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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines what we know of Old Comedy between two key dates, the traditional date of 486 for its formal introduction at the City Dionysia in Athens and the debut of Aristophanes in 427, the only poet of Old Comedy for whom we have complete plays. We know little about the first writers of Old Comedy or the sort of drama they wrote. Only Magnes is more than a name. But we are better informed about the next generation, principally Cratinus (debut 454), who seems to have blended burlesque of myth with political themes and personally directed humor and created a more sophisticated form of drama. Other poets considered from this period are Crates, Hermippus, Callias, Teleclides, and Pherecrates.

Keywords: Old Comedy, political humor, personal humor, mythological burlesque, Aristophanes, Magnes, Cratinus, Crates, Hermippus, Callias, Teleclides, Pherecrates

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