Ancient Greek comedy

Ancient Greek comedy

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Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal drama
Drama
Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" , which is derived from "to do","to act" . The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a...

tic forms in the theatre of classical Greece
Theatre of Ancient Greece
The theatre of Ancient Greece, or ancient Greek drama, is a theatrical culture that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. The city-state of Athens, which became a significant cultural, political and military power during this period, was its centre, where it was...

 (the others being tragedy
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 and the satyr play
Satyr play
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality , pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.Satyric drama was one of the three varieties of...

). Athenian
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 comedy
Comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

 is conventionally divided into three periods, Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy. Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

, while Middle Comedy is largely lost, i.e. preserved only in relatively short fragments in authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis. New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander
Menander
Menander , Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso...

. The philosopher Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 wrote in his Poetics (c. 335 BC) that comedy is a representation of laughable people and involves some kind of blunder or ugliness which does not cause pain or disaster. C. A. Trypanis
C. A. Trypanis
Constantine Athanasius Trypanis was a Greek classicist, literary critic, translator and poet.Born in Chios, Greece, Trypanis received his education at The Classical Gymnasium, Chios and the Universities of Athens, Berlin and Munich. He received a doctorate from the University of Athens in 1937...

 wrote that comedy is the last of the great species of poetry Greece gave to the world.

Periods


The Alexandrian grammarians, and most likely Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium
Aristophanes of Byzantium was a Greek scholar, critic and grammarian, particularly renowned for his work in Homeric scholarship, but also for work on other classical authors such as Pindar and Hesiod. Born in Byzantium about 257 BC, he soon moved to Alexandria and studied under Zenodotus,...

 in particular, seem to have been the first to divide Greek comedy into what became the canonical three periods: Old Comedy (archàia), Middle Comedy (mese) and New Comedy (nea). These divisions appear to be largely arbitrary, and ancient comedy almost certainly developed constantly over the years.

Old Comedy (archaia)



The most important Old Comic dramatist is Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

, whose works, with their pungent political satire
Political satire
Political satire is a significant part of satire that specializes in gaining entertainment from politics; it has also been used with subversive intent where political speech and dissent are forbidden by a regime, as a method of advancing political arguments where such arguments are expressly...

 and abundance of sexual
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

 and scatological innuendo, effectively define the genre today. Aristophanes lampooned the most important personalities and institutions of his day, as can be seen, for example, in his buffoonish portrayal of Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 in The Clouds
The Clouds
The Clouds is a comedy written by the celebrated playwright Aristophanes lampooning intellectual fashions in classical Athens. It was originally produced at the City Dionysia in 423 BC and it was not well received, coming last of the three plays competing at the festival that year. It was revised...

, and in his racy feminist anti-war farce Lysistrata
Lysistrata
Lysistrata is one of eleven surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War...

. It is nonetheless important to realize that he was only one of a large number of comic poets working in Athens in the late 5th century, his most important contemporary rivals being Hermippus
Hermippus
Hermippus was the one-eyed Athenian writer of the Old Comedy who flourished during the Peloponnesian War. He was the son of Lysis, and the brother of the comic poet Myrtilus. He was younger than Telecleides and older than Eupolis and Aristophanes. According to the Suda, he wrote forty plays, and...

 and Eupolis
Eupolis
Eupolis was an Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, who flourished during the time of the Peloponnesian War.-Biography:Nothing whatsoever is known of his personal history. There are few sources on when he first appeared on the stage...

.

The Old Comedy subsequently influenced later European writers such as Rabelais, Cervantes
Cervantes
-People:*Alfonso J. Cervantes , mayor of St. Louis, Missouri*Francisco Cervantes de Salazar, 16th-century man of letters*Ignacio Cervantes, Cuban composer*Jorge Cervantes, a world-renowned expert on indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse cannabis cultivation...

, Swift
Jonathan Swift
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer , poet and cleric who became Dean of St...

, and Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

. In particular, they copied the technique of disguising a political attack as buffoonery. The legacy of Old Comedy can be seen today in political satires such as Dr. Strangelove and in the televised buffoonery of Monty Python
Monty Python
Monty Python was a British surreal comedy group who created their influential Monty Python's Flying Circus, a British television comedy sketch show that first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four series...

 and Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

.

Middle Comedy (mese)


The line between Old and Middle Comedy is not clearly marked chronologically, Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 and others of the latest writers of the Old Comedy being sometimes regarded as the earliest Middle Comic poets. For ancient scholars, the term may have meant little more than "later than Aristophanes and his contemporaries, but earlier than Menander
Menander
Menander , Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso...

". Middle Comedy is generally seen as differing from Old Comedy in three essential particulars: the role of the chorus was diminished to the point where it had no influence on the plot; public characters were not impersonated or personified onstage; and the objects of ridicule were general rather than personal, literary rather than political. For at least a time, mythological burlesque was popular among the Middle Comic poets. Stock characters of all sorts also emerge: courtesans, parasites, revellers, philosophers, boastful soldiers, and especially the conceited cook with his parade of culinary science

Because no complete Middle Comic plays have been preserved, it is impossible to offer any real assessment of their literary value or "genius". But many Middle Comic plays appear to have been revived in Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

 in this period, suggesting that they had considerable widespread literary and social influence.

New Comedy (nea)



The new comedy lasted throughout the reign of the Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

ian rulers, ending about 260 BC
260 BC
Year 260 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Asina and Duilius...

.

Greek New Comedy was Greek comedy after the death of Alexander the Great in 323BC till 260BC, during the reign of the Macedonian rulers in Greece. The three most famous and best known playwrights belonging to this genre are Menander, Philemon and Diphilus.

Menander was the most successful of the three comedians. His comedies not only provided their audience with a brief respite from reality, they also gave them an accurate but not too detailed picture of life. This led an ancient critic to ask if life influenced Menander in the writing of his plays or if it was vice versa. Unlike his predecessors like Aristophanes, Menander's comedies tended to be more about the fears and foibles of the ordinary man, his personal relationships, family life and social mishaps rather than politics and public life. They were supremely civilized and sophisticated plays which were less farcical and satirical than the plays before them. This sophistication was what made him more successful than the other Greek comedians who wrote in the same genre.

The other two comedians are Philemon and Diphilus. Philemon was a comedian whose comedies dwelt on philosophical issues and Diphilus was a comedian whose comedies were noted for their broad comedy and farcical violence. Philemon's comedies have come down to us in fragments but Diphilus' comedies were translated and adapted by Plautus. Examples of these comedies are Plautus' Asinaria and Rudens. Based on the translation and adaptation of Diphilus comedies' by Plautus, one can conclude that he was skilled in the construction of his plots.

Substantial fragments of New Comedy have survived, but no complete plays. The most substantially preserved text is the Dyskolos
Dyskolos
Dyskolos is an Ancient Greek comedy by Menander, the only one of his plays, or of the whole New Comedy, that has survived in all but complete form. It was first presented at the Lenaian festival in 317-16 BC, where it won Menander first prize...

("Difficult Man, Grouch") by Menander
Menander
Menander , Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso...

, discovered on a papyrus, and first published in 1958. The Cairo Codex
Cairo Codex
The Cairo Codex is a manuscript discovered in 1907 that contained the first significant fragments of plays by the ancient Greek playwright Menander....

 (found in 1907) also preserves long sections of plays as Epitrepontes ("Men at Arbitration"), Samia
Samia (play)
Samia, translated as The Girl From Samos, or The Marriage Connection, is an Ancient Greek comedy by Menander, it is the second most extant play with up to 116 lines missing compared to Dyskolos’s 39. The date of its first performance is unknown, with 315 B.C. and 309 B.C. being two suggested dates...

("The Girl from Samos"), and Perikeiromene
Perikeiromene
Perikeiromene that is only partially preserved on papyrus. Of an estimated total of between 1030 and 1091 lines, about 450 lines survive. Most acts lack their beginning and end, except that the transition between act I and II is still extant. The play may have been first performed in 314/13 B.C...

("The Girl who had her Hair Shorn"). Much of the rest of our knowledge of New Comedy is derived from the Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 adaptations by Plautus
Plautus
Titus Maccius Plautus , commonly known as "Plautus", was a Roman playwright of the Old Latin period. His comedies are the earliest surviving intact works in Latin literature. He wrote Palliata comoedia, the genre devised by the innovator of Latin literature, Livius Andronicus...

 and Terence
Terence
Publius Terentius Afer , better known in English as Terence, was a playwright of the Roman Republic, of North African descent. His comedies were performed for the first time around 170–160 BC. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, brought Terence to Rome as a slave, educated him and later on,...

.

The playwrights of the Greek New Comedy genre built on a considerable legacy from their predecessors, drawing upon a vast array of dramatic devices, characters and situations their predecessors had developed. Prologues to shape the audience's understanding of events, messengers' speeches to announce offstage action, descriptions of feasts, sudden recognitions, ex machina endings were all established techniques which playwrights exploited and evoked in their comedies.

The satirical and farcical element which featured so strongly in Aristophanes' comedies increasingly diminished in importance as time went on. It was eventually given up more or less completely and was not to be revived. The de-emphasis of the grotesque, whether in the form of choruses, humour or spectacle opened the way for increased representation of daily life and the foibles of recognisable character types.

Unlike their predecessor, Aristophanes, some of whose comedies departed from the Athenian setting or covered mythological themes and subjects, their plays were seldom placed in a setting other than their everyday world (Diphilus was a notable exception). Gods and goddesses in Greek New Comedy were personified abstractions who seldom appeared in their plays. There are generally no miracles or metamorphoses.

The Greek playwrights from the genre Greek New Comedy not only developed a literary style that differed from their predecessors in multiple ways, they also made considerable innovations in literature. Examples of their innovations were the development of a whole series of distinct stereotype characters which were to become the stock characters of Western comedy and the contributions they made to the development of the play.

The cast of Menander's plays included a number of minor characters drawn from a limited number of one-dimensional stock types such as cooks or parasites who introduced familiar jokes and recognisable patterns of speech. Other stock characters in Menander's plays were the senex iratus
Senex iratus
The senex iratus or heavy father figure is a comic archetype character who belongs to the alazon or impostor group in theater, manifesting himself through his rages and threats, his obsessions and his gullibility....

, or "angry old man", the domineering parent who tries to thwart his son or daughter from achieving wedded happiness, and who is often led into the same vices and follies for which he has reproved his children,the bragging soldier who talked about the number of enemies he killed and how well they'll treat their woman and the kind shrewd prostitute who hid her heart behind a facade of fierce commercialism.

Menander gave stereotype characters a sense that they were character types. In his comedies, they were expected to react the way they were supposed to behave but some resist. These stock characters appear as rich unlayered humans in a new dimension. It was this human dimension that was one of the strengths of Menander's plays. He used these stereotype characters to comment on human life and depict human folly and absurdity compassionately, with wit and subtlety.

An example of such a character is Cnemon from Menander's play Dyskolos. He was an insufferably rude and objectionable character who showed how foolish and absurd humans could be. However rude and objectionable he was, he proved ultimately to be a character who was not necessarily closed to reason. He accepted that other views were possible, proving willing to compromise with life after he was rescued from a well. The fact that this character was not necessarily closed to reason makes him a character whom people can give compassion to.

For the first time, love became a principal element in the drama. The new comedy depicted Athenian society and the social morality of the period, presenting it in attractive colors but making no attempt to criticize or improve it.

The New Comedy influenced much of Western European literature, primarily through Plautus: in particular the comic drama of Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

 and Ben Jonson
Ben Jonson
Benjamin Jonson was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. A contemporary of William Shakespeare, he is best known for his satirical plays, particularly Volpone, The Alchemist, and Bartholomew Fair, which are considered his best, and his lyric poems...

, Congreve, and Wycherley
William Wycherley
William Wycherley was an English dramatist of the Restoration period, best known for the plays The Country Wife and The Plain Dealer.-Biography:...

.

The 5-act structure later to be found in modern plays can first be seen in Menander's comedies. Where in comedies of previous generations there were choral interludes, there was dialogue with song. The action of his plays had breaks, the situations in them were conventional and coincidences were convenient, thus showing the smooth and effective development of his plays.

Much of contemporary romantic and situational comedy descends from the New Comedy sensibility, in particular generational comedies such as All in the Family
All in the Family
All in the Family is an American sitcom that was originally broadcast on the CBS television network from January 12, 1971, to April 8, 1979. In September 1979, a new show, Archie Bunker's Place, picked up where All in the Family had ended...

and Meet the Parents
Meet the Parents
Meet the Parents is a 2000 American comedy film written by Jim Herzfeld and John Hamburg and directed by Jay Roach. Starring Robert De Niro and Ben Stiller, the film chronicles a series of unfortunate events that befall a good-hearted but hapless male nurse while visiting his girlfriend's parents...

.

Old Comedy

  • Susarion
    Susarion
    Susarion, an Archaic Greek comic poet, was a native of Tripodiscus in Megaris and is considered one of the originators of metrical comedy and, by others, he was considered the founder of Attic Comedy."The claim from the Megarian side that comedy developed there in the time of their democracy seems...

     of Megara
    Megara
    Megara is an ancient city in Attica, Greece. It lies in the northern section of the Isthmus of Corinth opposite the island of Salamis, which belonged to Megara in archaic times, before being taken by Athens. Megara was one of the four districts of Attica, embodied in the four mythic sons of King...

     (~580 BC)
  • Epicharmus of Kos
    Epicharmus of Kos
    Epicharmus is thought to have lived within the hundred year period between c. 540 and c. 450 BC. He was a Greek dramatist and philosopher often credited with being one of the first comic writers, having originated the Doric or Sicilian comedic form. Aristotle writes that he and Phormis invented...

     (~540-450 BC)
  • Phormis
    Phormis
    Phormis is one of the originators of Greek comedy, or of a parti­cular form of it. Aristotle identified him as one of the originators of comedy, along with Epicharmus of Kos...

    , late 6th century
  • Dinolochus, 487 BC
  • Euetes 485 BC
  • Euxenides 485 BC
  • Mylus 485 BC
  • Chionides
    Chionides
    Chionides an Athenian comic poet of the 5th century BC, contemporary of Magnes .The Suda says that Chionides existed 8 years before Greco–Persian Wars, that is, 487 BC...

     487 BC
  • Magnes
    Magnes (comic poet)
    Magnes was an Athenian comic poet of the 5th century BC. Magnes and his contemporary Chionides are the earliest comic poets for whom victories are recorded in the literary competition of the Dionysia festival.Titles of his comedies:...

     472 BC
  • Cratinus
    Cratinus
    Cratinus , Athenian comic poet of the Old Comedy.-Life:Cratinus was victorious six times at the City Dionysia, first probably in the mid- to late 450s BCE , and three times at the Lenaia, first probably in the early 430s...

     (~520-420 BC), won a series of victories from 454 BC to 423 BC
  • Euphonius 458 BC
  • Crates c. 450 BC
  • Ecphantides
  • Pisander
  • Epilycus
    Epilycus
    Epilycus was an Athenian comic poet of the old comedy. He is mentioned by an ancient grammarian in connection with Aristophanes and Philyllius. Of his play Kôraliskos, a few fragments are preserved....

  • Callias Schoenion
  • Hermippus
    Hermippus
    Hermippus was the one-eyed Athenian writer of the Old Comedy who flourished during the Peloponnesian War. He was the son of Lysis, and the brother of the comic poet Myrtilus. He was younger than Telecleides and older than Eupolis and Aristophanes. According to the Suda, he wrote forty plays, and...

     435 BC
  • Myrtilus
    Myrtilus
    In Greek mythology, Myrtilus was a divine hero, a son of Hermes on Theobule , and charioteer of King Oenomaus of Pisa in Elis, on the northwest coast of the Peloponnesus....

  • Lysimachus
    Lysimachus
    Lysimachus was a Macedonian officer and diadochus of Alexander the Great, who became a basileus in 306 BC, ruling Thrace, Asia Minor and Macedon.-Early Life & Career:...

  • Hegemon of Thasos
    Hegemon of Thasos
    Hegemon of Thasos was a Greek writer of the Old Comedy. Hardly anything is known of him, except that he flourished during the Peloponnesian War. According to Aristotle he was the inventor of a kind of parody; by slightly altering the wording in well-known poems he transformed the sublime into the...

    , 413 BC
  • Sophron
    Sophron
    Sophron of Syracuse was a writer of mimes.Sophron was the author of prose dialogues in the Doric dialect, containing both male and female characters, some serious, others humorous in style, and depicting scenes from the daily life of the Sicilian Greeks. Although in prose, they were regarded as...

  • Phrynichus, won 4 victories between 435 BC and 405 BC
  • Lycis, before 405 BC
  • Leucon
  • Lysippus
  • Eupolis
    Eupolis
    Eupolis was an Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, who flourished during the time of the Peloponnesian War.-Biography:Nothing whatsoever is known of his personal history. There are few sources on when he first appeared on the stage...

     (~446-411 BC)
  • Aristophanes
    Aristophanes
    Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

    (~456–386 BC), won more than 12 victories between 427 BC and 388 BC
  • Ameipsias
    Ameipsias
    Ameipsias of Athens was an Ancient Greek comic poet, a contemporary of Aristophanes, whom he twice bested in the dramatic contests. His Konnos gained a second prize at the City Dionysia in 423 BC, when Aristophanes won the third prize with The Clouds....

     (c. 420 BC)
  • Aristomenes
    Aristomenes
    Aristomenes was a king of Messenia, celebrated for his struggle with the Spartans in the Messenian Wars , and his resistance to them on Mount Ida for 11 years...

    , between 431-388 BC
  • Telecleides
    Telecleides
    Telecleides was an Athenian Old Comic poet, and dates to the 440s and 430s BCE. Only six titles and a few fragments of his plays survive. One of his plays was The Amphictyons, in which Telecleides presented a Golden Age of impossibly effortless plenty....

     5th c. BC
  • Pherecrates
    Pherecrates
    Pherecrates, was an Greek poet of Athenian Old Comedy, and a rough contemporary of Cratinus, Crates and Aristophanes. He was victorious at least once at the City Dionysia, first probably in the mid-440s Pherecrates, was an Greek poet of Athenian Old Comedy, and a rough contemporary of Cratinus,...

     420 BC
  • Plato
    Plato (comic poet)
    Plato was an Athenian comic poet and contemporary of Aristophanes. None of his plays survive intact, but the titles of thirty of them are known, including a Hyperbolus , Victories , Cleophon , and Phaon . The titles suggest that his themes were often political...

  • Diocles of Phlius
  • Sannyrion
    Sannyrion
    Sannyrion was an Athenian comic poet of the late 5th century BC, and a contemporary of Diocles and Philyllius, according to the Suda. He belonged to the later years of Old Comedy and the start of the Middle Comedy. He ridiculed the pronunciation of Hegelochus, the actor in Euripides' Orestes,...

  • Philyllius
    Philyllius
    Philyllius was an ancient Athenian comic poet. He was comtempoary with Diocles and Sannyrion. He belonged to the latter part of the Old Comedy tradition and the beginning of the Middle Comedy tradition...

    , 394 BC
  • Hipparchus
    Hipparchus
    Hipparchus, the common Latinization of the Greek Hipparkhos, can mean:* Hipparchus, the ancient Greek astronomer** Hipparchic cycle, an astronomical cycle he created** Hipparchus , a lunar crater named in his honour...

  • Archippus
    Archippus
    Archippus was an early Christian believer mentioned briefly in the New Testament epistles of Philemon and Colossians.-Role in the New Testament:...

    , 415 BC
  • Polyzelus, c.364 BC
  • Philonides
  • Xenophon
  • Arcesilaus
    Arcesilaus
    Arcesilaus was a Greek philosopher and founder of the Second or Middle Academy—the phase of Academic skepticism. Arcesilaus succeeded Crates as the sixth head of the Academy c. 264 BC. He did not preserve his thoughts in writing, so his opinions can only be gleaned second-hand from what is...

  • Autocrates
    Autocrates
    Autocrates was an Ancient Athenian poet of the old comedy. One of his plays is mentioned by Suidas and Aelian. He also wrote several tragedies. The Autocrates quoted by Athenaeus seems to have been a different person....

  • Eunicus
    Eunicus
    Eunicus is the name of two different people in Classical history:*Eunicus, an Athenian comic poet of the Old Comedy, contemporary with Aristophanes and Philyllius. Only one line of his is preserved, from his play Anteia , which was also attributed to Philyllius...

      5th c. BC
  • Apollophanes
    Apollophanes
    Apollophanes Soter was an Indo-Greek king in the area of eastern and central Punjab in modern India and Pakistan.-Rule:...

     c.400 BC
  • Nicomachus
    Nicomachus
    Nicomachus was an important mathematician in the ancient world and is best known for his works Introduction to Arithmetic and Manual of Harmonics in Greek. He was born in Gerasa, in the Roman province of Syria , and was strongly influenced by Aristotle...

    , c.420 BC
  • Cephisodorus 402 BC
  • Metagenes
    Metagenes
    Metagenes son of the Cretan architect Chersiphron, also was an architect. He was co-architect, along with his father, of the construction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World....

    , c.419 BC
  • Cantharus
    Cantharus
    Cantharus is a genus of sea snails, marine gastropod mollusks in the family Buccinidae, the true whelks.This genus is placed in family Fasciolariidae by some authors.-Species:Species within the genus Cantharus include:...

     422 BC
  • Nicochares
    Nicochares
    Nicochares was an Athenian poet of the Old Comedy, son of Philonides and contemporary with Aristophanes. The titles of Nicochares' plays, as enumerated by Suidas, are, Αμυμωνη , Πελοφ , Γαλατεια , Ηρακληs χορηγυς, Κμητες, Λακωνες , Λημνιαι , Κενταυροι , Χειρογαστορες Nicochares was an Athenian...

     (d.~345
  • Strattis
    Strattis
    Strattis was an Athenian comic poet of the Old Comedy. According to the Suda, he flourished later than Callias Schoenion. He must have begun to exhibit in the 92nd Olympiad, that is, 412 BC. He was contemporary with Sannyrion and Philyllius, both of whom are attacked in the extant fragments of his...

     (~412-390 BC)
  • Alcaeus
    Alcaeus (comic poet)
    Alcaeus, the son of Miccus, was an Athenian comic poet whose comedies marked the transition between Old Comedy and Middle Comedy. In 388 BC, his play Pasiphae was awarded the fifth place prize...

    , 388 BC
  • Xenarchus, around 393 BC
  • Theopompus

  • Middle Comedy

    • Nicophon
      Nicophon
      Nicophon , the son of Theron, was an Athenian comic poet, a contemporary of Aristophanes in his later years. Athenaeus states that he belonged to Old Comedy, but it is more likely that he belonged to Middle Comedy...

       5th c.BC
    • Eubulus
      Eubulus (poet)
      Eubulus was an Athenian "Middle Comic" poet, victorious six times at the Lenaia, first probably in the late 370s or 360s BC According to the Suda , which dates him to the 101st Olympiad Eubulus was an Athenian "Middle Comic" poet, victorious six times at the Lenaia, first probably in the late 370s...

       early 4th c. BC
    • Araros
      Araros
      Araros , son of Aristophanes, was born in 387 B.C.E.was an Athenian comic poet of the Middle Comedy. His brothers Philippus, and Nicostratus were also comic poets...

      , son of Aristophanes 388, 375
    • Antiphanes (~408-334 BC)
    • Anaxandrides
      Anaxandrides
      For the Spartan king, see Anaxandridas IIAnaxandrides , was an Athenian Middle Comic poet. He was victorious ten times , first in 376, according to the Marmor Parium . Inscriptional evidence shows that three of his victories came at the Lenaia For the Spartan king, see Anaxandridas IIAnaxandrides...

        4th c. BC
    • Calliades 4th c. BC
    • Nicostratus, son of Aristophanes
      Aristophanes
      Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

    • Phillipus, son of Aristophanes
    • Philetarus c. 390 BC — C. 320 BC
    • Anaxilas
      Anaxilas
      Anaxilas or Anaxilaus , son of Cretines, was a tyrant of Rhegium . He was originally from Messenia, a region in the Peloponnese....

      , 343 BC
    • Ophelion
    • Callicrates
    • Heraclides
      Heraclides
      Heraclides , Heracleides or Herakleides may refer to:* Heracleides of Cyme , a little-attested historian* Heraclides of Aenus, one of Plato's students...

  • Alexis
    Alexis
    Alexis was a Greek comic poet of the Middle Comedy period, born at Thurii in Magna Graeca and taken early to Athens, where he became a citizen, being enrolled in the deme Oion and the tribe Leontides. It is thought he lived to the age of 106 and died on the stage while being crowned...

      (~375 BC - 275 BC)
  • Amphis
    Amphis
    Amphis was an Athenian Comic poet of uncertain origin from approximately the 4th century BC.Pollux seems to refer to Amphis as a Middle Comic poet, and Amphis' own repeated references to the philosopher Plato place him in the early to mid-4th century BC...

     mid-4th century BC
  • Axionicus
  • Cratinus Junior
    Cratinus Junior
    Cratinus the Younger was a comic poet of the Middle Comedy, and was a comtempoary of Plato and of Corydus. He flourished in the middle of 4th century BC, and as late as 324 BC...

  • Eriphus, plagiarist of Antiphanes
  • Epicrates of Ambracia
    Epicrates of Ambracia
    Epicrates of Ambracia , was an Ambraciote who lived in Athens, a comic poet of the Middle Comedy, according to the testimony of Athenaeus , confirmed by extant fragments of his plays, in which he ridicules Plato and his disciples, Speusippus and Menedemus, and in which he refers to the courtesan...

     4th c. BC
  • Stephanus, 332 BC
  • Strato
  • Aristophon
    Aristophon
    Aristophon, the son and pupil of the elder Aglaophon, and brother of Polygnotus, was a native of Thasos. Pliny, who places him among the painters of the second rank, mentions two works by him- — 'Ancaeus wounded by the boar and mourned over by his mother Astypalaea;' and a picture containing...

  • Sotades
    Sotades
    Sotades was an Ancient Greek poet.Sotades was born in Maroneia, either the one in Thrace, or in Crete. He was the chief representative of the writers of obscene and even pederastic satirical poems, called Kinaidoi, composed in the Ionic dialect and in the "sotadic" metre named after him...

  • Augeas
    Augeas
    In Greek mythology, Augeas , whose name means "bright", was king of Elis and father of Epicaste. Some say that Augeas was one of the Argonauts....

  • Epippus
  • Heniochus
  • Epigenes
    Epigenes of Athens
    Epigenes was an Athenian comic poet of the middle comedy.Pollux indeed speaks of him as neôn tis kômikôn, but the terms "middle" and "new," as Clinton remarks, are not always very carefully applied...

  • Mnesimachus
  • Timotheus
    Timotheus
    Timotheus may refer to:*Timotheus , Athenian statesman and general*Timotheus of Miletus, 5th century BCE Greek poet*Timotheus , a musician at the court of Alexander the Great...

  • Sophilus
  • Antidotus
    Antidotus
    Antidotus, a disciple of Euphranor, and the instructor of Nicias the Athenian, flourished about 336 BC. He was more remarkable for the laborious finish of his encaustic paintings than for the ingenuity of his invention. His colouring was cold, and his outline hard and dry...

  • Naucrates
  • Xenarchus
  • Dromo
  • Crobylus
    Crobylus
    Crobylus is assumed to be an Athenian Middle Comic poet, although there is no specific ancient evidence to this effect. Eleven fragments of his comedies survive, along with three titles: The Man Who Tried to Hang Himself, The Woman Who Was Trying to Leave Her Husband or The Woman Who Left Her...

    , possibly New Comedy, after 324 BC
  • Timocles 324 BC
  • Damoxenus c. 370 BC - 270 BC

  • New Comedy

    • Eubelus
      Eubulus (poet)
      Eubulus was an Athenian "Middle Comic" poet, victorious six times at the Lenaia, first probably in the late 370s or 360s BC According to the Suda , which dates him to the 101st Olympiad Eubulus was an Athenian "Middle Comic" poet, victorious six times at the Lenaia, first probably in the late 370s...

    • Philippides, 335 BC, 301 BC
    • Philemon
      Philemon (poet)
      Philemon ; was an Athenian poet and playwright of the New Comedy. He was born either at Soli in Cilicia or at Syracuse in Sicily but moved to Athens some time before 330 BC, when he is known to have been producing plays....

       of Soli
      Soli, Cilicia
      Soli was an ancient city and port in Cilicia, in present day Turkey, a part of Mezitli municipality which in turn is a part of Greater Mersin. It was a colony of Rhodes, founded c. 700 BC. Soli was destroyed in the 1st century BC, and rebuilt by Pompey the Great. Thereafter, it was called...

       or Syracuse (~362–262 BC)
    • Menander
      Menander
      Menander , Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso...

      (~342–291 BC)
    • Apollodorus of Carystus
      Apollodorus of Carystus
      Apollodorus of Carystus in Euboea, was one of the most important writers of the Attic New Comedy, who flourished in Athens between 300 and 260 B.C. He is to be distinguished from the older Apollodorus of Gela , also a writer of comedy, a contemporary of Menander. He wrote 47 comedies and obtained...

       (~300-260 BC)
    • Diphilus
      Diphilus
      Diphilus, of Sinope, was a poet of the new Attic comedy and contemporary of Menander . Most of his plays were written and acted at Athens, but he led a wandering life, and died at Smyrna....

       of Sinope
      Sinope
      Sinope may refer to:*Sinop, Turkey, a city on the Black Sea, historically known as Sinope** Battle of Sinop, 1853 naval battle in the Sinop port*Sinope , in Greek mythology, daughter of Asopus*Sinope , a moon of the planet Jupiter...

        (~340-290 BC)
    • Euphron
    • Dionysius
      Dionysius
      The Graeco-Roman name Dionysius, deriving from the name of the Thracian god Dionysus, was exceedingly common, and many ancient people, famous and otherwise, bore it. It remains a common name today in the form Dennis . The modern Greek form of the name is Dionysios or Dionysis. The Spanish form of...

      , after the god Archestratus
  • Theophilus
    Theophilus
    Theophilus is a male given name with a range of alternative spellings. Its origin is the Greek word Θεόφιλος from θεός and φιλία can be translated as "Love of God" or "Friend of God," i.e., it is a theophoric name, synonymous with the name Amadeus which originates from Latin...

    , contemporary with Callimedon
  • Sosippus, contemporary with Diphillus
  • Anaxippus, 303 BC
  • Demetrius, 299 BC
  • Archedicus, 302 BC
  • Sopater, 282 BC
  • Hegesippus
  • Plato Junior
  • Theognetus
  • Bathon
  • Diodorus
  • Machon
    Machon
    Machon was a playwright of the New Comedy.He was born in Corinth or Sicyon, and lived in Alexandria. Two fragments of his work survive, along with 462 verses of a book of anecdotes of the words and deeds of notorious Athenians, preserved in the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus. Dioscorides wrote an...

     of Corinth/Alexandria 3rd c. BC
  • Poseidippus of Cassandreia
    Poseidippus of Cassandreia
    Posidippus of Cassandreia , Poseidippos, 316 BC – ca. 250 BC) son of Cyniscus, a Macedonian who lived in Athens, was a celebrated comic poet of the New Comedy. He produced his first play in the third year after Menander had died, . Cooks held an important position in his list of characters...

     (~316–250 BC)
  • Laines or Laenes 185 BC
  • Philemon 183 BC
  • Chairion or Chaerion 154 BC

  • See also

    • Competitions (agon
      Agon
      Agon is an ancient Greek word with several meanings:*In one sense, it meant a contest, competition, especially the Olympic Games , or challenge that was held in connection with religious festivals....

      ) at the Dionysia
      Dionysia
      The Dionysia[p] was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia...

       (mixed audiences) and Lenaia
      Lenaia
      The Lenaia was an annual festival with a dramatic competition. It was one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece. The Lenaia took place in Athens in the month of Gamelion, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysos Lenaios...

       (local Athens audience only) festivals
    • Cult of Dionysus
      Cult of Dionysus
      The Cult of Dionysus is strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni, and its characteristic symbols are the bull, the serpent, the ivy, and the wine. The Dionysia and Lenaia festivals in Athens were dedicated to Dionysus, as well as the Phallic processions...

    • Phallic processions
      Phallic processions
      Phallic processions, or Penis Parade, called phallika in ancient Greece, were a common feature of Dionysiac celebrations; they were processions that advanced to a cult center, and were characterized by obscenities and verbal abuse. The display of a fetishized phallus was a common feature...

    • Theatre of Dionysus
      Theatre of Dionysus
      The Theatre of Dionysus is a major open-air theatre and one of the earliest preserved in Athens. It was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus...


    Sources

    • Brown, Andrew. 1998. "Ancient Greece." In The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Ed. Martin Banham. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
      Cambridge University Press
      Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world's oldest publishing house, and the second largest university press in the world...

      . 441-447. ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
    • Brockett, Oscar G. and Franklin J. Hildy. 2003. History of the Theatre. Ninth edition, International edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0-205-41050-2.
    • Carlson, Marvin. 1993. Theories of the Theatre: A Historical and Critical Survey from the Greeks to the Present. Expanded ed. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press
      Cornell University Press
      The Cornell University Press, established in 1869 but inactive from 1884 to 1930, was the first university publishing enterprise in the United States.A division of Cornell University, it is housed in Sage House, the former residence of Henry William Sage....

      . ISBN 978-0801481543.
    • Csapo, Eric, and William J. Slater. 1994. The Context of Ancient Drama. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press
      University of Michigan Press
      The University of Michigan Press is part of the University of Michigan Library and serves as a primary publishing unit of the University of Michigan, with special responsibility for the creation and promotion of scholarly, educational, and regional books and other materials in digital and print...

      . ISBN 0-472-08275-2.
    • Freund, Philip. 2003. The Birth of Theatre. Illustrated ed. Vol 1. of Stage by Stage. London: Peter Owen. ISBN 978-0-7206-1167-0.
    • Janko, Richard, trans. 1987. Poetics with Tractatus Coislinianus, Reconstruction of Poetics II and the Fragments of the On Poets. By Aristotle
      Aristotle
      Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

      . Cambridge: Hackett. ISBN 0-87220-033-7.
    • Ley, Graham. 2006. A Short Introduction to the Ancient Greek Theater. Rev. ed. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press
      University of Chicago Press
      The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of...

       ISBN 0-226-47761-4.
    • Olson, S. Douglas, ed. 2007. Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press
      Oxford University Press
      Oxford University Press is the largest university press in the world. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the Vice-Chancellor known as the Delegates of the Press. They are headed by the Secretary to the Delegates, who serves as...

      . ISBN 978-0-19-928785-7.
    • Taplin, Oliver. 1993. Comic Angels and Other Approaches to Greek Drama Through Vase-Painting. Oxford: Clarendon Press ISBN 0-19-814797-X.
    • Trypanis, Constantine Athanasius. 1981. Greek Poetry from Homer to Seferis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
      University of Chicago Press
      The University of Chicago Press is the largest university press in the United States. It is operated by the University of Chicago and publishes a wide variety of academic titles, including The Chicago Manual of Style, dozens of academic journals, including Critical Inquiry, and a wide array of...

       ISBN 0-226-81316-9.

    The Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World — Classical Literature — A Concise History by Richard Rutherford.
    The Making of Menander's Comedy by Sander M Goldberg
    The New Greek Comedy by Philippe Legrand

    Further reading


    External links