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The Language of Greek Comedy$
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Andreas Willi

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780199245475

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199245475.001.0001

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Ionian Iambos and Attic Komoidia: Father and Daughter, or Just Cousins?

Ionian Iambos and Attic Komoidia: Father and Daughter, or Just Cousins?

(p.33) 2 Ionian Iambos and Attic Komoidia: Father and Daughter, or Just Cousins?
The Language of Greek Comedy

Ewen Bowie

Oxford University Press

This chapter reconsiders the old problem of the relationship between iambus and comedy. By comparing three possible hypotheses of dependence, it rejects the view that Cratinus introduced into Attic comedy certain iambic features which then continued to live there throughout the epoch of Old Comedy. The chapter underlines the substantial differences between iambus and comedy on the macroscopic level of discourse parameters such as length, audience, performers and mode of performance, and presence of narrative. It also stresses that Aristotle in the Poetics did not suggest a genetic link between iambus and comedy. Where there are similarities, they should be regarded as the natural, independent developments of two verbal genres in which a mixed tradition of narrative and abuse was endowed with a social or political function.

Keywords:   Attic comedy, Cratinus, iambos, iambic poetry, Aristotle, Poetics

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