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Imagining Bad Citizenship In Classical Athens: Aristophanes Ecclesiazusae 730–876

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the place of ?badness? in Athenian discourse about citizenship by looking at three types of ?bad Athenians?: sykophants, ?shirkers?, and a particularly striking instance of a freerider from Aristophanes. In particular it probes some of the tensions behind the construction of a society based on a strict division between good and bad citizens. The fact that comic writers and litigants alike portray the sycophant as a social enemy and outcast suggests that Athenian audiences found appealing this model of civic society, in which the majority must act in unity against the negative forces threatening it. The discussion of sykophancy illustrates well the attraction of Athenians to anti-values and negative foils in articulating ideals concerning citizen behavior. Aristophanes? Ecclesiazusae presents an intriguing exchange between two unnamed citizens concerning whether to deliver property to the common pool as required under the new civic regime established by the city?s women.

Keywords: Aristophanes; Athenians; bad citizens; Ecclesiazusae; litigants; sykophants



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