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date: 20 February 2020

Aristophanes [Aristophanēs]locked

  • Warren Anderson,
  • Thomas J. Mathiesen
  •  and Robert Anderson

Extract

[Aristophanēs]

(bc450 bce; dc385 bce). Greek dramatist. The chief poet of Athenian Old Comedy, he wrote more than 40 plays, of which 11 have survived.

Warren Anderson, revised by Thomas J. Mathiesen

Of the works of Aristophanes’ first period (427–421 bce), the revised Clouds includes many references to music; the most noteworthy are the mockery of Damon for his concern with technicalities of metre (647ff) and a description (961ff) of ‘the old-fashioned education’ (hē archaia paideia) provided by the kitharistēs (not merely a teacher of the kithara but more properly a schoolmaster). The Knights (also from the first period) similarly shows a special concern with music. A criticism of grotesque Mimesis in drama leads to a parody of the Pythagorean theory of the soul as a harmonia (521ff, 531ff). There are also passages on lyra tuning and modality (989ff), and on the nomos orthios...

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