Menander: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bust of Menander.

Menander (Greek: Μένανδρος, Menandros; ca. 342–291 BC), Greek dramatist, the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy, was the son of well-to-do parents; his father Diopeithes is identified by some with the Athenian general and governor of the Thracian Chersonese known from the speech of Demosthenes De Chersoneso. He presumably derived his taste for comic drama from his uncle Alexis.


Life and work

Menander was the friend, associate, and perhaps pupil of Theophrastus, and was on intimate terms with the Athenian dictator Demetrius of Phalerum. He also enjoyed the patronage of Ptolemy Soter, the son of Lagus, who invited him to his court. But Menander, preferring the independence of his villa in the Peiraeus and the company of his mistress Glycera, refused. According to the note of a scholiast on the Ibis of Ovid, he drowned while bathing, and his countrymen honored him with a tomb on the road leading to Athens, where it was seen by Pausanias. Numerous supposed busts of him survive, including a well-known statue in the Vatican, formerly thought to represent Gaius Marius.

Menander was the author of more than a hundred comedies, and took the prize at the Lenaia festival eight times. His record at the City Dionysia is unknown but may well have been similarly spectacular. His rival in dramatic art (and supposedly in the affections of Glycera) was Philemon, who appears to have been more popular. Menander, however, believed himself to be the better dramatist, and, according to Aulus Gellius, used to ask Philemon: "Don't you feel ashamed whenever you gain a victory over me?" According to Caecilius of Calacte (Porphyry in Eusebius, Praeparatio evangelica) Menander was guilty of plagiarism, his The Superstitious Man being taken from The Augur of Antiphanes. But reworkings and variations on a theme of this sort were commonplace, and the charge is a foolish one. Menander subsequently became one of the favorite writers of antiquity. How long complete copies of his plays survived is unclear, although twenty-three of them, with commentary by Michael Psellus, were said to still have been available in Constantinople in the 11th century. He is praised by Plutarch (Comparison of Menander and Aristophanes) and Quintilian (Institutio Oratoria), who accepted the tradition that he was the author of the speeches published under the name of the Attic orator Charisius.

An admirer and imitator of Euripides, Menander resembles him in his keen observation of practical life, his analysis of the emotions, and his fondness for moral maxims, many of which became proverbial: "The property of friends is common," "Whom the gods love die young," "Evil communications corrupt good manners" (from the Thaïs, quoted in 1 Corinthians 15:33). These maxims (chiefly monostichs) were afterwards collected, and, with additions from other sources, were edited as Menander's One-Verse Maxims, a kind of moral textbook for the use of schools.

The single surviving speech from his early play Drunkenness is an attack on the politician Callimedon, in the manner of Aristophanes, whose bawdy style was adopted in many of his plays.

Menander found many Roman imitators. The Eunuchus, Andria (comedy), Heauton Timorumenos and Adelphi of Terence (called by Caesar "dimidiatus Menander") were avowedly taken from Menander, but some of them appear to be adaptations and combinations of more than one play. Thus in the Andria were combined Menander's The Woman from Andros and The Woman from Perinthos, in the Eunuchus, The Eunuch and The Flatterer, while the Adelphi was compiled partly from Menander and partly from Diphilus. The original of Terence's Hecyra (as of the Phormio) is generally supposed to be, not by Menander, but Apollodorus of Carystus. The Bacchides and Stichus of Plautus were probably based upon Menander's The Double Deceiver and Philadelphoi, The Brotherly-Loving Men, but the Poenulus, does not seem to be from The Carthaginian, nor the Mostellaria from The Apparition, in spite of the similarity of titles. Caecilius Statius, Luscius Lavinius, Turpilius and Atilius also imitated Menander. He was further credited with the authorship of some epigrams of doubtful authenticity; the letters addressed to Ptolemy Soter and the discourses in prose on various subjects mentioned by the Suda are probably spurious.

Until the end of the 19th century, all that was known of Menander were fragments quoted by other authors and collected by Augustus Meineke (1855) and Theodor Kock, Comicorum Atticorum Fragmenta (1888). These consist of some 1650 verses or parts of verses, in addition to a considerable number of words quoted from Menander by ancient lexicographers.

Twentieth century discoveries

Another bust, from the Hermitage Museum.

This situation changed abruptly in 1907, with the discovery of the Cairo Codex, which contained large parts of the Samia; the Perikeiromene; the Epitrepontes; a section of the Heros; and another fragment from an unidentified play. A fragment of 115 lines of the Sikyonioi had been found in the papier mache of a mummy case in 1906.

In 1959, the Bodmer papyrus was published contained Dyskolos, more of the Samia, and half the Aspis. In the late 1960s, more of the Sikyonioi was found as filling for two more mummy cases; this proved to be drawn from the same manuscript as the discovery in 1906, which had clearly been thoroughly recycled.[1]

Other papyrus fragments continue to be discovered and published.

In 2003, a 9th century palimpsest manuscript has been found containing parts of the Dyskolos and 200 lines of another, so far unidentified piece of Menander.[2][3]

Famous Quotations

The apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:33 quotes Menander in the text "Bad company corrupts good character" (NIV) who probably derived this from Euripides (Socrates, Ecclesiastical History, 3.16).


  • Aspis ("The Shield"; about half)
  • Georgos ("The Farmer")
  • Dis Exapaton ("Double Deceiver")
  • Dyskolos ("Old Cantankerous" or "The Grouch") the only play that survives in its entirety
  • Encheiridion ("Handbook")
  • Epitrepontes ("Men at Arbitration"; most)
  • Heros ("The Hero")
  • Hypobolimaios ("The Changeling")
  • Karchedonios ("Carthaginian")
  • Kitharistes ("The Harper")
  • Kolax ("The Toady" or "Flatterer")
  • Koneiazomenai ("Drugged Women")
  • Leukadia
  • Methe ("Drunkenness")
  • Misoumenos ("The Man She Hated")
  • Naukleros ("The Ship's Captain")
  • Orge ("Anger")
  • Perikeiromene ("Girl who has her hair cropped"; George Bernard Shaw suggested Rape of the Locks, after Alexander Pope)
  • Perinthia ("Girl from Perinthos")
  • Plokion ("The Necklace")
  • Pseudherakles ("The Fake Hercules")
  • Samia ("Girl from Samos"; four out of five sections)
  • Sikyonioi or Sikyonios ("Sicyonian(s)"; about half, )
  • Synaristosai("Those who eat together at noon"; "The Ladies Who Lunch")
  • Phasma ("The Phantom")
  • Theophoroumene ("The Possessed Girl")
  • Trophonios ("Trophonius")

Standard Editions

The standard edition of the least-well-preserved plays of Menander is Kassel-Austin, Poetarum Comicorum Graecorum vol. VI.2. For the better-preserved plays, the standard edition is now Arnott's 3-volume Loeb; a complete text of these plays is now being prepared by Colin Austin of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, for the Oxford Classical Texts series.


  1. ^ Menander: Plays and Fragments, tr. Norma Miller. Penguin 1987, p.15
  2. ^ Dieter Harlfinger, Warten auf Menander im Vatikan. 400 griechische Komödienverse in einer syrischen Palimpsest-Handschrift entdeckt, in: Forum Classicum, 2004. See here for an English translation.
  3. ^ F. D’Aiuto: Graeca in codici orientali della Biblioteca Vaticana (con i resti di un manoscritto tardoantico delle commedie di Menandro), in: Tra Oriente e Occidente. Scritture e libri greci fra le regioni orientali di Bisanzio e l’Italia, a cura di Lidia Perria, Rom 2003 (= Testi e studi bizantino-neoellenici XIV), S. 227-296 (esp. 266-283 and plates 13-14)

See also

External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The truth sometimes not sought for comes forth to the light.

Menander (342 BC291 BC), Greek dramatist, the chief representative of the New Comedy, was born in Athens.


Conscience is a God to all mortals.
  • We live, not as we wish to, but as we can.
    • Lady of Andros, fragment 50
  • Riches cover a multitude of woes.
    • The Boeotian Girl, fragment 90
  • Whom the gods love dies young.
    • The Double Deceiver, fragment 125
  • At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool.
    • Those Offered for Sale, fragment 421
  • The truth sometimes not sought for comes forth to the light.
    • The Girl Who Gets Flogged, fragment 422
  • ἀπὸ μηχανηϛ θεὸς [ἡμιν] ἐπεφάνηϛ
  • You are by your epiphany a veritable "god from the machine."
    • The Woman Possessed with a Divinity, fragment 227, as translated in ‪Menander : The Principal Fragments‬‎ (1921) by Francis Greenleaf Allinson; this is one of the earliest occurrences of the phrase which became famous in its Latin form as "Deus ex machina."
  • I call a fig a fig, a spade a spade.
    • Unidentified fragment 545
  • Marriage, if one will face the truth, is an evil, but a necessary evil.
    • Unidentified fragment 651
  • It is not white hair that engenders wisdom.
    • Unidentified fragment 639
  • Health and intellect are the two blessings of life.
    • Monostikoi (Single Lines)
  • The man who runs may fight again.
    • Monostikoi (Single Lines)
  • Conscience is a God to all mortals.
    • Monostikoi (Single Lines)


"Grouch" — English translation by Vincent J. Rosivach
Rest assured, for every piece of business the most businesslike thing is to choose the right moment.
In this part he most shows himself a man, whoever tolerates making himself equal to another, rich to poor. For this man will bear a change of fortune with self-control.
  • This man has lived here
    a reasonably long time and has gladly talked in his life
    to no one, has spoken first to no one
    except — of necessity, since he is a neighbor and passes by — me,
    Pan. And he immediately regrets it,
    I'm sure.
    • Pan
  • Rest assured,
    for every piece of business the most businesslike thing is
    to choose the right moment.
    • Khaireas
  • To say more than what's necessary
    I don't think is appropriate for a man.
    Except know this, child —
    for I wish to tell you a little about me and my character —
    if everyone were like me there wouldn't be law courts,
    and they wouldn't take them away to prisons,
    and there wouldn't be wars, but having goods in measure each man would be happy.
    But perhaps those things are more pleasing. Act that way.
    This difficult and grouchy old man will be out of your way.
    • Knemon
    • Variant translation: I don't hold with people saying more than they need; but there is one thing more, my child, that I'd like you to know. I just want to say a few things to you about life, and the way people behave. You know, if we were all kind to one another, there'd me no need for law courts, there'd be no arresting people and putting them into prison, and there would be no more war. Everyone would have his little bit, and be content. But maybe you like modern ways better? Well, live that way, then! This difficult and bad-tempered old man will soon be out of the way.
    • As translated by William Geoffrey Arnott
  • Even if you were a softy, you took the mattock, you dug,
    you were willing to work. In this part he most shows himself a man,
    whoever tolerates making himself equal to another,
    rich to poor.  For this man will bear a change of fortune
    with self-control.
      You have given a sufficient proof of your character. 
    I wish only that you remain as you are.
    • Gorgias

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Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Unikonta
Cladus: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Protostomia
Cladus: Ecdysozoa
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Classis: Insecta
Cladus: Dicondylia
Cladus: Pterygota
Cladus: Metapterygota
Cladus: Neoptera
Cladus: Eumetabola
Cladus: Endopterygota
Superordo: Panorpida
Cladus: Amphiesmenoptera
Ordo: Lepidoptera
Subordo: Glossata
Infraordo: Heteroneura
Divisio: Ditrysia
Sectio: Cossina
Subsection: Bombycina
Superfamilia: Papilionoidea
Series: Papilioniformes
Familia: Riodinidae
Subfamilia: Riodininae
Tribus: Nymphidiini
Subtribus: Nymphidiina
Genus: Menander
Species: M. aldasi - M. cicuta - M. clotho - M. felsina - M. hebrus - M. laobotas - M. menander - M. pretus - M. thalassicus


Menander Hemming, 1939

Type species: Papilio menander Stoll, 1780



  • Gerardo Lamas, 2004, Atlas of Neotropical Lepidoptera; Checklist: Part 4A; Hesperioidea-Papilionoidea


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