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Aristophanes, "front" of the double bust
Aristophanes in a modern representation

Aristophanes (German pronunciation [ aʀɪsˈtofanɛs ], ancient Greek Ἀριστοφάνης Aristophánēs ; * between 450 BC and 444 BC in Athens ; † around 380 BC there ) was a Greek comedy poet. He is considered one of the most important representatives of Greek comedy , especially ancient comedy, and of Greek theater in general. His comedies, especially Lysistrata , are played over and over again.


Little is known about the poet's life. It was born between 450 BC. BC and 444 BC Born as the son of Philippos in Kydathen, a district of Athens (Phyle: Pandionis ). From 430 to 428 BC He probably received training as a playwright. He had his first three pieces performed as an anonymous author by Kallistratos. Later he was often represented by this or Philonides. His sons Araros and Philippos also became comedy poets. Araros performed his father's last two pieces, Kokalos and Aiolosikon .

Aristophanes died after 388 BC. BC, probably around 380 BC In Athens, where he had spent most of his life. After 400 BC As Prytan he held a leading office in the city government. For a time he lived on the nearby island of Aigina , which was built in 431 BC. Was settled by Athenians.


The frogs (with scholia ) in the manuscript Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana , Vaticanus graecus 918, fol. 116v

More than 40 works are ascribed to Aristophanes, eleven of which are fully preserved. The assignment of the fragments obtained is controversial.

  • The Feast Brothers (Daitales) : 427 BC BC, second prize at the Dionysia
  • The Babylonians : 426 BC BC, first prize at the Dionysia
  • The Acharner (Acharnes) : 425 BC. BC, first prize at the Lenées
  • The Knights (Hippeis) : 424 BC BC, first prize at the Lenées
  • The peasants (Georgoi) : 424 BC BC, participation in the Dionysia
  • The merchant ships : 423 BC BC, participation in the Lenaen
  • The Clouds (Nephelai) : 423 B.C. BC, third prize at the Dionysia
  • Proagon : 422 BC BC, first prize at the Lenées
  • The Wasps (Sphekes) : 422 BC. BC, second price at the Lenae
  • The age (Geras) : 422 BC Chr.
  • The Peace (Eirene) : 421 BC BC, second prize at the Dionysia
  • The clouds (Nephelai) : 419/418 BC BC, revision of the 423 BC version unpublished by the author. Chr.
  • Anagyros : 418-416 BC Chr.
  • Amphiaraus : 414 BC BC, participation in the Lenaen
  • The birds (ornithes) : 414 BC. BC, second prize at the Dionysia
  • Lysistrata : 411 BC BC, participation in the Dionysia
  • The Thesmophoriazusen (Thesmophoriazusai) : 411 BC. BC, participation in the Lenaen
  • Triphales : 410 or 409 BC Chr.
  • Gerytades : 408 BC Chr.
  • The wealth (Plutos) : 408 BC Chr.
  • The clouds (Nephelai) : 408 B.C. BC, apparently no connection with the other pieces of the same name
  • The Thesmophoriazusen II : 410-406 BC Chr.
  • The frogs (Batrachoi) : 405 BC BC, first prize at the Lenées
  • Telemessians : probably 402 BC Chr.
  • The storks : 399 BC Chr.
  • The Women's People's Assembly (Ekklesiazusai) : 392 BC. Chr.
  • The wealth (Plutos) : 388 BC BC, revision of the version from 408 BC. Chr.
  • Coconut : 387 BC BC, first prize at the Dionysia
  • Aiolosikon : 386 BC Chr., Edited version (date of first version unknown)

In addition, after 421 B.C. A revised version of The Peace .

The following works are only known by name:

Daidalos , The Fried Chickens (Tagistai), The Danaids (Danaidai), The Women's Camp , The Heroes , The Islands , The Seasons (Horai), The Lemnians , The Phoenicians , The Poetry , The Centaurs , Dionysus' Shipwreck , Niobus , Polyidos .

The poetry , Dionysus' shipwreck , The Islands and Niobus are also attributed to Archippus .


The only surviving portrait of Aristophanes' is in the Akademisches Kunstmuseum Bonn standing double bust , on the other side Menander is displayed.


With his work, Aristophanes always aimed to expose contemporary people and events to ridicule, often through drastic representations and satirical sharpness. He satirized stylistic devices of other poets, e. B. Euripides ', and was both critical and derisive of people like Socrates or the Sophists . His portrayal of the politician Kleon in Die Babylonier 426 BC. Chr. Brought him a lawsuit for insulting the people, but without consequences. Two years later, Kleon attempted, also unsuccessfully, to challenge Aristophanes' Athenian citizenship through legal action : His father was allegedly not a native of Athens, because as an immigrant from Rhodes or Egypt he was only granted citizenship at a later date.

For his comedies, Aristophanes often received high awards from the Lenées and Dionysia ; three first and three second places and at least one third place have been handed down. The frogs (405 BC) he was allowed to visit at the Lenaées in 404 BC. To perform a second time. In ancient times one saw in Aristophanes one of the three great poets of the old comedy. After Aristophanes' death, Plato made him a figure in the Dialog Symposion (The Banquet) .

Aristophanes' works have not only met with approval among contemporaries, but also with posterity in Rome and Alexandria . They have left recognizable traces in the political satire of European, especially English, literature. Goethe , who published an edited version of the comedy The Birds , calls Aristophanes a “naughty darling of the Graces ” in the prologue . Heine places it in Germany. A winter tale as a great playwright who, like himself, would certainly have been persecuted in 19th century Germany because of his critical stance. In 1934 Picasso illustrated scenes from Lysistrata for an American translation of the play by Gilbert Seldes . With his adaptation of Der Frieden (1962), Peter Hacks triggered a wave of new versions of ancient materials in the GDR .

The comedy Birds comes from the idioms cloud cuckoo land and owls carry to Athens . Marcus Tullius Ciceros Patria est, ubicumque est bene has its origin in the work The Wealth .

The adjective aristophanic today characterizes an utterance as witty and witty or bitingly mocking.

An asteroid discovered in 1960 was named Aristophanes in 2934 .

Text output

Ludwig Seeger's translation of Aristophanes from 1844–1848

Processing and re-sealing

  • Peter Hacks : Two adaptations. "The Peace" after Aristophanes, "The Child Murderer" after Heinrich Leopold Wagner . Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1963 (= edition suhrkamp 47).


Overview representations


  • Niklas Holzberg : Aristophanes. Sex and ridicule and politics. CH Beck, Munich 2010, ISBN 978-3406605925 .
  • Wilhelm Horn: Prayer and prayer parody in the comedies of Aristophanes. Hans Carl, Nuremberg 1970.
  • Gerrit Kloss : Manifestations of comical speech in Aristophanes. De Gruyter, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-11-017000-0 .
  • Peter von Möllendorff : Aristophanes. Olms, Hildesheim 2002, ISBN 3-487-11487-9 .
  • Helmut Schareika : The realism of the aristophanic comedy. Exemplary analyzes of the function of the comic in the works of Aristophanes (= European university writings , series 15, volume 13). Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main / Bern / Las Vegas 1978, ISBN 3-261-02575-1 .
  • Renata von Scheliha : The Comedies of Aristophanes. Interpreted in 7 lectures. Amsterdam 1975 (= Castrum Peregrini, No. 116-117); Reprint: Wallstein, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 3-8353-0387-2 .
  • Michael Stephen Silk : Aristophanes and the definition of comedy. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000. Reviews: Keith Sidwell in Hermathena 172, 2002, pp. 85-90 ( online ); Ian C. Storey in Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001 ( online )
  • NG Wilson : Aristophanea. Studies on the text of Aristophanes, Oxford University Press, Oxford et al. 2007, ISBN 978-0-19-928299-9 .


Web links

Commons : Aristofane  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Aristophanes  - Sources and full texts
Wikisource: Aristophanes  - Sources and full texts (Greek)


  1. Peter von Möllendorff, Aristophanes , Hildesheim 2002, p. 58, cites the 1940s as the time of birth; Heinz-Günther Nesselrath , Aristophanes. In: Der Neue Pauly , Volume 1, Stuttgart 1991, Sp. 1122-130, names the middle of the 5th century.
  2. The training is not clearly documented, cf. Möllendorff, p. 57 f. and Bernhard Zimmermann, The Greek Comedy , Darmstadt 1998, pp. 71–73.
  3. ^ Möllendorff, p. 59.
  4. Möllendorff, p. 60 f.
  5. Original collection , see top photo, sculpture on the eighth beige column from the right
  6. Horace , Sermones 1, 4, 1: " Eupolis atque Cratinus Aristophanesque poetae".
  7. ^ Lysistrata by Aristophanes, A new version by Gilbert Seldes The Limited Edition Club, New York. From the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York .