Time for another examination of an ancient Greek comedy. In the past several months Balladeer’s Blog has reviewed dozens of examples of Attic Old Comedy. We’ve gotten to appreciate our shared humanity with the ancient Athenians, America’s forerunners in the experiment of democracy, with comedies that dealt with politics, economics, philosophy and irreverence for religion.
This time we’ll deal with a comedy that is more light-hearted for a change, but which deals with a subject that still affects a very large part of the world to Continue reading
Balladeer’s Blog has now covered 16 Attic Old Comedies, so readers have been treated to a nice assortment. Most recently I experimented with a new type of format for addressing in bulk those comedies which have survived in such fragmentary form they don’t merit a full-length review.
Instead of examining individual comedies in these posts, I will focus on those ancient Greek comedians whose entire corpus is very, very fragmentary, touching briefly on all of their known works. For background info on ancient Greek comedy plus my previous reviews click here: https://glitternight.com/ancient-greek-comedies/
POLYZELUS – Very little is known about this comic playwright except that his comedies came in first place an impressive four times at Lenaea festivals. His career spanned from approximately 410 BCE to 380 BCE and fragments from just five of his plays have come down to us out of an unknown total number of works.
Aside from the political satire Demos- Tyndareus his fragmentary comedies all fall under the subgenre of Attic Old Comedy known as mythological burlesques. And of those four mythological burlesques three are specifically birth comedies, in other words lampoons of the VERY odd circumstances that generally accompanied the conception and birth of the deities in Greek myths. Remember, this type of bawdy disrespect for the gods was tolerated only in the “anything goes” arena of the comedy performances.
I. DEMOS- TYNDAREUS (410 BCE) – The Tyndareus part of this political comedy’s title refers to the mythical figure who came back from the dead like Lazarus in Continue reading