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Sommerstein (Oxford 2005). My reading of this play has greatly benefited from the detailed commentary and critical edition of the Greek text prepared by S. Douglas Olson (Oxford 1998). 29 The results of this dramatic competition are recorded in the ancient prose hypothesis III. Such anonymous hypotheses came to be appended to the ancient scripts by Alexandrian and Aristotelian scholars in the fourth and third centuries BCE. See Slater (1988). 1 Exasperated by incessant war, which by its disruptions has undermined common revelry and agricultural prosperity, Trygaeus, a farmer, chooses at the start of this play to mount a giant flying dung-beetle—a modified stage machine.

From other sources we know that this controversy started when the people accused Pheidias of stealing gold and ivory intended for the colossal statue of Athena and presumed that Pericles was complicit with the theft. This controversy may well have been further fueled by Pheidias’ decision to depict himself upon the shield of Athena (an attribute of the goddess, held at the statue’s side). 68 All this “trouble” not only led to Pheidias’ imprisonment, subsequent escape, flight and ultimate death, but also triggered significant political complications for Pericles, and further negative repercussions for the people.

In 338-322 BCE). See Csapo (2007), 99, 112; and Pickard-Cambridge (1946). Also on the Southern slope of the Acropolis, and immediately to the West of the theater’s spectator area, preparations were underway for the Sanctuary of Asclepius; construction of which began in 420/19 BCE and continued until 412/11. The tragedian Sophocles was partially responsible for bringing the cult of this healing god to Athens from Epidaurus. It is tempting, then, to believe that the dramatist may have been influential in proposing the site next to the theater.

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