chapter  8
18 Pages

BIRDS

The Dionysian Peace dates from 421, the Dionysian Birds from 414. Of the presumable output of Aristophanes during the years 420-415 all that unquestionably remains is the forty-five Eupolideans drafted by the spring of 417, destined to form the parabasis of the unperformed Second Clouds. Birds, produced by Kallistratos, gained second place; first went to Ameipsias, third to Phrynichos. At the Lenaia two months previously, the other didaskalos, Philonides, had entered Aristophanes’ Amphiaraus (cf. Argument I.9-11 and Argument II.39-40). The staging of Birds, for Kallistratos and the choregos, must have entailed an effort more intense than normal, since this unusually expansive comedy requires masks, costumes and make-up adequate in quantity and variety, and striking enough in style, to meet the demands of around thirty or more different birds and approximately twenty characters; in addition, a flautist of exceptional ability and a choral group chosen with care.