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  • Eupolis: Poet of Old Comedy
  • Mary C. English
Ian C. Storey . Eupolis: Poet of Old Comedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003. Pp. xii, 441. $115.00. ISBN 0-19-925992-5.

Ian Storey's meticulous study of the surviving fragments of Eupolis is essential reading for every scholar and student of Greek drama. Ancient authors as early as Horace (Sat. 1.4.1–5) and Persius (1.122–124) believed that Aristophanes, Kratinos, and Eupolis were the representative playwrights of Old Comedy: all three comic poets used dramatic satire to critique politics, war, intellectual thinkers, and other social and cultural issues of the [End Page 314] day, and all three displayed an astute understanding of Greek language and poetic style. Although Aristophanes remains our best link to the comic competitions of late fifth-century Athens, Storey's work on Eupolis allows us to develop a much fuller picture of these dramatic festivals and builds upon current discussions in the scholarship of Old Comedy that were launched by the publication of Kassel-Austin's editions of the comic fragments (1983–) and the conference (1996) and subsequent published proceedings (2000) on the Rivals of Aristophanes.

To begin, Storey provides a detailed history of the previous commentaries and editions of Eupolis and his own translations of the 325 assigned, 114 unassigned, and 5 spurious fragments (nicely complemented by Appendices II and III that locate the unassigned fragments and catalogue the komodoumenoi in Eupolis). In his first formal chapter, Storey outlines convincing evidence that ancient authors had a reading knowledge of at least six of Eupolis' comedies: Autolykos, Baptai, Demoi (with its famous references to Perikles in fr. 102), Kolakes, Marikas, and Taxiarchoi (for its obvious connection to Aristophanes' Frogs). Storey also highlights several texts that distinguish Eupolis as a comic playwright with an individualized style: Peri Komodias, Platonios' On the Different Types of Comedies and On the Different Styles of Comic Dramatists, Vita Aristophanis, and the scholia to Dionysios Thrax. In his second chapter, Storey provides a timeline for Eupolis' life and career. He suggests that Eupolis debuted at the Lenaia of 429 with either Prospaltioi or Heilotes. Only four of the comedies can be securely dated: Noumeniai at the Lenaia of 425, Marikas at Lenaia of 421, Kolakes at Dionysia of 421, and Autolykos at one of the festivals of 420. Using these dates as a framework, Storey gives tentative dates for the rest of Eupolis' comedies, the three most controversial of which are his positioning of Demoi in 417 (instead of the standard 412), Taxiarchoi in 415-L(enaia) or D(ionysia), and Chrysoun Genos at 426-L, not 424-D.

Storey offers an extensive commentary on all of Eupolis' comedies; certain plays, however, distinguish themselves for their particular relevance to the study of ancient drama and fifth-century Athenian life: Aiges (424-D), where Prodamon, a teacher of grammatike and mousike, gives a dancing lesson to an agroikos who has just arrived to Athens from the countryside; Autolykos (420-L or D), where Eupolis and Aristophanes have been sold into slavery and contend over the tutorship of Lykon's son Autolykos, the eromenos of Kallias; Baptai (416-L or D), where the foreign goddess Kotyto, arriving in Athens to investigate her worship, discovers a band of reveling transvestites, amid which fray Eupolis pokes fun at Alkibiades' outlandish lifestyle; Demoi (417-L or D), where four Athenian leaders—Solon, Miltiades, Aristeides, and Perikles—return from the dead to save Athens; Kolakes (421-D), where Kallias, son of the recently deceased Hipponikos, is squandering his father's estate on plans for a huge dinner party that will feature both Protagoras and a troupe of "expert" spongers; Marikas (421-L), a demagogue comedy, where Eupolis attacks Hyperbolos just as Aristophanes assailed Kleon a few years before in Knights; and Taxiarchoi (415-L or D), where the general Phormion instructs Dionysos in the art of war.

In chapter 4, Storey explores the intricacies and nuances of Eupolis' artistic relationship with Aristophanes. He maintains a cautious approach to the evidence in the parabases and to the theory that there existed a "war" between the poets that escalated beyond artistic rivalry at the comic...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-9234
Print ISSN
0009-8418
Pages
pp. 314-316
Launched on MUSE
2007-06-20
Open Access
No
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