Tag Archives: Alcibiades

BAPTAE (Circa 415-413 B.C.): ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY

Dr Frank N FurterFor Balladeer’s Blog’s latest post on Ancient Greek Comedy I will examine another fragmentary work by Eupolis, who, along with Aristophanes and Cratinus was one of the Big Three of Attic Old Comedy.

BAPTAE was a comedy satirizing the latest faddish belief system to hit Athens: the cult of the Dorian and Thracian goddess Cotyto. Just like Kabala or transcendental meditation and other systems have enjoyed a brief vogue with entertainers and even some movers and shakers various foreign deities would periodically develop a following in ancient Athens. Eupolis was lampooning the fashionable appeal of one such cult and also ridiculed other elements of Cotyto worship as we will see.

The title Baptae came from the fact that the worshippers of Cotyto would immerse or “baptize” their garments in blue, green or purple dye, an expensive and very ostentatious indulgence for the time period. And yes, Baptae and baptizing are from the same root word, since it originally referred to immersion in any liquid, not just water.

The main element of the Athenian version of the cult of Cotyto was the fact that her devotees were exclusively male and all of them DRESSED AS THE GODDESS as part of their rites of worship. Even today we can Continue reading

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ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY: BAPTAE (c: 415-413 BCE)

Dr Frank N Furter

Dr Frank N Furter

For Balladeer’s Blog’s latest post on Ancient Greek Comedy I will examine another fragmentary work by Eupolis, who, along with Aristophanes and Cratinus was one of the Big Three of Attic Old Comedy.

BAPTAE was a comedy satirizing the latest faddish belief system to hit Athens: the cult of the Dorian and Thracian goddess Cotyto. Just like Kabala or transcendental meditation and other systems have enjoyed a brief vogue with entertainers and even some movers and shakers various foreign deities would periodically develop a following in ancient Athens. Eupolis was lampooning the fashionable appeal of one such cult and also ridiculed other elements of Cotyto worship as we will see.

The title Baptae came from the fact that the worshippers of Cotyto would immerse or “baptize” their garments in blue, green or purple dye, an expensive and very ostentatious indulgence for the time period. And yes, Baptae and baptizing are from the same root word, since it originally referred to immersion in any liquid, not just water.

The main element of the Athenian version of the cult of Cotyto was the fact that her devotees were exclusively male and all of them DRESSED AS THE GODDESS as part of their rites of worship. Even today we can Continue reading

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ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY: THE BANQUETERS (427 BCE)

 For background info on ancient Greek comedies and my previous reviews of them, click here (also features a list of my source books): https://glitternight.com/ancient-greek-comedies/

What Meet the Beatles was to the British Invasion, The Banqueters was to Attic Old Comedy. (Yes, I love silly comparisons) This play was the first comedy written by Aristophanes, the leading light of ancient Greek comedy, and was performed at the Lenaea festival of 427 BCE when Aristophanes was nineteen years old. The Banqueters won second prize, making it a very auspicious debut for the man often considered the greatest political satirist of the ancient world.

THE PLAY

The Banqueters is a comedy that once again lets us feel our shared humanity with the ancient Athenians, in this case over the perennial conflicts caused by Generation Gaps and the tension between pointlessly clinging to the past and pointlessly embracing new ideas just because they’re new, even though they may be just as flawed as the older ideas they replace. This is one of the many comedies of Aristophanes that survive in fragmentary form, not in their entirety. 

SYNOPSIS

An Athenian landowner with staid, old-fashioned views is hosting a lavish banquet in honor of Heracles. The attendees are the landowners’ Phratry- brothers (think of a cross between college fraternity brothers and social lodge brothers) and they are the title banqueters who make up the chorus of the play, offering wry commentary on the action of the comedy, often with jokes that break the fourth wall and address the audience directly.

The landowner is using the event to Continue reading

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