The Wasps of Aristophanes
Brasch PA3877 V5
London: G. Bell and Sons, Ltd.
One of the most significant cultural developments initiated in ancient Greece was the political idea of δημοκρατία – democracy, made up of two words – demos, the people and kratos, power. Through a series of reforms in 507 BC, Cleisthenes laid the foundations for democracy in Athens. Basically he handed the power of governance to its citizens (males only; women, children, slaves and foreigners were not included), and with the introduction of democracy came a ‘foundational moment in the history of society’ (Goldhill). As an Athenian citizen, one was able to sit on juries and judge one’s peers which according to Aristophanes (ca. 446-386 BC) could be addictive. In his comedy, The Wasps (422 BC), slaves Sosias and Xanthias stand guard over Philocleon, to prevent him from running off to the law courts – he is a ‘lawcourt-lover’ and is addicted to attending trials.
Aristophanes, “The Wasps of Aristophanes,” ourheritage.ac.nz | OUR Heritage, accessed November 22, 2019, http://otago.ourheritage.ac.nz/items/show/7869.
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