Aristophanes (ca. 446 BC - 385 BC) was a Greek comic poet.

The place and even the exact date of his birth are unknown, but he was probably educated in Athens. He is famous for writing comedies such as The Birds for the two Athenian festivals: the Dionysia and the Lenea. He wrote at least 30 plays, 11 of which still survive, and his plays are the only surviving examples of Greek Old Comedy. Many of his plays were political, and often satirized the well-known citizens of Athens and their conduct in the Peloponnesian War. He is known to have been prosecuted for Athenian law's equivalent of libel more than once. A famous comedy, The Frogs, was given the unprecedented honor of a second performance.

He appears in Plato's Symposium, giving a humorous mythical account of the origin of Love. The Clouds pokes fun at famous figures, notably Socrates, and may have contributed to the common misconception of the philosopher as a Sophist. Lysistrata was written during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta and presents a pacifist theme in a comical manner: the women of the two states deprive their husbands of sex until they stop fighting. This play was later illustrated at length by Pablo Picasso.

Surviving Plays

See also: Agathon, Greek literature

External links

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