Aristophanes was a Greek comic dramatist.
place and even exact date of his birth are unknown, but he was
probably educated in Athens. He was from the Athenian deme of
Kudathenaium. He is famous for writing comedies such as The Birds
for the two Athenian festivals: the Dionysia and the Lenea. He
wrote forty plays, eleven of which still survive, and his plays
are the only surviving examples of Old Attic Comedy.
of his plays were political, and often satirized the well-known
citizens of Athens and their conduct in the Peloponnesian War.
He is known to have been prosecuted for Athenian law's equivalent
of libel more than once. A famous comedy, The Frogs, was given
the unprecedented honor of a second performance. According to
a later biographer, he was also awarded a civic crown for "The
appears in Plato's Symposium, giving a humorous mythical account
of the origin of Love. The Clouds, a disastrous production resulting
in a humiliating and long-remembered (cf. the revised parabasis
of "The Clouds" and the parabasis of next year's "The
Wasps") last place finish at the City Dionysia, satirizes
the new, sophistic learning en vogue among the aristocracy at
the time; Socrates was the principal target and in the play he
emerges as a typical Sophist, no matter how inaccurate the portrayal
was written during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta
and presents a pacifist theme in a comical manner: the women of
the two states show off their bodies and deprive their husbands
of sex until they stop fighting. This play was later illustrated
at length by Pablo Picasso.