An Early Morning Person? Aristophanes and His Star-Studded Comic Prologues

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on references to the sky, the stars, and the constellations in Aristophanes’ comedies that bear special relevance to the dramatic business at hand. The stage of classical Greek theatre frequently deployed celestial bodies as natural props. A close examination of Aristophanes’ comedies points to an acute awareness of the phenomena visible in the sky at the time of the historical performances. The comedies that begin with predawn or dawn scenes provide ample evidence that not only the playwright but also his audiences were well aware of the particularities of the star field and their impact on the play’s progression, the festival calendar, and the civic calendrical practice. Rereading Aristophanes’ comedies with an eye to the sky makes the reader appreciate how astronomical knowledge enriches the interpretation and the humour of his works. The plays reach new levels of sublimity by blending human and cosmic space and time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSublime Cosmos in Graeco-Roman Literature and Its Reception: Intersections of Myth, Science and History
EditorsDavid Christenson, Cynthia White
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherBloomsbury Academic, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
ISBN (Print)9781350344679
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2024


  • Aristophanes
  • ancient comedy
  • prologues
  • stars and planets
  • metatheatricality
  • performance time and calendar


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