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New Edition,

revised and specially prepared for the use of Schools.


London, Erford, and Cambridge


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A FEW words of Preface seem necessary to state the plan of this edition. Brevity has been studied, because short notes are more likely to be read and therefore to be useful. And for information on the life and writings of Aristophanes generally, the student cannot go to a better source than the introductory matter in Meineke's edition, which includes Ranke's life of the poet, and is in other respects excellent. I could have done little more than translate or abridge this: and to do so, when it is accessible to all, seemed hardly worth while.

Aristophanes is not usually read till some considerable knowledge of the tragic poets has been acquired: therefore a fair amount of scholarship has been presumed, and points which have been satisfactorily discussed by former editors of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are not dwelt upon. The materials have been, as it is, large enough to perplex, and often cause a doubt, what to choose, what to leave. There are the stores of the Scholiasts: abundance of learning from our older scholars collected in Bekker's edition: plenty of illustration from comic writers in Athenæus, hunted out with praiseworthy care by Mitchell. Many editions are there both of the whole of our author and of separate plays; and there is no lack of translators. The notes of this edition are of course largely indebted to all these; which yet I will not claim to have examined exhaustively.

The text adopted is mainly that of Dindorf in the Poeta Scenici Græci. Deviations from it are noticed where they occur and a table of the variations of Meineke from Dindorf has been prefixed to each play. I have taken Dindorf's text rather than Meineke's, because it seems to keep closer to the manuscripts but Meineke's corrections are often excellent, and in many places are what Dindorf prefers in the notes to his complete edition. Yet now and then Meineke seems overbold in adopting conjectures from the German critics, which though ingenious are not necessary. However, I will not venture to say, that on the whole Dindorf's is the better text, as I have had no power of actually examining the manuscripts. For this same reason no separate critical notes are given. They would be but a reproduction of others' labours without collation of MSS., and would have no independent value: others more able and with more opportunities are engaged on the text and, in Aristophanes especially, the criticism of the text seems to be in most cases closely connected with its interpretation.



THE Acharnians is the first in order of the plays of Aristophanes which have come down to us; and the date of its exhibition may, from passages in the play, be fixed at B.C. 425. For Dicaopolis says it is the sixth year since the rural Dionysia were held and Copaic eels brought (v. 266, 890); and the last Dionysia must have been in the year 431, before the Theban attack on Platea, and the conflux from the country into Athens which shortly followed (Thuc. II. 2, 14). With this date other circumstances agree. Sitalces is mentioned as living, who died in 424 (Thuc. IV. 101); Minoa was already taken (v. 760), and its capture was as we know (Thuc. III. 51) in 427. A political aim in the play was to advise peace. The Acharnian borough had suffered much by the invasions of Attica, and were an important part of the state (Thuc. II. 19, 20, 21): therefore to win them to the peace party would be to win the bitterest foes of the Lacedæmonians. Cleon is attacked and laughed at for failure in his charges against the poet; and a further castigation of that demagogue is promised (v. 300); which shows that the play of the Knights was even then contemplated.

This play was exhibited in the name of Callistratus, as was the Babylonians, which preceded it, and (probably) the Ban queters, our poet's earliest play. His reasons for exhibiting in another's name are best given by himself in the Parabasis of the Knights (v. 512 sqq.): nor need we, as some do, suppose

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