COMMENTARY

HYPOTHESES

Most extant Greek plays are prefaced in MSS by one or more

, introductory pieces clearly not composed by the poet. For Ar. some of these, like Hyp. I 8-10, II 32-3, which give the date and some other details of the original production (see Introd. p. 2), contain a kernel of what looks like genuine Hellenistic 'didaskalic' research, of the type associated with the Peripatetic school and Aristophanes of Byzantium. Of the four attached to Birds in most or some of the MSS, IV in iambic trimeters and I-III in prose, Hyps. III and IV merely (and IV inaccurately: note , l. 4) summarize the plot. In Hypothesis II the moralizing tone and assumption that Ar.'s intention was primarily didactic suggest that this piece was composed by a low-powered Byzantine schoolmaster wishing to instruct and edify his pupils, but the reference to the Gigantomachy (29-31) usefully notes the myth's influence on the plot. The serious inaccuracy in I 11-15, implying that Birds was produced after the Sicilian disaster, could however go back further, to some Alexandrian scholar weak on chronology. Hypothesis IV is attributed in the MSS to 'Aristophanes the , i.e. Aristophanes of Byzantium, but its feeble style and factual inaccuracy make this extremely improbable.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE

1

. The curious corruption of this form, shown to be correct by 645, to at Hyp. III 1 and in the Dramatis Personae in some MSS, was perhaps influenced by Thucydides' application of to the Athenians at 1. 70. 3, 6. 24. 3.

2

. The paradosis presents us here and in all the occurrences of the name in the text with , a linguistically impossible form. No Greek name is formed from the passive stem of a verb, and even if such a form were attested, the sense produced, 'Persuaded by his comrade(s)', would be unsuitable for the character. may be either the result of conflating two variants, and , or a misspelling (pronunciation being

-105-

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Birds
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations viii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes on Metre 29
  • Symbols in Apparatus Criticus 31
  • OpniΘeΣ 39
  • Commentary 105
  • Indexes 530
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