Xenophon’s Perfect Country Gentleman in the Oeconomicus

The word "economics" comes down to us from the Greek meaning "household management" and the various contingents of the household. Thus the science of the economy is the science of the household or the estate. The title of Xenophon's seminal but brief dialogue points us to the theme of the text: household management, or more … Continue reading Xenophon’s Perfect Country Gentleman in the Oeconomicus

The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata

Lysistrata is the only surviving Aristophanean play whose title designates the name of the main character. Most other plays convey the collective name of the Chorus or another chief theme of the play. Lysistrata means something like "releaser of war" or "army disbander" and we are invited by Aristophanes to consider her character above all others, as the … Continue reading The War Between the Sexes in Lysistrata

Dionysus’s Descent Into Hades In The Frogs

The Frogs is my favorite of Aristophanes's comedies. It is the only Aristophanean comedy to feature a god at the beginning -Dionysus, the god of the theatre, and his slave Xanthias. As they walk, Xanthias is meta-textually concerned with telling jokes that will make the audience laugh, and laughter presupposes some kind of suffering, though the … Continue reading Dionysus’s Descent Into Hades In The Frogs

Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky

Aristophanes The Birds ("Ornithets") is the only comedy written by Aristophanes whose entire action takes place far from the city of Athens. Consequently, the play makes little mention of the circumstances of the Peloponnesian War, or of contemporary Athenian politics. It won second prize at the Dionysia in 414 BC. It is a play about the … Continue reading Aristophanes’s The Birds: A New City in the Sky