1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Plato (Poet)

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PLATO, Athenian comic poet of the Old Comedy, flourished between 428-389 B.C. According to Suidas, he was the author of thirty comedies. Some of these deal with political matters. Such were the Cleophon and Hyperbolus, directed against the well-known demagogues, and the Symmachia, referring to a coalition formed by Nicias, Alcibiades and Phaeax to get rid of Hyperbolus by ostracism. His later plays treat the vices and failings of mankind in the spirit of burlesque and parody. Such were the Sophistae, akin to the Clouds of Aristophanes; the Cinesias, an attack on a contemporary poet; the Festivals, satirizing the useless expenditure and extravagance common on such occasions; mythological subjects—Adonis, Europe, Io, the Ants (on the Aeginetan legend of the change of ants into men); Phaon, the story of the Lesbian ferryman, who was presented by Aphrodite with a marvellous ointment, the use of which made women madly in love with him.

See T. Kock, Comicorum atticorum fragmenta, i. (1880); A. Meineke, Poetarum comicorum graecorum fragmenta (1855).