ARISTOPHANES AS A STUDENT OF SOCIETY.
THE fact that Aristophanes is a most important witness to the social and economic conditions prevailing in Athens in the latter part of the fifth century B. C. is generally recognized, even when his testimony has not been critically studied. The interest of the dramatist in social and economic problems, his tentative studies and theories along these lines, the testimony of his writings to the fact that many of the problems which a little later engaged the attention of Plato were commonly discussed in Athens a generation before Plato began to handle them these matters have not been so generally either studied or recog- nized. In the present paper I have endeavored to collect some of the data on these lines and to classify them for further inves- tigation. I shall speak first of Aristophanes's treatment of the motives of social activity and the fundamental postulates of society; secondly, of his analysis of the family and the state; and, thirdly, of his discussion of property and related economic questions.
I. THE ELEMENTS OF SOCIAL LIFE.
The theory of society which may be traced in the work of Aristophanes starts with the fact that economic needs the need of food, of clothing, and of shelter are at the basis of society. In perhaps the earliest of Greek dreams of the sys- tematic reorganization of society on a communistic basis, in the Ecclesiazousa of Aristophanes, these needs are to be supplied by the state itself. After land, money, and other property have been turned over to the women in control of the state, then they will care for its citizens; "everyone will have everything bread, fish, cakes, clothing, wine, crowns," and women (605). Under ordinary circumstances, however, a man must earn the money to supply these needs, and thus they serve as the stimu- lus which gives rise to all the different arts and trades. "All arts and devices among men were discovered by reason of you [Wealth] ; for one of us sits at the shoemaker's bench, another is a