Aristophanes

New Course: Comic Drama in the Ancient World

Key Information:

Name: Comic Drama in the Ancient World

Tutor: Professor John Wilkins (Professor of Classics, University of Exeter)

Modules: 6

Module List:

  1. The Political Context
  2. Patriarchal Scapegoating
  3. Structure
  4. Obscenity
  5. Gender
  6. Translation

Description:

In this course, Professor John Wilkins (University of Exeter) explores comic drama in the ancient world, focusing on the similarities and difference between the plays of Aristophanes, Menander, Plautus and Terence. The course begins by thinking about the changing political context of each of the writers in question, before thinking about the basic plot structure that comic playwrights tended to work with. After that, we think about the purpose of obscenity in the plays of Aristophanes, before looking at how the comic playwrights engage with issues of gender. The final module focuses on Italian comedy, thinking in particular about the relationship between Greek and Roman culture more generally.

Relevance to Specification:

This course is designed for students taking OCR AS/A Level GCE in Classical Civilization, A2 Unit CC9 (Comic Drama in the Ancient World) or those doing AQA AS/A Level GCE in Classical Civilization, Unit 1 CIV1 Option E (Menander and Plautus). The course will also for students taking any option that involves Aristophanes.

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New Course: Aristophanes and Athens

Key information:

Name: Aristophanes and Athens

Tutor: Dr Rosie Wyles (Lecturer in Classical History and Literature, University of Kent)

Number of Modules: 8

Module List:

  1. Introduction
  2. Cleon
  3. Lamachus
  4. Nicias & Demosthenes
  5. The Athenians & Hyperbolus
  6. The Persians
  7. War
  8. Rituals & Festivals

Description:

While the 11 surviving plays of Aristophanes vary greatly in their plots, one thing they are share are a deep engagement with contemporary politics, particularly in relation to the Peloponnesian War, which lasted from 431 – 404 BC, and to the contemporary politicians and military leaders who were among the most famous men in Athens at the time.

In this course, Dr Rosie Wyles (Lecturer in Classical History and Literature, University of Kent) provides a critical study of three plays of Aristophanes in their theatrical, religious, social and political context: The Acharnians (425 BC), The Knights (424 BC), and Peace (421 BC).

Relevance to Specification:

This course is designed for students doing AQA AS/A Level GCE in Classical Civilization, Unit 1 Option C (Aristophanes and Athens)

New Course: Aristophanes’ Frogs

Key information:

Name: Aristophanes’ Frogs

Tutor: Dr Rosie Wyles (Lecturer in Classical History and Literature, University of Kent)

Number of Modules: 7

Module List:

  1. The Opening (1-25)
  2. Heracles vs Dionysus (35-55)
  3. Ways to Get to Hell (108-33)
  4. Dionysus and Charon (184-204)
  5. Euripides and Aeschylus: The Warm-Up (830-59)
  6. Aeschylean Prologues (1151-74)
  7. Euripidean Prologues (1187-1208)

Description:

Aristophanes’ Frogs is a play that sees the god Dionysus heading down to the Underworld to rescue the (recently-deceased) tragic playwright Euripides.

First performed at the Lenaea in 405 BC, the play came first in that year’s comic competition, and has since become one of the best-known and well-loved of Aristophanes’ comedies.

In this course, Dr Rosie Wyles (Lecturer in Classical History and Literature, University of Kent) provides close reading and analysis of seven 20-line segments of the play, in order to help students and teachers reading the play as part of OCR AS/A Level GCE in Classical Greek, A2 Unit 63 (Classical Greek Versefrom September 2015.

Relevance to Specification:

This course is designed for students doing OCR AS/A Level GCE in Classical Greek, A2 Unit 63 (Classical Greek Verse), who are required to read parts of Aristophanes’ Frogs in the original Greek, and the rest of the play in English.

 

 

New Course: Aristophanes’ Clouds

Key information:

Name: Aristophanes’ Clouds

Tutor: Dr James Robson (Senior Lecturer, The Open University)

Number of Modules: 8

Module List:

  1. Introduction: Aristophanes and the Comic Competition
  2. Stormy Weather: The Clouds as a Rewrite
  3. Two for the Price of One: The Play’s Double-Structure
  4. Bringing the House Down: The Play’s Unhappy Ending
  5. No Laughing Matter: Clouds as a Tragedy
  6. Socrates and the Sophists
  7. The Caricature of Philosophy
  8. The Appeal of the Clouds

Description:

Aristophanes’ Clouds is a play about a father (Strepsiades) who asks his son (Phidippides) to help him escape paying his debts, but is arguably more famous for its highly imaginative depiction of the philosopher Socrates.

First performed at the City Dionysia in 423 BC, the play came third (and last) in that year’s comic competition, and was partially revised between the years 420-417 BC, although it is uncertain whether this new version was ever performed.

In this course, Dr James Robson (Senior Lecturer at the Open University) thinks about where the Clouds came in Aristophanes’ life and career, including why Aristophanes may have chosen to rewrite the play, before thinking about the various elements of the play (its structure, its ending, its tone, etc.) that make it unique among Aristophanes’ surviving comedies. In the final part of the course, James thinks about the depiction of Socrates in the play, comparing it to the very different depiction of Socrates we get in other sources.

Relevance to Specification:

This course may be useful for students doing OCR AS/A Level GCE in Classical Greek, A2 Unit 63 (Classical Greek Verse), who are required to read parts of Aristophanes’ Clouds in the original Greek, and the rest of the play in English.