The Ancient Library

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Knights in his Maricas,1 and taunts him with the further indignity of jest­ing on his rival's baldness. The number of the plays of Eupolis is stat­ed by Suidas at seventeen, and by another authority at fourteen. The extant titles exceed the greater of these numbers, but some of them are very doubtful. The fragments of Eupolis have been edited by Runkel, Pherecratis et Eupolidis Fragm., Lips., 1829, and are also given by Meineke, Fragm. Comic. Gr&c., vol. i, p. 158, seqq., ed. min.

VI. aristophanes ('ApL<TTo<j>dv7]s),z the prince of the old comedy, was born about B.C. 444, and probably at Athens. His father, Philippus, had possessions in ^Egina, and may originally have come from that island, whence a question arose whether Aristophanes was. a genuine Atheni­an citizen. His enemy Cleon brought against him more than one accu­sation to deprive him of his civic rights, but without success, as, indeed, they were merely the fruit of revenge for his attacks on that dema­gogue. He had three sons, Philippus, Araros, and Nicostratus, called also by some Philetaerus, but of his private history we know nothing. He probably died about B.C. 380.

The comedies of Aristophanes are of the highest historical interest, containing, as they do, an admirable series of caricatures on the leading men of the day, and a contemporary commentary on the evils existing at Athens. Indeed, the caricature is the only feature in modern social life which at all resembles them. Aristophanes was a bold, and often a wise patriot. He had the strongest affection for Athens, and longed to see her restored to the state in which she was nourishing in the previous generation, and almost in his own childhood, before Pericles became the head of the government, and when the age of Miltiades and Aristides had but just passed away. The first great evil of his own time against which he inveighs is the Peloponnesian war, which he regards as the work of Pericles, and even attributes it3 to his fear of punishment for having connived at a robbery said to have been committed by Phidias on the statue of Minerva in the Parthenon, and also to the influence of As-pasia.4 To this fatal war, among a host of evils, he ascribes the influ­ence of vulgar demagogues like Cleon at Athens, of which also the ex­ample was set by the more refined demagogism of Pericles. Another great object of his indignation was the recently adopted system of educa­tion, which had been introduced by the Sophists, acting on the speculative and inquiring turn given to the Athenian mind by the Ionian and Eleatic philosophers, and the extraordinary intellectual development of the age following the Persian war. The new theories introduced by the Sophists threatened to overthrow the foundations of morality, by making persua­sion, and not truth, the object of man in his intercourse with his fellows, and to substitute a universal skepticism for the religious creed of the people. The worst effects of such a system were seen in Alcibiades, who combined all the elements which Aristophanes most disliked, head­ing the war party in politics, and protecting the sophistical school in phi­losophy and also in literature. Of this latter school, the literary and poetical sophists, Euripides was the chief, whose works are full of that

1 Nub., 544, seqq. 2 Smith, Diet. Biogr., s. ?;. 3 Pax, 606. 4 Acharn., 500.

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