chapter
13 Pages

Introduction

WithVictor Ehrenberg

This book is an attempt to give a historical and sociological account of Athenian life, based on, and illustrated by, one kind of literature in particular, namely Old Attic Comedy. Such an approach may appear unusual, but the method, I hope, can be justified. The ‘people’ mentioned in the title of the book are not the characters who carry the plots of the comedies, but the people of Athens. If there were any doubt about this, the sub-title should make it clear. I understand sociology as a branch of historical scholarship, and not of systematic philosophy. ‘A Sociology of Old Comedy’ has to be justified from two points of view, that of sociology, that is to say, of the present position of the study of Greek social and economic life, and that of the peculiar value of Old Comedy as a historical source.