The Acharnians



  • A comedy by Aristophanes, first performed in 425 BCin Athens. His earliest complete extant drama, it won the first prizeat the Lenaean Festival.

    The Acharnians is a satire on the Peloponnesian Warin which the hero, the old farmer Dicaeopolis, weary of the fighting,makes his own private peace treaty with the Spartans. This arrangementis furiously denounced by the chorus of old charcoal burners of Acharnae,but Dicaeopolis's life begins to improve as he trades with the oldenemy. The play mocks Athenian values: one scene shows a wealthy Boeotianasking to buy a typical Athenian souvenir and ending up with an informer;another shows a poor Megarian selling his two daughters (disguisedas pigs) to keep them from starving. Aristophanes also included linesalluding to his own impeachment the previous year for attacking thedemagogue Cleon and his followers in his play Babylonians.

    The play also mentions the ekkyklema, an early pieceof theatrical machinery consisting of a wheeled platform. When a characterknocks on Euripides's door and asks him to come out, the dramatistreplies that he is not at leisure. The annoyed visitor replies: "Atleast be wheeled out."