Aristophanes Biography Notes

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Aristophanes was an ancient Greek comedian and playwright who lived from approximately 448 BC to 388 BC in Athens. He is known as the Prince of Ancient Comedy, not because he is the only author of comedy from that age whose work still exists, but he is seen as one of the greatest comic writers of his time.

He began his career as a playwright around 427 BC with his first plays, The Banquetters and The Babylonians, both of which are now lost. It is thought he wrote at least thirty-six comedies, of which only eleven still exist.

His plays were very imaginative and colourful, but also disrespectful. The humour within his plays ranged from political satire and profane jokes to sexual jokes relating to bodily functions.

Aristophanes grew up during the Periclean Age, which was a golden age of peace and intellectual expansion. The context of Aristophanes work however is during the Peloponnesian War, and this has influenced some of his work such as The Birds and Lysistrata. The Peloponnesian War was a 27 year long battle fought from 431 BC to 404 BC between former allies the Peloponnesian League; led by Sparta and the Delian League; led by Athens.

Although the exact reason behind this war is unknown, explanations include: Sparta's jealousy and desire for more, Sparta's unhappiness of no longer having all the military glory and Athens’s bullying of its allies. However, ancient writer Thucydides recorded the reason as being Sparta's fear of the growth and power of Athens, and this is the most agreed with explanation.

The times of the Peloponnesian War were exceedingly stressful due to large number of citizens dying through the spread of disease as well as through battle, and the enclosure, known as the "long walls", which was built around the city, isolating them and limiting their freedom and this is reflected through such plays as...

The Birds, which was first performed when all was going well in the battle against Sparta. The story shows how two...
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