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was an expression used in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...
to denote a witty personal attack made with total freedom against the most notable individuals (see Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...
' attacks on Cleon
Cleon was an Athenian statesman and a Strategos during the Peloponnesian War. He was the first prominent representative of the commercial class in Athenian politics, although he was an aristocrat himself...
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 ...
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...
) in order to expose their wrongful conduct.
An opinion which originated in the Peripatetic school is that onomasti komodein
was the fundamental characterizing aspect of the ancient Greek comedy
Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the theatre of classical Greece . Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods, Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy...
of the first period (known as Old Comedy
Old Comedy is the first period of the ancient Greek comedy, according to the canonical division by the Alexandrian grammarians. The most important Old Comic playwright is Aristophanes, whose works, with their pungent political satire and abundance of sexual and scatological innuendo, effectively...
Quintus Horatius Flaccus , known in the English-speaking world as Horace, was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus.-Life:...
(35 BCE) Sermonum liber primus
The Satires are a collection of satirical poems written by the Roman poet Horace. Composed in dactylic hexameters, the Satires explore the secrets of human happiness and literary perfection...
, Sermo IV "Eupolis atque Cratinus" vv. 1-5