Greek writers


Aristophanes was a Greek playwright and a major exponent of comedy. He was born in 448 BC (Athens) and died in 385 BC (Athens).

Little is known about the life of Aristophanes. He received a dramatic education between 430 and 428 BC and then began writing plays anonymously. He won first and second prize three times in Athenian theatrical competitions. Aristophanes was a respected citizen who held the office of prytan (highest official). His portrait, a double bust of Menander, has survived to this day.

His sons (Araros, Philippos and Nikostratos) also became playwrights.

Aristophanes wrote over 40 plays, but only eleven complete ones have survived.

His comedies always dealt with current events and issues that were troubling the Athenians. Thus he mentions the Peloponnesian War, the corrupt morals of the young (they study in sophistic schools). He also uses real and famous people in these works, for example when he unflatteringly portrays the Athenian warlord Cleon in the comedy The Babylonians. He then had to defend himself against a charge of defaming an official.

Aristophanes' satire has strongly influenced English literature and many modern authors.

His most important works are: The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, The Women's Convention, The Frogs.

From Aristophanes come the sayings "to carry owls to Athens" and "where there is good, there is the fatherland" (Ubi bene, ibi patria).