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London: CAMBRIDGE WAREHOUSE, 17, PATERNOSTER Row.
Cambridge: DEIGHTON, BELL, AND CO.
[All Rights reserved.)
INTRODUCTION TO THE FROGS.
The Frogs was exhibited at the Lenaea in the archonship of Callias, that is to say in January B.C. 405. Thus it was separated from The Birds by an interval of eight years. It was brought out under the name of Philonides, as had been also The Wasps. Aristophanes gained the first prize with this play, Phrynichus being second with The Muses, Plato third with The Cleophon. And so greatly was it admired, especially for the Parabasis, that it was, as Dicaearchus tells us, exhibited a second time in the same year.
Thus much we gather from the Greek arguments.
Probably no play of Aristophanes has been more often edited, translated, and read: for in its political, religious, and literary bearing it is of exceptional interest.
Some knowledge of the course of events in Greece for the few years preceding the exhibition of The Frogs is necessary in order to understand the state of Athens at the time. A careful and able review of the history of these years, and of the political situation, is given by Kock in the first section of his introduction. No doubt the more fully we know the history of the states of Greece from the Sicilian expedition to the downfall of Athens, the more fully we understand the mining and countermining of oligarchs and democrats, the better we shall appreciate all the political and personal allusions in a play written at such a critical time. But the general student will not need more than a clear view of the main facts, and of Aristophanes' political opinions, which are tolerably consistent throughout all his