The City as Comedy: Society and Representation in Athenian Drama

By Gregory W. Dobrov | Go to book overview
450 n. I 11). Thus, the comic poets who portrayed cities as allegorical women evidently anticipated later trends in the visual arts.
55.
Even small deviations from this technical meaning, such as when it appears as a synonym for "homeland" (e.g., Pind. Nem. 5.8, Soph. OC707, Ant.1122) or for "capital city" of a country ( Xen. An. 5.2.3) imply a "maternal" relationship between the city so designated and the individual or group whose "mother-city" it is said to be. For cities in antiquity called "Metropolis," cf. RE sv. See also Radt 1958, 33-39.
56.
Loraux ( 1993) has argued that the evolution of Athenian self-identification as citizens in the classical period involved a persistent effort to repress a mythological narrative about Athenian autochthony with originally "feminine" associations. On the primacy of the father metaphor in the discourse about the Athenian polis as a "metaphorical family," see also Loraux 1993, 65-66.
57.
Kock208 ad fr. 220.2. Kock made this suggestion in response to Meineke ( 3.129), who reads "Metropolis" and "Patropolis" as proper names of cities: "at non opus est nomine proprio: siquidem is qui loquitur matri plus quam patri verecundiae deberi cornice exemplis demonstrat. sic μητρόπολιν urbem dici ex qua coloniae deducantur, non πατρόπολιν."
58.
I suspect that the punning on μήτρα/μήτηρ in this fragment operates simultaneously on a coarser level as well. Μήτρα is not readily attested as an obscene metonym for female genitalia, though it is not difficult to imagine that it might be, especially in the light of its use in this particular passage: κρέας is a well attested comic term for the female sexual organs ( Henderson 1975, 144, which also offers a list of various food delicacies with obscene connotations), and someone selling Μήτρα as the "sweetest meat" (line 3) might easily be intended to refer to a pimp of some sort. This might help to explain line 4, which refers to one Metras who is a "friend to the demos." In other words, the mention in line 3 of purveyors of Μήτρα (taken obscenely) might remind the speaker of a well-known example of such a person. Meineke's speculation, in any event, that Metras was actually the fourth-century philosopher Metrodorus of Khios, seems farfetched.
59.
Cf. Henderson 1987b.
60.
See Elizabeth Bobrick essay in this collection for a discussion of male-female stereotypes as they are played out in Thesmophoriazusae.

Bibliography

Brandes E. 1886. "Observationes criticae de comoediarum aliquot Atticarum temporibus." Diss. Rostock.

Dougherty Carol. 1993. The Poetics of Colonization. Oxford.

Dover K. J. 1968. Aristophanes' Clouds. Oxford.

Ehrenberg V. 1962. The People of Aristophanes: A Sociology of Old Attic Comedy. New York,

Figueira Thomas J. 1991. Athens and Aegina in the Age of Imperial Colonization. Baltimore.

Geissler P. 1925. Chronologie der altattischen Komödie. Berlin.

Graham A. J. 1983 [ 1964]. Colony and Mother City in Ancient Greece. 2d ed. New York.

Guthrie W. K. C. 1971. The Sophists. Cambridge. Originally published in A History of Greek Philosophy I.3. Cambridge, 1969.

Hall Edith. 1989. Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy. Oxford.

Halperin David M. 1990. One Hundred Years of Homosexuality and Other Essays on Greek Love. New York.

Henderson Jeffrey 1975. The Maculate Muse: Obscene Language in Attic Old Comedy. New Haven.

---. 1987a. Aristophanes 'Lysistrata. Oxford.

---. 1987b. "Older Women in Attic Old Comedy." TAPA 117.105-29.

Just Roger. 1989. Women in Athenian Law and Life. New York.

-175-

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