This reminds me of that accusation by Muslims that Herodotus was a Pericles lackey
I’ve been speaking of Aristophanes’ relation to the gods. Now how about “Zeus incarnate”, the great statesman of the Golden Age of Athens.
Pericles died in 429 BC. Aristophanes’ first play was performed two years later.
Did the chaos that ensued after losing their leader result in this sort of irreverence?
Near the beginning of Peace, two slaves are busy feeding the dung beetle on which Trygaeus will fly up to Olympus.
The one who was vying for Pericles’ political mantle during Aristophanes’ lifetime was Alcibiades.
it would have been wise to make any attacks on him covert.
Different times! Right, right?
Indirect insult during those times was known as parémphasis. Most of you goys and goyls are a lottttt better at that than I am.
Apparently Alcibiades had people beaten and judges intimidated in order to rig the results of the prizes at the Dionysia Festival. He is you might know a prominent character in Plato’s dialogues, and he is not always depicted flatteringly, though he was a close student of Socrates’- so think of my previous post about bad natures being ineducable.
Despite his flaws he’s still one of my favorite figures from the Greek world – this is the most famous portrait of him and his teacher
You can listen to a good lecture on Alcibiades here.
Anyway though, see the double-tier cautiousness? One could not be TOO offensive to either gods or men. There’s no parallel to that in our own day, right?
In 415 BC a law was implemented that prohibited the lampooning of anyone by name. Horace names Eupolis as the most prominent satirist of ancient Greece and woe! only fragments of his plays survive. Many allege that Alcibiades had him drowned. The chorus on one papyrus that was found in the 20th century lists names of people who would never be missed. Finkleberrrrg! Maybe he was too funny for those later, over-serious Christians and they had him burned.
Said law above reminds me of this
So while the Greek playwrights couldn’t refer to people openly they could do so figuratively. Most people of today avoid hinting figuratively about anything as well. In light of that law though, one very well might infer that Meton, from the Birds (414 BC) I mentioned earlier, literally was Socrates, if figuratively. This is the primal clown we’re talking about here, this isn’t idle chatter. “Naming them” is against the law even today.
Hmm a political essay on the Birds from 1827, for the genealogists. I’d like to find an extensive bibliography from across the centuries, to try to return to the true beginning of laughter.
You have to take Strauss’s study with a grain of salt since he was obviously a devoted disciple of Socrates. I’m motivated by Hegel’s judgment on the arts to get this perfectly right.
Isn’t that interesting though, that Pericles died and then all of a sudden it was time to tell jokes? It can’t be a coincidence.
“I don’t like what you’re implying.” What do you mean? Who needs the finest art anyway? Certainly that would be nothing to kill over. Nothing’s worth a precious human life, absolutely nothing, even freedom itself.