Concordia discors: Eros and Dialogue in Classical Athenian Literature.

  Scholtz, Andrew. 2007. Concordia discors: Eros and Dialogue in Classical Athenian Literature. Hellenic Studies Series 24. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

Chapter 4. Forgive and Forget: Concordia discors in Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen and Lysistrata

To see how that works, it will help to consider Assemblywomen in relation to the playwright’s earlier drama of women taking charge: the Lysistrata of 412 BCE. Bringing to bear Bakhtinian ideas on the sociality of language, I shall explore how Praxagora in the later play harmonizes the city’s discourses, and in so doing, realizes Lysistrata’s dream of a close-knit civic order. Yet Praxagora, in order to form a more perfect union, must resist resistance and dissent with dissent. Hence concordia discors in Assemblywomen, whose crisis turns out to be nothing less than a clash of values: same-thinking, the city’s saving grace, versus the different-thinking implied by free speech, a value long central to the democratic franchise, yet sidelined under the new regime.

Stasis as Subtext?

Does that, though, allude to the revolutions of 411 or 404? Themes of constitutional subversion, and fear thereof, surface with some frequency in Aristophanes, for instance, in Wasps, which satirizes the habit of finding a subversive under every rock (345, 417, 463–507, 953). Sources from the period before 411, when addressing such matters, very often speak of “conspiracy” or the attempt to establish tyranny; after 411 and 403, when democracy really was dissolved, charges of oligarchy (i.e. of favoring one) or of aiming to dissolve the democracy (ton dêmon/tên dêmokratian kataluein, katalusis tou dêmou) come to the fore. [15] In surviving comedy, this last charge, that of dissolving democracy, crops up twice: once in each of Aristophanes’ surviving post-403 plays (Assemblywomen 452–453; Wealth 948–949). So the discourse would seem to have changed—oligarchy now, not tyranny, as scare-image—in response to recent events. But does Assemblywomen evoke a real-life dissolution from a decade before? We need to consider what an early fourth-century audience would have pictured while listening to Chremes’ reportage: an assembly speaker (Praxagora in disguise) no longer addressing an irrational fear (contrast Wasps), but insinuating that the dêmos does something that it in fact did, and twice, the last time barely a decade or so ago—an action whose memory would haunt the dêmos for years to come, namely, to vote itself out of existence. [16] And so, when this comedy plays women (cooperative, trusting, sharing, non-contentious, non-litigious) off against democracy-dissolvers like the city’s men, that likely would have touched a nerve, and would have resonated with a topic much in the air at the time: homonoia (concord) as an essential ingredient to civic well-being—as essential as stasis, its opposite, was felt to be detrimental. [17]

Forgive and Forget

Even so, it was hard to forget, as narratives of ongoing recrimination and reprisal attest, [42] not to mention court cases where the issue at hand provided a thin veil for political revenge. [43] How, then, did this altogether equivocal forgetting, one effectively breached in the very observance, come to win the admiration it did? [44] To Andrew Wolpert, Athenians gathered around it as a kind of social construct upon which to rebuild a shared identity:

Further insights come from discourse analysis. According to John Shotter and Michael Billig, memory and remembering—how the past is constructed—can be understood in social-discursive terms. When we remember, we adopt a stance not just to the past itself, but to what it symbolizes for us and others. Memory thus represents a field within which we demarcate our ideological investments and social alignments. [
46] That will, naturally, involve rejection as well as identification, social blindness as well as shared cognizance. And so it did in 403 BCE, when, if one wanted to take advantage of the chance to rejoin the Athenian dêmos, one had to jump through one very important hoop: to swear to ignore whole areas of active memory. That gained one entry into a community of individuals like-minded on at least one crucial point: that “we,” committed democrats (for such we are in swearing not to remember), refuse to acknowledge divisive thoughts within our midst.

Peithô on Trial: Lysistrata

But how to get men to listen? Partly through physical peithô (‘persuasion’)—seduction, intimidation, humiliation, even extortion in the form of a dual embargo, sexual and financial. But women also deploy verbal argument, both to justify this new role they have taken on (588–590, 638–657), and to propose a scheme to transform polis and empire into a broad-based coalition of shared goodwill (567–586). Not just peace, then, with Sparta, but an ambitious program for reform rides on women’s success at getting their message across. To do that, women cannot simply use coercive means, their dual embargo. They must as well engage men in genuine dialogue. They must communicate.

Speech represents, therefore, a fundamentally social phenomenon. But the sociality of speech will not be all of a piece and will depend in large measure on the central term in the transaction: evaluation. At its most basic, social evaluation of another’s utterance operates according to a binary code: positive/negative, acceptance/rejection, Us/Other. If the effort to forge an “ideological chain”—to open a channel to one’s discursive partner—meets with success, that in and of itself will betoken some level of social connection. But there’s the rub: if speakers sense no common ground between them, if they feel alienated before even saying a word, then they have little chance of initiating any real dialogue.

What can interfere? Let me try a computer analogy. Computers seeking to connect over a network will typically engage in what is known as “handshake,” through which they negotiate the communication protocol they will use for exchanging data. In human communication, that “handshake” can be analyzed into a pair of elements, the one termed “manifestation” by Deleuze, the other, “addressivity” by Vološinov and Holquist. Manifestation is the “I” in communication: it is my pushing myself and my message into your world. Deleuze illustrates by quoting Lewis Carrol’s Alice: “if only you spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything…”—manifestation, in other words, as a necessary precondition for communication. [55] But there is another element to the bargain: addressivity. If your computer is not in the “ready” state, it will “hear” no incoming message. Nor will you if your posture as listener, your “addressivity,” cannot be made to fit with my manifestation. [56] At its simplest, speaking is itself manifestation, and listening, addressivity: my speaking says to you “listen,” and your listening says to me “speak.” Operating outside of the purely semantic content of a message, those “metacommunicative messages” (“this is a joke,” “this is between friends,” “this is serious”) frame content. [57] We can, then, view handshake as that shared sense (entirely subjective, validated only by the dynamics of communication itself) that a connection has been made—the sense, in other words, that we can talk. Anything amiss within the metadiscursive frame, even the merest impression of an improper fit, say, between speaker and message or message and addressee, can cause one or both of us to lose the signal. [58]

Still, at two points in the drama, Lysistrata is able to command the Commissioner’s attention: first, as he unsympathetically listens to her complain about being silenced by her husband (503–531), then, as she offers a suggestion at once visionary and self-defeating. Thus Lysistrata, using imagery derived from the world of women’s work, explains how men should “weave” together a single “garment” (khlaina) of shared goodwill (koinên eunoian) centered on the dêmos, but uniting various disparate “threads”: metics, xenoi, all who are friendly to Athens and capable of benefiting it (565–586).

That plan, inspired and breathtaking though it is, manages only to alienate the Commissioner. Assimilating male statecraft to women’s handicrafts, Lysistrata allows the Commissioner the leeway to read her plan as a feminization—men metaphorically carding, spinning, weaving—on a par with the legislative fiasco he decried some lines before. [68] So our Commissioner takes it quite amiss: “Terrible, terrible, how they batter and bobbin us!” For it speaks, so the Commissioner thinks, to women’s insensitivity to the war-burden men have shouldered (587). But when Lysistrata counters by noting her and her associates’ contribution of sons, the Commissioner will have none of it. “Silence!” he commands, “Don’t go there—bad memories!” (siga, mê mnêsikakêsêis, 587–590). Earlier, Lysistrata’s counsel merely alienated the Commissioner. Now, it hits home with truth too painful to bear: a war that has cost Athenians dearly in lives. In silencing Lysistrata, the Commissioner uses an expression, mnêsikakein, “to remember past wrongs,” “to hold grudge,” with, we have seen, affinities to the violence of factionalized politics. Memory and grief, powerful arguments against war, the Commissioner would suppress as stasiastic. [69] But so would he any effort by women to address policy recommendations to himself and his fellow men. Despite women’s efforts to reach out, and a limited effort on the Commissioner’s part to pay heed, no ideological chain is forged, nor any line of communication opened. There is, it would seem, nothing either side can say that will help.

But conciliatory forgetting, too, has a role to play, specifically, during the concluding love-feast, a lavish affair celebrating peace between states and rapprochement between the sexes. Thus when a guest launches into a war song (the Telamôn) when he should have been singing a peace song (the Kleitagora), that ill-timed reminder could have ruined the mood, and possibly even rekindled hostilities. Fortunately, the other guests, pleasantly inebriated, overlook the gaffe and applaud anyway, thereby demonstrating the benefits of wine as catalyst of a kind of social forgetting (1225–1240). Even the list of invited gods suggests the need to suppress unpleasant memories. Invoking Memory and her Muse, the Spartan Herald summons a divine cohort to which his Athenian counterpart adds the names of those “to serve as witnesses, constant reminders of the magnanimous tranquility that divine Aphrodite has fashioned for us” (1260–1290, 1296–1321). Yet we hear nothing about Athena Polias, the city’s spear-wielding, city-protecting patron, whose rocky crag, lately the scene of inter-gender strife, provides the setting for the present love-feast. Thus the local Athena, eclipsed for the moment by her Spartan counterpart (1299, 1320/1), will play no overt role in deflecting collective memory away from the recent war to an earlier one, when Spartan-Athenian friendship led the Greeks to victory against a foreign foe (cf. 1247–1272).

To sum-up, we seem to have in Lysistrata an essay not on the power of logos but on its limits: its inability to span too broad or too deep an ideological divide unassisted. Thus when women reach out to their male compatriots, or male Athenians to their enemies (cf. 1228–1238), the sober give-and-take of logos will need the boost it gets from judiciously dispensed, and withheld, doses of women’s soothing and sexy ministrations (thôpeia, iunx) combined with the tranquilizing effects of drink. Men do, to be sure, eventually find ideological common ground in memories of past cooperation, but not before Lysistrata puts non-verbal persuasion into play. Returning, then, to Assemblywomen, Praxagora, we shall see, adapts this recipe to a revolution far more ambitious than anything tried in Lysistrata. Can it be made to work? That will depend on whether a restive citizenry can be made to think it does.


In Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, the title character’s dual embargo works wonders, though we get no sense that Lysistrata herself succeeds in her larger aim: to talk Athenian men into “re-stitching” a broader coalition—we might call it an empire—coming apart at the seams. Praxagora perforce sets her sights more locally: there is no longer any empire to re-stitch. There are, though, citizens desperately needing to regain a sense of common purpose. In addressing that need, Praxagora also talks. But her plan to tear down divisions on both the concrete and symbolic plane speaks just as eloquently as any speech she could give:

For I intend to transform the town (astu) into a single domicile (mian oikêsin) by demolishing (surrêxas’) everything into a single entity, so everyone can walk into everyone else’s house.

Aristophanes Assemblywomen 673–675

By cutting passageways between houses to form one vast residence, Praxagora will extend the principle of commonality (koinê diaita, “shared life”) to all corners of the city (the astu). Given the centrality of this totalizing transformation, not just of residential architecture, but of a citizenry united as one, we can think of her achievement in Greek terms as sunoikein, “synoecism.” This term’s elements (sun- “together,” oikos “house”) can refer to the banding together of husband and wife to form a household, or of population units (households, villages, etc.) to form a civic community, a polis (LSJ s.v. συνοικέω I. 1., 2., II.). Thus Praxagora, mastermind of a politically transformative oikos-amalgamation, emerges as a latter-day Theseus, mythical king and orchestrator of Athens’ legendary synoecism. We are told that Theseus, in carrying out the original merger (sunôikise) of Attic populations, made astute use of persuasion (Plutarch Theseus 2.2, 24.1–25.1), whose part in the merger he commemorated with a temple to Aphrodite Pandemos partnered with Peitho, persuasion personified (Pausanias 1.22.3). Which is to say that he recognized the role of a quasi-erotic, integrative dynamic in forging this union of demes. Just so Praxagora, insofar as she spares no resource of persuasion to reinaugurate the Athenian state, embodies a feminine-gendered peithô prized as the antithesis of political chaos and violence. [
71] Herself a cross between Theseus and Aphrodite, she has hit upon a plan to form that more perfect union Lysistrata could only dream of (Aristophanes Lysistrata 565–586): take over the state for real this time, and take responsibility out of the hands of men. In the earlier play, Lysistrata floated an optimistic view of the polis as an extension of the feminine-private sphere. [72] In Assemblywomen, that vision translates into action.

Comparison with Euripides’ Medea and Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus sheds further light. In both plays, an extra-urban stream, the “fair-flowing,” ever-flowing Cephisus, fosters a pure, inviolate beauty friendly to Aphrodite—beauty in which Athens itself basks, whether explicitly (Medea) or by association (Oedipus). Part and parcel with that is the sophia, the genius for intellectual and artistic achievement, with which Aphrodite’s Loves are partnered, and on which a divinely begotten race feeds in Euripides’ play. But it is fundamentally harmonia, not simply “harmony,” but a shared existence of material blessings and aesthetic attractions, that renders Athens a refuge attractive, yet inhospitable, to a child-murdering foreigner like the same play’s title character (Euripides Medea 824–845; cf. Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 668–719).

So, too, in Assemblywomen, a shared existence (diaitan…koinên pasin, 673–674) of material blessings (cf. 1112–1133) will conduce to the goal of banishing politically divisive individualism and greed. [73] Synoecism becomes, then, the tangible corollary of homonoia, the ideal of civic unity underlying gynaecocratic communalism. Sexed-up as it is in our play (613–634), homonoia recalls Max Weber’s “communism of love,” under which an individual’s uniquely forceful charisma gathers around itself a community based on the sharing of goods. [74] At the same time, this totalizing communalization carries with it Pythagorean overtones. Prompted by the teaching of their master, who declared the things of friends to be in common, and friendship to be equality (koina ta philôn einai kai philian isotêta), Pythagoras’ disciples deposited all their property in a common store (Timaeus FGrH 566 F 13b = Diogenes Laertius). Just so do Praxagora’s policies seek to reinvent Athens as a city of love and equality based on sharing. We have, therefore, in this communism of love envisioned by Praxagora the Periclean ideal reawakened, though in the absence of an empire on which to focus acquisitive lusts. This is, then, communal erôs in a form even purer than we saw in the Periclean Funeral Oration. With women enfranchised, erôs focused inward (among other things, citizens and foreigners may no longer mingle sexually, 718–724), and spouses to be shared, this marriage of citizens exemplifies synoecism in every sense of the word.

That association suggests as well a political side to the mutilation of the herms. Symbolizing the castration of citizen-male householders, [84] it also could have presaged, at least in retrospect, plots to dissolve democracy. Thus scholars argue that under democracy, “the herm [expressed] the notional equality of each household, represented in the person of its patriarch and signified by a simplified image of a man.” [85] Remarks Halperin,

Let me be clear: I am not claiming that Praxagora’s oikos amalgamation corresponds exactly to penetration of the house by would-be burglars, adulterers, or rapists, the sort of intrusion herms seem to have been envisaged as preventing. But it matters that she would tear down demarcations symbolizing an Athenian citizen’s autonomy and masculine integrity. Though meant in the service of a higher egalitarianism, these demolitions would tear down the old egalitarianism, the patriarchal democracy. And that is, of course, just what gynaecocratic communalism intends, namely, to “unman” Athenian government for its own good; to end, once and for all, the divisiveness of egocentric, pleonectic erôs; to unite Athenians in the spirit of koinônia, a broad-based sharing. Thus Praxagora faces the challenge not just of planning the city’s salvation, but of selling her plan to a citizenry with much to gain from it, though at a price all may not be willing to pay.

Peithô on Trial: Assemblywomen

But Praxagora has not come to the Pnyx unprepared. In case her proposal falls flat, she packs the assembly with like-minded women ready to vote as required (cf. 434). At the same time, she understands that part of the challenge will be not to let the discourse take its own course. Thus her rehearsal speech culminates with the following, rather unusual, request:

And so, gentlemen, let’s just hand the city over to these women, and let’s not blather on about it. Let’s not even try to learn what they intend to do. Let’s just let them rule.

Aristophanes Assemblywomen 229–232 (my emphasis)

Praxagora does, to be sure, want voters to consider all the benefits women have to offer (232–238). But she discourages deliberation, disparaged as so much “blather” (mê perilalômen; cf. LSJ s.v. λαλέω), the same term already used twice to disparage women’s speech generally, and men’s pre-assembly chatter specifically, as inconsequential. [
104] The alternative? “Let’s just let them rule” (all’ haplôi tropôi | eômen arkhein). This jussive formulation, one recalling Clytemnestra’s plea to a resistant Agamemnon,

Oh, do give in (pithou). You’re the winner if you willingly yield to me!

coaxingly seeks to nudge Praxagora’s male audience into compliance. Heading off attempts to meet her arguments head on, Praxagora maneuvers men into accepting as leaders women whose aversion to change, and whose connection to past traditions (arkhaion nomon, ‘ancient custom,’ 215–229), suggest a matriarchal version of Bakhtin’s “word of the fathers.” [

Thus I would suggest that Assemblywomen does not so much enact a parody of the Amnesty of 403 as it does explore issues lying at the Amnesty’s heart, specifically, the benefits and hidden costs of maneuvering around cognitions dissonant with the aim of solidifying civic bonds. We see this in persuasive strategies pursued by Praxagora: both those to control the discourse (229–232), and those of a distractive character. For in advertising communalism’s gastric and phallic attractions, she manages to draw attention away from dissonance between gynaecocracy’s democratic and counter-democratic sides. Acutely aware of context and atmosphere as a way to modulate and diffuse dispute, Praxagora therefore angles her pitch toward her interlocutors’ baser appetites, and reassures them that no one, not even women, though now the leadership elite, will enjoy special perks (627–629). Bonds are affirmed, dissonant cognitions glossed over. Democracy will henceforth equate with a big party. Praxagora does not, then, simply trust in logos, rational discourse, to make the case for communalizing property. As in Lysistrata, as in the Periclean Funeral Oration, so, too, in Assemblywomen, something extra seems needed to push through a plan that, though it offers tangible benefits, requires citizens to transcend differences and give something up.

We see now more clearly the overall design of the New Athens. A utopian dream within the here-and-now, its delights beckon like Sappho’s sacred grove—apple trees, gurgling stream, wafting incense, roses, “shimmering foliage” from which sleep descends (fr. 2). So, too, in the pleasure dome decreed by Praxagora, a kind of sleep descends. Is this a good thing? It depends on whom you ask.


No surprise, then, that our Skeptic takes issue not just with communalism, but with the very notion of women’s rule. Told that men will no longer have the chance to rescind this or any policy,


Look, friend, times have changed. Then we ruled; now women do.

Aristophanes Assemblywomen 830–831

the Skeptic responds with the following, rather startling, outburst:


Rest assured I’ll keep an eye out for them. No, they’ll not piss on me (mê katourêsôsi mou), so help me Poseidon! (nê ton Poseidô)

Aristophanes Assemblywomen 831–832

Projecting, as he does, a deeply paranoid antisociality, this counter-revolutionary is probably not meant by the playwright to earn our sympathy. Yet his misogyny manifests what can only be described as bias deeply ingrained in Greek culture of the time. Democritus, the fifth-century BCE philosopher, is said to have written that “to be ruled by a woman would be extreme hubris for a man” (fr. 111 D-K). Aristophanes’ Skeptic seems to have something similar in mind. Sommerstein explains “piss on me” as “treat me (sc. and all men) with arrogant contempt, in revenge for the way men have so long treated them”—gynaecocracy, in other words, as a kind of hubris avenging the hubris of patriarchy (the Neighbor’s “Then we ruled”). [
114] This Skeptic seems, then, to respond to women’s rule much as men do to a supposedly gynaecocratic coup in Lysistrata. Only here, it is specifically confiscation that the Skeptic feels threatened by (cf. 746–747).

We have seen that our Skeptic responds to gynaecocratic communalism with paranoid misogyny. That mindset extends, I would suggest, even to the oaths he swears. Having already sworn by Poseidon that he will never surrender his property (748), in the outburst just quoted, he swears as if naming Poseidon an ally in some war of the sexes. [115] He does not, of course, allude directly to any such war the god himself has waged, by which I mean Poseidon’s famous quarrel with Athena. Still, under the circumstances, the aggressiveness of the Skeptic’s oath mnêsikakei, it brings bad feelings into the cognitive foreground. That is, it projects precisely the sort of negativity gynaecocratic communalism needs to overcome if it is to work, indeed, was intended to address in the first place. Juxtaposed with Thucydides’ description of attitudes typical of stasis, this Skeptic’s overall attitude—his deep mistrust combined with his determination not to let others get the better of him—can be seen as stasiastic:

Factional splits took shape, ones driven mostly by mutual mistrust. For no spoken word was forceful enough, nor any oath fearful enough, to resolve differences. Counting on the hopelessness of a secure settlement, no one felt he could trust his enemy; everyone plotted how to come out on top by administering harm before falling victim to it.

Thucydides 3.83.1–2

I cite the passage from Thucydides to suggest affinities between, on the one hand, the attitudes and behavior of Aristophanes’ Skeptic, on the other hand, the hyper-proactive selfishness of stasis as described by the historian. But they are not exactly alike. What sets this Skeptic apart is the paradox that consensus and conformity, not factionalism, provoke his own hyper-proactive and contrarian conduct.

To get a better sense of that, we should look at the following exchange, in which the Skeptic doggedly refuses to be swayed either by the Neighbor’s assurances or by his threats:


I know these guys. No sooner do they pass a resolution than they turn around and renounce it.


They’ll bring their stuff, friend.


And if they don’t, then what?


Don’t worry, they will.


And if they don’t, then what?


We’ll fight them.


And if there are more of them, then what?


I’ll just go away and leave it be.


And if they sell your stuff, then what?


Blast you!


And if I do get blasted, then what?


You’ll be doing us a favor.

Aristophanes Assemblywomen 797–804

Pestered by the Skeptic with visions of non-compliance, the Neighbor invokes the coercive power of the state, the “We” to whom the Neighbor refers. But what if, as the Skeptic says, the noncompliant element will enjoy a numerical edge? Indeed, what if the whole operation goes awry, and an unspecified, unsupervised, unscrupulous “they” commandeer the goods? A silly question, perhaps, especially in view of the evident groundswell of compliance (805–806; cf. 771–774). Yet the question cannot simply be made to go away. If the point of communalization and related policy (amalgamation of housing, of families) is, ultimately, to bring Athenians together into a close-knit, harmonious whole, then what does it mean that implementation of that policy might, in however many cases, produce resistance, cheating, ill-will, fighting? Of course, to the Neighbor, the question is moot: all around them, team spirit prevails. But that spirit of cooperation, sine qua non for Praxagora’s plan to succeed, also represents her plan’s implicit goal. Yet if concord relies at every turn on concord, that necessarily implies a hurdle, discord, to be surmounted at every turn, too. Homonoia and stasis, diametrical opposites, would seem, then, to go hand in hand.

Which is not to say that we are supposed to cheer for the Skeptic or what he represents. But he does help us see the double-voiced character of a revolution providing for a “shared life” (koinê diaita) of peace and plenty, though at the expense of free speech and an individual citizen’s title to his own property, an “entitlement” cherished under the restored democracy, though an entitlement citizens must now forget. Our play, then, in no way presents an unambiguously pro or contra viewpoint vis-à-vis gynaecocratic communalism or its corollary, the privileging of consensus over debate. As things often do in the real world, it pulls at us from different directions.

Tug of War

That brings us to the second scene in which the play’s action seems to interrogate the New Athens. Praxagora, we recall, has, in addition to other communalistic reforms, decreed the sharing of sexual partners. No longer will individuals, men or women, wrangle for dates. All will have to wait their turn, seniors to the front of the line (613–634). What if some citizens, too impatient to cue up, look to the commercial sector? Too bad for them: Praxagora will, as she puts it, put all the “whores” (pornas) out of business (718–719).

Concordia discors

But what about prospects for same-thinking and free speech under the restored democracy? What does Assemblywomen have to say about that? Surely not that freedom equates with anarchy, or consensus with tyranny; that kind of paranoia we find modeled by the likes of Aristophanes’ Commissioner and Skeptic. So if Assemblywomen does send a message, perhaps it is this: that dialogue cannot happen outside of community, but efforts to impose community must always undercut dialogue. For the values we share will not always harmonize. But to value harmony above all else may not always be the best idea.


[ back ] 1. Sôtêria ‘safety, deliverance from danger’ on the agenda: Aristophanes Assemblywomen 396–397; cf. 202, 209, 233–234, 401–402, 412, 414. Oaths sworn by Zeus sôtêr, “Zeus the Savior”: 79, 761, 1045, 1103.

[ back ] 2. Emergency meetings with sôtêria at stake: Aeschines 2.72; Demosthenes 18.248; 19.123; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 29.2; Sommerstein 1998:176; Hansen 1987:28–30; Rhodes 1985:233–235.

[ back ] 3. Demagogues and the dêmos’ preference for them: Aristophanes Assemblywomen 176–182. Selfishness, cynicism, greed, inconstancy, (reckless) innovation, poverty, insensitivity to same, class tensions: passim. General corruption: Saïd 1996:284–286.

[ back ] 4. Chronic-endemic character of troubles in Assemblywomen: Foxhall 2002; Henderson 2002:415; Reinders 2001:1249. Sense of crisis in Aristophanes’ Knights: Anderson 1995:10–13. In Frogs: 687–688, 736–737, 1418–1423, 1435–1436, 1446–1450.

[ back ] 5. Women’s rule in Assemblywomen as reversal: Sommerstein 1998:8 citing Aristotle Politics 1259b1–3, 1260a8–13.

[ back ] 6. Since at least 1836, the year of Zastra’s dissertation. For the interpretive “enigma” (Sommerstein’s term): Reinders 2001:243–251; Ober 1998:150; Sommerstein 1998:18; Sommerstein 1984:314–316; Hess 1963:i–xiii.

[ back ] 7. Socio-economic themes in Assemblywomen: Sommerstein 1998:18–22; Saïd 1996:299–301; Taaffe 1993:103, 130–131; David 1984; Sommerstein 1984 (whence the phrase “Demon Poverty”); Foley 1982:14; Ussher 1973:xxix–xx. “Relative unity and moderate (if not universal) economic recovery” in the post-403 period: Rothwell 1990:2; cf. Reinders 2001:247–251; Funke 1980.

[ back ] 8. Date: McGlew 2002:191; Sommerstein 1998:1–8.

[ back ] 9. Cf. Ober 1998:133: “They (Athenian women) seek a new ground for Athenian homonoia in a radical homogenization of material and familial benefits.”

[ back ] 10. For which, Ober 2002; Quillin 2002; Tieman 2002; Wolpert 2002a; Wolpert 2002b.

[ back ] 11. Sôtêria, homonoia, amnesty: Andocides 1.73, 76, 81, 106–9, 140; Lysias 18.18–19; 25.23, 27. Sôtêria, civic affection (philia), homonoia versus hatred, stasis, disagreement (dikhonoia): Plato First Alcibiades 126a–c.

[ back ] 12. Sommerstein 1998:154.

[ back ] 13. See “Stasis,” chapter 3 above.

[ back ] 14. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 214–228, 435–453; cf. the Chorus, 300–310.

[ back ] 15. Sartori 1999:148–149; MacDowell 1971:180.

[ back ] 16. In 411 and 404, the dêmos was forced into complicity with processes leading to its dissolution: Wolpert 2002b:16–20, 35–36, 41–42; Price 2001:304–312. Cf. Aristophanes Wealth 947–950 (democracy-dissolution assumed to require legislative approval); Xenophon Hellenica 2.3.45 (dêmos persuaded to dissolve democracy to appease Sparta); Aeschines 3.234 (dêmos “flattered” into complicity).

[ back ] 17. 17 Andocides 1.140; Lysias 18.17–18; 25; Isocrates 4.174; 18.44; Xenophon Memorabilia 4.4.16, 4.6.14; Archytas fr. 3 D–K; Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics 1155a24–26; Ephorus 70 F 148.7, 149.6–7 FGrH; Loraux 2002:109, 256–257, 262; Ludwig 2002:19, 193–194, 342–343; Ober 1989:295–299; Funke 1980. Cf. Loraux 2002:116–119 on harmonia.

[ back ] 18. Cf. Sommerstein 1998:180.

[ back ] 19. Hetaira here as feminine of hetairos, “club-member,” “conspirator.” In Aristophanes Assemblywomen 110, the women form a xunousia, an organized association. Revolutionary sunousiai in Lysias 8: Todd 2000:88. Hetairoi, hetaireiai (political clubs or “action committees”), sunômosia (“conspiracy”), oligarchy: Thucydides 8.54.4, 65.2, 81.2, 92.4; Lysias 12.43; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 34.3; McGlew 2002:112–138; Hall 1993:269–270. The pun in Assemblywomen: Sommerstein 1998:139–140; Ussher 1973:75–76.

[ back ] 20. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 184–188; Hess 1963:17–18, 87. Ecclesiastic pay: Sommerstein 1998:154, 167 with references. Unpaid were non-attendees and late arrivals (beyond the six-thousand quorum).

[ back ] 21. Hess 1963 takes Assemblywomen as a post-imperial Knights, and Agyrrhius as its Cleon, but see Rothwell 1990:5–7; Ussher 1973:101.

[ back ] 22. Agyrrhius’ career: Sommerstein 1998:147–148; Hess 1963:18–29. Pay for political-judicial service ran counter to oligarchy: Ostwald 2000:27. On ponêroi, Rosenbloom 2004a.

[ back ] 23. Xenophon Hellenica 2.3.2; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 29.3, 34.3, 35.2; Wolpert 2002b:35–42; Ostwald 1986:337–411. Myronides as exemplar of manliness and ferocity in battle: Aristophanes Lysistrata 801–803; commands held by him, Sommerstein 1998:167.

[ back ] 24. Braund 1994.

[ back ] 25. Have-nots motivated by envy and deceived by democratic leaders (prostatai) to apply the “savage lash” to haves: Euripides Suppliants 240–243. Hubris-resonances in the preceding: Michelini 1994:224–225; Fisher 1992:418–424.

[ back ] 26. Redistribution (anadasmos tês gês) and cancellation of debts (apokopê khreôn) in connection with democratic coups and the like: Plato Republic 565e–566b; Aristotle Politics 1305a2–7; Constitution of the Athenians 40.3 (Athens the exception); Isocrates 12.259 (stasis, redistribution unknown in Sparta); Gehrke 1985:323 and n76 with passages cited there. Saïd 1996:303 notes in Assemblywomen resonance with the system of requiring the rich to fund public projects. Wealth-inequality as itself a cause of stasis: Isocrates 4.174; Archytas fr. 3 D-K.

[ back ] 27. Krentz 1982:62–68 with sources cited. Restriction of the franchise and oligarchy: Ostwald 2000:27–28.

[ back ] 28. Pomeroy 2002:75–82, 92–93; Dettenhofer 1999:102–103. Spartan resonances generally: Sommerstein 1998:16; Rothwell 1990:10. Marriage arrangements at Sparta: Pomeroy 2002:37–45 and see index s.v. “marriage.” Praxagorean spouse sharing does not replicate Spartan customs exactly.

[ back ] 29. I cannot fully agree with Ober 1998:149 that this line is “funny, but not crazy in an Athenian context.” If, as is likely, the Neighbor (not Praxagora) speaks (Sommerstein 1998:194), it is at least deeply ironic that the speaker will have had to pay for wealth-equalization with virtual disfranchisement.

[ back ] 30. Lysias 12.36, 83, 95–98; 13.43–48; 18.17; Xenophon Hellenica 2.3.21, 38–42, 2.4.1; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 35.4; Diodorus 14.5.5–7; Wolpert 2002b:15–24; Gehrke 1985:210–214, 325.

[ back ] 31. Aristotle Politics 1302a24–26 (“Those who seek equality take part in faction (stasiazousin) if they think that they have less, yet feel themselves on a par with those whose with more”); see Kalimtzis 2000:112–115.

[ back ] 32. Foley 1981a:1–6, 16–21; cf. Rothwell 1990:20–21.

[ back ] 33. Billig 1996:232–238.

[ back ] 34. For these dissonant resonances of gynaecocracy: Rosellini 1979.

[ back ] 35. Upwards of 1,500 Athenians, perhaps as much as five percent of the citizenry, killed, not to mention non-citizens: Wolpert 2002b:22nn67–68; Krentz 1982:79.

[ back ] 36. Andocides 1.90; Xenophon Hellenica 2.4.43; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 39.6; Dionysius Lysias 32; Loraux 2002:246–248; Ober 2002; Quillin 2002; Tieman 2002; Wolpert 2002a; Wolpert 2002b; Dorjahn 1946:1–6. Members of the regime’s inner circle were additionally required to submit to an audit.

[ back ] 37. Herodotus 6.21.2, for which, Loraux 2002:146–154, 181, 295n58, 311n51.

[ back ] 38. Plutarch Moralia 814b–c, for which Loraux 2002:148, 300n11.

[ back ] 39. Plutarch Moralia 741a–b; Loraux 2002:43–44, 171–190. The historicity of the subtraction remains vexed.

[ back ] 40. Lakoff 2006.

[ back ] 41. Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 40.2; Wolpert 2002a:115–116.

[ back ] 42. Xenophon Hellenica 3.1.4; Nepos Thrasybulus 3.3; Krentz 1982:114–122.

[ back ] 43. Assorted speeches of Lysias and early Isocrates; Andocides 2; Quillin 2002:72–73; Wolpert 2002a; Wolpert 2002b:48–71; Krentz 1982:114–117. Stone 1988 and Dover 1975 suggest political motivation for Socrates’ impiety trial.

[ back ] 44. Andocides 1.140; Lysias 2.64; Xenophon Hellenica 2.5.43; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 40.2; Wolpert 2002b:48, 159n2.

[ back ] 45. Wolpert 2002a:111.

[ back ] 46. Shotter and Billig 1998:17–18.

[ back ] 47. Though cf. Aristophanes Wealth 1146, an explicit reference to the Amnesty of 403.

[ back ] 48. Metatheatrical resonances of female impersonation by male actors on the ancient Attic stage: Bassi 1998; Taaffe 1993.

[ back ] 49. Presumably, husbands with sufficient means could have found extramarital outlets, though the play glosses over that. Still, for ordinary Athenians, conjugal sex probably represented, among other things, a genuine erotic outlet: Fowler 1996. Cf. the recent “crossed legs” strike staged by Colombian women fed up with gang violence: NPR Morning Edition 15 September 2006.

[ back ] 50. Shaw 1975.

[ back ] 51. Foley 1982:7. Women’s roles outside the house (e.g. public cult), men’s with respect to the house (e.g. maintaining material wellbeing): Cohen 1991:70–83, 150–154; Foley 1982:1–5.

[ back ] 52. Rosellini 1979:13.

[ back ] 53. Cf. Rosellini 1979:12–15. This is, of course, a staging ground less politicized, or masculinized, than the Pnyx, the regular venue for assembly meetings.

[ back ] 54. See “Dialogical Reading,” chapter 1 above.

[ back ] 55. Deleuze 1990:17; also 13–18. Cf. Vološinov 1986:83–90 on “expression” and “orientation.”

[ back ] 56. Addressivity: Holquist 1990:27, 48; Vološinov 1986:85–87.

[ back ] 57. Bateson’s metacommunicative messages (gestural, facial, intonational, verbal): Neuman 2003:68; cf. Vološinov 1986:87, 103–104. “Content” and “meta-” are relative terms: content can frame; frame always involves some sort of content.

[ back ] 58. Cf. Neuman et al. 2002:95–96, which see generally on the orator’s need to enter into his audience’s “collective self—their group membership or identity” (94).

[ back ] 59. Taaffe 1993:59.

[ back ] 60. For this tactic, especially Bassi 1998:107–108.

[ back ] 61. A return to normal levels of gender-polarization accompanies the eventual resolution of tensions: Taaffe 1993:51–52.

[ back ] 62. Hubris . . . pollê, Aristophanes Lysistrata 658–659; cf. 400. See Fisher 1992:118 and n231.

[ back ] 63. Aristophanes Lysistrata 671–679. Artemisia commanded pro-Persian forces at Salamis (480 BCE); the Amazons, barbarian warrior-women of myth, attacked Athens: Bremer 2000; Dorati 1998:46–48; Henderson 1987:160.

[ back ] 64. Dorati 1999; Taaffe 1993:53; Henderson 1991:98; Henderson 1987:105; Martin 1987.

[ back ] 65. Aristophanes Lysistrata 616–679. Cf. PMG frr. 893–896; see Henderson 2000:355n57; Loraux 1993:154–157.

[ back ] 66. Castration: Henderson 1987:161. Women “dousing” men’s sexual-military encroachments: Aristophanes Lysistrata 254–386; Dorati 1999:84; Henderson 1991:98.

[ back ] 67. The Commissioner probably means that the women cast a funereal pall over the expedition with their lamentations; cf. Plutarch Alcibiades 18.2–3.

[ back ] 68. Cf. barbaric gender reversal: Sophocles Oedipus at Colonus 337–343; Herodotus 2.35.2; Hippocrates Airs Waters Places 22; Dorati 1998:43–44; Cohen 1991:79–80.

[ back ] 69. “To allow Lys. to complete her statement (‘never to see them again’) would indeed have evoked spectator resentments and in addition would have been ill-omened”: Henderson 1987:145.

[ back ] 70. Aristophanes Lysistrata 530–538, 599–607; Dorati 1998:50–53; Taaffe 1993:64–66.

[ back ] 71. Praxagora’s peithô: Rothwell 1990:26–43 et passim.

[ back ] 72. Foley 1982:7; cf. Konstan 1995:51–54; Rothwell 1990:21; Vaio 1973:372.

[ back ] 73. Cf. Möllendorff 1995:121–122: Praxagora will reorganize the polis, the male, external world (identified with the here-and-now) on the model of the oikos, the female, internal world (identified with the past).

[ back ] 74. Weber 1978:1119–1120.

[ back ] 75. Bakhtin 1981:275–288.

[ back ] 76. Morson and Emerson 1990:319–325; Bakhtin 1981, 278. This scheme undeniably reveals critical bias on Bakhtin’s part and ignores a great deal of poetry. Buts its usefulness emerges if we understand “centrifugal” as referring to the ways that discourse engages other discourses, “centripetal” to the ways that it engages its own production. Both dynamics surely operate all the time.

[ back ] 77. See Cohen 1991:70–97 for the house as “a physical embodiment of claims of privacy associated with the family” (84).

[ back ] 78. Cf. Reinders 2001:277–279; Zimmermann 1983:74–75.

[ back ] 79. See Connor 1985. This punishment might be visited upon the powerful, as in the case of certain oligarchs of 411. Cf. the destruction of Socrates’ “Thinkery” in Aristophanes’ Clouds.

[ back ] 80. Thucydides speaks of the abundance of herms as a local idiosyncrasy at Athens, where they could be found at the entrance to both private and sacred space (6.27.1). The archaeological evidence for their presence in public spaces is excellent, less than excellent for them in front of private doors. Aristophanes Wealth 1153 illustrates the latter; some of these could have been of perishable wood. Their presence at house doors likely will have been commonplace if not inevitable. William Furley notes that the phallic potency of herms functioned in a triple capacity: to keep intruders out, to protect those within, to protect the latter when venturing forth from within (Furley 1996:19–20). See further McGlew 2002:132–138; Wohl 2002:21–25 and index; Furley 1996:13–30; Fehling 1988.

[ back ] 81. Cf. Lysias 3.7. Integrity of the house and personal honor: Cohen 1991:147. Fisher (1992:1) defines hubris as “the serious assault on the honour of another, which is likely to cause shame, and lead to anger and attempts at revenge.”

[ back ] 82. Graphê hubreôs: Isocrates 20.2; Demosthenes 21; Fisher 1992:36–85. In Isocrates 20.1 (402–400 BCE), political freedom and democracy are there to protect the citizen’s physical body against assault, a crime the speaker associates with the outrages of the Thirty (4, 10–11).

[ back ] 83. Eph’ hubrei, Thucydides 6.28.1. For the mutilation as hubristic, Demosthenes 21.143–147; Plutarch Alcibiades 18.4; Fisher 1992:145.

[ back ] 84. So Wohl 2002:20. Thucydides 6.27.1 refers to damage to the faces of herms. Whether or not vandals also damaged the phalloi (as Lysistrata 1093–1094 may imply) makes little difference: “either way, the citizen body is mutilated” (Wohl 2002:154n79). Cf. Wohl 23–24 on the civic-emasculatory dimension of the mutilation of 415 BCE.

[ back ] 85. Halperin quoting Winkler from the latter’s unpublished Martin Classical Lectures; see Halperin 1990:104–105 and 188n112.

[ back ] 86. Halperin 1990:104. Cf. Wolpert 2002b:90 on a herm erected beside the Piraeus walls rebuilt in 395/4 (Philochorus FGrH 328 F 40). The proliferation of herms in the city (versus the countryside) seems to accompany the introduction of democracy; see Furley 1996:17–21 with references.

[ back ] 87. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 88–165, 189–191, 285–299. Women (not Praxagora) as masters only of “gossip” (lalein): 119–120; Beta 1999:61.

[ back ] 88. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 111–114; cf. 102–104, 427–432. For the young, male effeminate as the future “manly man” of Athenian politics, Aristophanes Knights 417–426, 483–485, 878–880; Plato Symposium 192a; Saïd 1996:286–289.

[ back ] 89. Rothwell 1990:89. Feminine/effeminate sexual allure equals peithô-power: Rothwell 1990:88–89, 98–100.

[ back ] 90. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 385–387, 432; Sommerstein 1998:143, 175.

[ back ] 91. Hiding in its ink, as opposed to emitting ink merely out of fear, like the octopus or squid, the cuttlefish is the “most mischievous” (panourgotaton) of soft sea creatures: Aristotle Historia animalium 621b28–622a1. The cuttlefish as dolomêtis: Oppian 2.120; cf. 1.312–313, 3.156. See further Detienne and Vernant 1978:159–161 with notes.

[ back ] 92. Mating: Detienne and Vernant 1978:160. Hair-like tentacles to snare prey: Oppian Haleutica 2.121–3 (hôste plokoi); Detienne and Vernant 1978:159 and 173n173.

[ back ] 93. Ability to take on background coloring: Aristotle Historia animalium 622a11–13. Play on “cuttlefish” as prostitute’s name: Antiphanes 27.1–4 PCG with notes; Davidson 1997:10. According to certain older traditions, the cuttlefish was the last of Thetis’ magical transformations before Peleus was able to pin her down and win her hand: Detienne and Vernant 1978:158–159.

[ back ] 94. Byl 1982:35.

[ back ] 95. Davidson 1997:10.

[ back ] 96. Woman 1 had to spend the night being “rowed” (sexually) by her Salaminian husband (37–39); see Sommerstein 1998:141. Ship-of-state imagery in Assemblywomen: Rothwell 1990:48–49. Erotics of gynaecocratic peithô: Rothwell 1990:46–60 et passim.

[ back ] 97. Lysistrata’s iunx (her “sex appeal,” Lysistrata 1110) resides in the first instance in her leadership qualities. Praxagora, by contrast, is overtly sexual: Rothwell 1990:88–90.

[ back ] 98. Hupokrouein can mean “to interrupt” a speaker (cf. Aristophanes Acharnians 38; Pseudo-Plato Eryxias 395e). Krouein and compounds figure prominently as sexual double-entendres (hetero- and homoerotic) at various points in Aristophanes Assemblywomen: Taaffe 1993; Rothwell 1990:49–51, 88–89.

[ back ] 99. If men come “knocking,” Praxagora will “thrust back” (proskinêsomai, trans. Sommerstein): Aristophanes Assemblywomen 256. Issues of vocabulary: Henderson 1991:153, 171.

[ back ] 100. Taaffe 1991:92.

[ back ] 101. Cross-dressing in Assemblywomen: Taaffe 1991; Rothwell 1990:97–99

[ back ] 102. See Dorati 1998:51; Taaffe 1993:113. McGlew and Rothwell point out that Blepyrus has been, Demos-like, revived when he reappears onstage with a girl on either arm. Cf. Aristophanes Knights finale; see McGlew 2002:198–199; Rothwell 1990:57–59. But this is still a virtually disfranchised Blepyrus.

[ back ] 103. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 432–433. Farmers are conventionally regarded as upholders of tradition: Sommerstein 1998:178; Carter 1986:76–98. Farmer-hoplites as civic symbols: Hanson 1995. As masculine symbols: Winkler 1990:45–70.

[ back ] 104. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 120, 129; Taaffe 1993:116.

[ back ] 105. A damaged line, but I translate the standard reconstruction. Clytemnestra seeks, of course, to induce Agamemnon to seal his fate by hubristically stepping upon the luxurious carpet she has laid out for him. Here and elsewhere in Agamemnon, Clytemnestra’s rhetoric targets male “resistance motivated by suspicion”; see Bers 1994a:184.

[ back ] 106. Bakhtin 1981:342.

[ back ] 107. Cf. Thucydides 3.38.4, 7 (deliberative logos as spectator sport); 2.40.2–3. See also p. 51 above.

[ back ] 108. Cf. Herodotus 5.78.

[ back ] 109. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 1155–1162, on which Sommerstein 1998:237; Ussher 1973:233–234, 1158–1159.

[ back ] 110. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 473–475; cf. Clouds 587–589; Eupolis 219 PCG; see Wankel 1976:1111.

[ back ] 111. See n93 above.

[ back ] 112. For the neighbor’s “parade” as quasi-Panathenaic: Sommerstein 1998:203–205; Ussher 1973:178–180. The Panathenaic procession as an expression of the “the united power and glory of Athens”: Parke 1977:37. Panathenaea: Parker 1996:89–92; Parke 1977:33–50.

[ back ] 113. Ober 1998:122–155. Sommerstein calls him “Dissident”; in the transmitted text, he has no name: Sommerstein 1998:206; Sommerstein 1984:316 and n21.

[ back ] 114. See Sommerstein 1998:210. Hubristic excretion: Demosthenes 54.4; Sommerstein 1998:195; Fisher 1992:50 and n45.

[ back ] 115. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 832. Swearing by Poseidon can carry a contextually relevant point: Aristophanes Clouds 83 (in relation to horses, Poseidon’s gift); Aristophanes Birds 1614 (Poseidon speaking); Assemblywomen 339; Lysistrata 403; Thesmophoriazusae 86 (tension between the sexes). Oaths in Aristophanes: Dillon 1995.

[ back ] 116. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 802. Sommerstein 1998:208 points out likely resonances with the sale of exiled democrats’ goods in 404/3.

[ back ] 117. Sommerstein’s points against the Skeptic (1984:319–320) are well taken, but the Skeptic’s distrust of having to surrender his property could well have resonated with Athenians who had experience or knowledge of confiscation under the Thirty.

[ back ] 118. Porneia generally: Kurke 1997; Halperin 1990:88–112. Publicity: Theophrastus Characters 28.3; Graham 1998; Davidson 1997:78–83; Cohen 1991:148. Cf. Aristophanes Thesmophoriazusae 798–799 on the embarrassment of respectable women caught peeking out their windows; Lycurgus 40. For this scene (Assemblywomen 877–1111): Sommerstein 1998:214.

[ back ] 119. Kasalbas = pornê: Pollux 7.202; Sommerstein 1998:232; Henderson 1991:212–213.

[ back ] 120. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 952–975. See Sommerstein 1998:221; Taaffe 1993:125, 189n43; Olson 1988. Paraclausithyron seems to have been an established genre by Aristophanes’ time. Alcaeus fr. 374 Lobel-Page may come from such a song; cf. Euripides Cyclops 502.

[ back ] 121. I borrow Sommerstein’s term: 1998:214. Cf. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 1017–1020, 1074–1088.

[ back ] 122. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 1055–1056. The citing/quoting of law(s)/decree(s) in Assemblywomen: 944–945, 1015–1020, 1049–1051; Ober 1998:122–155; Sens 1991:32–37. Legal self-help combined with declarations like the Old Woman’s: Lysias 1.26; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 57.3; Fisher 1998:78–80; Sens 1991:30–106.

[ back ] 123. Epigenes as hubristic, the Old-Comic stereotype of the hubristic young man, youth as hubristic generally: Fisher 1992:97–99; Rothwell 1990:71–72; Sommerstein 1984:320–321.

[ back ] 124. In Aristophanes Assemblywomen, rape and hubris are suggested by use of the verb helkein, “drag off”: 1020, 1037, 1050, etc. Likewise the youth’s cry for help: 1053–1054. See generally Fisher 1998:79, 95n39; Fisher 1992:96, 104–109, 267–268; Cohen 1991:177–179; Sens 1991:78–81.

[ back ] 125. “You’ll pull me apart!” Aristophanes Assemblywomen 1076; cf. Euripides Bacchae 1125–1136. I thank Gerald Kadish for pointing out the parallel.

[ back ] 126. The natural comparison is to sophistically-educated, parent-beating Pheidippides in Aristophanes Clouds and to the father-beater in Birds.

[ back ] 127. Rothwell 1990:71–72; Sommerstein 1984:320–321.

[ back ] 128. Critics tend not to take this dismemberment overly seriously, nor should we. Still, the fact that it represents visual-verbal horsing around does not preclude its symbolic value.

[ back ] 129. Cf. Saïd 1996:296–299.

[ back ] 130. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 1112–1183; cf. 834–852. For the question of whether this is a mirage-feast, Sommerstein 1998:236, 239; Sommerstein 1984:322–323. Real or mirage, this feast celebrates what is, at best, an equivocal salvation for Athens.

[ back ] 131. Cf. Aristophanes Assemblywomen 1157. Sommerstein 1998:239 distinguishes Praxagora’s feast from the producer’s cast party. I am not, however, so sure such a distinction is clearly made; cf. Assemblywomen 581–587 (the audience’s response to Praxagora’s plan matters); 1141–1142 (invitation of audience and judges favorable to the play).

[ back ] 132. Cf. the performative future in curse formulas: Faraone 1995. This sort of wishful speaking-thinking is typical for the closing lines of comedy: Sommerstein 1998:239–240.

[ back ] 133. Cf. Rosen 1997 on the personification of empire as love-object.

[ back ] 134. See Wolpert 2002b:145n1 with references.

[ back ] 135. Cf. Loraux 2002; Loraux 1995:37 on stasis as figurative cannibalism.

[ back ] 136. Sicilian debate (415 BCE): p. 18 above. Condemnation of the generals (406): Xenophon Hellenica 1.7.8–35; Aristotle Constitution of the Athenians 34.1; Plato Apology 32b.

[ back ] 137. Ober 1998:122–155.