Start Date

18-4-2018 9:00 AM

End Date

18-4-2018 10:15 AM

Disciplines

Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Military History

Subjects

Aristophanes -- Political and social views Greek drama (Comedy) -- History and criticism Greek satire -- History and criticism Politics and literature -- Greece

Abstract

This paper analyzes the similarities between the works of Greek Intellectuals like Thucydides and Plutarch, and Aristophanes’ representation of Cleon and the Peloponnesian War in his early comedy, Knights. Aristophanes satires of the Peloponnesian War were extremely popular among Athenian elite– despite this status, his early comedies failed to dissuade the Athenian Assembly from ushering the downfall of Greek power. While Aristophanes’ Knights was largely ineffective in swaying support for the conflict, it notably provides an accurate representation of the irrational nature of Athen’s demos under Cleon. Through this play, he portrays the Demos as dysfunctional and fickle–supporting policies in the Assembly that increased their personal wealth, while completely jeopardizing the sanctity of the Athenian state. Aristophanes’ Knights helps forms modern understanding of Cleon’s responsibility in the conflict and the downfall of Classical Athens, as well as informing modern interpretation of the highly tumultuous state of Athens during this period.

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Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/24817

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Apr 18th, 9:00 AM Apr 18th, 10:15 AM

To What Extent Does Aristophanes’ Knights Reflect Greek Opinion of Cleon and the Peloponnesian War?

This paper analyzes the similarities between the works of Greek Intellectuals like Thucydides and Plutarch, and Aristophanes’ representation of Cleon and the Peloponnesian War in his early comedy, Knights. Aristophanes satires of the Peloponnesian War were extremely popular among Athenian elite– despite this status, his early comedies failed to dissuade the Athenian Assembly from ushering the downfall of Greek power. While Aristophanes’ Knights was largely ineffective in swaying support for the conflict, it notably provides an accurate representation of the irrational nature of Athen’s demos under Cleon. Through this play, he portrays the Demos as dysfunctional and fickle–supporting policies in the Assembly that increased their personal wealth, while completely jeopardizing the sanctity of the Athenian state. Aristophanes’ Knights helps forms modern understanding of Cleon’s responsibility in the conflict and the downfall of Classical Athens, as well as informing modern interpretation of the highly tumultuous state of Athens during this period.