First performed in BC, the play is set during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta, a war that had been raging for two decades by this point. Arguably more important, Lysistrata and the women seize control of the Acropolis, and the treasury — controlling the funding for the war against Sparta — giving them real economic and political power. The plot of Lysistrata is reasonably easy to summarise. Lysisitrata persuades the women of Athens to withdraw all sexual favours from the men until the men agree to end to war with Sparta.
The later Archaic periods The rise of the tyrants Dealings with opulent Asian civilizations were bound to produce disparities in wealth, and hence social conflicts, within the aristocracies of Greece. One function of institutions such as guest-friendship was no doubt to ensure the maintenance of the charmed circle of social and economic privilege.
This system, however, presupposed a certain stability, whereas the rapid escalation of overseas activity in and after the 8th century was surely disruptive in that it gave a chance, or at least a grievance, to outsiders with the right go-getting skills and motivation.
Not that one should imagine concentration of wealth taking place in the form most familiar to the 21st century—namely, coined money.
Since the date of the earliest coinage has been fairly securely fixed at about bce; the crucial discovery was the excavation and scientific examination of the foundation deposit of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in Anatolia.
The first objects recognizably similar to coined money were found there at levels most scholars there are a few doubters accept as securely dated. Coinage did not arrive in Greece proper until well into the 6th century. There were, however, other ways of accumulating precious metals besides collecting it in coined form.
Gold and silver can be worked into cups, plates, and vases or just held as bar or bullion. There is no getting round the clear implication of two poems of Solon early 6th century that, first, gold and silver were familiar metals and, second, wealth was now in the hands of arrivistes.
The decline of the aristocracy The first state in which the old aristocratic order began to break up was Corinth. Like Chalciswhich supervised sea traffic between southern Greece and Macedonia but also had close links with Boeotia and AtticaCorinth controlled both a north-south route the Isthmus of Corinthin modern times pierced by the Corinth Canal and an east-west route.
This second route was exploited in a special way. The diolkos, which was excavated in the s, was a line of grooved paving-stones across which goods could be dragged for transshipment probably not the merchant ships themselves, though there is some evidence that warships, which were lighter, were so moved in emergencies.
There is explicit information that the Bacchiadae had profited hugely from the harbour dues. As the Greek world expanded its mental and financial horizons, other Corinthian families grew envious. The result was the first firmly datable and well-authenticated Greek tyrannyor one-man rule by a usurper.
This was the tyranny of Cypseluswho was only a partial Bacchiad. Aristotlein the 4th century, was to say that tyrannies arise when oligarchies disagree internally, and that analysis makes good sense in the Corinthian context.
Precisely what factor in made possible the success of the partial outsider Cypselus is obscure; no Bacchiad foreign policy failure can be dated earlier than No doubt this oracle was fabricated after the event, but it is interesting as showing that nobody regretted the passing of the Bacchiadae.
One much-favoured explanation is military, but it must be said straightaway that the specific evidence for support of Cypselus by a newly emergent military class is virtually nonexistent.
The background to military change, a change whose reality is undoubted, needs a word. Aristocratic warfare, as described in the Homeric epics, puts much emphasis on individual prowess.
Great warriors used chariots almost as a kind of taxi service to transport themselves to and from the battlefield, where they fought on foot with their social peers. The winner gained absolute power over the person and possessions of the vanquished, including the right to carry out ritual acts of corpse mutilation.
There is some force in that objection and in the converse and related objection that in Archaic and Classical hoplite fighting individual duels were more prevalent than is allowed by scholars anxious to stress the collective character of hoplite combat.
Still, a change in methods of fighting undoubtedly occurred in the course of the 7th century. This last feature produced a consequence commented on by Thucydides —namely, a tendency of the sword bearer to drift to the right in the direction of the protection offered by his neighbour.
For this reason the best troops were posted on the far right to act as anchor-men. The system, whose introduction is not commented on by any literary source, is depicted on vases in the course of the 7th century, though it is not possible to say whether it was a sudden technological revolution or something that evolved over decades.
The second view seems preferable since the discovery in the s of a fine bronze suit of heavy armour at Argos in a late 8th-century context.
Clearly, the change has social and political implications. Even when one acknowledges some continuation of individual skirmishing, much nonetheless depended on neighbours in the battle line standing their ground.This too contributes to her ability as a leader of Greece.
By the end of the play, the men call upon Lysistrata to make the treaty between Sparta and Athens. This scenario, a woman negotiating between states, is completely fictional; in reality, women had no voting privileges in Greece.
+ free ebooks online. Did you know that you can help us produce ebooks by proof-reading just one page a day? Go to: Distributed Proofreaders. “Lysistrata” is a bawdy anti-war comedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes, first staged in BCE.
It is the comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War, as Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace.
Hello, and welcome to Literature and History. Episode Horace and Augustan Poetry.
This is the second of two programs on the Roman poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus, a writer who lived from BCE and witnessed firsthand the fall . Lysistrata & the War: A Comic Opera in Mozartian Style"—updated from the ancient Greek play (ISBN ).
Lysistrata text in English—The EServer Drama Collection (Iowa State University). Lysistrata audiobook - Listen to streaming audio online and download in MP3 format. between the women, the men, the men and the women, and ultimately, the citizens of Greece.
Jeffrey Henderson, in his translation, also remarks upon the nature of Aristophanes’ criticism.