By: Aristophanes (446-389 BCE)
Athens is in a sorry state of affairs. The great tragedian, Euripides, is dead, and Dionysus, the god of the theater, has to listen to third-rate poetry. So, he determines to pack his belongings onto his trusty slave, Xanthias, and journey to the underworld to bring back Euripides! Hi-jinks ensue.
Strepsiades is an Athenian burdened with debt from a bad marriage and a spendthrift son. He resolves to go to the Thinking Shop, where he can purchase lessons from the famous Socrates in ways to manipulate language in order to outwit his creditors in court. Socrates, represented as a cunning, manipulative, irreverent sophist, has little success with the dull-witted Strepsiades, but is able to teach the old man's son Phidippides a few tricks. In the end, the play is a cynical, clever commentary on Old Ways vs. New Ways, to the disparagement of the former.
Acharnians (Billson Translation)
Loaded with cryptic, nearly indecipherable inside jokes and double entendres, this early comedy of Aristophanes has a simple, anti-war premise that resounds down the centuries. On flimsy pretexts, greedy politicians have embroiled the nation of Athens in war after war after war. Dicæopolis is Everyman, an ordinary, plain-speaking citizen fed up with the bumbling, belligerence, and insincerity of the professional leaders. He decides on a whim to make a separate peace with Sparta all by himself, returning with a treaty good for thirty years...