Lysistrata by Euripides Online Chat

Online Discussions of the Greek Classics - Tragedies by Euripides and Aeschylus and Comedies by Aristophanes - Readings translated from the Greek - With previous Members of Ancient Sites Community

05/31/02 04:43 PM
16:43 - Tracy Marks

       Lysistrata chat at 10pm eastern daylight time May 31, 2002.
21:58 - Myrrhine Philemon
       *knock knock*
21:58 - Torrey Philemon
       Hi Zoe....and Myrrhine. Glad to see you both!
21:58 - ZoeXanthippos
       Hey Myrrh!
21:58 - Torrey Philemon
       Morgana MAY join us but hasn't read Lysistrata. And Richard who set up this chat place for us and who HAS read Lysistrata may join too.
21:58 - Myrrhine Philemon
       Hi Torrey, Zoe *smiles*
21:59 - Myrrhine Philemon
       I've been flicking through it this morning, but its a long time since I read it properly. Time just seemed to get away from me this last fortnight
21:59 - ZoeXanthippos
       I had forgotten about the sweet little bird chirps - and it didn't ask me for a password to get in
21:59 - Torrey Philemon
       Myrrhine, did you choose your name because of Myrrhine in Lysistrata?
22:00 - Richard Seltzer
22:00 - Torrey Philemon
       You can turn off your sound. (Zoe, maybe your computer still had the "cookie" from last time you were here)
22:00 - Myrrhine Philemon
       *G* yes I did - I first found AS when I researching a short paper on the Lysistrata and when I needed to pick a name I picked Myrrhine because it sounded so nice.
22:00 - ZoeXanthippos
       I've read two versions and some of the online notes but didn't get to all the women in greece books I'd pulled out
22:00 - Torrey Philemon
       Welcome, Richard. Do introduce yourself <-:
22:01 - Richard Seltzer
       Silly question -- were the women's parts in Lysistrata played by men? It's really hard to imagine doing it that way -- especially with the strip-tease scenes...
22:01 - Torrey Philemon
       Yes the women's parts were played by men, and acc. to what I read only men attended the theater. So this was a play by men, acted by men and for men!
22:02 - ZoeXanthippos
       Hi Richard, and I think you're right. Women didn't acct in the plays
22:02 - Myrrhine Philemon
       yes it was all an added extra to the comedy
22:02 - Richard Seltzer
       Introduction -- Many years ago, I was a great fan of the classics (had three years of Latin and one of Greek in high school). Recently returned to reading lots of Plato and Plutarch, etc. and writing a novel set half at the time of the Trojan War. (By the way, this "bootcamp" space is connected with an Internet book I wrote -- Web Business Bootcamp).
22:03 - Torrey Philemon
       Myrrhine and Zoe, do you want to introduce yourself to Richard (Torrey's trying to be the considerate moderator <-: )
22:03 - Torrey Philemon
       Richard so kindly created this workspace for us, and his novel based on Briseis in the Trojan War is very innovative.
22:04 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:02 - Myrrhine Philemon 'yes it was all an added extra to the comedy...')
       It would be interesting to see it played that way today. There could be some incredible sight-gags. It reminds me of Victor Victoria. It would certainly be very different than playing it with women and with all hetero implications.
22:04 - ZoeXanthippos
       I'm an amateur historian I suppose. I just like to read. I stumbled onto Ancient Sites and just kept on being involved with like minded people online
22:04 - ZoeXanthippos
       I think we miss a lot of the humor that the Athenians would have caught
22:05 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:03 - Torrey Philemon 'Richard so kindly created this workspace for us, and his...')
       Thanks for the kind words about "Bris." I have a first draft of about a third of it, and much rewriting to do in that much. But I'm still kidding myself that I should finish by the end of June.
22:05 - Torrey Philemon
       There still is a lot of humor that we can still "catch"!
22:05 - Myrrhine Philemon
       Sure Torrey :) It's nice to meet you Richard. 2 years ago I finished my BA majoring in Classical history and culture, particularly in greek drama and epic poetry. I'm still a student, but now finishing my LLB. Meeting Torrey and Zoe at AS was a fun way to talk about the things that I was studying in class
22:05 - Torrey Philemon
       I just saw the production in Cambridge Massachusetts on Wednesday. Would like to tell you some of the high points! It was a contemporary adaptation but quite true to the original.
22:06 - ZoeXanthippos
       yes, please do Torrey!
22:06 - Torrey Philemon
       I didn't realize you were getting your BA in classical history and culture, Myrrhine (Richard, M's in Australia; it's Saturday morning there!)
22:06 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:04 - ZoeXanthippos 'I think we miss a lot of the humor that...')
       You could do two versions of the same play -- using exactly the same words. Have one played by women and it's all about women's rights and heterosexuality. Have the other played by men and it's a double mockery, making fun of women making fun of men and war. It's hard to sort out what Aristophanes' intent was. Perhaps that doesn't matter. Perhaps we should think of it as potentially two different plays.
22:07 - Myrrhine Philemon     (Re: 22:06 - Torrey Philemon 'I didn't realize you were getting your BA in classical...')
       *smiles* yes sadly finished it now but it was fun while it lasted. now I just have my head stuck in dry old legal texts
22:07 - Torrey Philemon
       Well, the funniest part of the production was that the men wore phallic balloons of numerous colors attached to their crotch and manipulated strings to make them go up and down. At the end when men and women were united, all the women popped the balloons. <-:
22:07 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:05 - Torrey Philemon 'I just saw the production in Cambridge Massachusetts on Wednesday....')
       With the women's parts played by women? Or perhaps some mixture, where you aren't quite sure who is a man and who a woman?
22:07 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:07 - Torrey Philemon 'Well, the funniest part of the production was that the...')
       Sounds like fun.
22:08 - Myrrhine Philemon     (Re: 22:06 - Torrey Philemon 'I didn't realize you were getting your BA in classical...')
       *g* yes just ticked past midday here. But do tell us about the play Torrey
22:08 - Torrey Philemon
       The women played women and the men played the old crotchedy men AND the remaining young warriors.
22:08 - Richard Seltzer
       Another quick question -- what is the best translation? I have Lindsay, which is terrible, and Murphy which is tolerable. There must be something better.
22:08 - ZoeXanthippos
       I've read that the actors in comedies in Athens wore large leather phalluses
22:08 - Torrey Philemon
       Another part of the play that was very popular centered around the Spartan woman Lampito who looked and talked like Arnold Schwartznegger. She had muscles a foot thick and was always flexing and showing how powerful she was. Very funny!
22:09 - Myrrhine Philemon
       I have the sommerstein translation Richard, i've never read another translation
22:09 - Torrey Philemon
       I have the translation in the Arrowsmith book but I'm not sure it's by Arrowsmith. It's quite good though. Zoe, you said you read 2 translations. (By the way the Arrowsmith book's on remainder; I just bought extra copies for $1.50 each)
22:10 - Torrey Philemon
       Just looked it up. It's Douglass Parker (Arrowsmith is the editor)
22:11 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:08 - Torrey Philemon 'Another part of the play that was very popular centered...')
       Interesting. I would have cast that very differently, playing on the fact that Spartan women ran around naked or near naked (Plutarch described their typical short tunic with slits "thigh showers"), also the notion that because of exercise and frank sexuality/lack of inhibition, the Spartans women were reputed to be the sexiest in Greece at that time.
22:11 - Myrrhine Philemon
       Oh and mine is a Penguin Classics edition
22:11 - Torrey Philemon
       We all have different translations. That's great actually........We could even compare passages if we want to.
22:11 - ZoeXanthippos
       I've got a Parker (which is in the Arrowsmith book) with has the vernacular for the Spartans and is full of what must be slang. I also read another whose translator was Annonymous who used very serious and straightforward language. Each version complimented the other.
22:12 - Torrey Philemon
       By the way, I thought the line "Is that a sword behind your toga or are you happy to see me?" was from Lysistrata but it isn't in my version.
22:12 - Richard Seltzer
       Another question -- in the line "They will even build ships and sail against use, like Artemisia" -- who is this Artemisia? What do you know about her?
22:12 - Myrrhine Philemon
       *G* Mine has Lampito speaking with a Scottish brogue - it's a little hard to make out in places unless you read it aloud
22:12 - ZoeXanthippos
       Torrey, what sort of accent did they give to the Spartan characters in the one you saw?
22:12 - Torrey Philemon
       Yes Parker says to read the Spartan vernacular like one would read Southern Hillbilly. And pointed out that they were viewed with similar disdain.
22:12 - Richard Seltzer
       Another classic line -- or perhaps an interpolation by a bad translator, in the Murphy version "We can't live with women, but we cannot live without them."
22:13 - Torrey Philemon
       In the production, Zoe, the Spartan spoke like a combination of Arnold Schwartznegger (street tough) and hillbilly!!!
22:13 - ZoeXanthippos
       I've heard the norm for Lampito is either backwoods Southern or southern mountain hick
22:13 - Torrey Philemon
       By the way the production was a MUSICAL. Seriously - a lot of music!
22:13 - Richard Seltzer
       LIndsay gives Lampito an awkward southern accent that is hard to decipher (very ineffective). Murphy uses no accent at all.
22:14 - Torrey Philemon
       Would the Spartan women have really been in Athens?
22:15 - ZoeXanthippos
       I think it makes more sense to have the Spartan women travelling than for the Athenian ones to have done so. Spartans seemed to have more freedom
22:15 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:13 - Torrey Philemon 'By the way the production was a MUSICAL. Seriously -...')
       The only production of an Aristophanes play I ever saw was of The Birds, in London in 1965. It was done in ancient Greek, with simultaneous English translation through headphones. Bizarre. (By the way I'm just 20 years old :-)
22:15 - Myrrhine Philemon
       I still doubt that they would have travelled ... a little poetic license I think
22:15 - Torrey Philemon
       In reading about women in ancient Greece, I came upon some interesting information. The upper and upper middle class women had little freedom and were confined but the lower and lower middle class women were not. And Aristophanes' comedy was told from teh viewpont of the lower middle class.
22:16 - Torrey Philemon
       Huh, Richard? 20 years old? (in 1965?)
22:16 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:15 - ZoeXanthippos 'I think it makes more sense to have the Spartan...')
       Certainly Spartan women had more freedom than Athenian women. (Simone de Beauvoir makes a lot of Spartan freedom in the early pages of Second Sex, as an inspiration for what became the women's movement.)
22:16 - ZoeXanthippos
       Lower class women probably had to work to support themselves so they couldn't be locked away
22:16 - Myrrhine Philemon
       Interesting Torrey ... I read someone last week that much of the play is influenced by the Adonea (sp?) festival, which was the one time the women from all classes could get out of the house and make some noise
22:17 - Richard Seltzer
       Not quite. In 1965, I was 19. I've only aged about a year since then :-)
22:17 - Torrey Philemon
       Oh, in the production the Spartan woman was definitely wearing a very revealing gym outfit whereas the Greek women were in robes.
22:17 - ZoeXanthippos
       We're going to have to get you a new abacus Richard *G*
22:17 - Torrey Philemon
       Never heard of the Adonea festival, Myrrhine. What do you know about it?
22:18 - Torrey Philemon
       And, Zoe, lower class women didn't have slaves to do their errands for them in the marketplace!
22:18 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:16 - Myrrhine Philemon 'Interesting Torrey ... I read someone last week that much...')
       Sounds likely. There were several references to Bacchus and Adonis and wild worship of them by women. At first the Magistrate presumes that that is what is going on (before Lysistrata clues him in).
22:19 - Myrrhine Philemon
       It was a women's only festival for Adonis. The ladies would go to the roofs of their houses where they had planted out a bunch of flowers with beautiful scent and they would wail their grief for the death of Adonis. It lasted only one night, but the Lysistrata begins with a reference to it (looking it up)
22:19 - Richard Seltzer
       Repeating -- have any of you heard of that Artemisia? I'm curious.
22:19 - Torrey Philemon
       There was an Artemisia active in the Peloponesian war. I think she commanded her own ships and was defeated.
22:20 - Torrey Philemon
       I looked her up when I was creating a web site on Artemisia the artist because web searches kept leading to the earlier Artemisia. Actually there were 2 famous Artemisias in ancient Greece.
22:20 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:19 - Torrey Philemon 'There was an Artemisia active in the Peloponesian war. I...')
       What side did she fight on? And was that early in the war (so it would appear in Thucidydes) or late (so it would appear in Xenophon)?
22:20 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:20 - Torrey Philemon 'I looked her up when I was creating a web...')
       Okay, I should do a search :-)
22:20 - ZoeXanthippos
       Ah yes! Artemisia was a queen in Halicarnassus, a Persian vassal state. She alone warned Xerxes that he shouldn't engage the Greeks in a naval battle
22:20 - Torrey Philemon
       I don't remember the details Richard but I saved information somewhere. Can send to you later.
22:21 - Myrrhine Philemon
       The reference to Adonis is on around line 400 I think (my translation doesn't have individual line numbers)
22:21 - Torrey Philemon
       Great memory, Zoe!
22:21 - ZoeXanthippos
       Artemisia was so successful on the sea that the Athenians offered a prize of 10,000 drachma to any who captured her - not necessarily alive,
22:21 - Torrey Philemon
       Interesting about the Adonis festival, Myrrhine. There did seem to be a number of women-only rituals.
22:21 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:20 - Torrey Philemon 'I don't remember the details Richard but I saved information...')
       Thanks. It's funny that I picked that name at random for a character in my novel (giving a name to the nameless concubine of Menelaus who was the mother of his son and heir Megapenthes). It would be even more plausible as a name if the historical Artemisia was from Sparta.
22:22 - ZoeXanthippos
       (not my memory, Torrey - I wrote a post on her and I knew where it was - I cheated *g*)
22:22 - Torrey Philemon
       Great computer organization, Zoe <-:
22:22 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:21 - ZoeXanthippos 'Artemisia was so successful on the sea that the Athenians...')
       Thanks. I'll definitely have to look her up.
22:22 - ZoeXanthippos
       It appears to me that women in Athens became very religious, even if they had no natural inclination for it, just to get out of the house.
22:22 - Torrey Philemon
       There was another Greek Artemisia too Richard - you'd have to search for her background.
22:23 - ZoeXanthippos     (Re: 22:22 - Torrey Philemon 'Great computer organization, Zoe <-:...')
       that's me, the file cabinet
22:23 - Myrrhine Philemon
       I get that sense as well Torrey - everything i read about daily life tells me they were locked up at home, but then everything I read about the festivals shows full participation *G*
22:24 - Myrrhine Philemon
       oops sorry ... that should have been to Zoe *G* I'll have to learn to click these time stamps!
22:24 - Richard Seltzer
       Personal reaction -- the best part of the play is the basic premise. That's brilliant. The execution comes across as okay but not great (perhaps a fault of terrible translations; also a fault of reading it instead of seeing a good production). Other reactions? It feels like you could easily summarize the main idea in a paragraph and with that paragraph you would have said everything that's memorable about it. The characters and particular situations are not particularly memorable...
22:24 - Torrey Philemon
       I found a site that sells classical videos and bought one on women on ancient Greece which arrived yesterday. It's fantastically informative. Only watched half of it but can send you more info in the future if you want. It's called Pandora's Box, The Roles of Women in Ancient Greece and is lecture by Dr.Ellen Reeder.
22:25 - ZoeXanthippos
       (back to the Phallus costume) I found today that the word comedy comes from the Greek komos and "is a communal ritual carouse: on a small scale it is the ancient equivalent of party-crashing and bar-hopping rolled into one, but as part of a communal festival of Dionysus it recalls modern carnivals such as that of Mardi gras (although the ancient rites were usually more carefully scripted and ordered) a time when normal social rules and inhibitions are cast aside and people party in the streets, singing, dancing, and (often) drinking. The ancient komos often involved masks and costumes, as does Mardi gras, but was marked by another practice foreign to most festivals in modern North America: aischrologia or the ritual abuse of individuals. Another distinctive feature, found in many Dionysiac rites and no doubt in some komoi, was the phallos: an imitation penis, often too large for one person to lift with ease, carried on a pole or cart."
22:25 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:24 - Torrey Philemon 'I found a site that sells classical videos and bought...')
       Sounds like something I should see. Any way I could borrow your copy :-)
22:25 - Torrey Philemon
       Much depends on the production, Richard. I've seen it performed twice, and some of the characters are memorable. Notably Lysistrate, Myrrhine and Lampito. It doesn't come across in reading alone though - I agree with you.
22:26 - Torrey Philemon
       Sure Richard - can borrow in future....
22:26 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:26 - Torrey Philemon 'Sure Richard - can borrow in future.......')
       Thanks. Please let me know when...
22:26 - ZoeXanthippos
       As far as the Mardi Gras, the parades there are put on by clubs called Crewes and there was a Comus crewe, though I must have missed the phallus part or they didn't wear them
22:26 - Myrrhine Philemon
       I must say the first time I read it I though much along the same lines as you Richard, but then looking further into the context i seemed to get more out of it ... and I began to like the characters much more
22:26 - Torrey Philemon
       Ah how fascinating Zoe - and what a fast typist you are <-:
22:27 - Torrey Philemon
       Myrrhine, you never said whether you named yourself after the Myrrhine of Lysistrata!
22:27 - ZoeXanthippos
       I'm very good with my right mouse button *s*
22:27 - Richard Seltzer
       With regard to Lampito and Spartan women, I recently read Cartledge's book "Spartan Reflections" -- very academic, but still very readable and very complete: it probably covers everything that is now known about life in ancient Greece.
22:27 - ZoeXanthippos
       Were there any more Myrrhine's in literature?
22:27 - Myrrhine Philemon
       *laughing* yes I did, but by accident. I was writing a paper on Lysistrata when I first found AS, and I used the name because the book was open in front of me
22:28 - Torrey Philemon
       Another great book is Goddesses Whores Wives and Slaves by Pomeroy.
22:28 - Torrey Philemon
       How little did we AS joiners know we were choosing identities for life <-:
22:28 - ZoeXanthippos
       Yes I have that one TOrrey and I've read parts of it but never had a chance to do the whole thing through
22:28 - Myrrhine Philemon
       There is a Myrrhine in Homer I think Zoe *thinking* and one in Menander, it was quite a common personal name in Attica
22:29 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:26 - ZoeXanthippos 'As far as the Mardi Gras, the parades there are...')
       I've never been to a Mardi Gras, but my impression that it is much more oriented toward bare busts than phalluses. A cultural difference, I presume...
22:29 - Torrey Philemon
       In the production the name was pronounced mir-REEN-AY. I always thought it was MYRR-reen. One reason why I'm finally starting to learn Greek.
22:29 - Myrrhine Philemon
       ahhh my old ancient greek teacher told me it was mir - een - ay
22:30 - ZoeXanthippos
       I believe your impression is correct, Richard, though when I was living there 30 years ago there wasn't the public nudity that one see's photos of today. It was more focused on public drunkeness
22:30 - Myrrhine Philemon
       I asked him after joining AS when someone asked me how to pronounce it and I wasn't quite sure *lol*
22:30 - ZoeXanthippos
       You're learning Greek? It is difficult?
22:30 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:28 - Torrey Philemon 'Another great book is Goddesses Whores Wives and Slaves by...')
       Thanks. That's another one I hadn't heard of, but should definitely read. (Adding to the challenge of the novel I'm trying to write -- it is written from the perspective of a 22 year old woman. (It helps that I'm only 20...)
22:31 - Myrrhine Philemon
       oh and for anyone interested in ancient greek names this website is brilliant!
22:31 - Torrey Philemon
       Thanks for the link, Myrrhine! Will check it out.
22:31 - Richard Seltzer     (Re: 22:30 - ZoeXanthippos 'I believe your impression is correct, Richard, though when I...')
       It may well have not changed much -- just the public nudity provides more photo opportunities than the drunkenness :-)
22:32 - Torrey Philemon
       (WOuld you believe my town is having a Greek festival tomorrow with Greek performances, dances, music and food!! And oh I just found some marvelous ancient Greek tshirts at !
Mythological tshirts no less with Greek letters!
22:32 - Richard Seltzer
       This has been fun, but I'm going to have to leave at this point. Thanks very much for letting me join you. I'll check out the transcript tomorrow to see what I missed and to write down the book and URL references.
22:33 - Myrrhine Philemon
       g'bye Richard :) once again, nice to meet you!
22:33 - Torrey Philemon
       Ohh I'm sorry you have to leave Richard. And I was just going to start to raise raunchy questions <-:
22:33 - ZoeXanthippos
       I'm glad to have met you Richard and I look forward to reading your book *s*
22:36 - Torrey Philemon
       QUESTION: Do you think it was a male projection in the creation of Lysistrata that the women were wild about having sex with their husbands and would miss it incredibly! Did men what to believe they were irresistible and women could hardly bear being without sex?
22:37 - Torrey Philemon
       What I mean is that Aristophanes portrayed the women as wanting sex desperately, as well as the men wanting sex desperately. But do you think Athenian wives were so lustful for their husbands and vice versa?
22:37 - ZoeXanthippos
       The men thought the women were obsessed with sex cause they were themselves. and perhaps vice-versa
22:38 - ZoeXanthippos
       A lot of men still think that the way to solve any problem with a woman is a turn in the bed
22:38 - Torrey Philemon
       From what I've read, the husband/wife relationship in ancient Greece wasn't necessarily highly sexual, more procreative. Men focused on hetaira, slaves, boys more for their sexual needs.
22:38 - Myrrhine Philemon
       Yes I think you might be right Zoe ... there is a line at around 400 again Magistrate: ... Look at the way we pander to the women's vices - we positively teach them to be wicked ... I think that tends to point to the men being just as bad
22:39 - Torrey Philemon
       It figures that the men would think that the women don't want the men at war mostly because they want sex. There wasn't much concept of wanting RELATIONSHIP (of which sex is a part but not all!) <-:
22:39 - ZoeXanthippos
       There was a bit in the Pomeroy book that said that the law stated a husband of an heiess was supposed to have her 3 times a month. No more, no less. The point of any sex was to get babies
22:40 - Myrrhine Philemon
       i think that is true of most ancient cultures ... sex with ones wife was not about pleasure
22:40 - Torrey Philemon
       But not sex with hetaira or slaves or boys (to get babies).
22:40 - ZoeXanthippos
       That speech interested me Torrey. It reads as if the men were taking the blame for what they considered to be their women's wantoness and I don't think they meant it that way
22:40 - Myrrhine Philemon
       exactly ... sex was categorised
22:40 - Torrey Philemon
       Of course women had no outlet except their husbands (and their leather toys <-: )
22:41 - ZoeXanthippos
       (I'm sorry, it was Myrrh I meant to respond to)
22:41 - Myrrhine Philemon
       yes I see what you mean Zoe ...
22:41 - Torrey Philemon
       One article I read said that Greek was in transition between the tribal values of Homer's time and the family values of later time. And there are hints in Lysistrata that the family was important, perhaps more important than war (a fitting contrast to the Homeric epic)
22:42 - ZoeXanthippos
       the book went on to say that once they'd had the babies, they slept apart, the man going off to whores and boys, partly to not "risk his wife's abortion or infanticide"
22:42 - Myrrhine Philemon
       i think that comes from the sense of hopelessness about this particular war Torrey ...
22:43 - Torrey Philemon
       Of course lower and lower middle class men might not have slaves or be able to afford whores or hetaira. But avoiding pregnancy could be a big issue.
22:43 - ZoeXanthippos
       and apparently adultery was not the done thing. Of course, a man having it off with whores and boys wasn't considered adultery
22:43 - Torrey Philemon
       Right, Myrrhine. In 411, Athens was in big trouble after such a long war. It reminds me of the Vietnam war but much worse.
22:44 - ZoeXanthippos
       Some texts speculate on Lesbianism but seem to reject it in favor of the women using mechanical devices.