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Thesmophoriazusae was performed in Athens in 411 BCE most likely at the City Dionysia and is among the most brilliant of Aristophanes' eleven surviving comedies It is the story of the crucial moment in a uarrel between the tragic playwright Euripides and Athens' women who accuse him of slandering them in his plays and are holding a meeting at one of their secret festivals to set a penalty for his crimes Thesmophoriazusae is a brilliantly inventive comedy full of wild slapstick humor and devastating literary parody and is a basic source for uestions of gender and sexuality in late 5th century Athens and for the popular reception of Euripidean tragedy Austin and Olson offer a text based on a fresh examination of the papyri and manuscripts and a detailed commentary covering a wide range of literary historical and philological issues The introduction includes sections on the date and historical setting of the play; the Thesmophoria festival; Aristophanes' handling of Euripidean tragedy; staging; Thesmophoriazusae II; and the history of modern critical work on the text All Greek in the introduction and commentary not cited for technical reasons is translated


10 thoughts on “Θεσμοφοριάζουσες

  1. says:

    Secret Women's Business14 June 2012 I actually uite like Aristophanes not because he is a brilliant playwright though since eleven of his works have survived 2500 years I really do not think that I am in a position to comment on his ability Obviously there is a reason and probably a good reason not only why his plays have managed to survive but that his plays managed to survive a somewhat puritan Dark Ages where pretty much anything that wasn't Christian was discarded Okay that is probably a bit too general since the Catholic Church didn't really begin banning books until after the Catholic Reformation and despite my respect for my former Church History Lecturer I still somewhat disagree with his assessment of the Catholic Reformation Aristophanes' comedies stand out in two ways first of all they give as an insight into the common people of Athens of the 4th century and also gives us an understanding and some very good examples of the vernacular language It is the difference between reading a book written in proper English and a book that relies heavily upon a region's slang such as Australia for instance the word sook and prima donna mean the same thing but in Australia we use the former where as the latter is probably a polite and correct usage The second thing about Aristophanes' plays is that they are incredibly imaginative and in some cases uite fantastic Moreso the plays are actually pretty funny and remains so despite the 2500 year gap and the language complications Okay a lot of the humour such as the puns are lost however the Barrett translation of his works is still very good and he even manages to use a rhyme scheme in places noting that English is probably the only language at least what I know of that uses rhyme as a poetical form The Thesmophoriazusae is one of those interesting and imaginative plays that also gives us a bit of an insight into Classical Athens Remember that the tragedies are written in a stylised language and people do not and have not transacted like that People in Elizabethan England did not talk to each other using blank verse and Shakespearian language While the vernacular was no doubt a lot different to what it is now they still used it The only time such high form language would have been used would have been in diplomacy and even then I can't imagine ueen Elizabeth and the King of France speaking to each other or even writing to each other in blank verse The play is set around a festival known as the Thesmophoria which was a woman's only festival that lasted three days at a place known as the Pynx Having read this play I have now learnt that the Pynx was the location of the assembly I always thought it was the Areopagous but that was the high court Type Pynx into Google Images to get an idea of what it looked like and I have also managed to locate it on the Google Maps image of Athens It is located to the west of the Acropolis just to the southwest of the intersection of Dimitriou Aiginitou and Apostolou Pavlou From what I can remember of Athens there is a promenade that runs along the south side of the Acropolis and then another path to the west heads uphill past the Areopogaus and then curves around to the north of the Acropolis with a gate that leads to the Agora Anyway you do not take that path but actually continue along the promenade to the west and it will then curve to the north but you should be able to find it and if you don't ask somebody they do tend to be uite helpful in Greece Okay that is enough of me showing off how well I know Athens after spending only a week there so now onto the play The play is about Euripides and how he learns that the women of Athens are upset about his portrayal of them so he decides to sneak into the Thesmophoria in an attempt to convince the women that he was not all that bad However his plan involved a young Athenian who had yet grown a beard all Athenian men had beards some uite long at that to disguise himself as a woman and sneak into the festival However this young Athenian didn't want anything to do with it so he gets his brother in law the foul mouthed Mnesilochus to do it instead Obviously getting Mnesilochus to act like a woman was never going to work and sure enough he ends up getting found out and tied to a stake to be executed However Euripides comes in and convinces them through a fine sounding argument to release him This play is clearly about women and their role in Athenian society It is not incredibly deep but it is clear that the women despite their lower status in the society did have some freedom and also the right to religious celebration as is clear with the Thesmophoria These women though are compared to two women from antiuity namely the model wife that is Penelope and Euripides' presentation of Helen Sections of the play actually recite Euripides' Helen and while I will not go into details of that play here I will simply mention that the purpose behind Helen was to redeem her in the eyes of the Athenians Euripides borrowed from a legend that had the Helen of Troy as nothing than a mischievous phantom and that the real Helen had been kidnapped by the king of Egypt and that was were she spent the war In Euripides' mind Helen was innocent of the charges laid against her This is why I find the play rather strange because Euripides is being accused of being anti women but it is uite clear from his writings that he is not Of the plays that I have read particularly the ones involving women they are the tragic figures Consider Medea Hecabe Helen and Iphangenia They were all innocent of any crimes yet suffered simply because they were women In fact with regards to Medea it is Jason that is considered to be the antagonist by tossing Medea out of his bed for a younger influential woman However the charges that Euripides and in a way Aristophanes is that the women of then modern Athens were nothing like those women in Euripides' plays In fact they came nowhere close to them in virtue Remember at this time Athens was in the middle of a very long and drawn out war which means that a lot of the young men were off fighting leaving only the women the children and the elderly at home in Athens It is suggested here and it is the bait that Euripides uses to free Mnesilochus from the Thesmophoria namely that while the cat is away then the mice are at play Of course you don't want anybody telling the husbands what their women were up to when they returned and in a way this is a reflection of the Orestia despite that play being written prior to the Peloponesian War


  2. says:

    Funny the argument is uite reminiscent of that scandal in Rome centuries later when Clodius Pulcher got this mad idea to disguise himself as a woman to intrude into the females only Bona Dea festival that got him in hot water and his lover Pompeia Sulla sent back in disgrace and divorced by Caesar Maybe he was inspired by this play hehOnly that whilst the Roman heretic's action had seduction in mind Aristophanes' comedy has the motive of self defence Of sorts Euripides the heterodox playwright is told the news that there's a women's assembly at the goddesses' festival the Thesmophoria where they'll discuss what punishment to impose on him for portraying women so badly in his plays and decides to insert a spy to defend him and sway the women's opinion But he gets no other candidate for the task than a man who gets caught and sentenced to death for the blasphemy The way Euripides schemes to save Mnesilochus is the funniest part together with the latter's defence of the tragedian which does harm than good in reality Aristophanes really loves to mock his fellow writers as much as he loves poking fun at the fair sex because apart from Euripides he also takes aim at a famed poet of his time and parodies other tragedians's lines and choruses This is one of his better comedies in my opinion


  3. says:

    Boy I'm not sure why Aristophanes satirized Euripides so much but I can say one thing it's so funny when he does In this play which has a super complicated super long title Euripides faces conviction from a group of disgruntled women because they don't like Euripides' protrayal of women in his plays Like I may have said before I feel like I used to see Euripides as a serious figure but it is hard to have that view any because of Aristophanes Further I really appreciate having these vernacular plays from Aristophanes simply because they are much much accessible than the mythical tragedies


  4. says:

    Read this after reading an article in The New York Review of Books which posited that Euripides wrote The Bacchae as a response to this play The usual seuence is that the comic writer writes his comedy as a satire of an existing tragedy After reading this play again I can definitely see where the author of the article is coming fromI wish that I could find an edition of Aristophanes that would provide really good notes on what is being parodied and how Anyone have any recommendations in that regard?


  5. says:

    Thesmophoriazusae by AristophanesIn ancient Greece the women have a celebration – ThesmophoriaAnd male characters wish to and make the necessary adaptations to attend with funny resultsat timesI am not taken aback by this play but I need to write down that I have been trying itIn fact before getting on with it this morning I had wondered if it is not included in the category tried but near missThe name sounds familiar and Aristophanes great author that he is does not fit my profile of favorite authorI am not arrogant enough to make a judgment call; he is just not up my alley Today the women at the festivalAre going to kill me for insulting themThis is the starting point from where the need to “infiltrate „the women’s assembly is expressed and then Agathon is asked to attend itI found Agathon to be funnyin a way although it may not be politically correct for he seems to be somewhat gayHe dresses in women’s clothes but on the other hand in Ancient Greece intimate relationships between men were the normAt the women’s assembly they debate the uestion of Euripides and how to punish him Euripides has given the wrong advice to men We need to “lose „him There are plenty of reasons to do thatThen another effeminate known homosexual shows up to reveal that a man is attending the assemblyHowever humorous scholars and readers may rightfully find this work it is not all that amusing to me but I do not get it and it s my faultIt must be said that the historical role of Aristophanes is clear and not disputed “Who am I to judge?”This is just a uestion of taste from one point on since these are not scholarly notes and indeed one is better advised to read reviews by professionals and not amateurs like meYou may have the time of your life reading ThesmophoriazusaeI did not


  6. says:

    This is easily the most entertaining Aristophanes play that I've read Consistently funny and surprisingly timeless compared to his political works The basic plot is that Euripides is going to be tried by a group of disgruntled females because they feel he demeans them in his plays His solution is to send his buddy into their circle dressed up as a woman to defend Euripides's case If that doesn't interest you at all you might need to consider the fact that you are humorless


  7. says:

    I’ve been feeling down in the last two weeks because of my toothache as I mentioned in my updates Lovely times Been taking painkillers and tried to tone it down so I had no idea what to read Onto the actual reviewMy first encounter with Aristophanes was last year when I had to read The Frogs for college I enjoyed the play and found it entertaining so I knew I would return to this author later on I found on my e reader a few of his comedies so I dived right inAristophanes was born in 446BC so his plays have survived for 2450 years like what? Imagine your work being read and respected for two thousand and almost five hundred years? I can’t even He wrote a decent amount of plays during his lifetime but as far as I know 11 plays are saved in their complete form He is also a representative of the three Athenian principal dramatic forms – Old comedy He has been respected in his life and known as the Father of comedy and noted as a man who is able to recreate the life of ancient Athens convincingly than any other author I remember that in class about ancient Greek plays and Aristophanes our professor said he was sort of a feminist with his plays and very satirical made fun of a lot of people too I got the vibe that he was completely okay guy almost like Diogenes – a little digression but Diogenes was a fucking legend check out some stories about him I love ancient Greece This short comedy of 3 acts was entertaining enough and the humor is similar to The Frogs – simple I enjoyed it and will read other works by Aristophanes solid 35


  8. says:

    Dead serious I chose to read this play purely because of its ridiculously long title I think in the hypothetical ridiculously longest book titles in the history of humanity Thesmophoriazusae is right up there on that list along with Origin of the Species and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde I didn't mind Thesmo too much in fact I hold in the same regard as I hold Lysistrata being a very comedic look on the treatment of women and their relationship with men in Greece And much like Lysistrata that relationship can seemingly sway a bit towards the favor of men particularly near the end when Euripides threatens to tell the women celebrating on their husbands coming back from war And by the way what was the point of shoehorning him into this play? I can get that Aristophanes might be trying to make a statement on women overreacting and taking things out of context but you could have done that with anything else besides Euripides Maybe I'm getting a little too worked up about this but it's still a decent comedy with an overall funny and mature message than Lysistrata Thesmo makes a stronger point of the view of women rather than the incredible solution to solving the problem of their treatment


  9. says:

    Once again Aristophanes play with briliant premise I do like his ideas And I was looking forward reading his final and greatest mocking of Euripides I even skipped this play while reading Aristophanes in order to read it after having Euripides' tragedies readTo my disappointment knowledge of particular tragedies seemed to add no additional pleasure to reading of The Thesmophoriazusae His mocking or Euripides' tragedies were for me weakest moments of play And usualy they were much about mocking the myth yes concrete phrases were cited from Euripides but so what? in general rather than mocking the tragedy itself So did I like it? Yes I did But it is by no means outstanding Just another Old comedy with hilarious premise funny beginnig that slowly becames pure madness in the second half


  10. says:

    This was definitely one of my favourites of Aristophanes' works so far I read this for school a couple of weeks ago and unlike The Frogs it actually made me laugh Its funny in the way that Euripides spent a lot of his life degrading and insulting women to then being completely terrified of them when they come face to face The men of the time spent their whole lives trying to control their wives and sisters to keep their power because they believe they're weak But this play shows in reality that men were just petrified of what would happen if the women started to rebel against their patriarchal society Their whole life system would disappear