Ariphrades, Testimonium

LCL 513: 120-121

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i Aristotle Poetics 1458b31–59a3

ἔτι δὲ Ἀριφράδης τοὺς τραγῳδοὺς ἐκωμῴδει ὅτι ἃ οὐδεὶς ἂν εἴπειεν ἐν τῇ διαλέκτῳ τούτοις χρῶνται, οἷον τὸ “δωμάτων ἄπο” ἀλλὰ μὴ “ἀπὸ δωμάτων”, καὶ τὸ “σέθεν” καὶ τὸ “ἐγὼ δέ νιν” καὶ τὸ “Ἀχιλλέως πέρι” ἀλλὰ μὴ “περὶ Ἀχιλλέως”, καὶ ὅσα ἄλλα τοιαῦτα. διὰ γὰρ τὸ μὴ εἶναι ἐν τοῖς κυρίοις ποιεῖ τὸ μὴ ἰδιωτικὸν ἐν τῇ λέξει ἅπαντα τὰ τοιαῦτα· ἐκεῖνος δὲ τοῦτο ἠγνόει.



Ariphrades may claim a place here on the basis of Aristotle’s discussion of the critics of tragedy at Poetics 1458b31 (T 1). The name is rare at Athens, at this or at any other period, and is known principally for one of Aristophanes’ targets at Knights 1280–89, Wasps 1280–83, and Peace 883–85, the son of Automenes made fun of for his preference for cunnilingual sexual practices (PAA 202305). Aristophanes’ jokes acquire a pointed edge then, if his target is also a rival comic poet. We should note also that Automenes would thus have three sons all engaged in artistic performance: Arignotus the lyre player, the actor, and Ariphrades the comic poet. While the verb used by Aristotle (ἐκωμῴδει) does not necessarily have to refer to the activity of a comic poet, it almost always carries the connotations of personal attack in a public setting.


i Ariphrades would make fun of the tragic poets because they employed the sort of language that no one would ever use in conversation, such as “the halls from out” (instead of “from the halls”) and “of thee” and “and I him” and “Achilles concerning” (instead of “concerning Achilles”) and other such expressions. Because they are not present in ordinary conversation, these sorts of things produce an unusual effect in speech, but Ariphrades did not realise this.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.ariphrades-testimonium.2011