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Ezekiel Walker
Ezekiel Walker

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Pylos: A bay in the Peloponnese, shut in by the island of Sphacteria, it is associated with Cleon's famous victory and there are many references to it in the play: as a cake that Cleon pinched from Demosthenes (lines 57, 355, 1167); as a place where Cleon like a colossus has got one foot (76); as an oath by which Cleon swears (702); as the place where Cleon snatched victory from the Athenian generals (742); as the origin of captured Spartan shields (846); as an epithet of the goddess Athena (1172); and as an equivalent of the hare that Agoracritus stole from Cleon (1201). Pylos is mentioned again in three later plays.[15] Paphlagonia: A region in modern Turkey, it is imputed to be the birthplace of Cleon since he is named after it. There is a pun on the word paphlazo (I bubble, splutter, fret) which is made explicit in reference to Cleon in line 919. Chaonia: A region in the northwestern Greece, it is where Cleon the colossus dangles his arse (line 78) and it is also mentioned in The Acharnians.[16] One of his hands is in Aetolia (79). Cycloborus: A mountain torrent in Attica, it is the image of Cleon's voice here (line 137) and also in The Acharnians.[17] Carthage or Carchedon: A Phoenician city, it marks a western limit of Athenian influence (line 174) and it is somewhere that the ships don't want to go (1303); an eastern limit is marked by Caria (173). Chalcidice: A region in the northern Aegean that was under Athenian control but where the cities were increasingly rebellious. The wine bowl that the two slaves steal from the house is Chalcidian in design and Cleon subsequently accuses them of stealing it to provoke a Chalcidian revolt (line 237). Ironically, Cleon later perished in a military campaign to quell the revolt there. Chersonesos: The Gallipoli Peninsula, it is mentioned by the Chorus as the sort of place where Cleon fishes for people he can put on trial in Athens (line 262) Prytaneion: The ancient equivalent of a town hall, it is where Cleon obtains free meals (lines 281, 535, 766) and where Agoracritus is destined to obtain free sex (167). Pergase: A deme of the Erechthides tribe, not far outside Athens, it was as far as Demosthenes got when a pair of leather shoes that Cleon had sold him began to dissolve (line 321) Miletus: One of the principal cities of Ionia, it is famous for its fish (line 361). Cleon is imagined choking on a fried cuttlefish while contemplating a bribe from Miletus (932). Potidaea: A rebellious city in Chalcidice, it was recaptured by the Athenians in 429 BC. Cleon offers Agoracritus a bribe of one talent not to mention the bribe of ten talents he is said to have taken from there (line 438). Boeotia: A northern neighbour of the Athenians but an ally of Sparta, it was famous for its cheeses. Cleon accuses Agoracritus of making cheese with the Boeotians (line 479). Boeotia is mentioned extensively in The Acharnians and receives other mentions in two other plays.[18] Argos: A Peloponnesian state, it had remained neutral throughout the war. Agoracritus claims that Cleon used negotiations with Argos as an opportunity to negotiate a bribe from the Spartans (line 465) and he murders a quote from Euripides in which the ancient state is apostrophized (813). Argos is mentioned in four other plays.[19] Sunium and Geraestus: The sites of two temples of Poseidon (southern tips of Attica and Euboea), they are mentioned in an invocation to the god as a defender of the polis (lines 560-1). Sunium is mentioned again in The Clouds.[20] Corinth: A Peloponnesian state, it had recently been attacked by marines under the command of Nicias. The cavalry had played a decisive role in the expedition. The horses had even rowed the ships and their attitude had been meritorious throughout the campaign (line 604). Corinth is mentioned again in two later plays.[21] Pnyx: The hill where Athenian citizens assembled to debate state issues, it is said by Agoracritus to have a bad effect on Demos - ordinarily the cleverest chap in the world, he often gapes at the speaker's platform like someone tying wild figs to a cultivar (line 749-55). Cerameicon: The potter's quarter and town cemetery - Agoracritus offers to be dragged through it by a meathook in his balls as an assurance of his love for Demos (line 772) Marathon: Here as elsewhere,[22] it is a name that conjures up patriotic pride and respect for the old ways (lines 781, 1334). Salamis: Another name to conjure with, Demos acquired a sore bum there while rowing in the Battle of Salamis (which means he must be very old), in gratitude for which Agoracritus thoughtfully provides him with a cushion (line 785). The island is mentioned again in Lysistrata.[23] Arcadia: Ordinarily a wild backwoods in the very heart of enemy territory, it is where Demos will sit in judgement for five obols a day, according to one of Cleon's oracles (line 798). Peiraeus: The main Athenian port, it was plastered onto the Athenian pie by Themistocles (line 815), and it has become his epithet (885). It is mentioned again in Peace.[24] Copros or Kopros: A deme of the tribe Hippothoontides, it also means feces. A man from there told Demos about Cleon's plot to murder jurors en masse by inducing flatulence (line 899). Cyllene: A Peloponnesian harbour, it is also a pun for kylle (beggar's hand). Apollo warns Demos in an oracle to avoid it and it is suggested that the hand belongs to a religious fanatic and oracle monger, Diopeithes (lines 1081-85). Ecbatana: The seat of the Persian kings, it is foretold in an oracle to be another place where Demos will someday sit in judgement (line 1089). Ecbatana is mentioned again in two other plays.[25] Theseion: A temple and a safe refuge for fugitives, it is where the ships of the Athenian fleet consider fleeing to escape Hyperbolus (even though it is inland). A shrine of the Eumenides is considered in the same light (line 1312).




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Imagery: It has been observed that imagery is the most important aspect of Aristophanes' comic poetry.[57] In this play, the imagery provides a context in which the ambiguities mentioned above can be resolved. Paphlagonian is a monstrous giant (74-9), a snoring sorcerer (103), a mountain torrent (137), a hook-footed eagle (197), garlic pickle (199), a mud-stirrer (306), a fisherman watching for shoals of fish (313), a butchered pig (375-81), a bee browsing blooms of corruption (403), a dog-headed ape (416), a storm by sea and land (430-40), a giant hurling crags (626-29), a storm surge at sea (691-93), a thieving nurse (716-18), a fishermen hunting eels (864-67), a boiling pot (919-22), a lion fighting gnats (1037-8), a dogfox (1067), a beggar (182-3) and finally a sausage seller in the city gates (1397). These mixed metaphors present Paphlagonian as a versatile form of comic evil whose relevance transcends any particular place or time. Thus Cleon can be understood as one of Paphlagonian's many manifestations and the satire is subsumed in the larger allegory without contradiction.


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