Aristophanes Timeline

Aristophanes Timeline


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Social convention says there are two types of people: male and female. And you know who’s who based on their genitalia. But in fact, various cultures have long recognized members who buck the biological binary. The ancients wrote of people who were neither men nor women individuals have been swapping genders for centuries and intellectuals have fiercely debated the connection between the body and the self. Today, there are many populations with alternative identities, such as hijras in South Asia, kathoeys in Thailand, and muxes in Mexico. Yet these groups haven’t had it easy, often facing discrimination and violence. Only recently has the fight for legal recognition — and respect — of "third gender" begun to bear fruit, thanks to pioneering activists and policymakers. The world, it seems, is slowly embracing an adage once restricted to liberal universities: Gender is a construct, and people should be able to define it for themselves.

Greek philosopher Plato writes Symposium, in which men at a drinking party philosophize about the nature of love. Aristophanes, a comic playwright, tells a story of creation in which "original human nature" includes a third sex. This sex "was a distinct kind, with a bodily shape and a name of its own, constituted by the union of the male and the female: but now only the word ‘androgynous’ is preserved, and that as a term of reproach."

The Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), which forms the basis of Hindu rules, says, "A male child is produced by a greater quantity of male seed, a female child by the prevalence of the female if both are equal, a third-sex child or boy-and-girl twins are produced." But like many other early writings on human identity, the Manusmriti does not distinguish between biological traits and a person’s social role: The former determines the latter.

Genucius, a Roman slave and eunuch, is denied inheritance on the grounds, according to art historian Lynn Roller, of being "neither a man nor a woman." He is "not even allowed to plead his own case, lest the court be polluted by his obscene presence and corrupt voice." Eunuchs, typically castrated men, often hold trusted positions — such as servants or priests — but they are also treated as abnormal.

Sworn virgins emerge in Albanian communities in the Balkans. Known as burrneshas ("he-she"), the virgins are women who take oaths of celibacy and live as men in order to gain certain rights and privileges. For instance, after the death of a head of household and in the absence of male heirs, a woman could become a burrnesha to secure her family’s property and honor.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German thinker and writer, outlines a theory of homosexuality using "third sex" to categorize men attracted to other men. He also describes such a man as having "a female psyche confined in a male body." This theory competes with Charles Darwin’s writings on sexual selection, which assert that two sexes exist for the purpose of reproduction.

British administrators pass the Criminal Tribes Act in India, effectively outlawing the country’s hijras — a community that includes people born with both male and female biological traits (called "intersex" today), transgender people (those whose gender identity doesn’t match their sex assigned at birth), eunuchs, and even cross-dressers. Celebrated in sacred Indian texts, hijras had long been part of South Asian cultures, but colonial authorities viewed them as violating the social order.

Earl Lind (also known as Ralph Werther and Jennie June) publishes The Autobiography of an Androgyne, a memoir about coming to identify as "third sex." The book, still studied widely by scholars of gender and sexuality, describes the author’s life in New York City, sexual encounters with both men and women, and decision to undergo castration.

Christine Jorgensen, born George William Jorgensen in New York, completes sex-reassignment surgery in Denmark. Jorgensen, who served in the U.S. Army, gains national recognition as the first American widely known to have had the surgery. New York’s Daily News runs a front-page story with the headline, "Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty." (The United States, however, legally recognizes only two genders this remains the case today.)

Psychologist John Money popularizes the term "gender role." He controversially studies intersex children to understand how social and environmental factors, in addition to genetic and hormonal ones, help determine whether a person identifies as male or female. Money’s theories provide an important basis for efforts — spearheaded by the burgeoning feminist movement — to argue that gender is not simply a function of biology.

Endocrinologist Harry Benjamin, who treated Jorgensen, publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon, with a "sex orientation scale" for men engaging in feminine behaviors. At one end are men who occasionally dress as women but don’t want to be female at the other end are men who consider themselves female and urgently want reassignment surgery. "The dominant status of the genital organs for the determination of one’s sex," Benjamin writes, "has been shaken."

Mexicans in Oaxaca state establish Vela de las Intrepidas (Vigil of the Intrepids), a festival celebrating ambiguous gender identities. The Zapotec culture embraces a third-gender population called muxes: men who consider themselves women and others who don’t strictly identify one way or the other. Muxes trace back to pre-Columbian times, when there were "cross-dressing Aztec priests and Mayan gods who were male and female at the same time," according to the New York Times.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) codifies "gender identity disorder," a condition in which there is a disparity between a person’s assigned sex and expressed gender identity. The diagnosis allows practitioners to justify hormone treatment, sex-reassignment surgery, and other care. But critics argue that categorizing certain gender identities as mental illness is discriminatory. (In 2012, the APA renames the condition "gender dysphoria.")

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issues a fatwa proclaiming no religious restriction on reassignment surgery, previously sanctioned only for intersex people. The ayatollah had been lobbied by transgender activist Maryam Khatoon Molkara. Today, Iran is a top destination for the surgery, but the trend has a dark underbelly: Many gay Iranians choose surgery to avoid persecution for homosexuality, which is still punishable by death. Iran does not recognize alternative genders.

Nepal’s Supreme Court mandates that the government establish a third-gender category ("other") on citizenship documents. The ruling comes in an anti-discrimination case filed by Sunil Pant, Asia’s first openly gay federal-level politician and founder of the Blue Diamond Society, an NGO that works closely with transgender sex workers (long targets of police brutality in Nepal). Despite the ruling, third-gender people continue to report harassment. As of 2014, according to activists, only five individuals had officially registered as "other."

Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders the creation of national identity cards on which hijras can identify as a distinct gender.

The Australian government announces that passports will include a third-gender option. However, the new regime has limitations: Applicants wishing to select "X" as their gender must provide a letter from a medical professional confirming that they are intersex or do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. (Similarly, people wishing to change their gender — from, say, female to male — must provide a letter confirming that they are undergoing treatment for a gender transition.)

Germany announces that it will allow parents to register newborns as indeterminate on birth certificates. The legislation is adopted to mitigate pressure to pursue immediate surgery for babies born with ambiguous physical features. A review by the German Ethics Council had revealed problems created by forced operations. "I will remain the patchwork created by doctors, bruised and scarred," one adult tells the BBC of surgery performed soon after birth.

Facebook expands gender settings on user profiles. These include some 50 new options, including "cisgender" (someone who has a gender identity regularly associated with his or her biological sex), "neutrois" (someone who rejects a gender binary entirely), and — simply — "other."

India’s Supreme Court recognizes the right of people, including hijras, to identify as third gender. The ruling requires the government to establish quotas for third-gender people in employment and education, like those already in place for other minorities. The court states, "It is the right of every human being to choose their gender."

Illustration by Craig & Karl for FP

Social convention says there are two types of people: male and female. And you know who’s who based on their genitalia. But in fact, various cultures have long recognized members who buck the biological binary. The ancients wrote of people who were neither men nor women individuals have been swapping genders for centuries and intellectuals have fiercely debated the connection between the body and the self. Today, there are many populations with alternative identities, such as hijras in South Asia, kathoeys in Thailand, and muxes in Mexico. Yet these groups haven’t had it easy, often facing discrimination and violence. Only recently has the fight for legal recognition — and respect — of "third gender" begun to bear fruit, thanks to pioneering activists and policymakers. The world, it seems, is slowly embracing an adage once restricted to liberal universities: Gender is a construct, and people should be able to define it for themselves.

Greek philosopher Plato writes Symposium, in which men at a drinking party philosophize about the nature of love. Aristophanes, a comic playwright, tells a story of creation in which "original human nature" includes a third sex. This sex "was a distinct kind, with a bodily shape and a name of its own, constituted by the union of the male and the female: but now only the word ‘androgynous’ is preserved, and that as a term of reproach."

The Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), which forms the basis of Hindu rules, says, "A male child is produced by a greater quantity of male seed, a female child by the prevalence of the female if both are equal, a third-sex child or boy-and-girl twins are produced." But like many other early writings on human identity, the Manusmriti does not distinguish between biological traits and a person’s social role: The former determines the latter.

Genucius, a Roman slave and eunuch, is denied inheritance on the grounds, according to art historian Lynn Roller, of being "neither a man nor a woman." He is "not even allowed to plead his own case, lest the court be polluted by his obscene presence and corrupt voice." Eunuchs, typically castrated men, often hold trusted positions — such as servants or priests — but they are also treated as abnormal.

Sworn virgins emerge in Albanian communities in the Balkans. Known as burrneshas ("he-she"), the virgins are women who take oaths of celibacy and live as men in order to gain certain rights and privileges. For instance, after the death of a head of household and in the absence of male heirs, a woman could become a burrnesha to secure her family’s property and honor.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German thinker and writer, outlines a theory of homosexuality using "third sex" to categorize men attracted to other men. He also describes such a man as having "a female psyche confined in a male body." This theory competes with Charles Darwin’s writings on sexual selection, which assert that two sexes exist for the purpose of reproduction.

British administrators pass the Criminal Tribes Act in India, effectively outlawing the country’s hijras — a community that includes people born with both male and female biological traits (called "intersex" today), transgender people (those whose gender identity doesn’t match their sex assigned at birth), eunuchs, and even cross-dressers. Celebrated in sacred Indian texts, hijras had long been part of South Asian cultures, but colonial authorities viewed them as violating the social order.

Earl Lind (also known as Ralph Werther and Jennie June) publishes The Autobiography of an Androgyne, a memoir about coming to identify as "third sex." The book, still studied widely by scholars of gender and sexuality, describes the author’s life in New York City, sexual encounters with both men and women, and decision to undergo castration.

Christine Jorgensen, born George William Jorgensen in New York, completes sex-reassignment surgery in Denmark. Jorgensen, who served in the U.S. Army, gains national recognition as the first American widely known to have had the surgery. New York’s Daily News runs a front-page story with the headline, "Ex-GI Becomes Blonde Beauty." (The United States, however, legally recognizes only two genders this remains the case today.)

Psychologist John Money popularizes the term "gender role." He controversially studies intersex children to understand how social and environmental factors, in addition to genetic and hormonal ones, help determine whether a person identifies as male or female. Money’s theories provide an important basis for efforts — spearheaded by the burgeoning feminist movement — to argue that gender is not simply a function of biology.

Endocrinologist Harry Benjamin, who treated Jorgensen, publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon, with a "sex orientation scale" for men engaging in feminine behaviors. At one end are men who occasionally dress as women but don’t want to be female at the other end are men who consider themselves female and urgently want reassignment surgery. "The dominant status of the genital organs for the determination of one’s sex," Benjamin writes, "has been shaken."

Mexicans in Oaxaca state establish Vela de las Intrepidas (Vigil of the Intrepids), a festival celebrating ambiguous gender identities. The Zapotec culture embraces a third-gender population called muxes: men who consider themselves women and others who don’t strictly identify one way or the other. Muxes trace back to pre-Columbian times, when there were "cross-dressing Aztec priests and Mayan gods who were male and female at the same time," according to the New York Times.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) codifies "gender identity disorder," a condition in which there is a disparity between a person’s assigned sex and expressed gender identity. The diagnosis allows practitioners to justify hormone treatment, sex-reassignment surgery, and other care. But critics argue that categorizing certain gender identities as mental illness is discriminatory. (In 2012, the APA renames the condition "gender dysphoria.")

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issues a fatwa proclaiming no religious restriction on reassignment surgery, previously sanctioned only for intersex people. The ayatollah had been lobbied by transgender activist Maryam Khatoon Molkara. Today, Iran is a top destination for the surgery, but the trend has a dark underbelly: Many gay Iranians choose surgery to avoid persecution for homosexuality, which is still punishable by death. Iran does not recognize alternative genders.

Nepal’s Supreme Court mandates that the government establish a third-gender category ("other") on citizenship documents. The ruling comes in an anti-discrimination case filed by Sunil Pant, Asia’s first openly gay federal-level politician and founder of the Blue Diamond Society, an NGO that works closely with transgender sex workers (long targets of police brutality in Nepal). Despite the ruling, third-gender people continue to report harassment. As of 2014, according to activists, only five individuals had officially registered as "other."

Pakistan’s Supreme Court orders the creation of national identity cards on which hijras can identify as a distinct gender.

The Australian government announces that passports will include a third-gender option. However, the new regime has limitations: Applicants wishing to select "X" as their gender must provide a letter from a medical professional confirming that they are intersex or do not identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. (Similarly, people wishing to change their gender — from, say, female to male — must provide a letter confirming that they are undergoing treatment for a gender transition.)

Germany announces that it will allow parents to register newborns as indeterminate on birth certificates. The legislation is adopted to mitigate pressure to pursue immediate surgery for babies born with ambiguous physical features. A review by the German Ethics Council had revealed problems created by forced operations. "I will remain the patchwork created by doctors, bruised and scarred," one adult tells the BBC of surgery performed soon after birth.

Facebook expands gender settings on user profiles. These include some 50 new options, including "cisgender" (someone who has a gender identity regularly associated with his or her biological sex), "neutrois" (someone who rejects a gender binary entirely), and — simply — "other."

India’s Supreme Court recognizes the right of people, including hijras, to identify as third gender. The ruling requires the government to establish quotas for third-gender people in employment and education, like those already in place for other minorities. The court states, "It is the right of every human being to choose their gender."


Synopsis

Two slaves of Trygaeus are introduced, outside an ordinary house in Athens, kneading what appears to be unusually large lumps of dough. We soon learn that it is not dough at all but excrement (from various sources) which is to be fed to the giant dung beetle that their master intends flying to a private audience with the gods. Trygaeus himself then appears above the house on the back of the dung beetle, hovering in an alarmingly unsteady manner, while his slaves, neighbours and children plead with him to come back down to earth.

He explains that his mission is to reason with the gods about the Peloponnesian War and, if necessary, to prosecute them for treason against Greece, and he soars away towards the heavens. Arriving at the house of the gods, Trygaeus discovers that only Hermes is home, the other gods having packed up and departed for some remote refuge where they hope never to be troubled again by the war or the prayers of humankind. Hermes himself is only there making some final arrangements for the new occupant of the house, War, who has already moved in. Peace, he is informed, is imprisoned in a cave nearby.

War then comes on stage, carrying a gigantic mortar in which he intends to continue grinding the Greeks to paste, but he complains that he no longer has a pestle to use with his mortar, as his old pestles, Cleon and Brasidas (the leaders of the pro-war factions in Athens and Sparta respectively) are both dead, recently perished in battle.

While War goes to find a new pestle, Trygaeus calls on Greeks everywhere to come and help him set Peace free while there is still time. A Chorus of excited Greeks from various city-states arrives, dancing frantically in their excitement. They get to work pulling boulders from the cave’s mouth, along with a Chorus of farmers, and eventually the beautiful Peace and her comely companions, Festival and Harvest, emerge. Hermes explains that she would have been freed much earlier, except that the Athenian assembly kept voting against it.

Trygaeus apologizes to Peace on behalf of his countrymen, and updates her on the latest theatre gossip from Athens. He leaves her to enjoy her freedom while he sets off again for Athens, taking Harvest and Festival back with him (Harvest to be his wife), while the Chorus praises the author for his originality as a dramatist, for his courageous opposition to monsters like Cleon and for his genial disposition.

Trygaeus returns to the stage, declaring that the audience looked like a bunch of rascals when seen from the heavens, and that they look even worse when seen up close. He sends Harvest indoors to prepare for their wedding, and delivers Festival to the Athenian leaders sitting in the front row. He then prepares for a religious service in honour of Peace. The smell of the roasting sacrificial lamb soon attracts an oracle-monger, who hovers about the scene in quest of a free meal, but he is soon driven off. As Trygaeus joins Harvest indoors to prepare for his wedding, the Chorus praises the idyllic country life during peacetime, although it also bitterly recalls how different things were only just recently, in time of war.

Trygaeus returns to the stage, dressed for the wedding festivities, and local tradesmen and merchants begin to arrive. The sickle-maker and jar-maker, whose businesses are flourishing again now that peace has returned, present Trygaeus with wedding presents. Others, however, are not faring so well with the new peace and Trygaeus offers suggestions to some of them about what they can do with their merchandise (e.g. helmet crests can be used as dusters, spears as vine props, breastplates as chamber pots, trumpets as scales for weighing figs and helmets as mixing bowls for Egyptian emetics and enemas).

One of the guests’ children begins reciting Homer‘s epic song of war, but Trygaeus promptly sends him away. He announces the commencement of the wedding feast and opens up the house for celebrations.


Writings – Aristophanes plays

The surviving plays of Aristophanes, in chronological order spanning a period from 425 to 388 BCE, are: “The Acharnians”, “The Knights”, “The Clouds”, “The Wasps”, “Peace”, “The Birds”, “Lysistrata”, “Thesmophoriazusae”, “The Frogs”, “Ecclesiazusae”and “Plutus (Wealth)”. Of these, perhaps the best known are “Lysistrata”, “The Wasps” and “The Birds”.

Comic drama (what is now known as Old Comedy) was already well-established by Aristophanes’ time, although the first official comedy was not staged at the City Dionysia until 487 BCE, by which time tragedy had already been long established there. It was under the comic genius of Aristophanes that Old Comedy received its fullest development, and he was able to contrast infinitely graceful poetic language with vulgar and offensive jests, adapting the same versification forms of the tragedians to his own aims.

During Aristophanes’ time, though, there was a discernable trend from Old Comedy to New Comedy (perhaps best exemplified by Menander, almost a century later), involving a trend away from the topical emphasis on real individuals and local issues of Old Comedy, towards a more cosmopolitan emphasis on generalized situations and stock characters, increasing levels of complexity and more realistic plots.


History of Baking

Baking has been many cultures’ favorite technique for creating snacks, desserts, and accompaniments to meals for many years. Now, it is very well-known as the method for creating sweets and all sorts of wondrous mouthwatering pastries. In ancient history, the first evidence of baking occurred when humans took wild grass grains, soaked it in water, and mixed everything together, mashing it into a kind of broth-like paste. Then, the paste was cooked by pouring it onto a flat, hot rock, resulting in a bread-like substance. Later, this paste was roasted on hot embers, which made bread-making easier, as it could now be made anytime fire was created. Around 2500 B.C., records show that the Egyptians already had bread, and may have actually learned the process from the Babylonians. The Greek Aristophanes, around 400 B.C., also recorded information that showed that tortes with patterns and honey flans existed in Greek cuisine. Dispyrus was also created by the Greeks around that time and widely popular was a donut-like bread made from flour and honey and shaped in a ring soaked in wine, it was eaten when hot.

In the Roman Empire, baking flourished widely. In about 300 B.C., the pastry cook became an occupation for Romans (known as the pastillarium). This became a very highly respected profession because pastries were considered decadent, and Romans loved festivity and celebration. Thus, pastries were often cooked especially for large banquets, and any pastry cook who could invent new types of tasty treats, unseen at any other banquet, was highly prized. Around 1 A.D., there were more than three hundred pastry chefs in Rome alone, and Cato wrote about how they created all sorts of diverse foods, and flourished because of those foods. Cato speaks of an enormous amount of breads included amongst these are the libum (sacrificial cakes made with flour), placenta (groats and cress), spira (our modern day flour pretzels), scibilata (tortes), savaillum (sweet cake), and globus apherica (fritters). A great selection of these, with many different variations, different ingredients, and varied patterns, were often found at banquets and dining halls. To bake bread, the Romans used an oven with its own chimney and had grain mills to grind grain into flour.

Eventually, because of Rome, the art of baking became widely known throughout Europe, and eventually spread to the eastern parts of Asia. Bakers often baked goods at home and then sold them in the streets-children loved their goods. In fact, this scene was so common that Rembrandt illustrated a work that depicted a pastry chef selling pancakes in the streets of Germany, and young children surrounding him, clamoring to get a sample. In London, pastry chef sold their goods in handcarts, which were very convenient shops on wheels. This way, they developed a system of “delivery” baked goods to people’s households, and the demand for baked goods increased greatly as a result. Finally, in Paris, the first open-air café of baked goods was developed, and baking became an established art throughout the entire world.


Key Facts & Information

Early Life and Literary Beginnings

  • Unfortunately, little is known about Aristophanes’ early life, but references in later plays suggest that he was probably born around 446 or 448 BCE.
  • He was the son of Philippos, who hailed from the island of Aegina, and was almost certainly educated in Athens.
  • Aristophanes started writing at a time after the euphoria of Greece’s military victories over the Persians, when the Peloponnesian War had largely curtailed Athens’ ambitions as an imperial power.
  • However, although Athens’ empire had been largely dismantled, it had nevertheless become the intellectual center of Greece, and Aristophanes was an important figure in this change in intellectual fashions.
  • From his caricatures of the leading figures in the arts (notably Euripides), in politics (especially the dictator Cleon), and in philosophy and religion (Socrates), he often gives the impression of being something of an old-fashioned conservative, and his plays often espouse opposition to the radical new influences in Athenian society.

Literary Works

  • Aristophanes was, however, not afraid to take risks. His first play, The Banqueters, won second prize at the annual City Dionysia drama competition in 427 BCE, and his next play, The Babylonians, won first prize.
  • His polemical satires in these popular plays caused some embarrassment for the Athenian authorities, and some influential citizens subsequently sought to prosecute the young dramatist on a charge of slandering the Athenian polis.
  • It soon became apparent, though, that there was no legal redress for slander in a play, and the court case certainly did not stop Aristophanes from repeatedly savaging and caricaturing Cleon in his later plays.
  • Despite the highly political stance of his plays, Aristophanes managed to survive The Peloponnesian War, two oligarchic revolutions and two democratic restorations, so it can be assumed that he was not actively involved in politics.
  • He was probably appointed to the Council of Five Hundred for a year at the beginning of the 4th Century BCE, a common appointment in democratic Athens.
  • The genial characterization of Aristophanes in Plato’s The Symposium has been interpreted as evidence of Plato’s own friendship with him, despite Aristophanes’ cruel caricature of Plato’s teacher Socrates in The Clouds.
  • Aristophanes also won the less prestigious Lenaia competition at least three times.

Death and Legacy

  • Aristophanes lived to an old age, probably until around 386 or 385 BCE, perhaps as late as 380 BCE. At least three of his sons (Araros, Philippus and a third son called either Nicostratus or Philetaerus) were themselves comic poets and later winners of the Lenaia, as well as producers of their father’s plays.
  • It was under the comic genius of Aristophanes that Old Comedy received its fullest development, and he was able to contrast infinitely graceful poetic language with vulgar and offensive jests, adapting the same versification forms of the tragedians to his own aims.
  • During Aristophanes’ time, though, there was a discernible trend from Old Comedy to New Comedy, involving a trend away from the topical emphasis on real individuals and local issues of Old Comedy, towards a more cosmopolitan emphasis on generalized situations and stock characters, increasing levels of complexity and more realistic plots.

Aristophanes Worksheets

This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Aristophanes across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Aristophanes worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Aristophanes who was the most famous writer of Old Comedy plays in ancient Greece. His innovative and sometimes rough comedy could also hide more sophisticated digs at the political elite and deal with social issues such as cultural change and the role of women in society.

Complete List Of Included Worksheets

  • Authors Online
  • Library Hunt
  • Sketch It Out
  • Voc-OWL-bulary
  • Comedic Timings
  • The Great Greeks
  • Plans for Peace
  • Heroines of Peace
  • A Laughing Matter
  • Young Blood

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Use With Any Curriculum

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Old Comedy

The Greek word for comedy (kōmōidía) derives from the words for 'revel' and 'song' (kōmos and ōdē) and according to Aristotle [89] comic drama actually developed from song. The first official comedy at the City Dionysia was not staged until 487/6 BC, [90] by which time tragedy had already been long established there. The first comedy at the Lenaia was staged later still, [91] only about 20 years before the performance there of The Acharnians, the first of Aristophanes' surviving plays. According to Aristotle, comedy was slow to gain official acceptance because nobody took it seriously, [92] yet only sixty years after comedy first appeared at the City Dionysia, Aristophanes observed that producing comedies was the most difficult work of all. [93] Competition at the Dionysian festivals needed dramatic conventions for plays to be judged, but it also fuelled innovations. [94] Developments were quite rapid and Aristotle could distinguish between 'old' and 'new' comedy by 330 BC. [95]

The trend from Old Comedy to New Comedy saw a move away from highly topical concerns with real individuals and local issues towards generalized situations and stock characters. This was partly due to the internationalization of cultural perspectives during and after the Peloponnesian War. [96] [97] For ancient commentators such as Plutarch, [98] New Comedy was a more sophisticated form of drama than Old Comedy. However, Old Comedy was in fact a complex and sophisticated dramatic form incorporating many approaches to humour and entertainment. [99] In Aristophanes' early plays, the genre appears to have developed around a complex set of dramatic conventions, and these were only gradually simplified and abandoned.

The City Dionysia and the Lenaia were celebrated in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and ecstasy. (Euripides' play The Bacchae offers the best insight into 5th century ideas about this god.) [100] Old Comedy can be understood as a celebration of the exuberant sense of release inherent in his worship [101] It was more interested in finding targets for satire than in any kind of advocacy. [102] During the City Dionysia, a statue of the god was brought to the theatre from a temple outside the city, and it remained in the theatre throughout the festival, overseeing the plays like a privileged member of the audience. [103] In The Frogs, the god appears also as a dramatic character, and he enters the theatre ludicrously disguised as Hercules. He observes to the audience that every time he is on hand to hear a joke from a comic dramatist like Phrynichus (one of Aristophanes' rivals) he ages by more than a year. [104] This scene opens the play, and it is a reminder to the audience that nobody is above mockery in Old Comedy — not even its patron god and its practitioners. Gods, artists, politicians and ordinary citizens were legitimate targets, comedy was a kind of licensed buffoonery, [105] and there was no legal redress for anyone who was slandered in a play. [106] There were certain limits to the scope of the satire, but they are not easily defined. Impiety could be punished in 5th century Athens, but the absurdities implicit in the traditional religion were open to ridicule. [107] The polis was not allowed to be slandered, but as stated in the biography section of this article, that could depend on who was in the audience and which festival was involved.

For convenience, Old Comedy, as represented by Aristophanes' early plays, is analysed below in terms of three broad characteristics — topicality, festivity and complexity. Dramatic structure contributes to the complexity of Aristophanes' plays. However, it is associated with poetic rhythms and meters that have little relevance to English translations and it is therefore treated in a separate section.

Topicality

Old Comedy's emphasis on real personalities and local issues makes the plays difficult to appreciate today without the aid of scholarly commentaries — see for example articles on The Knights, The Wasps and Peace for lists of topical references. The topicality of the plays had unique consequences for both the writing and the production of the plays in ancient Athens.

  • Individual masks: All actors in classical Athens wore masks, but whereas in tragedy and New Comedy these identified stereotypical characters, in Old Comedy the masks were often caricatures of real people. Perhaps Socrates attracted a lot of attention in Old Comedy because his face lent itself easily to caricature by mask-makers. [108] In The Knights we are told that the mask makers were too afraid to make a caricature of Cleon (there represented as a Paphlagonian slave) but we are assured that the audience is clever enough to identify him anyway. [109]
  • The real scene of action: Since Old Comedy makes numerous references to people in the audience, the theatre itself was the real scene of action and theatrical illusion was treated as something of a joke. In The Acharnians, for example, The Pnyx is just a few steps from the hero's front door, and in Peace Olympia is separated from Athens by a few moments' supposed flight on a dung beetle. The audience is sometimes drawn or even dragged into the action. When the hero in Peace returns to Athens from his flight to Olympia, he tells the audience that they looked like rascals when seen from the heavens, and seen up close they look even worse. [110] In The Acharnians the hero confronts the archon basileus, [111] sitting in the front row, and demands to be awarded first prize for a drinking competition, which is a none too subtle way for Aristophanes to request first prize for the drama competition.
  • Self-mocking theatre: Frequent parodying of tragedy is an aspect of Old Comedy that modern audiences find difficult to understand. But the Lenaia and City Dionysia included performances of both comedies and tragedies, and thus references to tragedy were highly topical and immediately relevant to the original audience. [112] The comic dramatist also poked fun at comic poets and he even ridiculed himself. It is possible, as indicated earlier, that Aristophanes mocked his own baldness. In The Clouds, the Chorus compares him to an unwed, young mother [113] and in The Acharnians the Chorus mockingly depicts him as Athens' greatest weapon in the war against Sparta. [114]
  • Political theatre: The Lenaia and City Dionysus were state-sponsored, religious festivals, and though the latter was the more prestigious of the two, both were occasions for official pomp and circumstance. The ceremonies for the Lenaia were overseen by the archon basileus and by officials of the Eleusinian mysteries. The City Dionysia was overseen by the archon eponymous and the priest of Dionysus. Opening ceremonies for the City Dionysia featured, in addition to the ceremonial arrival of the god, a parade in full armour of the sons of warriors who died fighting for the polis and, until the end of the Peloponnesian War, a presentation of annual tribute from subject states. [115] Religious and political issues were topics that could hardly be ignored in such a setting and the plays often treat them quite seriously. Even jokes can be serious when the topic is politics — especially in wartime. The butts of the most savage jokes are opportunists who prey on the gullibility of their fellow citizens, including oracle-mongers, [116] the exponents of new religious practices, [117] war-profiteers and political fanatics. In The Acharnians, for example, Lamachus is represented as a crazed militarist whose preparations for war are hilariously compared to the hero's preparations for a dinner party. [118]Cleon emerges from numerous similes and metaphors in The Knights as a protean form of comic evil, clinging to political power by every possible means for as long as he can, yet the play also includes simple hymns invoking Poseidon and Athena, [119] and it ends with visions of a miraculously transformed Demos (i.e. the morally reformed citizenry of Athens). [120] Imaginative visions of a return to peaceful activities resulting from peace with Sparta, [121] and a plea for leniency for citizens suspected of complicity in an oligarchic revolt [122] are other examples of a serious purpose behind the plays.
  • Teasing and taunting: A festival audience presented the comic dramatist with a wide range of targets, not just political or religious ones — anyone known to the audience could be mocked for any reason, such as diseases, physical deformities, ugliness, family misfortunes, bad manners, perversions, dishonesty, cowardice in battle, and clumsiness. [123] Foreigners, a conspicuous presence in imperial Athens, particularly at the City Dionysia, often appear in the plays comically mispronouncing Attic words — these include Spartans (Lysistrata), Scythians (Thesmophoriazusae), Persians, Boeotians and Megarians (The Acharnians).

Festivity

The Lenaia and City Dionysia were religious festivals, but they resembled a gala rather than a church service. [124]

  • Dirty jokes: A relaxation in standards of behaviour was permitted and the holiday spirit included bawdy irreverence towards both men and gods. [125] Old Comedy is rich in obscenities and the crude jokes are often very detailed and difficult to understand without expert commentary, as when the Chorus in The Acharnians places a curse on Antimachus, [126] a choregus accused of niggardly conduct, wishing upon him a night-time mugging as he returns home from some drunken party and envisioning him, as he stoops down to pick up a rock in the darkness, accidentally picking up a fresh turd instead. He is then envisioned hurling the turd at his attacker, missing and accidentally hitting Cratinus, a lyric poet not admired by Aristophanes. [127] This was particularly funny because the curse was sung (or chanted) in choreographed style by a Chorus of 24 grown men who were otherwise known to the audience as respectable citizens.
  • The musical extravaganza: The Chorus was vital to the success of a play in Old Comedy long after it had lost its relevance for tragedy. [128] Technically, the competition in the dramatic festivals was not between poets but between choruses. [129] In fact eight of Aristophanes' eleven surviving plays are named after the Chorus. In Aristophanes' time, the Chorus in tragedy was relatively small (twelve members) and its role had been reduced to that of an awkwardly placed commentator, but in Old Comedy the Chorus was large (numbering 24), it was actively involved in the plot, its entry into the action was frequently spectacular, its movements were practised with military precision and sometimes it was involved in choreographed skirmishes with the actors. [130] The expenditure on costumes, training and maintenance of a Chorus was considerable, [131] and perhaps many people in the original audience enjoyed comedy mainly for the spectacle and music. [132] The chorus gradually lost its significance as New Comedy began to develop.
  • Obvious costumes: Consistent with the holiday spirit, much of the humour in Old Comedy is slapstick buffoonery and dirty jokes that do not require the audience's careful attention, often relying on visual cues. Actors playing male roles appear to have worn tights over grotesque padding, with a prodigious, leather phallus barely concealed by a short tunic. Female characters were played by men but were easily recognized in long, saffron tunics. [133] Sometimes the visual cues are deliberately confused for comic effect, as in The Frogs, where Dionysus arrives on stage in a saffron tunic, the buskin boots of a tragic actor and a lion skin cloak that usually characterized Heracles - an absurd outfit that provokes the character Heracles (as no doubt it provoked the audience) to guffaws of helpless mirth. [134]
  • The farcical anti-climax: The holiday spirit might also have been responsible for an aspect of the comic plot that can seem bewildering to modern audiences. The major confrontation (agon) between the 'good' and 'bad' characters in a play is often resolved decisively in favour of the former long before the end of the play. The rest of the play deals with farcical consequences in a succession of loosely connected scenes. The farcical anti-climax has been explained in a variety of ways, depending on the particular play. In The Wasps, for instance, it has been thought to indicate a gradual change in the main character's perspective as the lessons of the agon are slowly absorbed. [135] In The Acharnians, it has been explained in terms of a unifying theme that underlies the episodes, demonstrating the practical benefits that come with wisdom. [136] But the early release of dramatic tension is consistent with the holiday meanings in Old Comedy [137] and it allows the audience to relax in uncomplicated enjoyment of the spectacle, the music, jokes and celebrations that characterize the remainder of the play. The celebration of the hero's victory often concludes in a sexual conquest and sometimes it takes the form of a wedding, thus providing the action with a joyous sense of closure. [138]

Complexity

The development of New Comedy involved a trend towards more realistic plots, a simpler dramatic structure and a softer tone. [139] Old Comedy was the comedy of a vigorously democratic polis at the height of its power and it gave Aristophanes the freedom to explore the limits of humour, even to the point of undermining the humour itself. [140]

  • Inclusive comedy: Old Comedy provided a variety of entertainments for a diverse audience. It accommodated a serious purpose, light entertainment, hauntingly beautiful lyrics, the buffoonery of puns and invented words, obscenities, disciplined verse, wildly absurd plots and a formal, dramatic structure.
  • Fantasy and absurdity: Fantasy in Old Comedy is unrestricted and impossibilities are ignored. [141] Situations are developed logically to absurd conclusions, an approach to humour that is echoed for instance in the works of Lewis Carroll and Eugène Ionesco (the Theatre of the Absurd). [142] The crazy costume worn by Dionysus in The Frogs is typical of an absurd result obtained on logical grounds — he wears a woman's saffron-coloured tunic because effeminacy is an aspect of his divinity, buskin boots because he is interested in reviving the art of tragedy, and a lion skin cape because, like Heracles, his mission leads him into Hades. Absurdities develop logically from initial premises in a plot. In The Knights for instance, Cleon's corrupt service to the people of Athens is originally depicted as a household relationship in which the slave dupes his master. The introduction of a rival, who is not a member of the household, leads to an absurd shift in the metaphor, so that Cleon and his rival become erastai competing for the affections of an eromenos, hawkers of oracles competing for the attention of a credulous public, athletes in a race for approval and orators competing for the popular vote.
  • The resourceful hero: In Aristophanic comedy, the hero is an independent-minded and self-reliant individual. He has something of the ingenuity of Homer's Odysseus and much of the shrewdness of the farmer idealized in Hesiod's Works and Days, subjected to corrupt leaders and unreliable neighbours. Typically he devises a complicated and highly fanciful escape from an intolerable situation. [143] Thus Dikaiopolis in The Acharnians contrives a private peace treaty with the Spartans Bdelucleon in The Wasps turns his own house into a private law court in order to keep his jury-addicted father safely at home Trygaeus in Peace flies to Olympus on a giant dung beetle to obtain an end to the Peloponnesian War Pisthetairus in Birds sets off to establish his own colony and becomes instead the ruler of the bird kingdom and a rival to the gods.
  • The resourceful cast: The numerous surprising developments in an Aristophanic plot, the changes in scene, and the farcical comings and goings of minor characters towards the end of a play, were managed according to theatrical convention with only three principal actors (a fourth actor, often the leader of the chorus, was permitted to deliver short speeches). [144] Songs and addresses to the audience by the Chorus gave the actors hardly enough time off-stage to draw breath and to prepare for changes in scene.
  • Complex structure: The action of an Aristophanic play obeyed a crazy logic of its own and yet it always unfolded within a formal, dramatic structure that was repeated with minor variations from one play to another. The different, structural elements are associated with different poetic meters and rhythms and these are generally lost in English translations.

Dramatic structure

The structural elements of a typical Aristophanic plot can be summarized as follows:

  • prologue - an introductory scene with a dialogue and/or soliloquy addressed to the audience, expressed in iambic trimeter and explaining the situation that is to be resolved in the play
  • parodos - the arrival of the chorus, dancing and singing, sometimes followed by a choreographed skirmish with one or more actors, often expressed in long lines of tetrameters
  • symmetrical scenes - passages featuring songs and declaimed verses in long lines of tetrameters, arranged symmetrically in two sections such that each half resembles the other in meter and line length the agon and parabasis can be considered specific instances of symmetrical scenes:
    • parabasis - verses through which the Chorus addresses the audience directly, firstly in the middle of the play and again near the end (see the section below Parabasis)
    • agon - a formal debate that decides the outcome of the play, typically in anapestic tetrameter, though iambs are sometimes used to delineate inferior arguments [145]

    The rules of competition did not prevent a playwright arranging and adjusting these elements to suit his particular needs. [146] In The Acharnians and Peace, for example, there is no formal agon whereas in The Clouds there are two agons.

    Parabasis

    The parabasis is an address to the audience by the chorus or chorus leader while the actors leave or have left the stage. In this role, the chorus is sometimes out of character, as the author's voice, and sometimes in character, although these capacities are often difficult to distinguish. Generally the parabasis occurs somewhere in the middle of a play and often there is a second parabasis towards the end. The elements of a parabasis have been defined and named by scholars but it is probable that Aristophanes' own understanding was less formal. [147] The selection of elements can vary from play to play and it varies considerably within plays between first and second parabasis. The early plays (The Acharnians to The Birds) are fairly uniform in their approach however and the following elements of a parabasis can be found within them.

    • kommation: This is a brief prelude, comprising short lines and often including a valediction to the departing actors, such as ἴτε χαίροντες (Go rejoicing!).
    • parabasis proper: This is usually a defense of the author's work and it includes criticism of the audience's attitude. It is declaimed in long lines of 'anapestic tetrameters'. Aristophanes himself refers to the parabasis proper only as 'anapests'.
    • pnigos: Sometimes known as 'a choker', it comprises a few short lines appended to the parabasis proper as a kind of rapid patter (it has been suggested that some of the effects achieved in a pnigos can be heard in "The Lord Chancellor's Nightmare Song", in act 2 of Gilbert and Sullivan's Iolanthe). [148]
    • epirrhematic syzygies: These are symmetrical scenes that mirror each other in meter and number of lines. They form part of the first parabasis and they often comprise the entire second parabasis. They are characterized by the following elements:
      • strophe or ode: These are lyrics in a variety of meters, sung by the Chorus in the first parabasis as an invocation to the gods and as a comic interlude in the second parabasis.
      • epirrhema: These are usually long lines of trochaic tetrameters. Broadly political in their significance, they were probably spoken by the leader of the Chorus in character. [149]
      • antistrophe or antode: These are songs that mirror the strophe/ode in meter, length and function.
      • antepirrhema. This is another declaimed passage and it mirrors the epirrhema in meter, length and function.

      The Wasps is thought to offer the best example of a conventional approach [150] and the elements of a parabasis can be identified and located in that play as follows.

      Elements in The Wasps 1st parabasis 2nd parabasis
      kommation lines 1009-14 [151] ---
      parabasis proper lines 1015-50 ---
      pnigos lines 1051-59 ---
      strophe lines 1060-70 lines 1265-74 [152]
      epirrhema lines 1071-90 lines 1275-83
      antistrophe lines 1091-1101 missing
      antepirrhema lines 1102-1121 lines 1284-91

      Textual corruption is probably the reason for the absence of the antistrophe in the second parabasis. [153] However, there are several variations from the ideal even within the early plays. For example, the parabasis proper in The Clouds (lines 518-62) is composed in eupolidean meter rather than in anapests [154] and the second parabasis includes a kommation but it lacks strophe, antistrophe and antepirrhema (The Clouds lines 1113-30). The second parabasis in The Acharnians lines 971-99 [155] can be considered a hybrid parabasis/song (i.e. the declaimed sections are merely continuations of the strophe and antistrophe) [156] and, unlike the typical parabasis, it seems to comment on actions that occur on stage during the address. An understanding of Old Comedy conventions such as the parabasis is necessary for a proper understanding of Aristophanes' plays on the other hand, a sensitive appreciation of the plays is necessary for a proper understanding of the conventions.


      Aristophanes Timeline - History


      International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

      BETWEEN THE TESTAMENTS

      || I. THE PERIOD IN GENERAL
      II. A GLANCE ALTES TESTAMENT CONTEMPORANEOUS HISTORY
      1. The Egyptian Empire
      2. Greece
      3. Rome
      4. Asia
      III. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS
      1. The Persian Period
      2. The Alexandrian Period
      3. The Egyptian Period
      4. The Syrian Period
      5. The Maccabean Period
      6. The Roman Period
      IV. INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS IN THIS PERIOD
      1. Literary Activity
      (a) The Apocrypha
      (b) Pseudepigrapha
      (c) The Septuagint
      2. Spiritual Conditions
      3. Parties
      4. Preparation for Christianity
      As the title indicates, the historical period in the life of Israel extends from the cessation of Old Testament prophecy to the beginning of the Christian era.
      I. The Period in General.
      The Exile left its ineffaceable stamp on Judaism as well as on the Jews. Their return to the land of their fathers was marked by the last rays of the declining sun of prophecy. With Malachi it set. Modern historical criticism has projected some of the canonical books of the Bible far into this post-exilic period. Thus Kent (HJP, 1899), following the lead of the Wellhausen-Kuenen hypothesis, with all its later leaders, has charted the period between 600 BC, the date of the first captivity, to 160 BC, the beginning of the Hasmonean period of Jewish history, in comparative contemporaneous blocks of double decades. Following the path of Koster, the historical position of Ezra and Nehemiah is inverted, and the former is placed in the period 400-380 BC, contemporaneously with Artaxerxes II Joel is assigned to the same period portions of Isa (chapters 63 through 66 24 through 27) are placed about 350 BC Zec is assigned to the period 260-240, and Dan is shot way down the line into the re ign of the Seleucids, between 200 and 160 BC. Now all this is very striking and no doubt very critical, but the ground of this historical readjustment is wholly subjective, and has the weight only of a hypothetical conjecture. Whatever may be our attitude to the critical hypothesis of the late origin of some of the Old Testament literally, it seems improbable that any portion of it could have reached far into the post-exilic period. The interval between the Old and the New Testaments is the dark period in the hist ory of Israel. It stretches itself out over about four centuries, during which there was neither prophet nor inspired writer in Israel. All we know of it we owe to Josephus, to some of the apocryphal books, and to scattered references in Greek and Latin historians. The seat of empire passed over from the East to the West, from Asia to Europe. The Persian Empire collapsed, under the fierce attacks of the Macedonians, and the Greek Empire in turn gave way to the Roman rule.
      II. A Glance at Contemporaneous History.
      For the better understanding of this period in the history of Israel, it may be well to pause for a moment to glance at the wider field of the history of the world in the centuries under contemplation, for the words "fullness of time" deal with the all-embracing history of mankind, for whose salvation Christ appeared, and whose every movement led to its realization.
      1. The Egyptian Empire:
      In the four centuries preceding Christ, The Egyptian empire, the oldest and in many respects the most perfectly developed civilization of antiquity, was tottering to its ruins. The 29th or Mendesian Dynasty, made place, in 384 BC, for the 30th or Sebennitic Dynasty, which was swallowed up, half a century later, by the Persian Dynasty. The Macedonian or 32nd replaced this in 332 BC, only to give way, a decade later, to the last or 33rd, the Ptolemaic Dynasty. The whole history of Egypt in this period was therefore one of endless and swiftly succeeding changes. In the Ptolemaic Dynasty there was a faint revival of the old glory of the past, but the star of empire had set for Egypt, and the mailed hand of Rome finally smote down a civilization whose beginnings are lost in the dim twilight of history. The Caesarian conquest of 47 BC was followed, 17 years later, by the annexation of Egypt to the new world-power, as a Roman province. Manetho's history is the one great literary monument of Egyptian history in this period. Her priests had been famous for their wisdom, to which Lycurgus and Solon, the Greek legislators, had been attracted, as well as Pythagoras and Plato, the world's greatest philosophers.
      2. Greece:
      In Greece also the old glory was passing away. Endless wars sapped the strength of the national life. The strength of Athens and Sparta, of Corinth and Thebes had departed, and when about the beginning of our period, in 337 BC, the congress of Greek states had elected Philip of Macedon to the hegemony of united Greece, the knell of doom sounded for all Greek liberty. First Philip and after him Alexander wiped out the last remnants of this liberty, and Greece became a fighting machine for the conquest of the world in the meteoric career of Alexander the Great. But what a galaxy of illustrious names adorn the pages of Greek history, in this period, so dark for Israel! Think of Aristophanes and Hippocrates, of Xenophon and Democritus, of Plato and Apelies, of Aeschines and Demosthenes, of Aristotle and Praxiteles and Archimedes, all figuring, amid the decay of Greek liberty, in the 4th and 3rd centuries before Christ! Surely if the political glory of Greece had left its mark on the ages, its intellectual brilliancy is their pride.
      3. Rome:
      Rome meanwhile was strengthening herself, by interminable wars, for the great task of world-conquest that lay before her. By the Latin and Samnite and Punic wars she trained her sons in the art of war, extended her territorial power and made her name dreaded everywhere. Italy and north Africa, Greece and Asia Minor and the northern barbarians were conquered in turn. Her intellectual brilliancy was developed only when the lust of conquest was sated after a fashion, but in the century immediately preceding the Christian era we find such names as Lucretius and Hortentius, Cato and Cicero, Sallust and Diodorus Siculus, Virgil and Horace. At the close of the period between the Testaments, Rome had become the mistress of the world and every road led to her capital.
      4. Asia:
      In Asia the Persian empire, heir to the civilization and traditions of the great Assyrian-Babylonian world-power, was fast collapsing and was ultimately utterly wiped out by the younger Greek empire and civilization. In far-away India the old ethnic religion of Brahma a century or more before the beginning of our period passed through the reformatory crisis inaugurated by Gatama Buddha or Sakya Mouni, and thus Buddhism, one of the great ethnic religions, was born. Another reformer of the Tauistic faith was Confucius, the sage of China, a contemporary of Buddha, while Zoroaster in Persia laid the foundations of his dualistic world-view. In every sense and in every direction, the period between the Testaments was therefore one of political and intellectual ferment.
      III. Historical Developments.
      As regards Jewish history, the period between the Testaments may be divided as follows: (1) the Persian period (2) the Alexandrian period (3) the Egyptian period (4) the Syrian period (5) the Maccabean period (6) the Roman period.
      1. The Persian Period:
      The Persian period extends from the cessation of prophecy to 334 BC. It was in the main uneventful in the history of the Jews, a breathing spell between great national crises, and comparatively little is known of it. The land of Israel was a portion of the Syrian satrapy, while the true government of the Jewish people was semi-theocratic, or rather sacerdotal, under the rule of the high priests, who were responsible to the satrap. As a matter of course, the high-priestly office became the object of all Jewish ambition and it aroused the darkest passions. Thus John, the son of Judas, son of Eliashib, through the lust of power, killed his brother Jesus, who was a favorite of Bagoses, a general of Artaxerxes in command of the district. The guilt of the fratricide was enhanced, because the crime was committed in the temple itself, and before the very altar. A storm of wrath, the only notable one of this period, thereupon swept over Judea. The Persians occupied Jerusalem, the temple was defiled, the city laid waste in part, a heavy fine was imposed on the people and a general persecution followed, which lasted for many years (Ant., XI, 7 Kent, HJP, 231). Then as later on, in the many persecutions which followed, the Samaritans, ever pliable and willing to obey the tyrant of the day, went practically scot free.
      2. The Alexandrian Period:
      The Alexandrian period was very brief, 334-323 BC. It simply covers the period of the Asiatic rule of Alexander the Great. In Greece things had been moving swiftly. The Spartan hegemony, which had been unbroken since the fall of Athens, was now destroyed by the Thebans under Epaminondas, in the great battles of Leuctra and Mantinea. But the new power was soon crushed by Philip of Macedon, who was thereupon chosen general leader by the unwilling Greeks. Persia was the object of Philip's ambition and vengeance, but the dagger of Pausanias (Ant., XI, viii, 1) forestalled the execution of his plans. His son Alexander, a youth of 20 years, succeeded him, and thus the "great he-goat," of which Daniel had spoken (Dan 8:8 10:20), appeared on the scene. In the twelve years of his reign (335-323 BC) he revolutionized the world. Swift as an eagle he moved. All Greece was laid at his feet. Thence he moved to Asia, where he defeated Darius in the memorable battles of Granicus and Issus. Passing southward, he conquered the Mediterranean coast and Egypt and then moved eastward again, for the complete subjugation of Asia, when he was struck down in the height of his power, at Babylon, in the 33rd year of his age. In the Syrian campaign he had come in contact with the Jews. Unwilling to leave any stronghold at his back, he reduced Tyre after a siege of several months, and advancing southward demanded the surrender of Jerusalem. But the Jews, taught by bitter experience, desired to remain loyal to Persia. As Alexander approached the city, Jaddua the high priest, with a train of priests in their official dress, went out to meet him, to supplicate mercy. A previous dream of this occurrence is said to have foreshadowed this event, and Alexander spared the city, sacrificed to Yahweh, had the prophecies of Daniel concerning him rehearsed in his hearing, and showed the Jews many favors (Ant., XI, viii, 5) From that day on they became his favorites he employed them in his army and gave them equal rights w ith the Greeks, as first citizens of Alexandria, and other cities, which he founded. Thus the strong Hellenistic spirit of the Jews was created, which marked so large a portion of the nation, in the subsequent periods of their history.
      3. The Egyptian Period:
      The Egyptian period (324-264 BC). The death of Alexander temporarily turned everything into chaos. The empire, welded together by his towering genius, fell apart under four of his generals--Ptolemy, Lysimachus, Cassander, and Selenus (Dan 8:21,22). Egypt fell to the share of Ptolemy Soter and Judea was made part of it. At first Ptolemy was harsh in his treatment of the Jews, but later on he learned to respect them and became their patron as Alexander had been. Hecataeus of Thrace is at this time said to have studied the Jews, through information received from Hezekiah, an Egyptian Jewish immigrant, and to have written a Jewish history from the time of Abraham till his own day. This book, quoted by Josephus and Origen, is totally lost. Soter was succeeded by Ptolemy Philadelphus, an enlightened ruler, famous through the erection of the lighthouse of Pharos, and especially through the founding of the celebrated Alexandrian library. Like his father he was very friendly to the Jews, and in his reign the celebrated Greek translation of the Old Testament Scriptures, the Septuagint, was made, according to tradition (Ant. XII, ii). As however the power of the Syrian princes, the Seleucids, grew, Israel increasingly became the battle ground between them and the Ptolemies. In the decisive battle between Ptolemy Philopator and Antiochus the Great, at Raphia near Gaza, the latter was crushed and during Philopator's reign Judea remained an Egyptian province. And yet this battle formed the turning-point of the history of the Jews in their relation to Egypt. For when Ptolemy, drunk with victory, came to Jerusalem, he endeavored to enter the holy of holies of the temple, although he retreated, in confusion, from the holy place. But he wreaked his vengeance on the Jews, for opposing his plan, by a cruel persecution. He was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Epiphanes, a child of 5 years. The long-planned vengeance of Antiochus now took form in an invasion of Egypt. Coele-Syria and Judea were occupied by the Syrians and passed over into th e possession of the Seleucids.
      4. The Syrian Period:
      The Syrian period (204-165 BC). Israel now entered into the valley of the shadow of death. This entire period was an almost uninterrupted martyrdom. Antiochus was succeeded by Seleucis Philopator. But harsh as was their attitude to the Jews, neither of these two was notorious for his cruelty to them. Their high priests, as in former periods, were still their nominal rulers. But the aspect of everything changed when Antiochus Epiphanes (175-164 BC) came to the throne. He may fitly be called the Nero of Jewish history. The nationalists among the Jews were at that time wrangling with the Hellenists for the control of affairs. Onias III, a faithful high priest, was expelled from office through the machinations of his brother Jesus or Jason (2 Macc 4:7-10). Onias went to Egypt, where at Heliopolis he built a temple and officiated as high priest. Meanwhile Jason in turn was turned out of the holy office by the bribes of still another brother, Menelaus, worse by far than Jason, a Jew-hater and an avowed defender of Greek life and morals. The wrangle between the brothers gave Antiochus the opportunity he craved to wreak his bitter hatred on the Jews, in the spoliation of Jerusalem, in the wanton and total defilement of the temple, and in a most horrible persecution of the Jews (1 Macc 1:16-28 2 Macc 5:11-23 Dan 11:28 Ant, XII, v, 3.4). Thousands were slain, women and children were sold into captivity, the city wall was torn down, all sacrifices ceased, and in the temple on the altar of burnt off ering a statue was erected to Jupiter Olympius (1 Macc 1:43 2 Macc 6:1-2). Circumcision was forbidden, on pain of death, and all the people of Israel were to be forcibly paganized. As in the Persian persecution, the Samaritans again played into the hands of the Syrians and implicitly obeyed the will of the Seleucids. But the very rigor of the persecution caused it to fail of its purpose and Israel proved to be made of sterner stuff than Antiochus imagined. A priestly family dwelling at Modin, west of Jerusalem , named Hasmonean, after one of its ancestors, consisting of Mattathias and his five sons, raised the standard of revolt, which proved successful after a severe struggle.
      See ASMONEANS.
      5. The Maccabean Period:
      The Maccabean period (165-63 BC). The slaying of an idolatrous Jew at the very altar was the signal of revolt. The land of Judea is specially adapted to guerilla tactics, and Judas Maccabeus, who succeeded his father, as leader of the Jewish patriots, Was a past master in this kind of warfare. All efforts of Antiochus to quell the rebellion failed most miserably, in three Syrian campaigns. The king died of a loathsome disease and peace was at last concluded with the Jews. Though still nominally under Syrian control, Judas became governor of Israel. His first act was the purification and rededication of the temple, from which the Jews date their festival of purification (see PURIFICATION). When the Syrians renewed the war, Judas applied for aid to the Romans, whose power began to be felt in Asia, but he died in battle before the promised aid could reach him (Ant., XII, xi, 2). He was buried by his father's side at Modin and was succeeded by his brother Jonathan. From that time the Maccabean history becomes one of endless cabals. Jonathan was acknowledged by the Syrians as meridarch of Judea, but was assassinated soon afterward. Simon succeeded him, and by the help of the Romans was made hereditary ruler of Israel. He in turn was followed by John Hyrcanus. The people were torn by bitter partisan controversies and a civil war was waged, a generation later, by two grandsons of John Hyrcanus, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. In this internecine struggle the Roman general Pompey participated by siding with Hyrcanus, while Aristobulus defied Rome and defended Jerusalem. Pompey took the city, after a siege of three months, and entered the holy of holies, thereby forever estranging from Rome every loyal Jewish heart.
      6. The Roman Period:
      The Roman period (63-4 BC). Judea now became a Roman province. Hyrcanus, stripped of the hereditary royal power, retained only the high-priestly office. Rome exacted an annual tribute, and Aristobulus was sent as a captive to the capital. He contrived however to escape and renewed the unequal struggle, in which he was succeeded by his sons Alexander and Antigonus. In the war between Pompey and Caesar, Judea was temporarily forgotten, but after Caesar's death, under the triumvirate of Octavius, Antony and Lepidus, Antony, the eastern triumvir, favored Herod the Great, whose intrigues secured for him at last the crown of Judea and enabled him completely to extinguish the old Maccabean line of Judean princes.
      IV. Internal Developments in This Period.
      One thing remains, and that is a review of the developments within the bosom of Judaism itself in the period under consideration. It is self-evident that the core of the Jewish people, which remained loyal to the national traditions and to the national faith, must have been radically affected by the terrible cataclysms which mark their history, during the four centuries before Christ. What, if any, was the literary activity of the Jews in this period? What was their spiritual condition? What was the result of the manifest difference of opinion within the Jewish economy? What preparation does this period afford for the "fullness of time"? These and other questions present themselves, as we study this period of the history of the Jews.
      1. Literary Activity:
      The voice of prophecy was utterly hushed in this period, but the old literary instinct of the nation asserted itself it was part and parcel of the Jewish traditions and would not be denied. Thus in this period many writings were produced, which although they lack canonical authority, among Protestants at least, still are extremely helpful for a correct understanding of the life of Israel in the dark ages before Christ.
      (a) The Apocrypha.
      First of all among the fruits of this literary activity stand the apocryphal books of the Old Testament. It is enough here to mention them. They are fourteen in number: 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 2 Esther, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, Song of the Three Holy Children, History of Susannah, Bel and the Dragon, Prayer of Manasses, 1 and 2 Maccabees. As 3 and 4 Maccabees fall presumably within the Christian era, they are not here enumerated. All these apocryphal writings are of the utmost importance for a correct understanding of the Jewish problem in the day in which they were written. For fuller information, see APOCRYPHA.
      (b) Pseudepigrapha.
      Thus named from the spurious character of the authors' names they bear. Two of these writings very probably belong to our period, while a host of them evidently belong to a later date. In this class of writings there is a mute confession of the conscious poverty of the day. First of all, we have the Psalter of Solomon, originally written in Hebrew and translated into Greek--a collection of songs for worship, touching in their spirit, and evincing the fact that true faith never died in the heart of the true believer. The second is the Book of Enoch, a production of an apocalyptic nature, named after Enoch the patriarch, and widely known about the beginning of the Christian era. This book is quoted in the New Testament (Jude 1:14). It was originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic and translated into Greek as there is no trace of a Christian influence in the book, the presumption is that the greater part of it was written at an earlier period. Both Jude and the author of Revelation must have known it, as a comparative study of both books will show. The question of these quotations or allusions is a veritable crux interpretum: how to reconcile the inspiration of these books with these quotations?
      (c) The Septuagint.
      The tradition of the Septuagint is told by Josephus (Ant., XII, ii, 13). Aristeas and Aristobulus, a Jewish priest in the reign of Ptolemy Philometor (2 Macc 1:10), are also quoted in support of it by Clement of Alexandria and by Eusebius. See SEPTUAGINT. The truth of the matter is most probably that this great translation of the Old Testament Scriptures was begun at the instance of Ptolemy Philadelphus 285-247 BC, under the direction of Demetrius Phalereus, and was completed somewhere about the middle of the 2nd century BC. Internal evidence abounds that the translation was made by different hands and at different times. If the translation was in any way literal, the text of the Septuagint raises various interesting questions in regard to the Hebrew text that was used in the translation, as compared with the one we now possess. The Septuagint was of the utmost missionary value and contributed perhaps more than any other thing to prepare the world for the "fullness of time."
      2. Spiritual Conditions:
      The return from Babylon marked a turning point in the spiritual history of the Jews. From that time onward, the lust of idolatry, which had marked their whole previous history, utterly disappears. In the place of it came an almost intolerable spirit of exclusiveness, a striving after legal holiness, these two in combination forming the very heart and core of the later Pharisaism. The holy books, but especially the law, became an object of almost idolatrous reverence the spirit was utterly lost in the form. And as their own tongue, the classic Hebrew, gradually gave way to the common Aramaic, the rabbis and their schools strove ever more earnestly to keep the ancient tongue pure, worship and life each demanding a separate language. Thus, the Jews became in a sense bilingual, the Hebrew tongue being used in their synagogues, the Aramaic in their daily life, and later on, in part at least, the Greek tongue of the conqueror, the lingua franca of the period. A spiritual aristocracy very largely replaced the former rule of their princes and nobles. As the core of their religion died, the bark of the tree flourished. Thus, tithes were zealously paid by the believer (compare Mt 23:23), the Sabbath became a positive burden of sanctity, the simple laws of God were replaced by cumbersome human inventions, which in later times were to form the bulk of the Talmud, and which crushed down all spiritual liberty in the days of Christ (Mt 11:28 23:4,23). The substitution of the names "Elohim" and "Adonai" for the old glorious historic name "Yahweh" is an eloquent commentary on all that has been said before and on the spiritual condition of Israel in this period (Ewald, History of Israel, V, 198), in which the change was inaugurated. The old centripetal force, the old ideal of centralization, gave way to an almost haughty indifference to the land of promise. The Jews became, as they are today, a nation without a country. For, for every Jew that came back to the old national home, a thousand remained in the land of their adopti on. And yet scattered far and wide, in all sorts of environments, they remained Jews, and the national consciousness was never extinguished. It was God's mark on them now as then. And thus they became world-wide missionaries of the knowledge of the true God, of a gospel of hope for a world that was hopeless, a gospel which wholly against their own will directed the eyes of the world to the fullness of time and which prepared the fallow soil of human hearts for the rapid spread of Christianity when it ultimately appeared.
      3. Parties:
      During the Greek period the more conservative and zealous of the Jews were all the time confronted with a tendency of a very considerable portion of the people, especially the younger and wealthier set, to adopt the manners of life and thought and speech of their masters, the Greeks. Thus the Hellenistic party was born, which was bitterly hated by all true blooded Jews, but which left its mark on their history, till the date of the final dispersion 70 AD. From the day of Mattathias, the Chasids or Haside ans (1 Macc 2:42) were the true Jewish patriots. Thus the party of the Pharisees came into existence (Ant., XIII, x, 5 XVIII, i, 2 BJ, I, v, 2). See PHARISEES. They were opposed by the more secular-minded Sadducees (Ant., XIII, x, 6 XVIII, i, 3 BJ, II, viii, 14), wealthy, of fine social standing, wholly free from the restraints of tradition, utterly oblivious of the future life and closely akin to the Greek Epicureans. See SADDUCEES. These parties bitterly opposed each other till the very end of the national existence of the Jews in Israel, and incessantly fought for the mastery, through the high-priestly office. Common hatred for Christ, for a while, afforded them a community of interests.
      4. Preparation for Christianity:
      Throughout this entire dark period of Israel's history, God was working out His own Divine plan with them. Their Scriptures were translated into Greek, after the conquest of Alexander the Great the common language in the East. Thus the world was prepared for the word of God, even as the latter in turn prepared the world for the reception of the gift of God, in the gospel of His Son. The Septuagint thus is a distinct forward movement in the fulfillment of the Abrahamic promise (Gen 12:3 18:18). As the sacrificial part of Jewish worship declined, through their wide separation from the temple, the eyes of Israel were more firmly fixed on their Scriptures, read every Sabbath in their synagogues, and, as we have seen, these Scriptures, through the rendering of the Septuagint, had become the property of the entire world. Thus, the synagogue everywhere became the great missionary institute, imparting to the world Israel's exalted Messianic hopes. On the other hand, the Jews themselves, embittered by long-continued martyrdoms and suffering, utterly carnalized this Messianic expectation in an increasing ratio as the yoke of the oppressor grew heavier and the hope of deliverance grew fainter. And thus when their Messiah came, Israel recognized Him not, while the heart-hungry heathen, who through the Septuagint had become familiar with the promise, humbly received Him (Jn 1:9-14). The eyes of Israel were blinded for a season, `till the fullness of the Gentiles shall be gathered in' (Rom 9:32 11:25).
      Henry E. Dosker Bibliography Information
      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'between the testaments'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE 1915.

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      Lee&aposs 2008 feature Miracle at St. Anna, about four African American soldiers trapped in an Italian village during World War II, was praised for bringing the oft-overlooked experience of Black infantrymen — known as Buffalo Soldiers — to the big screen. Leeਏollowed with a variety of projects, including documentaries of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jackson and a remake of the Korean revenge film Oldboy. In 2012, he reprised his Do the Right Thing character of Mookie in Red Hook Summer.

      Lee&aposs 2015 film Chi-Raq, an adaptation of Aristophanes&aposs Lysistrata set in modern-day Chicago, was the first feature produced by Amazon Studios. That year, the acclaimed filmmaker also received an honorary Oscar at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences&apos annual Governors Awards.


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      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      Physical theatre is used to describe any mode of performance that pursues storytelling or drama through primarily and secondarily physical and mental means. There are several quite distinct but indistinct traditions of performance which all describe themselves using the term "physical theatre", which has led to a lot of confusion as to what the definition of physical theatre actually is. The means of expression, seem to be primarily physical rather than textual, often with emphasis on musical elements. Several things that many of these various Physical Theatre traditions share is a collaborative devising approach to theatrical development and creation: various groups , such as DV8, Frantic Assembly and the Forced Entertainment all use differing but nonetheless devising-based processes.

      Some analysts believe that physical theatre was influenced by Bertolt Brecht. Dympha Callery suggests that despite the problematic use of the definition of physical theatre, some common characteristics may occur - though she stresses that these examples should not be seen as either exhaustive or that all are necessary all the time.

      • Work is often devised, rather than originated from a pre-existing script (an exception to this would be the troupe Shared Experience, which focuses on making contemporary reinterpretations of highly literary plays including A Doll's House by Ibsen and War and Peace by Tolstoy).
      • Work has inter-disciplinary origins - it crosses between music, dance, visual art as well as theatre.
      • Work challenges the traditional, proscenium arch, performer/audience relationship.
      • Work celebrates the non-passive audience.
      • Work utilises the imagination of the audience in conjunction with the imagination of the performers.[1]

      Problems with defining physical theatre

      The definition of physical is very hard to trace. This is partly to do with multiple origins, and partly to do with the fact that very few practitioners themselves are comfortable with the definition. In the book Through the Body, author Dymphna Callery suggests that the phrase originated more as a marketing term to describe anything that does not fit within commercial literary theatre. Indeed, there is a lot to support this: so called Physical Theatre companies often do not share any defining stylistic characteristics other than that they do not make commercial theatre based on "Staged Literature."

      Many practitioners, such as Lloyd Newson,[1] express a resistance to this term because they feel that physical theatre is used as a "misc." category for anything that does not fall neatly into a category of literary dramatic theatre or contemporary dance. For this reason, contemporary theatre including post-modern performance, devised performance, visual performance, and post-dramatic performance, while having their own distinct definitions, is often simply labelled "physical theatre" without reason other than because it is unusual in some way.

      Another problematic area is dance that is of a theatrical nature. Often a dance piece will call itself "physical theatre" because it included elements of spoken word, character or narrative and therefore be theatrical and physical, but this might not necessarily have anything in common with a potential (and nascent) physical theatre tradition.

      Modern physical theatre has grown from a variety of origins. Mime and theatrical clowning schools, such as L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, have had a big influence on many modern expressions of physical theatre, and practitioners such as Steven Berkoff and John Wright received their initial training at such institutions. Contemporary Dance has also had a strong influence on what we regard as physical theatre, partly because most physical theatre requires actors to have a level of physical control and flexibility rarely found in those who do not have some sort of movement background. Modern physical theatre also has strong roots in more ancient traditions such as Commedia dell'arte and some suggest links to the ancient greek theatre, particularly the theatre of Aristophanes.

      Another tradition started with the very famous French master Etienne Decroux (father of corporeal mime). Etienne Decroux's aim was to create a theatre based on the physicality of the actor allowing the creation of a more metaphorical theatre. This tradition has now grown and corporeal mime is taught in many major theatrical schools.

      Daniel Stein, a teacher out of the lineage of Etienne Decroux, has this to say about physical theatre:

      "I think physical theatre is much more visceral and audiences are affected much more viscerally than intellectually. The foundation of theater is a live, human experience, which is different from any other form of art that I know of. Live theatre, where real human beings are standing in front of real human beings, is about the fact that we have all set aside this hour the sharing goes in both directions. The fact that it is a very physical, visceral form makes it a very different experience from almost anything else that we partake of in our lives. I don’t think we could do it the same way if we were doing literary-based theatre."[2]

      The point at which, arguably, physical theatre became distinct from pure mime is when Jean-Louis Barrault (a student of Decroux) rejected his teacher's notion that the mime should be silent, deciding that if a mime uses their voice then they have a whole range of possibilities open to them that previously would not have existed. This idea became known as "Total Theatre" and he advocated that no theatrical element should assume primacy over another: movement, music, visual image, text etc. being viewed as equally important, and that each should be explored for their possibilities. Barrault was a member of Michel St.Denis's company, alongside Antonin Artaud.[1]

      Artaud has also been highly influential in shaping what has become known as physical theatre - Artaud rejected the primacy of the text and suggested a theatre in which the proscenium arch is disposed of in order to have a more direct relationship with the audience.

      Eastern Theatre traditions have influenced a number of practitioners who have, in term, influenced physical theatre. A number of Oriental traditions have a high level of physical training, and are highly visual. The Japanese Noh tradition, in particular has been drawn upon a lot. Antonin Artaud was fascinated with the energy and visual nature of Balinese theatre and wrote extensively on it. Noh has been important for many practitioners including Lecoq who based his neutral mask on the calm mask of Noh. Jerzy Grotowski, Peter Brook, Jacques Copeau and Joan Littlewood have all been consciously influenced by Noh. Alongside contemporary western practitioners, certain Japanese Theatre Practitioners were influenced by their own traditions. Tadashi Suzuki drew partly on Noh and his highly physical training has been disseminated into the west by his students and collaborators. This has particularly happened through Anne Bogart's Collaboration with him and the simultaneous training of her actors in both the Viewpoints method and Suzuki training. As well as Suzuki, the Butoh Movement, which originated from Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno contained elements of Noh imagery and physicality. Butoh, again, in term has been influencing Western practitioners in recent years and has certain similarities with Lecoq's mime training in terms of ideas (impression and consequential embodiment of imagery, use of mask etc.)

      As well as ideas outside of the western theatre tradition creeping in gradually, there is a tradition from within Western theatre, too, starting with Stanislavski. Stanislavski, later on in life, began to reject his own ideas of naturalism,[1] and started to pursue ideas relating to the physical body in performance. Meyerhold and Grotowski developed these ideas and began to develop actor training that included a very high level of physical training. This work influenced and was developed further by Peter Brook.

      Contemporary dance has added to this mix significantly, starting particularly with Rudolf von Laban. Laban developed a way of looking at movement outside of codified dance and was useful in at looking at, and creating, movement not just for dancers but for actors too. Later on the Tanzteater of Pina Bausch and others looked at the relationship between dance and theatre. In America, the postmodern dance movement of the Judson Church Dance also began to influence theatre practitioners, as their suggestions for movement and somatic training are equally accessible for those with a dance training as those with a theatre training buy doxycycline . Indeed, Steve Paxton taught theatre students at Dartington College of Arts and other institutions.

      1. ^ abc Callery, Dympha (2001). Through the Body: A practical guide to Physical Theatre. London: Nick Hern Books. ISBN1854596306.
      2. ^Interview with Daniel Stein Jane Milling (2005). Devising Performance: A Critical History. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN1403906629.
      • Artaud, Antonin Theatre and Its Double
      • Bogart, Anne The Viewpoints Book
      • Brook, Peter The Empty Space
      • Callery, Dympha Through the Body: A practical guide to physical theatre, Nick Hern Books, London, 2001
      • Clay, Alan Angels Can Fly, a Modern Clown User Guide
      • Cross, Robert Steven Berkoff and the Theatre of Self-Performance
      • Decroux, Etienne Words on Mime
      • Felner, Myra Apostles of Silence: The Modern French Mimes
      • Grotowski, Jerzy Towards a Poor Theatre
      • Hodge, Alison (ed.) Twentieth Century Actor Training
      • Leabhart, Thomas Modern and Post-Modern Mime
      • Lecoq, Jacques The Moving Body (Le Corpes Poetique)
      • Marshall, Lorna The Speaking Body
      • Meyerhold, Vsevolod and Braun, Edward Meyerhold on Theatre
      • Oida, Yoshi The Invisible Actor
      • Suzuki, Tadashi The Way of Acting
      • Wright, John Why Is That So Funny?: A Practical Exploration of Physical Comedy, Nick Hern Books, London, 2006
      • Allworth Press Movement for Actors

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