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date: 22 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the value and function of law and legal references in Old and New Comedy. After an introduction on the terminology of Athenian law that pervades comic plays—which shows that comedy can become a useful source for Athenian law—the chapter deals with Aristophanes’s critiques of the courts and considers the legal apparatus of his rivals. The second part turns to Menander, arguing that whereas Aristophanes’s legal scenarios function as a kind of political overlay to his plots, Menander’s deployment of the law (through the staging of arbitrations) is more fully embedded in the domestic themes of his plays.

Keywords: Athenian law, justice, politics, legal scenarios, arbitration, nomos, dikasterion, parody, transcontextualization, exaggeration, indictment

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