The Ecclesiazusae

Historical Background

In the early 4th century BCE, Athens was reeling from the Peloponnesian War and remained in the midst of continuing battles with Sparta. Athens and its allies, Thebes, Corinth and Argos experienced over two years struggling to rid the Spartans with many successes and failures along the way. While Athens was in a position to regain naval authority in the Aegean Sea thanks to alliances forged with Persia and King Evagoras of Cyprus, the people of Athens were impoverished. For this reason, the poor favored war as it ensured future employment while the wealthy favored peace, as war required disbursements. Continuation the Corinthian War inevitably led to increased confiscations and forced contributions from wealthy Athenians. This atmosphere resulted in a material and moral anxiety that was illustrated in the Athens represented by Aristophanes.[5]


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