This book provides a new interpretation of the nature of Old Comedy and its place at the heart of Athenian democratic politics. Professor Sidwell argues that Aristophanes and his rivals belonged to opposing political groups, each with their own political agenda. Through disguised caricature and parody of their rivals' work, the poets expressed and fuelled the political conflict between their factions. Professor Sidwell rereads the principal texts of Aristophanes and the fragmented remains of the work of his rivals in the light of these arguments for the political foundations of the genre.

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