Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/aristophanes/knights.asp?pg=2

ELPENOR - Home of the Greek Word

Three Millennia of Greek Literature
ARISTOPHANES HOME PAGE  /  ARISTOPHANES POEMS  

Aristophanes' KNIGHTS Complete

A Literal Translation, with Notes.

Aristophanes Bilingual Anthology  Studies  Aristophanes in Print

ELPENOR EDITIONS IN PRINT

Icon of the Christ and New Testament Reader
69 pages - You are on Page 2

The characters are five only. First and foremost comes Demos, 'The People,' typifying the Athenian democracy, a rich householder--a self-indulgent, superstitious, weak creature. He has had several overseers or factors in succession, to look after his estate and manage his slaves. The present one is known as 'the Paphlagonian,' or sometimes as 'the Tanner,' an unprincipled, lying, cheating, pilfering scoundrel, fawning and obsequious to his master, insolent towards his subordinates. Two of these are Nicias and Demosthenes. Here we have real names. Nicias was High Admiral of the Athenian navy at the time, and Demosthenes one of his Vice-Admirals; both held still more important commands later in connection with the Sicilian Expedition of 415-413 B.C. Fear of consequences apparently prevented the poet from doing the same in the case of Cleon, who is, of course, intended under the names of 'the Paphlagonian' and 'the Tanner.' Indeed, so great was the terror inspired by the great man that no artist was found bold enough to risk his powerful vengeance by caricaturing his features, and no actor dared to represent him on the stage. Aristophanes is said to have played the part himself, with his face, in the absence of a mask, smeared with wine-lees, roughly mimicking the purple and bloated visage of the demagogue. The remaining character is 'the Sausage-seller,' who is egged on by Nicias and Demosthenes to oust 'the Paphlagonian' from Demos' favour by outvying him in his own arts of impudent flattery, noisy boasting and unscrupulous allurement. After a fierce and stubbornly contested trial of wits and interchange of 'Billingsgate,' 'the Sausage-seller' beats his rival at his own weapons and gains his object; he supplants the disgraced favourite, who is driven out of the house with ignominy.

The Comedy takes its title, as was often the case, from the Chorus, which is composed of Knights--the order of citizens next to the highest at Athens, and embodying many of the old aristocratic preferences and prejudices.

The drama was adjudged the first prize--the 'Satyrs' of Cratinus being placed second--by acclamation, as such a masterpiece of wit and intrepidity certainly deserved to be; but, as usual, the political result was nil. The piece was applauded in the most enthusiastic manner, the satire on the sovereign multitude was forgiven, and--Cleon remained in as much favour as ever.[4]

[4] Mitchell's "Aristophanes." Preface to "The Knights."

First Page ||| Next Page
Aristophanes Home Page ||| Elpenor's Free Greek Lessons
Aeschylus ||| Sophocles ||| Euripides
Three Millennia of Greek Literature

 

Greek Literature - Ancient, Medieval, Modern

  Aristophanes Complete Works   Aristophanes Home Page & Bilingual Anthology
Aristophanes in Print

Elpenor's Greek Forum : Post a question / Start a discussion

Learned Freeware

 

Reference address : https://www.ellopos.net/elpenor/greek-texts/ancient-greece/aristophanes/knights.asp?pg=2