Eupolis’ fragmentary Demes has traditionally been placed in 412
In 1911, Gustave Lefevbre published P.Cair. 43227, three badly battered pages from a codex dating to the fourth or fifth century
This conventional dating has been challenged in the two most significant recent treatments of the issue, by Ian Storey (who argues that Demes belongs in 417 or perhaps 416
As Storey (2003, pp. 112-113) notes, the two most substantial bits of evidence traditionally offered in support of a date of 412
As for the second significant item of evidence traditionally offered to date Eupolis’ comedy, at fr. 99.81-89 the fact that a foreigner has his moustache full of barley-groats after drinking kykeon is used by an anonymous character (usually referred to as ‘the Sycophant’) to extort money from him, apparently via a threat of legal action.8 The consumption of kykeon was an important part of the Eleusinian Mysteries,9 and the passage is often understood as a critical allusion to the impiety trials of 415
Storey thus effectively eliminates the reference to the Long Walls residents in fr. 99.12-14 as a dating criterion for Demes, but the rest of his case is less convincing. To put Eupolis’ play in 417 or 416
As Storey himself notes, certainty is impossible in matters of this sort.13 There is nonetheless no positive reason (other than a bit of wishful thinking in regard to Hyperbolos and Alcibiades) to put Demes as early as Storey would like to have it, and considerable reason to put it later. Telò and Porciani, by contrast, attempt to move the date of the play in the opposite direction, putting it in 410
This thesis – which means that Eupolis’ comedy must have been conceived during the oligarchic terror of 411
In addition, the Telò and Porciani interpretation of fr. 99.12-14 as evidence for placing Demes in 410
There is thus no positive reason to follow Storey in pushing the date for Demes back to 417 or 416
If Demes was staged in early 412
G. Lefebvre (ed.), Papyrus de ménandre (Cairo: Catalogue général des antiquités égyptiennes du musée du Caire, No. 43227, 1911). For Eupolis, I refer throughout to the standard 1986 Kassel – Austin edition of the fragmentary comic poets.
For the plot of Demes, see most recently I. C. Storey, Eupolis: Poet of Old Comedy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 114-133; M. Telò (ed.), Eupolidis Demi (Florence: Biblioteca Nazionale, Serie dei Classici Greci e Latini xiv, 2007), pp. 24-72; G. Torello, ‘The Resurrection of Aristeides, Miltiades, Solon and Perikles in Eupolis’ Demes’, Antichthon, 42 (2008), pp. 40-45.
Thus already A. Meineke (ed.), Fragmenta poetarum comoediae antiquae Vol. ii.1 Fragmenta poetarum comoediae antiquae continentis (Berlin: Reimer, 1839), p. 455 (before publication of the papyrus). See also (taking account of P.Cair. 43227) A. Körte, ‘Fragmente einer Handschrift der Demen des Eupolis’, Hermes, 47 (1912), p. 296; P. Geissler, Chronologie der altattischen Komödie (Berlin: Wiedmann, 1925; 2nd ed. with Appendix, Dublin and Zurich: Weidmann, 1969) pp. 54-55, p. xvi; Storey, Eupolis 2003, pp. 112-114 (largely recapitulating I. C. Storey, ‘Dating and Re-Dating Eupolis’, Phoenix, 44 , pp. 24-27 and I. C. Storey, ‘Some Problems in Eupolis’ Demoi’, in D. Harvey and J. Wilkins (eds.), The Rivals of Aristophanes: Studies in Athenian Old Comedy [London: Duckworth and the Classical Press of Wales], pp. 173-175).
M. Telò and L. Porciani, ‘Un’alternativa per la datazione dei ‘Demi’ di Eupoli’, Quaderni Urbinati di Cultura Classica,
Prosopographic considerations in particular are of no assistance in this regard (evidence reviewed at Storey, Eupolis, p. 112), although see below on Demostratus in fr. 103. Other criteria for dating the play (including the supposed appearance of a πρόβουλος as a character and what S. Beta, ‘Pisandro e la tortura. Il verbo διαστρέφειν in Eupoli, fr. 99 K.-A.’,
ἀνακαλέσαντες δὲ τοὺς στρατηγοὺς ἀνειπεῖν ἐκέλευσαν Ἀθηναίων τοὺς µὲν ἐν ἄστει οἰκοῦντας ἰέναι εἰς τὴν ἀγορὰν τὰ ὅπλα λαβόντας, τοὺς δ’ ἐν µακρῷ τείχει εἰς τὸ Θησεῖον, τοὺς δ’ ἐν Πειραιεῖ εἰς τὴν Ἱπποδαµείαν ἀγοράν (‘they summoned the generals and ordered them to tell the Athenians who were resident in the walled city to get their hoplite equipment and go to the Agora, and those inside the Long Wall to go to the Theseion, and those in the Piraeus to go to the Hippodameian Agora’).
Cf. Ar. Ve 448-451 (422
Cf. N. J. Richardson (ed.), The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), pp. 344-348.
Eupolis’ first appearance at the festivals is supposed to have occurred in 429
Th. 8.106.3. Whether the casualty list from 411(?)
Cf. Th. 6.25.1 (omitting Demostratus’ name but referring to the same incident); Plu. Alc. 18.2; Nic. 12.4.
The classic statement of the thesis is J. Henderson, ‘The Demos and the Comic Competition’, in J. J. Winkler and F. Zeitlin (eds.), Nothing to Do with Dionysos? Athenian Drama in its Social Context (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), pp. 271-313. For the history of the discussion of the political aspects of late 5th-century Athenian comedy and the genre’s relationship to its public, see S. D. Olson, ‘Comedy, Politics, and Society’, in G. W. Dobrov (ed.), Brill’s Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2010), pp. 35-69 (with extensive bibliography and discussion).
See Th. 8.67.1 with S. Hornblower, A Commentary on Thucydides Vol. iii (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008, on 8.1.3); P. J. Rhodes, A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1981) on [Arist.] Ath. 29.2).
For related discussion of the relationship between the political agendas latent in Aristophanes’ Lysistrata and the oligarchic coup later that year, see S. D. Olson, ‘Lysistrata and the Politics of 411 BCE’, in C. W. Marshall and G. Kovacs (eds.), No Laughing Matter: Festschrift for Ian Storey (London: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012), pp. 69-81.