In this paper I address the relationship between Aristophanes’ Ecclesiasuzae and books 2-4 (and the first parts of Book V) of Plato’s Republic. To address this issue, I examine passages of the two works deemed similar by James Adam and others in the light of Holger Thessleff’s work on Platonic chronology with assistance from Debra Nails. I dispute Ussher’s conviction that the confluent ideas are a result of the intellectual atmosphere in Athens during the beginning of the 4th Century B.C.E., as well as the notion that the production of Ecclesiasuzae preceded the dissemination of any parts of the Republic. My conclusion is that an unfinished “Proto-Republic” was circulated in Athens prior to 392 (the most commonly accepted date for the production of Ecclesiasuzae) and that it was this work which Aristophanes parodying through the reforms of Praxagora. While the conclusion I reach is similar to that of Thesleff, I do not rely on (nor indeed, necessarily agree with) several of his specific arguments in order to arrive at a pre-Ecclesiasuzae date for the “Proto-Republic.” Instead, I draw upon the compositional practices of ancient authors, the preeminence of the Republic in Plato’s corpus, the inadequacy of previous arguments attempting to describe the two works’ similarity, and the texts themselves to reach my conclusion.
|Keywords:||Ecclesiasuzae, Plato, Aristophanes, Republic, Proto-Republic|
Undergraduate Student, Classical Studies, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA
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