Skip Main Navigation
Page Content
This event has ended

Save This Event

Event Saved

2,500 Year Anniversary of *Comedy* - Reading groups

Reading Odyssey, Inc.

Monday, February 9, 2015 at 8:00 PM (EST)

2,500 Year Anniversary of *Comedy* - Reading groups

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Remaining Sales End Quantity
First-time Reading Odyssey participant 29 Tickets Ended Free  
Veteran reader (donation requested - $99 suggested) 11 Tickets Ended

Share 2,500 Year Anniversary of *Comedy* - Reading groups

Event Details

Reading Odyssey Logo

 In 2015 we'll be celebrating the 2,500-year annivesary of the first comedy introduced in Athens in 486 BC.

To celebrate we'll do two things:

- read texts from the early history of comedy, beginning in February and running through May.
- host a webinar with Professor Paul Cartledge of Cambridge University and New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff (register here for the webinar)

Schedule - all monthly discussion calls at 8pm New York time:

- Monday, February 9: Clouds of 423 BC. Intellectual comedy, jokes at the expense of egghead philosophers, with a caricature of Socrates at centre stage.
- Monday, March 9: Lysistrata of 411 BC. The archetypal "women" play with a co-ordinated sex-strike of wives from both sides of the actual Peloponnesian War conflict.
- Monday, April 13: Frogs of 405 BC. The play takes its name from the subsidiary chorus of Frogs who croak in the Underworld where Dionysus, patron of the play-festival, descends to bring back a dead poet to "save" Athens; the play operates on several levels - religious, aesthetic, and political.
- Monday, May 11: Webinar with Professor Paul Cartledge (register here for the webinar). Note that this call will be one hour earlier, at 7 p.m. EDT.

We'll use two translations. For Lysistrata and The Clouds, the Penguin Classics translation by Alan Sommerstein:

For the Frogs, Richmond Lattimore's translation:

2,500 year anniversary of Comedy


Comedy was introduced to the Great Dionysia play festival in 486 BC. (There's no BC 0 or AD 0, so 486 to 1 BC = 485 years and add on 2015 and you get 2500.)

The Festival itself seems to have been founded either in the 530s BC (associated with the actor-producer Thespis - hence 'thespians') or in the late 500s, i.e. soon after the introduction of democracy to Athens via the reforms of Cleisthenes in 508/7. The earliest remains of the Theatre of Dionysus are archaeologically datable c. 500. Scholars differ, however, over whether the Festival was invented (under the tyrant/dictator Peisistratus) in the 530s and then re-invented (on a new, democratic basis) in c. 500, or simply invented c. 500 as a democratic Festival from the get-go.

The biggest names before Aristophanes (whose first production was 427 BC) were: Magnes, Crates and - especially - Cratinus (whose swan song, Flask, beat Aristophanes' Clouds into 3rd place in 423 BC). Aristophanes' main rival after Cratinus was Eupolis.

Horace in his Art of Poetry managed to combine Eupolis, Cratinus and Aristophanes into one hexameter line:

Eupolis atque Cratinus Aristophanesque poetae ("Eupolis and Cratinus and Aristophanes poets")

- Professor Paul Cartledge


Free for first-time readers
$99 donation (or whatever can be paid) from veteran readers

Toll-free phone numbers will be made available free of charge to all participants thanks to our sponsors Citrix Online and their HiDefConferencing division.

Moderator: TBD

The Reading Odyssey method

We have a simple method that makes the experience of reading great books possible (fun and interesting) for most adults.

You don't need to be a scholar. You don't need a master's degree or PhD. 

What do you need? 

To be curious. To skip stuff you don't understand. To ask questions. And to meet once a month by teleconference to discuss the reading.

So, how does it work?

* Community of adult readers

* Led by a moderator

* In partnership with leading scholars

* 1 chapter a month

* Phone-based monthly meetings (with toll-free phone number)

* Free (veterans may donate) 

It's simple and we've done it a lot since we began in 2005. 

Our guarantee
If you join us and do the monthly reading, skip the passages that confuse you, ask your moderator and our partner scholars for help, then you will finish a great book and be exhilirated and inspired by the experience. 

Come discover humanity's best-kept secret
These books are one of humanity's best kept secrets - these wonderful, centuries-tested mind-blowing books have been masquerarding as boring, dusty, irrelavant old tracts. Come discover otherwise.

Bottomline: put down that remote and pick up a book and join us on this reading odyssey.

Have questions about 2,500 Year Anniversary of *Comedy* - Reading groups? Contact Reading Odyssey, Inc.
Attendee List Sort by: Date | First Name | Last Name
Show More


Reading Odyssey, Inc.

The Reading Odyssey, a global non-profit, aims to reignite curiosity and lifelong learning. Through partnerships with scholars, we run reading groups and lecture series for intellectually curious adults.

Find us on the web here:

  Contact the Organizer

Please log in or sign up

In order to purchase these tickets in installments, you'll need an Eventbrite account. Log in or sign up for a free account to continue.