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founded on the statement of a grammarian (SchoL in Aristoph. Nub. 530), that an express law forbade a poet to exhibit a drama in his own name while he was under thirty years of age ; but Bergk has shown (I.e. pp. 906, 907) that this law is probably one of those innumerable fictions of the commentators, who state as facts things which are simply the expression of their own notion of their author's meaning; for Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are all known to have brought out plays in their own names while they were under thirty.
Now, in every case, the name enrolled in the public records was that of the person in whose name the chorus was applied for, whether he were the real author or not, and this is the name which appears in the Didascalia prefixed to a play under the form !5z5ax0?7 8id Ka\\i(rrpdrov (Acharn.\ or &Y avrov rov *Apt(rro(pdvovs (Equit.). In fact, according to the original spirit of the institution, the chorus was the only essential part of a play, and the public functionaries knew nothing of tJte author as suck, but only of the teacher of the chorus. Now we can easily understand how, when a poet was wealthy and fond of enjoyment, he might choose to assign the laborious duty of training the chorus and actors to another person ; and thus, besides the reasons already stated for a poet's using another's name at the commencement of his career, we see another ground on which he might continue that practice, after his reputation was established.
Now we learn from Aristophanes himself, to say nothing of other evidence, not only the fact that he brought out his early plays in the names of other poets, but also his reasons for so doing. In the Parabasis of the Knights (v. 514), he states that he had pursued this course, not from want of thought, but from a sense of the difficulty of his profession, and from a fear that he might suffer from that fickleness of taste which the Athenians had shown towards other poets, as Magnes, Crates, and Cratinus. Again, in the Parabasis of the Clouds (v. 530), he expresses the same thing in the following significant language :—
Kc?7&>, irapOevo? yap er' ^, kovk €%fjv irta /jloi Te/ce?*/ e|€077«a, ttois $' erepa ns \a€ovar' a*>e£A.eTO,
where the last words evidently imply, if the figure is to be interpreted consistently, that the person in whose name he brought out the play referred to (the Daetaleis) was anotfter poet. It was evidently the word e^ijv in this passage that misled the scholiast into his fancy of a legal prohibition.
We must now inquire what light the ancient grammarians throw upon the subject. The author of the anonymous work, Hepi /cwuquSias, who is decidedly one of the best of these writers, states (p. xxix.) that " Aristophanes first exhibited (eSfSa^e) in the archonship of Diotimus (b. c. 427), in the name of Callistratus (Sid KaAAiorpaTou) ; for his political comedies (rcis TroAm/ccis) they say that he gave to him, but those against Euripides and Socrates to Philonides ; and on account of this (first drama) being esteemed a good poet, he conquered on subsequent occasions (rods Aonrovs, sc. xpovous), enrolling his own name as the author (eiriypcupofjievos). Afterwards he gave his dramas to his son" (Araros). The play which he exhibited on this occasion was the AatraAeTs (Nub. I. c. and Schol.}. To the same effect another respectable grammarian, the author of the life of Aristophanes, tells us(p. xxxy.) that" being
at first exceedingly cautious and otherwise clever, he brought out (KaQiei, the regular word for bringing into a contest) his first dramas in the names of (Std) Callistratus and Philonides ; wherefore he was ridiculed .... on the ground that he laboured for others : but afterwards he contended in his own name (avrds rtyooviffaro'):" here again the phrase "that he laboured for others" must imply that Callistratus and Philonides were poets.
Thus far all is clear and consistent. Aristophanes, from motives of modesty and caution, but not from any legal necessity, began to exhibit, not in his own name, but in that of Callistratus, and afterwards of Philonides. The success of these first efforts encouraged him to come forward as the avowed author of his plays ; and again, towards the close of his life, he aided his son Araros, by allowing him to bring out some of his dramas (the Cocalus for example) in his own name. But at the close of this very same Life of Aristophanes (p. xxxix.) we find the error which we have to expose, but yet combined with truth as to the main fact, in the statement that " the actors of Aristophanes were Callistratus and Philonides, in whose names (5i' wi/) he exhibited his own dramas, the public (or political) ones (rci SrjfjLoriKd) in the name of Philonides, and the private (or personal) ones (rot, IdiuriKa) in that of Callistratus." It seems that the grammarian, though himself understanding the meaning of 8i<£, copied the error into which some former writer had been led, by supposing that it referred to the actors: for, that it cannot have that sense in the passage before us, is obvious from the tautology which would arise from so translating it, and from the force of the 4avroO ; namely, " the actors of Aristophanes were Callistratus and Philonides, by whom as actors he exhibited his own dramas." We may, however, with great probability regard the passage as a later interpolation : how little credit is due to it is plain from the fact that the distribution of subjects in the last clause agrees neither with the testimony already cited, nor with the information which we derive from the Didascaliae, as to the plays which were assigned respectively to Philonides and Callistratus. From the Didascaliae and other testimonies, we find that the Babylonians (b. c. 426) and the Acharnians (b. c. 425) were also brought out in the name of Callistratus ; and that the first play which Aristophanes exhibited in his own name was the Knights, b. c. 424 (eStSaxfl-rj.. . ,8t' avrov rov 'Apiarotydvovs, Didasc.). And hence the notion has been hastily adopted, that he henceforth continued to exhibit in his own name, until towards the close of his life, when he allowed Araros to bring out his plays. But, on the contrary, we find from the Didascaliae that he brought out the Birds (b. c. 414) and the Lysistrata (b. c. 411) in the name of Callistratus (5td KaAAitr-rpdrov).
Thus far the testimonies quoted have only referred to Philonides in general terms: it remains to be seen what particular plays Aristophanes brought out in his name. From the aboye statements of the grammarians it might be inferred that Aristophanes used the name of Philonides in this manner before the composition of the Knights ; but this is probably only a part of the error lay which it was assumed that, from the time of his exhibiting the Knights, it was his constant custom to bring out his comedies in his own name. It is true that