Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

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markcmueller
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Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

Post by markcmueller »

I just read The Battle of Marathon by Peter Krentz who argues that Herodotus's description of the battle, with an eight stadia running charge, is likely to be correct. Krentz mentions Aristophanes' Wasps, line 1081 where the chorus claims that the Athenians "ran out with spear and shield". I looked it up and found parts of the chorus really funny. This is in contrast to Clouds which I read in English and did not find particularly funny.

I was also surprised to see that the small part of the chorus that I looked at in Greek was not as difficult as I had imagined. Right now I'm working my way slowly through Plato's Symposium, and am thinking that I might take another break from Plato before continuing. That got me wondering which of Aristophanes' plays is the funniest.

Any suggestions?

Mark

magistrabella
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Re: Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

Post by magistrabella »

Thesmophoriazusae is highly underrated.

markcmueller
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Re: Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

Post by markcmueller »

Thanks! I am waffling between Thesmophoriazusae and the Birds. The Birds sounds charming, but from the quotes I've seen from Thesmophoriazusae, it definitely sounds very funny.

Mark

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jeidsath
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Re: Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

Post by jeidsath »

The perfect time to read Ἀχαρνής is now.
"Here stuck the great stupid boys, who for the life of them could never master the accidence..."

Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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seneca2008
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Re: Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

Post by seneca2008 »

The Birds sounds charming,
The Birds is a great play. The fantasy element at the end (typical of Aristophanes) is taken to extremes. The costumes must have been magnificent. (maybe this is wishful thinking but I think quite a lot of money was devoted to their production).

I am surprised that you didnt find clouds amusing given your interest in Plato. Old comedy is an acquired taste I think. There are so many jokes and allusions that we simply dont get and of course what athenian audiences found funny will not necessarily appeal to us. But there is something very compelling about the mixture of slapstick, political satire, pantomime and poetry. The more I think about these plays the odder they seem.

I am very fond of the frogs.
Persuade tibi hoc sic esse, ut scribo: quaedam tempora eripiuntur nobis, quaedam subducuntur, quaedam effluunt. Turpissima tamen est iactura, quae per neglegentiam fit. Et si volueris attendere, maxima pars vitae elabitur male agentibus, magna nihil agentibus, tota vita aliud agentibus.

markcmueller
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Re: Funniest comedy by Aristophanes

Post by markcmueller »

Joel -- I considered the Acharnians, but thought it might be better to wait until I knew more of Athenian history of the period. I'm assuming that the political references are pretty thick in that play.

Seneca -- Yes, the Birds is tempting because of the fantasy. From what I've read, it seems to be less of a political commentary than other plays. With the costumes it must have looked like a Broadway show.

As for the Clouds, I probably did miss a great deal of the humor as well as meaning because the translation I had had no footnotes. I know that Dover later regretted that his edition was not more geared to less proficient readers, so I'm keeping that play for later.

Mark

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