The Clouds, first performed in 423 BC at the Dionysia, is Aristophanes's masterpiece, though it received only third place at the festival. Aristophanes's earlier plays had all been a string of successes. There is a rumor that, in anger at his loss over the Clouds, Aristophanes edited the original manuscript. This is referenced in the … Continue reading Socrates Ridiculed in the Clouds
The Books of First and Second Esdras (or "Ezra" meaning something like "help" in Hebrew) are apocryphal and somewhat apocalyptic texts in the Hebrew biblical tradition, particularly the second book of Esdras. They are non canonical Biblical books, however they do appear in certain Greek Orthodox, Episcopal, and Lutheran Bibles. At the Council of Trent in 1540s-1560s, the … Continue reading Notes on 1 and 2 Esdras
Aristophanes's Knights is his fourth play, and his second surviving play in the modern era. It won first prize at the Lenaia in 424 BC. Earlier in his career, Aristophanes is rumored to have been brought to trial by Cleon for his brutal satire in the Babylonians. After the charges were laughed out of court, … Continue reading Cleon Ridiculed in the Knights
Aristophanes's Archanians is his third comedy, and his earliest surviving play that has come down to us from antiquity. It won first prize at the Lenaia in 425BC, under the production of Callistratus, as Aristophanes was a young dramatist at the time. Like The Clouds, The Acharnians begins with a lone soliloquy. A rustic arrives very early … Continue reading Treason in the Acharnians
There is an old legend that Dionysus, ruler of Syracuse, wrote to prominent Athenians requesting information on the "polity of Athenians." In response Plato sent to him Aristophanes's comedies. Aristophanes is the great producer of Attic "Old Comedy" -the name given by latter scholars to a particular brand of 5th century Athenian satirical comedy plays … Continue reading Who Is Aristophanes?
The origins of the term "Hebrew" remain a mystery. The Biblical term Ivri, meaning "to traverse" or "to pass over," is usually rendered as "Hebrew" in English, and it comes down to us from the ancient Greek Ἑβραῖος and the Latin "Hebraeus." The Biblical word Ivri has the plural form Ivrim, or Ibrim. In addition, … Continue reading Where Did The Hebrew Bible Come From?