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National court in "Wasps" and other comedies by Aristophanes

t. V. Kudryavtseva


The description of a geliea — the Athenian jury is given: its structure, an operating procedure, judicial stock, some characteristics — on the basis of those data which can be found in plays by the Athenian comedy dramatist Aristophanes, in particular, in the comedy "Wasps". The central scene of the play — "dog court" — represents the parody to a geliea meeting. The conclusion that though "Wasps" and remarks on the Athenian court and judges in other comedies by Aristophanes — a caricature, and places very angry, the comedy dramatist displayed in the compositions real-life lines as in shape and customs of the geliast enjoying the power and irresponsibility and in the Athenian legal proceedings in general having an obvious list towards convictions is drawn. The ancient comedy thanks to the political and topical character is an excellent source on the history of the Athenian democracy and its institutes.

T. Kudriavtseva


The description of heliaia — the Athenian people's court (its membership, function, procedure, technical equipment, characteristic features) is given. The evidence is inferred from the comedies of the Athenian playwright Aristophanes, particularly his "Wasps". The central scene of this play — causa canina (the dog’s trial) — is a parody on the hearing of a case in the Athenian court. It is asserted that though "Wasps" and the remarks concerning the Athenian administration of justice in other comedies by Aristophanes are caricature and sometimes rather bitter, comic poet represents the Real features both in the nature and structure of the jurors enjoying their power and irresponsibility and in the Athenian courts which had an obvious inclination to accusatory verdicts. "Old Comedy" due to its political and topical substance is an excellent source of evidence for Athenian democracy and its institutions.

All comedies by Aristophanes — a fine source about life, customs, political struggle, intellectual disputes in the Athenian state of the end of the 5th century BC. In addition, in them also own main subject proceeding from urgent problems of political and public life of Athens is without effort traced: a problem wars and the world in

Akharnyanakh and "World"; sophists, Socrates and modern education in "Clouds"; people and irresponsible demagogues in "Riders", etc. Representation of these stories in a comic form with guarantee caused in audiences and laughter, both interest, and sympathy. In "Wasps" (422 BC) — one of the most ridiculous comedies by Aristophanes — such

the main subject is the Athenian national court — gelieya1.

Of course, about court there are many mentions and in other comedies by the Ancient Greek author. When Strepsiadu in "Clouds" the pupil shows on the map Athens, that says: "Trifles, I do not believe: jurors are not visible assessors here" 2 (207-208). In "Birds" two Athenians leave the city and look for a silent haven far away from vanity to found the new city because: "Only month or two grasshoppers hoot in gardens, but the whole year Athenians make a din in courts, without knowing all life were tired" (39-40). When they meet the Hoopoe and that learns that travelers — from Athens, he exclaims: "So you are judges!" (109) — and having learned,

that — no, with astonishment asks: "Unless such seed is sowed at you?". Also receives in reply: "In villages, occasionally" (111-112). In "World" Hermes says that Athenians are not able to do anything else as soon as to judge (505). And here the "people dream" appearing in Kleon's promises from "Riders". The demagogue claims that the People is fated in prori-tsanye: "To become in Arkady marvelous the jury judge, any day receiving five pennies" (797-798).

These examples which list can be continued show that Aristophanes considered gelieyu the major body in political system of Athens, in no small measure representing all Athenian people. And the comedy dramatist had all reasons for such opinion: gelieya not only investigated lawsuits of citizens and allies, being court of the final and highest authority. It participated in a dokimasiya (check) of the chosen officials, listened to reports of the magistrates which are resigning from authority after the term of tenure. The foreign policy Athenian arkhe was created also not without participation of a geliea: she participated in ratification of some contracts, it possessed a casting vote at a deal of Foros from allies, she considered their complaints. Thanks to the procedure ураф" p to a larauotsyu — the complaint on protivozakony — gelieya guarded the constitutional system and to some extent was the highest authority in relation to people's assembly because in national court any resolution (psefizm) or the law adopted by an ekkle-siya could be challenged. The court took the important place and in private life of the Athenian citizens: they had a passion for barratry in blood, and gelieya turned into one of the main national entertainments. It is also necessary to consider that gelieya was most masso-

vy national body (annually in it 6 thousand judges were elected), and many Athenians had if desired all opportunities to fulfill duties of the national judge. Especially it concerned representatives of the last property class — fet which could be seduced with judicial earnings in three obols a day, than citizens more well-founded easily could disdain.

A situation with our sources on the history of national court in Athens in the 5th century BC such is that Aristophanes is nearly the only author who it is rather detailed, though in a comic form, described also a geliea operating procedure, its structure, judicial stock, both shape of the geliast, and directly course of court session. Other authors of the 5th century BC, whose works reached us: historians — Herodotus and Thucydides, the author of the pamphlet "Athenian Polity", known as Psevdokseno-fonta, or the Old Oligarch — or were limited to short remarks on some loud trials of the 5th century (Miltiades, Femistokl, business "profaners germ", etc.), without penetrating in any legal details shedding light on work of national court (Herodotus, Thucydides) or managed emotional exclamations about nonsense, greed, a svoyekorystnost and an arbitrariness of the dikast (Psevdoksenofont) sitting at courts. Since the end of the 5th century BC and further for everything

IV century we have such first-class source on national court as judicial speeches of the Athenian speakers (Lisiya, Issey, Demosfen, Eskhin, Hyperides, Lycurgus, Dinarkh), and the most scrupulous description of activity of a geliea in the final chapters of "The Athenian polity" of Aristotle, however not all these data can be applicable to a dicaste-riyam of the 5th century BC — several times

for the 4th century took place of reform of legal proceedings in Athens. Undoubtedly, before us there is a problem, the aristofanovsky image of a geliea is how adequate to reality and whether the historian can use it as a historical source, but we will talk about it later.

We considered it necessary to stop briefly on contents of the comedy of Aristophanes of "Wasp" because some of his details play a paramount role in our historical reconstruction.

The main characters of the comedy are the old man Filokleon (his name means "Kleonolyub" 3, in Piotrovsky's translation — Kleonoslav), his son Bdelikleon (literally "The one whom feels sick from Kleon", options in Russian translations — Mstikleon4, Kle-onagryz5) and, of course, chorus of wasps, i.e. judges. According to the Greek practice Filokleon transferred control of family property to the son who takes maintenance responsibility of the father now. This responsibility lies on it a heavy burden because Filokleon suffers from special type of insanity: it has an all-devouring passion for barratry — day and night he is torn to fulfill the judge's duties. The son grieved by a disease of the father at first tried to finish him kindly, tries to treat, at last, having despaired, locks in the house. At night Filokleon's friends — the same old men judges overcome by the same passion for barratry are. It is the chorus dressed by wasps with staffs stings. "Wasps" induce

Filokleon who is going down on a rope from a roof to join them (366395). Bdelikleon wakes up, drags the father back; he tries to drive away "wasps" and undertakes to prove them the case. Bdelikleon and Filokleon suit between themselves an Agon (competition) - it is one of key scenes of the play.

The first Filokleon delivers a speech. The main thought which he carries out in it: "Who is more blessed, tell, and is happier who who grozny of living in the world, and vzleleyanny who, than the jury judge" (550). All please it, applicants (defendants) entertain, demagogues flatter it (560-597). But it is the most pleasant to receive a payment (in three obols) (605-618). A conclusion to which Filokleon comes at the end of the speech: the power of judges same, as at Zeus; all are afraid of it including Bdelikleon (620-630).

Bdelikleon recognizes ponderability of arguments of the father. The task faces him therefore hard, but he successfully copes with it. He shows how imaginary benefactors of the people — demagogues — deceive Filokleon and to it similar. The real power is in hands of politicians which play judges, set them on own enemies, and between times fill the pockets to themselves. He suggests to calculate the sum of revenues of the Athenian state, having counted both the contributions arriving from allies, and the customs duties, and income from the markets, mines, piers, rent, auctions, and receives as a result of 2000 talents (655-660). This sum in a year for "salary" to 6000 judges is left by only 150 talents.

Bdelikleon, of course, dissembles also at-mitiviziruyet a financial system of Athens: huge amounts of money took the field, the maintenance of the fleet, construction works, many expenses demanded management of such huge policy as Athens. But the objective is achieved: the chorus is convinced by Bdelikleon's arguments, and even, it seems, Fi-lokleon is touched by them, but judicial fever does not abandon the poor creature and he is torn to judge Kleon for extortion now. Then Bdelikleon to satisfy this itch, suggests the father suit home court. All necessary accessories are brought: circles as ballot boxes for go-

losovaniye; the pot serving as the clepsydra (water-clock); a rooster to awake Filokleon when he falls asleep, listening to protection. Enter also the defendant — a dog of Labet who stole the Sicilian cheese in kitchen and one of the most comic scenes of the play — the direct parody to a meeting of the Athenian court begins.

The chairman (Bdelikleon) announces the text of the complaint which is brought by other dog — from Dyoma Kidafin (from where the sort Kleon): "The Eksonsky dog of La-bet offended me the fact that the Sicilian cheese he ate one. To punish a belt smokovnichny," 6 (895-896).

Causa Canina represents not only the parody to the Athenian legal proceedings, but also satire to the conflict between the demagogue Kleon and the commander Lakhet (a sort, as well as Labet's dog, from Ek-sonsky Dyoma) and sheds light on some details of political struggle of that time in Athens. Lakhet is known that he in 427 BC with small group went to Sicily and conducted operations against Sirakuz and other cities without noticeable success there, but also without obvious defeat. In the spring of 425 he was recalled to Athens (Thuc., III, 86-115). In 423 Lakhet suggested to call with Spartans a truce for a year, and in 421 was the main supporter Nikiya at the conclusion of the known world (Thuc., V, 43). In 418, being a strategist, he died in battle at Mantineia (Thuc., V, 61; 74). "Wasps" point to the undoubted hostility existing between Kleon and Lakhet. Possibly, Kleon wanted to attract (or brought) the strategist to court on a charge of waste of money ("stole the Sicilian cheese" — 896)7

In a scene of dog court Aristophanes brilliantly (first of all through behavior and the remarks Filokleona) shows two main defects of the Athenian courts — bias and irresponsibility. Still

before the parties appeared, the old man decides that the defendant will be condemned (893); he "reads" to Labeta wine up to his physiognomy ("looks furtively"

— 900); he trusts in everything that is told against the defendant, and does not believe in what is told pro. Also motives of accusers to submission of complaints are exposed to criticism: the speech of a kidafinsky dog shows that he is driven not by patriotism, but egoistical disappointment on the fact that Labetka "ate one" (mGvoç katg | a01eu — 89b). But the best in this satire — the speech in protection of the defendant which is said by Bde-likleon because itself Labet cannot speak in the protection (or does not want). In it all tricks which defendants or defenders in the speeches used are mocked: a mention of last merits before the state ("he is a nice, kind dog, sends wolves away... he is able to operate huge herd... fights for you, at a door guards" — 952-959); the apology which is not connected with business at all ("he does not own a cithara" — 959); a counter attack on the accuser ("different La-betka has to guzzle a garbage — And this [pointing to Kidafints] it is suitable only the dwelling to guard, lie in the doorway, to watch that to the house to you bear, and to demand a share — but will not allow — to bite" — 970-972); at last, attempts to move to pity judges ("oh, take pity, my dear, on a hapless dog" — 9b7), which culmination — appearance of the sobbing children (puppies) (975-978).

It is curious that the defender does not doubt wine of the defendant, "usitsilivshe-go" the 8th cheese as, probably, and Aristophanes in the "real" Lakhet's wine (958, cf. 83b-838). The modern lawyer would hardly venture to let know that he considers the client the guilty person (if, of course, that not "is detected in the act"); the modern judge would be forced to find the defendant guilty if

he would take for granted the fact of theft. But, judging by our source, in Athens if the judge believed that the person committed a crime, but for some reason deserves indulgences, "the correct behavior" in that case — to acquit the defendant. Therefore Bdelikleon, listing the dignity of the defendant and calling court for favor, notices: "And stole a little, so you forgive!" (958-959).

Filokleon on whom protection made an impression shows some signs of compassion — tears gather in the eyes — but nevertheless he intends to condemn an unfortunate dog. Then Bdelikleon fraudulently (having begun to whirl the father) shows him not on that ballot box, and instead of lowering a stone in a ballot box for charge, Filokleon lowers it in a ballot box for justification. Having learned that acquitted the defendant, he faints, and having regained consciousness, says that he has no need to live more. Bdelikleon, consoling, draws to him tempting prospects of future life: "I will drive you on feasts, on shows with myself everywhere, you will pleasantly spend the life rest" (1003-1005). In a final part of the comedy the old man goes to a feast: he rushes to a social life with the same heat and enthusiasm as earlier in judicial.

Such is contents of the play and some reasons which occur in process of its reading. Now in more detail about as what national judges and in general court in this comedy and other plays by Aristophanes appear at us.

Structure of a geliea — one thousand people (bb2), the number of days of meetings — 300. The last figure turns out from Bdelikleon's calculations (bb3) if to recognize what thousands judges would receive in a year of 150 talents and in days when they do not sit, they are not followed by payment.

Thus it is clear that courts did not sit in days when the people's assembly (40 days) and on big holidays was held. Probably, Bdelikleon gives the greatest possible figure, at all it is not obligatory that all judges worked so many days in a year. Geliasta was not known before come to court whether there will be this day a meeting or not.

The meeting began in the morning. At the entrance to court at a wooden lattice or a partition of geliast the participants of a lawsuit fawning upon them expected (552-558). The arriving judges tried to take places better — the first, i.e. the next to speakers and to ballot boxes, a bench. All judicial "equipment" is mentioned in the comedy: the clepsydra, ballot boxes, circles for vote (ol Ka8&iaKoi) with conic top of type of a funnel (o Kh^o?) from a wicker where lowered voting камешки^ yhfoi) or раковины^ xoipínai) and also a stone for counting of votes. At the beginning of the meeting fesmoft proclaimed: "If which of judges behind the doors, let enters!" (ei 0Upaain hliaarriç, eiai™ — 891). Hearing began with this phrase; further, after giving of a signal of the beginning of business, late did not let (892); treasured three obols did not pay them (b89-b90; Eccl., 381-382).

The parties were caused, the complaint or the indictment (gpafh) was brought and read. Then the speech of the accuser upon termination of which the chairman called the defendant's witnesses whose indications alternated with the protective speech followed; since the same moment all tricks designed to move to pity judges were used (Vesp., 5b2-574, 578-582). The skillful speech of Bdelik-Leon — the dog lawyer — his father interrupts with exclamation. Kataßa! (979 — i.e. "descend!" in sense "finish, finish!") — probably, thus the Athenian judges expressed the unwillingness to more listen to the speaker.

There were two ballot boxes: one

— for justification, another — for charge. Judges passed by them and could lower if desired hands in both ballot boxes so nobody could understand where exactly they lowered the voice (Lexicon Rhetoricum Cantabrigiense, s. v. (kgro?) 9 Stones or sinks for vote the archon could give, and could bring geliasta from the house. So, Filokleon held at himself whole bunch of sinks — "being afraid that there will not be enough stones in court, he protected at himself sea in the house got" (109-110 — N. Kornilov Lane). After the end of vote yhfoi (or x0LPÍyaL) got enough sleep on a special stone and were considered (332333, 993). For many offenses the punishment was not defined and was solved individually. The claimant called an estimated penalty, and the defendant or the defender gave the sum accepted for them. If the judge agreed with the last (i.e. minimum) the sum, he put short line on the wax plate (mvaKiov Ti |xr| TiK0v) if wished maximum, then — dlinnuyu10. During trial of the judge could not leave and, obviously, felt certain discomfort if business dragged on. Money for participation in a meeting (desired three obols) was distributed by the special official

— kolakrt (695), from here — expression "kolakret milk" (gala kykhakreto

— 724).

What affairs sort geliasta? If to judge by comedies by Aristophanes, they nearly constantly should deal with charges of high treasons (treason in the war, waste of public money, aspiration to tyranny, to overthrow of the existing system, participation in a plot), the majority of which are absolutely groundless — Vesp., 417, 463-507, 555-556, 953; Aves, 1074; Lys.,

619, 630; Thesm., 338, 1143). The poor creature Bdelikleon on whom judges, friends of his father, with shout "the enemy of the people", "the adherent of the monarchy" snatch (imovapxLa? ¿раита — 473), beating off, says: do you have any tyrant or the conspirator (apan0 & u | iin Tupanni? eaTi XunwmoTa — 488).

The trend of the Athenian life characteristic especially of times of the Peloponnese war and attested and other sources is evidently traced (Thuc., VI, 27; 28; 60; And., I, 36): at any opportunity to accuse politicians (and not only!) in a plot for overthrow of democracy or in intention to establish tyranny. Among the cases considered by judges in "Wasps" also the affairs connected with a dokimasiya of young men (588) and revision of wills (582-586) are mentioned.

>. Now we will peer more fixedly into those who manage court. Filokleon, the main character of "OS", he is the ardent juror, puts on poorly, wears a short shabby Tpißwviov raincoat (116, 1123-1126, 1131), puts shoes on in boots ¿mßaSe? (103, 275), which, apparently, at it one para11. Obvious poverty of Filokleon

— obvious subject discrepancy (what there is a lot of in plays by Aristophanes): apparently, his son, Bdelikleon — the person rather well-founded. Partly the notorious senile decrepitude of our hero appears the same subject discrepancy. In Article 165 Filokleon strives to gnaw through the network keeping his houses, and the slave Ksanfy reminds him that it long ago without teeth. But further on the action course the teeth at the old man miraculously grow and in Article 367-371 it peregryzat network. Filokleon shows bravery and youthful enthusiasm in the last scenes of "OS" when he boozes, brawls and gets involved in fights with passersby.

During an obsession time Filokleon's thoughts were always "a judicial fever" only about one — about condemnation of defendants. He has permanent disgust for verdicts of not guilty. Withheld by the son, he seeks that did not leave justified certain Wad Dra-kontid, and on the son's question "to you what business?" — answers: "So know, the prediction is given me in Delphi if I acquit at least one, I will wither a chip a sokhla" (158-1b0). All his thoughts are connected with court, court for it — a home, there he wants to be constant (752). Bdelikleon calls this draft "love for the place" (filocopia

— 834). Uncontrollably pulls the old man there where it is possible to harm with impunity — "to make something angry" (poihaai t ratón — 322). It is interesting that even when Filokleon leaves refereeing in a final part of the play, to create with impunity harm and excess remains his main joy (12b3, 1335-1340)12. To entreaties of defendants he is deaf, to move to pity him — all the same that to boil a stone (277-280); moreover, requests, spells, crying only amuse it (389-390). When it defines punishment, does it to the maximum — "to punish all it is glad line long" (10b) therefore it has wax under nails (108) eternally.

His companions-judges who are a match for Filokleon. Overcome by the same judicial fever, they get up till the dawn therefore go with lamps (streets are dark and dirty) and sing songs of the youth (220). Their age is very respectable, time they are age-mates and the remains of that generation which participated in grekopersidsky voynakh13. They are poor: with oil in lamps are very economical and when the boy shining them carelessly squeezes out a finger a match, they beat him as oil costs (251253) much. The judge's earnings for them — heads -

ny source of means of livelihood (300-310; also Lsagp., 460-461). The leader of chorus, addressing the son, says: "From this, the son that today I will receive, for three it is necessary to us bread, it is necessary chips, also gt is necessary meat"; (300-304. Their favourite, the defender and the supporter — Kleon who lifted him payment to three obols for a meeting (Bdsh!, 255-256). It supplies them with work, delivering defendants moreover gives in a stock for three days (as a soldier's ration) to "caustic rage" (^тер^у ору^п a trya ropg | Rau — Vesp., 242-243). Kleon and similar to him demagogues subdued judges (and in their person — and all Athenian people) flattery, attention and obsequiousness (596-601). Calls Kleon and companions-judges on protection against the members of household dragging him to the house, Filokleon (197); to it judges (409) appeal, being going to complain of Bde-likleon who allegedly wants to banish them and to close courts (410-412). It seems, just about the playwright will bring to the stage of the demagogue as it was in "Riders". But ours (and the audience) expectations are vain: Kleon really will appear, but... in the form of a dog in a scene of dog court.

Thus, the following picture, not palatable for the Athenian legal proceedings, appears. The decrepit old men not capable to labor life judge in Athens mainly and they are engaged in it not because of a civic duty or reasons of prestige and advantage and to earn to themselves on livelihood. Sitting at court, they give vent to the weak rage because, besides a payment, they are attracted by consciousness that the fate of the defendant, quite often the person rich, notable depends on them (552, 576). To let know to such person the power brings to a ge-liast huge pleasure (552558). He revels in requests and entreaties of participants of a lawsuit (560-572); not

reddening, it brags of what can abuse, so to speak, the situation when tyazhushchiyesya begin it to humour and entertain in every possible way (560-582). Not accountability (judges — apireibiuo — 587) and the impunity following from here give rise at judges to feeling of permissiveness and the power equal divine (619-625).

Geliasta prefer to pronounce convictions anyway. Dikeapol in Akharnyanakh demonstrates: "And old men I know customs rigid, for them one fun — to condemn the enemy" (374-375). Especially bright to that the certificate — an example of Filokleo-na and his companions. The old men judges going very early lament that yesterday it was not succeeded to condemn one samosets accused of conspiracy — it "escaped" (byebit’) — and assume that this fact could upset Filokleo-na to a fever (Vesp., 283-284). Now they in good mood also urge to cheer up also Filokleon: day promises to be successful because today they will judge "a bag with money" (letters. "beehive" — sttrkhod hrltatyp) Lakhet (241) and one more money-bag (ап^р rakh? from the Thracian traitors (287289). In similar affairs of the judge were guided not only rage and envy to the rich, but, probably, and quite mercantile reasons. Kolbasnik's remark in "Riders" asking People indicates as it will treat that speaker who will tell it it: "Will not be, judges, bread to you if do not finish with charge of business!" (1358-1359).

Before drawing a final conclusion about the value and reliability of the picture of national court drawn by Aristophanes, it is necessary to tell several words concerning the discussion which is conducted in a historiography on a subject: what political views were expressed by the comedy dramatist and in what

a measure they influenced the image to them the Athenian reality. Since issue of the book of M. Kruaze "Aristophanes and parties in Athens" the opinion that Aristophanes was not oppositional democracies began to prevail, but was an enemy of demagogues. The comedy dramatist took an average position: he adhered moderate and democratic or, perhaps, to the conservative views characteristic of generation of "marathon fighters" and the attic peasantry which equally rejected both oligarchical, and democratic krayno-sti14. The poet was an adherent of doperik-lovy democracy ("the fatherlike political system") which during an era of the Peloponnese war was perceived as ideal.

Similarly also others spoke on this problem issledovate-li15. E. Gomm, however, sneered into the account of supporters of this concept: "A good, comfortable, essentially British position" 16. If in literature of the 19th century statements about aristocratic beliefs of Aristophanes, then in a modern historiography similar came across

17 g ••

the position is marginal. Its softened option meets at Zh. St Croix who, specifying on vkhozhest Aristophanes in certain highest circles of the Athenian society, considers that the poet expressed inherent in them conservative (not oligarchical!) vzglyady18.

The upgraded version about conservative views of Aristophanes is submitted within the new discourse about "elite" and "masses" which became fashionable from an easy hand of J. Obera19: comic poets, sympathizing with minority views — elite, were forced "to adapt" them, to do attractive to the majority, adapting to official ideology, i.e. ideology majestic 20


As for E. Gomm, the British scientist believed: it is not necessary to exaggerate political tendentiousness of Aristophanes; what there were its political views (and he, of course, had them), he achieves the objectives as the artist and gives "an accurate picture of the Athenian policy during his time" 21. On the contrary, about the lightness drawn by Aristophanes joker

pictures of the Athenian life argued


Yu. Schmidt. The Slovak historian M. Okal considered that the poet stood on positions of the attic peasantry and too depended on opinion of the last, and on it influence of local oligarchs was in turn big. It is necessary to approach selectively its certificates, and the picture of the Athenian reality which issued from the pen in the general не-верна23. Goes forward in discussion of a problem of a ratio of reality and its image at Aristophanes M. Heath even more resolutely. The comedy dramatist often represents public life in Athens not simply "in black light", and absolutely mad. But actually he so did not think; all this is the comic exaggeration designed to entertain public, to force it


to laugh.

The problem of determination of political addictions of Aristophanes and their influence on his creativity refracts in a context of our plot as follows: how to consider the image of a geliea in "Wasps" and other comedies — as an original picture of judicial customs or as a caricature and if — as a caricature, then the last — as it corresponds to reality and for what purpose Aristophanes created this caricature. Nobody from issledovateley25 directly hesitates to defend the first position, and here concerning the second and the questions following from it exist various to me -

niya and shades of opinions. There are several characteristic points of view.

The Russian pre-revolutionary classicist A.M. Lovyagin who devoted to "Wasps" several essays in the Hermes magazine believed that this comedy — the evil caricature distorting reality. And it is not the only example of distortion of the historical truth: be Aristophanes our only source what representation we would have about Pericles and Socrates — the author of article questions. Only some technical moments of court session are reliable. All the rest — exaggeration: and the list of judges from old men alone, and their tendency to the punishing sentences, without telling about their ridiculous collecting in sud26. The careful and skeptical position was taken also by E. Lange. He considered that the Athenian legal proceedings were not as nasty how the poet tries to convince us of it: the education level at the Athenian citizens was high; they it is quite good razbira-


foxes in legal issues. The modern German philologist L. Lenz is convinced that the comic "dionisiysky" beginning prevails in "Wasps", and in the second part, undoubtedly, dominates: Aristophanes critic is subordinated to Arie hundred-fan-comedian; the burlesque was called

to amuse the audience, but not to tire them on -


lytic hints.

The English researcher K. Dover, though considers that some details of the Athenian legal proceedings found reflection in the comedy (in particular, bias and not accountability of judges), believes that the author obviously went too far in image of the main character. A solution of "abnormal" ruthlessness of Filokleon, his deafness to entreaties and mockery over asking — in his name. He such nasty not because all Athenian judges were so ruthless and dishonourable but because "loves Kleon", and

this demagogue appeals to the worst in people, and his supporters have to be people without honor and conscience. As for a task which was set for himself by Aristophanes, the comedy dramatist not only does not call for destruction of vessels (in that look as they appear in the comedy), he does not even mean any basic improvements in their set, structure, competence; the general implication of the play — moralising, but not



We will sum up some results. Our own position is close to that to average, in our opinion, to the weighed point of view to which many adhered issledovateli30. "Wasps" and remarks on the Athenian court and judges in other comedies — it is indisputable, a caricature, and places — very angry. Probably, not all ge-liasta were so spiteful also melochna, not all were poor decrepit aged men.

At the same Aristophanes it is mentioned in "Clouds" that Strepsiad was the judge when to his son would be years, i.e. at rather young age (863-864) and at the leader of chorus in "Wasps" the son — the boy that somehow does not match old age of nice veterans of the Greek-Persian wars. However, the overweight as a part of geliast quite perhaps was on the party of people elderly, free from military service, especially at the time of the Peloponnese war when many citizens of "draft" age (i.e. up to 60 years) were in the fleet or in army. The judicial salary of these old men whose welfare war burdens could not but affect, became a peculiar pension on starosti31. Citizens wealthy, business people, the prospering handicraftsmen would hardly begin to spend the time for listening of infinite slanders tyazhushchikhsya. But exaggerating, mocking, parodying, Aristophanes noticed really existing

lines as in shape and the nature of the gelia-st enjoying the power and irresponsibility and in the Athenian legal proceedings in general having an obvious list towards convictions. The statements of some researchers about serious distortion of reality at Aristophanes, up to an outright lie, most likely, are unfair. The caricature had to have similarity to the original: if the comedy dramatist did not go too far in the sneer and the parody out of reality limits to the world of imagination and the audience sitting on benches would not learn in the heroes brought on the stage, the neighbors, relatives, themselves, the comedy would not have desired effect and would hardly enjoy such popularity.

Aristophanes, of course, was not a subversive of foundations. He never seriously thought of closing of vessels, though his hero Kolbasnik in "Riders" exclaims: ". stop interrogations and lawsuits! Let will close courts that the People loved" (1316-1317). But also to claim how K. Dover that the poet did not want to correct their shortcomings, and wished to improve only customs, it is represented to us incorrect. Its caustic satire on gelieyu had to not only give rise to laughter at the audience, but also pay their attention to obvious and unattractive defects of the Athenian legal proceedings. The prevalence of "black paint" in the image of national court could have also preventive character. The playwright kind of warned compatriots: you watch what outrage is created in courts and what can occur from this if


to give to these tendencies to develop.

The comedy by Aristophanes as it was already told — the only source which gives us the detailed description of a geliea of the 5th century BC. On this magnificent satire, a masterful caricature on deyst-

we can imagine a vitelnost what this reality was, we can recreate a number of lines, characteristics and national court, both judges, and their perception in the Athenian society. Thanks to the fact that the Ancient comedy was political and topical we can reconstrui-

to rovat on it to some reliability the Athenian reality. We would never manage to achieve such result on the New comedy — it is like to restore modern life according to the Hollywood movies or the Latin American series.

1 Athenian gelieya was divided into ten trial chambers — dikasteriyev therefore national judges were called both geliasta, and dicastes.
2 Hereinafter, except the stipulated cases — Adrian Piotrovsky's translation. (Aristophanes. Comedies: Adr Fragments / Lane. Piotrovsky. Prod. podgot. V.N. Yarkho. Otv. edition M.L. Gasparov. M, 2000.) In parentheses at references to quotes and plays by Aristophanes number of the verse in the text of the author is given.
3 Kleon — the famous Athenian demagogue, the leader of radical democracy who moved forward after Pericles's death. Aristophanes even earlier (in 424 g) derided him in the comedy "Riders".
4 So in Adrian Piotrovsky's translation.
5 See: Guseynov G. Aristophanes. M, 1988. Page 130.
6 Hereinafter in a scene of dog court — N. Kornilov's translation under V. Yarkho's edition.
7 According to D. McDowell, this process did not take place (MacDowell D. M. / Aristophanes. Wasps. Oxford, 1976. River 249). R. Bauman believes that he took place, but Lakhet was acquitted (Bauman R. Political Trials in Ancient Greece. L.; N.-Y., 1990. River 57).
8 As is claimed by the slave Ksanfy, Labet was dragged off by cheese in a corner and "usitsilit" (katetkekhets — 911) it there.
9 See: MacDowellD. M. / Aristophanes. Wasps. River 143.
10 See: Leeuwen J. van. Prolegomena/Aristophanis Vespae. Lugduni, 1893. P. 17.
11 See A.M. Lovyagin. Essays of drevneafinsky court//Hermes. T. 6. 1910. Page 195.
12 See: Sommerstein A. H. Notes on Aristophanes’ Wasps//ClQu. Vol. 27. 1977. P. 270.
13 About senile age of judges see also instructions in "Riders" (979 — "old men grumblers" and Akharnyanakh (the "decrepit aged men" mumbling teeth — 671-691).

CroisetM. Aristophane et les partis à Athènes. Paris, 1906. River 41, 44.

See, for example: V.P. Buzeskul. History of the Athenian democracy. SPb., 2003. Page 307; Sobolevsky S.I. Aristophanes and his time. M, 1957. Page 87-88; Ehrenberg V. The People of Aristophanes. Cambridge Mass., 1951. River 48; Connor W. R. The New Politicians of Fifth-Century Athens. Princeton, 1971. R 170.

16 Gomme A. W. Aristophanes and Politics//More Essays in Greek History and Literature. Oxford, 1962. P. 72.
17 The modern radical option of this position is presented by the extravagant statements of H. Tumans in his monograph "the Birth Athens. Athenian way to democracy: from Homer to Pericles (8-5th centuries BC)". SPb., 2002: the comedy dramatist condemns all (sic! — our italics — Since) the Athenian political system, considers democracy an unusable political system and offers it an alternative — the aristocratic republic (page 471-472).
18 See: Ste. Croix G. E. M., de. The Origins of the Peloponnesian War. L., 1972. P. 358-361, 371. About Aristophanes's communications with frequenters of aristocratic fias see also: Dow S. Some Athenians in Aristophanes//AJAH. V. 73. 1969. P. 234-235.

19 Ober J. Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens: Rhetoric, Ideology and Power of the People. Prince

Frederick Carter
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