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purposes. We do not think it necessary to deny that Socrates was a well-meaning man, and in many respects a good citizen; we are disposed to believe that he was, not because Plato and Xenophon have represented him as such (in their justification of his character, each of them is but ιατρός άλλων αυτός έλκεσι Bpówv), but because Aristophanes has brought no specific charges against him, as far as his intentions are concerned. But Socrates was an innovator in education; he approved, perhaps assisted in the corruptions which Euripides introduced into Tragedy; he was the pupil and the friend of several of the sophists; it was in his character of dialectician that he was courted by the ambitious young men; he was the tutor of Alcibiades: his singular manners and affected slovenliness had every appearance of quackery; and, if we add, that he was the only one of the eminent sophists who was an Athenianborn, we shall not wonder that Aristophanes selected him as the representative of the class. The other two principal characters are a father and son. The latter is a general personification of the young profligates of the day, and only wants a little sophistical education to enable him to throw aside every moral restraint. His silly father supplies this defect, and is the first to suffer from the weapon which he has placed in his son's hand. The name of the father, Strepsiades, shows that he is intended as a representative of the class who advocated the change in education. It does not appear of whom his mask was a portrait. It is likely that the son, Pheidippides, came forward in the character of Alcibiades, who had the same love for horses, and bore a similar relation to Socrates': at the same time, the prominent part which Alcibiades was beginning to take in public affairs, and the influence he possessed over the young men of his own age, pointed him out as their most adequate representative. With these actors, then, the “Clouds” was merely a general exhibition of the corrupt state of education at Athens, and of its causes; it was a loudly uttered protest, on the part of Aristophanes, against the useless and pernicious speculations of the sophists, and was not intended to pave the way for the accusation which was many years afterwards brought against Socrates as a corrupter of youth, whatever may have been its effect upon the verdict of the Dicasts at the trial. The “ Clouds” appears to have been acted at the great Dionysia ‘. The “Wasps” was brought out in the name of Philonides, and performed at the Lenæa, in 422 B.c. Its object was to ridicule the love of litigation, which was so prevalent at Athens, and which the sophists did so much to foster. In the “ Peace,” which was produced in 419 B.C., he returns to the subject of the “ Acharnians," and insists strongly upon the advantages of peace. These two comedies, though exceedingly amusing, and perhaps very useful at the time, are not so meritorious in the eyes of a modern reader as most of the plays of Aristophanes. In the year 414 B.C., Aristophanes produced two comedies; the “Amphiaraus,” which appeared at the Lenæa, under the name of Philonides ; and the “ Birds," which came out at the great Dionysia, under the name of Callistratus. The objects of these two plays appear to have been the same. The former was named after one of the seven chiefs who led the Argive army against Thebes, and was always foretelling the misfortunes which attended that expedition. In this he corresponded to Nicias, who in the same manner foretold the disastrous termination of the expedition which had sailed for Syracuse the year before; and Aristophanes no doubt took this opportunity of warning his countrymen of the dangers into which their compliance with the wishes of Alcibiades would lead them”. The “ Birds,” which is certainly one of the most wonderful compositions in any language, was designed, we think, in conjunction with the
? Nub. 88. 434. 1 455.
3 Süvern über die Wolken, p. 33. * Süvern has conjectured very ingeniously, that the loyoç äòrcos wore a mask representing Thrasymachus, because his opponent addresses him in v. 890, kaltep
Amphiaraus,” to parody and ridicule the Euripidean trilogy, which came out the year before'. The Athenians are represented as a set of gaping foolish birds, persuaded by the extravagant promises of a couple of designing adventurers
θρασύς ών, and in v. 915, θρασύς εί πολλού ; and that the λόγος δίκαιος was Aristophanes himself. Über die Wolken, p. 12, note (3). 5 See Nubes, 311
Süvern's Essay on the “ Birds," p. 77, Engl. Tr. ? See above, p. 99.
to set up a city in the clouds, and to declare war against the gods. In this caricature we easily recognize a ridicule of the extravagant schemes of universal rule which Alcibiades had formed, and which might well be called castle-building in the air; and the termination of the play, in which the chief adventurer is represented as making a supper off his subjects, points clearly to what the Athenians had to expect from the success of an ambitious plan, conceived by an uncompromising aspirant after sovran power. The names of the two heroes of the piece, Peistheterus and Euelpides, whom we have elsewhere anglicized as Messrs. Agitator and Hopegood, point at once to the objects of this satirical delineation. The former is a combination of the two great moving causes of the expedition to Syracuse, Gorgias, and Alcibiades': the age of Master Agitator, his eloquence, his being a stranger, and his sophistical harangues, remind us of Gorgias, and Callistratus probably wore a mask which was a portrait of the Leontine ambassador; at the same time, the prominent part which Alcibiades took in the affair, and the notorious fact that he was the head of an extensive club (étaipía) at Athens, point to him as also represented by Peisthetærus'. Euelpides personifies those confident citizens, who, full of hope for the future (evfATIDES '), willingly undertook the expedition'. The “ Lysistrata” and “Thesmophoriazusæ” were performed in the year 411 B.C. The former, which appeared in the name of Callistratus, is a coarse and laughable recommendation of peace, and the latter is an attack upon Euripides. The “ Plutus,” which has come down to us, is the second edition of the play; the first was acted in 408 B.C., the second appeared four years after the “Ecclesiazusæ," which came out 392 B.C. The object of these two plays was much the same. The influence which the Lacedæmonians had acquired at Athens after the Peloponnesian war had created a fondness for the Dorian institutions, and had given rise to an affectation of Spartan manners. The former was fostered by the writings of some able men attached to the government of the thirty tyrants, among whom the most eminent was Plato. Connected with Critias by the ties of blood, and a near relation of the Charmides, who fell fighting against the party of Thrasybulus, he endeavoured to effect with his pen what they had failed to establish with the sword; and in a series of three dialogues, in which the principal interlocutors are Socrates, the Syracusan Hermocrates, Critias, and Timæus the Locrian legislator, attempted to recommend to the Athenians, as well by argument as by fiction, a system of government based upon the Lacedæmonian institutions. The object of the “Ecclesiazusæ” is to ridicule this work, and especially Plato's plan for the management of his female citizens; and the “Plutus” is designed to divert the Athenians from the prevalent adoption of Dorian manners. Before the date of these two plays, the “Frogs” was acted at the Lenæa in the name of Philonides, and won the first prize. The general object of the play is, in our opinion, to maintain the superiority of the old rhapsodical tragedy over the sophistical innovations of Euripides : a proper examination of the play involves so many difficult questions, that it is better to say nothing than to say a little on a subject on which so much might be written'. The last two comedies which Aristophanes wrote were called Æolosicon and Cocalus; they were brought out about the time of the peace of Antalcidas, by Araros, one of the sons of the poet, who had been his principal actor at the representation of the second edition of the Plutus. They both belonged to the second variety of Comedy; namely, the Comedy of Criticism. The “ Æolosicon” was a parody and criticism of the “ Æolus” of Euripides. The “Cocalus” was, perhaps, “ “
& Süvern, p. 31, fol. Eng. Tr.
Thucyd. vi. 13 : comp. Göller's notes upon iii. 82. viii. 54; and Arnold's Thucyd. vol. iii. p. 414.
1 Thucyd. vi. 24, ευέλπιδες όντες σωθήσεσθαι.
? In addition to Süvern's Essay, we must refer the curious reader to Droysen's Essay on the “ Birds,” in the Rhein. Mus. for 1835, p. 161. fol.
, a similar criticism of a tragedy or epic poem, the hero of which was Cocalus, the fabulous king of Sicily, who slew Minos'; it was so near an approach to the third variety of Comedy,
3 The reader who wishes to study the subject fully is referred to Bohtz. De Aristophanis Ranis Dissertatio. Gothæ, 1828.
• See Grauert, in the Rhein. Mus. for 1828, 50, fol. The name Alolooixwy is a compound (like 'Hparletošavoias, &c.) of the name of Euripides' tragic hero, and Sicon, a celebrated cook. Grauert, p. 60. And for this reason the whole comedy was full of cookery terms. Grauert, p. 499, fol.
5 Grauert, p. 507.
that Philemon was able to bring it again on the stage with very few alterations.
It is altogether unknown in what year Aristophanes died; it is probable, however, that he did not long survive the commencement of the 100th Olympiad, 380 B.c.' He left three sons, Philippus, Araros, and Nicostratus, who were all poets of the Middle Comedy, but do not appear to have inherited any considerable portion of their father's wonderful abilities. Their mother was not a very estimable woman; at all events, the poet is said to have declared, in one of his comedies, that he was ashamed of her and his two foolish sons; meaning, we are told, the two first-mentioned.
The number of comedies brought out by Aristophanes is not known with certainty: the reader will see in the note a list of forty-four names of comedies attributed to him'. In the very brief sketch which we have given of the general objects of Aristophanes' comedies, we have confined ourselves to their external and political references. It must not, however, be supposed, because Aristophanes was a Pantagruelist, a fabricator of allegorical caricatures, giving vent at times to the wildest buffoonery, and setting no bounds to the coarseness and plain-spokenness of his words, that his writings
6 Clemens Αlex. Strom. vi. p. 628. τον μέντοι Κάκαλoν τον ποιηθέντα Αραρότι το 'Αριστοφάνους υιεί, Φιλήμων ο κωμικός υπαλλάξας εν Υποβολιμαίω έκωμώδησεν.
? Ranke, p. cxcix.
8 Vit. Anonym. p. xvii. ('Αριστοφάνης) μετήλλαξε τον βίον παίδας καταλιπών τρείς, Φίλιππον ομώνυμον το πάππφ και Νικόστρατος και Αραρότα. -τινές δε δύο φασι, Φίλιππον και 'Αραρότα, ών και αυτός εμνήσθη:
Την γυναίκα δε
αισχύνομαι τώ τ' ου φρονούντε παιδίω" ίσως αυτούς λέγων.
1. Δαιταλής. 11. Βαβυλώνιοι. ΙΙΙ. 'Αχαρνής. ΙV. Ιππής. V. Νεφέλαι πρότεραι. VI. Προάγων. VII. Σφήκες. VIII. Ειρήνη προτέρα. 1x. 'Αμφιάραος. x. "Ορνιθες. ΧΙ. Λυσιστράτη. ΧΙΙ. θεσμοφοριάζουσαι προτεραι. XIII. Πλούτος πρότερος. ΧΙν. Βάτραχοι. Χν. 'Εκκλησιάζουσαι. ΧVΙ. Πλούτος δεύτερος. ΧVΙΙ. Αίολοσίκων πρότερος. ΧVΙΙΙ. Αίολοσίκων δεύτερος. ΧΙΧ. Κόκαλος. These are arranged in the supposed order of their appearance. The remaining names are alphabetically arranged. Ι. 'Ανάγυρος. . Γεωργοί. 111. Γήρας. ΙV. Γηρυτάδης. ν. Δαίδαλος. VΙ. Δαναΐδες. VI. Δράματα ή Κένταυρος. VIII. Δράματα ή Nίοβος. ΙΧ. Ειρήνη δευτέρα. Χ. "Ηρωες. ΧΙ. Θεσμοφοριάζουσαι δεύτεραι. ΧΙΙ. Λήμνιαι. ΧΙΙΙ. Ναυαγός, or Δίς Ναυαγός. Χιν. Νεφέλαι δεύτεραι. ΧV. Νήσοι. XVI. 'Ολκάδες. ΧVΙΙ. Πελαργοί. XVIII. Ποίησις. ΧΙΧ. Πολύειδος. Xx. Σκηνάς καταλαμβάνουσαι. ΧΧΙ. Ταγηνισταί. XXII. Τελμησσης. ΧΧΙΙ. Τριφάλης. ΧΧΙV. Φοίνισσαι. xxv. 'Qpai. See Dindorf's Collection of the Fragments. Bergk, p. 901. On the rñpas, see Süvern's essay on that play ; and on the Tpipálns,
και Süvern über die Wolken, pp. 62–65.