THE "Wasps" was exhibited at the Lenaean festival in the year B.C. 422. The didascalia which records the result of that competition has come down to us in a corrupt form; but we can gather from it that the "Wasps," exhibited by Aristophanes in his own name, obtained the prize: that the "Rehearsal" (also the work of Aristophanes but) exhibited in the name of Philonides, was placed second; and that the comedy placed third was the Ambassadors" of Leucon.
The "Wasps" was merely one phase in the combat which the Poet was waging against the Demagogues. It had for its object the rupture of the alliance which existed between the Demagogues on the one hand and the dicasts, who constituted their main support and stay in the popular assemblies, on the other. And this object Aristophanes endeavours to compass by showing that while the Demagogues affected to flatter and patronize the dicastic system, they in reality reserved to themselves all the substantial benefits and fruits of the alliance, and left the dicasts to pine and starve in a state of abject and degraded poverty.