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

The Peloponnesian War, Book V: Battle Recommences and Melos Enslaved

Book V opens at the conclusion of the truce between Athens and the Spartans. Cleon leads the Athenians in an attack on Thrace. A double surprise attack is launched against Cleon and the Athenians by Brasidas of of the Spartans, catching Cleon off guard and kills him en route, as well as Brasidas. After this … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book V: Battle Recommences and Melos Enslaved

The Peloponnesian War, Book IV: Armistice and Mounting Losses

Book IV opens with yet another revolt from allies of the Athenians, this time the city of Messana. Syracuse encouraged the revolt to prevent Athens from a clear path to Sicily. Additionally, Athens is again invaded by the Spartans under King Agis, son of Archidamus. Meanwhile an Athenian fleet builds a fort as an outpost … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book IV: Armistice and Mounting Losses

The Dangers of the Poets in The Bacchae

The Bacchae (Bacchantes) is Euripides's greatest play. It tells the story of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry, as he jealously rebukes Pentheus, ruler of Thebes (the latter city of Oedipus), for his lack of faith in Dionysus's sovereignty. Pentheus's impiety ultimately costs his city and family their nobility -Dionysus, in disguise, persuades Pentheus … Continue reading The Dangers of the Poets in The Bacchae

Brief Thoughts on The Trojan Women

Known in Latin as the Troades, Euripides's The Trojan Women was said by Aelian's Varia Historica (published in the third century A.D.) to have been performed for the first time in 415 BC at the 91st Olympiad. Ultimately, he won second place, losing to Xenocles, a now lost Athenian tragedian. The Trojan Women was part three of a group of three tragedies … Continue reading Brief Thoughts on The Trojan Women