“I came down here for a poet”: the politics of journey in Aristophanes’s Frogs

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 16 February

12.00-1.30pm in Room NTC.2.06

We are very pleased to announce that Eirini Apanomeritaki will continue our discussion of mythical journeys with a session on the politics of journey in Aristophanes’s Frogs



Amphora with cult mask of Dionysus (ca. 520 BC), Altes Museum Berlin [image on the public domain]

Aristophanes’s comedy Frogs was staged in 405 B.C. in the final years of the Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.) between Athens and Sparta which ended with Athens’s defeat. In an attempt to raise the Athenians’s hopes, Aristophanes has god Dionysus visit Hades, disguised as Heracles, in order to seek advice from the great tragedians, Sophocles, Euripides and Aeschylus. The task of Dionysus is twofold: on the one hand, he has to bring one of the dead poets back to life, since the new tragedies performed in Dionysia failed to entertain, and on the other hand, he needs to provide the citizens of Athens with a solution for the worst humiliating defeat in the Peloponnesian War. This underworld journey features a competition between Aeschylus and Euripides, seeking to emphasise the poet’s responsibility towards the city in times of crises.

See selected extracts from Frogs [ll.65-200, 740-813, 1355-1533], and a synopsis of the comedy as optional reading.


Aristophanes. Frogs. Edited and translated by Alan H. Sommerstein. Oxford: Aris & Phillips Classical Texts, Oxbow Books, 1996.


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