The Ecclesiazusae and the Republic

By Hunter Ellis.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

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

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.177-186. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 775.424KB).

Hunter Ellis

Undergraduate Student, Classical Studies, Lewis & Clark College, Portland, Oregon, USA

I am a Junior Undergraduate student who has designed a major in Classical Studies (it is only offered as a minor at my institution). My interest with Platonic philosophy and Greek comedy was piqued during a capstone-level seminar on Plato’s Republic that I took with Nicholas Smith in the Spring of 2010. The paper I am presenting to this conference was written in that class, and, with Prof. Smith’s blessing, I am submitting it to various conferences. My further study will include more Platonic philosophy, hopefully continuing to explore the areas where philosophy and comedy overlap.


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