Political Context of Greek Comedy

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Declan Wiseman
Created by Declan Wiseman over 4 years ago
Darklight Dragon
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The political context of the period surrounding Greek comedy

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Political Context of Greek Comedy
1 Greece was made up of many small independent city-states.
1.1 Athens, Sparta, Thebes, 3 big examples
1.1.1 Athens grew in power (5th century) and took charge over many smaller city-states. By the 5th century Athens was a democracy but only citizens could play a role in the political life of the city. Women, slaves and foreigners could not participate in the politics of the city. To vote one had to be an adult, male citizen who owned land and was not a slave The first democracy in the world Before the first attempt at democratic government, Athens was ruled by a series of archons or chief magistrates, and the Areopagus, made up of ex-archons. Ancient Greek critics of the democracy include Aristophanes the playwright, Plato blamed democracy for killing Socrates In 399 BC Socrates was put on trial and executed for 'corrupting the young and believing in strange gods'. Leading philosophers, poets, scientists, artists, rhetoricians and literary theorists were attracted from all over the Greek world to come to Athens. The city became a hub for activity Only native-born males were granted citizenship and they made up not even a quarter of the population of the city. Plato and Aristotle pointed out the unfairness of democracy: 'it distributes a sort of equality to equal and unequal alike'."
1.2 They had differing views and systems on politics and culture and so frequently there was conflict.
1.3 States were called polis
1.3.1 Each had their own government
2 The themes within Old Comedy were local in colour and theme which helped the audience relate to the subject matter
3 Lysistrata
3.1 The Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC) was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta
3.1.1 413 BC: The Athenians and their allies suffered a catastrophic defeat in the Sicilian Expedition, a turning-point in the long-running Peloponnesian War. In 411 BC, the Athenian democracy was overthrown in favour of an oligarchy Oligarchy: a small group of people having control of a country or organization. Democracy was suppressed by the Macedonians in 322 BC.
4 In 404 BC Athens was defeated and occupied by Sparta.
5 Pericles - hero to the city state
5.1 Succeeded by Cleon
5.2 Longest-lasting democratic leader
6 Audiences could make a play a success by cheering and stamping their feet – or a miserable failure by throwing food at the performers. But if the audience we’re getting too rowdy, the theatre staff had big sticks to keep them quiet.
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