Aristophanes : biography

c. 446 BC – c. 388 BC

Electronic media

  • The Wasps, radio play adapted by David Pountney, music by Vaughan Williams, recorded 26–28 July 2005, Albert Halls, Bolten, in association with BBC, under Halle label;
  • Acropolis Now is a comedy radio show for the BBC set in Ancient Greece. It features Aristophanes, Socrates and many other famous Greeks. (Not to be confused with the Australian sitcom of the same name.) Aristophanes is characterised as a celebrity playwright, and most of his plays have the title formula: One of Our [e.g] Slaves has an Enormous Knob (a reference to the exaggerated appendages worn by Greek comic actors)
  • Aristophanes Against the World was a radio play by Martyn Wade and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Loosely based on several of his plays, it featured Clive Merrison as Aristophanes.
  • In The Odd Couple, Oscar and Felix are on Password, and when the password is bird, Felix’s esoteric clue is "Aristophanes" because of his play The Birds. During the commercial break (having failed to guess the password and lost the round), Oscar orders Felix not to give any more Greek clues and angrily growls, "Aristophanes is ridiculous"! Then when it’s Oscar’s turn to give the clue on the team’s next shot, the password is ridiculous and Oscar angrily growls "Aristophanes", to which Felix gleefully responds, "Ridiculous!"


  • Satiric Dances for a Comedy by Aristophanes is a three-movement piece for concert band composed by Norman Dello Joio. It was commissioned in commemoration of the Bicentennial of April 19, 1775 (the start of the American Revolutionary War) by the Concord (Massachusetts) Band. The commission was funded by the Town of Concord and assistance was given by the Eastern National Park and Monument Association in cooperation with the National Park Service.


Surviving plays

Most of these are traditionally referred to by abbreviations of their Latin titles; Latin remains a customary language of scholarship in classical studies.

  • The Acharnians ( Akharneis; Attic ; ) 425 BC
  • The Knights ( Hippeis; Attic ; Latin: ‘) 424 BC
  • The Clouds ( Nephelai; Latin: ‘); original 423 BC, uncompleted revised version from 419 BC – 416 BC survives
  • The Wasps ( Sphekes; Latin: ‘) 422 BC
  • Peace ( Eirene; Latin: ‘) first version, 421 BC
  • The Birds ( Ornithes; Latin: ‘) 414 BC
  • Lysistrata ( Lysistrate) 411 BC
  • Thesmophoriazusae or The Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria ( Thesmophoriazousai) first version c.411 BC
  • The Frogs ( Batrakhoi; Latin: ‘) 405 BC
  • Ecclesiazusae or The Assemblywomen; ( Ekklesiazousai) c. 392 BC
  • Wealth ( Ploutos; Latin Plutus) second version, 388 BC

Datable non-surviving (lost) plays

The standard modern edition of the fragments is Kassel-Austin, Poetae Comici Graeci III.2.

  • Banqueters (427 BC)
  • Babylonians (426 BC)
  • Farmers (424 BC)
  • Merchant Ships (423 BC)
  • Clouds (first version) (423 BC)
  • Proagon (422 BC)
  • Amphiaraos (414 BC)
  • Plutus (Wealth, first version, 408 BC)
  • Gerytades (uncertain, probably 407 BC)
  • Kokalos (387 BC)
  • Aiolosikon (second version, 386 BC)

Undated non-surviving (lost) plays

  • Aiolosikon (first version)
  • Anagyros
  • Frying-Pan Men
  • Daidalos
  • Danaids
  • Centaur
  • Heroes
  • Lemnian Women
  • Old Age
  • Peace (second version)
  • Phoenician Women
  • Polyidos
  • Seasons
  • Storks
  • Telemessians
  • Triphales
  • Thesmophoriazusae (Women at the Thesmophoria Festival, second version)
  • Women in Tents

Attributed (doubtful, possibly by Archippus)

  • Dionysos Shipwrecked
  • Islands
  • Niobos
  • Poetry