it as a threat (146–​48): ἐκεῖνο τήρει, μὴ σφαλεὶς καταρρυῇς ἐντεῦθεν, εἶτα χωλὸς ὢν Εὐριπίδῃ λόγον παράσχῃς καὶ τραγῳδία γένῃ. Be careful not to slip and rush down from up there, and then as a cripple provide Euripides a plot and become a tragedy. Here we have the threat not merely that Trygaeus would become tragic, but that he would, by furnishing another crippled hero, become the star of a Euripidean tragedy.5 Once more, Trygaeus is unperturbed by this threat, and proclaims his comic affiliations with scatology (149–​53): ἐμοὶ μελήσει ταῦτά γ’. ἀλλὰ χαίρετε. ὑμεῖς δέ γ’, ὑπὲρ ὧν τοὺς πόνους ἐγὼ πονῶ, μὴ βδεῖτε μηδὲ χέζεθ’ ἡμερῶν τριῶν· ὡς εἰ μετέωρος οὗτος ὢν ὀσφρήσεται, κατωκάρα ῥίψας με βουκολήσεται. Leave that to me. But farewell! And as for you all on whose behalf I labor these labors, don’t fart or shit for three days:  for if he smells anything while we’re up in the air, he’ll toss me headfirst off his back and rush down to feed! Again, the humorous attention to practical details and the casual use of scatological language dispel the daughter’s worries about the threat of tragedy.6 There is simply no chance that Trygaeus will become a tragic hero; he is comic to the core. Indeed Trygaeus’ very name has often been felt to indicate his status as a

5. Aristophanes identified the portrayal of lame heroes on stage as characteristic of Euripides (perhaps not entirely fairly, since the mythological stock of characters all the tragedians drew on was replete with such figures); cf. Ach. 411–​30, Frogs 846, Thesmo. 22–​24, and see Garland 1995: 28–​44; Olson 1998: ad Peace 146–​48. 6. Note also the humorous rhyme ὀσφρήσεται/​βουκολήσεται. If the words “ὑπὲρ ὧν τοὺς πόνους ἐγὼ πονῶ” are a tragic quotation, as some have suspected (cf. Olson 1998: ad loc.), then we also

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quintessential comic hero, evoking as it does Aristophanes’ coined term for his art, τρυγῳδία.7 Stock comic jokes about defecation are all that is required to ward off the threat of tragedy for Trygaeus, “Mr. Comedy.” Trygaeus and Philocleon are connected by their status as old Athenian men of irrepressible appetites with a love for the fables of Aesop. Both are also fans of tragedy:  as I  observed in Chapter  1, Trygaeus counts tragic performances among the chief joys he looks forward to after the end of the war, and models his strategy for restoring peace on Euripides’ Bellerophon; Philocleon’s devotion to the tragedy of ancient days I will demonstrate in a moment. Both Wasps and Peace, moreover, begin with a pair of slaves complaining about their crazy masters, and the connections between the two characters are drawn out in particular by the slave’s introduction of Trygaeus: he remarks that his master is mad, just as the slaves introduce Philocleon at the beginning of Wasps as a madman, but in “a new way, an entirely new way” (54–​55), an ironic acknowledgment that Aristophanes is in fact repeating himself in this prologue scene. At the climax of his fable telling in Wasps, Philocleon attempts to relate the story of the dung beetle that flew up to heaven, but is interrupted by his son (1446–​ 49); Trygaeus then not only tells the fable but enacts it himself. For Philocleon, however, overcoming the influence of tragedy is not so simple. Philocleon is not merely an appreciator of tragedy but a fan whose obsession borders on madness; mere scatology is not sufficient to protect him. The threat of tragic influence in Wasps must be averted, as we shall see, by much more elaborate and imaginative means.

Some Kind of Monster: The Instability of Philocleon’s Identity In Aristophanes and the Definition of Comedy, Michael Silk draws a crucial distinction between Aristophanes’ characters and the characters of later, especially contemporary, fiction.8 Later, non-​Aristophanic characters, Silk argues, are stable, consistent creations who change, like real people, over the course of their lives; even where these characters exceed the boundaries of what is possible in the real have here a display of Trygaeus’ mastery over tragedy, of comedy’s ability to absorb tragic language into a ridiculous context. 7. On Trygaeus’ name, see Hubbard 1991: 140–​41; Olson 1998: ad 190; Dobrov 2001: 97–​98; Hall 2006: 328–​35; Telò 2010: 297. On τρυγῳδία, see Taplin 1983; Foley 1988: 34–​35 Edwards 1991: 157–​65; Dobrov 2001: 97–​98; Ruffell 2002: 146–​47; Telò 2010: 297; Wright 2012: 11–​21; and see below, on the final word of Wasps, τρυγῳδῶν. 8. Silk 2000: 207–​55, superseding Silk 1990.

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world, their realism is established by their consistency—​they stand at a constant distance from reality as we know it. Aristophanic characters on the other hand are recreative: they transform suddenly and without warning; and they are discontinuous (Silk’s illuminating formulation for all that is strongest in Aristophanes’ poetry), that is they can discard elements of their characterization whenever those elements become irrelevant or contradictory. Philocleon in Aristophanes’ Wasps is Silk’s example of a recreative character par excellence:  over the course of the play he transforms from a devoted juror to an irrepressible criminal; he is toothless one moment and chewing his way through a net the next; he invents a wife and daughter for himself who are nowhere to be found inside his house and who his own supposed son seems not to know about; he proclaims a love of wine, then espouses a puritanical teetotalism, then gets roaring drunk. From one moment to the next, Philocleon, even more than any other Aristophanic character, is able to recreate himself again and again. Philocleon’s recreative, transformative capabilities are at the most striking in his series of escape attempts during his first appearance in the play. The play begins with the slave Sosias asking his fellow slave Xanthias whether he remembers “what kind of monster we’re guarding” (4: ἆρ’ οἶσθά γ’ οἷον κνώδαλον φυλάττομεν;).9 Xanthias says that he does, but when he turns to the audience to describe Philocleon at greater length, he’s unable to settle on a single beast to call him: he likens Philocleon first to a bee (107: ὥσπερ μέλλιττ᾽ ἢ βομβυλιός),10 and then to a jackdaw (129: ὡσπερεὶ κολοιός), inaugurating a series of animal comparisons that cumulatively undermine Philocleon’s identity. Philocleon will go on in the course of his attempts at escape to call himself or to be called a mouse (140: μυσπωλεῖ τι καταδεδυκώς), a foal (188–​89: ἔμοιγ᾽ ἰνδάλλεται/​ὁμοιότατος κλητῆρος εἶναι πωλίῳ), a sparrow (207: στροῦθος ἁνὴρ γίγνεται), and a weasel (363: ὥσπερ με γαλῆν κρέα κλέψασαν τηροῦσιν).11 Silk sees these animal comparisons as emblematic of Philocleon’s transformative potential (2000: 251–​55), and Kenneth Rothwell agrees: “[Philocleon] is probably compared to more different types of animals than any character in Aristophanes. This variety alone suggests volatility in his characterization and instability in his identity” (2007: 116). The audience, in other words, is left with the impression not of a variety of definite

9. On Philocleon as a monster, see MacDowell 1971: ad loc.; Sommerstein 1983: ad loc.; Bowie 1993: 83; Konstan 1995: 16. 10. Note also 366, where the chorus address Philocleon “ὦ μελίττιον.” 11. Cf. Whitman 1964: 162–​65. Note also 352, where Philocleon complains that there isn’t a hole in the house big enough for even a toad to escape.

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characteristics, but simply of confusion and instability.12 Philocleon’s first words in the play epitomize this instability (144): (Βδελυκλέων) οὗτος, τίς εἶ σύ; (Φιλοκλέων)     καπνὸς ἔγωγ᾽ ἐξέρχομαι. (Bdelycleon) You there, who’re you? (Philocleon) I’m just a little smoke coming out! The moment Philocleon appears on stage, his own son asks who he is. His reply, “smoke,” perfectly captures the shifting and variable nature of his character.13 Philocleon’s capacity for transformation extends beyond smoke and weasels: at the climax of his escape from the house he seems poised to become a character from another piece of literature entirely. After failing to persuade his son to let him take the family donkey to market, Philocleon orders Bdelycleon to sell the donkey himself, and when the donkey emerges groaning, Bdelycleon asks (180–​81):   τί στένεις, εἰ μὴ φέρεις Ὀδυσσέα τιν’; Why are you groaning, unless you’re carrying some kind of Odysseus? Some kind of Odysseus is precisely what the donkey is carrying; although the exact staging of this action is unclear, the text makes evident that Philocleon is clinging to the underside of the donkey as it comes on stage.14 Once again Bdelycleon is forced to ask his own father who or what he is (183–​86): (Βδελυκλέων)      τουτὶ τί ἦν; τίς εἶ ποτ᾽ ὦνθρωπ᾽, ἐτεόν;

12. Rothwell notes further that many of the animals in question are marginal or liminal themselves, existing between definite categories, as Philocleon does. 13. Brillante 1987: 29–​30. It also enables Bdelycleon’s reference to the nickname of the older comedian Ecphantides at 151, an early indication of Bdelycleon’s associations with comedy and the comic poet; see MacDowell 1971: ad loc. 14.  On the staging here, as well as the significance of the donkey, see Arnott 1959:  178–​79; MacDowell 1971: ad 178; Davies 1990. It seems to me a pantomime donkey, consisting of two men in a costume, would be both funnier and more reliable than a real donkey, but we cannot know for certain how the donkey was staged.

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(Φιιλοκλέων)       Οὖτις, νὴ Δία. (Βδ.) Οὖτις σύ; ποδαπός; (Φι.)          Ἴθακος Ἀποδρασιππίδου. (Βδ.) Οὖτις μὰ τὸν Δί᾽ οὔτι χαιρήσων γε σύ. (Bdelycleon) What was that? Who are you really? (Philocleon) Noman, by Zeus. (Bd.) You’re Noman? From where? (Ph.) From Ithaca, son of Runawayhorse! (Bd.) By Zeus you’ll not get far with this “Noman” business! Here Philocleon presents himself not merely in the guise of Odysseus, but as Odysseus at one of the moments in the Odyssey when Odysseus’ own identity is at its most indefinite, his trickery of the Cyclops in Book 9. Odysseus is a paradigmatic exemplar for Philocleon’s transformational identity:  throughout the Odyssey, Odysseus constantly transforms his own identity through the series of physical disguises, fictitious biographies, and false names he adopts or is given.15 Beyond the obvious humor of parodying this popular scene,16 Aristophanes uses Philocleon’s mimicry of Odysseus here to encapsulate the transformational capacity of his character’s identity:  he is not merely a man claiming to be “No man,” but a man imitating a man making that impossible claim. Odysseus is invoked as a paradigm for Philocleon a second time, by the chorus. In the course of discussing Philocleon’s predicament with him, they suggest some possibilities for escape (350–​51): ἔστιν ὀπὴ δῆθ᾽ ἥντιν᾽ ἂν ἔνδοθεν οἷός τ᾽ εἴης διαλέξαι, εἶτ᾽ ἐκδῦναι ῥάκεσιν κρυφθεὶς ὥσπερ πολύμητις Ὀδυσσεύς; Isn’t there some hole you could you could pick through, and then slip out hidden in rags like wily Odysseus? Once more, Odysseus is presented not merely as a model of cleverness, but of shifting identities; the chorus’s reference here contaminates the episode mentioned by Helen in Book 4, in which Odysseus entered Troy disguised as a beggar, with another from the epic cycle in which he came and went from Troy through 15. On the shifting nature of Odysseus’ own identity, see Murnaghan 2011. 16. Also famously treated by Cratinus in his Odysseuses; cf. esp. F 145, τῆ νῦν τόδε πῖθι λαβὼν ἤδη, καὶ τοὔνομά μ’ εὐθὺς ἐρώτα, “Come on already, take this, drink it, and ask me my name right away.”

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a drain pipe.17 Their emphasis on disguise through clothing reminds the audience (as the more elaborate dressing scene of the Imaginary Symposium will likewise do) that Philocleon is only a fictional character, and that the actor playing him is only identified as Philocleon by his costume, further destabilizing any notion of Philocleon as an individual with fixed properties.18 “If Aristophanes’ recreative characters do not possess continuity in the realist sense,” Silk writes, “this does not make them amorphous or incomprehensible, featureless or (above all) lifeless” (2000: 244). Philocleon, for Silk, is “uniquely extreme”:  his manic behavior, his ruthless approach to jury service, his outrageous drunkenness mark Philocleon as a character who, throughout his series of transformations, remains consistently extreme; he is a recreative embodiment of human possibility (2000: 248, 369). For all that he embodies comic exuberance, however, Philocleon’s extreme capacity for transformation also creates a problem within the comic world of Aristophanes’ play:  under the influence of tragedy, there is a threat that Philocleon’s instability will lead him to cease being a comic character at all—​and become tragic instead.

Ancient-​Honey-​Sweet-​Sidonian-​Songs-​of-​Phrynichus: Philocleon’s Love of Tragedy Philocleon’s recreative nature is initially presented to the audience in the form of a riddle about his name. Xanthias and Sosias, the household slaves who occupy the stage in the beginning of Wasps, explain to the audience that their master is suffering from a terrible disease; rather than simply explaining to the audience what this disease is, they begin a guessing game in which they pretend to hear various suggestions from particular audience members.19 The first guess is that the old man is a φιλόκυβος, a “man obsessed with dice”; though this, the slaves reveal, is incorrect, the prefix φιλο-​is the correct start of the name for Philocleon’s diseased state. A series of φιλο-​compound diseases are then proposed and rejected: φιλοπότης (obsessed with wine), φιλοθύτης (obsessed with sacrifices), φιλόξενος (obsessed with hosting guests). Finally they cut off the guessing and reveal that the old man is a φιληλιαστής, a “man obsessed with jury service”; they add, moreover, that his name is Φιλοκλέων, “man obsessed with Cleon” (133). The slaves frame their

17. For the cyclic tale of Odysseus and the drainpipe, see Servius ad Aen. 2.166. 18. On the destabilizing effect of costume changes, see Stone 1981: 398–​438; Muecke 1982; Silk 2000: 243; Slater 2002: 15–​18. 19.  On this game, its staging, and its references to historical individuals, see Fantuzzi and Konstan 2013.

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introduction of Philocleon as a contest to determine which φιλο-​compound is the correct description of the old man’s disease; Philocleon’s unstable nature is emphasized by the fact that the contest has two correct answers (φιληλιαστής, Φιλοκλέων). Later in the play, even some of the supposedly rejected answers will turn out to be apt descriptions of him. When the chorus of old jurymen arrive at Philocleon’s house, moreover, they add a third and final answer to the search for the name of Philocleon’s diseased obsession (266–​70): τί χρῆμ’ ἄρ’ οὑκ τῆς οἰκίας τῆσδε συνδικαστὴς πέπονθεν, ὡς οὐ φαίνεται δεῦρο πρὸς τὸ πλῆθος; οὐ μὴν πρὸ τοῦ γ’ ἐφολκὸς ἦν, ἀλλὰ πρῶτος ἡμῶν ἡγεῖτ’ ἂν ᾄδων Φρυνίχου· καὶ γάρ ἐστιν ἁνὴρ φιλῳδός. What could our fellow jurymen from this house have suffered that he doesn’t appear here to join the throng? He was never late before, but he always takes the first position and leads us on singing songs of Phrynichus; for the man is also obsessed with song. The word φιλῳδός, emphasized by its enjambed position at the start of a new line, is of central significance. The reference to Phrynichus makes clear that Philocleon is obsessed specifically with tragic song:  he is, in a word, a Phrynichus fan. In this long string of various φιλο-​compounds that are proposed as descriptions of Philocleon’s madness, φιλῳδός holds the triumphant final place: as we shall see, over the course of the play Philocleon discards or forgets his obsession with juries (φιληλιαστής) and his obsession with Cleon (Φιλοκλέων), but he never drops his obsession with tragedy (φιλῳδός). Even when he has been transformed by comic influence, his first move is still to challenge a family of tragedians to a dancing contest. The chorus initially share with Philocleon this association with tragedy, especially with the tragedy of long ago.20 When Bdelycleon is warning his slaves about the chorus’s impending arrival, he describes them marching in to the songs of Phrynichus with a magnificent comic compound occupying an entire trimeter (216–​21)21:

20. Cf. Vaio 1971: 346–​47; Zimmermann 2007: 79; Wright 2013a: 215–​18. 21. On the meaning of this term and the identification of the Phrynichus to which the various occurrences in Wasps of that name refer, see Starkie 1897: 220; Borthwick 1968; MacDowell 1971: ad 220; Sommerstein 1983: ad 220; Parker 1997: 218.

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νὴ τὸν Δί’, ὀψέ γ’ ἆρ’ ἀνεστήκασι νῦν. ὡς ἀπὸ μέσων νυκτῶν γε παρακαλοῦσ’ ἀεί, λύχνους ἔχοντες καὶ μινυρίζοντες μέλη ἀρχαιομελισιδωνοφρυνιχήρατα, οἷς ἐκκαλοῦνται τοῦτον. By Zeus, they must have gotten up late today. They’re always calling him out in the middle of the night, holding lamps and whining those ancient-​ honey-​sweet-​Sidonian-​songs-​of-​Phrynichus they use to summon him. In another moment the chorus arrive to do just this: they sing a song imitating the lyrics of Phrynichus, calling Philocleon out of his house (290–​316).22 Philocleon enacts his madness for tragic song by singing a Euripidean lament, and he calls attention to the overt theatricality of his performance by singing about his inability to sing (318–​19): ἀλλ’—​οὐ γὰρ οἷός τ’ εἴμ’ ᾄδειν—​τί ποιήσω; But—​for I am unable to sing!—​what shall I do? Gildersleeve argued that Philocleon’s song parodied a lament sung by Danae23; it is certain, at least, that the song includes numerous tragic elements.24 Here we begin to see the danger of such an unstable individual developing a love of tragedy: his distress may at any moment tip him over into becoming a tragic character himself. Philocleon’s behavior merges tragic culture with tragic parody: he is identified as a fan of old-​fashioned tragic song, a lover of Phrynichus and, as we shall see, of the even more ancient Thespis; but his love of tragedy causes him to imitate the speech and actions of tragic characters. Already at 166–​67, having been on stage for the span of only twenty lines, he begins making tragic-​heroic commands, and he will continue to deploy tragic language throughout the first half of the play, up to the parabasis.25 Two important readings of Wasps emphasize particularly

22. Rau 1967: 192; MacDowell 1971: ad loc.; Zimmermann 1984: 100–​103 and 1987: 59; Parker 1997: 216–​19. 23. Gildersleeve 1880: 457–​58; cf. Murray 1891: 21; Starkie 1897: ad loc.; Rau 1967: 151 n. 37. 24.  Rau 1967:  150–​52; MacDowell 1971:  ad loc.; Sommerstein 1983:  ad loc.; Zimmermann 1984: 103–​5; Reckford 1987: 234. 25. Note, for example, the paratragic prayer at 389–​94, on which see Newiger 1957: 75.

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Philocleon’s associations with tragedy. Stefano Jedrkiewicz sees Philocleon as Aristophanes’ version of a tragic hero; this Aristophanic tragic hero, however, is unconstrained by the limitations of the negative world of tragedy, and thus becomes the embodiment of comedy’s victory over tragedy.26 Matthew Wright argues that in Wasps Aristophanes is “doing tragedy,” with a tragic-​style prologue and exodus; Aristophanes’ repurposing of tragic language and stagecraft displays a literary-​critical superiority of comedy to tragedy, culminating in the physical contest of the dancing finale.27 Both of these readings of Wasps are valuable. What I wish to add is that Philocleon’s tragic behavior is not merely a joke between Aristophanes and his audience, unmotivated within the fiction of the play: instead, I will argue that Philocleon acts like a tragic character because Philocleon loves tragedy.28 Like other characters participating in the comic culture of tragedy, Philocleon has been to the theater and witnessed tragic performances; the unstable Philocleon’s obsession with tragedy, however, leads him to view his entire life through a tragic lens. Take his description of jury service, for example (579–​82): κἂν Οἴαγρος εἰσέλθῃ φεύγων, οὐκ ἀποφεύγει πρὶν ἂν ἡμῖν ἐκ τῆς Νιόβης εἴπῃ ῥῆσιν τὴν καλλίστην ἀπολέξας. κἂν αὐλητής γε δίκην νικᾷ, ταύτης ἡμῖν ἐπίχειρα ἐν φορβειᾷ τοῖσι δικασταῖς ἔξοδον ηὔλησ’ ἀπιοῦσι. And if Oeagrus comes into court as a defendant, he’s never acquitted before he gives us a speech from Niobe, choosing the prettiest one. And if an aulete wins some case, as a reward for our work he puts on his harness and plays the jurors an exodus tune as they go out. Philocleon’s words here perfectly encapsulate how tragedy has taken over his life:  when he gets a tragic actor in his courtroom, his obsession leads him to demand a private tragic performance; and when an aulos player appears, he takes the chance to enter into tragic performance himself, as the aulos player’s exodus song transforms the jury into a chorus.

26.  Jedrkiewicz 2006; this notion of the relationship between comedy and tragedy was expressed in similar terms by Dobrov 2001. 27. Wright 2013a. 28. Wright mentions Philocleon’s obsession with tragedy in passing (2013a: 216), but emphasizes elsewhere Aristophanes’ activities as a critic over tragedy over the internal motivations behind Philocleon’s paratragic behavior.

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Philocleon himself presents a metaphor for how tragic poetry can transform an audience that is susceptible to it. When Bdelycleon is finally victorious in his battle with the chorus, he proclaims (460): (Βδ.) ἆρ’ ἐμέλλομέν ποθ’ ὑμᾶς ἀποσοβήσειν τῷ χρόνῳ; (Bd.) Well, surely we were always going to drive you lot off eventually. Philocleon utters a telling response (461–​62): (Φι.) ἀλλὰ μὰ Δί’ οὐ ῥᾳδίως οὕτως ἂν αὐτοὺς διέφυγες, εἴπερ ἔτυχον τῶν μελῶν τῶν Φιλοκλέους βεβρωκότες. (Ph.) But by Zeus you wouldn’t have chased them off so easily if they’d happened to have been fed on the songs of Philocles! Philocles was a contemporary tragedian noted particularly, as we saw in Chapter  1, for his bitterness.29 The chorus, of course, were fed not on bitter, modern tragedy, but on the sweet songs of the much older poet Phrynichus.30 As Niall Slater notes, “The joke is typically two-​edged, making fun of a tragedian’s style, but also anticipating the view (fully expounded in Frogs) that dramatic poetry is not just aesthetically pleasing but a direct instigator of action.”31 Philocleon presents himself as a consumer of tragedy, and he embodies in these early scenes of the play the notion that such consumption can transform the tragic audience. Philocleon thus combines a vast power for recreativity, for transformation, with an obsessive love of tragedy. As with Trygaeus in Peace, Aristophanes will present Philocleon’s capacity to transform into a tragic character as a sort of threat:  if circumstances turn against him, Philocleon’s obsessively tragic view of the world will cause him to become a tragic figure. What possible cure could there be for the νόσος, the disease, that has led Philocleon to become a φιλῳδός, a man obsessed with tragic song? Bdelycleon has tried a host of treatments: first he sought to persuade Philocleon to behave rationally; then he tried ritual

29. For this reference to Philocles in Wasps, cf. MacDowell 1971: ad 462; Sommerstein 1983: ad 462; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 29–​30; Bagordo 2002; Wright 2012: 135 with n. 126. 30. A contrast noted particularly by Bagordo 2002: 324 (though he denies any direct comparison of the two) and Wright 2013a: 217. 31. Slater 2002: 90.

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purification; next he resorted to the rites of the Corybants; and finally he took his father to the temple of Asclepius on Aegina (115–​24). All of this was in vain, and Bdelycleon has resorted to the temporary solution of imprisoning his father within their house. But there is, in fact, a cure for tragic madness:  that cure is comedy, and Bdelycleon, it turns out, has all the resources of comic dramaturgy at his disposal to deflect the influence of tragedy and restore Philocleon to his proper comic nature.

Tragic Threats and Comic Answers, Part I: Schweigen und Klage After Bdelycleon and his slaves defeat the chorus, they agree to hold a debate over the merits of jury service. Despite Philocleon’s impassioned description of his life serving on juries, Bdelycleon wins the debate; his arguments, founded on dubious logic and misleadingly generalized calculations, persuade the chorus that they have been manipulated by Cleon and the other demagogues into thinking that the juror’s lot is any better than a slave’s. Philocleon, however, is dismayed, and it is here that we see the dangerous influence of tragedy on a person of Philocleon’s unstable nature. At first, Philocleon says nothing, as Bdelycleon’s remark shows (741–​42): ἀλλ’ ὅτι σιγᾷ κοὐδὲν γρύζει, τοῦτ’ οὐ δύναταί με προσέσθαι. But I can’t approve of him standing there silent and not muttering a sound. Philocleon holds a sword limply in his hand.32 The chorus, as tragic choruses are wont to do, misinterprets the situation, thinking that Philocleon is considering all the mistakes he’s made and preparing to obey his son’s will; they set a tragic mood by speaking in dochmiacs, a meter almost invariably associated with tragic parody in Aristophanes.33

32.  Though MacDowell 1971:  ad 522 doubts that the actor was ever actually brought a sword, the text makes quite clear that he was (cf. esp. 713–​14), and other interpreters are in universal agreement that Philocleon holds a sword throughout the agon and into this scene: Whitman 1964: 149–​50; Sommerstein 1983: 55; Reckford 1987: 239; Bowie 1993: 88; Purves 1997: 13–​14. 33. Parker 1997: 240–​43; on these lines, see Rau 1967: 152. Biles 2011: 158 believes the chorus are correct in this interpretation, but surely Philocleon’s subsequent outcry demonstrates that he has not seen the error of his ways at all, but is simply upset about the threatened end of his heliastic career.

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When Philocleon finally speaks, it becomes clear that Philocleon is in no way reflecting on the error of his ways; instead, he cries out in the language of tragedy (750–​57): (Φιλοκλέων) ἰώ μοί μοι. (Βδελυκλέων)   οὗτος, τί βοᾷς; (Φι.) μή μοι τούτων μηδὲν ὑπισχνοῦ. κείνων ἔραμαι, κεῖθι γενοίμαν, ἵν’ ὁ κῆρύξ φησι, “τίς ἀψήφιστος; ἀνιστάσθω.” κἀπισταίην ἐπὶ τοῖς κημοῖς ψηφιζομένων ὁ τελευταῖος. σπεῦδ’, ὦ ψυχή.—​ποῦ μοι ψυχή;—​ πάρες, ὦ σκιερά—​μὰ τὸν Ἡρακλέα. (Philocleon) O woe is me! (Bdelycleon) You there, what’re you shouting about? (Ph.) Don’t promise me any of these things. Those are what I long for, thither I  would go, where the herald says, “Stand up if you haven’t voted!” And I  would stand over the voting urns, of all voters the last. Hasten, o my soul—​wait, where’s my soul? Give way, o shadowy—​ oh dammit. Whether the audience recognized Philocleon’s silence as paratragic would have depended on the scene’s staging,34 but the progression from silence to outcry is unmistakably tragic, and “Doric” forms (the missing “ε” in κείνων and κεῖθι, the long “α” in γενοίμαν) make the generic nature of Philocleon’s cries clear even to audience members who miss the allusions to Euripides’ Alcestis and Bellerophon. As with the fragmentary parodies we saw in Chapter 2, the parody here becomes even funnier, however, for audience members who do recognize the tragic sources of Philocleon’s language. His κείνων ἔραμαι, κεῖθι γενοίμαν draws 34. Some interpreters do believe the silence itself would have been perceived by the audience as paratragic (e.g., Rau 1967: 152–​53; Sommerstein 1983: ad 741; Reckford 1987: 249), though others (e.g., MacDowell 1971: ad 741; Landfester 1977: 134) doubt the audience could have discerned a paratragic silence from an ordinary one. If silent characters were as typical of tragedy as Aristophanes suggests at Frogs 911–​26, I see no reason the stubborn silence of a character already associated with tragedy might not have been perceived as paratragic, particularly if he struck a pose somehow evocative of a character like Niobe or Achilles; even if some audience members missed the initial significance of Philocleon’s silence, however, his subsequent outcry would have made it obvious to all.

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on a speech by Admetus in Alcestis in which he longs to follow his wife down to Hades (866-​67):   κείνων ἔραμαι, κεῖν’ ἐπιθυμῶ δώματα ναίειν. those things I long for, in those halls I wish to dwell. His πάρες, ὦ σκιερά is the beginning of Bellerophon’s wish to embark for heaven on the back of Pegasus (F 308): πάρες, ὦ σκιερὰ φυλλάς, ὑπερβῶ κρηναῖα νάπη· τὸν ὑπὲρ κεφαλῆς αἰθέρ᾽ ἰδέσθαι σπεύδω, τίν᾽ ἔχει στάσιν εὐοδίας. Give way, o shadowy foliage! Let me cross the valleys with their springs! I hurry to see what state the sky overhead has for a good journey.35 Both of these tragic passages show a hero longing to travel beyond the realm of everyday reality, either to the underworld or to the heavens:  Philocleon’s cries thus equate the law courts he longs for with a fantastic, otherworldly space that normal mortals cannot reach.36 Philocleon’s obsession with tragedy, then, leads him to conceive of his defeat in the debate with his son as if he were a character in a tragedy:  he attempts a series of tragic outcries; he wields a sword suicidally in his hand. Bdelycleon is distraught, begging his father by the gods just to listen for a moment, but Philocleon continues to threaten suicide, proclaiming that he will die before he gives up judging.37 Jedrkiewicz describes this moment as the first of a series of “paratragic deaths” undergone by Philocleon over the course of the

35. Translation adapted from Collard and Cropp 2008: 315. 36. The phrase σπεῦδ’, ὦ ψυχή has the look of a quotation as well, and may belong to the same passage from Bellerophon. On tragic language in these verses, see Starkie 1897:  ad 751; Rau 1967: 152–​55; MacDowell 1971: ad 750, 753; Landfester 1977: 134; Sommerstein 1983: ad 751–​ 59, 752; Zimmermann 1984: 226–​27; Reckford 1987: 249; Purves 1997: 15 (who describes the moment as a temporary evolution into a tragic hero); Silk 2000: 371–​73. 37.  These cries suggest a distinction between the tragedy fan and the tragedy connoisseur: Philocleon can imitate tragic lines and frame his life through the lens of tragedy, but he doesn’t necessarily understand what such elevated tragic speech actually means.

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play: fortunately for Philocleon, in the midst of this little tragedy Bdelycleon hits on a uniquely comic solution.38 Bdelycleon has been throughout the first half of the play particularly associated with comedy; as a number of critics have argued, Bdelycleon is even conflated with Aristophanes at various points in the comedy.39 His hatred of Cleon and legal battle with the Cleon-​dog parallel the references elsewhere in Wasps to Aristophanes’ own struggles with Cleon (e.g., 1029–​37, 1284–​91). His attempts to heal and protect his father are echoed in the parabasis, where Aristophanes boasts of his own protection of the city’s fathers (1036ff ). Most crucially at the outset of his speech in the agon Bdelycleon presents himself explicitly as a comic poet (650–​51): χαλεπὸν μὲν καὶ δεινῆς γνώμης καὶ μείζονος ἢ ’πὶ τρυγῳδοῖς ἰάσασθαι νόσον ἀρχαίαν ἐν τῇ πόλει ἐντετακυῖαν. It is a difficult task, requiring a sharp mind and one greater than those of most trugedians, to heal an ancient disease inborn in the city. Unlike his father, moreover, Bdelycleon eschews paratragedy in his speech.40 Instead, he acts almost as the director of this very comedy: he alone is able to control entrances and exits,41 for example, and during his father’s speech in the agon, he seems to recreate a scene of a director rehearsing with his actors.42 38. Jedrkiewicz 2006: 68–​70. Reckford 1987: 235 sees the humor of Philocleon’s tragic moments as defusing the threat of tragedy, but this reading neglects the way in which concentrations of tragic material at key turning points in the plot create a movement back and forth between tragic and comic influences; nevertheless his point that tragedy presents some kind of threat in the play is essential. 39. Reckford 1987: 247, 173–​74; Hubbard 1991: 114, 120–​21, 132–​33; Olson 1996: 144–​45; Purves 1997: 11; Slater 2002: 98–​99 (who rightly cautions that we are not meant to equate Bdelycleon and Aristophanes completely; Bdelycleon simply possesses some aspects of the comic poet); Jedrkiewicz 2006: 63 (who adds to Slater that Aristophanes’ “message” is the result of a dialectic process among characters, scenes, and events); Telò 2010: 283–​87; Biles 2011: 163. 40. Except where he is drawn into Philocleon’s tragic world, as at 168, after Philocleon’s first paratragic demand for a sword, or at 994ff., where Philocleon collapses like a character in Euripides (see below). 41.  Bdelycleon prevents Philocleon from exiting the house, commands the various slaves to enter and exit (and to bring assorted props on stage), and prevents the chorus from liberating Philocleon—​all before his management of the metatheatrical scenes that follow the agon. The chorus, by contrast, attempt to summon Cleon but fail to do so (408–​14, echoing the attempt of “Cleon” to summon a chorus of jurors at Knights 255–​57, another failure), and Philocleon desires to exit the stage, but is unable even to exit the house. Cf. Lowe 2006: 49–​51, who suggests that the struggle over Philocleon’s attempt to exit through the skene door was evocative of tragic stagecraft. 42. Slater 2002: 91–​93.

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To ward off the tragic threat presented by his father’s despair and to regain control of his comedy, Bdelycleon thus resorts to one of comedy’s unique resources: metatheater. Tragedy, of course, has its metatheatrical moments as well, but they are muted and subtle, and though they may call attention to the theatrical illusion, they do not disrupt it.43 Comedy, as Oliver Taplin saw, makes perhaps its strongest break from tragedy in its willingness to present metatheater on an uninhibited scale,44 and it is this capability that Bdelycleon makes use of to ward off the influence of tragedy on Philocleon; he stages one of extant comedy’s most famous plays-​within-​a-​play, the Trial of the Dog. The metatheatricality of this scene has long been recognized.45 Bdelycleon first enters the house to retrieve the necessary props, Philocleon maintaining to some extent his tragic conception of his circumstances with a reference to the oracle this situation fulfills. In the following lines (805–​62), Bdelycleon constructs a courtroom before their house, each item eliciting more and more humor from his father, until he has created an entirely new scene, set within the greater scene on stage. The chorus stand as an audience between the stage and the true audience. As the trial begins, Bdelycleon manages the whole affair in directorial fashion. He appoints actors to their roles, with Philocleon as jury, himself as both presiding magistrate and defense attorney, one dog as prosecution and another as accused, and even household items such as the cheese grater as witnesses. He controls the stage’s entrances, as at 899 he calls forth the dog Labes, at 905 the Cleon-​Dog, at 935ff. the kitchen implements, and at 976ff. the defendant’s puppies. He controls the order of events, occasionally acquiescing to his father’s demands but always maintaining his own authority; and he ensures his comedy has the conclusion he desires, steering his father to the urn of acquittal (990–​92). His double role as director and performer neatly recapitulates his position in Wasps itself as both a character within the plot and a sometimes stand-​in for its creator, Aristophanes.46 For a time, this outpouring of comic energy is successful: Philocleon is distracted from his tragic conception of his life, and comedy reasserts itself as the

43. On tragedy’s metatheater, see especially Bierl 1991; Ringer 1998; Dobrov 2001; Torrance 2013; Willms 2014. 44. Taplin 1986; cf. Foley 2008. 45. Reckford 1987: 252; Hubbard 1991: 132; Russo 1994: 128; Purves 1997: 15–​16; Slater 2002: 96; Biles 2011: 164. On the staging of this sequence, see MacDowell 1971: ad 805; Sommerstein 1983: 79–​97 and ad loc. 46. Biles 2011: 159–​63 argues that the Dog Trial of Wasps is in some way a response to a similar scene depicting a domestic trial in Cratinus’ Pytine (see below); if so, this would strengthen its generic associations with comedy beyond its uniquely comic metatheatricality.

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dominant mode of the performance.47 Bdelycleon moves too fast for his own good, however, and when he steers his father into voting for the accused dog’s acquittal, he unwittingly plunges Philocleon back into the world of tragedy.

Tragic Threats and Comic Answers, Part II: Then I Am Nothing! Early on in the play, when Philocleon is arguing with the slave Xanthias over his detention in the house, he proclaims an oracle he was given once upon a time (156–​62): (Φιλοκλέων) τί δράσετ’; οὐκ ἐκφρήσετ’, ὦ μιαρώτατοι, δικάσοντά μ’, ἀλλ’ ἐκφεύξεται Δρακοντίδης; (Ξανθίας) σὺ δὲ τοῦτο βαρέως ἂν φέροις; (Φι.)              ὁ γὰρ θεὸς μαντευομένῳ μοὔχρησεν ἐν Δελφοῖς ποτέ, ὅταν τις ἐκφύγῃ μ’, ἀποσκλῆναι τότε. (Ξα.) Ἄπολλον ἀποτρόπαιε, τοῦ μαντεύματος. (Φι.) ἴθ’, ἀντιβολῶ σ’, ἔκφρες με, μὴ διαρραγῶ. (Philocleon) What are you doing? Won’t you leave me alone, you horrible wretches, so I can do some jurying? Dracontides is going to get off ! (Xanthias) You’d take that pretty hard, would you? (Ph.)The god once prophesied to me in Delphi when I sought an oracle, that if ever a defendant escaped me, I would shrivel up right then. (X.) By Apollo Protector, what an oracle! (Ph.) Go on then, I beseech you, let me go or I’ll burst in two! Philocleon wants us to know that, like many a good tragic hero, his life is bound up with oracles: he also tells us that an oracle foretold his holding of a trial in his house (799–​804). Xanthias’ refusal to recognize the importance of Philocleon’s oracle of doom precipitates his first paratragic request for a sword (165–​67).

47. As Reckford (1987: 270–​71) puts it, “How does [Aristophanes] transcend those painful feelings of loss, disillusionment, and emptiness that he knew from tragedy, and surely also from life, and that emerge as one aspect of his comedy? In part he does this through the inherited conventions of comedy, and especially through comedy’s ways of reminding us of its own fictionality” (emphasis mine).

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When Bdelycleon tricks Philocleon into acquitting the accused dog, then, the influence of tragedy on Philocleon’s unstable identity shows itself once again.48 Bdelycleon’s announcement of the dog’s escape causes his father to collapse, as the text shows (994–​96):         ἐκπέφευγας, ὦ Λάβης. πάτερ πάτερ, τί πέπονθας; οἴμοι. ποῦ ’σθ’ ὕδωρ; ἔπαιρε σαυτόν. You’ve been acquitted, Labes!—​Father, Father, what’s happened to you? Oh no! Where’s the water? Pick yourself up! Philocleon demands to be told whether the dog was really acquitted; when informed that it was, he cries out (997): οὐδέν εἰμ’ ἄρα. Then I am nothing! Everyone in the audience by this point in the play should recognize this as another of Philocleon’s lapses into tragic behavior: when things go wrong, he inevitably interprets his circumstances through the lens of tragedy. As A. C. Moorhouse showed (1964), οὐδέν εἰμι is a stock tragic expression for moments of extreme anguish; in Euripides, moreover, characters are constantly fainting and being told to pick themselves up with precisely this same vocabulary.49 This is the second of Jedrkiewicz’s “paratragic deaths” undergone by Philocleon (2006:  68), and even audience members relatively unversed in tragedy will have learned to recognize Philocleon’s tragic responses to difficult situations by now. Some audience members, however, may recall a quite specific tragic model, as this same expression, “I am nothing,” follows precisely on a command to pick oneself up in Euripides’ Andromache (1076–​78): (Χορός) ἆ ἆ, τί δράσεις, ὦ γεραιέ; μὴ πέσῃς· ἔπαιρε σαυτόν. 48.  On the paratragic elements of this exchange, see Starkie 1897:  ad 997; Rau 1967:  192; MacDowell 1971: ad 997; Schwinge 1975: 36–​38; Reckford 1987: 261. As McGlew 2004: 26 notes, “This act [voting for acquittal] precipitates a major identity crisis for Philocleon.” 49.  Andr. 717 and 1077 (discussed below), Alc. 250, Heraclidae 635, Hec. 499f (where note ἀνίστασο as well, which Bdelycleon adds at 998), Suppl. 289, Ion 727; the motif is expanded at

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(Πηλεύς)      οὐδέν εἰμ’· ἀπωλόμην. φρούδη μὲν αὐδή, φροῦδα δ’ ἄρθρα μου κάτω. (Chorus) Ah, ah, what will you do, old man? Don’t fall down, pick yourself up! (Peleus) I am nothing—​I have been destroyed. My voice is gone, my limbs are gone beneath me. Here the old man Peleus has also just received a piece of bad news, the death of his grandson Neoptolemus; when the messenger first enters a few lines before, Peleus proclaims that he has an oracular sense of apprehension (1072). We might also note that Peleus here, like Philocleon earlier and various other tragic characters, complains aloud of his inability to speak. Philocleon models his behavior on this scene, and so powerful is his reconception of his life as a tragedy that Bdelycleon is drawn into sharing this miniature tragic performance with him. As Charles Platter notes (2007: 151), there is a recurring pattern in Aristophanes’ plays of characters expressing a preference for older tragedy, but imitating more recent tragedy: both Dicaeopolis in Acharnians and Mnesilochus in Women at the Thesmophoria express a preference for Aeschylus over other, contemporary poets, but when faced with challenging circumstances, they draw on Euripidean tragedies for inspiration. Philocleon, though not mentioned by Platter, fits this mold as well: although he claims to prefer the tragedy of Phrynichus and even Thespis, it is by and large Euripides whose plays provide the source of his tragic behavior. The oracle, its fulfillment, and Bdelycleon and Philocleon’s reactions are all unmistakably the stuff of tragedy. Philocleon picks himself up, but continues to be distraught (999–​1002): πῶς οὖν ἐμαυτῷ τοῦτ’ ἐγὼ ξυνείσομαι, φεύγοντ’ ἀπολύσας ἄνδρα; τί ποτε πείσομαι; ἀλλ’, ὦ πολυτίμητοι θεοί, ξύγγνωτέ μοι· ἄκων γὰρ αὔτ’ ἔδρασα κοὐ τοὐμοῦ τρόπου. How will I ever forgive myself for this, for having let a defendant get free? What’s going to happen to me? O most honored gods, forgive me! For I acted against my will and not in my usual way.

Eur. Tro. 462–​68, where Hecuba falls and tells the chorus to leave her where she lies because she has suffered evils worthy of such a collapse. Cf. Schwinge 1975: 36. Bdelycleon’s reference to water becomes in this tragic context a bathetically mundane suggestion, an intrusion of comic practicality upon tragic elevation.

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Fearing his imminent destruction, as foretold in the oracle, he prays to the gods for forgiveness50; his need to beg the gods for mercy reminds any audience members who might have forgotten about the oracle of his doom. His emphasis on his unwilling role in his “crime” is, moreover, a familiar trope from tragedy: he describes himself, like his tragic heroes, as forced to commit a sinful act against his own will.51 Once again, however, Bdelycleon is able to counter tragedy’s influence over Philocleon by means of comic metatheater. For the moment he distracts his father, who remains distraught but resigned to his fate, with the promise of a symposium; Bdelycleon becomes enthusiastic on the subject, piling on possibilities (1005: ἐπὶ δεῖπνον, εἰς ξυμπόσιον, ἐπὶ θεωρίαν), but Philocleon responds dejectedly, “fine then, if that seems best to you” (1008: ταῦτά νυν, εἴπερ δοκεῖ). The chorus deliver their parabasis, and when the action of the play resumes we find our actors already in the midst of Bdelycleon’s metatheatrical solution to his father’s tragic problems. We might call this sequence, perhaps less well known than the Trial of the Dog, the Imaginary Symposium.52 Bdelycleon begins with the backstage work: first he must persuade his father to adopt the proper costume for his new role as an aristocrat, again occasioning a series of jokes and puns in the same manner as the preparations for the Dog Trial, but more importantly calling attention, as scenes of costuming in Attic drama so often do, to the artificiality of the performance. As in the preparations for the Dog Trial, it takes Philocleon a moment to relinquish his tragic conception of his circumstances: he works in one more tragic line (1160), but ultimately allows himself to be dressed after minimal resistance. Bdelycleon continues the preparations with some light choreography, instructing his father how to walk luxuriously (1168–​73) and recline elegantly (1209–​15), and gives him some initial instruction on his lines, urging him to tell fitting stories (1174–​1208). With these preparations completed, they begin to perform the Imaginary Symposium. Philocleon calls attention to the imaginative element of this performance by likening it to a dream (1218):

50. On the paratragic elements of this prayer, see Schwinge 1975: 36. 51. Cf. Schwinge 1975: 36, with numerous examples at 44 n. 6; note especially the play on this notion at PV 266, where Prometheus cries (in a movingly paradoxical expression) ἑκὼν ἑκὼν ἥ μαρτον, “willingly, willingly I erred.” This concept was famously discussed by Aristotle in the Poetics as the concept of ἁμαρτία, the “tragic mistake” that brings about the hero’s downfall (e.g., 1453a). 52. On the metatheatricality of the Imaginary Symposium (which Pütz 2007 refers to as the “Imagined Symposium”), see Reckford 1987:  267–​71; Hubbard 1991:  134; Purves 1997:  17; Slater 2002: 101–​2.

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πρὸς τῶν θεῶν, ἐνύπνιον ἑστιώμεθα; By the gods, are we having a dream feast? Bdelycleon in turn emphasizes the artificiality of their performance by declaring that, despite the fact that his name means “Reviles Cleon,” he will perform the role of Cleon himself. Here, however, we get a hint of the danger in Bdelycleon’s efforts to win his father over from tragedy to comedy. As with Strepsiades’ reeducation of his son Pheidippides in Clouds, Bdelycleon will come to find that he has been too successful: Philocleon is a creature of extremes, and his obsession with tragedy can only be supplanted by another equally powerful obsession.53 As they begin to perform their symposium, Bdelycleon asks Philocleon to join him in singing skolia, but Philocleon does so by improvising offensive though metrically correct responses, by now a familiar parodic device of comedy. Despite these warning signs that Philocleon has the potential to become as obsessively comic as he was once obsessively tragic, Bdelycleon is apparently satisfied that his father is ready to attend an actual symposium. He calls on a servant to prepare their hamper for the banquet, and proclaims that it’s time to get drunk at last. Their departure, however, is delayed by the discussion of drinking that this offhand remark provokes, a discussion with programmatic significance for the comic poetics Aristophanes’ play endorses in its final section.

Drinking Is Bad, Part I: Cratinus’ Pytine and the Poetics of Wine in Wasps In examining Wasps thus far we have begun to see how Aristophanes combines the two modes of engagement with tragedy discussed in Part I of this book: tragic culture, and tragic parody. Philocleon φιλῳδός is both a participant in tragic culture, a fan who loves the ancient tragedies of Phrynichus and Thespis, and an instrument of tragic parody, a comic character who (at times) speaks and acts like a character in a tragedy. Wasps, however, is not simply a play about tragedy: it is much more obviously a play about the Athenian legal system, about the clash

53. As Whitman (1964: 156) writes, “The scene in which Bdelycleon dresses his father in fine city clothes and schools him in polite conversation is one of several in Aristophanes which depend on simple bomolochia, buffoonery, for its effect … they often mark some kind of transformation, and that which the instructed character learns, or mislearns, as buffoon is regularly converted, or perverted, in a later scene to the higher purposes of poneria and comic victory.” Cf. Bowie 1997: 8–​11.

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between generations, about conflicts between the public and private institutions of the Athenian democracy, and a variety of other concerns. Prominent among these concerns, as the work of Biles, Ruffell, Rosen, Bakola, and others has shown, is Aristophanes’ rivalry with his older competitor Cratinus.54 The interaction between Aristophanes and Cratinus over the course of the 420s gives us an usually detailed vision of the practice of comic rivalry. The first glimpse we catch of this rivalry comes in the parabasis of Aristophanes’ Knights, presented at the Lenaia of 424, where Aristophanes gives a memorable description of Cratinus (526–​36): εἶτα Κρατίνου μεμνημένος, ὃς πολλῷ ῥεύσας ποτ’ ἐπαίνῳ διὰ τῶν ἀφελῶν πεδίων ἔρρει, καὶ τῆς στάσεως παρασύρων ἐφόρει τὰς δρῦς καὶ τὰς πλατάνους καὶ τοὺς ἐχθροὺς προθελύμνους· ᾆσαι δ’ οὐκ ἦν ἐν συμποσίῳ πλὴν “Δωροῖ συκοπέδιλε,” καὶ “τέκτονες εὐπαλάμων ὕμνων·” οὕτως ἤνθησεν ἐκεῖνος. νυνὶ δ’ ὑμεῖς αὐτὸν ὁρῶντες παραληροῦντ’ οὐκ ἐλεεῖτε, ἐκπιπτουσῶν τῶν ἠλέκτρων καὶ τοῦ τόνου οὐκέτ’ ἐνόντος τῶν θ’ ἁρμονιῶν διαχασκουσῶν· ἀλλὰ γέρων ὢν περιέρρει, ὥσπερ Κοννᾶς, “στέφανον μὲν ἔχων αὗον, δίψῃ δ’ ἀπολωλώς”, ὃν χρῆν διὰ τὰς προτέρας νίκας πίνειν ἐν τῷ πρυτανείῳ, καὶ μὴ ληρεῖν, ἀλλὰ θεᾶσθαι λιπαρὸν παρὰ τῷ Διονύσῳ. Then he remembered Cratinus, who once flowed with much praise and flooded through the smooth plains; ripping them from their places he carried off oaks, plane trees, and enemies root and branch. You couldn’t sing anything at a symposium but “Fig-​Sandaled Bribery” and “Builders of Well-​Wrought Songs,” so fashionable he was. Now when you see him babbling about you don’t pity him, with his frets falling out, all out of tune, his strings hanging slack; but as an old man he flows this way and that, just like Connas, “wearing a dried out garland, killed by thirst,” this man who for his earlier victories should be drinking in the Prytaneum, and not babbling, but sitting in the theater, shining beside the priest of Dionysus. Sandwiched between two poets who had actually died, Magnes and Crates, Cratinus is depicted through this series of backhanded compliments as a drunken has-​been. Recent work on Cratinus has suggested that Aristophanes is playing

54. On the relationship between Knights, Pytine, and Wasps, see Sidwell 1995; Luppe 2000; Rosen 2000; Ruffell 2002 and 2011: 361–​426; Biles 2002, revised as 2011: 106–​32; Bakola 2010: 59–​64; Farmer 2013; Biles and Olson 2016: xxix-​xxxii.

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here on Cratinus’ own self-​presentation as an Archilochean or Dionysiac wine-​ inspired poet.55 Whatever the now largely lost background to Aristophanes’ comments here might have been, we do know that Cratinus responded in the following year, 423 bce, with what seems likely to have been his magnum opus: Pytine, “The Wine Flask,” in which he depicted himself, “Cratinus,” as a character, struggling in his marriage to a personified Comedy as a result of his affairs with Drunkenness. The best reconstructions of this play suggest that it concluded not with a renunciation or apology, but with a reaffirmation of the importance of wine for Cratinus’ poetics.56 Kassel and Austin, following Meier and subsequent editors, assign these famous words to the play (Cratinus F 203): ὕδωρ δὲ πίνων οὐδὲν ἂν τέκοις σοφόν. You could never give birth to something wise while drinking water. That Cratinus decided to co-​opt, rather than refute, Aristophanes’ criticisms of him is also suggested in this fragment, where an astonished onlooker is amazed by Cratinus’ outpouring of poetry (198): ἄναξ Ἄπολλον, τῶν ἐπῶν τοῦ ῥεύματος, καναχοῦσι πηγαί· δωδεκάκρουνον  στόμα, Ἰλισὸς ἐν τῇ φάρυγι. τί ἂν εἴποιμ’ ; εἰ μὴ γὰρ ἐπιβύσει τις αὐτοῦ τὸ στόμα, ἅπαντα ταῦτα κατακλύσει ποιήμασιν. Lord Apollo, what a flood of words! The springs are splashing! He’s got a twelve-​fountained mouth, an Ilisos in his gullet. What more can I say? If somebody doesn’t stop up his mouth, he’ll wash everything away with his poems! Cratinus embraces Aristophanes’ metaphor from Knights, but where Aristophanes described Cratinus as a flooding river to indicate his lack of control and refinement, Cratinus repurposes the image to describe the unstoppable force of his comic powers. Cratinus’ efforts were well-​received, winning first prize at the festival and defeating Aristophanes’ beloved Clouds.

55. Rosen 2000; Biles 2002 = 2011: 134–​66; Bakola 2010: 17–​24. 56. Rosen 2000: 32–​35, reviving an idea proposed in passing by Norwood 1931: 116. Subsequent interpreters have also seen that the nature of comic self-​presentation necessitates such a conclusion to the play: see Ruffell 2002; Bakola 2010: 59–​64; Biles 2011: 106–​32; Wright 2012: 126–​28.

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Although the revised Clouds that has come down to us does display, particularly in its parabasis, Aristophanes’ anguish (real or feigned) over this defeat, it is in Wasps that we see his first response to the loss of 423. In the prologue, Xanthias renounces a series of standard comic gags and concludes (64–​66): ἀλλ’ ἔστιν ἡμῖν λογίδιον γνώμην ἔχον, ὑμῶν μὲν αὐτῶν οὐχὶ δεξιώτερον, κωμῳδίας δὲ φορτικῆς σοφώτερον. But our little plot has a message, not too clever for you all, but wiser than that vulgar comedy. This last comment is a reference to Cratinus. The term φορτικός is the same adjective Aristophanes uses in his revision of Clouds to describe Pytine (Clouds 524)57; the late antique scholar of comedy Platonius also employs φορτικός as a description of Cratinus, deriving, as he often does, his views from Aristophanes himself.58 Among the proposals that Xanthias pretends to hear when he invites the audience to guess at Philocleon’s diseased state is, as we have seen, that he is a φιλοπότης, “alcoholic” (79), again evoking Pytine.59 Keith Sidwell, Zachary Biles, and Ian Ruffell, among others, have all argued that Wasps is formed almost entirely as a response to Pytine, its emphasis on the legal system, for example, deriving from the divorce proceedings of Cratinus’ play, or its two protagonists, Bdelycleon and Philocleon, intended as caricatures of specific comic poets, with Philocleon as a stand-​in for Cratinus.60 I would like to build on these arguments by suggesting that Aristophanes incorporates his rivalry with Cratinus into his engagement with tragedy in Wasps. Wine drinking will play a central part in Philocleon’s transformation from comic to tragic:  as we shall see, he shifts from being influenced by tragedy to having supreme power over it precisely at the moment when he gets drunk at a symposium. In the discussion of drinking that delays Bdelycleon and Philocleon’s departure to the symposium, certain details, I believe, authorize a metapoetical reading, in which Aristophanes comes to terms with and indeed co-​opts the wine-​soaked poetics Cratinus had espoused in Pytine.

57. Sidwell 1995: 67; Biles 2011: 157. 58. Cratinus T 17 = Platonius diff. char. (Proleg. de com. II) 1 p. 6 Koster. 59. Ruffell 2002: 162; Biles 2011: 157. 60. Sidwell 1995; Ruffell 2002 and 2011: 361–​426; Biles 2002 and 2011: 106–​32.

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When Bdelycleon proclaims that it’s time for them to get drunk at long last, Philocleon interrupts in the middle of the line with an unexpected objection (1249–​55): (Βδελυκλέων) τουτὶ μὲν ἐπιεικῶς σύ γ’ ἐξεπίστασαι· ὅπως δ’ ἐπὶ δεῖπνον εἰς Φιλοκτήμονος ἴμεν—​ παῖ παῖ, τὸ δεῖπνον, Χρῦσε, συσκεύαζε νῷν, —​ἵνα καὶ μεθυσθῶμεν διὰ χρόνου. (Φιλοκλέων)           μηδαμῶς. κακὸν τὸ πίνειν· ἀπὸ γὰρ οἴνου γίγνεται καὶ θυροκοπῆσαι καὶ πατάξαι καὶ βαλεῖν, κἄπειτ’ ἀποτίνειν ἀργύριον ἐκ κραιπάλης. (Bdelycleon) You understand this business well enough. Let’s get going to Philoctemon’s dinner—​slave, slave, get our contribution ready for us, Chryses!—​so we can get drunk at last. (Philocleon) No way! Drinking is bad: from wine comes beating on doors and hitting and throwing and then you have to pay the fine while you’ve got a hangover. Philocleon’s sudden rationality may surprise us, since he expressed a love of drinking earlier in the play (616–​18); although it is of course well within Philocleon’s recreative powers to present himself as an avid drinker one moment and a teetotaler the next, these transformations are never without purpose. For the plot to be held up unexpectedly over a discussion of wine drinking and its consequences, then, invites the audience to consider that a discussion of poetics is covertly under way: the same audience saw Cratinus embrace the inspiration of wine in Pytine just the previous year and has, just before the start of this scene, heard Aristophanes’ reaction to Pytine in Wasps’ parabasis. Bdelycleon’s response to Philocleon’s worries, replete with comedy’s buzzwords, develops the poetic dimensions of the conversation (1256–​61): οὔκ, ἢν ξυνῇς γ’ ἀνδράσι καλοῖς τε κἀγαθοῖς. ἢ γὰρ παρῃτήσαντο τὸν πεπονθότα, ἢ λόγον ἔλεξας αὐτὸς ἀστεῖόν τινα, Αἰσωπικὸν γέλοιον ἢ Συβαριτικόν, ὧν ἔμαθες ἐν τῷ συμποσίῳ· κᾆτ’ εἰς γέλων τὸ πρᾶγμ’ ἔτρεψας, ὥστ’ ἀφείς σ’ ἀποίχεται.

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No, not if you’re in the company of good and noble men! Either they beg pardon from the person you’ve offended, or you pick some urbane story yourself from what you’ve learned in the symposium, something funny from Aesop or the Sybaritic tales; and then you turn the whole problem to laughter, so he leaves you alone and goes away. Bdelycleon urges his father to present a λόγος ἀστεῖος, a term Aristophanes uses to characterize good comedy.61 Aesopic tales form an important element of comedy, sometimes even, as in Peace, providing a foundation for whole plots.62 Laughter is the avowed central purpose of comedy, and Aristophanes includes two references to it in this short description.63 These same elements, moreover, have already been employed in Wasps as a shorthand for comedy. In Philocleon’s speech in the agon, he describes the law courts in highly theatrical terms, as we have seen, even making explicit reference to tragic performance and to the jury as a chorus. Prior to his reference to tragedy, however, he also describes a performance aiming at laughter (566–​67): οἱ δὲ λέγουσιν μύθους ἡμῖν, οἱ δ’ Αἰσώπου τι γέλοιον· οἱ δὲ σκώπτουσ’, ἵν’ ἐγὼ γελάσω καὶ τὸν θυμὸν καταθῶμαι. Some tell us stories, some tell us something funny from Aesop; some joke, so that I laugh and set aside my anger. The verb σκώπτειν, “to joke,” is practically a technical term for the performance of comedy in Aristophanes: in the parabasis of Knights, for example, the career of Magnes is brought to an end when he becomes “bereft of joking” (525:  τοῦ σκώπτειν ἀπελείφθη); in Peace, Trygaeus proclaims that he is “no longer joking” (173: οὐκέτι σκώπτων) when he breaks character to rebuke the crane operator.64 The same elements, τὸ γελοῖον and Aesopic fables, recur in Bdelycleon’s later description of how to deal safely with the aftereffects of wine. The distinction in Philocleon’s speech between overt references to tragedy and covert references to

61. Knights 539, Frogs 80. 62. On Aesopica in comedy, see Lefkowitz 2009, with bibliography. 63. Cf. Sommerstein 2009: 114: “the telos of comedy is shared pleasure and the shared laughter it brings.” 64. See also Clouds 350; Peace 740; Frogs 58, 375; and especially Wealth 557, where the verb is paired with κωμῳδεῖν in the speech of Penia, explicitly a tragic figure, to distinguish herself from her comic adversaries (discussed in Chapter 5). On Philocleon’s presentation of comic performance in the courts, see Slater 2002: 92.

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comedy is typical, as we have seen, of comic practice: the paradigmatic example of this distinction is Dicaeopolis’ speech in the beginning of Acharnians, where he refers to several tragedians by name but describes the events of Aristophanes’ Babylonioi as if they had really taken place (see Chapter 1). What Aristophanes accomplishes in this exchange between Philocleon and Bdelycleon is to cap Cratinus’ espousal of wine-​inspired poetics in Pytine. In Pytine, Cratinus capped Aristophanes’ description of him as a washed-​up drunk not by refuting that description, as we have seen, but by embracing it and making it central to his self-​presentation as a poet. Likewise here Aristophanes, instead of rejecting the inspiration of wine, embraces it as a central element, not of any one poet’s art, but of the whole genre of comedy. As Biles puts it, “The play’s conclusion sees Philocleon so positively anti-​Aristophanic, in poetic terms, that he almost embodies Cratinus… . But the metatheatrical implications of the closing scene emphasize Aristophanes’ effort to put Cratinean poetics to work for his own advantage in the contest.”65 Bdelycleon and Philocleon’s conversation, which ties wine to comic poetry for the audience of Wasps, thus prepares us for the central role wine will play in the transformation of Philocleon from a tragic to a comic character; by absorbing the inspiration of wine into his exploration of the rivalry between comedy and tragedy, Aristophanes in a sense robs Cratinus of the exclusive enjoyment of his victory in the contest of 423.

Drinking Is Bad, Part II: Philocleon Comicus The chorus sing a second parabasis while the symposium takes place. The following scene opens with Xanthias fleeing the aftermath of the party; his description of Philocleon’s behavior emphasizes the role of wine, positioning references to drunkenness at the beginning (1300: παροινικώτατος) and end (1322: ἐπειδὴ ᾽μέθυεν) of his speech in a form of comic ring composition. Under the influence of wine, Philocleon has cast off his tragic tendencies and become exuberantly comic. Bdelycleon’s efforts have proved all too successful. Up to this point in the play, only Bdelycleon has had directorial control over the play; now, Philocleon too has the power to stage events as he sees fit. When the first group of his victims comes on stage threatening lawsuits, he chases them off, fully renouncing his old love of the courts (1332–​41).66 He then draws the flute 65. Biles 2011: 165. 66. Note particularly 1339: βάλλε κημούς, reversing 97–​99, where Xanthias describes an example of Philocleon’s love of the courts: καὶ νὴ Δί’ ἢν ἴδῃ γέ που γεγραμμένον/​υἱὸν Πυριλάμπους ἐν θύρᾳ Δῆμον καλόν,/​ἰὼν παρέγραψε πλησίον “κημὸς καλός.” Cf. Whitman 1964: 159; MacDowell 1971: ad 1339–​40; Schwinge 1975: 43; Slater 2002: 105.

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girl Dardanis on stage, and disguises her as a torch when Bdelycleon enters looking for her (1342–​81). Bdelycleon still maintains some control, seeing through the torch ruse and ultimately bundling his father into the house (1444–​49); as we shall see, when Philocleon emerges again in the exodus of the play, he has gained total control of the stage. Philocleon also begins to turn Bdelycleon’s education to his own ends, even against Bdelycleon himself, retelling a story his son had told earlier in the play and knocking him down as the punch line (1381–​87). When a series of accusers come on stage demanding recompense for Philocleon’s hubristic assaults, he dispenses of them with witty remarks and Aesopic and Sybaritic fables, turning the matter to laughter—​but the audience’s laughter, not the victims’.67 Early in the play, he reacted to such setbacks by conceiving his circumstances as tragedy, and slipped easily into tragic performance. Now that wine and Bdelycleon’s teachings have removed the threat of tragic influence on him, Philocleon openly mocks tragedy (1412–​14)68: καὶ σὺ δή μοι, Χαιρεφῶν, γυναικὶ κλητεύεις ἐοικὼς θαψίνῃ Ἰνοῖ κρεμαμένῃ πρὸς ποδῶν Εὐριπίδου; And as for you, Chaerephon, are you really serving as witness for this woman? You look like a yellow Ino dangling at the feet of Euripides! The exact thrust of Philocleon’s joke here remains somewhat mysterious. Chaerephon, an associate of Socrates, is always “yellow,” probably because (like other philosophers in comedy) he spends too much time indoors69; “dangling at the feet” suggests that he has for some reason adopted a posture that reminds Philocleon of a supplication scene in Euripides’ Ino, perhaps because he has been knocked down by the furious bread seller on her way offstage.70 The name of Euripides appears as an unexpected twist at the end of the line, presumably replacing the name of the mythological character Ino supplicated in Euripides’ tragedy. The surprise of Euripides’ name may itself be the whole of the joke, but the image of Ino supplicating Euripides does create for a moment a striking combination

67. On Philocleon’s use of fables, see Redondo 1993; Rothwell 1995; Lefkowitz 2009: 10–​82, esp. 33–​43. 68.  For the meaning of Philocleon’s reference here, see Starkie 1897:  ad 1414; MacDowell 1971: ad 1414; Sommerstein 1983: ad 1414; Kraut 1988. 69. Cf. Eup. F 253. 70. So MacDowell 1971: 314. For the identity of Chaerephon, see ibid. 313–​14, Kraut 1988, and Biles and Olson 2016: ad loc. For Euripides’ Ino, see Collard and Cropp 2008: 438–​59.

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of tragic culture and tragic parody, as Philocleon seems to describe a playwright interacting directly with his own characters. The death of Melanthius in the manner of Hesione in Archippus’ Ichthyes and the arrival of Euripides’ Echo in the Andromeda parody of Women at the Thesmophoria both create similarly jarring juxtapositions of tragic poets and the mythological worlds they create. Without a clearer sense of the staging of this encounter or more information about the lost Ino, we may never know precisely why Philocleon makes this comparison. For now, however, it suffices to say that tragedy has ceased to operate as a dangerous influence on the identity of Philocleon, and become a source of humor: instead of behaving like a character from a tragedy when faced with difficult circumstances, Philocleon now cracks jokes based on tragic staging. It is in the exodus, however, that Philocleon completes his transformation, taking over the stage and challenging tragedy to a final contest.

Making a Meal of Tragedy: Philocleon’s Dancing Contest Xanthias’ cry upon emerging from the house where Bdelycleon has attempted to contain his father is charged with programmatic significance for the final scene of the play (1474–​75): νὴ τὸν Διόνυσον, ἄπορά γ’ ἡμῖν πράγματα δαίμων τις εἰσκεκύκληκεν εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν. By Dionysus, what strange problems some god has wheeled into our house! Dionysus is the precisely appropriate deity to invoke to preside over the exodus of this play: it is a competitive celebration of the theatrical festivals of Dionysus and the genres performed there, and it is governed by a Philocleon transformed by wine.71 If some god has indeed rolled these troubles into Bdelycleon’s house, it is undoubtedly Dionysus himself. The terms “πράγματα” and “εἰσκεκύκληκεν” both have theatrical double meanings, not simply “problems” and “rolled in” but also “plot” and “brought in on the ekkyklema.” The opening words of this exodus thus guarantee for us that, whatever else it may be about, it is certainly about the theater.72 71. On the Dionysian element of Wasps’ finale, cf. Vaio 1971; MacCary 1979: 146; Lenz 1980; Konstan 1985: 44; Reckford 1987: 277; Davies 1990; Sidwell 1990; Riu 1999: 143–​54; Carrière 2004: 74. 72. Though MacDowell 1971: ad 1474, 1475 denies the reference to Dionysus or the word εἰσκεκύκληκεν have any greater significance, other interpreters (Sommerstein 1983: ad 1475; Slater 2002: 108–​9; Carrière 2004: 87; Biles 2011: 165; Wright 2013a: 221) see them as

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Philocleon, we learn from Xanthias, has been filled with a theatrical frenzy. He has been inspired by much drinking of wine and listening to the aulos, the chief musical instrument of the theater and one that featured prominently in Philocleon’s description of the “exodus” of a “chorus” of jurors from his theatricalized vision of the law court. Under these influences he has begun to dance (1478–​81): ὀρχούμενος τῆς νυκτὸς οὐδὲν παύεται τἀρχαῖ’ ἐκεῖν’ οἷς Θέσπις ἠγωνίζετο· καὶ τοὺς τραγῳδούς φησιν ἀποδείξειν Κρόνους τοὺς νῦν διορχησάμενος ὀλίγον ὕστερον. All night without stopping he’s been dancing those ancient dances Thespis used to compete with; and he’s been insisting he’ll soon prove the tragic performers of today to be Cronuses, when he dances against them. He has begun not only to dance, but to dance competitively, and is preparing to hold a contest against the performers of modern tragedy. The chronological paradox of Xanthias’ words—​that Philocleon will show modern dancers to be outdated by dancing the most ancient dances of tragedy—​is typical of the topsy-​turvy chronological confusions of the second half of the play, in which old Philocleon has become, in the memorable formulation of Angus Crichton, “his own grandson,” a rejuvenated and wild youth oppressed by the outdated ways of the new generation.73 More importantly, it also prepares us for Aristophanes’ efforts to have it both ways in his play’s final implications, that is, to criticize the decline of tragedy from its golden age and to show the superiority of comedy; in a word—​to have his tragedy and eat it too. Philocleon emerges unstoppable from the house, already dancing.74 Bdelycleon will not be seen again, and it is clear at this point that Philocleon has important, deliberately selected terms. The verb εἰσκυκλέω and its opposite ἐκκυκλέω are relatively rare, and in all other instances in Aristophanes refer explicitly to the use of the ekkyklema (Ach. 408, 409, Thesmo. 96, 265; cf. also the use of the cognate εἰσκυλίνδω at Thesmo. 651, 767, where Mnesilochus complains of the πράγματα, the troubles/​plot, that Euripides has involved him in); πράγματα is of course quite a common word, but in the company of other, more obviously theatrical language it often bears its technical meaning, as in, for example, Cratinus F 92 (discussed in Chapter 1). 73. On Philocleon’s rejuvenation, see Whitman 1964: 157–​60; Lenz 1980: 39; Bowie 1993: 78–​101 (arguing that Philocleon undergoes a “reverse Ephebeia,” an idea followed by Slater 2002: 101–​ 8, though see Sommerstein 2009: 192–​203 for a rejection of this view); Crichton 1993. 74. He announces his arrival (1482–​84) in words that may be paratragic, though their source is unknown; if they are a quotation, it was likely meant to recall a scene associated with the sort of

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seized total control of the stage—​his own entrances and exits can no longer be controlled, and when, in a moment, he demands opponents for his contest, they begin to enter immediately. Much debate has been held over the precise nature of his dance; ultimately we know too little of ancient theatrical dancing in general and of the staging of this play in particular to speak with any certainty. What is clear, however, is that his intention is not simply to produce a faithful representation of the tragic dancing of Thespis and Phrynichus, but to create a comic version of those dances; as Michael Silk puts it, “the dance, however tragic in origin, is no longer tragic in orientation, but subsumed within the comic domain” (2000: 432).75 Both Xanthias’ reaction to Philocleon’s dancing—​that it evinces not grace but madness—​and Philocleon’s own description of his moves present the dance as comic, not tragic (1483–​96): (Ξανθίας) τουτὶ καὶ δὴ χωρεῖ τὸ κακόν. (Φιλοκλέων) κλῇθρα χαλάσθω τάδε. καὶ δὴ γὰρ σχήματος ἀρχὴ—​ (Ξα.) μᾶλλον δέ γ’ ἴσως μανίας ἀρχή. (Φι.) —​πλευρὰν λυγίσαντος ὑπὸ ῥύμης· οἷον μυκτὴρ μυκᾶται καὶ σφόνδυλος ἀχεῖ. (Ξα.)   πῖθ’ ἑλλέβορον. (Φι.) πτήσσει Φρύνιχος ὥς τις ἀλέκτωρ—​ (Ξα.) τάχα βαλλήσει. (Φι.) —​σ κέλος οὐρανίαν ἐκλακτίζων. πρωκτὸς χάσκει· —​ (Ξα.)         κατὰ σαυτὸν ὅρα. (Φι.) νῦν γὰρ ἐν ἄρθροις τοῖς ἡμετέροις στρέφεται χαλαρὰ κοτυληδών. οὐκ εὖ; (Ξα.)       μὰ Δί’ οὐ δῆτ’, ἀλλὰ μανικὰ πράγματα.

dancing he goes on to perform, but we cannot say. Regardless, this is a form of paratragedy that is qualitatively different from earlier instances: whereas before he descended into tragic language at moments of despair, here he issues joyful commands; as in his reference to Euripides’ Ino (above) and his puns about eating tragedy (below), here we see that he has mastered tragedy, instead of being mastered by it as he was before his transformation. 75.  On Philocleon’s dancing, see also Roos 1951; Rau 1967:  155–​57; Vaio 1971; MacDowell 1971: ad loc. (esp. ad 1484); MacCary 1979; Sommerstein 1983: ad loc.; Konstan 1985: 44 (who notes that the dancing elevates Philocleon’s drunken escapades onto the Dionysiac plane); Russo 1994:  127–​29 (maintaining that Philocleon performs the lewd dances of a hetaira); MacDowell 1995: 20; Slater 2002: 106–​11; Jedrkiewicz 2006: 85–​87 (esp. 85 n. 2: “mimando la

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(Xanthias) Here comes trouble! (Philocleon) Let the doors stand open! And here comes the start of the move—​ (X.) Or rather, the start of the madness! (Ph.)—​bending your side with force! How the nostril snorts and the spine cracks! (X.) Try drinking some hellebore. (Ph.) Phrynichus crouches like some rooster—​ (X.) Soon they’ll stone you! (Ph.) —​kicking the leg up toward the sky! The asshole gapes—​ (X.) Look out for yourself ! (Ph.) —​for now my hip spins loose in its socket! Isn’t it great? (X.) Not at all, by Zeus, it’s completely insane! Philocleon’s grotesque emphasis on his own body, his cracking spine, snorting nostrils, gaping asshole, show the audience that he has cast off the once-​dangerous influence of tragedy and become exuberantly comic instead: this is, in a word, a trugic dance, fusing elements of tragic and comic performance to hilarious effect.76 Just as he renounced his love of the law courts, which once ruled his existence, by disdaining all legal process when confronted by the victims of his crimes, so now he will show himself triumphant over tragedy in a final, manic contest. Having practiced his moves, Philocleon proclaims the competition (1497–​1500): φέρε νυν ἀνείπω κἀνταγωνιστὰς καλῶ. εἴ τις τραγῳδός φησιν ὀρχεῖσθαι καλῶς, ἐμοὶ διορχησόμενος ἐνθάδ’ εἰσίτω. φησίν τις ἢ οὐδείς; Now let me make an announcement:  I  summon all competitors! If any tragic performer says he can dance well, let him come forth and dance against me! Will anyone do it, or not? Wright correctly emphasizes the importance of these lines (223): “Comedy’s challenge to tragedy could hardly be more explicit. Philocleon’s words here could danza tragica si riafferma la distanza tra il genere tragico ed il comico: si realizza una autentica parodia”); Zimmermann 2007: 78–​79; Wright 2013a: 222–​25. 76.  Slater 2002:  108. Cf. Rau 1967:  157, “Im übrigen ist der Übermut des Komos in der Tanzburleske gewiß wichtiger als eine gegen den modernen Tragödientanz gerichtete kritische Absicht.”

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almost be read as embodying Aristophanes’ attitude to tragedy in general.” Wright sees this final scene as making explicit a competition with tragedy that is implicit throughout the rest of the play: the tragic setup of the prologue, he argues, frames Wasps as Aristophanes’ version of a tragedy, but one that becomes increasingly comic and ridiculous until, in this final scene, Aristophanes announces that he has conquered tragedy. I agree that this finale proclaims comedy’s victory over tragedy; but where Wright sees an implicit version of a tragedy, I see a comedy about the influence of tragedy on its audience. Philocleon does not act like a tragic character because Aristophanes is “doing tragedy”; Philocleon himself conceptualizes his circumstances as tragic and acts accordingly, because he is a character obsessed with tragedy. Liberated from tragic influence by metatheater and wine, Philocleon no longer conceives of the circumstances of his life as those of a tragic plot; now, he exuberantly mocks the physical presentation of tragic performance. One by one, the sons of the tragedian Carcinus, followed at last by Carcinus himself, appear; they are tragic dancers and tragic poets both.77 They are selected not only as convenient representatives of modern tragedy, but especially for the punning their father’s name, which means “crab,” allows. Philocleon repeatedly characterizes his victory over them as one of consumption: he will gulp them down (1502: καταποθήσεται), he’s bought himself a delicacy (1506: ὠψώνηκα), he orders Xanthias to prepare a sauce for the coming feast (1514–​15: σὺ δὲ /​ἅλμην κύκα τούτοισιν). Philocleon has used the metaphor of eating tragedy before, but it was in his earlier, vulnerable days, when he spoke of the result of consuming tragedy as one of transformative influence: if the chorus had been fed on bitter Philocles instead of sweet Phrynichus, they would be bitterer enemies for Bdelycleon. Now, having overcome the influence of tragedy and embraced comedy, the metaphor of eating tragedy has come to represent totalizing victory over it.78 It is no coincidence, then, that what liberates Philocleon from the influence of tragedy is the consumption of wine: by marking wine as comic with references to Cratinus’ Pytine and then making wine-​drinking the central act of consumption Philocleon uses to replace tragic with comic influence, Aristophanes co-​opts Cratinus’ victory of the previous year, folding Cratinus’ wine-​soaked poetics of comedy into Aristophanes’ own narrative of the struggle between comedy and tragedy. 77. For the identity of Carcinus and his sons, see Chapter 1, as well as Rothwell 1994; Olson 2000. This blurring of the boundary between tragic poet and tragic performer is already inherent in the word τραγῳδός, which can refer to either; see Pickard-​Cambridge 1968:  127–​32, Ghiron-​Bistagne 1976: 119–​25. 78. For metaphors of eating in comedy’s literary critiques, see Wright 2012: 129–​40.

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Philocleon descends into the orchestra (1514: ἀτὰρ καταβατέον γ’ ἐπ’ αὐτούς μοι), and the chorus narrates the ensuing dance-​off. Again, the precise staging is lost to us, but it seems that the dancers performed if not the full elaboration of a choral dance, then certain stylized maneuvers that evoked the dancing of the tragedy of different ages, Philocleon continuing to parody the ancient modes of Thespis and Phrynichus,79 Carcinus and sons performing some version of modern tragic dance. At last, the chorus invite the competitors to lead the whole production out dancing, a thing they claim has never been done before.80 Philocleon’s constant references, made throughout the play and especially here at the end, to the superiority of ancient to modern tragedy are of a piece with other comedians’ representations of tragedy as a genre in decline; this is in pointed contrast to comedy’s ability to innovate, emphasized in the prologue and parabasis of this play, as well as in Bdelycleon and Philocleon’s improvisations. Philocleon’s parodic, comic performance of tragic dance underscores comedy’s ability to consume and thereby outdo tragedy. The role of wine in this final competition also has a twofold set of implications:  on the one hand, it co-​opts, as we have seen, Cratinus’ wine-​soaked poetics, incorporating Cratinus’ defense of the role of wine in comic inspiration into Aristophanes’ victory over tragedy; on the other, wine’s associations with Dionysus, evoked by Xanthias’ oath at the opening of this scene, emphasize the shared performance context of comedy and tragedy at the festivals of Dionysus, in which, we now see, comedy has become the superior participant.81 Aristophanes claims the inspiration of wine for comedy, and then makes wine

79.  On Phrynichus and Thespis as representative of old-​fashioned tragedy, with Carcinus and his sons as representatives of modern tragedy, see Murray 1933: 83; Whitman 1964: 160; Borthwick 1968; MacDowell 1971: ad 1490; Sommerstein 1983: ad 1490; Silk 2000: 431–​32; Slater 2002: 106–​9; Wright 2013a. 80. Whether Philocleon led Carcinus and sons out as victor in the contest, or danced out alongside them in a mutual celebration of generic competition, is a question the text does not permit us to answer. As Slater 2002: 111 puts it, “[Philocleon’s] dancing exit takes us back not just to the play’s beginning but to the origins of drama, from which both comedy and tragedy alike will be renewed.” This point was anticipated by MacCary 1979: 146. Vaio 1971: 349–​51 argues that the contest is deliberately left without an explicitly designated victor, but that Philocleon was likely to have led the procession out of the theater in the winner’s position; Jedrkiewicz 2006: 87 likewise felt that Philocleon must have taken the victor’s place at the head of the procession. Wright 2013a: 224–​25 sees the claim to novelty here as referring to a comic chorus performing tragic dances as it exits the theater; he concludes that Aristophanes’ victory over tragedy here, though unexpressed in the text, remains obvious. 81. Jedrkiewicz 2006: 88 also sees the play’s finale as proclaiming comedy’s superiority to tragedy, though, like Dobrov 2001, he sees this superiority as resting in comedy’s ability to portray success where tragedy portrays only failure, to provide human answers to the divine problems of tragedy.

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drinking the central transformative act that dispels the threat of tragic influence on Philocleon: before, Philocleon ate tragedy and was made tragic; now, comically drunk, he devours tragedy, and leaves only comedy behind. Aristophanes encapsulates this narrative of generic competition between comedy and tragedy in the final word of the play. As they dance out of the orchestra, the chorus proclaim (1536–​37): τοῦτο γὰρ οὐδείς πω πάρος δέδρακεν, ὀρχούμενον ὅστις ἀπήλλαξεν χορὸν τρυγῳδῶν. for no one has ever done this before, sending off dancing a chorus of trugedians! The term τρυγῳδία was exploited by Aristophanes (and possibly coined by him) to emphasize the agonistic relationship between comedy and tragedy. Its first recorded instance is in Dicaeopolis’ proclamation that comedy as well, and not just tragedy, knows what justice is (Ach. 500), and it recurs in places where the two genres are competitively juxtaposed.82 To call themselves a “chorus of trugedians” emphasizes for the audience at the very close of the play that Wasps has been a drama not merely of the court system, of education, of generational conflict, but also and especially of literature, of the confrontation between Athens’ two theatrical genres, comedy and tragedy.83 Τρυγῳδός becomes a perfect name for Philocleon, an unstable character whose obsessive participation in tragic culture led him to act out episodes of his life in the form of tragic parodies, but who now embraces comedy in the form of mock-​tragic performance. It is, moreover, all the more fitting a final word for a comedy in which Aristophanes sought to combine the poetics of wine with a victory over tragedy, a comedy dominated by metaphors of the consumption of literature: for “trugedy,” of course, means “tragedy, but with wine.”

82. See above, on the name “Trygaeus.” 83. Jedrkiewicz 2006: 88.

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Euripides in the Echo Chamber Poets and Their Poetry in Women at the Thesmophoria

If tragedy is food, then the tragic poet must be the chef. Teleclides gives us a physical instantiation of just this metaphor, in an unknown play (41): Μνησίλοχός ἐστ᾽ ἐκεῖνος φρύγει τι δρᾶμα καινὸν Εὐριπίδῃ, καὶ Σωκράτης τὰ φρύγαν᾽ ὑποτίθησιν. That one there’s Mnesilochus, who’s cooking up some new play for Euripides, and Socrates is putting wood on the fire. We don’t know anything about the play that contained this view into the Euripidean kitchen, but from just these two lines we already catch a glimpse of the rich engagement with tragedy Teleclides could achieve by bringing a tragic poet onto the comic stage. We have first and foremost the accusation of plagiarism: Mnesilochus is cooking the play up for Euripides, just as Eupolis, for example, claimed to have written the Knights for Aristophanes. The notion of tragedy as a meal is frequent in comic poetry, and was, as we’ve just seen, one of the driving metaphors behind Philocleon’s relationship to tragedy in Wasps. The presence of Socrates providing the fuel for this Euripidean composition activates the association of Euripides with sophistry and avant-​garde intellectualism familiar from extant comedy; “wood” as “poetic material” foreshadows a metaphor that will become almost clichéd in Hellenistic and Roman poetry. The term καινόν is a loaded description, as Armand D’Angour has shown, suggesting not just “new” but “newfangled,” “innovative,” “novel,” “unprecedented”—​that is, potentially dangerous in its diversion from tradition.1 But what is Euripides himself doing while all this is transpiring on Teleclides’ stage? We don’t know, and we never will. 1. 2011.

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Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria gives us a chance to see what a virtuosic comic poet could do by bringing a tragedian on stage as a comic character. By making not just Euripides but Agathon as well characters in his play, Aristophanes is, as we are now in a position to see, operating in a generic tradition:  among Aristophanes’ predecessors and contemporaries, Pherecrates, Teleclides, perhaps Callias, Archippus, and Plato all made tragic poets characters in their comedies, and Eubulus revived the device for his midfourth-​century Dionysius. Aristophanes himself had already staged versions of his Euripides in Acharnians and Proagon (T 4): by the time we reach Women at the Thesmophoria in 411 bce, tragedian characters have become part of the generic repertoire of Old Comedy, essential to the genre’s depiction of the culture of tragedy. In Women at the Thesmophoria, I  will argue, Aristophanes uses the character of Euripides to confront the main issue raised by comedy’s constant engagement with tragedy: its secondariness.2 Comedy came late to the City Dionysia, and lacked the indisputable cultural prestige of tragedy; for all that paratragedy sometimes undermines its tragic sources, it also confirms tragedy’s superiority by confessing comedy’s almost parasitical dependence on tragedy. Aristophanes, however, shapes a typically comic response to this supposed problem: instead of seeking somehow to disguise or explain away comedy’s secondary status, he revels in it. Repetition, I argue, is the central motif of Women at the Thesmophoria: repetition of tragedy in the form of parody, repetition of prior comedy, repetition within the play itself; repetition is even, as we shall see, given a personified role on stage. By ringing the changes on the concept of repetition, Aristophanes calls attention to his works’ secondariness, a status that is all the more problematic in a genre that professes to pride itself on originality. Aristophanes uses Euripidean tragedy in Women at the Thesmophoria to explore this tension between repetition and innovation, and to show the potential power of their skillful combination. Aristophanes frames this exploration of secondariness with a conversation among two tragic poets and a man deeply implicated in the broader culture of tragedy—​ Euripides’ relative-​ by-​ marriage—​ about the relationship between a poet’s nature and the poetry he produces. In the previous chapter, I argued that Wasps depicted the influence of tragedy on its audience by presenting Philocleon as a Phrynichus fan whose obsession with tragedy led him to view the everyday events of his life through the lens of tragedy, and to react therefore like a tragic, rather than a comic, character. In Women at the Thesmophoria, the flow of influence is reversed: instead of examining tragedy’s influence on its audience, Aristophanes focuses on the influence of the tragic poet’s own nature on the poetry he creates.

2. For this term cf. Silk 2000: 246.

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Women at the Thesmophoria raises a variety of questions about the relationship between poets and their poetry: Can the nature of a poet be determined from his words? Is poetry inevitably characterized by the nature of the poet? Can a poet change his nature to suit the needs of his art? Is nature a fixed, internal quality or a malleable, external one? As in Wasps, we see therefore that in Women at the Thesmophoria Aristophanes combines tragic culture with tragic parody: he uses a conversation about tragedy held by a pair of tragic poets and a plot about the relationship between a tragic poet and his audience to frame a series of parodies, the set of performances of Euripidean plays touched off by Mnesilochus’ capture. Both of these forms of paratragedy, tragic culture and tragic parody, mark comedy as secondary: whether the comic poets show characters talking about tragedy or have their characters imitate tragedy, they position comedy relative to the more-​elevated and better-​established dramatic genre. But in Women at the Thesmophoria, comedy’s power emerges as its very secondariness: just as in Wasps, where comedy’s capacity for metatheatrical self-​reflection allowed it to overcome tragic influence, so here comedy’s self-​consciousness about its place in a multigeneric literary tradition is what makes it the superior genre.3 Women at the Thesmophoria reveals Aristophanes and Euripides as united in their secondariness, in their self-​ consciousness about their belated place in a long dramatic tradition. Euripides, I  will argue, had acknowledged the influence of comedy on his increasingly self-​conscious tragic poetry just the year before Women at the Thesmophoria, in his Helen. Aristophanes responds by giving us a long performance of Euripides’ secondariness, framed by an ambiguous conversation about whether a poet’s own nature inevitably shapes the nature of his poetry. This leads us to a challenging question about Euripides: If comedy is the inherently secondary genre, and Euripides writes secondary poetry, is there something comic about Euripides’ own nature that produces such poetry—​or does he produce it in imitation of comedy?4 Previous critics of Women at the Thesmophoria have tended to focus either on the conversation with Agathon or on the parodies of Euripides’

3. Cf. Seneca’s remarks on the advantages of being the latest author in a long tradition (Ep. 79.6): Praeterea condicio optima est ultimi: parata verba invenit, quae aliter instructa novam faciem habent. Nec illis manus inicit tamquam alienis; sunt enim publica. (“Moreover the best position is that of the most recent author: he finds prepared words which, once arranged in another way, have a new form. Nor does he put his hands on them as if they belonged to someone else; for such words are public property.”) 4. I must clarify that here, as elsewhere in this book, I use the term comic to mean “belonging to the dramatic genre of comedy,” not in the looser, modern sense of “humorous” or “funny.” Euripides is sometimes funny, but he is only being “comic” when he specifically draws on the genre of comedy.

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plays; my reading unifies the play as an extended meditation on the sources of a poet’s dramatic poetry.

Shall I Seek You in Your Song? Mnesilochus and Agathon on Poets and Poetry Women at the Thesmophoria opens with a scene that overtly presents the play as a comedy about tragic culture. The tragedian Euripides finds himself in trouble with the women of the city because of the content of his plays, and he responds by seeking the help of another tragic poet, Agathon. When Euripides and his in-​law Mnesilochus first catch a glimpse of the young and effeminate Agathon, Mnesilochus is dumbstruck, and launches into a long series of questions about the nature of this strange figure—​a passage I shall examine in detail in a moment.5 Agathon fails to respond immediately (he is, perhaps, never given a chance), prompting Mnesilochus to speculate about alternative sources for the information he seeks (144–​45): τί φῄς; τί σιγᾷς; ἀλλὰ δῆτ’ ἐκ τοῦ μέλους ζητῶ σ’, ἐπειδή γ’ αὐτὸς οὐ βούλει φράσαι; What do you say? Why are you silent? But then am I to find you out from your poetry, since you yourself are unwilling to speak? This question—​whether a poet’s nature can be extrapolated from his poetry—​ will prove central to the meaning of the play, applicable not only to Agathon but to Euripides and even Aristophanes himself.6

5. With Slater 2002: 151, I use the name Mnesilochus, supplied by the scholia but absent from the text of the play itself, for the character of Euripides’ Κηδεστής. Names seem to have been somewhat less essential to ancient dramatic audiences than they are today, but for a modern reader, it is difficult to appreciate what a finely drawn, lively, fully characterized individual the Κηδεστής really is if we are forced to refer to him simply as Relative, Inlaw, or the like. Using this name does, it seems to me, little harm, so long as we recognize that he cannot necessarily be identified with the Mnesilochus named in other passages of comedy such as Teleclides F 41, or the Life of Euripides (e.g., sections 2, 5). On the name, see also Bierl 2009: 244–​49, as well as Möllendorff 1995: 243, who suggests that the character’s lack of name is related to his ability to portray such a variety of roles. 6.  For the possibility that these lines come from Edonoi, see below. If they are drawn from Aeschylus, that is no impediment to their serving a programmatic function in this play; cf. Dicaeopolis’ important claim to be fooling the chorus with his disguise but not the audience, in language almost certainly drawn from Euripides’ Telephus (Ach. 440ff., with Olson 2002: ad loc.).

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In replying to this question Agathon gives a contradictory explanation of the relationship between poets and their poetry. At first, Agathon seems to expound the concept, familiar from Acharnians, that poets costume themselves like their characters in order to compose authentic poetry (148–​50): ἐγὼ δὲ τὴν ἐσθῆθ’ ἅμα γνώμῃ φορῶ. χρὴ γὰρ ποιητὴν ἄνδρα πρὸς τὰ δράματα ἃ δεῖ ποιεῖν, πρὸς ταῦτα τοὺς τρόπους ἔχειν. I wear my clothing to match my thought. For it is necessary for a man who is a poet to have his manner match the plays he has to write. A similar notion underlies Euripides’ behavior in Acharnians, where Dicaeopolis finds him dressed as a beggar and resting his “injured” leg while composing one of his typical lame-​beggar-​hero roles (410–​13). Even before Agathon appears on stage, his servant has prepared the audience for the general concept that the conditions surrounding the poet while he composes inform his poetry: he claims that the stiffness of Agathon’s verses necessitates composing outside during the winter to take advantage of the sun (66–​69).7 Agathon proceeds to give a gendered elaboration of this notion (151–​56)8: αὐτίκα γυναικεῖ’ ἢν ποιῇ τις δράματα, μετουσίαν δεῖ τῶν τρόπων τὸ σῶμ’ ἔχειν … ἀνδρεῖα δ’ ἢν ποιῇ τις, ἐν τῷ σώματι ἔνεσθ’ ὑπάρχον τοῦθ’. ἃ δ’ οὐ κεκτήμεθα, μίμησις ἤδη ταῦτα συνθηρεύεται. For example, when a man composes feminine tragedies, his body must be made to share their character … when he composes masculine ones, this is already extant in his body. Whatever we don’t already possess, mimesis then helps hunt it down.9 7. For the notion of poetic “frigidity” inherent in this claim, see Prato 2001: ad 68–​69; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 27–​29; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 66–​69; Wright 2012: 108–​10; and see below on Theognis and Euripides’ Palamedes. 8. Issues of gender are of course central to the play, though I will treat them only in passing here; the best analysis remains Zeitlin 1981, but see more recently Taaffe 1993:  74–​102; McClure 1999:  205–​36; Tzanetou 2002; Stehle 2002; Compton-​Engle 2003; Saetta Cottone 2005b; Given 2007. I should note here that Saetta Cottone 2005a repeats a number of arguments first made in 2003 and 2005b; I cite the original articles here. 9.  For the meaning of Agathon’s “feminine” and “masculine” tragedies here, see Austin and Olson 2004: 106; a scholiast on these lines suggests the terms refer to plays with feminine or

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This process of acquiring what the body lacks in order to make the poet’s external characteristics conform to those of the characters he writes for Agathon calls μίμησις (156); the term has, thus, not yet become the definitive expression for representative art it will be for Plato, but its use here is nevertheless suggestive of the early phases of the debate about poetry for which we will receive more elaborate evidence in the fourth century.10 We see, nevertheless, the beginnings of a vocabulary in the culture surrounding tragedy in the fifth century that will crystalize into the technical lexicon of the fourth. Agathon provides a few more examples, and at first these seem like straightforward extensions of the theory that a poet should dress in accordance with the kind of poetry he wishes to compose:  Ibycus, Anacreon, and Alcaeus all wore turbans and relaxed in Ionian luxury when they composed their harmonious and luxuriant poetry (160–​63).11 His final example, however, prompted perhaps by some gesture on Mnesilochus’ part implying his unfamiliarity with the archaic poets of Ionia, completely confuses the matter (164–​67): καὶ Φρύνιχος—​τοῦτον γὰρ οὖν ἀκήκοας—​ αὐτός τε καλὸς ἦν καὶ καλῶς ἠμπίσχετο· διὰ τοῦτ’ ἄρ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ κάλ’ ἦν τὰ δράματα. ὅμοια γὰρ ποιεῖν ἀνάγκη τῇ φύσει. And Phrynichus—​for surely you’ve heard of him—​he was himself beautiful and beautifully dressed. Because of this his plays were also beautiful. For it is necessary to make them match one’s nature. The confusion begins with line 165: not only was Phrynichus, the first Athenian dramatic poet Agathon cites, beautifully dressed to suit his beautiful poetry, he was himself beautiful. Was his beautiful clothing merely a necessary result of his personal beauty—​in which case, why mention it at all? If his clothing did not arise naturally from his own beauty, why would someone whose body was already

masculine choruses, but Austin and Olson argue that it must rather refer to the gender of the “primary focalizers” of such plays. Cf. Robson 2005. 10.  For more on the term mimesis in comedy, see Chapter  5, on the parodos of Wealth; for its use in Thesmo., see Muecke 1982; Mureddu 1982–​83; Arrighetti 1987: 150–​51; Stohn 1993; Mazzacchera 1999: 218; Prato 2001: 183. 11. Snyder 1974 proposed the broadly accepted theory that Agathon is himself costumed after the manner of these Ionian poets, citing the resemblance between the details of Agathon’s dress noted in the text and images of Anacreon in vase painting. As Riu 1999: 191–​92 points out, Mnesilochus’ quotation of Edonoi also invites us to view Agathon’s effeminized appearance as analogous to that of Dionysus. In either case, Agathon’s appearance becomes ambiguous; he is

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beautiful need such mimesis of beauty to “hunt down” the qualities of beautiful poetry? Agathon’s explanation of this last example, then, appears to reverse the terms of his argument: poetry, he says, necessarily reflects the nature of the poet. Mnesilochus provides three more examples of this alternate theory, all Attic tragedians:  Philocles the shameful writes shameful poetry, Xenocles the bad writes bad poetry, Theognis the frigid writes frigid poetry (168–​70). In a wonderful depiction of intrageneric rivalry, Agathon wholeheartedly agrees with these critical assessments of his fellow tragedians (171:  ἅπασ᾽ ἀνάγκη). All of these appear to follow a theory that would be the opposite of that originally espoused by Agathon: instead of being able to make their circumstances conform to the sort of poetry they wish to write, these poets are fated to write well or poorly strictly in accordance with their natures. Agathon starts to provide further elaboration on how these notions shape his own poetic practice, but Euripides cuts the discussion short with a curt “quit barking!” (173: παῦσαι βαΰζων). The contradictions of this brief but thematically rich conversation have puzzled many interpreters. Some have sought to explain them away, arguing for example that the scene is intended only as mockery of Agathon and the other poets mentioned, and that the audience is not meant to attempt to understand any coherent theory from Agathon and Mnesilochus’ remarks.12 Others have suggested that there is no contradiction by arguing somewhat implausibly that φύσις here refers only to external characteristics.13 Most simply accept that the conversation is contradictory and argue that the issues of transvestitism, costume, gender, and the evaluation of tragic poetry prepare the audience for the rest of the plot.14 In an insightful article published in 1996, Guido Paduano provided a more nuanced approach:  the two theories Agathon advances—​that a poet must become like his poetry in order to compose it, and that poetry inevitably resembles the nature of its poet—​create a sense of a continuous, reciprocal relationship between the poet and his work, a “circular system of causes and not merely an effeminate to be mocked (like, for example, Cleisthenes), but also a poet operating in a tradition who is capable of defending himself on stage, however flawed and ambiguous that defense itself might be. 12. Bonanno 1990: 250 n. 24; MacDowell 1995: 256–​57, Austin and Olson 2004: ad 148–​72. 13. Cantarella 1967: 12–​13, though he also admits that Agathon’s theory is ultimately left unclear (14–​15); Chirico 1990: 113–​15; Given 2007 (who also emphasizes that the purpose of the scene is mockery of Agathon). 14. Moulton 1981: 119; Zeitlin 1981: 177–​78 (who notes that Agathon in his gender-​bending self-​presentation embodies the apparent contradictions of his theory, a point seconded by Paduano 1996: 98); Muecke 1982: 53; Arrighetti 1987: 152; Stohn 1993: 198–​200; Sommerstein

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consequences, assimilations and alienations.”15 The importance of Agathon’s remarks is not to give the audience a simple, logical explanation of the relationship between poets and their poetry, but to present a sense of this relationship as complex and reciprocal, as a frame for the action of the play that follows. Agathon’s answer to Mnesilochus’ question, whether a poet can be sought in his poetry, is a resounding yes; but exactly on what terms, and in particular what agency the poet has in his relationship with his poetry, is left deliberately obscure. Women at the Thesmophoria’s investigation of the relationship between poet and poetry will focus on Euripides. Aristophanes has already hinted at this, by having Mnesilochus start making proclamations about the nature of Euripidean poetry just before Agathon himself appears (93–​94)16: τὸ πρᾶγμα κομψὸν καὶ σφόδρ’ ἐκ τοῦ σοῦ τρόπου· τοῦ γὰρ τεχνάζειν ἡμέτερος ὁ πυραμοῦς. This affair is subtle and just your style: for we take the cake when it comes to scheming! Over the course of Women at the Thesmophoria Euripides will be established as a poet of schemes, of τέχναι and μηχαναί. Euripides’ cleverness, his particular talent, will be revealed as his self-​conscious effort to manage his own secondariness. The schemes themselves will often turn out to be just the sort of devices—​poet characters, plays-​within-​the-​play, self-​referential allusions—​ that allow comic poets to position themselves within their own dramatic tradition and in relationship to tragedy. All of the plays Mnesilochus and Euripides stage in Women at the Thesmophoria will enact the secondariness that will come to characterize both Euripides and Aristophanes; but before they even begin to perform these repetitions of Euripidean tragedies, Aristophanes’ characters are already caught up in a deeply self-​conscious repetition of a comedy.

1994: ad 167; MacDowell 1995: 256; Bobrick 1997: 179–​82; Mazzacchera 1999: 209–​10; Prato 2001: ad 146–​72; Slater 2002: 155; Stehle 2002: 381. Wright 2012: 123–​25 does not discuss the contradictions in Agathon’s theory. 15.  Paduano 1996:  97:  “un sistema quasi circolare di cause e conseguenze, assimilazione e alienazione.” 16. Paduano 1996: 99; Saetta Cottone 2003: 454–​55; Voelke 2004: 128–​29. Micalella 2005 sees this scene as a confrontation between the poetics of Agathon and Euripides in which Euripides rejects the relationship between poets and their poetry.

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I Was Like That Once Too: Repetition in  the Agathon Scene Agathon and Mnesilochus’ conversation about the relationship between poets and their poetry occurs in a context that emphasizes repetition. The series of questions Mnesilochus asks (culminating in his offer to find Agathon out by his song) is marked as derived from tragedy with a startling degree of specificity (134–​35): καί σ’, ὦ νεανίσχ’, ἥτις εἶ, κατ’ Αἰσχύλον ἐκ τῆς Λυκουργείας ἐρέσθαι βούλομαι. And you, young man, whatever sort of girl you are, I wish to ask you some questions just as Aeschylus does in his Lykourgeia. Even before the series of tragic reperformances that form the central panel of Women at the Thesmophoria, Mnesilochus sees and characterizes his own activities as reflections of prior dramatic works. Here he presents his interrogation of a figure of ambiguous gender as a recapitulation of Lycourgus’ encounter with Dionysus in Aeschylus’ Edonoi.17 He begins with actual quotations from Aeschylus’ play, but descends into an increasingly ridiculous enumeration of the contradictory male and female qualities Agathon possesses, culminating in the obscene questions ποῦ πέος; and ποῦ τὰ τιτθία; (142–​43). If we knew more of Aeschylus’ play, we might be in a position to say more about how the encounter between Mnesilochus and Agathon resembled its tragic original; for our purposes it is sufficient to note that Mnesilochus sees the action of the play as already a repetition of an older one, a repetition that is, moreover, suggestive of a clash between the value systems of old (Aeschylean) and new (Agathonian) tragedy.18 What Mnesilochus has failed to realize, however, is that he is already caught up in a repetition on a larger scale. The first half of Women at the Thesmophoria constitutes what Gregory Dobrov, borrowing the term from musicology, calls a “contrafact,” in which characters on the comic stage, while appearing to improvise and react to unique circumstances, actually recreate the structure of an older play.19 Dobrov identifies a series of comic contrafacts of tragic originals (Euripides’ Bellerophon in Peace, Sophocles’ Tereus in Birds, Euripides’ Perithous

17. Thesmo. 136 = Aesch. F 61, though there is reason to suspect more Aeschylus in the lines that follow. See Rau 1967: 109–​10; Riu 1999: 191–​92; Prato 2001: ad loc.; Austin and Olson 2004: ad loc; and Chapter 1, on Eubulus’ Dionysius. 18. Rosen 2006a: 43. 19. Dobrov 2001: 33–​56.

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in Frogs); in Women at the Thesmophoria, I would argue, Aristophanes presents a contrafact of his own Acharnians.20 In Acharnians, the protagonist, Dicaeopolis, wishing to convince a hostile chorus not to take violent action against him, visits the house of Euripides, and is told by a servant that the tragedian is busy composing; the tragedian is then wheeled out on the ekkyklema, dressed in a manner suited to his current composition, and lends Dicaeopolis a disguise from his own costume stores; Dicaeopolis confronts the chorus in a two-​part contrafact of Euripides’ Telephus, staging the hostage scene even before his visit to Euripides, and the great speech after he is properly costumed. Acharnians is thus itself partially constructed as a contrafact of Euripides’ Telephus, but the visit to Euripides to obtain a suitable costume for dealing with the chorus appears to be original comic material. Eventually Women at the Thesmophoria will develop into a contrafact of both Acharnians and Telephus simultaneously (or, we might say, of Acharnians’ Telephus); for now, let us focus on the encounter with Agathon, where the repetition is chiefly of elements that originated with Aristophanes’ own Acharnians. In Women at the Thesmophoria, Euripides, fearing the wrath of a hostile chorus, visits the house of a tragedian, this time Agathon, and is initially delayed by an encounter with the tragedian’s servant, who also describes his master’s process of composition; the tragedian himself is then wheeled out on the ekkyklema, appropriately dressed in a costume befitting his composition; the tragedian next lends Euripides’ surrogate, Mnesilochus, a costume that will enable him to (attempt to) persuade the chorus to cease their hostilities. In both scenes, moreover, the tragic poet who helps the protagonist is dressed in a version of the costume he will subsequently lend out: Euripides, disguised as a lame beggar, gives Dicaeopolis the costume of the lame beggar Telephus (which was itself, of course, a disguise, a metatheatrical costume, in the tragic original); Agathon, dressed as a woman, gives Mnesilochus a woman’s disguise.21

20. Parallels between the first half of Thesmo. and Ach. have long been noted, as has the almost certain absence of a tragic parallel in the original for the dressing scenes in both plays. See esp. Jouanna 1997, who suggests that in combining repetition of Telephus and Acharnians Aristophanes simultaneously engages in competition with Euripides and with himself, paratragedy and paracomedy. Cf. Süss 1954: 157–​58; Muecke 1982; Slater 2002: 154 (who calls the Agathon scene “self-​parody”); Compton-​Engle 2003: 515–​16; Saetta Cottone 2003: 448 and 2005b: 139–​41; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 218–​65 and throughout their commentary on this scene; Sidwell 2009: 269. 21.  Although the staging of both scenes remains uncertain, it is further possible that both Euripides in Acharnians and Agathon in Women at the Thesmophoria give away their own costumes, removing them piece by piece, rather than bestowing another version of the same costume; see Muecke 1982: 50.

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Many of the audience members might have missed Aristophanes’ repetition in Women at the Thesmophoria of this sequence from his own Acharnians of fourteen years prior (almost exactly the same span of time that separated Acharnians from Telephus), at least until the visit to a tragedian to borrow a costume led into a parody of Euripides’ Telephus itself. Aristophanes, however, has his Euripides call attention to the fact that the Agathon scene in Women at the Thesmophoria repeats Dicaeopolis’ visit to Euripides in Acharnians. Telling Mnesilochus to cease his interrogation of Agathon, he says (173–​74): καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ τοιοῦτος ἦν ὢν τηλικοῦτος, ἡνίκ’ ἠρχόμην ποιεῖν. for I  was just the same myself when I  was his age, when I  first began to write. Although this comment functions within the fiction of the play—​the character Euripides confesses to have been like the character Agathon when he was younger—​it is also a metaliterary observation:  Euripides reminds us that he appeared on stage once before in precisely the position that Agathon occupies in the current play. Euripides made his first appearance then as an Aristophanic character, composing poetry on stage, just as Agathon makes his first Aristophanic appearance here, likewise composing. When Euripides claims a few lines later to have been beset by a new disaster (179–​80: ἐγὼ δὲ καινῇ ξυμφορᾷ πεπληγμένος /​ ἱκέτης ἀφῖγμαι πρὸς σέ), the joke is precisely that this is not a new situation, but rather the same one Dicaeopolis found himself in fourteen years ago,22 which was the same one Telephus found himself in thirteen years before that.23 Women at the Thesmophoria is a play that will consist chiefly of repetitions of tragedies, but before they have even begun we are in a repetition of comedy, of a comedy by the very same playwright. Euripides and Agathon proceed to debate which play they are repeating. Mnesilochus thought earlier of Aeschylus’ Edonoi, but Euripides put a harsh 22. Consider in this connection how the protestations of novelty in the prologues of Wasps and Peace, discussed in Chapter 3, call attention to their formulaic nature. 23. A further possibility is that Aristophanes’ other Women at the Thesmophoria, conventionally labeled Women at the Thesmophoria II, was staged before our play; if so, and if interpreters are correct in divining from the fragments that Euripides was also beset by the city’s women in that play, Euripides’ reference to his “new disaster” becomes even more striking. Without being able to securely date the play, its fragments will prove of little further use in my interpretation; but it is entirely possible that the extant Women at the Thesmophoria, a comedy so deeply concerned with repetition, is itself somehow a wholesale repetition of another Aristophanic comedy. See Aristophanes F 331–​58; Butrica 2001; Austin and Olson 2004: lxvii–​lxxxix.

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stop to that. Euripides now embarks on persuading Agathon with a quotation from his own Aeolus (177–​78), significantly replacing the term παῖδες from the original with Agathon’s name here in preparation for the emphasis he will lay on Agathon’s youthful appearance as the quality that suits him to infiltrating the women’s festival.24 Agathon fears that what Euripides has in mind is something more on the order of Euripides’ Alcestis, and sees Euripides casting him in the dangerous title role. Agathon rejects the role of Alcestis by quoting Pheres’ words of rejection to Admetus, and cites his Euripidean source as he does so (193–​99)25: (Ἀγάθων) Εὐριπίδη—​ (Εὐριπίδης)    τί ἐστιν; (Αγ.)        ἐποίησάς ποτε “χαίρεις ὁρῶν φῶς, πατέρα δ’ οὐ χαίρειν δοκεῖς;” (Ευ.) ἔγωγε. (Αγ.)    μή νυν ἐλπίσῃς τὸ σὸν κακὸν ἡμᾶς ὑφέξειν. καὶ γὰρ ἂν μαινοίμεθ’ ἄν. ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς ὅ γε σόν ἐστιν οἰκείως φέρε. τὰς συμφορὰς γὰρ οὐχὶ τοῖς τεχνάσμασιν φέρειν δίκαιον, ἀλλὰ τοῖς παθήμασιν. (Agathon) Euripides –​ (Euripides) What is it? (Ag.) Didn’t you once write, “You enjoy seeing the light, but you think your father does not?” (Eur.) I certainly did. (Ag.)Then don’t expect us to undergo your own trials. We’d have to be crazy. But endure yourself what belongs to you; for it is just to endure misfortunes not with machinations but with suffering. If they are to stage a repetition of Alcestis, Agathon insists he will play the part of Admetus, the man who refused to endanger himself. By rejecting τεχνάσματα in favor of παθήματα, moreover, he proposes replacing a Euripidean play altogether 24.  Thesmo. 177–​78  =  Eur. F 28; cf. Austin and Olson 2004:  ad loc. On Aristophanes’ use of Aeolus generally, see Telò 2010 and Chapter 2, on Ar. Aiolosikon and Antiphanes’ Aeolus. Mauduit 2009: 72–​75 presents Euripides’ and Agathon’s argument as a contest in tragic sententiousness, with each tragedian attempting to outdo the other in deployment of tragic gnomic statements. 25.  Thesmo. 193  =  Eur. Alc. 691; cf. Rau 1967:  113; Slater 2002:  156–​57; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 193–​94; Platter 2007: 160–​61.

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with one of his own: just as machinations are a central element of Euripides’ character (cf. already 93–​94), so παθήματα are characteristic of the pathic Agathon, as Mnesilochus immediately points out (201). None of these characters question the secondariness of the action they are involved in; they all understand themselves to be caught up in a play. It is simply a question of which play it will be. In the end, they proceed with the contrafact of Acharnians/​Telephus, but with one crucial alteration: Euripides refuses to disguise himself, and instead sends Mnesilochus in to do his dirty work. In the course of the series of repetitions Women at the Thesmophoria presents, the question of when to alter the original to suit the present circumstances will prove a determining factor in whether these repetitions succeed or fail. The error of this decision is confirmed by the fact that in the end Euripides will be forced to return to the plot as originally proposed and to don a woman’s disguise to achieve success at last, but for now, Aristophanes permits him to proceed with his own version of the play. The prologue of Women at the Thesmophoria thus frames the series of repetitions that will constitute the remainder of the comedy with this conversation about poets and their poetry, even as the prologue itself repeats the structure of Aristophanes’ own Acharnians. The nature of the poet, and the traditions of prior poetry, are presented as two sources that inform the creation of new poetry. How the poet responds to his own nature and his poetic sources will determine his success—​or his failure.

This New Monstrosity: Telephus Yet Again Once Mnesilochus has infiltrated the women’s festival assembly, he initiates a series of attempts to use Euripidean tragedies to achieve his and Euripides’ ends; these ends shift from exculpating Euripides to freeing Mnesilochus himself once the first attempt fails and he is discovered and captured. None of the four repetitions of Euripidean tragedies Mnesilochus and Euripides stage (Telephus, Palamedes, Helen, Andromeda) achieves anything, and each failure reveals further truths about the difficult art of repetition and the secondary nature of Euripidean poetry. These failures all stem, moreover, from problems of mimesis: both the participants and their desired audiences fail to interpret correctly what is being represented, fail to distinguish imitation from reality.26 In a sense, Euripides’ efforts here are the reverse of Bdelycleon’s in Wasps: there, Bdelycleon staged metatheatrical comedies to avert the influence of tragedy on Philocleon and reestablish the play itself as comedy; here, Euripides attempts to use metatheatrical tragedies to

26. Zeitlin 1981: 182 and passim.

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draw the comedy in which he finds himself into his own tragic world, where his devices are effective. In both plays, tragedy proves unable to accomplish its own ends on the comic stage.27 The first of Euripides’ failed tragic plays-​within-​the-​play is the Telephus. We have already been prepared for a performance of this Euripidean tragedy by Women at the Thesmophoria’s repetition of the plot structure of Acharnians. As we have seen, however, Euripides chooses to make a serious alteration to the Acharnians “script” he might have followed: instead of donning a disguise and facing the hostile chorus himself, as Aristophanes’ double Dicaeopolis did, he sends an actor in to do his work for him; he chooses, moreover, an actor who has trouble understanding Euripides’ work, as their muddled conversation in the opening lines of the play demonstrated. Mnesilochus knows Euripides’ work well enough, but he doesn’t give uniformly positive evaluations of it28; when left to his own devices he resorted to Aeschylus in the encounter with Agathon, and his criticisms of other contemporary tragedians (168–​70) indicate that, like most old men in Aristophanes, he prefers the tragedies of his distant youth to the work of artists practicing today.29 That Mnesilochus is not left to his own devices in the action of the play subsequent to his costuming as a woman is a point that must be made before his performances can be considered. Mnesilochus has submitted himself entirely to Euripides’ will (212: ἐμοὶ δ’ ὅ τι βούλει χρῶ λαβών); Euripides costumes him for his role and sends him in to play a part. Although Euripides himself is not on stage during Mnesilochus’ performance of Telephus, we must understand that Mnesilochus is an actor, not a playwright; he does the job poorly, but he acts according to Euripides’ script, and his failures are thus not his own but Euripides’.30 They result, in fact, from Mnesilochus following Euripides’ script all too closely. Dicaeopolis, a performer and a playwright figure, was able to improvise on stage and alter his repetition of Telephus in ways Mnesilochus fails to. As Charles Platter has argued (2007: 167), Dicaeopolis succeeds in Acharnians by rearranging the plot of Telephus to fit his circumstances: he stages the hostage scene before the great speech, enabling himself to secure a temporary truce with the chorus, adopt the rhetorical powers of his Euripidean prototype, and then return to set forth

27. Cf. Platter 2007: 163. 28. See below on lines 847–​48, regarding Euripides’ Palamedes. 29. E.g., Dicaeopolis (Ach. 9–​11), Strepsiades (Clouds 1321–​79), Philocleon and the Wasps’ chorus (see Chapter 3); and see the discussion of the “decline of tragedy” motif in Chapter 1. 30.  For Euripides costuming and sending in Mnesilochus as a metatheatrical technique, see Whitman 1964: 220; Taaffe 1993: 84–​87; Slater 2002: 158–​59.

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a persuasive argument that wins the chorus to his side.31 His own skill in interpreting mimetic performance, moreover, trumps that of the chorus. He knows all along that the “baby” he takes hostage is a coal basket, and although the chorus are affected by his beggar’s costume, he makes it clear before he faces them that he and the actual audience will correctly understand his layers of disguise (440–​44): δεῖ γάρ με δόξαι πτωχὸν εἶναι τήμερον, εἶναι μὲν ὅσπερ εἰμί, φαίνεσθαι δὲ μή· τοὺς μὲν θεατὰς εἰδέναι μ’ ὅς εἰμ’ ἐγώ, τοὺς δ’ αὖ χορευτὰς ἠλιθίους παρεστάναι, ὅπως ἂν αὐτοὺς ῥηματίοις σκιμαλίσω. I need to seem to be a beggar today: to be who I really am, but not appear to be. The audience must see me for who I am, but the chorus have to be made fools of, so I can flip them the bird with my little speeches. Dicaeopolis adapts lines from the Telephus here:  not only has he borrowed Euripides’ disguise plot, he acknowledges he’s learned the art of metatheatrical disguise from Euripides’ play. It is, moreover, of central importance that the costume he dons is the correct one for the role he wishes to play (Ach. 428–​30). Mnesilochus’ performance of Telephus fails at every step by comparison with Dicaeopolis’. He follows the original plot too closely32:  by costuming himself before the “play” begins, as Euripides’ Telephus did, and then delivering the great speech, he neglects to secure his own safety prior to attempting to defuse the chorus’ hostility. Just as Euripides’ hero did, he too thus fails to persuade the chorus. In the tragic original, Telephus’ presence is then disclosed by Achilles; here, the chorus is warned by Cleisthenes, a figure who not only fits the circumstances of Women at the Thesmophoria (he is a logical choice for the women’s emissary to the world of men) and provides a good laugh (mocking Cleisthenes as effeminate was an old standby of Aristophanes’), but who also hints at Achilles’ own past as a transvestite while disguised on Scyros.33

31. Cf. Foley 1988: 42. 32. On this version of Telephus and its relationship to the original, see Miller 1948; Handley and Rea 1957; Pucci 1961: 348–​51; Rau 1967: 42–​49; Heath 1987; Sommerstein 1994: ad 689–​758; Preiser 2000; Prato 2001: ad loc.; Slater 2002: 163–​70; Austin and Olson 2004: lvi–​lviii and ad loc; Platter 2007: 164–​73; Cremoux 2011: 342–​55. 33. Miller 1948: 181–​82 notes that Cleisthenes corresponds to the part of Achilles, but fails to observe the transvestism connection. The story of Achilles on Scyros was treated by Euripides in his Skyrioi (F 681–​86), on which see Körte 1934; Aricò 1981; Luppe 1982. Aristophanes has another transvestite play the part of a tragic Achilles in Assemblywomen; see Chapter 2.

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Mnesilochus is then compelled to resort to the hostage scheme as a last-​ditch effort at self-​preservation, just as Euripides’ Telephus did, rather than devising it first as a cogent strategy to pave the way for rhetorical success, as Dicaeopolis does in Acharnians. Here we see Mnesilochus’ deficiencies as an interpreter of mimesis in comparison with Dicaeopolis: he believes the baby he has kidnapped is an actual baby. The women’s chorus here, like the chorus of old men in Acharnians, know what the baby actually is; both respond to the hostage taker’s threats as if the “baby” were real, but Dicaeopolis’ superior knowledge over the chorus allows him to use his performance of the Telephus scene successfully, whereas Mnesilochus’ performance is derailed by his belated discovery of the truth. When he realizes that the “child” is a wineskin, he drops the role of Telephus and begins a comic banter with the child’s “mother” during which he refers to it not as a girl, as he did before (e.g., 717), but with masculine terms that reflect his identification of it as an ἀσκὸς … οἴνου πλέως (733–​34). From his realization at 733 through the end of his conversation about the baby/​wineskin at 749, Mnesilochus fails to maintain his tragic performance and falls into comedy; in comedy, women are obsessed with wine, and Mnesilochus’ cursing of the women for their bibulousness recognizes this generic shift (735–​38).34 When the women continue to threaten him, Mnesilochus attempts to reassert the tragic paradigm, again referring to the hostage as feminine (750, 753), but he realizes his performance has failed; what the women want is not the baby but what’s in it, and he is thus “doing them a favor” (756) when he acknowledges his failure and sacrifices the “baby.” We must also note that, unlike Dicaeopolis, Mnesilochus is wearing the wrong costume, a fact he will call attention to in his subsequent performance of Helen. Just as Euripides called attention to Women at the Thesmophoria’s repetition of Acharnians (and perhaps the fragmentary Women at the Thesmophoria II) by insisting to Agathon that he had been struck with a totally new disaster, so the chorus here recognize Mnesilochus’ attempt to repeat Euripides’ Telephus by claiming that the situation is without precedent (699–​703): ἔα ἔα. ὦ πότνιαι Μοῖραι, τί τόδε δέρκομαι νεοχμὸν αὖ τέρας; ὡς ἅπαντ’ ἄρ’ ἐστὶ τόλμης μεστὰ κἀναισχυντίας. οἷον αὖ δέδρακεν ἔργον, οἷον αὖ, φίλαι, τόδε. Ah ah! O mistress Fates, what new monstrosity do I  see now? It is completely filled with daring and with shamelessness! What a deed it has now done, what a deed now! 34. Zeitlin 1981: 184 also points out that the presentation of the infant as a girl is a reversal from the tragic original, where the child is Orestes.

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The chorus’ dochmiacs, a typical signal of emotional (para)tragedy, emphasize the novelty of the horror they are beholding, a paradoxical reminder to the audience of precisely the fact that this situation is not new, but a repetition of a tragic original that has itself already received a full-​length repetition in the work of the same comedian.35 In the series of tragic parodies following this scene, each Euripidean source is explicitly named, ensuring that everyone in the audience understands precisely which play Aristophanes is parodying, but the title of Telephus is never mentioned; here the audience is allowed to recognize the complex contrafact of both Telephus and Acharnians gradually.36 This outcry comes just at the moment when the audience is told definitively that a repetition of the Telephus is under way: any doubt they might have had earlier about whether Mnesilochus’ infiltration of the women’s assembly should be understood as a version of Telephus is removed as Mnesilochus snatches a baby and flees to the altar.37 Switching to trochaic tetrameters, the chorus then acknowledges that Mnesilochus’ action is a form of repetition; although their words in context simply express their shock at the series of crimes Mnesilochus has perpetrated against them, their emphasis on repetition in a line that is itself intensely repetitive (they repeat the very word αὖ, “again,” three times) further signals the repetitive nature of Mnesilochus’ actions. The parallels with Acharnians in the opening scenes of Women at the Thesmophoria invite us to compare Dicaeopolis’ repetition of Euripides’ Telephus with Mnesilochus’; the contrast between the two repetitions shows us the power, as well as the difficulty, of a performance that holds such a secondary position. Dicaeopolis made the Telephus his own, and achieved great success with it; Mnesilochus fails to do so, and his repetition fails as a result. Comedy’s repetitions of tragedy are necessarily quite complex: as mimesis of an object that is itself already mimesis, comedy must control layers of imitation that require interpretation and explanation. Although Dicaeopolis is able to guide his various audiences through his performance as he wishes, Mnesilochus gets caught up in the layers of mimesis in his own performance and is unable to correctly interpret, and thereby correctly perform. Mnesilochus’ failure, juxtaposed with Dicaeopolis’ success, has implications for the power of Euripides’ art:  in the “reality” of the current performance on the comic stage, Euripides’ art is unable to solve problems without serious modification. Dicaeopolis claimed he needed to borrow the δεινότης 35. For the significance of the dochmiacs here, see Parker 1997: 422–​27. 36. For this distinction see Revermann 2006b: 115–​16. 37. Cf. Rau 1967: 48; Bowie 1993: 223–​24; Austin and Olson 2004: lviii. The iconic status of this tableau is attested by the so-​called Würzburg Telephus, on which see Kossatz-​Deissmann 1980; Csapo 1986; Taplin 1987 and 1993: 36–​41; Austin and Olson 2004: lxxv–​lxxvii; Walsh 2009: 74–​79, 102–​3; Green 2010: 77–​78; Storey 2011: v. 3, 429–​30.

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λέγειν, the “terrible eloquence,” of Euripides’ Telephus in order to persuade the chorus of the rightness of his cause (Ach. 429), but he actually has to restructure Euripides’ Telephus before Euripidean poetry brings him any power.38 Mnesilochus, by contrast, follows the structure of the Telephus script precisely, and fails to acquire any advantage by means of his reperformance. We see then that the utility of Euripidean tragic rhetoric depends entirely on its skillful adaptation to the comic stage. Secondariness is thus established early on in the play as potentially good or bad: Mnesilochus’ Telephus, made emphatically secondary by its repetition of a repetition, fails not simply because it is secondary but because it is unthinkingly repetitive.

Writing Down the Play: The Frigidity of Palamedes Mnesilochus’ attempt to perform Euripides’ Palamedes is much briefer than his other performances, but is significant nevertheless.39 Mnesilochus begins here to take greater liberties with his Euripidean model, combining the characters of Palamedes (who was accused and sentenced to death) and Oeax (who wrote messages to summon a rescue), and substituting votive tablets from the temple where he is actually imprisoned for the oar blades used by Euripides’ Oeax.40 Oeax and Mnesilochus occupy analogous positions:  just as Oeax made use of a device, writing (invented by his brother, the person whose accusation and sentencing to death began his trouble), so Mnesilochus makes use of Euripides’ device, the oar blade scheme, in response to problems caused by accusations against that device’s inventor. The model would thus seem an appropriate one, appropriately modified by its performer. It too fails, as we learn after the intervening parabasis, and Mnesilochus immediately guesses the reason (847–​48): τί δῆτ’ ἂν εἴη τοὐμποδών; οὐκ ἔσθ’ ὅπως οὐ τὸν Παλαμήδη ψυχρὸν ὄντ’ αἰσχύνεται. What ever could have gotten in the way? It could only be that he was embarrassed of the Palamedes for being frigid.

38. Cf. Platter 2007: 151. 39. On this version of Palamedes and its relationship to the original, see Pucci 1961: 324–​25; Rau 1967:  51–​53; Scodel 1980:  43–​63, Sommerstein 1994:  ad 769–​70; Prato 2001:  ad loc.; Falcetto 2002; Austin and Olson 2004: lviii–​lx and ad loc. 40. Scodel 1980: 58 argues that the casting of the oars is unlikely to have taken place on stage in Euripides’ play; if she is correct, this represents a further adaptation.

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The Palamedes, he concludes, was ψυχρός, a general term of Old Comic abuse for bad poetry41; presumably the central problem is the absurdity of the oar blade scheme, an absurdity emphasized by Mnesilochus’ even more absurd scattering of his rescue notes not into the sea, where they would at least be dispersed somewhat, but onto dry land. The term ψυχρός recalls Mnesilochus’ earlier evaluation, to which Agathon assented, of the tragedian Theognis (170), forcing the audience to ask the difficult question: If Theognis’ poetry is frigid because he is by nature frigid himself, and Euripides’ rather recent Palamedes is also frigid, what does that make Euripides? Whether we impute the Palamedes’ frigidity to the nature of its author or not, the fact remains that Mnesilochus’ repetition fails to achieve its goal here because he has made a poor choice of play to imitate; in addition to the necessity to modify one’s model, we thus see that selection of appropriate models is itself a difficult task. We may also add that Mnesilochus is once again in the wrong costume for the role he seeks to play. Mnesilochus’ act of writing suggests, furthermore, another form of secondariness. We know from Frogs that fifth-​century audiences could conceive of reading tragedy as an alternative to witnessing it in performance, whatever the reality of reading culture was in fifth-​century Athens.42 In Frogs, Dionysus was stirred to his depths by reading Euripides’ Andromeda, and immediately set out to rescue its author; here, Mnesilochus’ text achieves no such result. If Ralph Rosen was correct to see Aristophanes’ revision of Clouds as an attempt to grapple with the afterlife of a play originally intended for performance but fated to circulate as a script,43 we might see here another engagement with the problem of a text’s secondariness to a prior performance:  Mnesilochus, in describing his circumstances to Euripides, must write down the plot of Women at the Thesmophoria itself.44 Whether the text fails to reach its intended audience (Euripides), or, as Mnesilochus himself suspects, simply embarrasses Euripides by reminding him of the ruse from his flawed Palamedes, it represents another failed attempt at repetition, another failed form of secondariness.

41. See Dover 1993b: 457; Wright 2012: 108–​10; and above, on Agathon’s Servant’s claim that the poet’s “stiff ” verses must be rendered pliant by sunlight. Later authors on style use the term ψυχρός to mean something like “mannered,” but Wright argues that in the fifth century it had not yet acquired this particular meaning, and is instead a general term to describe poetry that was unpleasant, boring, or otherwise simply bad. 42. Frogs 52–​54, 1110–​18; see Wright 2012: 62–​66. 43. Rosen 1997; cf. Wright 2012, who sees Old Comedy as intended at least as much to be read as to be seen in performance. 44. Zeitlin 1981: 185.

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Immediately before embarking on his attempt to perform the Palamedes, Mnesilochus complains that Euripides has written him into a troublesome play (767): κἄμ’ εἰσκυλίσας εἰς τοιαυτὶ πράγματα and he has wheeled me into such a plot As we saw in the finale of Wasps, the combination of πράγματα, which could mean “trouble” or “plot,” with a verb describing the action of the ekkyklema creates a metatheatrical double entendre: Euripides has embroiled Mnesilochus in his affairs, but he’s also staged him in a series of tragic plots that have rendered Mnesilochus’ position increasingly untenable. When the ruse from Palamedes fails to improve his circumstances, Mnesilochus realizes that to get out of the situation his playwright has put him in he needs the active intervention of that playwright in person. A more recent play, he concludes, might do the trick; he decides to stage a repetition of the Helen.

An Unsuccessful Fishing Trip: The Deceits of Helen In the year prior to Aristophanes’ presentation of Women at the Thesmophoria, Euripides explored the secondariness of his own poetry in his highly metatheatrical—​some would even say comic—​Helen, a play that both reacted to and inspired Aristophanes’ own investigations of the dramatic craft.45 It will be worth spending a few moments examining Euripides’ play: it is the only original of any of the tragedies reperformed in Women at the Thesmophoria to survive intact, and it may well be the play that inspired the comedy itself.

Helen in Euripides Since at least Book 6 of the Iliad, the figure of Helen had been employed by poets as a unique, female focus for interrogating the processes of poetry and representation.46 For all its iconoclasm, Euripides’ Helen adopts this usage, presenting Helen as a poet within her own tragedy.47 As she begins to call forth the chorus 45. For Helen as an exploration of fiction as deception, see Downing 1990; the following discussion is indebted to his analysis. For comic elements in Helen and Euripides generally, see the conclusion to this chapter. 46. Zeitlin 1981: 203 and passim; Dobrov 2001: 127; Tasinato 2008. 47. Burnett 1971: 78; Downing 1990.

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in reaction to the false report of Teucer, she considers, in the manner familiar to us especially from epinician poetry, how best to approach the subject of her performance (164–​67): ὦ μεγάλων ἀχέων καταβαλλομένα μέγαν οἶκτον ποῖον ἁμιλλαθῶ γόον ἢ τίνα μοῦσαν ἐπέλθω δάκρυσιν ἢ θρήνοις ἢ πένθεσιν; αἰαῖ. O! As I lay down the foundations of a great lament for great sufferings, what sort of wailing should I bring forth, or which muse should I approach, and with tears or dirges or grief ? Alas! Like Euripides in Women at the Thesmophoria, Helen is associated throughout Helen with τέχναι (e.g., 1091, 1621) and μηχαναί (e.g., 813, 1034). Her central deceit, moreover, she calls a μηχανὴ σωτηρίας (1034), the same phrase Mnesilochus uses to describe his performances of Euripidean tragedies (765); in Helen, as in Women at the Thesmophoria, this μηχανή takes the form of a play-​within-​the-​play.48 When Menelaus and Helen have finally been reunited and begin plotting to escape from Egypt and the evil Theoclymenus, Menelaus proposes a series of poorly thought-​out plans; Helen responds with a scheme of her own, one that will ultimately prove successful, and she presents it in highly metatheatrical terms. After providing a summary of the plot (1053–​74), she assigns Menelaus his role (1076–​77), and teaches him his lines (1077–​78). Menelaus, like Mnesilochus, notes that he is already wearing the right costume (1079–​80). Helen then explains where she’d like her drama to be set (1083–​85). Finally, she describes her own change of costume: she will cut her hair, put on black robes, and scratch her cheeks (1087–​89). She calls her plan a μέγας ἀγών (1090), the competitive nature of this expression looking back to her presentation of herself as a competing poet at 164–​67 (cf. ἁμιλλαθῶ); she further notes that the plan will work only if she is not caught “scheming” (1091: τεχνωμένη). Euripides stages this play-​within-​the-​play in the context of an examination of the same tension between repetition and innovation that will motivate Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria the following year. Helen is called by Teucer an “imitation of Helen,” a μίμημα of herself (74). She wishes that she were a work of art that she might remake as she chooses (262–​66): εἴθ’ ἐξαλειφθεῖσ’ ὡς ἄγαλμ’ αὖθις πάλιν αἴσχιον εἶδος ἔλαβον ἀντὶ τοῦ καλοῦ, καὶ τὰς τύχας μὲν τὰς κακὰς ἃς νῦν ἔχω 48. Dobrov 2001: 127.

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Ἕλληνες ἐπελάθοντο, τὰς δὲ μὴ κακὰς ἔσῳζον ὥσπερ τὰς κακὰς σῴζουσί μου. Then I would be wiped clean once more like a statue, and I would take an ugly form in place of my beautiful one; the Greeks would forget the evil fortune that I now have, but they would preserve my good fortune as well as they now preserve my evil one. Her wish describes precisely what she will do in the course of this play: by taking control of her own story, by becoming a poet within her tragedy, she rewrites her history and invites the Greeks in the audience to forget what they knew about her before; in a sense she even trades her beauty for ugliness when she “strikes a bloody furrow” onto her cheek (1089).49 Euripides calls attention to the issue of secondariness, just at the moment when Helen is preparing her own drama within the tragedy. When she explains the essence of her plan to Menelaus, he worries that it’s been done before (1055–​56): σωτηρίας δὲ τοῦτ’ ἔχει τί νῷν ἄκος; παλαιότης γὰρ τῷ λόγῷ γ’ ἔνεστί τις. What means of salvation does this idea have for us? For there’s a certain out-​of-​date quality to your plan. What efficacy, he asks, can a device have that is a repetition? This very question calls attention to Euripides’ art: by taking a familiar device (the deceitful claim that a hoped-​for rescuer has died) and weaving it into an unfamiliar context (this story of Helen and Menelaus in Egypt), Euripides gives us a repetition that is also an innovation—​a play that is both deeply secondary and deeply original. Euripides further acknowledges the place of this new Helen within his oeuvre by having Menelaus allude to Euripides’ own Telephus. When Helen tells Menelaus to present himself as a survivor from a shipwreck, Menelaus notes that his rags will assist in the deception (1079–​80): καὶ μὴν τάδ’ ἀμφίβληστρα σώματος ῥάκη ξυμμάρτυρές σοι ναυτικῶν ἐρειπίων. And indeed these rags cast round my body will serve as witnesses to your story of a wreck at sea. 49. Marshall 1999: 192 suggests this would have entailed a change of masks, a rare occurrence in tragedy reserved for striking effects and transformations that would further emphasize Helen’s creation of a new “character” of herself.

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His words form an allusion to Telephus’ own recognition of the power of his rags (F 697)50: πτώχ’ ἀμφίβληστρα σώματος λαβὼν ῥάκη ἀλκτήρια… τύχης. taking these beggar’s rags cast round my body, wards against… misfortune. Aristophanes had ensured that, among numerous options, Telephus was the iconic example of a Euripidean hero disguised in rags, and so it is to Telephus that Euripides himself alludes when he wishes to have Menelaus signal Euripides’ awareness of his own secondariness. Euripides acknowledges the debt all this metaliterary play owes to comedy and to Aristophanes by following Helen’s explanation of her scheme with a choral ode that opens with words from Aristophanes’ Birds, presented just two years before Helen.51

Helen in Aristophanes Some might say that the metatheatricality and play with secondariness in Euripides’ Helen inspired the whole comedy of Women at the Thesmophoria52; certainly in his version of Helen Aristophanes picks up on Euripides’ engagement with these issues and responds by restaging the tragedy in this new comic context. Just as Euripides emphasized Helen’s playwrightlike powers of deceit, so here the emphasis is on the failure of the character Euripides to deceive his audience and bring them into the illusion of his tragedy.53 Aristophanes signals the complexity of repeating a tragedy that was itself so concerned with repetition from the first words of Mnesilochus’ performance (849–​50)54: τῷ δῆτ’ ἂν αὐτὸν προσαγαγοίμην δράματι; ἐγᾦδα· τὴν καινὴν Ἑλένην μιμήσομαι. What play can I use to bring him here? I know! I’ll imitate his new Helen. 50. Allan 2008: ad 1079–​82 calls attention to the allusion without providing interpretation of it. 51. Dobrov 2001: 129 n. 106. 52. Dobrov 2001: 130, and see below on the comic finale of Thesmo. 53. Bowie 1993: 221–​24 sees the whole of Thesmo. as a demonstration of comedy’s superior control over illusion, noting that when tragedy’s illusion fails, it becomes comedy; this notion was substantially expanded on by Lada-​Richards 1997. Cf. Saetta Cottone 2003: 466–​68. 54. On this version of Helen and its relationship to the original, see Handley and Rea 1957: 23–​ 24; Pucci 1961: 288–​94; 346–​448; Rau 1967: 53–​64; Sommerstein 1994: 212; Nieddu 2004; Austin and Olson 2004: lx–​lxii; Allan 2008; Wright 2012: 156–​62.

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The juxtaposition of καινός and μιμεῖσθαι embodies the tension between repetition and innovation at the heart of both Helen and Women at the Thesmophoria. Just as Menelaus did, Mnesilochus proceeds to point out that he is already wearing the right costume for the role he intends to play (851); this improvement on his prior performances, coupled with his (correct) expectation that this new drama is the one to bring Euripides himself on stage, might suggest that the performance will be more effective than Telephus or Palamedes was. But in the comic world of Women at the Thesmophoria, tragedy always fails. Mnesilochus himself provides an ominous warning of this when he greets Euripides’ arrival on stage with a quotation not from the Helen he has already begun to perform, not even from Euripides, but from Sophocles’ Peleus (870): μὴ ψεῦσον, ὦ Ζεῦ, τῆς ἐπιούσης ἐλπίδος. Don’t cheat me, Zeus, of this approaching hope. For the unenlightened member of the audience, this may sound like just another bit of tragic-​style speech, but for those who (like the scholiast to this line) know their Sophocles well enough to recognize it, the full line from the Sophoclean original has a humorously apt resonance for Mnesilochus’ predicament (F 493): μὴ ψεῦσον, ὦ Ζεῦ· μή μ’ ἕλῃς ἄνευ δορός. Don’t cheat me, Zeus—​let me not be taken without my spear. The speaker in Sophocles’ play begs not to die without his spear, an essential, almost Freudian symbol of masculinity; Mnesilochus’ precise problem is that he has been caught not as a man but as a woman, and indeed he will soon beg to be displayed to the public naked rather than in the woman’s krokotos he wears (936–​ 42). The mere fact that he quotes Sophocles at the arrival of Euripides suggests that this Euripidean drama will not go strictly according to plan; his alteration of the line, replacing a reference to his lack of masculinity with a hope for rescue, only calls attention to his embarrassing predicament. Although Mnesilochus and Euripides make a fine effort to revise, condense, and rewrite the Helen to fit it to their circumstances, wearing the right clothes and working from an already apt model, their play fails precisely on the grounds that the Euripidean original succeeded: the deception of the audience by the tragic illusion. Critylla is their audience and adversary here; she tells them from the beginning that, rather than performing a “new Helen” (850), they will witness

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a “bitter Helen” (853:  πικρὰν Ἑλένην ὄψει).55 When Mnesilochus proclaims his new identity, Critylla suggests a historical individual, Phrynondas, in place of the mythological father, Tyndareus, Mnesilochus’ “Helen” claims (860). She responds to his proclamation that he is named “Helen” with the threat of further consequences for his crimes (862–​63): αὖθις αὖ γίγνει γυνή, πρὶν τῆς ἑτέρας δοῦναι γυναικίσεως δίκην; You’re already turning into a woman again, before you’ve even paid the penalty for your last female impersonation? Critylla’s warning that Mnesilochus will pay the penalty for his impersonation of a woman stems from the same inability to separate Euripidean tragedy from reality that prompted the women’s hostility to Euripides in the first place; here, Critylla refuses to be drawn into the tragic illusion, insisting on the reality she sees around her over the illusion of the new Helen. Critylla continues to interject deflating comments into Mnesilochus’ recital (865, 868). Once Euripides arrives, he and Mnesilochus attempt to establish the setting of their drama, but Critylla will have none of it. In place of the name Proteus, she again interjects a real, contemporary name, Proteas (875–​77). When Mnesilochus tells Euripides he has arrived in Egypt, she asks whether he really trusts the babblings of this wretched babbler, reasserting the reality of their location as the Thesmophorion (879–​80): πείθει τι τῷ κακῶς ἀπολουμένῳ ληροῦντι λῆρον; Θεσμοφόριον τουτογί. Do you believe this babbling babbler—​damn him!—​at all? This place here is the Thesmophorion. Critylla grows particularly offended when Mnesilochus describes as the tomb of Proteus what she sees as the altar of the Thesmophorion; depicting the altar in the Theater of Dionysus as a tomb was a standard convention of tragedy, but Critylla indignantly curses anyone who would dare to suggest it was anything other than an altar, refusing to enter into the suspension of disbelief tragic illusion requires.56 55. Recall that bitterness, as we have seen, is a standard term of comic abuse of tragedy; see Chapters One and Three, on Philocles; Kaimio and Nykopp 1997: 29–​30; Wright 2012: 134–​35. For Critylla’s references to the real situation disrupting Mnesilochus’ and Euripides’ performance, see Sidwell 2009: 273. 56. Austin and Olson 2004: 286.

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What Critylla rejects in this scene is tragic ἀπάτη, the deception inherent in tragedy’s illusion that Gorgias saw as one of tragedy’s defining qualities.57 She explicitly flags Mnesilochus’ performance as deception (892): τί, ὦ κακόδαιμον, ἐξαπατᾷς αὖ τὸν ξένον; Why, you wretch, are you still trying to deceive this foreigner? In response to her refusal to submit to their tragic deceit, Mnesilochus and Euripides attempt to improvise an active part for her; Euripides calls her an old hag, but Mnesilochus offers her the role of Theonoe, perhaps the most unambiguously good character in Euripides’ play and a beautiful young princess to boot. Critylla, the old market woman, again rejects illusion in favor of her reality, giving her full civic name with an oath by the two goddesses (897–​98). Critylla then adds a reminder that Mnesilochus is not the queen of Sparta but a πανοῦργος. This is the third time she has used this word for Mnesilochus (858, 893, 899); she asserts and reasserts his role in the comedy over his attempt to claim a new role in a new tragedy. On the tragic stage, Euripides’ Helen was able to rewrite her reputation for immorality and present herself as a new, righteous Helen; here, Mnesilochus tries to do the same, but is unable to persuade his audience. Critylla stands quiet for a few lines while the recognition scene reaches its peak, but just as Mnesilochus shifts into tragic dochmiacs and tries to embrace Euripides (913–​16), she butts in again to threaten real consequences once more for their staged performance (916–​7). Euripides tries one last time to draw her into the tragedy they are performing, but instead she draws him back into the comedy they are all in, labeling him a πανοῦργος just like Mnesilochus (920). Euripides retreats, insisting that his μηχαναί will prove effective yet (927), but Critylla simply notes the failure of their effort at deception (928):

57. Diels and Kranz 1951: 88 B 23 = Plut. de glor. Ath. 348c: ἤνθησε δ’ ἡ τραγῳδία καὶ διεβοήθη, θαυμαστὸν ἀκρόαμα καὶ θέαμα τῶν τότ’ ἀνθρώπων γενομένη καὶ παρασχοῦσα τοῖς μύθοις καὶ τοῖς πάθεσιν ἀπάτην, ὡς Γοργίας φησίν, ἣν ὅ τ’ ἀπατήσας δικαιότερος τοῦ μὴ ἀπατήσαντος καὶ ὁ ἀπατηθεὶς σοφώτερος τοῦ μὴ ἀπατηθέντος. ὁ μὲν γὰρ ἀπατήσας δικαιότερος ὅτι τοῦθ’ ὑποσχόμενος πεποίηκεν, ὁ δ’ ἀπατηθεὶς σοφώτερος· εὐάλωτον γὰρ ὑφ’ ἡδονῆς λόγων τὸ μὴ ἀναίσθητον. (“Tragedy flourished and was celebrated; it was a wondrous thing for men in those days to see and hear, and it lent an element of deception to myths and tales of suffering, as Gorgias says, in which the deceiver was more just than he who did not deceive, and the deceived was wiser than he who was not deceived. For the deceiver was more just because he did what he had undertaken to do, and the deceived was wiser, for anyone who is not senseless is easily caught by the pleasure of words.”). Cf. Lada-​ Richards 1997: 79–​84.

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αὕτη μὲν ἡ μήρινθος οὐδὲν ἔσπασεν. This fishing line sure didn’t catch anything! The scholiast explains this is a proverbial expression for a failed deception; the metaphor also suits Critylla’s banal conception of Euripides as a seasick sailor baffled on dry land. In the original Helen, Euripides used Helen’s metatheatrical scheme to showcase his process of innovating within the tragic tradition, of managing his own secondariness; he even acknowledged comedy as a model for this self-​conscious approach to secondariness. Aristophanes responds in Women at the Thesmophoria by taking Euripides’ meditation on secondariness and repeating it as a failure. The performance of Helen in Women at the Thesmophoria fails, as we have seen, on precisely the grounds that the tragic Helen’s own metatheatrical solution succeeded. Helen is presented in Euripides’ play as a Euripidean playwright, a master of τέχναι and μηχαναὶ σωτηρίας; Aristophanes’ Euripides is much the same, but in the world of comedy his “countless devices” (927: αἱ μυρίαι … μηχαναί) amount to nothing. In responding to Euripides’ use of metatheater to explore tragic deception by showing Euripidean metatheater failing to deceive, Aristophanes suggests that such metatheater may be pushing the boundaries of what tragedy’s illusion can sustain. We have already seen how Aristophanes’ repetitions in Women at the Thesmophoria of Euripides’ Telephus and Palamedes suggested the difficulties of producing secondary art; here we see Aristophanes responding to Euripides’ own investigation of secondariness, reclaiming for comedy such overt treatment of dramatic poetics on the stage. In the opening scene of Women at the Thesmophoria, the tragedian Agathon, as we saw, suggests a pair of possible explanations of the relationship between a poet and his poetry: either the poet’s nature inexorably determines the nature of his poetry, or the poet can use mimesis to supplement his nature and enable himself to compose poetry beyond his own inborn characteristics. In his Helen, Euripides explored the issue of secondariness in the composition of tragedy through metatheater; in his repetition of the Helen in Women at the Thesmophoria, Aristophanes reveals Euripides’ metatheatricality as borrowed from comedy. Euripides’ attraction to comedy’s superior ability to manage its secondariness suggests that, depending on which aspect of Agathon’s theory is emphasized, he is either somewhat comic by nature or has used mimesis, in this case imitation of Aristophanes, to enhance his tragic nature by borrowing comic poetics. In Aristophanes’ treatment of the Helen, the notion of Euripides as a comic poet is only hinted at; it will receive full elaboration in Women at the Thesmophoria’s finale.

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Tragicomic Echolalia: The Repetitions of Andromeda With the final tragic performance of Women at the Thesmophoria, the emphasis on secondariness reaches a manic crescendo. Like the repetitions of Telephus, Palamedes, and Helen that preceded it, Aristophanes’ version of Andromeda is a repetition of a Euripidean tragedy58; the sheer number of extended reperformances of tragedies in this comedy underscores the importance of repetition. Not only is it a repetition of the tragic original, it is also in a sense a repetition of the preceding repetition of Euripides’ Helen: Mnesilochus again plays a captive tragic heroine, Euripides again portrays “her” romantically motivated rescuer, and once more a single blocking figure prevents them from being reunited.59 In choosing Andromeda, moreover, Aristophanes has selected a second tragedy from the same tetralogy:  Helen and Andromeda were performed together in 412 bce.60 By portraying his Andromeda as a repetition of Euripides’ Andromeda and of his own version of Helen, Aristophanes for the second time in this play presents a performance that simultaneously repeats both a tragic original and a comic reperformance of that tragedy: his Telephus, too, recalled Euripides’ Telephus along with Aristophanes’ own contrafact of it in Acharnians. The focus on secondariness in the performance of Andromeda is signaled from its opening lines. When Mnesilochus sees Euripides coming to attempt another rescue, he cries out (1009): ἔα· θεοί, Ζεῦ σῶτερ, εἴσ’ ἔτ’ ἐλπίδες. Ah! Gods and Zeus the Savior, there’s hope yet. His words neatly recall his own reaction when Euripides arrived to perform their version of the Helen (870)61: μὴ ψεῦσον, ὦ Ζεῦ, τῆς ἐπιούσης ἐλπίδος. Don’t cheat me, Zeus, of this approaching hope. 58. On this version of Andromeda and its relationship to the original, see Pucci 1961: 369–​84; Rau 1967: 65–​89; Bubel 1991; Klimek-​Winter 1993; Sommerstein 1994: 223–​24; Gibert 1999–​ 2000; Austin and Olson 2004: lxii–​lxiii and ad loc.; Mastromarco 2008. 59. Sier 1992: 70. 60. Cf. Σ Ar. Frogs 53, Thesmo. 850, 1012. 61. This repetition is noted by Austin and Olson 2004: ad 870.

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Once he identifies the play they are to attempt as the Andromeda, Mnesilochus notes that his bonds are appropriately in place for the role of the title character, in a pointed repetition of his observation that he was already wearing the costume he needed to play Helen: Thesmo. 851 πάντως ὑπάρχει μοι γυναικεία στολή. And of course I’ve already got the womanly costume. Thesmo. 1012–​13

πάντως δέ μοι

τὰ δέσμ’ ὑπάρχει. And of course I’ve already got the fetters. The crucial difference between the Helen and the Andromeda is that for the first time Euripides, instead of Mnesilochus, selects the play whose reperformance they hope will bring about their goals; this, coupled with their continued willingness to rearrange the original to suit their own circumstances, as well as costumes and staging already in place that suit the play they’ve chosen to perform better than any before, might once more suggest the possibility that a Euripidean tragedy could prove victorious within the comedy. Mnesilochus’ performance of Andromeda’s lament (1015–​55) heightens the sense that this performance might finally achieve something. By choosing to begin the performance with Andromeda’s address to the chorus instead of the actual beginning of the tragic original, Mnesilochus seeks to put the chorus on his side from the beginning, a step we saw was essential to Dicaeopolis’ successful reperformance of Telephus. Mnesilochus’ emphasis on the barbarian nature of his captor (1017, 1026, 1051)  suggests that a Euripidean ruse might be just the thing to solve Mnesilochus’ problems, since it was Critylla’s refusal to occupy the position of the easily duped barbarian that undid their efforts with the Helen.62 Their Andromeda, however, will not achieve anything, and its failure will itself prove to be an aspect of the scene’s emphasis on repetition. On the heels of Mnesilochus’ opening lament, Aristophanes takes a brilliant, absurd step in his meditation on secondariness:  he brings secondariness itself

62. Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1001; Hall 2006: 241.

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personified onto the stage, in the character of Echo.63 Her self-​introduction is of programmatic significance (1059–​61): Ἠχώ, λόγων ἀντῳδὸς ἐπικοκκάστρια, ἥπερ πέρυσιν ἐν τῷδε ταὐτῷ χωρίῳ Εὐριπίδῃ καὐτὴ ξυνηγωνιζόμην. I am Echo, singer in response to speech, mocking repeater, the very one who last year in this same place competed on behalf of Euripides. The words Ἠχώ, λόγων ἀντῳδός seem to come from Euripides’ play itself, but the final word of this first line, ἐπικοκκάστρια, is Aristophanes’ addition64; in presenting a figure who personifies comic repetition (which is to say, repetition with a difference, parody), the word that means something like “mocking repeater” is itself the difference in the repetition. Echo is distinct from other tragic “characters” in Women at the Thesmophoria because she is not a role being performed by one of the actual characters in the comedy:  Euripides plays Menelaus and Perseus, Mnesilochus plays Helen and Andromeda, but Echo insists that she is the Echo, translated bodily out of Euripides’ original Andromeda; we are given to imagine she has been lingering about the festival stage since her performance in the original Andromeda.65 Her explanation of herself as “the one who competed on Euripides’ behalf ” distinguishes her from Euripides himself; she is not the playwright in disguise but, as she claims, one of his creations, given independent life. Some have argued that Echo in Women at the Thesmophoria is merely another part performed by Euripides, but this makes little sense in light of her actions—​and Mnesilochus’ reactions—​ and is incompatible with the words of her introduction. Her part in this scene, moreover, is irrelevant to the rescue of Mnesilochus. Indeed, it even hampers it; Mnesilochus, far from expecting any help from Echo—​as he does from Euripides disguised as Menelaus and Perseus—​even attempts to help the Scythian catch her (1090). The assumption (occasionally bolstered by argumentation but usually left unexamined) that Echo is another role performed by Euripides in disguise has 63. For the staging of this complex scene, see Hartwig 2009, with summaries of the various debates regarding the use of the crane, speaking from backstage, etc.; and see below on whether her part was played by Euripides in disguise. 64. Even if they are not from Andromeda, the line still veers from tragic to comic language in the final word; cf. Prato 2001: ad loc.; Austin and Olson 2004: ad loc. 65. Her words ἐν τῷδε ταὐτῷ χωρίῳ clearly refer to the Dionysiac stage, not the Thesmophorion where the play is ostensibly set. See Sommerstein 1994: ad 1060; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1060–​61.

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persisted since the scholiasts, but Hartwig 2009 has definitively (I believe) settled the question in favor of Echo as an independent character taken directly from Andromeda.66 This is not the first time, moreover, that Aristophanes has brought a character onto his stage directly from tragedy. Ιn Birds three years prior, he had his Hoopoe introduce himself not as the mythological figure Tereus but as the Tereus from Sophocles’ tragedy of that name (96–​101)67: (Ἔποψ)   μῶν με σκώπτετον ὁρῶντε τὴν πτέρωσιν; ἦ γάρ, ὦ ξένοι, ἄνθρωπος. (Πεισέταιρος)   οὐ σοῦ καταγελῶμεν. (Επ.)            ἀλλὰ τοῦ; (Πε.) τὸ ῥάμφος ἥμιν σου γέλοιον φαίνεται. (Επ.) τοιαῦτα μέντοι Σοφοκλέης λυμαίνεται ἐν ταῖς τραγῳδίαισιν ἐμὲ τὸν Τηρέα. (Hoopoe) Are you two making fun of me, now that you’ve seen my plumage? For I, strangers, was once a man. (Peisthetaerus) We’re not laughing at you. (H.) What then? (P.) Your beak seems pretty funny to us. (H.) But that’s just how Sophocles disgraced me, me Tereus, in his tragedies. As far as I am aware, the parallel has gone unremarked, but it seems clear from their introductions of themselves with reference to their appearance in prior plays, not merely myths, that both Tereus in Birds and Echo in Women at the Thesmophoria are to be understood as the characters themselves, lifted directly

66.  Critics who have held Echo to be an independent character, literally the Echo from Euripides’ Andromeda: Tyrwhitt 1822; Dobree 1833: 241; Rogers 1904; Leeuwen 1904; Murray 1933: 116; Mureddu 1985; Long 1986: 106; Heath 1987: 51 n. 106; Sommerstein 1994: 226–​27; Gilula 1996: 161; Slater 2002: 175–​76 (who notes a possible parallel in the figure of Aegisthus on the so-​called Choregoi Vase); Revermann 2006b:  116; Wilson 2007:  ap. crit. ad 1056. Those who have followed the scholiast’s conjecture that Euripides plays Echo: Dindorf 1835; Fritzsche 1838; Enger 1844; Blaydes 1880; Coulon 1954; Pucci 1961: 376; Rau 1967: 79 (though he also emphasizes her status as an independent character: 81–​82); Dover 1972: 164; Dearden 1976: 171; Hansen 1976: 181–​82; Zeitlin 1981: 191; Sier 1992: 75; Klimek-​Winter 1993: 141–​42; Bowie 1993: 214; Taaffe 1993: 97; MacDowell 1995: 269; Prato 2001: ad 1056–​64; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1056–​57. 67. A point emphasized by Dobrov 2001: 105–​32.

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from their tragedies, rather than simply characters already present in the current comedy portraying the roles of other, tragically inflected characters. Euripides’ Echo returns to repeat a role that consists almost entirely of repetition. She tells Mnesilochus to resume his lamentation so she can begin echoing him; we have been warned by her reference to herself as an ἐπικοκκάστρια that her repetitions will serve not to heighten the pathos of Mnesilochus’ cries (as her role was presumably intended to do in the Euripidean original), but to mock him.68 It takes a mere three repetitions (1069, 1071, 1072) before Mnesilochus can stand it no longer, and he drops his portrayal of Andromeda to beg Echo to stop (1073). Mnesilochus, himself an old man playing at being a young maiden, calls her a γραῦς, an old woman, although in Euripides’ play she was a young nymph; what was young in Euripides has become, by the time it is repeated in Aristophanes, ancient.69 Her repetitions continue, prompting Mnesilochus to beg her to let him get on with his performance (1077–​78), another indication that Echo is not Euripides, who always speeds Mnesilochus’ performances along.70 When the Scythian awakes she imitates him as well, including the barbarisms of his fractured Greek (1084–​89). The Scythian’s indignant question (1089) indicates that she laughs at him, enjoying her repetitive mockery.71 Finally, she scores another clever repetition with a difference, repeating his cry οὐ χαιρήσεις (“you won’t get away with it!”) as οὐχ αἱρήσεις (“you won’t catch me!”).72 Aristophanes thus translates Euripides’ Echo into his Women at the Thesmophoria as a personification of the secondariness that is the play’s central motif: she is a character who only repeats what others say, and is herself a repetition of a character from another play. Parody is itself a type of echo, a distorted repetition of previous speech. Echo here, I would argue, embodies parody, that distinctly comic form of secondariness, on multiple levels: her speech repeats Mnesilochus’ elevated words and makes them humorous, and her presence itself takes a serious choice made by

68.  The term ἐπικοκκάστρια is somewhat obscure, but seems clearly to mean something like “mocking repeater.” The scholiast glosses the term “εἰωθυῖα γελᾶν, γελάστρια.” See Sommerstein 1994: ad 1059; Prato 2001: ad 1059; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1059; Hartwig 2009: 67. 69. I am reminded here of the expression, often (I think apocryphally) attributed to Woody Allen, that “tragedy plus time equals comedy.” 70. Mnesilochus’ lapse into masculine address here (ὦγαθ᾽) may indicate an attempt to address Echo “actor to actor,” that is, as the “actor” playing Mnesilochus playing Andromeda speaking to the “actor” playing Euripides’ Echo on Aristophanes’ stage (note μονῳδῆσαι); but masculine forms of address are also sometimes used in comedy even when speaking to women. Cf. Mureddu 1985: 20; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1077–​78; Hartwig 2009: 64. 71. Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1087–​89; Hartwig 2009: 67. 72. For essentially the same wordplay, see Eq. 828–​29.

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Euripides (insertion of Echo into the lament scene of Andromeda) and renders it silly in this repetition of it. Primed by Echo’s performance to enjoy the coming festival of secondariness, the audience is unsurprised when Euripides once more enters the stage in the guise of a heroic protagonist from the previous year’s tetralogy and, once more, asks what barbarian land he has reached (1098). The scene goes on to repeat all the elements of the reperformance of Helen. Euripides mentions the Gorgon, but the Scythian assumes he is talking about a contemporary individual with a similar name, Gorgos (1101–​4), just as Critylla mistook talk of the mythological Proteus for the historical Proteas and the mythological Tyndareus for the historical Phrynondas. Euripides and Mnesilochus once more attempt to perform their tragic roles, but when Euripides insists that Mnesilochus is a woman, the Scythian informs him that Mnesilochus is actually a thief and a πανοῦργος, precisely the accusations Critylla made against him when he claimed the role of Helen; the repetition of the accusation of theft is particularly striking, since it is inaccurate. Like Critylla, the Scythian rejects Mnesilochus’ adopted role, but takes Euripides for an earthier version of what he claims to be:  a seasick sailor in place of the shipwrecked Menelaus (882), a horny old pervert instead of the lovestruck young Perseus (1116–​24). Finally, just as Critylla threatened violent consequences if Euripides persisted in his tragic attempt to free Mnesilochus, so the Scythian brandishes whip and sword and chases Euripides off when he perseveres in his Perseus-​style rescue of his “Andromeda” (1125–​27). In their performance of the Helen, Euripides and Mnesilochus failed because they were unable to draw Critylla into the tragic illusion they were seeking to create; she refused either to serve as an audience willing to suspend disbelief or to perform the role of a helpful character from the tragedy. She responded instead by threatening real consequences for their performance, just as the women of Athens earlier in the play felt Euripides deserved to pay the price for his portrayal of them on stage and its results in their real lives. In their Andromeda, the two old men fail once more on the same grounds, by the same progression of events; the point here is as much repetition itself as it is Euripidean tragedy’s inability to achieve results on the comic stage. Echo appeared on stage to preface this repetition as comic repetition personified, as a reveling in the joy of secondariness. Andromeda is the play Euripides is most centrally involved in: he not only acts one of the two main parts, he also selects the play himself, unlike all Mnesilochus’ previous performances. It is also, significantly, the most deeply secondary of all the Euripidean reperformances in the play. Euripides’ final comments in this scene also remind us that his failures have implications for how the audience understands his relationship to his poetry. “Barbarian nature,” he says, “is not very welcoming” (1129: ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἂν δέξαιτο

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βάρβαρος φύσις). He will need a device, a mechane, better fitted to his audience (1131–​32: ἄλλην τινὰ /​τούτῳ πρέπουσαν μηχανὴν προσοιστέον). He illustrates the importance of knowing one’s audience with a quotation from his own Medea (1130–​31, from Medea 298).73 His reference to his μηχαναί recalls the quality that from the beginning of the play has been emphasized as Euripides’ central characteristic, his ability to devise wily solutions to difficult problems.74 We expect that the next scheme will, like Euripides’ previous μηχαναί, be another tragedy; but tragedy isn’t what we get at all.

Euripidaristophanizing: Women at  the Thesmophoria’s Comic Finale After a short choral ode, Euripides returns to the stage in his own costume once more; as Menelaus and Perseus he was never recognized, but now the chorus know precisely who he is without introduction (1160–​71). Although some have felt his capitulation to the women’s demands abrupt or unmotivated, in truth by this point in the play the old poet is simply exhausted.75 He’s still capable of offering a vague threat—​and we may wonder as well whether his promise to quit slandering the women is any more genuine than Aristophanes’ promises to quit slandering Cleon were76—​but he has come to realize that his tragedies are not up to the task of freeing Mnesilochus, his relative-​by-​marriage, a man who risked his life on Euripides’ behalf,

73. Mauduit 2009: 84–​85 emphasizes the importance for Aristophanes’ play of the audience recognizing this Euripidean quotation. 74. It is possible that Euripides as Perseus enters on the stage crane, which in comedy as in the real world was called the μηχανή (e.g., Peace 174); if so, Euripides appears in his final tragic μηχανή on the μηχανή, the sort of physical instantiation of metaphorical language in which Old Comedy delights. For the question of whether the crane is employed for Euripides’ entrance, see Murray 1933: 115–​16; Rau 1967: 67; Hansen 1976: 182; Sommerstein 1994: ad 1098; Silk 2000: 329; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1098–​1100. It seems likely to me that Euripides did enter on the crane: it would furnish a suitably spectacular entrance for his final tragic performance, and Perseus is elsewhere associated with the crane in Old Comedy (cf. Bakola 2010: 164–​68). 75. The notion that Aristophanes is somehow in a rush to end the play here makes little sense (though it is implicit in many critics’ dissatisfied analyses of the play’s conclusion), given that Thesmo. is the shortest of the extant fifth-​century plays. We should read Euripides’ sudden capitulation to the women as an admission of defeat, not as an unmotivated action to hurry the play to its conclusion; it is a turning point of the play, not an authorial blunder. For Silk (2000:  207–​11), this is also another example of the discontinuous nature of comic characters: they change not by gradual steps but by a sudden transformation, a switch. 76.  Saetta Cottone has repeatedly argued (2003, 2005a, 2005b) that Aristophanes presents Euripides in this play as a comic poet, emphasizing the accusation of slander brought against him by the women; she reads his portrayal as analogous to Aristophanes’ presentation of himself in conflict with Cleon. Although this reading has its flaws—​it would, I  think, require

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and that a deal must be struck to alter the circumstances. If the women’s acceptance of his offer seems abrupt in turn, this may simply be due to the gradual diminishment of identity undergone by most Old Comic choruses over the course of their plays, or to the fact that Euripides’ most fiery critics—​Mica and Critylla, not chorus members but actors playing individual women—​are no longer on stage. The women are not, however, as meekly obliging as they have sometimes been described, for they demand a final performance from their poet, now that he is at their mercy (1171): τὸν βάρβαρον δὲ τοῦτον αὐτὸς πεῖθε σύ. But you must persuade the barbarian yourself.77 Euripides must devise a play that will ensnare the barbarian at last, as his previous efforts have failed to do. He agrees, admitting that “this is indeed my task” (1172: ἐμὸν ἔργον ἐστίν). Euripides’ solution to the barbarian problem is the most overtly metatheatrical yet. The chorus’ ease in recognizing him, followed by the Scythian’s unprompted description of him as an old woman (1194), indicates that at this point he alters his costume on stage: Austin and Olson suggest he dons a woman’s himation and cap, and perhaps an old woman’s mask.78 As he does so, he instructs his actress, the dancer Elaphion, and his aulete, Teredon (1172–​75): καὶ σόν, ὦλάφιον, ἅ σοι καθ’ ὁδὸν ἔφραζον ταῦτα μεμνῆσθαι ποιεῖν. πρῶτον μὲν οὖν δίελθε κἀνακάλπασον. σὺ δ’, ὦ Τερηδών, ἐπαναφύσα Περσικόν. Your job, Elaphion, is to remember to do what I told you on the way here. First walk over there and sashay about, then you, Teredon, start up the Persian melody. He has been training his theater troupe hastily on his way back to the stage: he urges his performer to remember her part, directs her in the blocking of the scene, and tells his aulete to start the show. In vase painting, the aulete is perhaps the stronger indication in the text that Euripides means to go on slandering the women—​it is certainly possible that some audience members, detecting an analogy between Aristophanes and Euripides, may have been led to doubt the latter’s promises here. 77. Consider the analogous demands Philocleon describes juries making of actors and musicians who seek their favor in the courts (Wasps 579–​82). 78. 2004: 337.

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most explicit signal used by artists to indicate that a given scene is to be understood as a dramatic performance79; here, whether Teredon is the official aulete who has accompanied the whole play or a mute actor performing an aulete’s role, the effect of Euripides’ address to the musician is the same.80 Euripides serves as a speaking actor, continuing to direct his mute dancer as she distracts the Scythian, dropping his character only after the performance’s internal audience, the Scythian, has departed (1202). Unlike the previous plays-​within-​the-​play Euripides and Mnesilochus have staged, this last one is not a reperformance, not a repetition of a tragedy, but an original composition.81 It is, moreover, a comedy.82 The Scythian thinks he has been awoken by a κῶμος (1176).83 The characters are the Scythian archer, an old man in disguise as an old woman who is in addition a procuress, and a mute dancing girl; the action is a lascivious seduction leading to an off-​stage assignation and liberation of a prisoner to be returned to his wife (cf. 1020–​21).84 Unlike

79. Taplin 1993: 67–​78, 105–​9. 80. A mute actor is more likely, given that he later instructs the aulete to depart the stage (1203); cf. Taplin 1993: 107–​8; Sommerstein 1994: ad 1160–​75; Austin and Olson 2004: ad 1160–​61. 81. The set of plays-​within-​the-​play in Thesmo., though five in number, should not be considered a version of the festival program (pace Bowie 1993:  224–​25; Tzanetou 2002:  345; Austin and Olson 2004: lxiii–​lxiv): each of the tragedies serves its own purposes, and their presentation is too unbalanced for the audience to be aware of any festival structure. Such arguments necessitate, moreover, that we either discount Telephus or consider Andromeda a satyr play. If this set of plays-​ within-​the-​play is held to correspond to the festival program, then surely the extended performance of Telephus, though unmarked, cannot be discounted and the extremely brief Palamedes included, which is what would be required to make this final performance a satyr play. The finale would therefore still occupy the place of a comedy, though I cannot see how Andromeda can be considered a satyr play and the other equally hilarious and bawdy renditions of tragedies considered simply tragedies. For recreation of the Dionysiac festival program on the stage, see Chapter 5. 82. Although there is near universal agreement that the finale of Thesmo. is a play-​within-​the-​ play, critics differ as to their interpretation of it. Most see it as a comedy: Whitman 1964: 225–​ 26; Rau 1967: 89; Moulton 1981: 143; Zeitlin 1981: 173; Habash 1997: 38; Reckford 1987: 310; Heath 1987: 51 n. 107; Bierl 1991: 175; Hubbard 1991: 185; Sier 1992: 81–​82; Bowie 1993: 224; Taaffe 1993: 99; Sommerstein 1994: 10; MacDowell 1995: 270; Möllendorff 1995: 252; Slater 2002: 178–​79; Tzanetou 2002; Saetta Cottone 2003: 468–​69; Hall 2006: 251; Platter 2007: 164. Silk 2000: 322 n. 57 rejects this view, but only with reference to Bowie, neglecting the history of the argument (Stehle 2002: 396 n. 80 reiterates these doubts). Some prefer to view it as a satyr play: Ussher 1979: 18 n. 38; Voelke 2004: 133–​34 (though he suggests that it is thus to be understood by analogy as also an inferior comedy); Austin and Olson 2004: lxiii–​lxiv. 83. Bierl 2009: 133–​36; Slater 2002: 179 (who notes the use of the term κῶμος in official inscriptions referring to comedy). 84. Sidwell 2009: 266 suggests that the barbarian Greek and references to Thrace and Scythia in the Thesmo. finale are intended to recall Acharnians; although this would strengthen my argument that this finale is a comedy, the resemblance to Acharnians seems too subtle to me.

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the previous tragedies, whose far-​off and mythological settings confused their intended audiences, this comedy takes place in a version of contemporary Athens, and the Scythian is immediately drawn into its action. That the external audience, the chorus, are enjoying the humor of the performance is confirmed by their delight in directing the Scythian back and forth across the stage once Euripides and Mnesilochus have disappeared (1218–​26); when they’ve had sufficient fun, they declare that “that was enough playing around for us” (1227: ἀλλὰ πέπαισται μετρίως ἡμῖν). This is not just any comedy, however:  it is the continuation of the version of Women at the Thesmophoria Euripides tried to avoid performing in the first place.85 The parallels between the opening sequence of Women at the Thesmophoria and Dicaeopolis’ journey to Euripides’ house in Acharnians led us to suspect that Euripides would don a disguise and face the chorus, as his comic predecessor did; Agathon himself suggested this course (187). When Mnesilochus offered his help, Euripides decided to refuse the comic plot that was under way, and send in an actor to perform tragedies instead; when his tragic actor alone proved insufficient, he joined in the later tragic performances, but these too failed. Now at last he accepts the role that was prepared for him:  he must disguise himself as a woman and perform a comedy.86 Euripides and Aristophanes become jointly the authors of Women at the Thesmophoria: Euripides presents as his own a comedy that he had already been written into, from the opening scenes of the play. Euripides’ immediate success with a comic performance after repeated failures with his tragedies has implications for both of the themes we have been tracing through the play. Although comedy’s frequent repetition of tragedy opened it to the charge of secondariness, we see in this final success comedy’s power also to innovate. We were invited to contrast Euripides’ series of failed tragic performances with Dicaeopolis’ success by their mutual repetition of Telephus; the contrast shows us that the power of comedy’s secondary status lies in its ability to combine repetition with innovation, to repeat with a difference—​in a word, to parody. In this finale, we see that comedy also has the ability to invent its 85. Whitman 1964: 225; Moulton 1981: 141; Möllendorff 1995: 246–​47. 86.  Bobrick 1991 argues that the names “Artemisia” and “Elaphion” are intended to recall Iphigenia’s narrative of her rescue from Aulis in Iphigenia among the Taurians, since Artemis saved her from the Greeks by substituting a deer (ἔλαφος) for her and transporting her to Scythia. Although the names are suggestive, this would be a far more muted parody than even the Telephus, where numerous verbal and visual allusions reveal the parody to the audience despite the fact that the title is never referred to; it seems unlikely to me that an audience would detect this parallel, particularly given the lack of other tragic language or content in the performance.

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plots out of whole cloth, a freedom largely lost to tragedy.87 In the next century, Antiphanes, as we have seen, will cite this as the central difference between comedy and tragedy; his complaint that tragedy is easier than comedy because the audience already knows every tragedy’s plot is clearly an ironic boast over comedy’s power to innovate.88 The fact that it is Euripides who succeeds with a comedy in the end of Women at the Thesmophoria will, moreover, trouble an audience primed by Mnesilochus’ conversation with Agathon to consider the relationship between poets and their poetry. Two theories were proposed in the prologue:  that a poet’s nature inevitably determines the qualities of his poetry, or that the poet must use mimesis to supplement his nature in order to compose poetry that does not reflect his inborn characteristics. Following Paduano, I  argued that these two theories were meant to suggest to the audience the reciprocal relationship between the poet and his poetry. If Euripides fails again and again as a tragedian, but finally succeeds as a comedian, the audience is thus forced to ask itself whether he is, or has become, a comedian himself. When he dons before their eyes the ridiculous costume of an old procuress prior to his comic performance, is he supplementing his tragic nature to make himself capable of comedy? Or is he accepting the truth that he is a better comedian than tragedian, given that—​as his instruction to Elaphion to remember the part he taught her on the way suggests—​he seems to have composed his comedy before donning the new costume?89 Aristophanes deploys the elements of tragic parody and tragic culture in Women at the Thesmophoria to explore a variety of concerns. The conversation between Euripides and Agathon primes the audience to understand the tragic parodies that follow as statements about Euripides’ own nature and his relationship to his poetry. The emphasis on secondariness that emerges from these parodies and the conversations that surround them positions comedy in a relationship with tragedy in which the later poet is the stronger one. By marking such self-​ conscious reflection on secondariness as generically comic and then drawing out 87. Though intriguing, it is probably a coincidence that Agathon, our play’s other tragedian, seems to have been the first tragic playwright to compose a completely new plot; see Aristotle, Poetics 1451b, and Lévêque 1955. 88. Discussed in Chapters 1 and 2. 89. Zeitlin 1981: 193 also notes the various possibilities the comic ending creates: “Is Euripides brought down to the comic level, his affinity for comedy revealed at last? Or is Euripides, with this plot—​the expert ending to a comic play—​led to imitate his imitator, but, by that imitation, allowed to take over the comic stage?” Her implication that the result is a victory for Euripides over comedy, however, mistakes, I  think, the nature of generic confrontation on the comic stage. See also Sier 1992: 82.

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Euripides’ self-​consciousness about his own secondariness, Aristophanes presents a subtle reading of Euripidean tragedy as, in turn, dependent on comedy. When Euripides in the finale of Women at the Thesmophoria stages a successful comedy, these various concerns converge: Euripides becomes, like Aristophanes, a poet of both tragedy and comedy, a comic tragedian to Aristophanes’ tragic comedian.90 What would it mean for Euripides to be a comic tragedian?91 One answer, Women at the Thesmophoria suggests, lies in his self-​conscious approach to his secondariness, to his belated position in the tragic tradition. Each of the tragedies Euripides and Mnesilochus perform in Women at the Thesmophoria enacts its own secondariness: Telephus presents itself as a repetition of a comic repetition of an earlier tragedy; Palamedes emphasizes the status of Euripides’ plays as self-​ aware, written texts; Helen takes a tragedy in which Euripides went so far as to allude to the comic tradition about his plays’ secondariness, and repeats it with an allusion to the very line that Euripides had used to acknowledge that comic tradition, Telephus/​Menelaus/​Mnesilochus noting that rags are the appropriate costume for the role they must perform; and Andromeda, in a moment of brilliant comic fantasy, brings secondariness personified on stage in the person of Echo, a character from an earlier play who can only repeat lines spoken by other characters. Euripides and Aristophanes are thus united in Women at the Thesmophoria as 90. A poet in this period could not, of course, literally be both a comedian and a tragedian; but it is perhaps not a coincidence that the most explicit discussion of this issue in the following century is the conversation at the end of the Symposium featuring both Aristophanes and Agathon. Even the children of comic and tragic poets were, it seems, prevented from crossing over into the rival genre: see Sutton 1987. 91. Critics have long recognized that Euripides’ later tragedies begin to take on a number of the qualities of comedy: formal elements like his increasing use of resolution in his trimeters; stock scenes like the humorous encounter with a doorkeeper; everyday, lower-​class people naturalistically drawn and made important characters; metatheatrical elements like the play-​within-​a-​ play and the poeta figure; themes such as domestic life and falling in love; and of course, happy endings. See Kitto 1939:  327–​402 (on the plays he classifies as “tragicomedies” and “melodramas”); Knox 1970; Seidensticker 1972:  89–​241 and 1978; Michelini 1987; Dunn 1989; Matthiessen 1989–​90; Zacharia 1995; Segal 1995; Mastronarde 1999–​2000 and 2010: 54–​58; Gregory 1999–​2000; Allan 2008: 66–​72. For Thesmo. as a reaction to Aristophanes’ perception of these elements, see Zeitlin 1981: 174; Reckford 1987: 310; Cartledge 1990: 20; Hubbard 1991: 186 n. 85; Bowie 1993: 217–​25; Taaffe 1993: 98; Dobrov 2001: 130. Saetta Cottone 2003 and 2005b and Voelke 2004: 129 vary this formula by suggesting that Aristophanes depicts Euripides in his slandering of women as a fellow comic poet, though an inferior one. Gibert 1999–​2000 argues that Aristophanes and Euripides are both competing over new dramatic territory. We should be cautious (as per the criticisms of Allan 2008: 66–​72) about retrojecting elements of Middle or New Comedy, adopted by later comic poets from Euripides, back onto Euripides in an effort to portray him as comic; I have attempted in this discussion to analyze Aristophanes’ portrayal of Euripides as borrowing from comedy, but this should not be construed as a suggestion that Euripides fails as a tragedian in some objective sense beyond the comic stage.

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secondary poets, as poets who self-​consciously reflect on their own earlier works, the works of their predecessors in both genres, and the influence of one another on each other’s poetry.92 The term belatedness suggests one crucial distinction between Euripides’ and Aristophanes’ secondariness. When Euripides has his Electra reject the recognition tokens of Aeschylus’ Libation Bearers or inserts a still-​living Jocasta into the events of the Seven Against Thebes, what is at issue is his belatedness: he calls attention to a nascent tragic canon in which he is the youngest member, and breaks with an older establishment within his own genre. Aristophanes, by contrast, figures his secondariness in Women at the Thesmophoria not as one of belatedness but as one of dependence:  he is not concerned here with his own predecessors in comedy but with the dependence of comedy on tragedy. Aristophanes can thematize his own belatedness when he wishes to do so: in the parabasis of Knights, for example, he positions himself in a sort of comic canon stretching back through Cratinus all the way to Magnes, one of the earliest comic competitors at the City Dionysia. In Women at the Thesmophoria, he takes the tropes of paratragedy, including both tragic culture and tragic parody, and uses them to reveal comedy’s secondariness to tragedy, its dependence on tragedy, as a source of strength: Aristophanes, like Echo, gets the last laugh, and escapes unharmed. This claim of strength through secondariness becomes all the more important in light of the evidence adduced in Part I of this book: since comedy as a genre engages with tragedy, Aristophanes’ defense of that engagement is a defense of a generic practice, not simply of his own poetics. Aristophanes’ parody of the Helen draws out Euripides’ own acknowledgment in that play of comedy as a model for his own treatment of secondariness. Aristophanes marks Euripidean self-​awareness as generically comic; Aristophanes and Euripides are, according to Women at the Thesmophoria, engaged in a sort of joint endeavor. Cratinus coined the term for what Euripides and Aristophanes are doing as they nudge one another along in innovating within their increasingly shared tradition, as they respond to each self-​reflective, metatheatrical play with another even more self-​reflective, even more metatheatrical, as they forge ahead into a dramatic territory that is jointly paratragic and paracomic. He called it euripidaristophanizing.

92. Cf. Silk 2000: 415: “As Aristophanes’ own protestations seem to confirm, his oeuvre represents a protracted series of experiments, with (it would seem) Euripides as a model experimenter, but not a model for the particular experiments.”

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Writing Beyond Genres The Dionysiac Festival in Gerytades and Wealth

In Cratinus’ Boukoloi, a character who evidently considers himself something of an authority on matters of poetic taste complains about an archon refusing to grant Sophocles a chorus (17): ὃς οὐκ ἔδωκ’ αἰτοῦντι Σοφοκλέει χορόν, τῷ Κλεομάχου δ’, ὃν οὐκ ἂν ἠξίουν ἐγὼ ἐμοὶ διδάσκειν οὐδ’ ἂν εἰς Ἀδώνια. … who didn’t give Sophocles a chorus when he asked for one, but gave one to the son of Cleomachus, a man I wouldn’t deem worthy to train a chorus even for the Adonia! References to the process of putting on a tragedy at the Athenian festivals of Dionysus are, as we saw in Chapter 1, an integral part of the comic poets’ depiction of the culture of tragedy in the fifth century: fans, poets, and connoisseurs argue not only about the quality of particular performances or the defining features of individual poets, but over the selection process and behavior of authors, actors, even choregoi. These references inevitably reflect back on the comic poet who composes them. In Boukoloi, for example, we know that Cratinus complained that he, too, had been refused a chorus by an archon (F 20), perhaps the same archon who so foolishly denied Sophocles but accepted Gnesippus.1 By calling attention to the selection process of the festival, Cratinus reminds us that the current comedy was selected, a crucial step toward the victory that Boukoloi evidently 1. KA: ad 17 (“archontem notat Cratinus qui et ipsi chorum negavit, F 20”); Bakola 2010: 42–​49.

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obtained2; he also equates himself with Sophocles, presenting himself and the great tragedian as a pair of poets wrongfully slighted by a foolish magistrate. Hesychius’ notice about Cratinus’ complaint against the archon is somewhat garbled. Nevertheless he appears to claim that Cratinus began his Boukoloi with some kind of dithyramb (20): † πυρπερέγχει † · Κρατῖνος ἀπὸ θυράμβου ἐν Βουκόλοις ἀρξάμενος, ἐπειδὴ χορὸν οὐκ ἔλαβεν παρὰ τοῦ ἄρχοντος ἔστιν οὗ † ἠτήρει “Fire upon spear” (?): Cratinus in Boukoloi begins with a thyramb, since he did not receive a chorus from the archon to whom he had applied (?).3 We shouldn’t really be surprised to see comedy engaging with dithyramb even from a very early period. Dithyramb in fact made up the largest portion of the festival program at the City Dionysia: in a typical set of performances, there would have been something like (including actors and chorus) 54 tragic performers, 140 comic performers, and fully a thousand dithyrambic performers. Citizens in the audience of the festival were thus considerably more likely to have participated in a dithyrambic performance themselves or to know the participants in a given year’s tribal choruses. With the dithyrambic choruses representing individual tribes, the audience may also have been rather more invested in the outcome of the competition: no doubt many audience members preferred that their favorite comic or tragic poet win the competition, but every citizen in the audience had an obvious dithyrambic chorus to support.4 A number of comedies thematized engagement with dithyramb, including Aristophanes’ Birds, Strattis’ Cinesias, Pherecrates’ Cheiron, and Amphis’ Dithyrambos.5 My interest here, however, is not in paradithyramb per se, but in the way engagement with dithyramb alongside engagement with tragedy allowed the comic poets to position themselves within the Dionysiac festival as a whole. 2.  See Boukoloi T 2.  Wright argues (2012:  57), persuasively in my view, that for many poets obtaining a place on the festival program might have been more important than actually winning the festival, since it ensured the play had achieved the official sanction that was a necessary precursor to its circulation as a text. 3. Trans. Storey 2011: 1.277. 4. For participation in dramatic performances, see Winkler 1990; Csapo and Slater 1995: 351–​ 53 (with associated testimonia); Wilson 2000:  75–​81; Revermann 2006b:  107–​12. For the dithyrambic participants, as well as the tribal structure of the dithyrambic competition, see Pickard-​Cambridge 1962: 32–​38; Zimmermann 2008: 36–​39, Ieranò 2013. 5.  For broader discussion of comedy’s engagement with dithyramb (paradithyramb), see Nesselrath 1990:  241–​ 79; Dobrov and Urios-​ Aparisi 1995; Kugelmeier 1996:  195–​ 305; Zimmermann 1989, 1997; Dobrov 2002; Csapo 2004; Franklin 2013; Ieranò 2013: 380–​83.

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By referring to both tragedy and dithyramb within a comedy, Cratinus evokes all three of the major performance genres of the City Dionysia. Cratinus’ complaints about the official selection process allow him to equate himself with a famous tragedian, and his dithyrambic parody (for parody such a comic imitation must have been) displays comedy’s ability to absorb dithyramb into its own performance. Boukoloi thus openly challenges the other two genres of the City Dionysia, claiming an equal or even superior place for comedy within the festival. In this chapter, then, I wish to explore two comedies that use dithyramb alongside tragedy to position comedy within—​or even above—​the other performance genres of the Athenian festivals of Dionysus. The first is Aristophanes’ Gerytades, in which a comedian, a tragedian, and a dithyrambist are selected from among the city’s poets and sent on a mission to Hades. Though fragmentary, this comedy gives us a glimpse of how simultaneous engagement with tragedy and dithyramb could allow a comic poet to position himself and his genre in the late fifth century, when such engagement could be quite overt. The second is Aristophanes’ Wealth: I argued in Chapter 1 that overt references to the dramatic festival are missing in the comic fragments of the fourth century, but the intact Wealth of 388 bce allows us to see how a comic poet could still create a sort of encapsulation of the City Dionysia within the subtler mode of Middle Comic metatheater. Aristophanic paradithyramb turns out to bear a remarkable resemblance to his paratragedy: we will see in these plays both parody of dithyramb and depictions of a dithyrambic culture. By recreating the festival program of which his plays formed a part through this combination of paratragedy and paradithyramb, Aristophanes, I will argue, is able to comment on the relationship between comedy and its fellow festival genres; inclusion of dithyramb instead of just tragedy allows Aristophanes to position himself as a critic of the entire festival. Furthermore, by positioning himself as a critic not only of tragedy and dithyramb but also of his own genre of comedy, Aristophanes ironically uses the devices of paratragedy shared across comedy to claim a space beyond generic boundaries, to claim to be a poet beyond genre itself.

Part I: Gerytades The Frequenters of Hades: Gerytades F 156 The first instance preserved in Aristophanes’ career of this device of encapsulating all three festival genres comes in the fragments of his Gerytades, usually dated to 408/​7 bce.6 It is worthwhile to begin our discussion of this comedy with an

6. For the date of Gerytades, see Geissler 1925: 61–​62, KA 3.2: 101; Sommerstein 2001: ad 179; Henderson 2007: 185.

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effort to reconstruct the plot, to the extent the fragments and testimonia permit us.7 The most important source of information on the play is F 156, a conversation between two characters quoted by Athenaeus (12.551a): καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης δ’ ἐν Γηρυτάδῃ λεπτοὺς τούσδε καταλέγει, οὓς καὶ πρέσβεις ὑπὸ τῶν ποιητῶν φησιν εἰς Ἅιδου πέμπεσθαι πρὸς τοὺς ἐκεῖ ποιητὰς λέγων οὑτωσί· (Α.) καὶ τίς νεκρῶν κευθμῶνα καὶ σκότου πύλας ἔτλη κατελθεῖν; (Β.) ἕνα † δ᾽ ἀφ’ ἑκάστης τέχνης εἱλόμεθα κοινῇ γενομένης ἐκκλησίας, οὓς ᾖσμεν ὄντας ᾁδοφοίτας καὶ θαμὰ ἐκεῖσε φιλοχωροῦντας. (Α.) εἰσὶ γάρ τινες ἄνδρες παρ’ ὑμῖν ᾁδοφοῖται; (Β.) νὴ Δία μάλιστά γ’. (Α.) ὥσπερ Θρᾳκοφοῖται; (Β.) πάντ’ ἔχεις. (Α.) καὶ τίνες ἂν εἶεν; (Β.) πρῶτα μὲν Σαννυρίων ἀπὸ τῶν τρυγῳδῶν, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν τραγικῶν χορῶν Μέλητος, ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν κυκλίων Κινησίας. (Α.) ὡς σφόδρ’ ἐπὶ λεπτῶν ἐλπίδων ὠχεῖσθ’ ἄρα. τούτους γάρ, ἢν πολλῷ ξυνέλθῃ, ξυλλαβὼν ὁ τῆς διαρροίας ποταμὸς οἰχήσεται. And Aristophanes in Gerytades accuses them of being thin, those men he says were sent to Hades by the poets as ambassadors to the poets there (A.) And who has dared come down to the vault of the dead and the gates of darkness? (B.) We held a public assembly and chose one from each art, those we knew were frequenters of Hades and enjoyed going there often. (A.) You mean there are frequenters of Hades among you? (B.) By Zeus, of course! (A.) Like frequenters of Thrace? (B.) You’ve got it. (A.) And who would these people be? (B.) First of all Sannyrion from the trugic choruses, and from the tragic choruses Meletus, and from the cyclic choruses Cinesias.

7. Previous reconstructions of Gerytades are noted at KA 3.2: 101; see esp. Norwood 1931: 289–​ 90; Young 1933:  24–​26; Mazon 1942:  183–​85; Schmid 1946:  209–​10; Dettori 1994; Hall 2006: 177–​80; Wright 2012: 135–​39.

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(A.) On slender hopes indeed you’ve journeyed! The River of Diarrhea, if it comes in a flood, will scoop these men up and carry them off ! This conversation, although it raises many questions, provides the essential details of the play: an assembly of poets was held in Athens, and a representative from each of the three major genres performed at the City Dionysia was chosen to serve on a mission to Hades. Whether this occurred at the opening of the play or was simply summarized for us, we cannot say; given that the first line of this fragment quotes the opening line of Euripides’ Hecuba (see below), this passage could even represent the opening lines of Gerytades. The first character (A) is a denizen of the underworld, a gatekeeper or other blocking figure like Aeacus in Frogs. The second (B) is either one of the chosen poets, who then speaks of himself somewhat oddly in the third person, or, rather more probably, an escort appointed from among the poets’ assembly, perhaps the eponymous Gerytades himself.8 Beyond the association of Gerytades’ name with the poetic terms γῆρυς or γηρύειν (“voice,” “to sing”), we can say nothing further about this titular character. In quoting this fragment, Athenaeus provides one further crucial piece of information (12.551a): καὶ Ἀριστοφάνης δ’ ἐν Γηρυτάδῃ λεπτοὺς τούσδε καταλέγει, οὓς καὶ πρέσβεις ὑπὸ τῶν ποιητῶν φησιν εἰς Ἅιδου πέμπεσθαι πρὸς τοὺς ἐκεῖ ποιητὰς…. And Aristophanes in Gerytades accuses them of being thin, those men he says were sent to Hades by the poets as ambassadors to the poets there… The embassy for which these three poets were chosen was a mission from the living poets of Athens to the shades of dead poets in the underworld. What the purpose of this mission was, we cannot precisely say: it may have been, as Dionysus originally intended in Frogs, to rescue the state of contemporary poetry; it may have been, as in Eupolis’ Demoi or the conclusion of Frogs, to save the city itself from some disastrous condition; or there might have been some other, more specific, perhaps entirely farcical, purpose.9 Character B of F 156 describes the poetic ambassadors as ᾁδοφοίται, “frequenters of Hades.” Although it is debated what precisely this term means (the related 8. Norwood 1931: 290 felt certain Character B was not one of the three poets. Conti-​Bizzarro 1994: 158 thought Character A was Hades. 9. Norwood 1931: 290–​91 suggests the delegation’s purpose was simply to cadge a free dinner.

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term Character A suggests as an analogy, Θρᾳκοφοῖται, is equally mysterious to us), it seems to indicate that in some sense the poets are close to death: Hesychius glosses ᾁδοφοίται as οἱ λεπτοὶ καὶ ἰσχνοὶ καὶ ἐγγυς θανάτου ὄντες (α1793; “thin and withered and close to death”).10 Coupled with their description by Aristophanes’ Character A as λεπτός, it seems clear that the three poets are being mocked according to the familiar trope that depicts bad poets as unable to earn their living and therefore hungry, thin, sickly, cold, dying, or even dead.11 That they are discussed in pejorative terms by Character B strongly supports the notion that he is a fourth poet who has been selected to escort the ambassadors to Hades, rather than one of the three poets thus described; the three poets themselves may even have been played by mutes, like the three goddesses in Cratinus’ Dionysalexandros.12 Certainly we can say that they are made the subjects of mockery in this play; the three poets are not our comic heroes. The specific identities of these poets are, moreover, important to our reconstruction of the play: they were all real, living, contemporary Athenians, and they are all mocked elsewhere in comedy. In the following subsections I briefly summarize what can be said about these three figures.

Sannyrion the Comedian We caught a glimpse of Sannyrion in Part I; although his fragmentary remains are exceedingly slight, they suggest close engagement with tragedy. He is said by the Suda to have been contemporary with the comedians Diocles and Philyllius, neither of whom we have precise dates for; all three seem to have been active in the closing decade of the fifth century, a date consonant with that of Gerytades.13 We have three titles: Gelos, Danae, Io. The last two titles suggest mythological subjects and were the titles of plays by tragedians.14 The only fragment of significant length among Sannyrion’s remains comes from Danae: as we saw in Chapter 1, this

10. On these terms, see Mazon 1942; Dettori 1994; and Kaibel apud KA: ad loc. 11. E.g., the Pindaric poet in Birds (esp. 915, with Dunbar 1995: ad loc.); cf. the scholiast’s explanation of Gerytades F 158 (Sthenelus forced into poverty because he was a bad tragedian, an anecdote certain to derive from comedy, perhaps from Gerytades itself ). See also Cameron 1991; Wilkins 2000b: 27–​28; Orth 2009: ad Strattis 21 (discussed below); Athenaeus’ discussion of thin persons (12.551a–​552f ) seems likely to derive from a catalogue of such κωμῳδούμενοι. Wright 2012: 137–​38 suggests that λεπτός here refers to these poets’ style; he too emphasizes the importance of Aristophanes’ selection of a group of “bad” poets. 12. On this scene see Bakola 2010: 285–​94; although Bakola herself concludes that the goddesses’ offers to Paris appeared as personifications, these too, she argues, would have been mute. 13. Sannyrion T 1–​2. 14. See Orth 2009: 23 and Chapter 2.

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is part of the set of fragments mocking the famous enunciative error of Euripides’ actor Hegelochus. The title of Gelos (“Laughter”) suggests a play concerned particularly with comedy, and indeed a scholiast to Plato (Sannyrion F 5 = Σ Apol. 19c) informs us that Sannyrion mocked Aristophanes in that play for laboring on behalf of others—​an accusation Aristophanes seems to have been at pains in his early career to defend himself against. In the same play we have another instance of mockery of tragedy: F 2 describes Meletus as “the corpse from the Lenaion” (Μέλητον τὸν ἀπὸ Ληναίου νεκρόν).15 Sannyrion is mocked in two fragments of Aristophanes’ younger contemporary, Strattis. In his Cinesias (F 21), Strattis calls Sannyrion κάναβος, a term for a wooden frame used to form wax or clay statues, a sort of manikin; this is apparently (as the lexicographer who glosses the term and provides our fragment tells us) a joke on his thinness.16 In Psychastai (F 57) he refers to “Sannyrion’s leather helper” (Σαννυρίωνος σκυτίνην ἐπικουρίαν); again, we are told by Athenaeus, who cites this fragment, that this is a joke on slender stature. It seems more likely, however, to be either a joke on Sannyrion’s sexuality—​Aristophanes uses precisely the same expression as a euphemism for “dildo” in Lysistrata (110)—​or a criticism of Sannyrion’s use of the comic phallus along the lines of Aristophanes’ comments on the “fat, hanging, red-​tipped” phallus in the revised parabasis of Clouds (538–​39).17 Aristophanes has thus chosen to include among his delegates to Hades a comic poet who also mocked tragedy and tragedians; who himself criticizes Meletus, the tragic delegate, and who is mocked by Strattis in a play about Cinesias, the dithyrambic delegate; and who, perhaps directly as a result of his portrayal in Gerytades, is made fun of elsewhere for being unable to feed himself by his art. I will discuss the significance of his selection once I have surveyed the other poets Aristophanes chooses for his mission to Hades.

Meletus the Tragedian It must first be stated regarding Meletus that we cannot know whether this tragic poet is the same as Socrates’ accuser, his father, or another person entirely, and that this question is ultimately irrelevant to our discussion here.18 There do seem, however, to have been two tragic poets by this name, father and son; we

15. For the meaning of this expression, see Chapter 1. 16. Cf. Orth 2009: ad loc. 17. Olson 2006–​2012: 6.201 n. 292; Orth 2009: ad 57. 18. For the issue, see Mazon 1942.

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possess no remnants of the poetry of either Meletus. Kassel and Austin conclude (3.2: 85) that the Meletus who appeared in Gerytades was the father, also mocked for having a sexual relationship with Callias in Aristophanes’ Georgoi (F 117), but that the Meletus referred to in Aristophanes’ Pelargoi (F 453) and Frogs (1302) was the son.19 In the extant fragments of the other Old Comic poets, only Sannyrion refers to our Meletus; in calling him “the corpse from the Lenaion,” he may simply be referring to a loss by Meletus at the Lenaia festival, but it is possible that this is another reference to the inability of bad poets to earn a living.20 Thus, beyond stating that he was a favorite butt of jokes by Aristophanes, and was also mocked by the very comic poet who appears as a character in this play, there is very little we can say about Meletus; he is the most obscure of the poet delegates of Gerytades, to modern readers at least.

Cinesias the Dithyrambist Cinesias, by contrast, is the best known to us of the three poets in Gerytades. Although we possess no significant fragments of his own poetry, Cinesias appears as a character in Aristophanes’ Birds and is the subject of Strattis’ comedy Cinesias.21 In Birds (1372–​1409), he gives a sampling of his poetry, and from his own words and the comments of the scholiasts we can gather that he was associated, like Agathon, with the “New Music”: he refers to his need for new ἀναβολαί, and his speech is replete with strange compound adjectives and references to “lightness,” “twisting,” and “bending.”22 As with the Pindaric Poet who appears as a suppliant earlier in the play, Peisthetaerus tries desperately to avoid listening to Cinesias’ poetry; in the end he shows mercy to the Pindarist, but Cinesias he 19. See the testimonia at TrGF 1: 186–​88. The Middle Comic poet Epicrates also refers to the erotic quality of the poetry of one Meletus, presumably the son (F 4). 20. Cf. Plato F 200, where Cinesias is called a “skeleton.” 21. There is no reason to believe, as the scholiasts did, that the Cinesias in Lysistrata is the dithyrambic poet: the name is not uncommon, and it is impossible to believe Aristophanes would have bothered to put a poet on stage without making a single reference to his poetry. Instead, the name is simply chosen there because of the sexual connotations of the verb κινέω. 22. There do appear to have been genuine innovations in poetry in the late fifth century, such as the use of new styles of flute playing and the departure from strophic structures; nevertheless, it must be admitted that the movement we refer to as the New Music is a modern construction, most of the evidence for which derives from comedy. Whatever the truth behind comic accusations of offensive innovations in music in this period, it is sufficient for our purposes to understand that there is a set of poets (including Agathon and Cinesias) who are consistently mocked in comedy for debasing poetry. See Hall 1999; Csapo 2000b and 2004; Olson 2007: 182; LeVen 2010; D’Angour 2011: 202–​6; Wright 2012: 81–​83; and the essays in Kowalzig and Wilson 2013: 213–​310.

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mocks by offering to let him train choruses for Leotrophides (apparently a notoriously stingy choregus), and though Cinesias vows never to abandon his efforts to gain wings, he disappears from the play thereafter. Cinesias is also mocked repeatedly in Frogs: the chorus makes an obscure reference to someone who “shits all over the cyclic choruses of Hecate,” which the scholiasts explicate with reference to an apparently notorious moment of incontinence on Cinesias’ part during a choral performance he was leading for Hecate (366). Dionysus’ earlier reference to “the pyrrhic dance of Cinesias” may pun on this incident as well, since πυρρός is the usual color of feces in Greek.23 Mention is also made in Frogs of his thinness (1453). In the works of other Old Comic poets, Cinesias appears in the famous fragment from Pherecrates’ Cheiron in which a personified Music complains of her treatment by contemporary dithyrambists (F 155.8–​12); she also uses the language of “bending” and “twisting” favored by Aristophanes in his mockery of New Music. In Strattis’ play Cinesias, the dithyrambist is called “killer of choruses” (F 16:  χοροκτόνου Κινησίου),24 and is addressed somewhat obscurely as “Phthian Achilles” (F 17).25 We are told Strattis also mocked him for impiety (F 18); it is worth noting again that this is the comedy in which Strattis also refers to Sannyrion’s thinness. In an unknown comedy Plato mocks him, again for his thinness, naming him the son of “consumption,” ridiculing his physique, and calling him a “skeleton” (Plato F 200). Finally, we are told that Lysias was involved in two lawsuits against him, and referred to his “annual” mockery by the comic poets.26

The Delegation Aristophanes has thus arranged for his assembly of poets to send to the underworld three representatives, one chosen from each of the genres performed at Athens’ City Dionysia:  comedy, tragedy, dithyramb. He depicts all three as selected for their closeness to death: their failure as poets means they are unable to keep themselves well fed, and thus they are suitable for a trip to the land of the dead—​they’re already halfway there. Cinesias, like Agathon in Women at the Thesmophoria, was an artist of the New Music; he had already been mocked in Birds for his thinness, and was perhaps known for committing a risible offense at a celebration of the underworld goddess Hecate. Meletus the tragedian we can

23. See Olson 2002: 97. 24. See Orth 2009: ad loc. for a discussion of the meaning of this phrase; for our purposes it is sufficient to note that it is an insult drawn from Cinesias’ work as a choral poet. 25. On this fragment see Steinhart 2007. 26. Athen. 12.551d–​552b.

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say little of, save that he was depicted in comedy as one of the bad, “frigid” poets; Sannyrion called him a “corpse,” though whether this remark inspired or was inspired by Aristophanes sending Meletus to Hades we cannot say. Sannyrion himself is the most interesting choice. Aristophanes says that he was selected ἀπὸ τῶν τρυγῳδῶν; “trugedy” is a term that, as we have seen, Aristophanes typically uses when discussing the relationship between comedy and tragedy. Despite the thinness of our evidence, we can see from his fragments and testimonia that Sannyrion, like many other poets of Old Comedy, took part in the mockery of tragedy; by calling him a “trugedian,” Aristophanes emphasizes this intergeneric quality of Sannyrion’s art, or rather, of the art of comedy Sannyrion was chosen to represent. Before further conclusions can be drawn about Aristophanes’ portrayal of these poets in Gerytades, it will be useful to make a survey of the other fragments of the play.

Dining with the Dead: The Fragments of Gerytades Three hungry poets, led by a fourth person, perhaps Gerytades himself, descend to the underworld. The poets, it seems, were so hungry that “they ate the wax off their writing tablets” (163: τὴν μάλθαν ἐκ τῶν γραμματείων ἤσθιον); they literally consume the materials of their trade in their hunger. Some group of men, probably the poets again, are called “mullets” because of their gaping mouths (159). Several fragments refer to a symposium or feast (157, 161, 167), and quite a few describe food (164, 165, 172, 173, 174, 183, 189). It seems likely, therefore, that the ambassadors’ meeting with the poets of the underworld took the form of a banquet.27 Fragments 158, 161, 173, and 174 all show a character describing a meal taking place offstage; it is thus possible that the banquet itself was held offstage, as parties in Aristophanes generally are, and was later described. This staging would make all the more sense if, as I have suggested, the three poet delegates were played by mutes. A description of the meal may have begun while it was still in progress, or the hungry poets may even have set up a sort of permanent residence (159): ἆρ’ ἔνδον ἀνδρῶν κεστρέων ἀποικία; ὡς μὲν γάρ εἰσι νήστιδες, γιγνώσκετε Is there a colony of human mullets inside? Well, you know that they’re starving….

27. The prominence of Athenaeus among the sources of our comic fragments does, of course, have a somewhat distorting effect on our perception of the role of food in fragmentary plays. Fragments from Gerytades dealing with food are also, however, cited by Pollux (157, 173, 183)

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If the “colony” does refer to the hungry poets, as seems likely, then they may well have decided to stay some time in the underworld, having found a place where food was easier for bad poets to come by than Athens. This would parallel the parody of ambassadors who prolong their lucrative and enjoyable missions in the opening scene of Acharnians. We saw in Wasps how central the metaphors of cooking and consuming poetry can be to comedy’s engagement with tragedy; Wright (2012: 129–​39) has argued that such metaphors, an inseparable part of all later literary criticism, actually originate in comedy. Gerytades draws deeply on these associations between poetry and food. F 161 describes someone “praising Aeschylus among his fellow diners” (ἐν τοῖσι συνδείπνοις ἐπαινῶν Αἰσχύλον); as we have seen, a key facet of comedy’s construction of a narrative of tragedy’s decline is the praise of dead tragedians in contrast with the living, and the praise of Aeschylus described here seems likely to have involved such a comparison, implicitly or explicitly. This image of dinnertime conversation about Aeschylus sets the stage for a pair of fragments that present tragedy itself as food, an equation perhaps also hinted at by the poets’ consumption of their own wax tablets (F 163). In the first, F 158, a character wonders how he could possibly gag down the words (or “speeches”) of the tragedian Sthenelus, and another character (or perhaps the same character, answering himself ) advises adding a sauce of wit: (Α.) καὶ πῶς ἐγὼ Σθενέλου φάγοιμ’ ἂν ῥήματα; (Β.) εἰς ὄξος ἐμβαπτόμενος ἢ ξηροὺς ἅλας. (A.) And how could I possibly eat the words of Sthenelus? (B.) By dipping them in vinegar, or some deadpan salt! The scholiast who quotes this fragment explains that Sthenelus was such a bad poet he was forced to sell his theatrical equipment, a story that is certain to derive from comedy and that may well come from this very play. This notion of a tragedian’s poetry taking physical form is also a prominent feature of Aristophanes’ extant underworld comedy on tragedy, Frogs. The second fragment from Gerytades to present poetry as food also uses a device familiar to us from Frogs, the idea that tragedy is like an ill patient who can be treated by feeding her the proper nourishment (F 162): θεράπευε καὶ χόρταζε τῶν μονῳδιῶν treat her and fatten her on monodies and Hesychius (167), and the content of many of these fragments, which combine eating with tragic culture, suggests that food did in fact feature as a prominent motif of the play.

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In Frogs, while complaining of the state in which he inherited his art from Aeschylus, Euripides claims to have performed a similar treatment (939–​44): ἀλλ’ ὡς παρέλαβον τὴν τέχνην παρὰ σοῦ τὸ πρῶτον εὐθὺς οἰδοῦσαν ὑπὸ κομπασμάτων καὶ ῥημάτων ἐπαχθῶν, ἴσχνανα μὲν πρώτιστον αὐτὴν καὶ τὸ βάρος ἀφεῖλον ἐπυλλίοις καὶ περιπάτοις καὶ τευτλίοισι λευκοῖς, χυλὸν διδοὺς στωμυλμάτων, ἀπὸ βιβλίων ἀπηθῶν· εἶτ’ ἀνέτρεφον μονῳδίαις, Κηφισοφῶντα μειγνύς. But when I received the art from you she was at first swollen with boasts and ponderous words, so first of all I thinned her out and took the weight off with little verses and long walks and white beets; I administered the juice of chatterings, strained from books; and then I  nourished her on monodies, mixing in some Cephisophon. Here in Gerytades we have a prescription for tragedy’s cure rather than a boast of having already cured her: more monodies, our character says, should do the trick. If the delegation was sent to receive advice on something other than poetry itself, they were nevertheless treated to some recommendations regarding their poetry.28 Two further fragments comment on tragedy without drawing on the motif of food. In a papyrus citing a list of references to the stage crane we find this bit of criticism cited from Gerytades (160): περιάγειν ἐχρῆν τὸν μηχανοποιὸν ὡς τάχιστα τὴν κράδην The crane operator should be bringing the fig tree on as quick as possible. If the imperfect ἐχρῆν indicates here, as it frequently does, an action that should be taking place but is not, then the character is likely describing what should happen in certain circumstances in an ideal tragedy (unless we wish to imagine that the assembled poets actually staged a play in the course of Gerytades). If, as it does occasionally, ἐχρῆν maintains its past emphasis, this remark would be a criticism of an actual play that had been previously staged; given that the crane is often

28. Kuiper 1913: 240–​41 also assigned F 595 to Gerytades; this is a somewhat lacunose papyrus that appears to be a recipe for a dish including elements of Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. If correct, this would be a further instance of the play’s use of the figure of eating tragedy. Cf. Schmid 1946: 209; Wright 2012: 134.

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used in tragedy for the entrance of a god at the end of the play, the character may be suggesting that the tragedian under discussion should have brought his (terrible) play to an end as quickly as possible.29 Either way, the fragment indicates that a fairly technical discussion of drama took place among the poets in our comedy. The second, very brief, fragment indicates that Agathon was singled out for criticism of his effeminate style; the phrase “Agathonian piping” (178: Ἀγαθώνειον αὔλησιν) is glossed in several sources as an accusation of μαλακία made in Gerytades against Agathon. Tragic culture thus extended in Gerytades even into the underworld, with poets living and dead embroiled in a debate over specific, technical aspects of tragic poetry. Dionysus discovers a similar world in Frogs: there the underworld has its own way of creating a sort of poetic canon, by awarding the throne of tragedy; Euripides has built-​in groups of deceased fans, in the form of thieves and con men; tragedy is not merely a memory the dead hold from their days on earth, but continues to be recited in the afterlife as a form of entertainment.30 Already in Gerytades, then, Aristophanes had begun to explore the possibilities for depicting tragic culture in the underworld that he would bring to perfection in Frogs. As in Wasps and Women at the Thesmophoria, Gerytades merges this portrayal of tragic culture with tragic parody. The gatekeeper character the poets encounter in F 156 (labeled Character A above) addresses them with a parody of the opening lines of Euripides’ Hecuba: Ar. F 156.1–​2 καὶ τίς νεκρῶν κευθμῶνα καὶ σκότου πύλας ἔτλη κατελθεῖν; And who has dared come down to the vault of the dead and the gates of darkness? Eur. Hec. 1–​3 Ἥκω νεκρῶν κευθμῶνα καὶ σκότου πύλας λιπών, ἵν’ Ἅιδης χωρὶς ᾤκισται θεῶν, Πολύδωρος … I have come leaving behind the vault of the dead and the gates of darkness, where Hades dwells apart from the gods, I Polydorus … 29. For comic references to the crane signaling the end of a tragedy, see Chapter 1, on Antiphanes F 189 and Alexis F 131. 30. See especially Frogs 761–​94.

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Aristophanes has neatly inverted the sense of this quotation:  where Polydorus is a dead man who has left Hades to return to the land of the living, the poets in Gerytades have left the land of the living to enter Hades, where they will encounter other dead men. This gatekeeper continues to speak in tragic language (F 156.11): ὡς σφόδρ’ ἐπὶ λεπτῶν ἐλπίδων ὠχεῖσθ’ ἄρα. On slender hopes indeed you’ve journeyed! This is either a tragic quotation or simply tragic language; the striking similarity of this line to another paratragic verse, Knights 1244, suggests they may both be quoting the same text, and indeed Nauck accepted the line from Knights as an unattributed tragic fragment (TrGF adesp. 55). A scholion to Sophocles’ Electra tells us that Aristophanes also parodied a line from that tragedy in Gerytades (Ar. F 175). These instances of tragic parody in Gerytades are part of a broader trope in Greek comedy that frequently marks supernatural places as belonging to tragedy. When Peisthetaerus and Euelpides leave Athens and journey into the sky in Birds, they find Sophocles’ Tereus, complaining about Sophocles by name, ruling over a kingdom in the clouds. When Trygaeus wants to journey up to heaven, he casts himself in the role of Euripides’ Bellerophon. The underworld is particularly singled out in this way: already Pherecrates has Aeschylus prominently featured in his Krapataloi, whose title and other fragments, as we have seen, strongly suggest a play set in the underworld; the chorus of Titans who emerge from the underworld in Cratinus’ Ploutoi speak in marked tragic language; and with Gerytades and Frogs Aristophanes will twice in a span of just a few years descend among the dead looking for advice about tragic poetry, both times encountering characters who speak and behave as though they’re in a tragedy. Eupolis’ Demoi is particularly telling in this regard:  when his statesmen are returned from Hades to Athens to save the failing city, they too speak in the language of tragedy. Aristeides, for example, quotes Euripides’ Oeneus upon his entrance: Eup. F 99.35–3​6 ὦ γῆ πατρῴα χαῖρε σὲ· γὰρ … [ πασῶν πόλεων ἐκπαγλ[οτατ Hail o paternal land, for you … of all cities most … Eur. F 558.1 ὦ γῆς πατρῴας χαῖρε φίλτατον πέδον … Hail o most beloved ground of my paternal land …

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As Mario Telò points out in his commentary (2007: 407–​9), this is not simply a tragic quotation but a parody of the standard tragic motif in which a character greets his homeland after a long absence. Aristeides continues to speak in tragic language as the comedy proceeds. He addresses a sycophant, for example, with a quotation from Euripides’ Melanippe (Eup. F 99.102 = Eur. F 507): τί τοὺς θανόντας οὐκ εᾷς τεθνηκέναι; Why do you not allow those who have died to be dead? Aristeides is not constrained to speaking only in tragic language, but he does repeatedly resort to such quotations, and so, it turns out, does Miltiades: Eup. F 106 οὐ γὰρ μὰ τὴν Μαραθῶνι τὴν ἐμὴν μάχην χαίρων τις αὐτῶν τοὐμὸν ἀλγυνεῖ κέαρ. For by my battle at Marathon, none of them will grieve my heart and get away with it. Eur. Medea 395–​98 οὐ γὰρ μὰ τὴν δέσποιναν ἣν ἐγὼ σέβω μάλιστα πάντων καὶ ξυνεργὸν εἱλόμην, Ἑκάτην, μυχοῖς ναίουσαν ἑστίας ἐμῆς, χαίρων τις αὐτῶν τοὐμὸν ἀλγυνεῖ κέαρ. For by the goddess whom I worship most of all and have chosen as my helper, Hecate, who dwells in the innermost part of my hearth, none of them will grieve my heart and get away with it. Storey hesitates to label any of these tragic parody (2003: 329); all three of these quotations, however, are so close to their tragic originals and draw on such typical tragic motifs (greeting one’s homeland, the raising of the dead, oaths of vengeance) that it seems clear that Eupolis meant his audience to notice that his undead statesmen speak in language drawn from tragedy. Audience members who recognize the tragic originals of these parodies will be amused to find, for example, the great general Aristeides planning a revenge on those who have misled Athens that is presented as the equivalent of Medea’s revenge on Jason, and to see Miltiades invoke Marathon in place of the witch’s Hecate. Comic characters encounter tragedy in the underworld, then, both because tragedy is what one often finds when one journeys beyond the boundaries of

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reality and into the realms of mythology, and because the underworld itself featured so frequently in tragedy in the forms of katabasis, necromancy, ghosts, and resurrections. The underworld need not necessarily be marked as tragic; modern readers might associate katabasis, for example, more with epic than with tragedy. As we saw Antiphanes claim in his famous complaint about the comparative ease of writing tragedy, however, comedy liked to present itself as closer to reality than tragedy; when the comic poets take their characters beyond the real world of contemporary Athens, then, they have the option of drawing on this trope of marking supernatural places as belonging to the genre of tragedy. But why go to the underworld in the first place? In a period of only a dozen years, at least three comedies (Eupolis’ Demoi in perhaps 417 bce, Aristophanes’ Gerytades in 408/7 bce, and Aristophanes’ Frogs in 405 bce) portrayed a quest to the land of the dead to save the city of Athens. I would suggest that the reason for this is implicit already in Dicaeopolis’ famous claim in Acharnians (496–​500): μή μοι φθονήσητ’, ἄνδρες οἱ θεώμενοι, εἰ πτωχὸς ὢν ἔπειτ’ ἐν Ἀθηναίοις λέγειν μέλλω περὶ τῆς πόλεως, τρυγῳδίαν ποιῶν. τὸ γὰρ δίκαιον οἶδε καὶ τρυγῳδία. Don’t begrudge me, men of the audience, if though a beggar I intend to speak about the city among Athenians, while performing a trugedy: for trugedy, too, knows what is just. The implicit assumption behind Dicaeopolis’ insistence that comedy as well is entitled to proclaim what is just to the city is that tragedy already occupies the position of adviser to the people of Athens. If tragedy, then, is the genre with the established right to advise the city on affairs of state, comedy can claim the same right by journeying directly into the tragic realm of the underworld and becoming trugedy, Aristophanes’ hybrid of comic and tragic forms. Comic poets, I would suggest, do not send their characters to the underworld to seek advice and then have them coincidentally encounter tragedy; they send their characters to the underworld to seek advice because the underworld can be presented as tragic, and tragedy, as Dicaeopolis suggests, already knows what justice is. The entire plot of Frogs enacts a joke about tragedy’s claim to advise the city: Dionysus goes to the underworld thinking that the purpose of tragedy is to please its audience, but over the course of his exposure to Euripides and Aeschylus he becomes convinced that the purpose of tragedy is to save the city of Athens. This is not an abrupt, unmotivated shift in the course of the play but a subtle mockery of tragedy’s civic pretensions.

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The remaining fragments of Gerytades shed little further light on the play. F 157 refers to “shitting all over” something (καταχέσονται); this may conceivably allude to the infamous (though perhaps wholly fictional) incident in which Cinesias lost control of his bowels during a choral performance.31 Fragments 169, 170, and 171 combine to suggest an agon: 169 and 170 are both in iambic tetrameters, 171 in anapestic tetrameters, suggesting that an agon may have been featured in which one character spoke in iambs, the other in anapests, a structure familiar from several other plays; fragments 170 and 171 in particular both look argumentative.32 F 170 appears to have been spoken by a god, or perhaps a personification of poetry (the speaker distinguishes himself from “mortals”), though the meaning is quite obscure. None of our fragments suggest a parabasis, though this is certainly not evidence against the play having had one.

One from Each Art: The Festival Encapsulated in Gerytades It is striking that at an assembly of the poets of Athens in which one representative was chosen for “each kind of poetry” (ἕνα † δ᾽ ἀφ’ ἑκάστης τῆς τέχνης), three poets were chosen representing only the three major genres of poetry performed at the City Dionysia. Tragedy, comedy, and dithyramb were certainly not the only varieties of poetry being composed at Athens; in selecting these three genres, Aristophanes suggests that the festival in which he himself presented his plays should be in some sense equated with the whole art of poetry in the city of Athens. In selecting three poets he could mock as barely able to survive by their art, Aristophanes creates an opportunity to distinguish himself from a wide spectrum of rivals, both actual competitors (comedians) and purely literary rivals (tragedians and dithyrambists). By including Sannyrion, Aristophanes reframes his usual approach to portraying comedy and tragedy. When Dicaeopolis discusses the festivals of Dionysus, he refers to tragic poets by name, but describes the events of Aristophanes’ Babylonioi as if they really happened. When Dicaeopolis wants to perform a tragedy, he does so explicitly, and so does Euripides in Women at the Thesmophoria; but when Bdelycleon in Wasps or Euripides himself in Women at the Thesmophoria want to stage comedies, their generic status is left implicit and unspoken. The presence of Sannyrion alongside Cinesias and Meletus in Gerytades, then, creates the impression that Aristophanes stands outside even the boundaries of comedy: by using the devices of tragic culture comedy normally employs to engage with tragedy 31. Σ Frogs 366; see above. 32. Perusino 1968: 103.

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and applying them to comedy as well, Aristophanes ironically draws on the conventions of comedy to stake out a position beyond comedy. By labeling Sannyrion a representative of the trugic choruses, Aristophanes makes this an even bolder claim: that he stands in a position to criticize comedy even in its aspect as the genre-​absorbing trugedy. If my reconstruction of Gerytades has necessarily been speculative, several points can nevertheless be made with some certainty: Sannyrion, Meletus, and Cinesias were depicted as hungry poets on a mission to Hades; whatever the purpose of their mission, food and eating were developed as prominent motifs of the journey; poetry, especially tragedy, was discussed by the characters of the play both in technical language and according to the sort of physical metaphors familiar from other comedies. The lack of evidence for discussion of dithyramb likely reflects the bias of our sources; Aristophanes would not have included Cinesias if he had no intention of mocking dithyramb. Nevertheless, tragedy, as we have seen, is the genre best suited to serve as a foil for comedy, and may therefore have come in for the lion’s share of mockery. As in other plays, Aristophanes combines the portrayal of tragic culture in Gerytades with parody of tragedy: characters based on real poets discuss tragic poetry and performance, but in a tragic underworld setting where the denizens speak, as elsewhere in underworld comedies, in tragic quotations. Aristophanes’ depiction of the poets’ assembly suggests that the authors whose works are performed at the City Dionysia form a sort of city unto themselves; the tribes of this city are tragedy, dithyramb, and comedy, the only constituencies, it seems, entitled to elect representatives for an embassy to another poetic state, the city of dead poets. By including Sannyrion as part of the delegation, Aristophanes positions himself not as one comic poet speaking on behalf of comedy as a whole, but as a poet beyond all generic categorization who can comment on tragedy, dithyramb, and comedy alike. Aristophanes does not elect himself the representative of the trugic choruses; he positions himself in a sublime role beyond genre itself. At the end of his career, Aristophanes would again seek to encapsulate the City Dionysia and its three types of poets in a single comedy; but, as we shall now see, the results in Wealth are rather different.

Part II: Wealth Comedy, Tragedy, Dithyramb, and Satyr Play: Encapsulating the Dionysiac Festival in the Fourth Century In the first chapter of this book I argued that most of the devices and tropes of comedy’s culture of tragedy extend from the fifth century into the

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fourth: fourth-​century comic poets continue to portray characters discussing tragedy, surpass their fifth-​century predecessors in the depiction of fandom, and on at least one occasion bring a tragic poet as a character onto the comic stage. One element of tragic culture not attested among the fragments of fourth-​century comedy is the practice of referring to the dramatic festivals. Aristophanes’ Wealth, however, allows us to see one way a fourth-​century comedy could engage with the Dionysiac festival context where comedies were performed. In Wealth, I will argue, Aristophanes stages two generically marked confrontations within two isolated scenes of the play: the parodos of Wealth takes the form of a parody of a dithyramb by Philoxenus; the agon pits representatives of comedy against a personification, Poverty, who is explicitly presented as a figure from tragedy. Like Gerytades, Wealth thus makes an effort to encapsulate the entire Dionysiac festival program within itself by referring to all three of the genres of dithyramb, tragedy, and comedy. There is, furthermore, a possibility that satyr play may also have been included this time in Aristophanes’ miniaturization of the festival, in the form of a series of allusions to Sophocles’ satyr play Inachus. This is a much subtler approach to encapsulating the festival than Aristophanes had previously employed in Gerytades: Wealth contains no poet characters, relatively little portrayal of tragic or dithyrambic culture, almost no disruption of the mimetic pretense of the play. This kind of subtle, implicit engagement with the festival context would be almost impossible to detect in a fragmentary play; Wealth, presented in 388 bce, thus provides a crucial check on the impression produced by the later comic fragments that the poets of the fourth century did not acknowledge in their comedies the festivals of Dionysus where comedy was performed.33

The Δρᾶμα of Philoxenus: Dithyramb in the Parodos of Wealth The opening scene of Wealth has Chremylus and his slave Carion encounter the god Wealth in accordance with a prophecy Chremylus received from the Delphic oracle. They persuade Wealth to let them cure his blindness so that good fortune may be distributed equitably among good citizens, contrary to Zeus’ wish (1–​ 252). Carion is dispatched to fetch Chremylus’ farmer friends so that they can help with the cure (221–​29); he quickly returns leading the chorus of old farmers (253), though they are never of any particular assistance and indeed largely fade from our text after the parodos.

33. Earlier in his career, Aristophanes had composed another comedy called Wealth, which was evidently performed in 409/​8 bce. Sommerstein has conclusively demonstrated, however, that the Wealth we possess was a new play, rather than a revision of the earlier Wealth (2001: 28–​33).

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The chorus does give, however, a rousing opening number quite unlike any other parodos in extant Greek drama.34 Things begin ordinarily enough: Carion heralds their arrival in iambic tetrameters (253–​56) and they enter speaking the same meter35; after a certain amount of argumentative banter he finally reveals their new situation, and the chorus are overjoyed (257–​89). At this point, however, the parodos takes a new turn: Carion announces his intention to lead the chorus in a dance of celebration, and rather unexpectedly, this takes the form of a singing competition between Carion and the chorus parodying a contemporary dithyramb, the Cyclops (or Galatea) of Philoxenus.36 Philoxenus’ dithyramb seems to have been a somewhat radical innovation in the genre. In citing passages from Philoxenus’ Cyclops that Aristophanes has parodied here, the scholiasts call the poem a δρᾶμα, refer to entrances and exits, and describe the Cyclops as played by an actor.37 The Suda refers to Pindar’s dithyrambs as δράματα (π1617), and there are a handful of references to δράματα by Arion,38 but Philoxenus’ Cyclops or Galatea is the only dithyramb that in our evidence is consistently described with dramatic terminology, the only dithyramb that is ever described as having entrances, exits, or actors. At one point the scholiast seems unsure what sort of poet Philoxenus even was (Σ Ar. Plut. 290): Φιλόξενον τὸν διθυραμβοποιὸν (ἢ τραγῳδοδιδάσκαλον) διασύρει He is ridiculing Philoxenus the dithyrambist (or tragedian?). In the previous chapter, I  suggested that Aristophanes’ portrayal of Euripides in Women at the Thesmophoria was motivated by recognition of the tragedian’s increasing “transgression” of the boundaries between comedy and tragedy; here the state of our text of Philoxenus (and of our knowledge of dithyramb generally) puts us on shakier ground, but it seems likely that Aristophanes has singled

34. Reckford 1987: 359 describes the parodos as a burst of Dionysiac, Old Comic energy (recalling the animal choruses of early comedy) that is abruptly cut off as the play returns to a Middle Comic mode; see also the similar comments of Sfyroeras 1995: 251–​52. For animal choruses, see Sifakis 1971; Rothwell 2007. 35.  Also the meter of the parodos (or at least its opening lines) in Wasps, Lysistrata, and Assemblywomen. 36. For Philoxenus’ Cyclops and its parody in Wealth, see Holzinger 1940: ad 290–​315; Sutton 1983: 73–​75; Zimmermann 1984: 58–​63; Kugelmeier 1996: 255–​62; Hordern 1999; Sommerstein 2001: ad 290–​321; Torchio 2001: ad 290–​95; Rosen 2007: 155–​59; Fongoni 2014: 97–​115. 37. Σ Ar. Plut. 290, 296. Cf. Zenobius Cent. 5.45 (who also calls Philoxenus’ dithyramb a δρᾶμα, and seems to describe a scene of dialogue), and see Sutton 1983; Fongoni 2014: 101. 38. See Sutton 1983: 33, 73.

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the Cyclops out for parody in part because Philoxenus was beginning to blur the boundary between dithyramb and drama. That it was the line particularly between dithyramb and comic drama that Philoxenus had transgressed is suggested by Aristotle’s discussion of the Cyclops in his Poetics (1448a). Just as tragedy shows men better and comedy worse than they are, Aristotle explains, so other genres of poetry can show better or worse men; despite certain textual difficulties in this passage, it is clear that among the various examples he cites Aristotle presents Philoxenus’ Cyclops as a poem that depicts the worse type of characters, a typology that aligns Cyclops with comedy.39 Aristophanes would not have parodied the poem so extensively if he had not been able to rely on his audience, or at least some portion of it, to recognize his distortion of Philoxenus’ work; as with the comic poets’ parodies of tragedy, Aristophanes’ parody of Cyclops here can be fully appreciated only by audience members who recognize the original text, and several critics have concluded that the dithyramb must have been performed or even premiered at Athens.40 Carion’s song takes the form of a contest between himself and the chorus to control the very song that they are performing.41 As a single performer leading a dancing chorus, he takes on the position of ἐξάρχων, recreating the structure of a dithyrambic presentation. Carion begins by assigning himself the role of Polyphemus and the chorus that of his sheep (290–​95): καὶ μὴν ἐγὼ βουλήσομαι—​θρεττανελο—​τὸν Κύκλωπα μιμούμενος καὶ τοῖν ποδοῖν ὡδὶ παρενσαλεύων ὑμᾶς ἄγειν. ἀλλ’ εἶα, τέκεα, θαμίν’ ἐπαναβοῶντες βληχωμένων τε προβατίων αἰγῶν τε κιναβρώντων μέλη ἕπεσθ’ ἀπεψωλημένοι· τράγοι δ’ ἀκρατιεῖσθε. And now I wish—​threttanelo!—​to imitate the Cyclops and, swinging my feet to and fro like this, to lead you in the dance. But come on, children, shout and shout again the songs of bleating sheep and smelly goats and follow with your cocks skinned—​for you’re going to eat the goat’s breakfast!

39.  See Zimmermann 1984:  59; Kugelmeier 1996:  258; Hordern 1999:  448–​ 50; Rosen 2007: 155–​59; Fongoni 2014: 102–​3; Power 2014: 252. 40. Hordern 1999: 445; Power 2014: 238. 41. On the parodos of Wealth as a singing contest, see Merkelbach 1956: 102; Zimmermann 1984: 168.

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Carion attempts to seize control of the performance at its outset by distributing parts and directing the action. He provides musical accompaniment of a sort with his onomatopoetic imitation of the sound of a lyre, which the scholiasts identify as a reference to Philoxenus’ staging of Polyphemus performing on a lyre.42 He concludes his first entry in the song with an obscene joke: to “eat a goat’s breakfast” meant to fellate oneself, a particularly disgraceful sexual act to be accused of performing.43 The chorus, however, respond with a rather different vision of the performance (296–​301): ἡμεῖς δέ γ’ αὖ ζητήσομεν—​θρεττανελο—​τὸν Κύκλωπα βληχώμενοι, σὲ τουτονὶ πεινῶντα καταλαβόντες, πήραν ἔχοντα λάχανά τ’ ἄγρια δροσερά, κραιπαλῶντα, ἡγούμενον τοῖς προβατίοις, εἰκῇ δὲ καταδαρθόντα που, μέγαν λαβόντες ἡμμένον σφηκίσκον ἐκτυφλῶσαι. But we in turn will try—​threttanelo!—​while we bleat to catch you as the Cyclops, still hungry, holding a sack of damp wild greens, and hung over to boot! Then while you happen to take a nap while leading your sheep, we’ll pick up a great half-​burnt stake and blind you! They make themselves the stalwart companions of Odysseus and let Carion keep the role of Cyclops; they then recast the Homeric tale so that the Cyclops is caught and blinded having drunk too much wine but without having eaten any of the humans.44 They continue to quote Philoxenus’ dithyramb,45 even as they depart from his version of the story, and respond to Carion’s comic obscenity with an equally comic vision of a beggarly Cyclops passing out drunk while attempting to lead out his flocks. Athenaeus cites an account of the fourth-​century philosopher Phaenias of Eresus claiming that Philoxenus wrote his Cyclops as an allegory on his relationship

42. Holzinger 1940: ad 290; Zimmermann 1984: 60 and 2008: 125–​26; Kugelmeier 1996: 258; Sommerstein 2001: ad 290; Torchio 2001: ad 290; Power 2014. 43. See Bierl 1994: 38–​39; Möllendorff 1995: 213–​4 for this song as a grotesque (in the Bakhtinian sense) dance. On the meaning of the “goat’s breakfast” see Sommerstein 2001: ad 295. 44. The chorus gives a highly compressed but perfectly comprehensible revision of the standard Cyclops myth; see Sommerstein 2001: ad 297, who correctly concludes there is no reason to emend here. 45. Wealth 298 = Philoxenus F 820 PMG.

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with the Sicilian tyrant Dionysius and a mutual love interest named Galatea (Phaen. F 13 Wehrli = Ath. 1.6e–7a); the scholia to this scene in Aristophanes’ Wealth tell the same tale.46 Whatever the truth of the love-​intrigue narrative these sources provide, it remains plausible that the dithyramb did use—​or was perceived as using—​mythological allegory to depict Dionysius’ court.47 If this is the case, then Aristophanes’ next move takes on much deeper significance: the singing contest continues with a comic version of a second episode from Odysseus’ narrative in the Odyssey, the encounter with Circe, in which the myth is made into an allegory against a contemporary Athenian. Aristophanes’ miniature dithyramb would thus outdo Philoxenus in two ways: first, by a parody of Philoxenus’ own poetry; and second, by stealing Philoxenus’ allegorical method to create a hilariously obscene attack on Philonides, a contemporary Athenian already ridiculed in this comedy.48 This second half of the song preserves the structure of the first: Carion assigns roles to himself and the chorus, putting himself in charge as one of the supernatural opponents faced by Odysseus in the tale of his adventures he relates to the Phaeacians, this time Circe; he again depicts the chorus as animals, this time Odysseus’ men made into pigs; he presents another obscene take on the Homeric myth, again referring to taboo sexual practices (this time, scatophagy). The chorus respond with a renegotiation of roles (they will again play the human version of Odysseus’ companions), and again threaten Carion with violence. When Carion and the chorus present their performance as a struggle for control of the performance itself, they recreate in miniature the struggles for control over the plot of a play within the play itself that structured many of Aristophanes’ earlier comedies. Knights, for example, begins with a contest over who will be able to summon a chorus49; we have already seen how Wasps is structured as a contest between Philocleon and Bdelycleon over the generic influences within their own play as well as over control of the stage; in Birds, Peisthetaerus begins his comedy anew when he seizes control of the chorus, trains them to obey him, and has them present a revised vision of reality in accordance with his will, displacing the

46.  See Sutton 1983:  73–​74; Hordern 1999; Rosen 2007:  155–​59; Power 2014:  253; Fongoni 2014: 97–​99. 47. Cf. Fongoni 2014: 99 n. 2: “It is very interesting to note how the dithyramb of Philoxenus becomes a political tool in the same manner as comedy, the genre to which it is assimilated in Aristotle’s Poetics.” 48. Di Marco 1994 argues that the Circe half of the song parodies Aeschylus’ satyr play Circe, but the argument is unpersuasive. 49. See esp. 240–​57.

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authority of the tragic Tereus50; Women at the Thesmophoria, as we saw, presents Euripides attempting to avoid the comedy he’s been written into with a series of failed tragedies, culminating in his admission of defeat and his forced presentation of the comedy he was destined to perform. In all of these plays, characters and choruses vie to control the distribution of parts, to direct the action on the stage, to command entrances and exits. In the parodos of Wealth, Aristophanes presents the same process in miniature, as Carion and the farmers debate who will play which role, what actions they will perform, and what the comic significance of those actions will be. Repeatedly in the course of this negotiation Carion and the chorus employ the verb μιμεῖσθαι.51 Carion begins the song contest with the proclamation that he will be “imitating the Cyclops” (290–​91: τὸν Κύκλωπα /​μιμούμενος).52 He opens the second half of the song by declaring, “I will imitate Circe” (302–​6: τὴν Κίρκην … μιμήσομαι); the chorus respond that instead of pigs they will be “imitating the comrades [sc. of Odysseus]” (310–​12: τοὺς ἑταίρους … μιμούμενοι). With Agathon’s reference to mimesis in Women at the Thesmophoria there was room for doubt as to whether this term had yet acquired any of the technical character it would assume in later philosophical discourse; by the time of Wealth’s performance in 388 bce, it is considerably more probable that Aristophanes’ use of this term reflects contemporary discussions of the nature of art and its relationship to reality. Carion and the chorus’ repeated claims to “imitate” the roles they perform call attention to their status as performers: even within the play, the Cyclops dance is a performance. The song is thus differentiated from the rest of the play: Carion claims to begin the dance spontaneously as a display of his joy, but it actually takes the form of a carefully structured, balanced, even schematic performance. In earlier plays Aristophanes presented entire comedies as if they were being improvised before the audience’s very eyes, despite all the evidence of meter, costume, music, dance, allusion, rhetoric to the contrary; here he presents this process in miniature, calling attention to the performance’s artificiality even as the performers insist on its spontaneity.

50.  In the course of the agon of Birds, Peisthetaerus explains his revisionist version of the birds’ history and they agree to follow him; they ask him to “teach” them (548: διδάσκειν) and “arrange” them (636: τάσσειν), and then perform a song in which they repeat his teachings. 51. Noted by Di Marco 1994: 129; Kugelmeier 1996: 260; Torchio 2001: ad 291. 52. If “Cyclops” was the title of Philoxenus’ dithyramb in antiquity, then Carion’s expression here would be a precise parallel to Mnesilochus’ proclamation at Thesmo. 850 (τὴν καινὴν Ἑλένην μιμήσομαι), where he gives both the title of the play and the character whose role he will perform; this would make Carion’s words an even more explicit signal that the parados song is to be understood as a set piece. See Fongoni 2014: 97 for the question of the poem’s title.

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Aristophanes thus gives us a comic rebuttal to a dithyramb that strayed too far into the territory of drama, separated off from the rest of Wealth as a highly marked performance. Philoxenus attempted to borrow elements of drama in his dithyramb Cyclops; Aristotle’s comments on the poem and the testimonia portraying it as a satire of the tyrant Dionysius suggest that comedy, in particular, provided the model for Philoxenus’ generic hybrid. Timothy Power has recently argued that Philoxenus’ Cyclops was also a parody of Timotheus’ Cyclops, and that it mimicked contemporary citharodic performance by depicting Polyphemus playing the cithara (2014); whether the audience members of Aristophanes’ Wealth understood Philoxenus’ Cyclops as satire of Dionysius, parody of Timotheus, or simply dramatic dithyramb, they could recognize Aristophanes’ parody of Philoxenus as an effort to cap a dithyramb that borrowed heavily from comedy. Dithyramb is then left behind, and the play returns to the ordinary fictional world of the comic plot. At least, that is, until tragedy arrives.

A Fury out of Tragedy: The Agon of Wealth as Generic Contest Following a lost choral interlude, Chremylus discusses his discovery of Wealth with his neighbor Blepsidemus (322–​414). Just as Chremylus is preparing to depart for the Asclepeion, however, a terrifying figure arrives to harangue the two Athenians:  Πενία, the personification Poverty. A  sort of agon ensues in which Poverty argues that she is better for mankind than Wealth would be, while Chremylus defends his plan to restore Wealth to the general populace.53 Ultimately unable to defeat Poverty’s sophistic arguments with logic, Chremylus and Blepsidemus drive her violently from the stage. Like Carion and the chorus’ song in the parodos, this agon is unattached to the rest of the play: Poverty’s arrival is wholly unexpected, and neither she nor her arguments are ever mentioned again in the play.54 Like the parodos, this agon is also, beneath the surface of the debate, figured as a generic contest; in this case, instead of dithyramb transformed and overcome by comedy, we have comedy openly pitted against tragedy.

53.  The debate between Poverty and Chremylus is metrically distinct from the surrounding scenes but (like that of Assemblywomen) lacks the full formal arrangement of fifth-​century agones. 54. Cf. Russo 1994: 229, though see Flashar 1967 for an argument against the agon’s disconnection from the rest of the play. It is, of course, thematically relevant; but it is unusual for the agon to be quite so disconnected from the plot of the play. Even in Clouds the debate between the two Arguments is prepared for in advance, and a second agon (likely the primary agon of the original version of the play) pits Strepsiades against his son and motivates the action of the remainder of the play.

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Poverty on her arrival is explicitly identified as a tragic figure. Chremylus, startled by her sudden epiphany, wonders who she is, and Blepsidemus attempts an answer (422–​24): (Χρεμύλος) σὺ δ’ εἶ τίς γραῦς γὰρ εἶναί μοι δοκεῖς. (Βλεψίδημος) ἴσως Ἐρινύς ἐστιν ἐκ τραγῳδίας· βλέπει γέ τοι μανικόν τι καὶ τραγῳδικόν. (Chremylus) Who are you, old woman? For you look like an old woman to me. (Blepsidemus) Perhaps she’s a Fury out of tragedy, ’cause let me tell you she’s got that crazy, tragic look in her eye! Blepsidemus suggests that she is a Fury who’s wandered in from some tragedy; in other words, a character like Tereus in Birds or Echo in Women at the Thesmophoria, one who’s escaped from tragedy into the comedy currently being staged.55 In describing her expression as “tragic,” he reveals to us that she must have worn a markedly tragic mask.56 Chremylus objects that she isn’t carrying torches (425: ἀλλ’ οὐκ ἔχει γὰρ δᾷδας), and Blepsidemus predicts that she’ll regret it: as the scholiast explains, he means that without her torches she will not be sufficiently frightening to scare them away, as tragic Fury are supposed to do. Blepsidemus’ and Chremylus’ ability to recognize Poverty as a tragic Fury and to comment on the degree to which her behavior conforms to a tragic model depends on their familiarity with tragic culture. As in Wasps, where Philocleon’s potential to become a tragic character threatened to derail the comedy, so here the tragic Poverty’s arrival interrupts the forward movement of the comic plot; she appears at first, as Chremylus attempts to refute her with logical argumentation, to threaten the utopian trajectory of the play altogether. When logic fails him, Chremylus resorts to mockery, and it is here that their confrontation is revealed as one particularly between comedy and tragedy (555–​61): (Χρεμύλος) ὡς μακαρίτην, ὦ Δάματερ, τὸν βίον αὐτοῦ κατέλεξας, εἰ φεισάμενος καὶ μοχθήσας καταλείψει μηδὲ ταφῆναι.

55.  See my discussion of Echo in Chapter  4. The Choregoi Vase, which depicts a puzzled-​ looking figure in tragic costume labeled “Aegisthus” next to a set of characters in comic costumes, may show another such figure; see Taplin 1993 and Slater 2002: 175–​76. 56. Pace Revermann 2006a: 286–​87; his argument that Furies in tragedy wore the masks of beautiful women does not accord with Aesch. Eum. 48–​56. For Poverty’s appearance here, see Sfyroeras 1995: 242–​45; Sommerstein 2001: ad 422; Torchio 2001: ad 423–​24.

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(Πενία) σκώπτειν πειρᾷ καὶ κωμῳδεῖν τοῦ σπουδάζειν ἀμελήσας, οὐ γιγνώσκων ὅτι τοῦ Πλούτου παρέχω βελτίονας ἄνδρας καὶ τὴν γνώμην καὶ τὴν ἰδέαν. παρὰ τῷ μὲν γὰρ ποδαγρῶντες καὶ γαστρώδεις καὶ παχύκνημοι καὶ πίονές εἰσιν ἀσελγῶς, παρ’ ἐμοὶ δ’ ἰσχνοὶ καὶ σφηκώδεις καὶ τοῖς ἐχθροῖς ἀνιαροί. (Chr emylus) Oh, how blessed, by Demeter, the man’s life you’ve described, who scrimps and labors and doesn’t leave enough behind to cover his own funeral! (Poverty) You keep trying to mock and make comedy, neglecting to be serious, not knowing that I provide better men than Wealth, both in mind and body. His companions are gouty and pot-​bellied and thick-​legged and outrageously fat, but mine are lean and wasp-​ waisted and grievous to their enemies. When Chremylus switches from argument to sarcasm, Poverty describes this shift in marked generic terms. We saw in our examination of Peace that σκώπτειν is a generically loaded word for the activity of participating in a comedy.57 The verb κωμῳδεῖν is simply a technical term for the work of a comic poet: of the five other times it appears in Aristophanes, all five are in parabatic choral passages describing the action of Aristophanes himself.58 Poverty then goes on to describe the sorts of men she creates, by contrast to the sort created by Wealth. Wealth’s associates are “pot-​bellied and thick-​ legged and outrageously fat”; this is a vivid description of the costume worn by characters in comedy, which included padded limbs, belly, and buttocks to create an absurdly fat appearance.59 Chremylus and Blepsidemus stand before her wearing the costume she describes. By contrast, Poverty’s supporters are “skinny and wasp-​shaped and vexing to their enemies.” Poverty herself, described at her entrance as likely to have come from some tragedy, is undoubtedly in tragic costume, lacking the padding worn by Blepsidemus and Chremylus. Her reference here to the opposition between fat and skinny individuals calls attention to this generic difference, which would already have been strikingly apparent to an audience watching this confrontation unfold on stage. The Choregoi Vase, with its depiction of an encounter between

57. See Chapter 3, and cf. Torchio 2001: ad 557. 58. Ach. 631 and 655, Wasps 1026, Peace 751, Frogs 368. 59.  On the comic costume, see Pickard-​Cambridge 1968; Stone 1981; Foley 2000; Froning 2002, Piqueux 2006a, 2006b; Rusten 2011: 423–​33.

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tragic and comic performers, provides a clear example of how striking the juxtaposition of characters in tragic and comic costume together on stage would have been.60 Chremylus continues to mock Poverty’s arguments until he delivers in a sort of shared pnigos the final blow (600): οὐ γὰρ πείσεις, οὐδ’ ἢν πείσῃς. For you won’t persuade us, not even if you persuade us. The contest has been an impossible one for Poverty all along: tragedy cannot triumph on the comic stage, no matter how attractive its qualities might ordinarily appear. Poverty responds with a quotation from Aristophanes’ favorite tragedy, Euripides’ Telephus (601 = Eur. Tel. F 713): ὦ πόλις Ἄργους, κλύεθ’ οἷα λέγει. O City of Argos, hearken to what he says! This is moreover a quotation Aristophanes had already used, decades earlier, in Knights (813). As Chremylus and Blepsidemus drive her forcefully from the stage, Poverty continues to speak tragic language; our comic heroes reply with colloquial (i.e., comic) insults. Thus we have once again a miniaturization of the generic play of Aristophanes’ earlier comedies. In the parodos, we saw the parody and defeat of a dithyramb that went too far in imitating drama; here in the agon, we see comedy and tragedy embodied in characters wearing costumes appropriate to their dramatic genre, each battling it out with the other on their own terms. Chremylus and Blepsidemus, moreover, recognize Poverty as tragic because of their participation in tragic culture. Like any comic confrontation between genres, this one was rigged from the start: tragedy can exercise its art as perfectly as it likes, but it simply has no power on the comic stage. Chremylus’ victory, often felt by commentators to be somewhat unsatisfactory,61 is in a sense Aristophanes’ admission of the rigged nature of these contests:  the

60.  On these generic elements in the confrontation between Chremylus and Poverty, see Cantarella 1965; Groton 1990–​ 91; Bierl 1994:  42; Sfyroeras 1995:  241–​ 47; Revermann 2006a: 284–​86, esp. n. 62 (who compares Poverty’s sudden entrance and disruption of the plot to the deus ex machina of tragedy). 61. E.g., Flashar 1967; Cartledge 1990: 68–​69; Möllendorff 1995: 218–​19; Sfyroeras 1995: 254; Revermann 2006a: 285.

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comic side of the agon wins by employing tools unique to comedy, mockery and onstage violence. On the comic stage itself, such tools give comedy the upper hand against tragedy, but whether their availability truly makes comedy the superior genre is left as doubtful as the ostensible superiority of Chremylus’ arguments to Poverty’s. Within the comedy, we want Chremylus’ quest for comic abundance to succeed; but thoughtful members of the audience may also leave the theater with Poverty’s—​and thus, tragedy’s—​words ringing in their ears.62

How Sweet It Is: Satyr Play in the Utopia of Wealth? After Poverty is driven from the land, Chremylus carries out his plan to rejuvenate Wealth, and his household becomes the first to enter the new utopia (621–​ 801). Carion comes out of the house to describe the fantastic abundance within (802–​7): ὡς ἡδὺ πράττειν, ὦνδρές, ἐστ’ εὐδαιμόνως, καὶ ταῦτα μηδὲν ἐξενεγκόντ’ οἴκοθεν. ἡμῖν γὰρ ἀγαθῶν σωρὸς εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν ἐπεισπέπαικεν οὐδὲν ἠδικηκόσιν. ἡ μὲν σιπύη μεστή ’στι λευκῶν ἀλφίτων, οἱ δ’ ἀμφορῆς οἴνου μέλανος ἀνθοσμίου … How sweet it is, men, to be doing well, and without having to pay for it with anything out of the house! For a heap of good things has burst into our house—​and we didn’t even commit any crimes! Our meal tub is full of white barley, our jars full of dark, fragrant wine… . He goes on to recount a number of miracles common to comic utopias. The scholia to this passage, however, tell us that this description of the abundance provided by Wealth is modeled on a scene from the satyr play Inachus, by Sophocles (Σ Ar. Plut. 807): ταῦτα δὲ παρὰ τὰ ἐν Ἰνάχῳ Σοφοκλέους, ὅτε τοῦ Διὸς εἰσελθόντος πάντα μεστὰ ἀγαθῶν ἐγένετο.

62. The question of the validity of Poverty’s arguments and the audience’s reaction to her defeat by Chremylus is central to the debate between ironic and utopian readings of this play. For this debate, see Süss 1954; Flashar 1967; Heberlein 1981; Konstan and Dillon 1981; Sommerstein 1984 and 2001: 13–​20 (where his original views are substantially altered); Olson 1989 and 1990;

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These things are modeled on those in Sophocles’ Inachus, because when Zeus came into the house everything became filled with good things. The scholia also mention specifically the presence of white barley (προύχει δὲ τὰ λευκὰ τῶν ἀλφίτων). It is possible that Aristophanes prepared at least some audience members for this reference by earlier calling Wealth Πλούτων instead of the usual Πλοῦτος, an unusual variation that the scholiasts point out was used twice in Sophocles’ Inachus (727, with Σ ad loc.).63 For those who observed this reminiscence, the presence of Sophocles’ Inachus would strike an ominous note: Zeus’ arrival at Inachus’ house brought a sudden abundance, but was preceded by Zeus raping Inachus’ daughter Io and immediately followed by Io’s transformation into a cow and forced expulsion from the household. Audience members who held the Inachus in mind would thus expect that this new utopia in Wealth was likewise a false one, an expectation prepared by the arguments of the demon Poverty. The arrival of Hermes in Wealth shortly after this is paralleled by his appearance in Sophocles’ Inachus, where he evidently slew the guardian Argus so that Zeus could resume his pursuit of Io. In Wealth, however, both Hermes and the Priest of Zeus who enters just after him are quickly persuaded to join Chremylus’ household; any lingering tension is finally relieved at the end of the play when the Priest is informed that Zeus is already inside (1189–​90). Whether this means that Wealth is the new Zeus, or that Zeus has at some point entered the house without the audience’s knowledge, the threat that Zeus might cause anything like the trouble he brought about in Sophocles’ play is dispelled.64 In Gerytades, we saw in our fragments no hint of a reference to satyr play, and this is unsurprising: there the focus was on the poets themselves, rather than the genres of poetry, and the same poets composed both tragedy and satyr play; if anything needed to be said about satyr play in Gerytades, it could be said to Meletus the tragedian. In Wealth, however, the focus is on the genres of the festival, not the poets: dithyramb is mocked by a chorus and chorus leader performing a dithyrambic parody without Philoxenus’ name ever being mentioned; comedy and tragedy are pitted against each other in the form of representative characters

Bowie 1993:  268–​91; Möllendorff 1995:  213–​19; Lévy 1997; McGlew 1997; Fiorentini 2005; Ruffell 2006; Zumbrunnen 2006. 63.  For Sophocles’ Inachus in this passage, see West 1984; Bowie 1993:  282; Sommerstein 2001: ad 802–​18; Torchio 2001: ad 806–​18. The fragments are 269–​96. 64. For the (debated) meaning of Chremylus’ statement that Zeus is already inside, see Olson 1990:  238 n.  50; Bowie 1993:  272 n.  32; Sommerstein 2001:  ad 1189–​90; Torchio 2001:  ad 1189–​90.

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speaking generically appropriate verses. Aristophanes may, therefore, have felt that there was room in his recreation of the Dionysiac festival for a moment devoted to satyr play. Although we can say nothing further about Aristophanes’ specific purposes in establishing his utopia as a recasting of a false satyr-​play utopia given how little we know about Sophocles’ play itself, the central point does seem clear: Sophocles provided a temporary utopia, a distraction heralding misfortune; Aristophanes reclaims utopias for comedy with a paradise that lasts.65

Πλοῦτος Διδάσκαλος: A Metatheatrical Moment Wealth is notable among Aristophanes’ plays for maintaining so thoroughly the pretense of the reality of the play’s action: there is almost no overt reference to masks or costumes, no mention of the crane or the ekkyklema, no direct address of the audience. In referring to Poverty’s tragic mask, for example, Blepsidemus simply says that she is displaying a “tragic expression”; by contrast, in Knights, the slave Demosthenes bluntly explains that the Paphlagonian isn’t wearing a portrait mask because the manufacturers of theatrical equipment were too afraid to build one (230–​33). There is one moment in Wealth, however, when the play’s status as a performance is openly recognized. When Wealth’s sight has been restored and he returns from the sanctuary of Asclepius, Chremylus’ wife suggests scattering welcoming gifts outside the house. Wealth himself objects on artistic grounds (794–​99)66: (Γυνή) εἶτ’ οὐχὶ δέξει δῆτα τὰ καταχύσματα; (Πλοῦτος) ἔνδον γε παρὰ τὴν ἑστίαν, ὥσπερ νόμος· ἔπειτα καὶ τὸν φόρτον ἐκφύγοιμεν ἄν. οὐ γὰρ πρεπῶδές ἐστι τῷ διδασκάλῳ ἰσχάδια καὶ τρωγάλια τοῖς θεωμένοις προβαλόντ’ ἐπὶ τούτοις εἶτ’ ἀναγκάζειν γελᾶν. (Wife) Then you won’t receive the welcome offerings? (Wealth) Inside, beside the hearth, as is the custom: that way we can avoid anything vulgar. For it is not fitting for a producer to toss out figs and nuts to the spectators and thus force them to laugh in return.

65. For a broader account of the relationship between comedy and satyr play, see Storey 2005; Bakola 2010: 81–​117; Shaw 2014. 66. On the metatheater in this scene, see Taaffe 1993: 136–​37; Russo 1994: 228; Torchio 2001: ad 796–​801.

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This is familiar territory for anyone in the audience who has watched Aristophanes’ career from the beginning. In Peace, Trygaeus decides to perform his own celebratory ritual inside his house, to “save the producer a sheep” (1022). In Wasps, the slaves reject the precise practice disavowed here in Wealth (58–​59): ἡμῖν γὰρ οὐκ ἔστ’ οὔτε κάρυ’ ἐκ φορμίδος δούλω διαρριπτοῦντε τοῖς θεωμένοις For we won’t have two slaves scattering nuts out of a basket to the spectators. Like his comic predecessors, Wealth rejects such displays as the work of lesser comedians; he is even more explicit than earlier mouthpiece characters were in explaining that it is the compulsion to laugh created by gifts to the audience that makes them unworthy of Aristophanes’ art. The audience should be led to laughter by the humor of the comedy, he explains, not obliged to it by a sort of debt to the producer. In a play with no parabasis and so little disruption of dramatic pretense, this is the only moment Aristophanes affords himself for criticism of his comic rivals, and even here, the rivals are only left implied. At the end of a long career of such rivalry, this is enough:  Aristophanes pitted comedy against tragedy in the agon and depicted comedy as superior, but here, as in Gerytades, he claims even among his fellow comedians to remain in a class of his own.

Conclusion Ἑρμῆς Ἐναγώνιος: The Festival Program in Gerytades and Wealth In the final scene of Wealth, the god Hermes comes to threaten Chremylus with Zeus’ wrath; Carion instead persuades him to join their cause. There is some discussion as to which cultic guise Hermes should adopt in their household, and they settle on having him enter as the god of festivals (1161–​65)67: (Ἑρμῆς) ἐναγώνιος τοίνυν ἔσομαι. καὶ τί ἔτ’ ἐρεῖς; Πλούτῳ γάρ ἐστι τοῦτο συμφορώτατον, ποιεῖν ἀγῶνας μουσικοὺς καὶ γυμνικούς.

67. See Allan 2004 on the role of Hermes in the play.

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(Καρίων) ὡς ἀγαθόν ἐστ’ ἐπωνυμίας πολλὰς ἔχειν. οὗτος γὰρ ἐξηύρηκεν αὑτῷ βιότιον. (Hermes) Well then I’ll be Hermes of the Contests. What’ll you say to that? For nothing goes better with Wealth than to hold contests of poetry and athletics. (Carion) How nice it is to have so many titles! This guy’s just found himself a job. This is a final reminder of Aristophanes’ project to encapsulate the Dionysiac festival within this play. Although the festival itself goes unmentioned, the audience cannot help but be reminded that they are themselves sitting at just such an ἀγῶν μουσικός. In both Gerytades and Wealth, the festival program thus provides a shaping structure for Aristophanes’ composition. The edge comedy has always had over its literary rivals, the other genres of the poetic festival, is its ability to consume these other genres within itself. Tragedy and dithyramb might borrow techniques from comedy or from one another and adapt them into their own form; comedy can put tragic and dithyrambic poets on stage, can have its characters produce and participate in tragedies and dithyrambs within a comic plot. By incorporating the whole festival into Gerytades and Wealth, Aristophanes creates a dramatic instantiation of his genre’s superiority: comedy, he shows us, can do more than just parody lines or scenes or musical innovations from the other genres of the festival; it can swallow the festival whole. There is, however, a crucial difference between Gerytades and Wealth:  in Gerytades, the three genres of the festival provide the plot and characters of the play; in Wealth, the miniature festival appears in isolated scenes with, at most, thematic bearing on the comedy, but without any effect on the overall plot. In Gerytades, Aristophanes was able to equate poetry itself with the festival in which his own plays were performed; by encompassing this whole festival within the play, including an inferior representative of his own genre of comedy, Aristophanes sets himself at the pinnacle of poetic creation. If comedy can absorb the other genres of the festival, Aristophanic comedy proves capable of absorbing the rest of comic poetry as well.68 In Wealth, Aristophanes attempts something different. The poets of Middle Comedy, as we have seen, would continue to present tragic culture in their plays, 68.  See also my argument in Chapter  3 that the discussion of drinking in Wasps allowed Aristophanes to co-​opt Cratinus’ wine-​soaked poetics.

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to bring tragic poets as characters into their plays, to parody tragic plots and language; Aristophanes himself would go on to parody Euripides’ Aeolus in his Aiolosikon even after Wealth. In such plays as Gerytades and Birds, Aristophanes showed himself capable of applying to dithyramb the same methods of engagement he and other poets had used with tragedy, by combining parody of dithyrambic poetry with depictions of the cultural position of the dithyrambic poets themselves within Athens. In Wealth we see instead these separate set pieces in the parodos’ parody of Philoxenus, the agon’s contest between comic and tragic figures, and Carion’s allusions to Sophocles’ Inachus in his description of the new utopia. Together these references constitute a recreation or encapsulation of the program of the City Dionysia, but in a muted, subtle mode: Philoxenus and Sophocles are never named, unlike in many of Aristophanes’ extended parodies of Aeschylus or Euripides in his earlier plays, and Poverty is labeled tragic without reference to any specific tragedy, instead of being identified as a character from a particular tragic text as Tereus was in Birds or Echo in Women at the Thesmophoria. We needn’t read this new play as the sad decline or fond farewell of an aging poet; this is a bold experiment meeting the increased demand for naturalism and illusion evidently made by fourth-​century audiences with the generic play that energized not only Aristophanes but much of Old Comedy in the latter years of the fifth century.69 “The beautiful Aristophanes,” as Athenaeus often called him, was undoubtedly giving his shifting audience precisely what they wanted.

69. For Wealth in relation to Middle and New Comedy, see Arnott 1972; Dillon 1987; Reckford 1987: 354–​64; Nesselrath 1990; Sutton 1990; Csapo 2000a; Torchio 2001; Sommerstein 2001; Segal 2001: 116–​23; English 2005.

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Let us end back where we began: with Aristophanes’ Frogs. Dionysus, as we saw in the introduction to this book, conceives of an overwhelming desire for Euripides while reading the tragedy Andromeda, and sets off on a tragic-​heroic quest to rescue him from the underworld. As everyone knows, his plans change when he arrives: his Heraclean disguise does him more harm than good, and when he finally emerges from the series of troubles brought on him by his attempt to imitate his more heroic cousin, he finds himself caught up in a contest between Euripides and Aeschylus for the infernal throne of poetry. By a bit of dramatic sleight of hand, Aristophanes has this contest replace Dionysus’ original quest, and the god eventually proclaims that he will bring the winner of the contest back to earth with him.1 Even after setting the two tragedians a battery of examinations, however, he still can’t seem to make up his mind. Pluto insists he must decide, and Dionysus states that he will let his soul (ψυχή) make the decision.2 Euripides seems to sense the tide turning against him, and an argument ensues (1467–​79): (Πλούτων) κρίνοις ἄν. (Διόνυσος)  αὕτη σφῷν κρίσις γενήσεται. αἱρήσομαι γὰρ ὅνπερ ἡ ψυχὴ θέλει. (Εὐριπίδης) μεμνημένος νυν τῶν θεῶν, οὓς ὤμοσας

1.  Dionysus’ decision to bring Aeschylus instead of Euripides back to life has generated an extensive scholarly literature of its own. Among many treatments of this moment in Frogs, see Segal 1961; Whitman 1964: 244–​47; Dover 1993a 19–​20 and 1993b, Goldhill 1991: 217–​ 22; Bowie 1993: 249–​51; Möllendorff 1996–​97; Lada-​Richards 1999: 216–​33 and passim; Silk 2000:  365–​67; Slater 2002:  202–​5; Rosen 2004; Porter 2006:  301–​6; Biles 2011:  251–​55; Halliwell 2011: 141–​54; Griffith 2013: 200–​219. 2. As Biles 2011: 254 points out, this is an ambivalent statement that could indicate either a rational or an irrational decision-​making process.

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ἦ μὴν ἀπάξειν μ’ οἴκαδ’, αἱροῦ τοὺς φίλους. (Δι.) ἡ γλῶττ’ ὀμώμοκ’, Αἰσχύλον δ’ αἱρήσομαι. (Ευ.) τί δέδρακας, ὦ μιαρώτατ’ ἀνθρώπων; (Δι.)               ἐγώ; ἔκρινα νικᾶν Αἰσχύλον. τιὴ γὰρ οὔ; (Ευ.) αἴσχιστον ἔργον προσβλέπεις μ’ εἰργασμένος; (Δι.) τί δ’ αἰσχρόν, ἢν μὴ τοῖς θεωμένοις δοκῇ; (Ευ.) ὦ σχέτλιε, περιόψει με δὴ τεθνηκότα; (Δι.) τίς δ’ οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν, τὸ πνεῖν δὲ δειπνεῖν, τὸ δὲ καθεύδειν κῴδιον; (Πλ.) χωρεῖτε τοίνυν, ὦ Διόνυσ’, εἴσω. (Pluto) Please judge. (Dionysus) This will be my judgment of you:  I  will choose whomever my spirit desires. (Euripides) Remember now the gods by whom you swore to take me back home and choose your friends. (D.) My tongue swore, but I will choose Aeschylus. (E.) What have you done, you foulest of all men? (D.) Me? I judged that Aeschylus won. Why not? (E.) Can’t you see what a shameful deed you’ve worked against me? (D.) What is shameful, if it seem not so to the audience? (E.) You wretch, will you really overlook me remaining dead? (D.) Who knows whether living is dying, whether breathing is eating, whether sleeping is a blanket? (P.) You two go on inside then, Dionysus. Just as in the prologue of Frogs, Dionysus’ conversation with Euripides here in the comedy’s final episode presents a striking combination of tragic culture and tragic parody. Three times in the course of this brief conversation, Dionysus responds to Euripides’ complaints with quotations from Euripidean tragedy.3 The first quotation seems to have been the most famous, adapting Hippolytus’ strikingly relativistic statement from his eponymous play: Eur. Hipp. 612 ἡ γλῶσσ’ ὀμώμοχ’, ἡ δὲ φρὴν ἀνώμοτος. My tongue swore, but my heart was unsworn.

3. For identification of all three of Dionysus’ quotations, see Rau 1967: 122; Dover 1993a: 378–​ 79; Sommerstein 1996a: 292–​93; Halliwell 2011: 146–​48.

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Ar. Frogs 1471 ἡ γλῶττ’ ὀμώμοκ’, Αἰσχύλον δ’ αἱρήσομαι. My tongue swore, but I will choose Aeschylus. When Euripides calls Dionysus’ choice “shameful,” Dionysus again responds with an apposite line from one of Euripides’ own tragedies: Eur. Aeolus F 19 τί δ’ αἰσχρόν, ἢν μὴ τοῖσι χρωμένοις δοκῇ; What is shameful, if it seem not so to those who do it? Ar. Frogs 1475 τί δ’ αἰσχρόν, ἢν μὴ τοῖς θεωμένοις δοκῇ; What is shameful, if it seem not so to the audience? And finally, when Euripides utters his disbelief that Dionysus will really let him remain dead, Dionysus offers a third quotation, parodically riffing on the Euripidean original at some length: Eur. Polyidus F 638 τίς δ’ οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν, τὸ κατθανεῖν δὲ ζῆν κάτω νομίζεται; Who knows whether living is dying, or whether dying is considering living in the underworld? Ar. Frogs 1477–​78 τίς δ’ οἶδεν εἰ τὸ ζῆν μέν ἐστι κατθανεῖν, τὸ πνεῖν δὲ δειπνεῖν, τὸ δὲ καθεύδειν κῴδιον; Who knows whether living is dying, whether breathing is eating, whether sleeping is a blanket? At this point in the comedy, Euripides disappears without a further word, and Dionysus and Aeschylus are ushered into the house of Pluto to begin their preparations for the trip back to the land of the living. These three Euripidean quotations show Dionysus evolving as a participant in tragic culture over the course of the comedy. He began the play as a tragedy fan, disappointed that all his favorite poets were now dead. He was decidedly a fan, however, rather than a critic or connoisseur:  his reaction to Euripides’ Andromeda was emotional, even irrational, a sudden longing rather than a studied

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appreciation. Early on in Frogs, moreover, he attempts to demonstrate the genius of Euripides by quoting the same line of Hippolytus he offers here, but is able to achieve only a rough paraphrase (101–​2): φρένα μὲν οὐκ ἐθέλουσαν ὀμόσαι καθ’ ἱερῶν, γλῶτταν δ’ ἐπιορκήσασαν ἰδίᾳ τῆς φρενός. my heart being unwilling to swear over holy sacrifices, but my tongue swearing falsely separate from my heart As Dover points out, “Dionysus is made ridiculous by his inability to recall [the line] correctly; his paraphrase includes six (characteristically comic) resolutions of long positions.”4 In other words, Dionysus at the beginning of the play is completely unable to defend his appreciation of Euripides; it is an unstudied, emotional reaction to tragic poetry. Over the course of the comedy Dionysus, despite his nearly constant βωμολοχία, seems to have learned quite a bit about the appreciation of tragic poetry; much of what he has learned comes directly from Euripides, to Euripides’ detriment. The whole notion that poetry should be judged not by the immediate pleasure it engenders but by its ennobling effect on the audience comes from Euripides himself (1008–​10): (Αἰσχύλος) ἀπόκριναί μοι, τίνος οὕνεκα χρὴ θαυμάζειν ἄνδρα ποιητήν; (Εὐριπίδης) δεξιότητος καὶ νουθεσίας, ὅτι βελτίους γε ποιοῦμεν τοὺς ἀνθρώπους ἐν ταῖς πόλεσιν. (Aeschylus) Answer me, what should a poet be admired for? (Euripides) For c leverness and counsel, because we make men better in their cities. Dionysus originally went down to Hades to find a poet who was δεξιός, “clever” or “skillful” (71); Euripides’ extended elaboration of the meaning of νουθεσία, “counsel,” puts the emphasis on this latter quality, however, and the ability of poets to improve or advise their audience becomes the focus of the contest and of Dionysus’ decision making hereafter. When he professes his continued ἀπορία even after the tragedians compete in giving advice to the city and admits that he will let his soul decide, we may be led to think for a moment that he has returned to his former, emotional approach to the evaluation of tragic poetry. Instead, as Simon Goldhill puts it, “Dionysus shows the benefit of the sophia of 4. 1993a: 203.

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Euripides—​to choose the sophia of Aeschylus.”5 Dionysus’ repurposing of this series of relativistic Euripidean quotations shows him using the Euripidean σοφία he has acquired to defend his choice of the σοφία of Aeschylus; his ability to recall correctly lines from Euripides he could only vaguely summarize earlier in the play shows his evolution as a sort of tragic connoisseur, a connoisseur who has learnt from Euripides to prefer Aeschylus. As a fan and judge of tragedy appearing in a comedy alongside two tragic poets, Dionysus in Frogs is prominently framed as a participant in comedy’s culture of tragedy. All three of his Euripidean quotations in this scene indicate his participation in tragic culture, as he humorously and ironically—​in a word, comically—​develops in his appreciation and understanding of tragic poetry. All three quotations also constitute parodies of tragedy: Dionysus is not simply speaking in vaguely tragic language, but redeploying specific lines from particular tragedies that are rendered humorous by their new comic context. As we have seen, tragic parody can be appreciated along a spectrum of understanding, from audience members who simply notice the sudden juxtaposition of elevated and everyday language, to connoisseurs who recall the specific context of the original tragic lines; only the latter can fully understand the subtle humor of such parody. Like other comic poets who compose parodies of tragedy, Aristophanes wants his audience here to recognize and appreciate his careful selection and modification of tragic verses. Dionysus brings as many audience members as possible along with him in this series of tragic parodies by first delivering a quotation that was among Euripides’ most famous lines, a line that, as we have seen, Dionysus reminded the audience about by summarizing it earlier in the play.6 Many commentators take Dionysus’ quotation at face value as a demonstration of Euripidean logic chopping,7 but as Peter von Möllendorff points out, the line is only an example of sophistic relativism when it is utterly divorced from its original context: when Hippolytus says his tongue swore an oath that his heart did not, he is simply protesting the immoral nature of the secret he is being forced to keep; he does, in fact, keep his oath to the bitter end.8 Matthew Wright, discussing a number of instances where Aristophanic characters present such out-​of-​context quotations of tragic poetry, writes that “the way in which Aristophanes plays around 5. 1991: 219. Cf. Möllendorff 1996–​97: 136; Silk 2000: 367 n. 31. 6. For the fame of this line from Hippolytus, see Avery 1968; Slater 2002: 204, Wright 2012: 151. 7. Not unreasonably, since ancient authors and their audiences seem to have had no real discomfort with such out-​of-​context citations (cf. Wright 2012: 152–​53). Commentators who treat the line as an indictment of Euripidean relativism include Whitman 1964: 244–​47; Strauss 1966: 260–​61; Hubbard 1991: 217; Silk 2000: 31; Halliwell 2011: 147; Griffith 2013: 213. 8. 1996–​97: 136.

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with the issue of Euripides’ beliefs and his supposed influence on society implies that he is actually poking fun at this sort of simplistic, intentionalist approach to interpretation … these are silly caricatures and exaggerations, representing the sort of response that one might expect from an unusually imperceptive reader.”9 Those audience members alive to the original context of Dionysus’ quotation experience a delightful tension in this scene:  on the one hand, Dionysus has evolved by this point in the play into a connoisseur of tragic poetry who, like Agathon in Women at the Thesmophoria, knows Euripides’ works well enough to use them to refute Euripides himself; on the other, those who, evidently unlike Dionysus, recall the original context of the line in Euripides’ Hippolytus recognize that Dionysus’ rejection of Euripides here is defended in a manner that is supremely unfair to Euripidean tragedy and to Euripides himself. Aristophanes has Dionysus take a different approach with his second Euripidean parody. Here he expresses a Euripidean relativism with a line that does seem to have occupied a dubious moral position in its tragic original: these seem to be the words of Macareus, paving the way with his father Aeolus for his incestuous union with his sister Canace.10 Instead of seeking to create a tension between superficial and informed interpretations of the line, then, Aristophanes here, as Cedric Whitman has it, “reinvokes the theatrical imagery of the play, with its tone of self-​conscious dramatic criticism.”11 Dionysus’ insertion of the spectators into this quotation neatly combines the worlds of tragic parody and tragic culture: the alteration that makes this quotation an act of parody also makes it a statement about the role of the audience in the culture of tragedy. For those audience members who remember the tragic original, the neat substitution of “those who watch” for “those who do” implicates them in the comedy they are currently watching; forces them to confront Dionysus’ difficult, irrational choice between Aeschylus and Euripides; and even, perhaps, lets them hear “the voice of comedy, self-​aware and confident in its critical abilities.”12 Dionysus’ third quotation gets to the heart of Frogs itself, a comedy that dramatizes the longing for an always receding Golden Age of poetry. Superficially, Dionysus’ silly alterations of the original lines from Polyidus form a distracting, funny dismissal of Euripides, a last dose of mockery before the losing poet is led offstage. Those who recognize the source of Dionysus’ words, however, may recall that Polyidus, too, was a play about resurrection from death13; in the words of 9. 2012: 152. 10. TrGF 5.1: 165; for the infamy of this play, see Clouds 1371–​74. 11. 1964: 245. 12. Dobrov 2001: 154. 13. See my discussion of Aristophanes’ Polyidus in Chapter 2.

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Ismene Lada-​Richards, this is one of several lines in Frogs juxtaposing the worlds of the living and the dead that “are not mere literary parodies, but hint at the overlap or even the inversion of these realms.”14 Like the quotation from Hippolytus, this line from Euripides has actually made an earlier appearance in Frogs. Let me quote Whitman again: “Earlier in the play Aeschylus had included this famous remark in the list of Euripides’ sins, presumably as a piece of philosophic twaddle; but it nonetheless summarizes one of the most poignant motifs of the play.”15 We laugh as we listen to Dionysus’ absurd rendition of Euripides’ verses, but we also, I think, experience here the longing to defy death that animated Dionysus’ impossible quest in the first place. Comedy alone, it turns out, can satisfy that longing, by bringing our favorite poets back from the dead and letting us hear their voices, however distorted, once again.16 Only in an intact comedy like Frogs can we appreciate the full richness of paratragedy: in discussing this brief conversation here I have only begun to scratch the surface of Aristophanes’ wonderfully subtle, complex engagement with tragedy in Frogs. I have attempted to demonstrate in this book, however, that Aristophanes’ engagement with tragedy partakes of a paratragic discourse across the genre of comedy, in the works of Aristophanes’ forerunners, contemporaries, and successors, and to suggest that our understanding of the handful of complete comedies we are fortunate enough to possess can be enlivened and enriched by reading them in concert with the paratragic fragments of these other poets. I have presented two closely connected typologies for understanding and interpreting the comic poets’ engagement with tragedy: tragic culture, and tragic parody. Under the rubric of tragic culture I  have gathered fragments showing comic characters talking about tragedy. I presented three tropes that recur across the comic fragments as particularly illuminating of the nature of comedy’s culture of tragedy: depiction of tragic fandom, portrayal of tragic poets as characters, and use of references to the Dionysiac festivals where tragedy and comedy, as well as dithyramb, were performed. Each of these tropes I  sought to further illustrate with an extant Aristophanic comedy: in Wasps, I showed how Philocleon’s tragic fandom destabilizes his identity and must be countered by Bdelycleon’s comic metatheater; in Women at the Thesmophoria, I  read Aristophanes’ depiction of tragic poets in conversation as a frame he used to enable a rich exploration of the relationship between the two genres and between poets and their poetry; and in Wealth, with the added help of Gerytades, I showed how Aristophanes could use 14. 1999: 56. Cf. Segal 1961: 226. 15. 1964: 257. 16. Porter 2006: 302.

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references to the three performance genres of the City Dionysia to claim a place for himself in a sublime position beyond the poets’ city of Athens. Tragic parody, by contrast, describes those moments in comedy when comic characters imitate the language of tragedy, begin to speak in quotations, often humorously altered, from tragic texts. Even in the comic fragments, I have argued, we should often read these parodies as directing the audience back to the tragic original; those audience members who recognize the sources of tragic parody understand them best and appreciate their humor most. Read in this way, parodies of tragedy, even on the scale of momentary quotations, are capable of generating complex meaning in their comic contexts: they are not simply played for laughs to an audience capable of noticing shifts in generic register, but intended to enrich the themes and poetics of comedy by merging the play with a specific tragic text. Although I have examined tragic parody in the fragments separately from tragic culture, each of the three Aristophanic comedies discussed in this book combines these two elements of paratragedy in its own striking way. In Wasps, the influence of tragedy on the tragedy fan Philocleon leads him to begin speaking like a character from a tragedy, sometimes even to initiate reenactments of specific tragic scenes. In Women at the Thesmophoria, Euripides’ relationship with his audience, a group of rabid antifans, leads him to perform a series of increasingly comic imitations of his own tragedies. And in Wealth, parodies of dithyramb and satyr play enable Aristophanes to situate his engagement with tragedy within a broader matrix of genres. I have presented these readings of comedy not as an exhaustive explanation of everything in paratragedy, but as a framework for understanding the important, closely connected but distinct ways comedy related to tragedy in the fifth and fourth centuries. I hope to have pointed certain paths forward for other work on the comic fragments, on paratragedy, and on comedy’s relationship with other genres. I’ll let Aristophanes, as he so often seems to have done, have the last word (Thesmo. 1227): ἀλλὰ πέπαισται μετρίως ἡμῖν. Well, that was enough playing around for us.

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  257

Index Locorum

Aeschylus Agamemnon 1531: 92n55 Edonoi F 61: 46, 163 Eumenides 46–​47: 110; 69, 150: 110 Laius F 121–​22: 93n58 Myrmidones: 94n63; F 138: 68 Persians 65–​67: 76–​77 Alexander of Aphrodisias ad Arist. de Sens. 443b: 95 Alexis Agonis or Hippiskos F 3: 80–​81; F 4: 81 Eisoikizomenos F 63: 79–​80 Lebes F 130: 58; F 131: 57–​59 Linus F 140: 54 Parasitos F 183: 55–​56; F 184: 51 Philotragoidos F 254: 44 Incerta F 268: 53–​54 Amphis Planos F 30: 56–​57 Anaxandrides Nereides F 33: 52 Antiphanes Aeolus F 19: 105–​7; F 20: 106 Kares F 111: 54–​55 Poiesis F 189: 58, 83–​85, 192 Traumatias F 205: 60–​61 Incerta F 228: 78

Archippus Ichthyes F 16–​17: 38; F 23: 38; F 27: 38; F 28: 38–​40, 113 Aristophanes Acharnians 5–​8: 64; 410–​13: 159; 429: 172; 440–​44: 169; 496–​97: 79–​80; 496–​500: 210; 500: 153; 631, 655: 221 Aiolosikon F 1: 104–​5; F 11: 105 Assemblywomen 391–​93: 67–​69 Birds 96–​101: 185–​86; 1372–​1409: 202–​3 Clouds 524: 142; 538–​39: 201; 551–​59: 77; 1354–​79: 16, 42–​43 Frogs 52–​72: 1–​3; 71: 232; 101–​2: 232; 120–​22: 45; 301–​5: 32; 366: 203; 368: 221; 939–​44: 206; 1004: 20; 1008–​10: 232–​33; 1302: 202; 1328: 29; 1453: 203; 1467–​79: 229–​35 Georgoi F 117: 202 Gerytades F 156: 198–​200, 207–​8; F 157–​71: 211; F 157–​89: 204; F 158: 96, 205; F 159: 204–​5; F 162: 205–​6; F 163: 204–​5; F 175: 208 Knights 240–​57: 217; 400–​1: 52; 230–​ 33: 225; 525: 144; 526–​36: 140–​41; 813: 222; 1244: 208

258

258

Index Locorum

Aristophanes (Cont.) Lemniai F 373: 89; F 380: 90n48; F 382: 89–​90 Lysistrata 110: 201 Peace 43–​48: 63–​64; 54–​55: 121; 135–​39: 119–​20; 146–​53: 120–​ 21; 173: 144; 530–​38: 11–​12; 749: 20; 751: 221; 803–​13: 38n79; 1022: 226 Pelargoi F 453: 93n58, 202 Phoenician Women F 570: 90–​91; F 571–​76: 91 Polyidus F 468–​76: 87; F 468: 87–​88 Proagon T 4: 156 Wasps 4: 122; 58–​59: 226; 64–​ 66: 142; 71–​133: 125; 79: 142; 97–​99: 145n66; 107: 122; 115–​24: 130; 129–​144: 122–​23; 156–​62: 135; 166–​67: 127, 135; 180–​89: 122–​24; 207: 122; 216–​21: 126–​27; 266–​70: 126; 290–​319: 127; 363: 122; 460–​ 62: 129; 566–​67: 144–​45; 579–​82: 128; 616–​18: 143; 650–​51: 133; 741–​57: 130–​ 32; 799–​862: 134–​35; 892–​ 992: 134; 994–​1000: 136–​38; 1026: 221; 1122–​1251: 138–​39; 1249–​55: 143; 1256–​61: 143–​ 44; 1300–​22: 145; 1332–​ 1449: 145–​46; 1339: 145n66; 1412–​14: 146; 1446–​49: 121; 1483–​1515: 149–​52 Wealth 1–​289: 213–​14; 290–​ 301: 215–​19; 322–​414: 219; 422–​25: 220; 555–​61: 220–​21; 600–​1: 222; 621–​801: 223; 794–​ 99: 225; 802–​7: 223–​24; 1161–​ 65: 226–​27; 1189–​90: 224

Wealth II:  213n33 Women at the Thesmophoria 66–​69: 159; 93–​94: 162; 134–​ 39: 46–​47, 163; 144–​56: 158–​60; 160–​73: 160–​61; 173–​74: 165; 177–​78: 166; 179–​80: 165; 193–​201: 166–​67; 212: 168; 699–​ 703: 170–​71; 717–​756: 170; 849–​ 53: 177–​79; 851: 183; 862–​80: 179; 870: 178, 182; 892–​98: 180; 913–​28: 180–​81; 936–​42: 178; 1009–​55: 182–​83; 1059–​61: 184; 1069–​94: 186; 1098–​1132: 187–​ 88; 1160–​1202: 188–​90; 1218–​27: 191 Women at the Thesmophoria II F 331–​58: 165n23 Aristotle Poetics1448a: 215; 1460a: 56 de Sensu 443b: 95 Athenaeus 1.7a: 216–​17; 3.112d–​e : 104–​5; 4.134b: 54; 4.160b: 91–​92; 4.175b: 42; 6.222a: 84; 6.260c: 49; 8.343c: 38–​40; 8.344d: 34–​35; 10.421d: 55–​56; 10.427e: 72; 10.436f: 24; 10.444c: 105; 11.482c–​d : 52–​53; 12.551a–​ 552b: 198–​203; 14.621f: 100–​1; 14.628d: 18; 14.638d–​639a: 35–​38 Autocrates Tympanistai F 1: 93 Axionicus Phileuripides F 3: 42–​43, 113, 117; F 4: 43–​44, 113 Callias Atalantai: 92 Pedetai F 14–​17: 21–​22

  259



Index Locorum

Cantharus Medea F 1: 93 Tereus F 5–​8: 93 Comica Adespota F 1104: 85 Crates Paidiai F 28: 28n49 Cratinus Boukoloi T 2: 196; F 17: 35–​36, 38, 195–​96 Dionysalexandros T 1: 33n65 Eumenides F 70: 92 Horai F 276: 38–​39 Kleoboulinai F 92: 27 Pytine F 198: 141; F 203: 141 Seriphioi F 218: 85 Incerta F 299: 72–​73; F 323: 28; F 342: 33n65, 64, 194; F 502: 33n65 Diogenes Laertius 1.89: 28n48; 2.18: 21, 23; 2.82: 49 Diphilus Synoris F 74: 61–​62, 113 Ephippus Epheboi F 9: 52 Homoioi or Obeliophoroi F 16: 51–​53 Eubulus Antiope F 9–​11: 107–​9 Dionysius F 24: 46–​47; F 25: 49; F 26: 47–​48; F 27–​28: 50 Eupolis Demoi F 99: 208–​9; F 106: 209 Heilotes F 148: 36–​37 Kolakes F 178: 22 Marikas F 192: 77; F 205: 77; F 207: 76–​77; F 209: 77 Prospaltioi F 259: 76n17; F 260: 73–​76 Euripides Aeolus F 19: 231–​34; F 28: 166

259

Alcestis 691: 166–​67; 866–​67: 131–​32 Andromache 1076–​78: 136–​37 Andromeda F 114–​56: 94n65 Antiope F 187: 62, 108; F 188: 107–​9; F 201: 107–​9 Auge Τ 2a: 106; F 264–​81: 93n60; F 272: 106 Chrysippus:  93n58 Hecuba 1–​2: 104–​5; 1–​3: 207–​208 Helen 74: 175; 164–​67: 175; 262–​66: 175–​76; 1034: 175; 1053–​91: 175–​76 Hippolytus 612: 230–​32 Hypsipyle F 752–​69: 94n65; F 752: 99 Iphigenia among the Taurians 28–​ 33: 89; 535: 62 Medea 298: 188; 476–​77: 30; 956–​58, 969–​75: 94n69 Melanippe F 507: 209 Oeneus F 558: 208–​9; F 562: 3; F 565: 3 Orestes 255–​57: 80–​81 Palamedes: 172–​74 Phoenician Women 3: 98; 460–​ 64: 91–​92; 541–​47: 96–​98; 1562–​63: 98 Polyidus F 638: 231–​35 Stheneboea F 661: 59; F 664: 72–​73 Telephus 167–​72; F 697: 177; F 703: 79–​80; F 713: 222 Eustathius In Il. 1201.3: 39 In Od. 1863.50: 111–​12 Gorgias 88 B 23: 180 Hermippus Moirai F 46: 40n83 Hesychius α1793: 200; π4455: 196

260

260

Index Locorum

Leucon Phrateres F 3: 38n79 Lucian Adv. Ind. 15: 48–​49 Men. 1: 75

Syrphax F 175: 34–​35 Incerta F 200: 203; F 235: 34 Platonius Diff. Char. 1: 142 Diff. Com. 25–​29: 104

Menander Aspis 414–​16: 59

Sannyrion Danae F 8: 31–​2, 86–​87, 200–​1; F 10: 86 Gelos F 2: 35, 201; F 5: 201 Scholia Ar. Av. 31: 21, 27–​28; 151: 22 Ar. Pax 741c: 105; 749: 19; 792a: 28–​29; 792b: 29 Ar. Pl. 290, 298: 214–​17; 425: 220; 807: 223–​24 Ar. Ran.366: 203; 1211–​13: 99 Ar. Th. 137: 46–​47; 870: 178; 928: 181; 1059: 186n68 Ar. V. 1312: 205 Pl. Ap. 19c: 201 Sophocles Ajax 324: 26 Antigone 710–​18: 73–​76, 78–​79 Electra 1171–​73: 87–​88 Inachus F 269–​96: 223–​25 Lemniai F 384–​89: 94n65 Peleus F 493: 178 Philoctetes 257, 600, 1034, 1390, 1391: 94n62 Pluntriai or Nausicaa F 439–​41: 93n61 Tereus F 581–​95: 92n56 Incerta F 873: 49 Strattis Anthroporestes F 1: 33–​34, 102 Atalantos: 94 Chrysippus F 54–​55: 94 Cinesias: 202; F 16–​18: 203; F 21: 201 Kallipides: 35 Lemnomeda: 94 Medea F 34–​35: 94

Nicochares Agamemnon F 1: 93 Nicostratus Incerta F 29: 59 Petronius Satyrica 52: 55n111 Pherecrates Cheiron F 155: 24–​25, 203 Krapataloi F 100, 102: 19–​21 Petale F 148: 38n79 Philemon Incerta F 118: 44–​45; F 153: 45n90 Philippides Phileuripides F 22–​24: 44 Incerta F 18: 59 Philoxenus Cyclops or Galatea: 213–​19 Philyllius Auge F 3–​5: 93 Pluntriai or Nausicaa: 93 Phrynichus Mousai F 33: 26–​27 Tragoidoi F 52–​58: 25–​26; F 57: 113 Plato Europa: 93 Heortai F 29: 29–​30, 113 Io: 93 Laius F 65–​68: 93 Lakones or Poets F 69–​72: 18n21 Skeuai F 136–​42: 16–​18 Sophistai F 143: 28–​29

  261



Index Locorum Myrmidones: 94 Philoctetes F 44: 94 Phoenician Women F 46: 98–​100; F 47: 91–​92, 95–​96, 98, 113; F 48: 96–​ 98; F 49: 100–​1; F 50: 101–​3 Psychastai F 57: 201 Zopyrus Perikaiomenos: 94 Incerta F 63: 32–​33

Teleclides Hesiodoi F 15: 24–​25

261

Sterroi F 36: 38 Incerta F 41: 23, 155; F 42: 22 Theopompus Odysseus F 34: 111–​12; F 35: 112–​13 Thucydides 1.22.4: 82 Timocles Dionysiazousai F 6: 59 Orestautokleides F 27: 33n65, 109–​10 Tragica Adespota 55: 208

262

  263

General Index

Acestor, 21–​22, 27, 30 actors as element of metatheater, 128, 133–​34, 168, 186n70, 190–​91 mockery of, 25, 30–​35, 51–​54, 86–​87, 200–​1 in Philoxenus’ Cyclops, 214 Aeschylus. See also tragedy: decline of as comic character, 19–​21, 27, 44, 208, 229–​31 parody of, 46–​50, 67–​70, 71, 76–​77, 93–​94, 109–​10, 163, 194 in tragic culture, 12, 16, 24–​25, 44, 55–​57, 137, 205 Aesop, 18n21, 121, 143–​44, 146 Agathon as comic character, 23, 156–​68, 173, 181, 191–​92, 193n90 in tragic culture, 46–​47, 202–​3, 207, 218, 234 agon, 16n14, 18, 19, 97, 108, 130–​33, 144–​45, 211, 219–​23 Ararus, 51, 104 Aristophanes. See also dithyramb; dramatic festivals; tragedy metatheater in, 3, 91, 130–​39, 147–​53, 167–​74, 177–​94, 213–​19, 225–​26 and rivalry, 103, 140–​45, 201, 211–​12, 226

secondariness of, 156–​57, 162–​74, 177–​88, 191–​94 Arnott, Geoffrey, 54, 56, 58, 81 Asclepius, 130, 219, 225 audience competence of, 63–​64, 68–​69, 81–​82 composition of, 27n47 internal, 134, 169–​71, 178–​80, 187–​88, 190–​91 aulos, 13–​44, 99, 128, 148, 189–​90 Austin, Colin, 91, 141, 189–​90, 202 Bakola, Emmanuela, 14, 71, 85, 140 Biles, Zachary, 140, 142, 145 Callipides, 35 capping, 36–​40, 141–​45, 219 Carcinus, 28–​29, 151–​53 Chaeremon, 52–​53 Chaerephon, 146–​47 characters, comic comedians as, 83–​85, 140–​41 taken directly from tragedy, 184–​86, 220 tragedians as, 17 (see also Aeschylus: as comic character; Dionysius: as comic character; Euripides: as comic character; Meletus) unstable identities of, 118–​28, 130, 136, 139, 153

264

264

General Index

chorus comic in Aristophanes, 52, 64, 124–​30, 134, 151, 152–​53, 164, 168–​72, 183, 188–​91, 195–​96, 213–​19 in fragmentary plays, 20, 21–​22, 40, 76–​77, 92n56, 102, 208 identity of, 24–​26, 39, 71, 73, 91–​93 dithyrambic, 196, 203 tragic, 27, 35–​36, 37–​38, 88, 100, 130, 195–​96 Cinesias, 22n28, 196–​204, 211–​12 Cleaenetus, 53–​54 Cleisthenes, 2, 36, 69n3, 169 Cleon, 36, 63–​64, 125–​26, 130, 133–​34, 139, 188 contrafact, 163–​66, 171, 182. See also Dobrov, Gregory cooking. See food costume. See also mask change of, 3, 80, 124–​25, 138, 164, 168, 188–​89, 192 as indicator of identity, 159, 164, 169–​70, 173, 175, 178, 183, 193, 221–​22 crane, stage, 29, 57–​59, 83–​85, 99–​100, 102–​3, 108–​9, 144, 188n74, 206–​7, 225 Crichton, Angus, 148 culture. See dithyramb: culture of; tragedy: culture of dance, 18, 29n55, 54–​55, 77n20, 99, 147–​53, 189–​91, 203, 214–​18 Delphi. See oracles deus ex machina. See crane dialect, 26, 100–​1, 109, 131 Dionysia, 11–​12, 35, 156, 190n81, 194, 195–​228 Dionysius

as comic character, 45–​50 in Philoxenus’ dithyramb, 216–​19 in tragic culture, 51–​53 Dionysus as comic character, 1–​3, 32, 42, 45, 98–​100, 173, 207, 210, 229–​35 as god of theater, 6–​7, 147, 152–​53 as tragic character, 46–​47, 98–​100, 163 dithyramb. See also Cinesias; Philoxenus culture of, 24–​25, 60–​61, 196–​200, 202–​4, 212–​13, 227–​28 parody of, 196–​97, 202–​3, 213–​19, 227–​28 Dobrov, Gregory, 3, 14–​15, 70, 119, 163–​64, 234 dochmiacs, as sign of tragic parody, 130, 171, 180 Dover, Kenneth, 101, 232 dramatic festivals, comic references to, 3, 35–​36, 41, 99–​100, 190n81, 195–​228. See also Dionysia; Lenaia ekkyklema, 147, 164, 174, 225 Euripides. See also tragedy as comic character, 155–​93, 206, 229–​35 comic tendencies in, 157–​58, 188–​94 as emblem of tragic culture in Aristophanes, 1–​3, 11–​12, 16, 120–​21, 146–​47, 207 in fifth-​century comic fragments, 17–​18, 21–​24, 29–​30, 31–​34, 112–​13, 155, 200–​1 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 41–​55, 59–​62, 117 metatheater in, 174–​77, 181, 193–​94 parody of in Aristophanes, 1–​3, 88–​89, 90–​91, 104–​5, 131–​32, 136–​37, 166–​74, 177–​88, 222, 229–​35

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General Index in fifth-​century comic fragments, 29–​31, 71–​73, 91–​103, 112–​13, 208–​9 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 43–​44, 79–​81, 86, 105–​9 revival of, in fourth century, 80–​81 secondariness of, 156–​58, 162, 174–​77, 181, 192–​94 sigmatism in, 29–​31, 47–​48 fandom. See tragedy: fans of Fiorentini, Leonardo, 96–​97 Foley, Helene, 14, 70 food, metaphors of, 23, 95–​96, 112–​13, 129, 151–​52, 155, 204–​6, 212 Fowler, Don, 5 frigidity, 12, 51, 159n7, 161, 172–​74, 203–​4 Gildersleeve, Basil, 127 Gnesippus, 35–​38, 195 Goldhill, Simon, 232–​33 Gorgias, 180–​81 Hades. See underworld Hanink, Johanna, 14, 42, 60–​62 Hartwig, Andrew, 184–​85 Hegelochus, 31–​34, 86–​87, 200–​1. See also actors Hermes, 11–​12, 108–​9, 224, 226–​27 Hesiod, 24–​25 Hunter, Richard, 47 Hutcheon, Linda, 69–​70 illusion, dramatic, 51, 134, 177–​81, 187, 225–​26 Jedrkiewciz, Stefano, 127–​28, 132–​33, 136

265

Kassel, Rudolf, 91, 141, 202 komoidoumenoi, catalogues of, 36–​40, 53n107 Konstantakos, Ioannis, 84–​85 kottabos,72–​73. See also symposium Lada-​Richards, Ismene, 234–​35 laughter, 35, 143–​46, 185, 186, 220, 225–​26 Lenaia, 12, 26, 35, 48, 77, 140, 202 mask, 85, 176n49, 189, 220, 225. mechane. See crane Melanthius, 17, 22, 38–​40, 147 Meletus, 35, 93n58, 198–​204, 211–​12, 224 metatheater. See Aristophanes: metatheater in; Euripides: metatheater in; tragedy: metatheater in mimesis, 64, 159–​61, 167–​71, 177–​78, 181, 192–​93, 218–​19 Misgolas, 81 von Möllendorff, Peter, 233 Moorhouse, A. C., 136 Morsimus, 16–​17, 52 Mynniscus,34–​35. See also actors mythological comedy. See tragedy: parody of : in mythological comedy nature, poet’s, 157–​63, 167, 173, 181, 192–​93 Nesselrath, Heinz-​Günther, 106–​7 New Music, 24–​25, 202–​3 Odysseus, 111–​13, 123–​25, 215–​19 Olson, S. Douglas, 57, 98, 189 oracles, 93n58, 110, 134–​38, 213 Paduano, Guido, 161–​62, 192 parabasis, 19, 20, 51, 64, 77, 133, 140, 143, 144, 152, 194, 201, 211, 221, 226

266

266

General Index

parasites, 55–​56, 61–​62, 78n22, 112–​13 paratragedy. See tragedy: parody of; tragedy: culture of parodos, 213–​19 parody. See dithyramb: parody of; tragedy: parody of Philocles, 12, 24–​25, 28–​30, 129, 151, 161 Philoxenus, 60–​61, 213–​19 Phrynichus (tragedian), 12, 44, 126–​29, 137, 149–​52, 160–​61 plagiarism, 18n21, 23–​24, 155 Platter, Charles, 137, 168–​69 Podlecki, Anthony, 97–​98 pretense, dramatic. See illusion prologue in Aristophanes, 1–​3, 43, 63–​64, 88–​89, 118–​26, 128, 142, 151–​52, 158–​67, 192, 230 in fifth-​century comic fragments, 102 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 55–​56, 84, 105–​6, 109–​10 as locus of metapoetic comments, 15, 30, 51, 64, 102 in tragedy, 55–​56, 98 props, 16–​17, 133n41, 134 prostitutes, 24, 29, 61–​62, 81, 110

Scharffenberger, Elizabeth, 42, 44 secondariness. See Aristophanes: secondariness of; Euripides: secondariness of Sidwell, Keith, 142 Silk, Michael, 14, 65, 70, 121–​22, 125, 149 Slater, Niall, 129 Socrates, 21–​24, 36, 146, 155, 201 Sommerstein, Alan, 76–​77 Sophocles parody of in Aristophanes, 87–​88, 163–​64, 178, 208, 223–​25 in fifth-​century comic fragments, 26, 73–​76, 113 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 49, 78–​80 in tragic culture, 11–​12, 27, 28, 35–​36, 62n125, 113, 185–​86, 195–​96 Sthenelus, 16, 18n21, 96, 117, 200n11, 205 Storey, Ian, 14, 77, 209 Süss, Wilhelm, 47 symposium, 16, 54–​55, 60–​62, 94n68, 138–​45, 204. See also kottabos; wine

quotation, comic practice of, 3, 59–​62, 112–​13, 209, 233–​34

Taplin, Oliver, 134 Telephus, silent, 55–​57 Telò, Mario, 70, 119, 209 Theognis (tragic poet), 12, 64, 161, 173 Thespis, 12, 44, 127, 137, 139, 148–​49, 152 titles, compound, 33n65, 104 tragedy culture of (see also characters, comic: tragedians as; dramatic festivals; tragedy: fans of ) in Aristophanes, 1–​3, 11–​12, 20, 28–​29, 32, 40, 63–​64, 127–​28,

Rau, Peter, 4, 70 Revermann, Martin, 82 Rosen, Ralph, 14, 16, 44, 59, 70, 140, 173 Rothwell, Kenneth, 122 Ruffell, Ian, 119, 140, 142 Rusten, Jeffrey, 109 Sannyrion, as comic character, 84, 198–​204, 211–​12 satyr play, 94n66, 190nn81–​82, 217n48, 223–​25, 236

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General Index 153, 158–​62, 192–​94, 204–​7, 211–​12, 220–​23, 229–​36 combined with tragic parody, 6, 13–​14, 111–​13, 117–​18, 127, 139–​40, 146–​47, 157, 194, 207–​ 8, 212, 229–​36 definition, 5, 12–​15 in fifth-​century comic fragments, 15–​40, 111–​13, 155–​56, 195–​96, 200–​1 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 41–​63, 117 decline of, 18, 20–​21, 24–​25, 36–​37, 148, 152, 168, 205, 234–​35 and everyday life, 5, 12–​13, 18, 26–​27, 55–​63 fans of in Aristophanes, 3, 16, 42–​43, 117–​18, 125–​30, 132n37, 137, 139, 153, 207, 231–​33 in fifth-​century comic fragments, 16–​19, 27, 33 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 41–​45, 63, 113, 117 fourth-​century, 51–​54, 77–​78 metatheater in, 134 (see also Euripides: metatheater in) parody of (see also Aeschylus: parody of; Euripides: parody of; Sophocles: parody of ) as allusion, 67–​83 in Aristophanes, 67–​69, 87–​91, 104–​5, 127, 131–​32, 136–​38, 139, 149–​50, 163–​74, 177–​88, 207–​8, 222, 230–​35 in comedies with tragic titles, 90–​103

267

definition, 69–​71, 186 in fifth-​century comic fragments, 71–​77, 83–​103, 208–​9 in fourth-​century comic fragments, 77–​81, 103–​11 in mythological comedy, 83–​111, 112–​13 scholars of, 54–​55 as threat to comedy, 118–​21, 127, 129–​30, 146–​47, 150, 220–​21 trugedy, 79, 121, 133, 150, 152–​53, 198–​99, 204, 210–​12 underworld, 1–​3, 19, 26–​27, 44–​45, 63–​64, 104–​5, 131–​32, 197–​212, 229–​35 utopia, 220, 223–​25 vases, illustrations of comedy on, 93n60, 171n37, 189–​90, 220, 221–​22 Whitman, Cedric, 234–​35 Wilkins, John, 38–​39 wine, metaphors of, 139–​45, 147–​48, 151–​53. See also kottabos; symposium Wright, Matthew, 14, 41, 50, 54, 59, 62, 82, 127–​28, 150–​51, 205, 233–​34 Xenocles, 12, 28–​30, 161. See also Carcinus Zeitlin, Froma, 70 Zeus, 25, 31–​32, 86–​87, 108, 178, 213, 223–​25, 226