2004
Volume 54, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0165-8204
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1573

Abstract

Abstract

This article studies the reception of the comedies of the Athenian playwright Aristophanes in 12th-century Byzantium. It takes as its starting point various scholarly and didactic texts that facilitated this reception. These texts were written by Gregory of Corinth, John Tzetzes and Eustathius of Thessaloniki, who all used Aristophanes, and ancient literature more generally, in their teaching and scholarly practice. This article explores (1) what moral functions Byzantine scholars ascribe to ancient drama; (2) how they instruct Byzantine writers to weave elements of humour and ridicule into their own work by either imitating Aristophanes’ techniques or quoting his verses; (3) how they use the Athenian playwright as a model for correct atticizing language; (4) and how Tzetzes engages on a personal level with Aristophanes as a historical figure and with the comedies he wrote. This examination of the reception of Aristophanes in the work of Gregory, Tzetzes and Eustathius thus demonstrates the versatility of the Byzantine reception of ancient comedy.

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