The Knights

The Knights (Ancient Greek: Ἱππεῖς Hippeîs; Attic Ἱππῆς) was the fourth play written by Aristophanes, the master of an ancient form of drama known as Old Comedy. The play is a satire on the social and political life of classical Athens during the Peloponnesian War and in this respect it is typical of all the dramatist's early plays. It is unique however in the relatively small number of its characters and this was due to its scurrilous preoccupation with one man, the pro-war populist Cleon. Cleon had prosecuted Aristophanes for slandering the polis with an earlier play, The Babylonians (426 BC), for which the young dramatist had promised revenge in The Acharnians (425 BC), and it was in The Knights (424 BC) that his revenge was exacted. The play relies heavily on allegory and it has been condemned by one modern scholar as 'an embarrassing failure'. However, The Knights won first prize at the Lenaia festival when it was produced in 424 BC.

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