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Aristophanes (är-is-tŏf′ a-nēz), the greatest Greek writer of comedies.  Little is known of his life, although his writings have made him famous.  He was born at Athens, probably about 448 B. C.  He began writing when very young, and his first plays were brought out under another name, because he was not old enough to contend for the prize.  He wrote, in all, fifty-four comedies, but only eleven have come down to us.  The Knights and The Clouds are among his most admired pieces.  Others are The Wasps, The Birds and The Frogs.  Aristophanes laughed at everything and everybody, especially at everything new. He liked old Athens, “as it had been in the days of the Persian wars,” and thus failed to see the good in men like Socrates.  One of his finest plays, The Clouds, is a satire against Socrates.  His plays have in them specimens of the most beautiful and finished poetry.  He died about 380 B. C.


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