On the Date of Eupolis’ Demes and the Political Events of 412 bc

In: Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek and Roman Political Thought
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  • 1 University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, mn, USA


Eupolis’ fragmentary Demes has traditionally been placed in 412 bc, after the failure of the Sicilian Expedition but before the oligarchic coup of 411. Ian Storey has recently argued that the play belongs instead in 417 or perhaps 416 bc, while Mario Telò and Leone Porciani put it in 410 bc. This article demonstrates that both alternative dates face decisive objections, and suggests that Demes is better kept in 412 bc. I then briefly consider the role of late 5th-century Athenian “political” comedy generally, and in particular the sort of popular sentiment that Eupolis’ comedy must have been exploiting or echoing when it was conceived in the first half of 413.


Eupolis’ fragmentary Demes has traditionally been placed in 412 bc, after the failure of the Sicilian Expedition but before the oligarchic coup of 411. Ian Storey has recently argued that the play belongs instead in 417 or perhaps 416 bc, while Mario Telò and Leone Porciani put it in 410 bc. This article demonstrates that both alternative dates face decisive objections, and suggests that Demes is better kept in 412 bc. I then briefly consider the role of late 5th-century Athenian “political” comedy generally, and in particular the sort of popular sentiment that Eupolis’ comedy must have been exploiting or echoing when it was conceived in the first half of 413.

In 1911, Gustave Lefevbre published P.Cair. 43227, three badly battered pages from a codex dating to the fourth or fifth century ad containing fragments of 120 verses from what are now generally understood to be two separate portions of Eupolis’ Demes (fr. 99.1-77, 78-120).1 Forty-seven additional fragments or putative fragments of the play are preserved, the most substantial of which consists of seven complete iambic trimeter lines describing Pericles’ rhetorical power (fr. 102). The plot of Demes seems to have involved the return to life of four deceased Athenian statesmen – the lawgiver Solon, Aristides ‘the Just’, Miltiades (the hero of Marathon), and Pericles (d. 429 bc) – who were granted the power to confront and cure contemporary Athens’ ills (test. i-vii).2 The play clearly dates to sometime between 417 bc (the year after the Battle of Mantineia, referenced at fr. 99.30-2) and Eupolis’ death, perhaps at Cynosema in 411 bc (Suda ε 3657 = test. 1; further discussion below), and for almost two centuries was unanimously assigned to 412 bc.3 This date puts the performance of Demes after the failure of the Sicilian Expedition and the Spartan occupation of Deceleia in 413 bc, but before the oligarchic coup of 411 bc, and allows the comedy to be read as a public response to a series of enormous political and military crises. As a consequence, modern critics routinely grant Demes a degree of seriousness of purpose not always attributed to late 5th-century Athenian comedy, including seemingly overtly political comedies. The obvious comparison is to Aristophanes’ Frogs, performed in 405 bc in the dark and desperate days after the Pyrrhic victory at Arginusae, which appeals to the moral and poetic authority of Aeschylus (similarly scheduled to be hauled back from the Underworld by Dionysus at the end of the action) as part of a fantastic attempt to correct deep-rooted Athenian social and political problems. The date assigned to Demes also has implications for a number of fragments that refer to individual political figures, including an anonymous aspiring politician said at fr. 99. 23-34 to be practically incapable of speaking decent Attic but nonetheless to have aggressively encouraged the disastrous Mantinea campaign.

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 bc, before the ostracism of Hyperbolos in 416 bc or so, the flight of Alcibiades into exile in 415 bc, and the Sicilian Expedition) and by Mario Telò and Leone Porciani4 (who put the comedy in 410 bc, after the overthrow of the democracy in 411 bc by a shadowy oligarchic conspiracy, and in a period when the so-called Five Thousand were in control of the city’s government). In what follows, I consider the arguments in favor of these alternative dates, arguing that both face decisive objections and that Demes is better kept in 412 bc. I then briefly consider the role of late 5th-century Athenian “political” comedy generally, and in particular the sort of popular sentiment that Eupolis’ play must have been exploiting or echoing when it was conceived sometime in the first half of the previous year.

As Storey (2003, pp. 112-113) notes, the two most substantial bits of evidence traditionally offered in support of a date of 412 bc for Demes – aside from a circular insistence that the comedy must have been written and staged in the aftermath of the disaster in Sicily because only such a disaster could justify the writing and staging of such a comedy – are (1) the reference to individuals living within the Long Walls at fr. 99.12-14 (likely from the parabasis, and taken to mean that Demes belongs after the occupation of Deceleia, since Thucydides 7.27.4-5 leaves little doubt that the rural population of Attica retreated within the city’s walls again at that point) and (2) the seeming allusion at fr. 99.81-89 (from the second scene partially preserved on the Cairo papyrus) to the wild charges of impiety associated with the Eleusinian Mysteries that tore Athenian society apart in 415 bc.5 Storey counters the first point with the observation that Andocides 1.456 makes it clear that a substantial number of people (including Athenians of hoplite status) were still resident within the Long Walls in 415 bc, having presumably settled there fifteen years earlier, during the first wave of Spartan invasions of the Attic countryside (which ended in 425 bc), and having decided for various personal or economic reasons to remain in place rather than move back to their farms on a permanent basis.7 The same conclusion can be drawn from Ar. Eq.: 792-793 καὶ πῶς σὺ φιλεῖς, ὃς τοῦτον ὁρῶν οἰκοῦντ’ ἐν ταῖς φιδάκναισι / καὶ γυπαρίοις καὶ πυργιδίοις ἔτος ὄγδοον οὐκ ἐλεαίρεις (‘and how do you care for him, you who feel no pity, even though you see him now in the eighth year living in casks and crannies and little towers?’; in reference to Demos, the personified Athenian people), which dates to 424 bc but which Storey does not cite. The complaint at fr. 99.12-14 is that the Long Wall residents get more food – what is actually said is that they are ἀριστητικώτεροι, ‘lunchier’ (a hapax) – than the chorus, although the precise significance of the grievance is obscure, due in part to the fragmentary character of the verses that follow. It is nonetheless easy to believe that access to markets, and to imported grain in particular, was easier inside the walls than it was outside of them throughout the Peloponnesian War years, regardless of whether Spartan forces were in the country. Storey thus appears to be right to insist that fr. 99.12-14 does not prove that Demes dates to 412 bc, although the verses simultaneously offer no positive evidence to put the play earlier than this.

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 bc, where many of the charges were just as bogus as the Sycophant’s attack on the stranger in Demes appears to be. Storey,10 however, observes that ‘it is unclear what is going on at fr. 99. 78-120; the accusation of sacrilege is not at all obvious’; that ‘Not all references to the Mysteries must post-date the scandal of 415’; and that ‘Comedy seems to have avoided any direct mention of the scandals of 415 or of those mentioned in them’. If these claims are correct, the date of Demes is open within the parameters noted at the beginning of this paper, and Storey proposes that the play might better be assigned to 417 (or perhaps 416) bc, ‘principally because [this dating] allows the demagogue of fr. 99. 23-34 to be Hyperbolos … and the reference to Mantineia to be an allusion to something recent and topical, rather than an event over five years in the past’. In addition, Storey notes that on his hypothesis fr. *104: καὶ µηκέτ᾽, ὦναξ Μιλτιάδη καὶ Περίκλεες, / ἐάσατ’ ἄρχειν µειράκια κινούµενα, / ἐν τοῖν σφυροῖν ἕλκοντα τὴν στρατηγίαν (‘And no longer, Lord Miltiades and Pericles, / allow buggered young men to hold public office, / trailing the generalship between their ankles’) can be taken to point to Alcibiades, who by 412 bc, by contrast, had been absent from Athens for many years and was quite unlikely – at least as far as anyone could tell at the time – to be a candidate for any future generalships.

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 bc, first of all, on the ground that this allows fr. 99.23-34 to refer to Hyperbolos and fr. 104 to refer to Alcibiades, is a circular argument, for if the comedy is later than this, numerous other candidates for the anonymous individuals referenced in the passages still present themselves.11 This does not mean that Demes cannot date to 417 or 416 bc, only that Storey has offered no reason for believing that it does. Second, as Telò and Porciani point out,12 what the chorus do at fr. 99.30-32 is reproach the audience for seemingly forgetting (οὐ µέµ[νησθ᾿; ], ‘don’t you remember?’) the unidentified politician’s behavior in the debate regarding Mantinea. What is wanted here is thus seemingly not Storey’s immediate relevance but a few years’ distance between the assembly and subsequent battle, on the one hand, and the staging of Demes, on the other – which argues for putting the play later in the war rather than earlier. Above all else, however, the question of topicality emerges again and again in connection with Storey’s interpretations of the historical and social background to the action in fr. 99. Storey observes that comedy – or at least what survives of the genre from this period – does not refer expressly to the alleged defamation of the Mysteries in 415 bc or the associated legal processes, and he takes this to be a reason for believing that Demes as well ought not to be alluding to such events in fr. 99.81-89. But comedy does twice allude directly to the closely associated incident of the mutilation of the Herms (Ar. Lys. 1093-4; Phryn. Com. fr. 41), and also repeatedly mentions Alcibiades, the most important social and political figure targeted in the investigations; and fr. 99.81-89 is not in any case a direct reference to the events of 415 bc, but merely plays with the idea that similarly malicious prosecutions remain possible (or perhaps the norm) in contemporary Athens. And although the defamation of the Mysteries and the associated accusations and trials need not lie behind the Sycophant’s nasty story of his abuse of the foreigner at fr. 99.81-89, that is still the easiest and most obvious context in which to set the tale. So too in the case of the inhabitants of the Long Wall area: fr. 99.12-14 suggests a stark and unhappy contrast between the the situation of the people living there and the eponymous Demes, which makes more sense after the occupation of Deceleia in 413 bc (when conditions in the countryside must have deteriorated enormously) than before it.

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 bc on the basis of their reading of fr. 99.12-14. At And. 1.45, Telò and Porciani argue, ἐν µακρῷ τείχει (literally ‘in [the] long wall’) is a collective singular that refers via synecdoche to the entire area enclosed by the Piraeus wall and the Phaleron wall. Fr. 99.12-13 ἐν µακροῖν τειχοῖν, on the other hand, uses a dual and is thus not synecdoche, and Telò and Porciani reject the notion that the preposition can in this case mean ‘contained within’, suggesting that the phrase ought instead to be taken to refer to ‘una permanenza sulle Lunghe Mura’ (‘a permanent location on the Long Walls’). According to Th. 8.71, they note, at some point in June 411 bc the Spartan king Agis attacked Athens’ walls, and the Athenians responded by sending out τοὺς δὲ ἱππέας … καὶ µέρος τι τῶν ὁπλιτῶν καὶ ψιλῶν καὶ τοξοτῶν ἄνδρας (‘the knights and a certain portion of the hoplites and light-armed troops and bowmen’), who drove the Peloponnesian forces off. Telò and Porciani suggest that the other hoplites – those not sent out by the Athenians to confront Agis’ troops – were stationed on the city’s walls, if only briefly, and that these are the individuals referred to at fr. 99.12-13 as τοὺς ἐν µακροῖν τειχοῖν. If the Four Hundred (still in power at that point) also offered these men grain-rations that were not available to other citizens, while simultaneously cutting off traditional deme-based payments such as wages for service on the Boule (cf. Th. 8.65.3 [said to have been proposed when the Four Hundred were still in power in the city, but toward the end of their reign]; [Arist.] Ath. 33.1 [a measure assigned to the Five Thousand]), this might have produced the complaints articulated by Eupolis’ chorus. Demes can thus be placed in 410 bc, at one of the first two festivals that followed Agis’ attack and the Athenian defensive measures that accompanied it, rather than two years earlier, as is generally believed.

This thesis – which means that Eupolis’ comedy must have been conceived during the oligarchic terror of 411 bc and staged in the late winter or spring of the next year, before the democracy had been restored – faces two basic sets of objections. First, Thucydides’ notice that in June 411 bc some of the city’s hoplites were sent out to confront Agis’ men tells us nothing about a new set of guards posted on the Long Walls at the same time. Telò and Porciani have simply invented this unit, as well as the provisioning controversy that supposedly accompanied it, on the basis of fr. 99.12-14. But the same style of argument could be used to put any group anywhere at any time in order to explain a problematic text – which is to say that the thesis offers no positive reason to place Demes in 410 bc. This is even more the case because Telò and Porciani themselves maintain that the hypothetical posting of special units on the Long Walls in 411 bc was likely a short-lived measure, making it difficult to understand why Eupolis’ chorus would treat the situation as a matter of contemporary interest (using the present tense εἰσιν!) at a dramatic festival in the first half of the next year. Second, the Greek of fr. 99.12-14 appears to render the proposed interpretation of the text impossible. The nature of Telò and Porciani’s objection to taking fr. 99.12-13 ἐν µακροῖν τειχοῖν (literally ‘in [the] two long walls’) to mean ‘in the area enclosed by the two Long Walls’ is unclear, especially given their apparent willingness to accept And. 1.45 ἐν µακρῷ τείχει in the sense ‘in the area enclosed by the Long Wall (conceived as a collective whole)’. More important, while ἐν + dative can mean ‘upon’ in reference to a surface used for drawing, carving, painting or the like (e.g., Ar. Ach. 144: ἐν τοῖσι τοίχοις ἔγραφ’ “Ἀθηναῖοι καλοί”; Av. 450: προγράφωµεν ἐν τοῖς πινακίοις; Lys. 513 ἐν τῇ στήλῃ παραγράψαι; Ra. 933: σηµεῖον ἐν ταῖς ναυσὶν … ἐνεγέγραπτο), it cannot mean ‘on top of’ – which is presumably why (as Telò and Porciani themselves note) no one has previously suggested this translation of the preposition in Eupolis. The individuals to whom the chorus of Demes refer are thus not located on top of the walls (as guards might be), but within them (like refugees, as on the standard reading of the passage).

In addition, the Telò and Porciani interpretation of fr. 99.12-14 as evidence for placing Demes in 410 bc contradicts some of the most basic information we have regarding Eupolis’ biography. According to Suda ε 3657 (= test. 1), the poet ‘died in a shipwreck in the Hellespont during the war against the Peloponnesians’,14 which is most naturally taken to suggest that he was killed in a naval battle. Although the evidence is less complete than we would like, none of Eupolis’ dated comedies belongs after 412 bc,15 and not one of the almost 500 individual fragments refers to a person known to have been active exclusively after that date or refers to an event that took place then. His death is therefore usually connected with the loss of fifteen Athenian ships at the Battle of Cynosema in 411 bc16 – which would mean that Eupolis was killed a bit more than a year after the generally accepted date for Demes, and (much more to the point) close to a year before the date Telo and Porciani propose for the comedy. Telò and Porciani acknowledge this difficulty only in a footnote, in which they suggest that the battle in which Eupolis died might have been not Cynosema but Aegospotamoi in 406 bc, and Telò in his full-scale edition of the play adds as a further possibility the Battle of Arginusae in 405 bc.17 But Aegospotamoi is near Lesbos rather than in the Hellespont, and although Arginusae resulted in the destruction of much of the Athenian fleet, the battle was fought not at sea but on the shore. The Suda – apparently drawing at this point on Hesychius – might simply be misinformed. But this is a desperate argument of a sort that ought only to be deployed when no other option is available, and here the more economical conclusion is that on this count as well the hypothesis of Telò and Porciani must be rejected.

There is thus no positive reason to follow Storey in pushing the date for Demes back to 417 or 416 bc and considerable incentive to resist his arguments, while the attempt by Telò and Porciani to put the play in 410 bc fails on multiple counts. Instead, Demes seems to belong where it has traditionally been placed, in 412 bc, in the immediate aftermath of the Sicilian disaster but before the overthrow of the democracy, with Mantineia (cf. fr. 99.30-32) and the legal proceedings associated with the supposed defamation of the Eleusinian Mysteries (cf. fr. 99.81-89) in the past and Deceleia occupied (cf. fr. 99.12-14). This conclusion finds a bit of further support in fr. 103: (Α.) ῥήτωρ γάρ ἐστι νῦν τις; (Β.) ὧν γ’ ἔστιν λέγειν,/ ὁ Βουζύγης ἄριστος ἁλιτήριος (‘(A.) But is there any real orator nowadays? (B.) Of those one can apply the term to, the best is the Bouzygete – the filthy bastard!’). The scholion to Aelius Aristides that cites this fragment identifies the Bouzygete politician in question as Demostratus (pa 3611; paa 319245), whom Plu. Nic. 12.4 describes as ὁ µάλιστα τῶν δηµαγωγῶν ἐπὶ τὸν πόλεµον παροξύνων τοὺς Ἀθηναίους (‘the demagogue who offered the Athenians the most encouragement in regard to the war’). Almost nothing else is known of Demostratus except for the report of his role in the Assembly debate in 415 bc that authorized the Sicilian Expedition at Ar. Lys. 393-397, where the disgusted, angry Proboulos describes him as ὁ θεοῖσιν ἐχθρὸς καὶ µιαρὸς Χολοζύγης (‘the god-despised and foul Cholozygês’, punning on his genos-name Bouzygês).18 The scholion to Aristides does not explain the hostile ἁλιτήριος in Eupolis. But if Demes was in fact performed shortly after news of the expedition’s failure reached the city, the curse – echoed again the next year by Aristophanes in Lysistrata – is timely and appropriate.

If Demes was staged in early 412 bc, it must have been conceived before mid-summer 413 bc, since poets likely presented proposals at that point to the relevant incoming archons in the hope of being awarded a chorus.19 Although the play was performed, therefore, after news of the final disaster in Sicily reached Athens late that summer and ten probouloi were appointed to run the city as part of a package of emergency measures (Th. 8.1.3), the general outline of its plot must have been not a reaction to those events but an anticipation of them. It is therefore all the more striking that the solution Eupolis’ hero Pyronides hits upon to rescue Athens in what appears to be presented at fr. 99.45-48 as a moment of enormous need is to recruit a group of old and widely respected (even if dead) Athenians to guide the state, punish wrongdoers (cf. fr. 99.104-105, 112, 114-117) and (at least according to ‘Platonius’) propose and dissolve legislation (test. v). Part of Storey’s argument against seeing an echo of the witch-hunt that followed the supposed defamation of the Mysteries in 415 bc in the Sycophant-scene in Demes is that ‘we assume too readily the earnestness of Eupolis … We do well to remember that [late 5th-century comedy] was essentially fun and games, intended to make people laugh and to win the prize’.20 The final point in particular is far from self-evident, for the most basic means by which a poet attracted votes from the judges seems in fact to have been to understand what some significant portion of the audience was thinking in regard to an important public matter and to put an outrageous and amusing spin on their longings or opinions.21 More specifically put, the plot of Demes suggests that the idea of an emergency board of venerable older men chosen to serve as πρόβουλοι, although abruptly presented by Thucydides, was not a complete novelty in Athens in late summer 413 bc. Instead, proposals of this sort must already have been making their way around the city, presented as a clever if admittedly bold way of dealing with what was increasingly seen as a deteriorating political and military situation with which normal democratic institutions were incapable of dealing. The comic poets appear to have been fond of presenting themselves as wise counselors of the Athenian people (e.g., Ar. Ach. 633-658, esp. 633, 656), a claim there is little reason to accept except in the most general terms. The appointment of the πρόβουλοι in late summer 413 bc, at any rate, had no very happy outcome, even if the verdict on their service might still have appeared open in the first few months of 412 bc, when Demes was finally staged. By the time of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata one year later, in any case, they could be presented as officious bumblers incapable of taking the decisive steps needed to rescue the situation. More disturbing precisely because these actions suggest that the πρόβουλοι were not unwilling to act, when their duty as they understood it called them to do so, they appear to have been directly involved in the formal overthrow of the democracy later that year.22 Eupolis was not directly responsible for any portion of this unhappy story. But if Demes belongs to 412 bc, as all the evidence suggests it does, the play ought probably to be read as an illustration – and indeed an endorsement – of the sort of blind and wishful popular thinking that in very short order turned control of democratic Athens over to a small group of violent, anti-democratic conspirators.23


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 [1990], 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, ns 72.3 (2002), pp. 23-40, followed in essentials but with less detailed argument by Telò, Eupolidis Demi, pp. 116-124.


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.’, zpe, 101 [1994], pp. 25-26 takes to be a reference to one of Peisander’s proposals allowing the torture of Athenian citizens in 415 bc) have been advanced, but none has any probative value; see Storey, Eupolis, pp. 112-113.


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 bc), where the relatively well-to-do Philocleon and Bdelycleon are abruptly revealed to own not just a city house but a farm in the countryside as well, where their domestic slaves are sometimes put to work.


For the same character’s vicious and gratuitous litigiousness, cf. fr. 99.103-111.


Cf. N. J. Richardson (ed.), The Homeric Hymn to Demeter (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974), pp. 344-348.


Storey, Eupolis, p. 113.


Storey, Eupolis, pp. 155-160 offers a complete list with discussion.


Telò and Porciani, ‘Un’alternativa’, pp. 26-27.


Storey, Eupolis, p. 114.


ἀπέθανε ναυαγήσας κατὰ τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον ἐν τῷ πρὸς Λακεδαιµονίους πολέµῳ.


Eupolis’ first appearance at the festivals is supposed to have occurred in 429 bc (test. 2), and the Lenaia Victors Lists (ig ii2 2325.126 = 2325E.11 Millis – Olson = test. 12) dates his first victory to 426 bc or earlier. Of the plays that can be more or less securely dated, Autolykos I probably belongs to 420 bc, Baptai to ca. 416 bc, Kolakes to City Dionysia 421 bc, Marikas to Lenaia 421 bc, Noumêniai to 425 bc, Poleis to before 413 bc, Taxiarchoi to the early 420s bc, and Chrysoun genos to before 422 bc.


Th. 8.106.3. Whether the casualty list from 411(?) bc that includes a man by the relatively rare name Eupolis (ig I3 1190.52) refers to him, as Wilamowitz believed and Kassel – Austin are inclined to doubt, is unclear. But the coincidence is at the very least intriguing.


Telò and Porciani, ‘Un’alternativa’, p. 39 n. 63; Telò, Eupolidis Demi, pp. 23-24 n. 49.


Cf. Th. 6.25.1 (omitting Demostratus’ name but referring to the same incident); Plu. Alc. 18.2; Nic. 12.4.


Cf. [Arist.] Ath. 56.3; Cratin. fr. 17.


Storey, Eupolis, p. 114.


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.

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