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Menander's head. Roman copy of a Greek original from around 281/90 BC Chr., Glyptothek Munich
Double term for Homer and Menander, Museo Nazionale Romano, Rome

Menander ( Greek Μένανδρος Menander , Latinized and German Menander ; * 342 / 341 BC.. In Cephisia ; † 291 / . 290 BC. ) Was a Greek comic poet .


Menandros grew up as the son of Diopeithes in a wealthy family. He was a student of Theophrastus at the Peripatos school of philosophy founded by Aristotle and served together with Epicurus as Ephebe in Athens . According to some traditions, he died in a swimming accident and was buried on the way between Piraeus and Athens.

In the year 291/90 BC In his honor a seated statue was erected in his honor in the Dionysus Theater in Athens, of which numerous ancient copies have survived, see Portrait of Menander .

Work and meaning

Menandros wrote 105 to 109 comedies according to various testimonies, the titles of 96 pieces are known. Until the 19th century, only scant fragments and re-works existed. However, after the discovery of papyri between 1905 and 1907 and in 1959, extracts from 18 works, for example The Arbitration Court , The Sami Woman and The Shield , are known. The work Dyskolos (German translations: The old curmudgeon , The misanthropist ) was almost completely rediscovered. The papyrus copy of the piece was acquired by the Geneva bookmaker Martin Bodmer around 1957 and made available to science, the first publication took place in 1958. In 2003, a manuscript from the 9th century with another was found in the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny near Geneva Copy of Dyscolus and with 200 verses of a hitherto unknown work.

In Menandros' comedies , unlike in Aristophanes for example , the choir only plays a background role . He only appears with musical performances between the acts. Menandros' comedies are apolitical, their subject is the small weaknesses of the bourgeoisie in his city, the plot always leads to a happy ending .

Scenes from Menandros' plays are depicted on various ancient mosaics and wall paintings in Pompeii , Mytilene , Messene and Antioch .

Menandros is often referred to as one of the most important poets of the New Comedy . His work influenced Plautus and Terence , who adapted Menander comedies, and later Ovid . It can be assumed that Menandros also indirectly influenced modern comedy poets such as Molière and Carlo Goldoni , conveyed through works by Plautus and Terence.


Largely preserved works

  • Aspis (The Shield)
  • Dyskolos (The Difficult / The Curmudgeon / The Misanthrope)
  • Epitrepontes ( The Arbitral Tribunal )
  • Perikeiromene (The Shorn)
  • Samia (The girl from Samos)
  • Sikyonios (The Man from Sikyon)

Fragments and lost works

  • Andria
  • Dis exapaton
  • Encheiridion
  • Georgos (The Farmer)
  • Heros (The Demigod)
  • Hypobolimaios
  • Iereia (The Priestess)
  • Kolax (The Flatterer)
  • Leukadia
  • Misoumenos (The Man She Hated)
  • Phasma (The Ghost)
  • Plocion
  • Philadelphoi
  • Pseudheracles
  • Synaristosai (women at noon)
  • Thais
  • Theophoroumene (The Possessed)
  • Trophonios


  • Menander, comedies. Greek and German . 2 volumes. Edited, translated and commented by Peter Rau . Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt 2013 (vol. 1) and 2014 (vol. 2), ISBN 978-3-534-25747-8 (authoritative German edition)
  • Menander . In three volumes. Edited and translated by William Geoffrey Arnott . Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA - London. Vol. I: Aspis. Georgos. Dis exapaton. Dyscolus. Encheiridion. Epitrepontes. 1979 ( Loeb Classical Library 132); Vol. II: Heros. Theophoroumene. Karchedonios. Kitharistes. Kolax. Koneiazomenai. Leukadia. Misoumenos. Perikeiromene. Perinthia. 1996 (Loeb Classical Library 459), (online) ; Vol. III: Samia. Sikyonioi. Synaristosai. Phasma. Unidentified Fragments. 2000 (Loeb Classical Library 460). - (Current complete edition of the fragments with English translation and explanations). - Review by Sander Goldberg, in: Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2001.05.16
  • Reinhard Buchwald , Hans Kleinstück (also afterword), Siegfried Müller (ed.): Greco-Roman comedies. Menander, Herodas , Plautus , Terence . Series: Ancient poetry (8). Translator: Alfred Körte , Ludwig Gurlitt , Ernst Lehmann, Johannes Herbst . Standard, Hamburg 1958; again Vollmer, Wiesbaden, approx. 1970.
  • Pieces . Translation, epilogue and comments by Kurt and Ursula Treu. Reclam's Universal Library , RUB 626. Reclam, Leipzig 1975.
  • Aristophanes and Menander: Greek Comedies. Ed. And introduction by Eberhard Rechenberg. Dieterich'sche Verlagbuchhandlung , Leipzig 1966 ( Dieterich Collection 277).

Editions of Dyscolos

  • Menander: Dyskolos / The misanthrope . Edited and translated by Horst-Dieter Blume. Reclam, Stuttgart 2007.
  • Menander: The old curmudgeon . Translated by Ernst R. Lehmann-Leander. In: Aristophanes - Menander . Edited and introduced by Eberhard Rechenberg. Dieterich, Leipzig 1966
  • Menander: Dyscolus . Greek and German with text-critical apparatus and explanations. Edited by Max Treu . Heimeran, Munich 1960.

Edition of the Epitrepontes

  • Menander: Epitrepontes. Ed. by William D. Furley . (= BICS supplement, 106). Institute of Classical Studies, School for Advanced Study, University of London, London 2009.

Edition of the Perikeiromene

  • Menander: Perikeiromene. Edition, with introduction, translation and commentary by William D. Furley (Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies Supplement 127). Institute of Classical Studies, School for Advanced Study, University of London, London 2015.


Introductions, overview and overall presentations

Individual topics

  • Francesco D'Aiuto: Graeca in codici orientali della Biblioteca Vaticana (con i resti di un manoscritto tardoantico delle commedie di Menandro) . In: Lidia Perria (ed.): Tra Oriente e Occidente. Scritture e libri greci fra le regioni orientali di Bisanzio e l'Italia . Dipartimento di Filologia Greca e Latina, Sezione Bizantino-Neoellenistica, Universita di Roma “La Sapienza”, Rome 2003 ( Testi e studi bizantino-neoellenici 14, ZDB -ID 1038525-3 ), pp. 227–296 (here pp. 266– 283 with plates 13-14).
  • WG Arnott: Menander and earlier drama . In: John H. Betts et al. (Ed.): Studies in Honor of TBL Webster . Volume 1. Bristol Classical Press, Bristol 1986, ISBN 0-86292-193-7 , pp. 1-9.
  • WG Arnott: Humor in Menander . In: Siegfried Jäkel et al. (Ed.): Laughter Down the Centuries (= Turun Yliopiston julkaisuja Sarja B, Humaniora 221). 3rd volume. Turun Yliopisto, Turku 1997, ISBN 951-29-1006-3 , pp. 65-79.
  • Alain Blanchard: Ménandre. In: Richard Goulet (ed.): Dictionnaire des philosophes antiques . Volume 4, CNRS Éditions, Paris 2005, ISBN 2-271-06386-8 , pp. 407-419 (Menander's relationship to philosophy)
  • Niklas Holzberg : Menander. Studies on dramatic technology (= Erlangen Contributions to Linguistics and Art Studies 50). Carl, Nuremberg 1974, ISBN 3-418-00050-9 (also dissertation, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg 1972)
  • David Wiles: The Masks of Menander . Cambridge University Press 1991. ISBN 978-0521543521 .


  • Roman Lach: Menander. In: Peter von Möllendorff , Annette Simonis, Linda Simonis (ed.): Historical figures of antiquity. Reception in literature, art and music (= Der Neue Pauly . Supplements. Volume 8). Metzler, Stuttgart / Weimar 2013, ISBN 978-3-476-02468-8 , Sp. 669-676.
  • Konrad Gaiser : Menander's 'Hydria'. A Hellenistic comedy and its way into the Latin Middle Ages. Winter, Heidelberg 1977, ISBN 3-533-02620-5
  • Kathryn Gutzwiller , Ömer Çelik: New Menander Mosaics from Antioch. In: American Journal of Archeology Volume 116, 2012, pp. 573-623.

Web links

Commons : Menander  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Menander  - Sources and full texts


  1. Stephan Schröder : Die Lebensdaten Menander , in: Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 113, 1996, pp. 35–48.
  2. Dieter Harlfinger : Waiting for Menander in the Vatican. 400 Greek comedy verses discovered in a Syrian palimpsest manuscript Forum Classicum, 1/2004 (PDF file; 2.91 MB)
  3. Nervegna S. (2010): Menander's Theophoroumene between Greece and Rome
  4. William Geoffrey Arnott: “A note on the parallels between Menander's Dyskolos and Plautus' Aulularia ”, in: Phoenix 18, 1964, pp. 232-237.
  5. For example in L'École des maris - German: The school of husbands
  6. ^ Jean Baptiste Molière: The husbands school in the Gutenberg project
  7. Review by Hans-Albrecht Koch: The old Greeks already knew the curmudgeon. The European theater tradition rests on the shoulders of this giant. Peter Rau translated the comedies of the ancient poet Menander . In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of August 7, 2014, p. 10.
  8. Series: Dicht der Antike in excellent classical and new translations in 11 (12) volumes. - This volume with 453 pages contains: Menander, The Arbitration Court and Fragments (Translation Körte), Sentences. Herodas, the teacher (Lehmann). Plautus, The Maulheld , The Twins and Amphitruo (Gurlitt), The Gold Pot Comedy (Lehmann). Terenz, the girl from Andros and the brothers (autumn). Appendices: From the Horribilicribrifax of Andreas Gryphius . From the Menaechmi translation by Albrecht von Eyb .
  9. Contains: The Misanthrope. The Sami woman. The arbitration award. The shorn. The shield. The man from Sicyon. The man she hated. The farmer. A total of 18 pieces, 327 pages. - Also in this: Menander. Herondas . Works in 1 volume. Series: Library of Antiquity. Greek series. Aufbau-Verlag, Weimar 1980, with 377 pages.
  10. The old curmudgeon, translator Ernst R. Lehmann-Leander. The court of arbitration, translator Wolfgang Tilgner. A total of 510 pages.