Aristophanes, Acharnians

LCL 178: 52-53

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the Assembly and identifying his own case with that of his hero, Aristophanes establishes a connection between theatrical and political persuasion. In these ways Aristophanes, as dramatist and citizen, at once challenges the spectators to engage critically and reflectively with the theatrical event in which they are participants and invites them to be just as reflective and critical as assemblymen, when they must judge the arguments of a Cleon.

A salient feature of Aristophanic paratragedy is its incorporation (by quotation and pastiche) of tragic diction and style, whose archaic and elevated tone contrasts markedly with the colloquial registers of comic speech. I have tried to reproduce this feature by rendering paratragic lines in grandiloquent English.


Two papyri preserve fragments of Acharnians. 6 There are ten independent medieval manuscripts, all descended from a common ancestor (z), which divide into two main families, one represented by R and the other by the ancestor of the other nine (y). From y descend five subfamilies, one represented by ΑΓΕ (a) and the other by Vp3 and the Triclinian manuscripts Vp2HL Vv17 and B (j). In addition, many of the Suda’s quotations of the play were drawn from a text or texts related to but distinct from z, and still another relative of z furnished the corrections found in G and E.

  • 6 POxy. 66.4510 (II) preserves 182 lines from the first two-thirds of the play; PMich. inv. 5607a (IV) has 446–55 and 474–94; PBerol. 13 231 + 21 201/2 (V–VI) has 593–975; and PBerol. 21 200 (VI) has 76–78. POxy. 6.856 (III) contains commentary on 108–671




R Ravennas 429 (c. 950)
S readings found in the Suda
A Parisinus Regius 2712 (c. 1300)
G Laurentianus 31.15 (c. 1325)
E Estensis a.U.5.10 (XIV-XVin)
Vp3 Vaticanus Palatinus 128 (XV)
Vp2 Vaticanus Palatinus Graecus 67 (XV)
H Havniensis 1980 (XV)
L Holkhamensis 88 (1400-1430)
Vv17 Vaticanus Graecus 2181 (XIVex)
B Parisinus Graecus 2715 (XV)
z the archetype of Ry
y the hyparchetype of aj
j the hyparchetype of Vp3t
a the hyparchetype of ΑΓΕ
t Triclinian manuscripts (Vp2 H L Vv17 B)
Annotated Editions

F. H. M. Blaydes (Halle 1887).

J. van Leeuwen (Leiden 1901).

W. J. M. Starkie (London 1909), with English translation.

B. B. Rogers (London 1910), with English translation.

R. T. Elliott (Oxford 1914).

A. H. Sommerstein (Warminster 1980), with English translation.

P. Thiercy (Montpellier 1988), with French translation.

S. D. Olson (Oxford 2002)

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristophanes-acharnians.1998