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Greek Comedy - Syllabus

Plays to be read in English:

Aristophanes, Acharnians, Knights, Wasps, Peace, Birds, Lysistrata, Thesmophoriazusae (= The Poet and the Women), Clouds, Frogs - latest Penguin translations

Fragments of Cratinus and Eupolis (course extracts provided)

Greek prescription:

Classics students taking the Greek text option will be expected to read the set texts in full in their own time; weekly text and interpretaion classes will also be laid on.

Term 1: Aristophanes, Acharnians

Term 2: Aristophanes, Lysistrata

There are commentaries as follows:

  • Acharnians: S. D. Olsen (Oxford); A. Sommerstein (Aris and Phillips) with facing translation.
  • Lysistrata: J. Henderson (Oxford); A. Sommerstein (Aris and Phillips 1996) with facing translation.

    There is also a Loeb edition in 4 volumes by J. Henderson.

The Greek texts for the exam will be taken from Sommerstein.



[no lectures week 1]

Weeks 2–4 Background and Comic Technique:

Week 2: Orientation; Background and Comic Rivalries

Week 3:

1. Aristophanes and Cratinus (intro);
2. Comedy and Humour: How?

Week 4: 

1. Comic Heroes and Recreational Plotting;
2. Poetic Persona and Poetic Voice

Week 5: Aristophanes, Acharnians

Week 6: Reading Week – no lectures

Week 7: Aristophanes, Knights

Week 8: SEMINAR – Cratinus, Pytine

Week 9: Aristophanes, Wasps 

Week 10: Recap and General Discussion


Week 1: Eupolis

Week 2: Aristophanes, Peace

Week 3: Aristophanes, Clouds

Week 4: SEMINAR – Frameworks, Contexts, Critical Approaches

Week 5: Aristophanes, Birds

Week 6: Reading Week – no lectures

Week 7: Aristophanes, Lysistrata

Week 8: Aristophanes, Thesmophoriazusae

Week 9: Aristophanes, Frogs

Week 10: Recap and Discussion: Comedy and Tragedy


Week 1: Revision: Exam Gobbets

Week 2: Revision: Exam Essays