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attacked. (4) The Wasps, brought out in B.C. 422 and, like the two following, rewarded with the second prize; it is a satire upon the Athenian passion for lawsuits. (5) The Peace, of the year b.c. 421, recommending the conclusion of peace. (6) The Birds, acted in b.c. 414, and exposing the romantic hopes built on the expedition to Sicily. This is unquestionably the happiest production of the poet's genius, and is marked by a careful reserve in the employment of dramatic resource. (7) The Lysistrdte, b.c. 411, a Women's Conspiracy to bring about peace; the last of the strictly political plays. (8) Thesmophtiriazusrr, probably to be dated 410 b.c. It is written against Euripides' dislike of women, for which the women who are celebrating the ThesmophSria drag him to justice. (9) The Frogs, which was acted in 405, and won the first prize- It is a piece sparkling with genius, on the Decay of Tragic Art, the blame of which is laid on Euripides, then recently deceased. (10) Ecclesiazusce, or The National Assembly of Women, B.C. 392. It is levelled against the vaiu attempts to restore the Athenian state by cut-and-dried constitutions. (11) Plutus, or the God of W'ealth. The blind god is restored to sight, and better times are brought about. This play was acted first in 408, then in 388 in a revised form suitable to the time, and dispensing with chorus and parabasis. This play marks the transition to the Middle Comedy.
In the opinion of the ancients Aristophanes holds a middle place between Cratinus and Eupolis, being neither so rough as the former nor so sweet as the latter, but combining the severity of the one with the grace of the other. What was thought of him in his own time is evident from Plato's Symposium, where he is numbered among the noblest of men; and an epigram attributed to that philosopher says that the Graces, looking for an enduring shrine, found it in the soul of Aristophanes. He unites understanding, feeling, and fancy in a degree possessed by few poets of antiquity. His keen glance penetrates the many evils of his time and their most hidden causes; his scorn for all that is base, and his patriotic spirit, burning to bring back the brave days of Marathon, urge him on, without respect of persons or regard for self, to drag the faults he sees into daylight, and lash them with stinging sarcasm; while his inexhaustible fancy invents ever new and original materials, which he manipulates
with perfect mastery of language and technical skill. If his jokes are often coarse and actually indecent, the fact must be imputed to the character of the Old Comedy and the licentiousness of the Dionysiac festival, during which the plays were acted. No literature has anything to compare with these comedies. Ancient scholars, recognising their great importance, bestowed infinite pains in commenting on them, and valuable relics of their writings are enshrined in the existing collections of Scholia.
(2) Aristophanes the Grammarian (or Scholar) of Byzantium, born about 260 B.C., went in his early youth to Alexandria, and was there a pupil of Zenodotus and Calll-machus. On the death of Apollonius of Rhodes, Aristophanes, when past his sixtieth year, was appointed to be chief librarian, and died at the age of 77. His fame was eclipsed by that of his pupil Aristarchus, but he still passed for one of the ablest grammarians and critics of antiquity, distinguished by industry, learning and sound judgment. In addition to the Homeric poems, which formed his favourite study, and of which he was the first to attempt a really critical text, he devoted his labours to Hesiod, the lyric poets, especially Alcasus and Pindar, and the tragic and comic poets, Aristophanes and Menander in particular. The received Introductions to the plays of the Tragedians and Aristophanes are in their best parts derived from him, He was also the author of a large and much quoted work of a lexicographical character, considerable fragments of which still survive.
Aristotle (Greek Aristoteles). One of the two greatest philosophers of antiquity, born b.c. 384 at Stageira, a Greek colony in Thrace. He was the son of Nicomachus, who died while acting as physician in ordinary to Amyntas II at Pella in Macedonia. In B.C. 367, after the death of his parents and the completion of his seventeenth year, Aristotle betook himself to Athens, became a pupil of Plato, and remained twenty years, latterly working as a teacher of rhetoric. About his relations with Plato unfavourable rumours were current, which may have had their origin in his subsequent opposition to the Platonic doctrine of ideas. That he arrived pretty early at opposite opinions, and gave emphatic expression to
-hem, is quite credible. This may have been the occasion of Plato's comparing him (so it is said) to a colt that kicks his mother;
•et Plato is also said to have called him
the intellect" of his school, and " the