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Old 05-19-2014, 02:29 AM   #1
AlexBell
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Aristophanes: Aristophanes and War, v1, 19 May 2014

Aristophanes lived in Athens from about 450BC to about 385BC. Three of his eleven extant plays deal with the Peloponnesian War. Little is known about him, including how much he was opposed to the war or how much he was playing to his audiences' feelings about the war to gain prizes at the festivals where the plays were presented.

The Peloponnesian War, 431-404BC, was started on pretexts and continued for glory, power, or money, caused enormous civilian suffering and devastation, and left Athens infested by informers. One difference from 21st century wars is that then most leaders led young men to their deaths rather than sending them to their deaths.

The Acharnians was presented in 426BC. Dicaeopolis establishes his own private peace treaty with the Spartans, and deals with those who fear it will prevent them from taking revenge, those who want the blessings of peace without making peace themselves, and the informers. In Peace, presented in 422BC, Trygaeus flies to heaven on a giant dung beetle to protest to the gods about the war. He discovers that the gods have become so angry at the Greeks that they have buried Peace in a cave, and left War to grind the Greek states to dust. He rescues Peace and marries one of her hand maidens. The most famous play of the three is Lysistrata, presented in 411BC, in which Lysistrata persuades the women of the warring states to refuse sexual favours to their husbands or lovers until a peace treaty is signed. The males around her were even more offended that Lysistrata showed that women could think and plan and manage.

The source texts for Aristophanes and War were taken via Project Gutenberg from literal translations published by the Athenian Society in 1912. I have retained the Introductions to the plays, the footnotes as end notes, and the stage directions from the Athenian Society translation in rounded brackets and from other translations in curly brackets. My interpolations are contained in square brackets. I have silently corrected typos, curled quotes, and made minor changes to spelling, punctuation, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.

The original texts and the translations contain material which some readers may find offensive.

PS: The ebook contains about 300 endnotes. They work as expected on my Sony, Kindle Keyboard, and iPad with Marvin. But I haven't been able to get them to work on a Kobo Touch or Nexus 7 with Mantano. I'd appreciate any feedback or suggestions.
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