Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Aristophanes

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ARISTOPHANES (ar-is-tof′ē-nēs), the greatest of the Greek writers of comedy (B. C. 448–385), born at Athens. His comedy, "The Knights," is said to have been put on the stage when the author was but 20 years old. Of his 44 plays only 11 have come down to us. These are "The Knights," "The Clouds," "The Wasps," "The Acharnians," "The Peace," and "The Lyristrate," arguments for concord among Grecian states; "The Birds," a satire against the "Greater Athens" idea; "The Thesmophoriazusæ"; "The Frogs," directed against Euripides, as the cause of the degeneration of dramatic art; in "The Ecclesiazusæ," or "Ladies of Parliament," he reduces to absurdity the overweening expectation of the righting of all wrongs through political reforms. Aristophanes first appeared as a poet in the fourth year of the Peloponnesian War (B. C. 427), and his sarcasms twice brought him to trial on charges of having unlawfully assumed the title of an Athenian citizen.