Tag Archives: Crates

BEST OF JANUARY 2018

Year-end is the time for retrospectives of the months just past. Here is a look at Balladeer’s Blog’s Best of January for 2018.

Flashman cutTHE TOP FIVE FLASHMAN NOVELS – Little did I know how wild the reaction would be to my reviews of what I consider to be the top five novels featuring George MacDonald Fraser’s infamous antihero Harry Paget Flashman.

Roguish and amoral Harry’s bed and battle historical adventures were new to a lot of readers. Reaction was so enthusiastic I wound up throwing in a bonus Sixth novel PLUS my speculations regarding assorted Lost Flashman Papers. To start click HERE

pherecrates logo from vaseCRATES: ANCIENT GREEK COMEDIES – Balladeer’s Blog took another look at the fragmentary remains of the works of yet another ancient Greek comedian.

Crates had nowhere near the impact of the big names like Aristophanes, Eupolis and Cratinus but his comic plays are still interesting in their own way. To read this item click HERE  

5.1.2ORION: THE ELVIS PRESLEY HOAX/ PUT-ON – Many readers felt this weird topic featured me at my myth-dissecting best.

For Elvis Presley’s birthday I examined obscure and bizarre folklore, demented conspiracy theories and the way the whole Orion/ Dead Elvis tableau presented fiction imitating real-life imitating fiction in a mad loop. Click HERE

Trump triREHASHING PRESIDENT TRUMP’S INCREDIBLE 2017 – De facto Third Party President Donald Trump showed the working class and the poor that at long last an American office-holder actually cared about them for the first time in decades.

Trump-o-crats, Re-Trump-licans and the entire Trumpen-proletariat had their economic suffering eased by the Donald, who has proven to be equal parts Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F Kennedy! I was expecting to hate Trump but he proved me wrong every step of the way, from the campaign onward. Click HERE 

*** TWELVE MORE COOL FOOTBALL HELMETS FROM NEGLECTED TEAMS – This one is a visual treat, so click HERE

mascot new look donkey and elephant headsTRANSGRESS WITH ME, JANUARY 13th – One of the earliest installments of what has become one of Balladeer’s Blog’s most controversial and hotly-debated recurring items.

Let your mind explore the forbidden in this fun but challenging bit by clicking HERE

chancellor manuscript 3ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE CHANCELLOR MANUSCRIPT – Balladeer’s Blog reviews Robert Bourne Identity Ludlum’s 1977 espionage novel that seems even more timely and possible here in 2018.

See an FBI run amok, Deep State oligarchs (See how old the term Deep State is?) and the consequences of lack of oversight of America’s sleazy, forever-corrupt intelligence agencies. For my review click HERE   

*** MOCK HEADLINES JANUARY 17th – One of the most popular and funniest items of the month. CLICK HERE

*** FACEBOOK IS FAKEBOOK: NOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS – What more need be said? Click HERE

*** MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY MULTIPLE CHOICE QUIZ – CLICK HERE

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CRATES: ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY

Balladeer’s Blog takes another look at the surviving fragments of an ancient Greek comedian, in this case Crates.

CratesCRATES – Crates’ career spanned from approximately the 450s B.C. to the 430s B.C. We have fragments from nine or ten comedies from an unknown total output. From other sources we know that comedies as stage productions began sometime around 500 B.C. or earlier so Crates came fairly early to the artform.

Crates was credited with being the first Athenian comic poet (the comedies were written in verse and included songs) to introduce drunken characters, still a comic staple over 2,400 years later. Aristotle himself credited Crates as being the first to abandon the “glorified comic monologues” approach of the oldest comedies and introducing fleshed-out plots and storylines.

Be that as it may, there is still a great deal of academic arguing over whether or not Crates’ work simply reflected the influence of Epicharmus, who may well have been the TRUE innovator.

Crates was supposedly an actor before he began writing comedies (But I’m sure he really wanted to direct. – rimshot – ) and his brother was Epilycus, one of the Epic Poets. Eusebius’ Chronicles stated that Crates was a well-known comedian by 451 B.C. and Demetrius Lacon in his work On Poetry indicates that Crates may have acted in some of Aeschylus’ tragedies before switching genres. 

KNOWN WORKS 

NeighborsNEIGHBORS – We do not have even a hypothetical year for this work, unfortunately. Since titles sometimes referred to the all-important Chorus of a Greek comedy there is speculation that the chorus members were “Neighbors” of some sort (Duh!) but nothing is known about the plot.

 Athenaeus argued that Crates’ use of a drunken character in this comedy PRE-DATED Epicharmus’ use of stage drunks, so apparently even back in ancient times this was being debated.   

The closest thing to an intact joke from the fragments of Neighbors is a lecherous reference to the delectable young males and females on hand serving whatever feast was being celebrated in the comedy. For today you could insert a Harvey Weinstein or Kevin Spacey type of joke, I guess.

The next closest thing to an intact joke is a possibly wry reference to ” playing at pessoi” which could refer both to pebbles used in a board game and pebbles used to wipe one’s bottom after defecation. Since the ancient Greek comedies are LOADED with scat jokes it’s possible that a very grotesque mix-up occurred.

Other fragments from this comedy are virtually useless: “I do not possess a lampstand.” … “You must be quiet and not make a sound.” … “And had an aroma like sweetest myrrh.” … “If you’re smart, boy” … “A pig through roses” … “You led astray” … and “Scooping out a trough.”  Continue reading

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