Aristophanes, Birds

LCL 179: 8-9

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optimism: Nicias is praised for his strategic skill at Syracuse (363) and chided for delays (639); a would-be father beater is sent to the Thracian front (1360–71); and the reduction of Melos in 416, one of the most ominous episodes in Thucydides (5.84–111) and remembered after the war as an example of imperial excess, is the subject of a casual joke (186), as is the outlawry of Alcibiades (145–47). The Athenians were now at the peak of their power and confidence, with no inkling that within two years their great armada was to be utterly destroyed and their very survival cast into doubt.


Five papyri preserve fragments of Birds; three of them are not cited in the notes: PBerol. 13231 + 21201 (V/VI), containing lines 819–29, 859–64; POxy. 4515 (V–VI), containing lines 1324–28, 1357–61; and POxy. 4516 (II), containing lines 1661–76.

There are twelve independent medieval MSS and one leaf of a palimpsest codex (F). Among the pre-triclinian witnesses there has been much horizontal contamination, with only RS, VE (in the first few hundred lines), and AM/ ΓU showing consistent affinity as groups; M9, copied from E before E was damaged, can be used to reconstruct E’s lost text. Triclinius’ text (q) was based on a MS or MSS closely related to ΓU; the MSS descending from its hyparchetypes t and p reflect at least two levels of Triclinian recension as well as later editorial activity.



Π1 PLouvre ed. H. Weil, RPh 6 (1882) 179–85 (VI), lines 1057–85, 1101–27
Π2 POxy. 1401 (V), lines 382–4, 460–61
F Laurentianus 60.9 (Xex), lines 1393–1454
R Ravennas 429 (c. 950)
S readings found in the Suda
V Venetus Marcianus 474 (XI/XII)
E Estensis a.U.5.10 (XIV/XVin), om. lines 222–601
M9 Ambrosianus L41 sup. (XIV), representing E in lines 222–601
A Parisinus gr. 2712 (XIVin)
M Ambrosianus L 39 sup. (c. 1320)
Γ Laurentianus 31.15 (c. 1325)
U Vaticanus Urbinas 141 (XIV)
a the consensus of the MSS above
Vp2 Vaticanus Palatinus 67 (XV)
H Hauniensis 1980 (XV)
C Parisinus gr. 2717 (XV/XVI)
L Holkhamensis 88 (XVin)
Vv17 Vaticanus gr. 2181 (XIVex)
B Parisinus gr. 2715 (XIVex)
t the hyparchetype of LVv17B
p the hyparchetype of Vp2HC
q the consensus of pt
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.aristophanes-birds.2000