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i. lysistrata and the events of 411 xv

The year 412/11 began on 5 August and was a regular one of 354 days (Meritt, The Athenian Year 218). Ἀθ.π‎. 32. 1, which evidently preserves an accurate contemporary account (cf. HCT v. 234–7), tells us that Pryt. I. 1 of 411/10 was scheduled for the relatively late date of 14 Skirophorion. Unless substantial disturbance of the calendar was a factor, Gamelion and Elaphebolion came late as well, so that the Lenaia will have fallen in early to mid-February and the City Dionysia in mid-April. Hyp. I informs us that Lys.1 was performed in 411 and that its didaskalos was Kallistratos,2 but it contains no information about the festival or prize.3

The dating of the play depends upon internal evidence: the actions and arguments of the characters together with the assumptions underlying them. Secure dating is desirable because the play's topicality allows us a glimpse of the mood and situation of the Athenians during a critical period in their history. Events relevant to the period in which the play was conceived, scripted, rehearsed and performed are described by Thukydides in the eighth book of his History. Although Thukydides' chronology is in some important respects unclear, it is possible to establish a serviceable timetable (cf. HCT v. 450–1). Aligned with Thukydides' pg xviaccount, the internal evidence very strongly favours the assignment of Lys. to the Lenaia.4

The Athenian disaster in Sicily, which had inflicted on Athens enormous losses of men and resources, encouraged Sparta and her allies to hope for decisive victory. The forces of King Agis II, permanently garrisoned at Dekeleia, continued to be a major peril: the Attic countryside was in enemy hands; the overland supply route from Euboia was cut off; mining at Laureion was impossible; more than 20,000 slaves (most of them skilled) had deserted; and Athenian troops had to be continuously vigilant. If these hardships had been heavy before the disaster (Th. 7. 27–8), they could only be expected to be worse after it. Moreover, in the spring of 412 the Peloponnesian fleet set out to gain control of the eastern Aegean and the Hellespont. The Persian satraps Pharnabazos and Tissaphernes offered financial support, and Alkibiades offered strategic advice. A number of Athenian allies had already expressed their desire to revolt, and the Peloponnesians had reason to expect that their number would grow.

In the aftermath of the news from Sicily, however, the Athenians had begun immediately to make their own preparations to meet the emergency and to avert further setbacks. They took steps to economize in administration and to restrain rash decisions by establishing a board of ten elderly men (Probouloi) who could propose for swift implementation measures to meet any emergency that might arise. From Th. 809 it seems that they could bring a pg xviiprobouleuma directly to the Assembly, bypassing the Council, and from Lys. 421–3 it seems that they could draw emergency funds directly from the Treasury. And somehow the Athenians raised the money to build and equip new ships. In 412, to the astonishment of her enemies, Athens was again able to launch effective naval forces, so that by late June an Athenian fleet drove a Peloponnesian force of 21 ships to seek refuge in the Korinthian harbour of Speiraion.

Thereupon the Peloponnesians moved energetically to undermine the Athenian alliances. Alkibiades persuaded the Spartan ephors to send him and the nauarch Chalkideus with five triremes to Chios. Aided by sympathizers in the city, they persuaded the Chians to revolt. Soon thereafter Erythrai and Klazomenai joined the revolt, and by the end of the campaigning season of 412 the list of rebellious allies included Teos, Miletos, Lebedos, Hairai, Methymna, Mytilene, Iasos, Knidos, and Rhodes. Meanwhile the Peloponnesian fleet had grown equal (perhaps superior) to the Athenian in numerical strength, and they now enjoyed the active collaboration of Tissaphernes.

But the Athenians managed to mount an effective counter-attack. After the revolt of Chios they voted to draw upon the special reserve of 1000 T set aside by Perikles in 431 and since then untouched. With this money they equipped additional ships, principally for service in the growing fleet at Samos, now their Aegean base of operations. By the end of summer 412 the Athenians had regained Mytilene and the rest of Lesbos, recovered Klazomenai, and fought a respectable (though indecisive) land battle outside Miletos. Early in winter (but not earlier than 1 November: HCT iii. 706) they fortified a position on Chios itself.

Thus the Athenians' prospects for recovery were not as discouraging at year's end as might have been predicted, even if they had lost important territory in 412 and were still in straitened circumstances. The fleet at Samos was a formidable presence in the Aegean, and the series of risings that had begun with the revolt of Chios had been effectively pg xviii arrested. The Athenians had stalemated the fighting through great self-discipline and sheer martial resolve.

The assumptions underlying the plot of Lys. and the arguments used by its characters exactly fit the situation just described and reveal a general attitude of guarded optimism about Athenian chances. Lysistrata's opponents defend the Athenian policy: the war must go on because there is no other choice (497). There is enough money in the treasury and triremes in the fleet to keep up the fight (496, cf. 168–76). Negotiation is out of the question because the Spartans are 'as completely untrustworthy as a hungry wolf' (629): they will neither agree to nor abide by acceptable terms. The central emphasis on the Akropolis funds indicates the confidence they inspired in the Athenians, and frequent references to the glorious past reflect the feeling that Athenian superiority will somehow tell in the end. Popular impatience with the performance of the fleet at Samos (cf. Th. 8. 38. 5) can be heard in the old men's jibe at 313 and reveals a mood of rising expectations among those who hoped for fresh successes. The high-handed references to the allies (108, 944, 1176–82) suggest a mood of recovery from the rash of defections in the period following the Sicilian disaster.5 References to the disaster itself (387 ff.), like those to the mutilation of the herms (1093 ff.), are jocular enough to suggest that the initial shock, if not the subsequent recriminations, had largely passed. Taken together, the arguments of Lysistrata's opponents amount to this: we have successfully weathered the crisis and are in a position to fight on to victory or to such successes as will guarantee acceptable terms.

Lysistrata argues a different view: the war is a stand-off and, should it continue, can only end in the mutual ruin of the combatants on each side (29–35, 523–6). It is therefore pg xixsenseless to endure further hardship and deprivation, and needless any longer to suffer the arrogance of men like the Proboulos. Those who tell us to keep up the fight are motivated by selfish concern for their own political advancement and by greed (489 ff.). The Spartans are traditionally our friends, not our enemies, and they want an end to the war as much as we do. Let us negotiate our differences and return to the peace and prosperity which all enjoyed before the war (1128–61). Throughout the play Aristophanes lays heavy stress on nostalgia for peaceful times, on the Persian invasions when Athens and Sparta were allies, and on the common gods and festivals which both sides traditionally shared. In the end, the Spartans turn out to be even more eager than the Athenians to negotiate and are easily outbargained, allowing Athens to keep the empire intact (1162 ff.). In the banqueting that follows the negotiations the Spartans reveal themselves to be jolly good fellows after all (1228 ff.).

The remarkable feature of Lysistrata's success is the degree to which it depends on fantasy and wishful thinking. Aristophanes envisages the internal crisis as a family squabble and the war as a neighbourhood feud. By comparison with the blessings of family solidarity and neighbourhood peace the issues of the feud seem trivial and self-defeating. Thus Aristophanes manages to avoid any realistic confrontation with the problem of negotiations. He focuses instead on the question: how might the feuding parties be made to patch up their quarrel without loss of face? His solution is to have the wives and older women stop the feuding by guile and force. In this way the men need not take the initiative, nor must they accept the validity of the women's arguments. The fighting men (husbands) are coerced by sexual deprivation. The home-guard (Men's Chorus) are physically restrained. The leaders (represented by a Proboulos) are cut off from their funds by Lysistrata's occupation of the Akropolis. Thus Lysistrata makes her case before a captive audience and leaves the combatants with no choice but to shake hands and promise to fight no more.

pg xxSurely no one imagined that enemies could so quickly become friends or that negotiations could be so painless anywhere but on the comic stage. The play's fantastic and utopian features are a measure of the gravity with which the spectators viewed their actual situation. At the same time, Aristophanes' choice to present a play about that situation shows that his purpose was not solely to cheer up the spectators with an escapist entertainment. Clearly the Athenians were prepared to be congratulated on their recent success and to be reassured about their prospects for acceptable terms in an eventual settlement. If in hindsight these attitudes seem over-optimistic we must bear in mind how difficult it is for anyone involved in a long war to see when they have lost and to reconcile themselves to a costly settlement. At the time of Lys. Aristophanes preferred to look at the bright side of the Athenian predicament, and his audience was in a receptive mood. Later in the year even the extremist oligarchs hoped to retain the empire (Th. 8. 91, cf. 48. 5–7), and Athens did after all manage to survive for eight years after 413.

But new initiatives by Alkibiades and by the officers of the fleet at Samos threatened to alter the Athenian situation drastically. Alkibiades, whose relations with the Peloponnesians had deteriorated since the Miletos battle, now wished to have himself recalled to Athens. He thought he could bring this about if he could gain significant Persian support for the Athenians and use this both to gain favour with the fleet and to undermine the anticipated resistance of his enemies at Athens. His chances were favourable inasmuch as Tissaphernes had found collaboration with the Peloponnesians difficult for reasons financial, strategic, and political. Indeed Tissaphernes seems to have decided (with Alkibiades' concurrence, if not on his advice) that an offer of support for Athens would be to his advantage whether or not it was accepted. By linking the offer to Alkibiades, Tissaphernes could at the very least expect to some degree to destabilize the already beleagured Athenian leadership. If pg xxithe offer was accepted he would be in a position to prevent either side from gaining a decisive advantage, while at the same time ensuring that each could inflict the maximum damage on the other. By November 412 Alkibiades was in contact with the Athenian officers at Samos, and by December he had moved to Tissaphernes' court.

Alkibiades proposed to the officers the following plan. He would persuade Tissaphernes to switch his support to Athens if the Athenian constitution was changed in such a way that Alkibiades' enemies lost their ascendancy and if the Athenians voted to recall him. Despite the plausible objections of the general Phrynichos (that Alkibiades was an unprincipled opportunist and that civil strife was at all costs to be avoided) most of the officers accepted the plan. They thought that their share of the war effort had been disproportionately great by comparison with their say in determining policy. In addition, the prospect of Persian money offered an attractive (and arguably the only obtainable) way out of the financial difficulties that impeded more vigorous prosecution of the war. Therefore, in early December, the officers proclaimed an oligarchy and dispatched to Athens a delegation headed by Peisandros to inform the Athenians of their requirements. Thukydides' account is at this point chronologically confusing, but on the most straightforward interpretation of his narrative Peisandros seems to have arrived in Athens in late December and to have departed in mid-March (cf. HCT v. 131).

The most direct indication of the date of Lys. appears at 489–92, where Lysistrata defends her occupation of the Akropolis to the Proboulos:

(Pro.) So we are fighting because of the money?

(Lys.) Yes, and because of the money everything else was thrown into turmoil, too. For it was for opportunities to steal (the money) that Peisandros and the others aiming for public office were always stirring up some sort of turbulence. That is why I say, let them now do as they please, for no longer shall they be hauling this money down from the citadel.

pg xxii'Always' clearly means 'throughout the war,'6 and the imperfect tenses indicate dramatic time, i.e. the time prior to the women's seizure of the citadel. Thus Peisandros is attacked as the same warmongering demagogue familiar from earlier plays. The 'others aiming for public office' with whom Peisandros is aligned are the factions which all along have been in charge of the war effort. Clearly Peisandros' advocacy of and activities promoting drastic constitutional changes cannot yet have been public knowledge at Athens. Since Peisandros must, by any chronology, have left Athens well before the City Dionysia (when his revolutionary plans could no longer be secret), the play must be Lenaian.

This passage does not unambiguously corroborate Thukydides' timetable for Peisandros' return from Samos to Athens before the Lenaia: Ar. may have picked on him arbitrarily, and comic ridicule can be directed at persons not physically present in the city (e.g. Eukrates at 103). But Lysistrata's remark does not look like simple coincidence: Peisandros is the only named person singled out for political attack in the play and is thus identified as the principal advocate for the policy of continued war (note the emphasis on 'now as before'). This suggests that Peisandros had in fact returned and had made some sort of public statement. Since Ar. clearly had the impression that he was merely up to his old tricks, Peisandros must for the moment have been presenting himself as one working within the traditional constitutional framework, and we must conclude that before revealing his plans publicly he spent some time canvassing the political clubs and otherwise testing the waters: more than a month if the Lenaia was held in February.

In his initial public appearance(s) Peisandros probably spoke encouragingly about the fleet's military readiness while at the same time explaining its difficulties in such a pg xxiiiway as to discredit its enemies. He probably secured from the Athenians the immediate deposition of Phrynichos and (S)kironides. By placing the blame for the loss of Iasos and the betrayal of Amorges on Phrynichos, Peisandros could both account for these setbacks as being no fault of the fleet and shortcircuit any plans by Phrynichos to undermine its plans. We may be sure that Peisandros, by way of preparing full revelation of his plans, generally underscored the inadequacies of the present Athenian leadership by stressing the need for greater sophrosyne in the management of affairs.

Further evidence that Ar. was in the dark about the oligarchic plans of the fleet appears at 313, where the old men of the chorus invoke the generals' aid in evicting the women. Although the comic point here seems to be that the generals ought to be more active and stand up against a truly formidable enemy like the women (the old men are proud infantrymen), it is significant that they think of the generals as potential allies. Given their character and views—they are veterans of the fight against tyranny and of the Persian invasions, patriotic hoplites, and members of the present home-guard—it is highly unlikely that they would take this line were the generals' proclamation of oligarchy yet common knowledge at Athens.

Ar. puts great emphasis on the chronic problem of political strife at Athens (cf. esp. 574 ff.) but gives no hint anywhere in the play that he suspected imminent change: indeed it is business as usual that is the problem. The Council is still in charge of important business (1011–12), the Assembly still opposes the idea of negotiations (170–1, 507–22, 698–703) and the leaders are still behaving as they always have (489–92). The appointment of Probouloi had been the Athenians' major concession to those who called for greater sophrosyne (Th. 8. 1. 3), but our Proboulos is portrayed as a pompous and arrogant bureaucrat who, after verbal and physical humiliation, is ignominiously expelled. Ar. may have considered the Probouloi a nuisance (cf. Th. 809) but evidently not a threat to democracy (387–423 n.).

pg xxivAnti-democratic factions are mentioned only once, and there they are lumped together with democratic factions (office-seekers like Peisandros) in a sweeping indictment of all troublemakers (577–8). When the old men accuse the women of conspiring to set up a new tyranny (616–35) Ar. is merely ridiculing the kind of divisive smear-tactics so often heard in the rhetoric of popular leaders. Th. 1136–7 provides a significant contrast, for there reference to tyranny has lost its usual jocular tone and reflects the menacing change of atmosphere at the time of the City Dionysia (cf. HCT v. 190 ff.).

If Ar. was unaware of plans for constitutional changes, he must have been equally unaware of plans to recall Alkibiades, since the two issues were inseparable. Had the question of Alkibiades been debated recently it is difficult to imagine that in a play like Lys. Ar. would have kept his silence (cf. Ra. 1422 ff.). Yet he seems rather to forego than exploit opportunities to allude to Alkibiades. At 108 Lysistrata mentions the loss of Miletos, but only in connection with the unavailability of dildoes. At 390 ff. the Proboulos recollects the decision to dispatch the armada to Sicily, but blames the disaster not on the misbehaviour of Alkibiades but on the conduct of men like Demostratos, who debated the issue on an occasion rendered ill-omened by their own wives. At 507 ff. Lysistrata condemns the repudiation of the treaty of 421, but only to blame it on the foolishness of the Assembly. And at 1093 ff. the jocular references to the mutilation of the herms refer generally to any mutilators who may be lurking among the spectators.7

pg xxvFinally, none of the many allusions to Persia reflect knowledge that a deal with Tissaphernes was in the making. The basic assumption of the plot is that all the money available to Athens is in the Akropolis treasuries. Unlike Dikaiopolis (Ach. 100 ff.) Lysistrata does not worry that politicians may be tempted by Persian gold. Her attitude about the Persians appears at 1133–4, where she rebukes Athens and Sparta alike (κοινῇ‎ 1129) for having forgotten their cultural and historical kinship: 'At a time when enemies with a barbarian army are abundantly at hand, it is Greek men and cities that you destroy!' That is, if you must fight, fight Persians and not one another. Lysistrata proceeds to urge a return to the policy of earlier times, when Athens and Sparta enjoyed joint hegemony in Greece and gloriously resisted Persian interference. This same argument appears in previous plays and cannot have been unfamiliar to the spectators. Ar. indeed alludes to all the major battles of the Persian struggle in the course of the play,8 by way of preparing for Lysistrata's speech. At the end of the play are two Spartan songs that underscore her message. The first (1247 ff.) highlights the battles of Artemision and Thermopylai, and the second (1296 ff.) prepares for an exit-hymn to Athena, protectress of both cities.

Ar.'s vision for Athens at the time of the Lenaia of 411 was reconciliation at home and abroad in the form of a return to the polity and prosperity of the good old days. Had he known about the far different vision soon to be foisted on the Athenians by Peisandros and the generals, he would have staged a very different play—Thesmophoriazousai, for example.

ii. the character of the play

An Athenian citizen called Lysistrata ('Disbander of Armies') organizes and successfully prosecutes a panhellenic conspiracy of citizen wives that forces the chief combatants pg xxvi(Athens and Sparta) and their allies to negotiate a peaceful settlement of the war and promise never again to fight one another. Her conspiracy consists of two plots, which are separately enacted. One is a conjugal strike staged by young wives from the warring cities and designed to force the fighting men to lay down their arms and come home. The other is the occupation of the Akropolis and its treasuries by the older wives of Athens, so that the politicians will no longer be able to finance the war. The strike-plot (described in the prologue and illustrated at 706–1013) succeeds virtually unopposed. The occupation-plot (254–705) contains the agonistic component of the play: strife between a semichorus of old men and a semichorus of old women, and an encounter between Lysistrata and an old Proboulos. The following schematic outline reveals the play's basic structure:1

  1. 1. Prologue (1–253). Lysistrata persuades the young wives to enact a conjugal strike and reveals a separate plan whereby older Athenian women will take and hold the Akropolis. The foreign leaders return to their respective cities, leaving hostages, and the Athenian women enter the Akropolis, which has by now been occupied (240).

  2.  occupation-plot

  3. 2. Parodos (254–386). A semichorus of old men attempt to evict the occupying women and are repulsed by a semichorus of old women.

  4. pg xxvii3. Episode (387–475). A Proboulos and his police attempt to evict the occupying women and are repulsed by Lysistrata and her helpers.

  5. 4. Onstage Debate (476–613). Lysistrata defends the occupation to the Proboulos, who will not listen and is expelled.

  6. 5. Choral Debate (614–705). The women's chorus defends the occupation to the men's chorus. The men will not listen and are silenced.

  7.  strike-plot

  8. 6. Episode (706–80). Lysistrata rallies the young wives for continued prosecution of the conjugal strike.

  9. 7. Songs (781–828). The semichoruses defend the behaviour of their respective sexes by recalling Timon and Melanion.

  10. 8. Episode (829–953). Myrrhine illustrates the conjugal strike by sexually frustrating her husband Kinesias.

  11. 9. Duet (954–79). Kinesias laments his discomfiture and is consoled by the koryphaios.

  12. 10. Episode (980–1013). A Spartan herald reveals to Kinesias the success of the strike at Sparta. Both sides agree to summon negotiators.

  13.  reconciliation

  14. 11. Choral Dialogue (1014–42). The semichoruses end hostilities and unite.

  15. 12. Song (1043–71). The chorus renounces war and anticipates peace.

  16. 13. Episode (1072–1188). Lysistrata presents arguments against warfare among Greeks and mediates the combatants' disputes. All enter the Akropolis for a banquet.

  17. 14. Song (1189–1215). A resumption of 12.

  18. 15. Episode (1216–1315). The success of the banquet is described. All assemble onstage, and a Spartan and an Athenian sing songs celebrating their united valour against the Persians and rejoicing in the new accord. The wives are returned to their husbands.

  19. pg xxviii16. Exodos (1316–21). All exit to a hymn to Athena Chalkioikos, the Spartan equivalent of Athena Polias.

This plot is remarkable for its complexity, for the number and variety of its personnel and for its imaginative manipulation of typical comic structures. Because Lysistrata must coordinate two separate initiatives that are supposed to occur simultaneously, Ar. proceeds in a less desultory and inconsequent fashion than in other plays:2 contrast, for example, the diptych-style management of the double plot of Frogs (underworld journey and contest). Particularly noteworthy is Ar.'s ingenious exploitation of the humour in two scenarios—wives striking husbands at home and wives deserting their homes—only one of which is actually staged and neither of which is motivated by the original complaint (the husbands are never at home). In performance this is made to seem quite logical (see the notes at 65–180, 149, 240–53). Noteworthy too is the suspenseful postponement of the resolution until nearly the end of the play. Along the way, much colourful and varied action is provided by a large number of characters and two remarkably active and independent semichoruses. The customary mix of young and old Athenian males is enriched by a number of Spartan males and by numerous young and old females both Athenian and foreign. The appearance of a heroine was unusual and perhaps a novelty: although female choreutai were not uncommon in comedy3 there are no earlier examples of a female protagonist like Lysistrata.4

pg xxixAr. maintains the typical pattern, prologue—epirrhematic section—episodes, but adapts it to the special requirements of this plot. Because the resolution comes so late in the play, the chorus remains divided into antagonistic semichoruses long after the end of the epirrhematic section (until 1042). For this reason the sphragis which usually ends the central debate does not appear until 1108, and a pair of agonistic epirrhematic syzygies (614–705) take the place of a parabasis. The kind of advice to the city that normally appears in a parabasis-speech is worked into the agon-speeches of Lysistrata (cf. 567 ff.). The solo songs and communal dancing in the final scene (1247 ff.) memorably express the spirit of reconciliation between husbands and wives, citizens, age-groups and cities.

In spite of its individual qualities, the plot of Lys. conforms to a common pattern observable also in Acharnians, Peace, Birds, and Ekklesiazousai. By means of a daring, fantastic, and unorthodox scheme a hero(ine) who feels in some way frustrated or victimized by the operations of contemporary society manages to evade or alter the situation of which (s)he initially complains and proceeds to effect a triumph of wish-fulfilment over reality. Those powers human, natural, or divine which would obstruct the scheme are either converted by argument or overcome by guile, magic, or force. At the end there is celebration and revelry in which only the hero(ine)'s supporters participate, for the obstructors and those who would undeservedly benefit by the hero(ine)'s success have been expelled.

As in the other heroic plays, Ar. in Lys. expects the audience to sympathize with the heroine and applaud her success. We sympathize with Lysistrata because she is intrepid and commanding; because she makes clever and plausible arguments for the justice of her scheme and the desirability of its success; because her goals are presented as being in the best interests of the spectators; because we enjoy the way in which the familiar mechanisms of reality magically, but at the same time logically, operate to her pg xxxadvantage; and because her opponents are portrayed in so unsympathetic a fashion that we derive pleasure and a sense of relief from their discomfiture.

Sympathy for the heroine creates sympathy for her views, however outrageous they may initially sound or would sound if maintained anywhere but on the comic stage. For in composing arguments for his characters Ar. did not seek to emulate (except comically) composers of rational programmes for advocacy in an assembly, persuasive cases for delivery in a lawcourt, or closely reasoned pamphlets for publication. Like an epic or tragic poet, he wrote for his characters arguments appropriate to their identity and situation. Since these are comic characters in a comic situation, they offer the spectators only comic choices. Whether or not Ar. held the same views in life as his sympathetic characters hold onstage, we may be certain that he would not have argued his views as a citizen with anything like the methods employed by his characters. Even when, in a parabasis-speech, he more or less speaks in his own voice he invariably speaks as poet not as citizen: he advertises his superior poetic skills and belittles his rivals, or he offers moral advice of the sort that poets were traditionally expected to offer. He never takes any sort of position on the issues raised in the rest of the play.5

We must not, however, imagine that Lys. was a purely escapist entertainment. True observation and just advice are as much a part of comedy as fantasy, distortion, and farce. Indeed, there were thoughts best publicly articulated in comic guise. Who in 411 could tell the Athenians that the Probouloi were decrepit bunglers, that the politicians were selfish and thievish, and that the Spartans were old friends? Who could give public expression to the desolation and fear suffered by the women? It was the comic poet who gave communal expression to the social currents running beneath pg xxxithe surface of public discourse, and his actors were, after all, men in disguise speaking to their mates in the audience.

In the heroic plays particularly, the general appeal of the motive complaint is enhanced by its being resolved in terms of a utopian (which is to say, festive) solution that would be rejected only by a most wrong-headed person. Lysistrata reminds the spectators of the blessings of peace and denounces the evils of the present war (not all war: 1133–4) in terms with which none of the spectators would quarrel. The proffered blessings of peace are prosperity, a secure and happy domestic life, civic solidarity and loyalty, friendly and profitable relations with other Greek cities, festivals, banquets, and dancing. The alternatives are poverty, domestic discord, civil factionalism, political corruption, hostile and self-defeating relations with other Greek cities, campaigns, sudden death, and sexual frustration. Peace, Lysistrata argues, can be attained simply by deciding to renew the old friendship among Greeks, and when that happens all the evils occasioned by the war will disappear.

When the Athenian situation is put in these terms it becomes impossible for any character to offer an argument in favour of continuing the war or to mount an honourable resistance to the women's initiatives. That is, the poet does not encourage the spectators to ask how the scheme might fare in the real world nor do his characters address the difficult issues that would have to be faced by anyone who advocated a negotiated peace in the Assembly, who forcibly obstructed access to the public treasuries, or who abandoned her conjugal duties. For a comic festival was not only an artistic competition but also a ritual relief from the burdens and uncertainties of life.6 There the spectators were encouraged to believe what they hoped was true (that life would soon be better) and to expect what they knew was impossible pg xxxii(that the forces arguably responsible for their unhappiness could be painlessly eliminated).

The utopian fantasy of Lys. is distinct from those of the other heroic plays in being more practical: the situation is fantastic but realizable in principle, and the actions of the characters are not fundamentally outside the realm of human possibility.7 The women of the play neither alter their characteristic situations nor adopt uncharacteristic ones. None questions her ordinary role or seeks in any way to change it. On the contrary, the women want only to return to their normal lives, which have been disrupted by the war. Their conspiracy is unselfish and temporary and relies not on magical or supernatural mechanisms but only on the employment of the skills, attributes, and prerogatives peculiar to their sex: in particular, domestic management, domestic finances, procreation, and care of kin. The fantasy lies in the projection of these outside the domestic sphere by means of a conspiracy in which the city is assimilated to the individual household and the aggregate of cities to a neighbourhood (cf. § I, above).

Contrast the magical rise of Dikaiopolis from insignificance to power and prosperity in Acharnians; the grandiose apotheoses of Trygaios in Peace and Peisetairos in Birds; or the monde renversée achieved by Praxagora in Ekkl., where the women adopt exclusively masculine roles, usurp public functions reserved for men, and effect fundamental alterations of human society.8 In Lys. domestic normality is the pg xxxiiikeynote: the men have disrupted it and the women restore it. The fun lies not in a fantastic transformation of ordinary reality but in the exploration of its fantastic possibilities.

The practicality of Lysistrata's Utopian scheme requires that Ar. represent domestic life in a much less flamboyantly unrealistic manner than usual. The extramarital outlets for husbands that in comedy and in a slave-owning society are normally available must be ignored in order to motivate the sexual tension on which the strike-plot turns. Thus the wives long only for their husbands, not their lovers (as e.g. Th. 491–2), and the husbands cannot get along without their wives. Kinesias genuinely misses Myrrhine, and not only sexually: he misses her tending of their child (880 ff.), her clothesmaking (896–7), her household management (895–6), and her companionship (865 ff., 868–9). Even after she tricks him he professes his love for her (970 ff.). The wives, too, are barely able to live up to their oath and must constantly be rallied by Lysistrata (728 ff.). That the men would be willing to end the war because they missed their wives is of course a fantastic assumption, but it is not a possibility raised only in comedy. Recall the words of Odysseus to the despondent Achaians (Il. 2. 292 ff.): 'Any man who remains with his intricate ship apart from his wedded wife even for one month is impatient … and for us it is now the ninth year that we wait here. For this reason I do not blame the Achaians for their impatience.'

Drawn from life, too, is the wives' complaint that the absence or loss of husbands in war disrupts domestic life, the sphere after all where Greek women were traditionally in charge and from which they drew their civic identity and had their safety. And it is difficult to believe that citizen wives had many illusions about the injustice of a social system that denied them a public voice in determining pg xxxivpolicies that immediately affected their lives. The idea, maintained by the Proboulos, that wives must silently acquiesce in their husbands' behaviour regardless of its possible consequences for themselves (cf. 507 ff.), is irreconcilable with life as actually lived and is ably rebutted by Lysistrata in terms which cannot be entirely the product of Ar.'s imagination. Against the similar sentiments of a Hektor (Il. 6. 441 ff.) or a Perikles (Th. 2. 44–6) must be put the care taken by Laertes to avoid his wife's anger (Od. 1. 428 ff.) and the warning by the speaker of Against Neaira that in the interest of domestic harmony the jurymen must not cast the vote that would displease their wives (D. 59. 110). Tragedy, too, affords ample evidence of what could happen to husbands whose behaviour threatens their wives' domestic security: witness the cases of Agamemnon, Herakles, Jason, the husbands of the Lemnian women and of the Danaids.9

Sexual manipulation of husbands by wives may indeed be one of the few Aristophanic motifs that is more common in life than in literature. The Greek prototype was, of course, the Homeric Hera (e.g. in Il. 14), but there is also Alkmene, who refused sex until her husband avenged her brothers' murder (Hes. Shield 14 ff.), and the wife of the tragic actor Theodoros, who refused sex until he won a first prize (Plu. Mor. 737B, cf. Machon 226 ff.). We may probably compare the loyalty to kin which prompted Antigone and Elektra to forego marriage in defiance of their masters' wishes (S. Ant. 905 ff., El. 164 ff.).

The truly fantastic possibility in the situation portrayed in Lys. is that wives might employ their traditional domestic weapons (complaint, dereliction of domestic duties, and passive resistance) in a corporate conspiracy designed to operate in the men's public sphere. For, in effect, Lysistrata converts the Akropolis into a household for all the city's pg xxxvfemale citizens. Its exclusivity turns the tables on the men, who have excluded their wives from the process of policymaking. Fantastic, too, is the abnormal strength and discipline displayed by the women versus the uncharacteristic pusillanimity and rapid capitulation of the men: a reversal of prevailing gender stereotypes. For Greek tradition contains no parallel to the organized defiance of Lysistrata and her comrades.

The only exception was in the context of religion, where female sacerdotal personnel had a certain degree of public competence.10 A sixth-century priestess of Athena Polias forbade Kleomenes to enter the temple (Hdt. 5. 72), and in Ar.'s time Theano, a priestess of Demeter and Kore (PA 6636), defied a public order to curse Alkibiades (Plu. Alk. 22, 33). There is good reason to suppose that Lysimache, the Polias priestess in office in 411, held views similar to those of Lysistrata (see III below). With these examples of priestly autonomy we may align those festive events in which women ritually exclude and sometimes defy the men: Dionysian maenadism, Thesmophoria, Skirophoria, the festival of the new fire on Lemnos (Burkert, HN 190 ff.), and the many festivals of the Agriania/Agrionia type (ibid., 168 ff.). Lysistrata's initiatives, however, place no reliance on sacerdotal licence or bakchic mania; they are undertaken by women in their ordinary capacities as citizens, albeit in extraordinary ways.

Nevertheless, Ar. reminds the spectators of salient legendary and foreign parallels: the Amazons, who in Theseus' time occupied the Pnyx and battled with men (678), and the Karian queen Artemisia, who fought the Greeks more pg xxxvivaliantly than Xerxes' male admirals (675). The audience had perhaps heard also of the Ionian women mentioned by Herodotos who shunned their husbands (1. 146. 3) or of such Near Eastern tales as the one recorded by Josephus, where Balaam sends women to seduce the Hebrews and then refuse further sex until the Hebrews renounce their laws (AJ 4. 126–55, cf. Ph. Mos. 1. 295–311).

We moderns have parallels closer to home. Since the social reform movements of the nineteenth century women have been demanding, and steadily achieving, a greater voice in public, in many cases by means of organized public protest. What was a ludicrous and fantastic idea to the spectators of Ekkl.—that women might vote in assemblies—has become the reality of our century. That a frustrated group of citizens seeking to acquire a platform for their views or demands might seize a public building was, for the spectators of Lys., an equally fantastic idea. But this too has become a common political tactic.11 As for the organized conjugal strike there are two recent parallels known to me. In Birmingham, England in the winter of 1970, the wives of striking motorcar workers refused sex until their husbands returned to the factories,12 and in Smithfield, Rhode Island, in the winter of 1983, a group of housewives decided 'to do absolutely nothing of the things that wives and mothers are normally expected to do' until their husbands promised 'to pay more attention to us and communicate more'.13

iii. dramatis personae

Except for Lysistrata, the characters of this play are portrayed as conventional citizens and conform to the prevailing public (male) stereotypes of the day. The young pg xxxviiwives are frivolous, naive and unreliable.1 The old women are indifferent to sexual temptation2 and display the haughty forthrightness, relative independence, and prickly temper characteristic of their age-group. Because they work in a righteous cause, however, Ar. portrays both wives3 and old women4 as belonging to the respectable (and perhaps upper-class) stratum of Athenian and foreign society. The old men of the chorus are raggedy, right-thinking patriots who live on their jury-pay (625), dwell Nestor-like on their past glories while belittling the standards of the present day, and refuse on principle to give in to women. Their elderly champion, the Proboulos, is a pompous, arrogant, and bumbling bureaucrat whose humiliation affords the spectators vicarious pleasure in authority debunked. The young warriors and plenipotentiaries who finally appear late in the play are noteworthy for their impatience to do whatever they must do in order to relieve their extreme sexual frustration.

Only Lysistrata is extraordinary. She is identified neither as a housewife nor as an elderly woman. No details about her age or marital status appear. In the strike and in the seizure of the citadel she is the strategist and spokesman, while the other women are her agents. She understands and makes use of her helpers' talents but does not herself share in them. In fact she pointedly differentiates herself from the other women, especially the young wives. Moreover, she is not merely a representative of her own sex but also an advocate of traditional values for all Greeks male and female. She is endowed with a degree of intelligence, will, and eloquence that would have been considered extraordinary in a citizen pg xxxviiiof either sex and that emerges triumphant on all fronts. Only the Proboulos, a scapegoat, is immune. In her possession of the most admired attributes, in her dual role as defender of home and of city, in her acquaintance with both domestic and martial arts, in her panhellenic outlook, in her advocacy of internal solidarity,5 in her cool discipline and immunity to sexual temptation, in her appeal to young and old and in her close connection with the Akropolis, Lysistrata finds her closest analogue in Athena herself.

This characterization of Lysistrata has prompted speculation that our heroine was modelled on an actual contemporary of Ar., the priestess of Athena Polias, Lysimache.6 This priesthood was the most prominent and venerable in Athens and represented the last grand stronghold of the aristocracy and its values. It was an hereditary possession of the ancient genos of the Eteoboutadai and its incumbents can be traced from the fifth century bc until the second century ad.7 The priestess, who served for life, had a residence on the Akropolis,8 where she managed the cult and its personnel and where she supervised such activities as the training of arrhephoroi (641–2 n.) and the preparation of sacred banquets (IG ii2 776. 10 ff.). Occupants of this office had a public visibility and authority denied to other citizen women (see II above), and as representatives of the city's eponymous goddess they embodied and safeguarded the city's oldest and most enduring traditions.

Lysimache (PA 9470) was the daughter of Drakontides of Bate (PA 4549) and sister of Lysikles (PA 9432), who held the important office of Secretary to the treasurers of Athena in 417/16–415/14 (IG i3 306.24, 307.44, 308.67). She held office for sixty-four years (Plin. NH 34. 76) and a commemo-pg xxxixrative statue of her was made by Demetrios of Alopeke, whose working career fell in the period c. 400–360. We may therefore assume that Lysimache held office in 411. Two passages in Ar. seem to refer to her by name; if so, they suggest that she was publicly identified as a proponent of peace with the Peloponnesians. At Peace 991–2 Trygaios, in a prayer to Peace (represented onstage by a statue), says λῦσον δὲ μάχας καὶ κορκορυγάς, ἵνα Λυσιμάχην σε καλῶμεν‎, and at Lys. 554 Lysistrata says that if her scheme succeeds 'we women will, I imagine, be called Lysimaches throughout Greece'. It is possible that Λυσιμάχη‎ is an otherwise unattested epithet or personification of Peace (not a cult term, because the Athenian cult of Peace was not established until 375/4: Deubner 37–8, Parke 32–3),9 but even so it could allude to the most prominent citizen of that name.

Lysimache would thus be one of only two examples in all of Greek comedy of a respectable woman being publicly named by a free man not related to her:10 her priesthood exempted her from the ordinary protocol. The other example is Lysistrata, who is so named at 1086, 1103, and 1147. Lysistrata's name, which is similar in sound and significance to Lysimache's and which in fact was borne by more than one Polias priestess in later times,11 her close connection with the Akropolis and her assimilation to Athena are characteristics that may well have reminded the spectators of the priestess who occupied a seat of honour in the theatre and whose name was known to them.

We should probably not conclude, however, that Lysistrata was modelled on Lysimache, that actual portraiture was involved. Nothing said or done by Lysistrata depends pg xlfor its intelligibility on references to a person external to the play (contrast e.g. Paphlagon/Kleon in Knights). She makes no appeal to family or cult prerogatives to buttress her authority, and she explains her extraordinary endowments as having been acquired by listening to her father and other venerable men (1124–7), much as Praxagora acquired her forensic skills from listening to orators while she was living near the Pnyx (Ekkl. 243 ff.). Her name is appropriate and self-explanatory, and it was not exclusively associated with the Polias cult: a priestess of Demeter by that name appears c. 450 (CEG 317 = IG i3 953). Like other Aristophanic hero(in)es, Lysistrata acquires, in the course of the play, a stature that no actual citizen (Lysimache included) could achieve: the two chief powers of Greece must come to submit their differences to her for arbitration. At the beginning of the play she is as much a nonentity as Dikaiopolis and Trygaios. It is then significant that she is not named by a man until her victory (and hence public stature) is assured (cf. 433 n.).

It has also been suggested that Myrrhine was modelled on an actual person, the priestess of Athena Nike (for this cult cf. 317–18 n.), occupant of the most prominent demotic priesthood.12 This identification depends on the interpretation of an epitaph of c. 405 (CEG 93 = IG i3 1330) which states that one Myrrhine, daughter of one Kallimachos, was first to tend (ἀμφιπόλευσε‎) the temple of Athena Nike. The epitaph seems, however, to rule out the possibility that Myrrhine was the incumbent priestess of Athena Nike in 411. There is no way of determining when she held her post, but it must have been subsequent to the completion of the Nike temple in the 420s. Thus she cannot have been the cult's first priestess: the cult was established in the 440s and its priestesses were allotted ἐξ ἁπάντων‎, serving only a year or two, lifelong tenure being reserved for gentile priesthoods like that of Polias.13 The format and content of the epitaph pg xlirather suggest that Myrrhine held a low-echelon post14 whose only distinction was that she was the first to hold it.

We are left with the possibility that Myrrhine Kallimachou had for at least ten years held a sub-priestly position in the Nike temple which afforded her enough public recognition for an appearance in a Lenaian comedy. But this is a most unlikely possibility. The Myrrhine in our play is a typical housewife with a farcical role. It is impossible to discern any contribution to her characterization that a connection with Athena Nike would provide. Furthermore, Myrrhine is one of the most common Athenian names and was evidently chosen (like 'Kinesias') for its sexual connotations (838 n.). If it suggested any cult it was Aphrodite's, not Athena's.15

iv. production

The scene-building requires at least two doors (see notes at 1–64, 5, 916) and a roof that communicates easily with the stage (829 ff., 884 ff.). The stage-area1 must have been large enough to accommodate the battle between the Proboulos' archers and Lysistrata's market-women (437 ff.) and the lively crowd-scene that closes the play (1216 ff.). There are numerous references to sites on and around the Akropolis, but there is no evidence that any were naturalistically represented: even the door supposed to be the Propylaia must be identified for the spectators (245 ff.).

At least four actors are required: in the prologue Lysistrata (1), Kalonike (6), Myrrhine (69), and Lampito (77); in the episode at 387 ff. Proboulos (387), Lysistrata (430), and at least two women (439, 443, 447); in the episode at 706 ff. Lysistrata (708) and at least three wives (727, 735, pg xlii742, 760); in the seduction-scene (829 ff.) Lysistrata (829), a wife (830), Myrrhine (837), and Kinesias (845).

A fifth actor is indicated by three passages of dialogue amounting to four and a half lines. (1) At 129–35 Kalonike and Myrrhine refuse to go along with Lysistrata's request for a sex-strike:

(Kal.) I won't do it: let the war drag on!

(Myr.) Nor will I: let the war drag on!

(Lys.) This from you, flatfish? You just now said that you would cut yourself in half.

(Kal.) I would do that or anything else, even walk through fire! Anything but sex: there is nothing like it, my dear Lysistrata.

Then at 136: (Lys.) 'And what about you? (–?–) I also am ready to walk through fire.' It could be that Myrrhine echoes Kalonike, but it is hard to see why Lysistrata should ask Myrrhine to repeat her refusal, especially in so lame a fashion. Indeed, were line 136 not in the text we would not miss it. (2) In the episode at 706 ff. Lysistrata confronts a series of wives each of whom has a different excuse for a furlough (727, 735, 742). At 758–9 Wife C says, 'But I can't even sleep in the citadel, ever since I caught sight of the sacred snake!' Then someone says (760–1) 'And I am kept miserably awake by the constant hooting of the owls!' As at 136b, the speaker chimes in with an apparently gratuitous echo of the previous speaker. There is no reason why Wife A or Wife B should add this final excuse to the ones they have already given. (3) In the episode at 387 ff. the Proboulos, accompanied by four archers, seeks to arrest Lysistrata but is foiled by the appearance of three old women (439, 443, 447). The third woman might be the koryphaios of the semichorus of women, but the parallelism of her threat to the threats of the previous two suggests that she, like they, suddenly appears from the Propylaia. The point of the action here is that the Proboulos is surprised by the appearance of Lysistrata's bodyguards.

I have assigned these three passages to a fifth actor even though it is hard to account for his presence. (1) and (2) pg xliiiseem to be merely tacked on, and if they have any dramatic function it is apparently to increase the number of recalcitrant wives. (3) is motivated by the presence of four archers, but it is hard to see why Ar. was not satisfied with three, as he was in Wasps 433 ff. and Frogs 605 ff. Since the fifth actor's role is so small and inessential, it may be that Ar. for some reason had to accommodate him or that he was a novice.

In the following assignment of roles, Actor I has the most prominent role, Actor II the roles requiring an expert clown and Actor III the roles requiring the personification of Spartans.

  1. I. Lysistrata (1–864, 1112–87); Athenian Ambassador (1216–end).

  2. II. Kalonike (6–253); Proboulos (387–613); Wife A (727–80); Kinesias (845–1013); Athenian Ambassador (1086–1188); Athenian (1221–end).

  3. III. Lampito (81–244); Old Woman A (439–607); Wife B (735–80); Wife (830–6); Spartan Herald (980–1013); Spartan Ambassador (1076–1188, 1242–end).

  4. IV. Myrrhine (69–253, 837–951); Old Woman B (443–607); Wife C (742–80).

  5. V. Wife (136b); Old Woman C (447–607); Wife D (760–80).

  6.  Mute roles are as follows.

    • Prologue: Athenian Wives (65); Boiotian Wife (85); Korinthian Wife (90); Archeress (184); Slave (199).

    • Episode (387–475): The Proboulos enters with Two Slaves (426), Four Archer-Policemen (τοξόται‎ 433–49) and a Troop of Archers (Σκύθαι‎ 451, τὸ τοξικόν‎ 462). The Archer-Policemen are driven off by Lys. (435–6) and three helpers who emerge from the Propylaia (439–40, 443–4, 447–8); the Troop of Archers is driven off by a Troop of Market-women who emerge from the Propylaia (452–61), leaving the Proboulos alone and defenceless.

    • Episode (829–953): Slave and Child/Doll (879, 908).

    • pg xlivEpisode (1072–1188): Spartan (1072) and Athenian (1082) Husbands enter with their respective Ambassadors. Lys. is accompanied by Diallage (1114).

    • Episode (1216-end): Doorkeeper and Slaves (1216 ff.). The Spartan and Athenian Husbands reappear (1216, 1241) to reclaim their wives (1271 ff., cf. 1186–7). The Spartan and Athenian Wives (led by a mute Lysistrata?—see 1273–8 n.) emerge from the Propylaia (1271 ff.) and join their Husbands for celebratory dances (1278–1315).

The costumes worn by characters and choreutai are those which, allowing for comic exaggeration, their real-life counterparts would wear and are discussed in the notes. Kinesias and the other young men who follow wear erect phalloi. The text does not indicate whether the semichorus of old men wore phalloi (which would not be erect): for this question see 799–800 n. Outlandish barbarians like the Odomantians in Ach. 158 ff. can wear the grotesque circumcized phalloi mentioned at Nu. 538–9 (see Dover's note) and illustrated by vase-paintings, but it is unclear whether this would have been appropriate for such familiar barbarians as the Skythian archer-police of Lys. Female nakedness is represented by tights to which breasts and genitalia were attached (1106–27 n.) The Young wives' masks probably had a light complexion, snub nose, and black hair fashionably styled, such as is worn by Nike on a contemporary vase (DFA, Pl. 77A). The foreign wives' masks (like their costumes) were appropriate to the prevailing regional stereotypes (tanned and fair-haired for Lampito, opulent for the Korinthian). The old women onstage and in the orchestra had wrinkles, a mop of unruly white hair, and a straight nose, such as we see in the early fourth century.2 The Proboulos and the male choreutai probably wore the embittered-looking mask with full head of white hair and short pg xlvwedge beard that is known in the fourth century.3 The young husbands had dark hair and beards. The slaves (if they wore masks) had full hair (perhaps red), short beards and open trumpet-mouths.4 The Skythian archers had long hair and clean-shaven faces, as on contemporary vase-paintings. The Spartans had long, unkempt hair and beards (275–80 n.).

The large number of props identified in the text are: a shield supplied by an Archeress (185); a large wine-bowl and wine-bottle (195–6); twenty-four olivewood logs (255, 291); twelve vine torches (308, 1216 ff.); twelve pots (297) of live coals (293); twelve pitchers of water (327); several crowbars (428–9); a basket containing woolworking equipment (535, 567 ff.); funeral accessories (599 ff.); Athena's helmet (751); a written oracle (767–8); items of bedding and two bottles of perfume (916–47); banquet garlands (1216 ff); Spartan bagpipes (1242).

v. the spartan dialect

In Lys. the Spartans are represented as speaking their local dialect.1 Thukydides (5. 97) and Xenophon (HG 1. 1. 23, 3. 3. 2, 4. 4. 10) reproduce Spartan texts and a few fragments of comedy represent Lakonian: Eup. (?) Helots (138, 140), Epilykos Koraliskos (3). It is likely that some of the words preserved by lexicographers like Hesychios derive from comedy as well. Plu. Alk. 28 and Poll. 4. 102 probably derive from fifth-century sources. The language of the seventh-century Spartan poet Alkman, with whose poetry the Athenians were acquainted (Av. 251), may have been pg xlvibased on contemporary Lakonian but represents a less local Doric idiom, containing an admixture of Lesbian and epic forms.2 Hellenistic writers like Theokritos and Kallimachos do not use Lakonian but a hybrid literary Doric. There are very few Lakonian inscriptions from Ar.'s time and earlier.

The paucity of attestation of contemporary Lakonian makes it difficult to determine how accurately Ar. reproduced it. Possible distorting factors are caricature; modification in the interest of intelligibility (including the introduction of Attic words); errors in the transcription of the original script (which may have been written in the Old Attic alphabet); and the subsequent entry into the text of corruptions and intrusive dialect items. In the medieval tradition atticizing is the most common corruption,3 and in manuscripts of the Γ‎ family (especially B) the substitution of Lesbian forms is not uncommon.4

In this edition I have adhered to the MSS where they are not demonstrably incorrect. The following synopsis lists the features of Ar.'s Lakonian that differ from the Attic.

  1. 1. Vowels

    1. (a) ᾱ‎ was retained where Att. substituted η: μάν‎ (144).

    2. (b) ε‎ before α/ο/ω‎ > ι: σιάν‎ (1321), σιόν‎ (1298), σιώ‎ (81).

    3. (c) α‎ for Att. ε‎ in γα‎ (170), Ἀρταμιτίῳ‎ (1251) = Ἀρτεμισίῳ‎.

    4. (d) ε‎ + ε‎ > [ε‎:] (long back e-sound) and ο‎ + ο‎ > [Ο‎:] (long back o-sound): μυσίδδην‎ (1076), ὑπνῶν‎ (143). At 1102, where meter rules out Lak. πρέσβεες‎ (cf. 2 (c)), I print πρέσβης‎, although MSS πρέσβεις‎ may be correct (Theokr. 2. 128 πελέκεις‎). φροῦδος‎ (106) and κοῦφα‎ (1303) are doubtful in Lak. and are probably Attic substitutions made by Ar.

    5. (e) ι‎ is consonantal in ἀδικίομες‎ (1148) and possibly in ὀμιώμεθα‎ (183): contrast μογίομες‎ (1002).

  1. pg xlvii2. Nondiphthongal Vowel Combinations

    1. (a) α‎ + ε‎ > η: ὁρῆν‎ (1077).

    2. (b) ᾱ‎ + ο/ω‎ > ᾱ: ἇς‎ (173) ˂ *ἇος‎, Att. ἕως; τᾶν‎ (94) ˂ τᾱ́ων‎. Uncontracted in Μενέλαος‎ (155).

    3. (c) ε‎ + ε‎ are uncontracted: τριήρεες‎ (173), but see I (d).

  1. 3. Consonants

    1. (a) Initial w in ἀλεός‎ (988), ἔσθος‎ (1096), παρα-υιδών‎ (156), possibly πελλάνας‎ (996, cf. 988), but absent elsewhere, e.g. ἰδῆν‎ (118), συναλίαξε‎ (93).

    2. (b) Intervocalic, ante- and postconsonantal w has disappeared: μόνας‎ (143), κόρας‎ (1307), καλῶς‎ (180).

    3. (c) Intervocalic sigma > h: μῶἁ‎ (1297) = μοῦσα‎. At 168 πείσομες‎ ˂ *πειθσ-‎.

    4. (d) τ‎ before ι‎ where Att. substituted σ: Ἀρταμιτίῳ‎ (1251).

    5. (e) θ‎ had become a sound (presumably MGk. θ‎) represented by Attic writers as σ‎, as in σιόν‎ (1298), but this spelling does not appear when ν‎ precedes: Κορινθία‎ (91), πεπόνθαμες‎ (1098), συνθήκαισι‎ (1268).

    6. (f) δδ‎ for Att. ζ: γυμνάδδομαι‎ (82).

    7. (g) ξυν-‎ is virtually (though not entirely) absent from West Greek inscriptions, thus συν-‎ at 93, cf. συνθήκαισι‎ (1298).

  1. 4. Apocope is frequent, as in ἀμπτάμενος‎ (106), ποττό‎ (117), πάρ‎ (1308).

  2. 5. Inflection

    1. (a) Nom. pl. πρυτάνιες‎ (981).

    2. (b) Dat. pl. τοῖσι … ἁμοῖσι‎ (1180–1), ταῖσι συνθήκαισι‎ (1268), but Ἀμύκλαις‎ (1298).

    3. (c) At 1174 (the line is unmetrical) MSS πρῶτα‎ cannot be genuine: Lak. πρᾶτα‎ has a different root.

    4. (d) Personal pronouns: ἐγών‎ (983), μ(έ)‎ (84), τύ‎ (1188), ᾱ̔μές‎ (168), ᾱ̔μῶν‎ (168: later Doric shows ἁμέων‎ or ἁμίων‎), ᾱ̔μίν‎ (1081), ᾱ̔μέ‎ (95), ῡ̔μέ‎ (87).

    5. (e) Possessive adjectives: ἐμός‎ (105), τεός‎ (1249), ᾱ̔μός‎ (1181).

    6. pg xlviii(f) Relative pronouns are like the article: τοί‎ (1301), τᾷ‎ (1305).

  1. 6. Pronominal Adverbs; Conjunctions of Time, Place, Manner

    1. (a) -ᾳ‎ for Att. -ῃ: ᾇ‎ (1320), ὁπᾷ‎ (1080), πᾷ‎ (171), πᾳ‎ (155), τᾷδε‎ (180), ᾇπερ‎ (84), παντᾷ‎ (1081). The analogy of other IE languages suggests that these forms were originally instrumental (-ᾱ‎), but I have followed the MSS and inscriptions, which generally show dative/locative iota, cf. Schwyzer i. 550, ii. 163. For the accents see 11.

    2. (b) -ᾱ: ἁμᾶ‎ 'likewise' (1258) as in inscriptions, although this adverb may belong with those in 6 (a) (cf. Hdn. i. 489, 16–17; KB ii. 305–6). οὔπα‎ (1157) is otherwise unattested but apparently = οὔπω‎ (cf. 1158, 1225), although on the analogy of Lak. πήποκα‎ and ὅπη‎ we would expect *οὔπη‎. This adverb might be classified with such inscriptional formulas as tautā hāt(e) 'in such a way as …'.

    3. (c) -κα‎ for Att. -τε: ὅκα‎ (1251), ποκά‎ (105).

    4. (d) ἀές‎ (1267: MSS αἰές‎) for Att. ἀεί‎.

  1. 7. The conditional relative is αἰ/αἰκ‎ (1099), cf. Schwyzer i. 404.

  2. 8. The modal particle (~Att. ἄν‎) is κα‎.

  3. 9. Verbs

    1. (a) Active personal endings: 1 pl. -μες‎, 3 pl. -ντι‎.

    2. (b) The aor. of verbs in -ίζω‎ shows ξ‎ for Att. σ: συναλίαξε‎ (93). πορπακισάμενος‎ (106) is a metrical accommodation.

    3. (c) The Doric future in -σέω‎ appears in 183 ὀμιώμεθα‎ (as in Att. ὀμούμεθα‎ ˂ *ὀμεσούμεθα‎, cf. 1 (b)) but not in πωτάὁμαι‎ (1013); thus I print κἀείὡ‎ not κἀειὧ‎ at 1243.

    4. (d) The infinitive of athematic verbs is -μεν: ἀποδόμεν‎ (1163).

    5. (e) The 3 pl. imperfect of εἰμί‎ is ἦν‎ (1261).

    6. (f) For the verb λῶ‎ (981), λῇς‎ (95), λῇ‎ (1163), λῶμες‎ pg xlix(1162), λῆτε‎ (1105) see J. Brause, Glotta 2 (1910) 204.

  1. 10. Syntax and Usage

    1. (a) In oaths ναί‎ and οὐ‎ are used without following μά‎ (81, 990).

    2. (b) οἰῶ‎ (like Att. οἴομαι‎, to which it may be related) is used parenthetically (81), cf. Bechtel ii. 351, Ahrens ii. 350.

    3. (c) δʼ αὖ‎ is simply copulative like Att. δέ‎ (90–1).

    4. (d) μάν‎ strengthens imperatives (like Att. δή‎), as in epic and in the choral parts of drama (183), cf. KG ii. 136, GP 331–2.

    5. (e) τε‎ following a relative, as in epic, appears in a purely Lakonian song (1307) and may therefore have survived in Lak.

    6. (f) For αἰ(κ)‎ with past indicative cf. KG ii. 483.

    7. (g) ἄνθρωπος‎ appears to be an exclamatory nominative at 988–9.

    8. (h) The locative dat. τὸν Ἀμύκλαις σιόν‎ (1298) only here in Ar.

    9. (i) ἄφατον ὡς‎ (198, 1148) and ἄφατα‎ (1080) appear to be Lak. mannerisms.

    10. (j) παραυιδῆν‎ (= παριδεῖν‎) + acc. (156).

    11. (k) ποτόδδει‎ (= προσόζει‎) absol. (206).

    12. (l) πρεπτός‎ in the active sense (1297).

    13. (m) ἀμπάλλοντι‎ intransitive (1309).

    14. (n) πωτάὁμαι‎ (1013), epic and Aischylean (A. Ag. 978 with Fraenkel's note, Eum. 250, PV 645; v. l. at Pax 830), may have persisted in Lak.

    15. (o) ὑπνῶν‎ with poetic prosody in colloquial context (143).

    16. (ρ‎) κᾶλα‎ still current in Lak., see 1253 n.

    17. (q) Hapax legomena: συναλιάζω‎ (= συναλίζω‎) (93), πορπακίζω‎ (106), ῥυάχετος‎ (170), πλαδδιῶ‎ (171), κυρσάνιος‎ (983), πελλάνα‎ (996), ὕσσαξ (ὕσσακος?)‎ (1001), ἁγέχορος‎ (1281), ἀγκονίω‎ (= ἀνακ-‎) (1310), χορωφελήτας‎ (1319), παμμάχος‎ (1321).

  1. pg l11. Accents

Information in the ancient grammarians about the accentual peculiarities of Doric dialects is insufficient for generalization about the system as a whole, nor do we know whether fifth-century Lakonian in particular had these peculiarities. I have therefore followed the MSS in accenting Lakonian words in the Attic manner and the usage of most editors of Doric texts in writing the adverbs listed in 6 (a) as perispomena.

vi. the history of the text

A. Ancient Texts

Three fragments of ancient texts of Lys. survive. They are:



PColon. 14, Kölner Papyri I, Papyrologia Coloniensia 7 (1976) 43 = Austin 43. IV ad. One leaf of a papyrus codex (palimpsest), with a format of c. 37 lines. Contains lines 145–53, 182–99 (in the order 182–7, 197, 199, 188, with 189–96 omitted). Carefully written and orthographically correct, without accents and breathings. Iota adscript is omitted at 188. Elision is indicated in 146 and 184, diaeresis at 153 and 185 and quantity at 152 (ᾱνδρες‎). Change of speaker is marked by double-point at 186 and 187. A second hand has made minor corrections in 150 and 186.



PAnt. 75 and 211, Antinoopolis Papyri II p. 64, III p. 180 = Austin 44. V–VI ad. Single leaves of a papyrus codex. Contains lines 307–13, 318–20, 342–6, 353–62. Carefully written, with accents but without breathings. Changes of speaker are marked by paragraphoi at 354, 356 and 358, and 358 is attributed to the semichorus of women by an abbreviation.

pg li



PBodl.Gr. class. e 87(P), B. P. Grenfell, Mélanges Nicole (Geneva 1905) 217 = Austin 45. IV–V ad. One leaf of a papyrus codex. Contains lines 433–47, 469–84. Carefully written without accents and breathings. Elision is marked throughout. Change of speaker is indicated by double-point at line-end at 434, 436 and 438, by paragraphoi at 439, 441, 443. A second hand has made an indecipherable correction in προσοισεις‎ at 444.

Π‎1 contains a metrical emendation (153 n.) absent from the medieval tradition and at 188 shows that the false reading in R was already current in the fourth century. The lacunose and disordered sequence at 182–99 (the result of mechanical error: see note) was never rectified by comparison with a correct exemplar: an indication of the relatively closed transmission of the text in antiquity. Π‎2 supplies a correct spelling absent from the medieval tradition (311). Π‎3 preserves correct readings against the medieval tradition at 433 and 476, and at 478 contains a variant which helps to restore the correct reading (476–83 n.). The colometry of the song at 476 ff. is the same as the medieval one.

B. Medieval Texts

Eight MSS written before the end of the sixteenth century contain the whole (R and Mu2) or the greater part (the rest) of the text of Lys. I have collated all eight in situ and list them according to the nomenclature of J. W. White, CP 1 (1906) 9 ff.



Ravennas 429, in the Biblioteca Classense in Ravenna. Parchment, c. 950, cf. A. Diller, Serta Turyniana (Urbana 1974) 522–3. Contains Pl., Nub., Ran., Av., Eq., Pax., Lys., Ach., Vesp., Thesm., Eccl. Argumenta, scholia, glosses. Lys. is in foll. 111r–127v. Published in facsimile by J. van Leeuwen (Leiden 1904).

pg lii



Leidensis Vossianus Gr. F. 52, in the Bibliotek der Rijksuniversiteit in Leiden. Paper, c. 1325. Contains Lys. 1–61, 132–99, 268–819, 890–1034, Av. 1492–1765. Scholia and glosses by several hands. Lys. is in foll. 1r–11v, 1–3v being written by one scribe and the remainder by another. Two verses are written on a line, the odd verses of each page in the left-hand column, the even in the right-hand column. Reproduction of fol. 14 in B. A. van Groningen, A Short Manual of Greek Palaeography (Leiden 1963), pl. IX. The greater part of this MS, which evidently suffered rough handling, is in the Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana in Florence (Laurentianus 31. 15).



Monacensis Gr. 492, in the Staatsbibliothek in Munich. Western paper, XV. Contains Thesm. and Lys. Argumenta. Lys. is in foll. 20r–40r.



Palatinus Gr. 67, in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana in Vatican City. Western paper, XV. Contains Pl., Nub., Ran., Eq., Ach., Vesp., Av., Pax 1–947, 1012–1354, 1357, Lys. 1–61, 132–99, 268–819, 890–1097, 1237–1321. Occasional glosses. Lys. is in foll. 211r–234v.



Havniensis 1980, in the Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen. Western paper, XV. Contents identical to Vp2. Lys. is in foll. 280r–318r.



Parisinus Regius Gr. 2715, in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, Western paper, XV. Contains Eq., Ach., Av., Vesp., Lys. 1–61, 132–99, 268–819, 890–1097, 1237–1321, Eccl. 1–1135, Pax 1–947, 1012–1300. Lys. is in foll. 137v–160v.



Parisinus Regius Gr. 2717, in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. Western paper, XV/XVI. Contains Eq., Ach., Vesp., Pl., Nub., Ran., Av., Pax 1–947, 1012–1354, 1357, Lys. as in Vp2. Lys. is in foll. 436r–481r.



Laurentianus Gr. 31. 16, in the Biblioteca Mediceo-Laurenziana in Florence. Western paper, XV, cf. C. Eberline, Studies In The Manuscript Tradition of the Ranae of Ar. (Meisenheim am Glan 1980) 9–10. Contains Pl., Nub., Eq., Ran., Ach., Av., Vesp., Lys. as in B. Lys. is in foll. 235v–259r.

pg liiiNothing that is said in this chapter about the relationship of the MSS of Lys. should be taken to imply anything about their relationship in other plays of Ar.

Elimination. Mu2 is a copy of R, C is a copy of Vp2, and Δ‎ is a copy of B. The text of Mu2 faithfully and accurately reproduces the text of R except where the scribe has made simple emendations and attributed lines to speakers (R has few original attributions, mostly using paragraphos and dicolon). When Mu2 alone has a correct reading (29, 316, 350, 852, 1140, 1144, 1165, 1186, 1234) or attribution (76, 78) I have cited it in the apparatus. C, a remarkably sloppy and error-filled copy of the beautifully written Vp2, is cited at 1304 where the scribe accidentally restores the correct reading. Δ‎ was copied from B before correction (see below), as also in Ach.,1 Vesp.2 and Av.3 Δ‎ contains no significant readings.

The Principal MSS. The remaining MSS are easily divided into two families, one represented by R (which alone contains the complete text) and the other by the rest. The ancestor of Γ‎Vp2HB had lost several pages before it was copied, since these MSS all omit the same 274 verses in sections of approximately 69 verses each. Γ‎, which ends at the bottom of a page at line 1034, undoubtedly once contained 1035–97 and 1237–1321. Its final pages were probably lost in the same accident that led to the removal of its greater part to Florence.

The text of Thesm. and the missing parts of Lys. resurfaced at the turn of the sixteenth century, when these plays were copied from R by Mu2. Not long thereafter, Euphrosynus Boninus brought R from Urbino to Florence at the request of Bernardo Giunta, who intended to publish the first printed edition of Lys. and Thesm. (the other nine plays had been published by the Aldine Press in 1498). Boninus used R as printer's copy for Giunta's edition, published early in pg liv1516. His corrections, which include almost all attributions of speakers, are clearly discernible and are credited to him when they are cited in the apparatus. Shortly after the publication of the Juntine edition, R was removed by Boninus to Pisa and remained out of circulation until Ph. Invernizi rediscovered it in Ravenna and used it for his edition (Leipzig 1794).4

R is beautifully and painstakingly written, although it contains many elementary mistakes. On the whole the text of Γ‎Vp2HB (where extant) is less corrupt than R's, but in numerous instances R alone preserves the correct text. R is fully reported in this edition.

R was not the only MS of its family circulating in the pre—Palaeologan period. The Suda (S), which quotes nearly one-fourth of the text of Lys. (including the sections missing in Γ‎Vp2HB), clearly derived its text from an MS or MSS similar to R (note for example the errors at 44, 45–8, 360, 459). In addition, S preserves many variants which are absent from the MSS, some of them correct (e.g. 796, 809, 1129, 1153). I have therefore given S the status of an MS and report it fully.

Γ‎, the oldest MS of its family, was corrected by two hands not long after the original text was written (one of the correctors wrote the scholia). Where they are not simply orthographic, most of the corrections are simple emendations (291, 739) or the introduction of variants found in the scholia (636) or in a testimonial source (361, 761, cf. 549). Although Γ‎ never has a correct reading which is not also found in R or in at least one of the other MSS or in a testimonial source, I have reported it fully because of its age and because it may have served as the basic text of the editions represented by Vp2HB.

Later MSS. Vp2, H, and B derive from editions made by late Byzantine scholars, who used more than one MS in pg lvpreparing the text and who introduced their own (mostly metrical) emendations.

Vp2 and H (first used for Lys. in this edition) descend from a common hyparchetype p: the order of plays is the same; both leave approximately the same number of blank pages for later inclusion of the missing parts of the text; both share more than seventy peculiar errors (e.g. the omission of line 673); and each has many peculiar errors of its own (Vp2 omits 1011–12, H omits 442, 937–8, 1261).

B is clearly written but contains many elementary mistakes: thus B is not itself the work of an editor. The scribe included no attributions of speakers but left spaces for their later insertion. A rubricator (B2) inserted speakers and made some corrections. Later a third hand, using very dark ink, made still more corrections. Except for a few attributions B2 and B3 contribute nothing to the text. Whereas p contained only a modest number of emendations (none correct), B contains over one hundred, many of which are correct.

The relationship of Γ‎Bp can be deduced from the following facts: (a) B and p share no significant errors or emendations, (b) p contains several correct readings found also in R but not in Γ‎B, the most significant being 147 τουτογί‎ (τουτονί Γ‎B), 568 ὑπεν- (ἐπεν-)‎, 582 ὁπόσοι‎ (ὁπόσοι‎), 594 γηράσκουσι‎ (γινώσκουσι‎), 635 ταῖς‎ (τοῖς‎), 678 ἀπολίσθοι‎ (ἀπολέσθαι‎), 810 περιειργμένος‎ (περιειργασμένος‎), 1031 μέγʼ‎ (μʼ Γ, μὴν‎ B). In one instance (478) p alone has the correct reading. B agrees with R against Γ‎p in more than seventy instances, the most significant being in lines 20, 137, 146, 306, 374, 465, 475, 495, 510, 531, 788, 794, 969, 975, 1001. (c) Γ‎pc contains very few peculiar errors, the most significant being 916 μηδαμῆ‎ (μηδαμῶς‎ RB p), 1023 ὑπὸ γῆς‎ (ὑπʼ ὀργῆς‎).

We may conclude that B and p represent two separate editions. Both editors used as a basic text an MS closely related to Γ‎pc or Γ‎pc itself: Γ‎'s peculiar errors could have been corrected by emendation (cf. 1031) or by comparison with a source containing the correct readings. Both editors made use of sources containing variants not found in Γ‎, but pg lviB made more extensive use of such sources than did p, whose text follows Γ‎pc quite closely.

In this edition, readings of Vp2HB are reported only when they seem to be of some importance in establishing the text. After line 1034, when Γ‎ breaks off, Vp2HB are fully reported. In this section of the play, p is in any case likelier than B to preserve the missing text of Γ‎.

It is unlikely that Triklinios had a hand in either p or B. Lys. does not appear in copies of Triklinian editions5 and the emendations found in p and B are virtually confined to passages of dialogue.

Colometry. Except for an occasional overrun the colometry of the lyric passages of Lys. is uniform in all witnesses and is presumably that of the ancient vulgate (the Alexandrian text as rearranged by Heliodoros). No metrical scholia accompany the text of Lys.

Testimonia. I have drawn the testimonial sources (for which see PCG III. 2, pp. xiii ff.) from W. Kraus, Testimonia Aristophanea (Vienna/Leipzig 1931), as corrected and updated by R. Cantarella, Ar., Le Commedie iv (Milan 1956) 239–393 and R. Kassel, ZPE 25 (1977) 82–3 and 32 (1978) 30.

Ancient Scholia. The scholia in R and those in Γ‎ were derived from the same corpus. Each MS contains some scholia which are absent from the other, but those in Γ‎ are on the whole fuller and more accurately preserved. In some cases the Suda contains a fuller version of a scholion than RΓ‎, but in general the Suda–scholia are closely akin to the R-scholia. One of the MSS containing only scholia, Baroccianus Bodl. 38B (XV), was copied directly from Γ‎ but used another MS as well, for it contains fuller versions of some Γ‎- scholia and also scholia not derived from R or S in sections of the play missing from Γ‎ (62–126, 200–67).6

pg lviiThe most recent edition of the Lys.-scholia is G. Stein (Göttingen 1891), which must be used with the corrections supplied by K. Zacher in BPhW (1893) 1601 ff. and (1894) 354 ff., 379 ff.

The scholia of Lys. represent a corpus which scholars of the Byzantine renaissance inherited from antiquity and from which they drew more or less selectively in composing their marginal notes.7 On present evidence we cannot draw a very clear picture of the scholia before they were placed in the margins of our MSS, for editors and the compilers of such reference-works as the Suda chose selectively, rearranged the scholia and added material of their own. The substance and quality of the scholia therefore varies enormously from play to play. Ekkl. has only wretched scraps; Birds and Frogs preserve much early scholarship, while Knights, Clouds and Wealth are even more partial to comments of a rhetorical and atticist character than is true of the corpus as a whole, of which this kind of material forms the great bulk. The other plays carry an uneven mixture: in Lys., for example, there is a comparatively large amount of information about Attic cults and mythology. Metrical analyses attributed to Heliodoros and reflecting his colometry accompany the plays of the 420s but none thereafter. In general, early scholarship is less fully and accurately preserved than is the case with Homer, Pindar, Sophokles OC, pg lviiiTheokritos, and Apollonios. What does survive is given in the form of summary judgements devoid of supporting argument or indications of source, so that it is rarely possible to gauge the accuracy and quality of a learned note.

The editorial methods of the compilers present the following general difficulties. Care was not always taken to identify sources or to mark the transition from one source to another. Habits of quotation differ: Frogs and Birds are generous (earlier and later commentators respectively) while Clouds and Wealth rarely name names.8 Formulae designed to specify and discriminate various kinds of comment (textual variants, alternative notes, glosses, paraphrases); terminology designating sources (texts, marginalia, independent commentaries, lexica, monographs); critical terminology of all kinds (conventional as well as idiosyncratic)—these were neither consistently nor conscientiously employed. Misleading abridgement is pervasive and often difficult to detect, as is facile combination and specious erudition (promoted by the later scholar's horror vacui). Pervasive too is failure to distinguish inferences from the text from independent information, and a tendency to concoct facts from (often wrong) inferences.

These characteristics of the Ar.-scholia are not entirely the product of the Byzantine redaction but reflect the work of compilers active in the fourth and later centuries ad. This period saw the almost total disappearance of Old Comedy except for our eleven plays. Ar. was considered the best exponent of the genre, and our plays were the plays for which scholarly commentaries, and simpler reader's commentaries derived from them, had been transmitted.9 It is pg lixnot in fact likely that the number of plays so equipped had ever been much larger than eleven: the scholia refer to commentaries on only three lost plays (Danaids at Pl. 210, Merchantmen at Lys. 722, Storks at Pl. 84, 665), and there is reason to believe that even in the time of Aristophanes of Byzantium and Aristarchos there were already approved writers and works (cf. Quint. 1. 43, 10. 1. 54), the ancestors of the canons that later took shape.10 The commentaries still available for these classic plays dated from the first or second centuries ad at the latest (the scholarly one by Symmachos was the most influential) and derived primarily from Didymos, who in the time of Augustus compiled into a single variorum commentary what he chose to preserve of two and a half centuries of Alexandrian scholarship.11 In our later period scholars such as Phaeinos (cf. Ar. testt. 124–7 K-A) compiled new commentaries that answered the interests of the day and in which our scholia acquired the content and assumed the wording which they now display, though sometimes in a slightly fuller and less corrupt form. Whether any of these commentaries survived into the ninth century as a separate entity or whether they had already devolved into marginal scholia in late antiquity cannot at this time be determined.

The Alexandrian Text.12 Forty-four plays attributed to Ar. were collected in Alexandria in the early third century bc and quickly became the object of continuous and energetic pg lxstudy. But they presented special problems for readers and scholars, problems that greatly influenced the kind of study devoted to them and that therefore must be borne in mind by students of their transmission. Ar. had himself outlived the genre of Attic comedy in which he had been a prolific and successful competitor. No play of his was performed after his lifetime,13 and even while he lived comedy was changing and developing. Each subsequent generation of theatregoers enjoyed comedies that were increasingly far removed in language, characters, plot, and theatrical style from Ar. In addition, each Aristophanic play was extremely topical, an ἀγώνισμα ἐς τὸ παραχρῆμα‎ inextricably involved in the tangle of contemporary ideas and events, all of them based on comic material and many of them unlikely to have been recorded elsewhere. This topicality was an obstacle to intelligibility and appeal that grew more formidable with each passing year: 'All works which describe manners', said Dr. Johnson, 'require notes in sixty or seventy years, or less.' What is more, Ar.'s obscenity, fantasy, inconsequentiality of plot, and other Old Comic licences combined with his topicality not only to keep him off the stage but also to puzzle and sometimes alienate readers and critics. Even the antiquarians, who were very fond of Ar., had trouble (when they went to the trouble) imagining the kind of theatre that had accommodated his plays. After all, Ar.'s style and dramaturgy were not models imitated in Hellenistic or Roman times, nor were the characters, the sentiments and the arguments found in his plays good sources of moral edification and rhetorical instruction. For all these reasons, pg lxiAr.'s appeal to readers was primarily as a storehouse of information for historians, antiquarians and biographers, and as an important source of Attic Greek.

Thus it is unlikely that the texts Ar. left behind were numerous or of wide circulation even in the fourth century bc. Old Comedy was a source for Atthidographers and historians like Theopompos,14 and educated men like Plato (who could have known Ar. personally) and Aristotle will have encountered Ar. in their reading. But nothing will have motivated the production of new texts that looked beyond the requirements of their original production.15 The verses continued to be copied as mere blocks of letters (as in the Timotheos papyrus) often, perhaps usually, in the old Attic script (e.g. Σ‎ Av. 66), with few (if any) stage-directions16 or attributions of speaking parts.17 Further, nothing motivated the preservation of details about the performance and production of Old Comedy: the didaskalic records and the texts themselves were the only evidence remaining for future students of the genre.

Nevertheless, the Alexandrian poet-critics preceding Ar. Byz. took a lively interest in Ar. and (except for the production of critical texts and commentaries18) established pg lxiithe varieties of research and criticism developed by their successors. Classification and description of the texts housed in the Library was begun by Lykophron and the first critical inventory completed by Kallimachos in his Pinakes. Lykophron also wrote a glossographic monograph On Comedy, which was superseded by Eratosthenes' Old Comedy. Eratosthenes expanded Lykophron's format by using information external to the plays in order to solve problems of chronology (Σ‎ Nub. 552), topical (Σ‎v Pax 48) and historical (Σ‎ Av. 556) allusions, and production arrangements (Σ‎ Pl. 797). There were also literary monographs: Dionysiades of Mallos distinguished and evaluated comic styles (Suda δ‎ 1169: this work was the source of the extant περὶ διαφορᾶς χαρακτήρων‎ attributed to Platonios), and Machon studied comic structures. In addition to such catalogues, word-lists, and special monographs, the early Alexandrians also used Ar. as a source for biographies19 and reference-works: a Birds commentator frequently cites Kallimachos On Birds, noting at 765, 883, and 1181 that some species were overlooked. Although the Alexandrians did not restage Old Comedy or imitate its dramaturgical style(s), Machon's comedies (modelled on the contemporary Athenian style) found a place for some Aristophanic δριμύτης‎ and thus earned the praise of Dioskourides (24 Page = AP 7. 708) as τέχνης ἄξιον‎ pg lxiii ἀρχαίης λείψανον‎. Writers of satire, epigram, iambos, and mime also drew various items of language and poetic technique (in particular, obscenity and abuse) from Old Comedy.

Early in the second century bc a substantial amount of such material had accumulated, and Ar. Byz. satisfied a pressing need by preparing the first critical edition of his namesake's plays. As in his editions of other poetic texts, he adapted to the special requirements of Old Comedy the editorial techniques of Homeric criticism, to which he had made important contributions. His aim was to recover and present the paradosis by collating the available MSS. Apart from a coherent orthography based on analogical principles, the colometry of lyrical passages, and the correction of simple errors, he made no alterations. Serious corruptions, important variants, suspect lines, dislocations, and lacunae were indicated by a system of critical signs of which the scholia bear witness: at Σ‎V Ran. 151–3 sigma and antisigma noted (authorial?) variants,20 and χ‎ marking passages of critical interest appeared frequently (e.g. Σ‎R Th. 917). That stage-directions were added, changes of speaker marked, or speaking parts distributed is doubtful, to judge from the considerable amount of debate preserved in the scholia. To each play was prefaced an hypothesis containing a plot-outline, didaskalic information and a brief critical judgement (hypotheses could also circulate in independent collections, as in papyri of Euripides and Menander). Ar. Byz. may also have affixed a brief verse hypothesis containing only the plot-outline, since the extant ones of later date are traditionally ascribed to him.21 His text became the vulgate as well as the standard Alexandrian text.22 No pg lxivevidence suggests that any substantial number of old readings bypassed Ar. Byz. The transmission of the text in antiquity seems to have been relatively closed, with variants accumulating by error and emendation.23 And from a very early date it was protected by learned annotation.

The place for annotation was in an accompanying commentary housed in rolls separate from the critical text itself. In the commentary, which was functionally distinct from monographs and reference works, textual exegesis went hand-in-hand with textual criticism. Here lemmata were quoted and elucidated in coordination with the critical signs. The commentator offered paraphrases, reconstructions of the staging, information and original views on obscure, difficult, corrupt, or controversial passages. References to other scholars were usually made to dispute or correct a rival viewpoint, but attractive or authoritative opinions might be quoted or works of reference cited. Here also was the place for evaluating alternative readings and proposing conjectures, while the text itself remained conservative.24 Σ‎R at Th. 162 is the only recorded example of a successful conjecture by Ar. Byz.,25 just as the immense prestige of Aristarchos' Homeric scholarship could secure the universal adoption of only 80 of his 874 recorded conjectures in the texts of that poet. Ignorance, negligence, and inconsistency in the use of the critical signs and in the (non) employment of pg lxvtextual criticism and its terminology were later to become prime causes of scholiastic confusion. But, fortunately, the old habit of confining debate to the separate commentary, the extreme textual conservatism even of later editors, and the restricted circulation of learned commentaries acted as checks on any hazards to the text that confusion in the commentary might pose.

The first commentaries were written by men like Kallistratos and Euphronios (cf. n. 18, above), but these were soon eclipsed by Aristarchos, whose major interest was to explain the critical text and to supply lexical and orthographic evidence. Like his contemporaries, who did not follow the lead of Eratosthenes, Aristarchos was largely indifferent to history, antiquities, geography, and myth.26 The reasons for the selection of plays for comment are obscure. Pedagogical motives can be safely ruled out,27 as can suitability for restaging, reworking, or imitation. Ignorance of the total corpus of commented Old Comic plays requires us to restrain further speculation.28 But there can be no doubt that Aristarchos had much to do with establishing Aristophanic scholarship and defining its emphases in the period before Didymos.

Didymos represented the culmination of scholarly trends characteristic of the period after Aristarchos, whose followers were prolific in many fields of research but who seem neither to have enlarged the number of commented plays of Ar. nor to have devoted much attention to their direct exegesis. If they wrote any commentaries (likely candidates are Tima-pg lxvichidas and Apollonios Chaeridis) they apparently contented themselves with establishing and correcting Aristarchos' work. The diaspora of scholars occasioned by the violent accession of Euergetes II certainly played a role in this change of direction, and it may also explain in part why Didymos quoted post-Alexandrian scholars so rarely. Other reasons may be that they wrote no commentaries; that their commentaries were of minimal interest to Didymos; or again that Didymos' pretentions to originality affected his habits of quotation. For it cannot be doubted that this indefatigable but unimaginative compiler owed as much to the scholars who took Alexandrian methods to other cities and new fields of research as he owed to Aristarchos himself.29

Scholarship on Old Comedy in the period of the diaspora in any case showed the symptoms of change and decline observable in the exegesis of other poetic texts. Definitions of the art of the grammaticus (such as that of Dionysios Thrax) show how an Eratosthenes or an Aristarchos had acquired encyclopaedic knowledge and critical finesse, but at the same time they reveal the ossification of scholarship and diminution of real learning already underway. By systematizing the art of scholarship under procedural rubrics (Dionysios Thrax lists six) the grammatici exalted the least satisfactory habits of their great predecessors and discouraged the most promising. In place of wide and careful reading, scholars now turned to the collection of antiquarian matter, rare words, literary curiosities; the identification of figures and tropes; the fabrication of etymologies; the construction of grammatical and rhetorical handbooks; the excerption of literary works and the scholarship that had explained them. Among the factors contributing to this final victory of categories, systems, and rules over plain experience and pg lxviicommon sense were changes in the uses of literature itself, the inability of scholars to match their predecessors on their own ground, the sheer intimidating bulk of the accumulated learning, the demands of a larger reading public and the schools, and the growth of Rome as a mecca for Greeks willing or forced to put their learning at the disposal of barbarians. Witness the antics of Tyrannion and Apion, and the sad fate of Seleukos (Suet. Tib. 56).

The material of most interest to Didymos in his work on Old Comedy was collected by such scholars as Apollodoros (works on Epicharmos and Sophron, Courtesans, Gods,30 Etymologies and the Chronika that superseded Eratosthenes' Chronographiai) and Ammonios (Κωμῳδούμενοι‎31). There were also the grammars, lexica, and rhetorica. Didymos was also able to draw extensively from works by and about the Atthidographers,32 the classic orators, and the great historians. He took a great interest also in collections by mythographers and writers on cult, prosopographers, geographers, and other literary and linguistic antiquarians. In short, Didymos specialized in a variety of annotation that came into its own after Aristarchos: exegesis παρʼ ἱστορίαν‎, being 'ready with an account of33 any person, place, thing, custom, religious rite or festival, historical incident referred pg lxviiito in the text, of anything indeed outside a boy's34 knowledge or experience'.35

Readers of the scholia must proceed with caution in this important area of ancient annotation. For although there are items of information not elsewhere preserved to be found in the scholia, Didymos and his successors were primarily interested in facts for their own sake, whether or not they were real facts and whether or not they really explained the text. In addition, facts remained discrete as a commentary went from line to line. There is no apparent36 attempt to put them in their larger dramatic or topical context or to use them in conjunction with other texts in the construction of a play's political tendencies.

In forming an idea of Ar.'s theatre, in interpreting his dramaturgy, and in restaging (in our mind's eye) his plays, we do best by ignoring the commentators entirely until we first examine the archaeological remains (meagre as they may be) and pay close attention to the plays themselves. For although ancient commentators demanded accuracy in the preservation and citation of texts, they were in their interpretation of the texts free to apply whatever evidence and draw whatever conclusions struck their fancy.37 Their exegetical procedures were unhistorical, arbitrary and narrowly practical: to provide forms, language, and matter for the composition of contemporary literature. Creative originality in an author's use of language and chosen medium; the development of language and literary styles over time and in response to changing performance contexts; the important relationship of early literature to its social, political and religious milieu: these were items of evidence that might have been both pg lxixextracted from available texts and supplied from other sources but were not. In Aristophanic scholarship, the work of literary history and literary criticism is still largely unfinished.

The Apparatus Criticus. Readers should note the following exceptions to the description of the apparatus criticus given above:

(a) Variations of accents, breathings, punctuation, and iota subscript are generally ignored except where they may have some special significance, for example in the Lakonian passages of the text.

(b) Metrically indifferent divisions in the MSS between -μεθα‎ and -μεσθα, ἐς‎ and εἰς‎ (I print εἰς‎ throughout), σύν‎ and ξύν‎ (see 7–8 n.), the datives -οις‎/-αις‎ and -οισι‎/-αισι‎, or between the inclusion and omission of nu ephelkystikon are not reported unless the correct form is not preserved in Π‎ or R or Γ‎. For ποιεῖ‎/ποιῇ‎ etc. see 120–3 n.

(c) Variations in the attribution of words to speakers are recorded because we cannot be sure that none of them at all derives from Ar. himself and because attribution of speakers was one of the tasks traditionally expected of editors and therefore relevant to the history of the text. But no distinction is made between different abbreviations of the same name: thus, for example, Lysistrata may be indicated in different MSS as λ, λυ‎ or λυσ‎, but all these are shown in the apparatus as Λυ‎.

All conjectures in the text of Lys. proposed since the first printed edition (1516), together with the places of their first publication, are collected in my repertory in HSCP 82 (1978) 87–119. The sources of subsequently published conjectures adopted or discussed in this edition appear in the Commentary. Those by Alan H. Sommerstein were generously communicated to me by letter.

vii. notes on lyric analyses

Line-Numbering. Every fifth line retains the traditional numbering of R. Brunck's edition (Strasburg 1783), but within pg lxxeach group of five lines I have occasionally renumbered for clarity and internal consistency between text and analysis. '1–2' means 'the passage consisting of the line numbered 1 and the line numbered 2'; '1/2' means 'the line numbered 1/2'; '1a, 1b' means that in some past editions the two lines together have been numbered '1'.

Verses. Each verse begins at the left-hand margin. Inset is used (1) when the verse is too long to fit on the printed page; (2) when the verse consists of two or more familiar units (e.g. 260–1); (3) when the verse is a 'run' (e.g. 480–3).

Metrical Symbols


long syllable


short syllable


syllable at verse-end which would be short if the next word in the song were part of the same verse (syllaba brevis in elemento longo).


verse-end whose presence is indicated by hiatus or INTRODUCTION.


stanza-end (always preceded by a syllable marked INTRODUCTION).


word-end occurring in both strophe and antistrophe.

Where a symbol appears above another in the analysis of a responding pair (INTRODUCTION, etc.), the upper symbol designates the strophe and the lower the antistrophe.

In describing a metrical sequence in the abstract, INTRODUCTION designates a position in which poets permitted either INTRODUCTION or INTRODUCTION.


1 Two variant titles, derived from memorable passages in the play, existed in antiquity: Adoniazousai (Σ‎ 389) and Diallagai (Σ‎ 1114, Index Ambrosianus).

2 For this man, who had produced Banqueters (427), Babylonians (426), Acharnians (425), and Birds (414), see D. M. MacDowell, CQ 32 (1982) 21 ff., PCG IV p. 56.

3 Lost perhaps through negligence, since this hypothesis is a reworked version of a Hellenistic original and dates from late antiquity or Byzantine times, cf. J. Gröbl, Die ältesten Hypotheseis zu Ar. (Dillingen 1889/90) 83–5.

4 Recent full discussions of the dating are A. H. Sommerstein, JHS 97 (1977) 112 ff., H. D. Westlake, Phoenix 34 (1980) 38 ff., A. Andrewes, HCT v. 184 ff. For an account of the Lenaia festival, which only Athenians attended, see DFA 25–42. It is still uncertain whether Lenaian plays were in Ar.'s time performed at the Lenaion (location unknown) or in the theatre of Dionysos by the Akropolis: for a recent discussion see N. W. Slater, ZPE 66 (1986) 255. The theatrical topicality of Lys., whose action is centred on the Akropolis, might be thought to be enhanced if the play was performed in the Dionysos theatre.

5 Earlier in the play, however, before Lys.'s plan has achieved its success, Ar. appears to be cautiously diplomatic in his allusion to the allies: at 578 ff., in her appeal for the creation of an Athenian 'united front', Lys. includes them under the rubric 'colonial cities'.

6 Ar. evidently thought of 'the war' as having begun in 418, not 431. Lys. stresses the repudiation of the Treaty of 421 as the beginning of the war (512 ff.) and the semichorus of men praise Phormion as a hero from the more glorious past (804).

7 The curious fact that none of the many persons known to have been denounced in the scandal of the Mysteries is mentioned by name in comedies produced between 415 and the installation of the Four Hundred may well be the result of the decree of Syrakosios mentioned in Σ‎VEΓ‎ Av. 1297 and protested by the comic poet Phrynichos in Monotropos (Fr. 26). Nevertheless, the decree did not prevent comic poets from alluding to these persons in general terms (Av. 145–7 is an allusion to Alkibiades' arrest). Thus Ar. could have addressed the issues of constitutional changes and the recall of Alkibiades if he so wished. For ridicule of named individuals in comedy generally see S. Halliwell, CQ 34 (1984) 83–8; for the decree see A. H. Sommerstein, CQ 36 (1986) 101–8.

8 Except Plataia, where the Boiotians (included in Lysistrata's peace) played what would have been considered an embarrassing role.

1 For discussions of the plot of Lys. see Schmid 319 ff.; Gelzer 1475. 37 ff., 1479. 10 ff.; D. Grene, Hermathena 50 (1937) 87 ff.; C. H. Whitman, Ar. and the Comic Hero (Cambridge, Mass. 1964) 200 ff.; A. O. Hulton, G & R 19 (1972) 32 ff.; J. Vaio, GRBS 14 (1973) 369 ff.; J. Henderson, YCS 26 (1980) 153 ff. For Aristophanic plots generally see W. Süss, RhM 97 (1954) 115 ff., 229 ff., 298 ff.; M. Landfester, Handlungsverlauf und Komik in den frühen Komödien des Ar. (Berlin/N.Y. 1977). Typical structural features of parodoi are described by B. Zimmermann, Untersuchungen zur Form und dramatischen Technik der ar. Komödien I, Beitr. z. Klass. Phil. 154 (1984); of agons by Th. Gelzer, Der epirrhematische Agon bei Ar., Zetemata 23 (Munich 1960); of parabases by M. Sifakis, Parabasis and Animal Choruses (London 1971). For parallel structures in the plays of other comic poets see M. Whittaker, CQ 29 (1935) 181 ff.

2 In Ekkl. Ar. employs a simple linear plot in which the action contained in each episode is finished off before the next episode begins.

3 Schmid 418 n. 3 gives a list.

4 Aside from brief appearances by such characters as market-women and minor goddesses, female speaking parts in earlier plays are personifications (Comedy in Kratinos' Pytine), figures from mythology (Phrynichos' burlesque treatment of Andromeda, Nub. 556 with Σ‎E) or relatives of prominent men (Hermippos' Artopolides caricatured Hyperbolos' mother: Nub. 557 with Σ‎RVE). For female mutes see G. Richter, De mutis personis quae in tragoedia et comoedia Attica producuntur (Halle 1934) 53 ff., 78.

5 See Dover, AC 51 ff. A different view is advanced for Ach. by A. M. Bowie, CQ 32 (1982) 27 ff.

6 Cf. Ra. 408–9 κἀξεῦρεν ὥστʼ ἀζημίους παίζειν τε καὶ χορεύρειν‎, Th. 2. 38. 1 καὶ μὴν καὶ τῶν πόνων πλείστας ἀναπαύλας τῇ γνώμῃ ἐπορισάμεθα, ἀγῶσι μέν γε καὶ θυσίαις διετησίοις νομίζοντες, ἰδίαις δὲ κατασκευαῖς εὐπρεπέσιν, ὧν καθʼ ἡμέραν ἡ τέρψις τὸ λυπηρὸν ἐκπλήσσει‎.

7 Cf. E. Schwinge, 'Ar. und die Utopie,' and B. Zimmermann, 'Utopisches und Utopie in den Komödien des Ar.', respectively in WüJbb NF 3 (1977) 57 and 9 (1983) 57 ff.

8 The contrast is not weakened by the fact that Praxagora plans to preserve in her new regime the enjoyments that the women had had in the old (ὥσπερ καὶ πρὸ τοῦ‎, 221 ff.). That there were other plays of this type is apparent from such titles as Woman Tyrant (Pherekrates, Amphis and Alexis) and Women On Campaign (Theopompos). For the motif of gynaecocracy in Greek literature, cult, and myth see R. F. Willetts, Hermes 87 (1959) 495 ff.; S. G. Pembroke, JWCI 30 (1967) 1 ff.; W. B. Tyrrell, ASNP 12 (1982) 1213–37; P. Vidal-Naquet in Recherches sur les structures societies dans l'antiquité classique (Paris 1970) 63 ff. Ancient discussions about gender roles are collected by J. Vogt, Von der Gleichwertigkeit der Geschlechter in der bürgerlichen Gesellschqft der Griechen, Abh. Akad. Wiss. und Lit. 2 (Mainz 1960).

9 For the typology of wives acting when husbands' behaviour threatens the household see M. Shaw, CP 70 (1975) 255 ff. and H. P. Foley, CP 77 (1982) 1 ff. For parallels from Greek history see D. Schaps, CP 77 (1982) 193 ff.

10 Turner, 383 ff. lists the social, economic, and legal benefits that might have motivated women to become priestesses and that distinguished priestesses from ordinary women. For a general discussion see J. Gould, JHS 100 (1980) 38 ff. The fact that priestesses could sue (a Demeter-priestess sues the hierophant: Athen. 13. 594B) and be sued (the priestess of Artemis Brauronia: Deinarchos, Against Aristogeiton 212) must condition our evaluation of spectator response to Lysistrata's forensic skills.

11 We might compare the strategy of Telephos in Euripides' play which is borrowed by Dikaiopolis in Ach. and by the Relative in Thesm.

12 San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Dec. 1970, p. 21.

13 Associated Press, 6 Dec. 1983.

1 Lysistrata's Spartan counterpart, Lampito, shows more courage (145) and political savvy (168 ff.) than the other wives, as befits her stature.

2 This stereotype first appears in hHDem. 101–2, cf. Pl. Lg. 759D.

3 See nn. at 6, 77, 86, 90, 696–7 (names and descriptions), 44 (clothing).

4 Their participation in the city's major cults (638 ff.) is an indication of high social position. Some of the women occupying the Akropolis, however, are fierce market-women who serve Lysistrata as soldiers (456 ff.).

5 Cf. A. Eum. 858–66 and the skolion Παλλὰς Τριτογένειʼ ἄνασσʼ Ἀθάνα,/ὄρθου τήνδε πόλιν τε καὶ πολίτας/ἄτερ ἀλγέων καὶ στάσεων/ καὶ θανάτων ἀώρων,/ σύ τε καὶ πατήρ‎ (PMG 884 Page).

6 D. M. Lewis, BSA 50 (1955) 1 ff.

7 An up-to-date list is provided by Turner, 247 ff.

8 B. Jordan, Servants of the Gods (Göttingen 1980) 30.

9 Horn 46–7 considers Pax 991–2 an example of mere etymological word-play designed to parody prayer-convention, but he overlooks Lys. 554 (where there is no word-play) and the topical significance of Λυσιμάχη‎.

10 See A. H. Sommerstein, Quad. di storia 11 (1980) 393 ff. For a similar protocol in Athenian lawcourts see D. Schaps, CQ 27 (1977) 323 ff.

11 Perhaps in earlier times, too, since Lysimache is the first identifiable incumbent.

12 I. Papademetriou, Arch. Eph. (1948/9) 146 ff.

13 Jordan (n. 8, above) 33 n. 54, Turner 88–9.

14 For ἀμφιπολεῖν‎ cf. Hdt. 2. 56. 2.

15 See G. W. Elderkin, CP 35 (1940) 387 ff.

1 Probably raised and separate from the orchestra: cf. Wasps 1341 ff., where the action presupposes a raised stage (but one raised not very high).

2 A. D. Trendall, Phlyax Vases, BICS Suppl. 8 (1959) 23, 78.

3 T. B. L. Webster, Monuments, BICS Suppl. 23 (1969) 7–8.

4 Trendall 60.

1 Full descriptions are: H. L. Ahrens, De gr. linguae dialectis (Göttingen 1839–43); S. P. Cortsen, De dorische Stykker i Ar. Lys. (Copenhagen 1900); F. Bechtel, Die gr. Dialekte (Berlin 1923) ii; E. Bourguet, Le dialecte laconien (Paris 1927); A. Thumb and E. Kieckers, Handbuch der gr. Dialekte2 (Heidelberg 1932) ii. 76 ff.; C. D. Buck, The Gr. Dialects2 (Chicago 1955).

2 See L. R. Palmer, The Greek Language (London/Boston 1980) 119 ff.

3 The reverse can also occur, e.g. τὰν‎ for τὴν‎ (89).

4 For a general discussion of the MSS transmission of dialect in the text of Ar. see Elliott, 207–41.

1 E. Cary, HSCP 18 (1907) 166–7, 177–8.

2 D. MacDowell, Ar. Wasps (Oxford 1971) 35.

3 J. White and E. Cary, HSCP 29 (1918) 80.

4 F. A. von Velsen, Ueber den Codex Urbinas der Lys. und der Thesm. des Ar. (Saarbrücken 1871), first demonstrated that the Juntine edition and Mu2 derive from R and not from a lost 'codex Urbinas.'

5 For Triklinios' edition of Ar. see N. G. Wilson, CQ 12 (1962) 32 ff.; S. Benardete, HSCP 66 (1962) 241 ff.; Eberline (see above) 49–145.

6 Cf. D. Holwerda and J. Hangaard respectively in ZPE 41 (1981) 13–l6, 53 (1983) 65–9.

7 For a convenient summary of the evidence cf. PCG III. 2, pp. 28–30. The Ar.-scholia are being published in full critical editions by W.J. W. Koster and others (Groningen/Amsterdam 1960–). Much can be learned about the character of the Ar.-scholia from J. W. White's edition of the Birds scholia (Boston/London 1914), and Dover, Clouds, frequently discusses ancient interpretations. Still fundamental are P. Boudreaux, Le texte d'Ar. et ses commentateurs (Paris 1919), sloppily edited by G. Méautis; W. G. Rutherford, A Chapter in the History of Annotation (London 1905); G. Zuntz, 'Die Ar.–Scholien der Papyri', Byzantion 13 (1938) 631, 14 (1939) 545, repr. with additions in Berlin (1975); G. Zuntz's index to his An Enquiry Into the Transmission of the Plays of Euripides (Cambridge 1965). On the history of scholia in general: A. Gudeman, RE IIA (1921) 672; N. G. Wilson, 'A Chapter in the History of Scholia', CQ, 17 (1967) 244.

8 Omission of names and sources in reworking a notice is not exclusively Byzantine: a comic glossary of I ad. (Austin 343) writes ἔνιοι‎ where the medieval scholia (Vesp. 1530) preserve the name of Euphronios.

9 The theory that some late schoolmaster selected the plays is untenable: Zuntz (n. 7 above) 594, H. Erbse, Geschichte der Textüberlieferung I (Zürich 1961) 207. Examples of simple reader's commentaries which circulated independently of the text are Austin 19, 56, 63.

10 Historians of scholarship tend to over-estimate the number of critical editions and commentaries produced by Alexandrian scholars. Much of the surviving material, for Ar. at any rate, was drawn from lexical and grammatical reference works (including Κωμῳδούμενοι‎).

11 For a recent appraisal of Didymos, whose scholarship was less reliable than is often assumed, see S. West, CQ 20 (1970) 288.

12 See in general R. Pfeiffer, History of Classical Scholarship I (Oxford 1968); H. Erbse (n. 9 above); P. M. Fraser, Ptolemaic Alexandria (Oxford 1973); L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson, Scribes and Scholars (Oxford 1974); F. Susemihl, Geschichte der griechischen Literatur in der Alexandrinerzeit (Leipzig 1891–2). Rutherford (n. 7 above) 417 collects the comments attributed to Alexandrian scholars in the Ar.-scholia

13 For PKöln 14, which has been explained as reflecting histrionic modification of the text of Lys., see commentary at 188–99. Inscriptions (IG ii2 2323, Hesp. 7 (1938) 116–18) mention revivals of παλαιά‎ comedies in the third and second centuries, but the adjective seems to mean 'previously performed' and not 'Old Comedy': the oldest such revival was that of Anaxandrides' Thesauros in 311 bc (first produced in 376). Anaxandrides was noted especially for mythological burlesque and is frequently mentioned by Aristotle as a typical fourth-century poet.

14 See W. R. Connor, Theopompus and Fifth-century Athens (Cambridge, Mass., 1968), index.

15 Somehow an incomplete and unperformed revision of Clouds got into circulation, but it cannot be shown (and must be thought unlikely) that Ar. intended it to circulate as a reader's text. 'Found among Ar.'s papers after his death' (Dover, Clouds xcviii, 270) is not an explanation to be rejected out of hand: one thinks of Thukydides.

16 See O. Taplin, PCPS 23 (1977) 121.

17 See DFA 149 n. 4. It is possible that the leaving of a small gap to indicate change of speaker or important pause within one speaker's utterance, well attested for the third century, may also have been customary in the fourth.

18 The primitive quality of the comments attributed to Lykophron in the scholia (e.g. at Av. 14 πινακοπώλης‎ is a bird) does not encourage us to think of an edition or commentary. Pfeiffer (n. 12 above) 105–7 assumes that, since Lykophron's colleagues Zenodotos and Alexandros did this work for epic and tragedy, Lykophron must have done it for comedy. As evidence he cites Tzetzes, who uses διορθοῦν‎ of the work of all three. But the assumption made by Tzetzes and followed by Pfeiffer is not very safe: epic and tragedy arrived at Alexandria with long and extensive critical and performance traditions, whereas comedy did not. Pfeiffer further assumes (p. 160) that the tragedian Euphronios edited and commented on Old Comedy. But the Euphronios who did so (cf. Ar. test. 113 K-A, Susemihl (n. 12 above) 281–2) is linked consistently with Kallistratos in the scholia and commented a text with critical signs (Σ‎ Vesp. 696), both indications pointing to the generation following Aristophanes of Byzantium.

19 Ancient biographers often take literally comic references that are fantastic, exaggerated, or otherwise distorted. Connor (n. 14 above) discusses some examples in Theopompos, and no doubt many more could be found in other historians and biographers.

20 See K. J. Dover, 'Ancient Interpolation in Ar.', ICS 2 (1977) 152.

21 See now A. W. A. M. Budé, De Hypotheseis der griekse tragedies en komedies (Diss. Nijmegen 1977).

22 Virtually nothing is known about the contribution of Pergamene scholars to the text of Ar. (Didymos apparently neglected it). Only four comments by Krates are preserved in the scholia and nothing much can be concluded from the simple itacistic variant attributed to τὰ Ἀττάλεια‎ by Σ‎ Av. 1508. Krates was, however, able to refer to a Peace not included in the Alexandrian edition (Pax Hyp. III).

23 In this period 'emendation' did not, of course, very often involve the procedures now associated with that word, but was largely a matter of correcting one text to make it conform with another text.

24 It not infrequently happens that a scholion quotes from or discusses a text different from the one before him: an indication that copying and commenting were by and large separate activities.

25 Aristophanes' recommendation was adopted by most later commentators but was rejected by Didymos. Similarly at Av. 1343 Aristophanes observed that 1343b appeared in only some MSS and left a decision on its inclusion to readers, cf. Dover (n. 20, above) 145.

26 Susemihl (n. 12, above) 460–1. Didymos was fond of pointing out such mistakes as at Ran. 1422, where Aristarchos' note showed ignorance of either the date of the play or the date of Alkibiades' first exile. In this connection it is worth recalling that didaskalic records were in roll-form and treated like any other text. Kallimachos, for example, preferred his own (wrong) inferences from the text of Clouds to the evidence of the didaskalia, cf. Dover xcvii.

27 See Erbse (n. 12, above) 238.

28 See Fraser (n. 12, above) 618.

29 Pfeiffer 276 overestimates Didymos' original contributions. His works on Homer and on Demosthenes (see now the edition by L. Pearson and S. Stephens (Teubner: Stuttgart 1983), demonstrate his largely derivative procedures, cf. West (n. 11, above).

30 Σ‎ Lys. 447 was derived from this work. Only here among the plays whose scholia do not preserve the name of Aristarchos do we find the name of one of his followers.

31 This was a popular kind of reference work: J. Steinhausen (Bonn 1910) collects the material (which should be updated). In many cases, reliance upon lists of 'those ridiculed in comedy' produces confusion in the scholia between homonymous people (e.g. 63–4 n.) and notes of the type 'there was another X'.

32 The vast material collected by Jacoby has yet to be systematically mined.

33 Strictly speaking, scholiasts do not 'account for' the items on which they comment (in the Alexandrian sense). They provide logical, descriptive, or authoritative definitions and facts which may or may not be relevant or true.

34 I would change 'boy's' to 'reader's' or 'scholar's'.

35 Rutherford (n. 7, above) 382.

36 We must keep open the possibility that Didymos' commentary was substantially distorted by later compilers.

37 Readers of scholia are familiar with the annotators' habit of listing different explanations (that is to say, inferences or guesses) among which the reader is invited to choose.

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