Assemblywomen  

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Aristophanes' Assemblywomen (also known as Ecclesiazusae, the Latinized spelling of the Greek title Ekklēsiázousai) is a play dating from 390BCE which is similar in theme to Lysistrata in that a large portion of the comedy comes from women involving themselves in politics. This play is much more infused with gender issues than Lysistrata is. This play also shows a change in the style of Ancient Greek comedy after the short period of oligarchy after the Peloponnesian War, or at least an attempt at it. It seems to be a merging of the two styles that works in the beginning, but falls apart by the end.

Contents

Plot

The play concerns a group of women, the leader of which is Praxagora. She has decided that the women must convince the men to give them control of Athens, because they could rule it better than they have been. The women, in the guise of men, sneak into the assembly and vote the measure, convincing some of the men to vote for it because it is the only thing they have not tried.

The women then institute a Socialist-like government in which the state feeds, houses, and generally takes care of every Athenian. They enforce an idea of equality by allowing every man to sleep with every woman, but that the man must sleep with an ugly woman before he may sleep with a beautiful one.

There is a scene in which two men are talking. One of them is going along with the new government, giving his property to the women, and obeying their orders. The other does not wish to give up his property, but he is more than willing to take advantage of the free food.

Political background

The play portrays a common view of women at the time: since they never owned anything and had to share everything, women were more likely to wish to own things in common than men.

The enforced equality is also something of a political statement in addition to being a social one. After the oligarchy put in place after the war fell, Athenians asserted their democracy and equality very strongly, to the point that, while it was a clear exaggeration, the play surely made its position on excessive democracy clear.

Longest word

The play contains the longest word in Greek, transliterated as: lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimupotrimmatosilphioliparomelitoaktakexhumenokichlepikossuphophattoperis-teralektruonoptopiphallidokinklopeleioplagoosiraiobaphetragalopterugon, or λοπαδοτεμαχοσελαχογαλεοκρανιολειψανοδριμυποτριμματοσιλφιοκαραβομελιτοκατακεχυμενοκιχλεπικοσσυφοφαττοπεριστεραλεκτρυονοπτοκεφα-λλιοκιγκλοπελειολαγῳοσιραιοβαφητραγανοπτερύγων in the Greek alphabet (1169-74). Liddell and Scott translate this as "name of a dish compounded of all kinds of dainties, fish, flesh, fowl, and sauces."

Translations




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Assemblywomen" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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