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Full Version: Eupolis, Old Comedy, and Hoplite Warfare
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Philoi,
For about six months I have eagerly awaited my copy of Ian Storey's "Eupolis, Poet of Old Comedy" a nearly encyclopedic work on this little known playwright. Worth noting that Eupolis won the comedy prize seven times--only Kratinos (the Master of Old Comedy) won more often, at ten times. Aristophanes, whose work we actually have a fair amount of, won perhaps as few as three times, and was no where near as highly regarded in his day as Eupolis.

What does a Comedian have to do with Hoplite Warfare?

Eupolis wrote a play, called Taxiarchoi (the officers) in which Dionysus, in his saffron robed guise as an effeminate incompetent (this was a recurring image in Old Comedy--don't worry about it) shows up to receive hoplite training from Phormio (this play is dated between 428BC and 415BC.) Exciting stuff. The problem is that we have about 87 fragmentary lines. And few of them have anything to do with hoplite training.

Worth noting, though--and remember, I'm one of those people who is hesitant about hoplite training--that at least Athenians thought it was possible for a weak, effeminate man to have to be trained... that does suggest a citizen training program as early as 415. No Ephebe program then--or at least, no records attesting to such.

Here are the lines that do seem to me significant

276. No, not if you protect yourself by holding your shield in this way. (Apparently Phormio to Dionysus. Indicates that the god is being trained in shield use)
280. Wearing a chiton instead of a robe, and my hair filthy from lack of washing (apparently Dionysus on being a soldier)
281. For in battles, those in the front rank die--just like that.
340. It is necessary for the scouts to depart to their watch posts
352. the shield throwing hand

In the ancient world, everyone knew this play--apparently it was mentioned widely, in Roman literature as well as Greek, and there's every chance that we'll get a complete copy out of Herculaneum or the Egyptian desert. And we should hope so... the scholiast says it featured "Dionysus learning from great Phormio the laws of being a general and how to fight wars."

There's more good stuff in his other plays, but all fragments and much of it I have to translate myself...

Have fun!

Christian
Interesting stuff, Kineas........and the references in Plato's "Laches" ( On Courage), probably written a decade or three later with its references to 'hoplomachia' ( teachers of 'Hoplite skills) is an even more certain reference to training around this time.......

Looking forward to you posting more..... Smile D
Great! What is the ancient work that he uses for a "robe"? I guess "himation" ?
Khaire
Giannis
No, it's the yellow robe of Dionysus--(sorry, Giannis and I just worked this out on Fb and now I'm posting here for Greek speakers). Krokwton poikilon is Dionysus robe, and Phormio's military dress is "Tribwn" in every instance.

Useful to note that Eupolis should have known whereof he spoke---he apparently died in combat (or perhaps was thrown overboard from a trireme by Alcibiades for slander, but the real story seems to be that he died in a big sea fight in 408 or so)
The 'tribon' was of course the Lakedaimonian cloak, as worn by Paul Bardunias' Avatar - a single, cloak/robe worn summer and winter, allowed to wear thin and seldom washed - a mark of Spartan 'toughness'.

As such, like other Spartan fashions ( e.g. long hair), it was widely imitated by those soldiers in other states aping Spartans, along with single soled sandals and the Spartan staff or 'crutch'. Later this dress of large cloak, thin sandals and staff(bakterion) would be taken up by 'austere' philosophers too.

There seems to be little difference between a 'tribon' and a 'himation' save that the former was probably simpler, less decorated, and not so fine-spun.....

This dress was seen as older, more conservative, and soldierly than the later 'chlamys'......
Quote:No, it's the yellow robe of Dionysus--(sorry, Giannis and I just worked this out on Fb and now I'm posting here for Greek speakers). Krokwton poikilon is Dionysus robe, and Phormio's military dress is "Tribwn" in every instance.

Useful to note that Eupolis should have known whereof he spoke---he apparently died in combat (or perhaps was thrown overboard from a trireme by Alcibiades for slander, but the real story seems to be that he died in a big sea fight in 408 or so)

Hey! It's "krokwton" the word! In fb you mistyped "krokrwton" and i couldn't be sure,but of course "krokwton" is certainly yellow from the flower "krokos".
I wonder if it's one more implication about the Athenian perception of yellow as an efeminate colour. Aristophanes puts another general running out of his house dressed with his wife's yellow clothes.

Paul, how are you so sure that the "tribon" is a cloak and not a chiton? Socrates was said to wear it,but i don't remember the reference.
It comes from the verb "tribw" which means to rub or wear out.
Khaire
Giannis
Not sure of your attribution, Paul. Tribon has a lot of meanings--see below. I suspect that in the way of Ancient Greek, the garment partook of all of them--well rubbed, well-used, and an indication that one was well-trained... but I'm not sure that it's one particular garment--or particularly Spartan. Still learning--a word-count on tribon will be added to my Greek questions... not saying your wrong, either...merely looking.

????? [?_], Hes.Op.251, etc.: Ep. impf.
A. “?????????” A.R.2.480: fut. “?????” S.Fr.483, (???-) Od.17.232: aor. “??????” Pherecr.181; inf. “??????” Od.9.333, etc.: pf. “?????^??” M.Ant.9.10, (???-) Eub.62:—Med., fut. ???????? ?????-) Antipho 4.2.8: aor. “?????????” Call.Lav.Pall.25, A.D. Synt.210.26:—Pass., fut. “???????????” App.BC4.65, etc.; “???^???????” Plu.Dio25, (??-) S.OT428, (????-) X.HG5.4.60; also ?????????? ????-) Ar.Pax246; fut. Med. in pass. sense, Th.6.18, 7.42: aor. “????????” Id.2.77, Hp.Epid.5.6, Antiph. 102; (???-) D.19.164: more freq. aor. 2 ??????? [?^] Arist.Pr.893b40; (??-) Th.1.125; (??-) Hdt.7.120; (??-) freq. in Ar., Th.557, al.; (???-) Pl.Lg.678d; (???-) Ar.Pax 71, etc.: pf. “?????????” Pl.Phd.116d; Ion. 3pl. “???????^???” Hdt.2.93. [?^ only in pf. Act. and Pass., and fut. and aor. 2 Pass.]:—rub, ?????????? ???, i. e. thresh, thresh it out, because this was done by trampling under the feet of oxen, Il.20.496; ?????? ?????? ?? ??????? work round the stake in his eye, Od.9.333; ?????? -?????? ?????? rubbed on a touchstone, so as to test its purity, Thgn.450; ?. ?? ?????? rub the leg, Pl.Phd.60b; “??? ??? ????? ?????? ?? ???????” Id.Phlb.46a; “??? ????????” Arist.Pr.957a38; ???????? ??? ??????? ib. 938a14; ?. ??? ???????, in sign of perplexity, Aeschin.2.49; “???? ????? [??? ??????] ?.” X.Eq.5.5; “??? ???? ?????? ?.” Eub.108 (hex.); of a masseur, Gal.6.151, 187; in blood-letting, Id.15.784:—Med., ??????????? ?? ?????? . . ????????? ????? rub one's pollution upon the shrines, pollute them with it, A.Eu.195:—Pass., “??????????? ?? ??? ???????? ??? ????????” Hdt.2.93; ??? ????????? ??? ?????? ???? ?????, so as to catch fire, Th.2.77; “??????? ?????????? ???? ????????” Arist. PA661b22.
2. bruise, pound, knead, ????????, [???????], Ar. Th.486, Pl.Phd.117b; “????????? ??????” Id.Euthd.299b; “?????” IG 42(1).122.121 (Epid., iv B. C.); ???????????, [?????], Ar.Pl.717, Pax 8,16; ????? ??? ???????? ??? ?????? ?. Chrysipp. Tyan. ap. Ath.14.648a, cf. Sor.1.62, “?? ?????” grind, D.18.258:—Pass., “????????? ??????????” Hdt.2.86; “????? ?????? ???????????” Arist.Pr.929a17, cf. b8; “????? ???????????, ???? ?????? ????? ? ?????” Diocl.Fr.138.
3. crush, “??????” Arist.Fr.571.
II. wear out clothes (cf. ?????? (A)), “??? ?????????? ?? ?????????” Plu.2.680a; “????????? ?? ???? ???????????” Sor.1.83; of a road, wear or tread it smooth, ??????? ?????????? ? ??? ??????, with a play on pounding in a mortar, Ar.Ra.123; “??? ????. ????? ???? ??? ??? ???????? ????” Phld.Rh.1.260 S.; ?????? ??????? goes his way through heaven (cf. ??????), Arat.231; ?. ??????, of a ship, AP9.34 (Antiphil.); “????? ???????” Theoc.7.123.
2. of Time, wear away, spend, “??????? ?. ????” S.El.602; “???????? ?. ????” E.Heracl.84; “??????? ???? ?.” Ar.Pax 589 (lyr.); “???????????? ??????? ??????” Id.Pl.526 (anap.); ?. ??????? prolong a war, Plb.2.63.4: abs., waste time, tarry, A.Ag.1056, D.23.173 vulg. (?????. cod. S):—Pass., “?? ??????? ???????? ?????? ?????? ??????” Gal.16.578; ???????????? . . ?????????? ?????? ???? prolonged, OGI502.3 (Aezani, ii A. D.).
3. waste or ravage a country, E.Hec.1142.
III. of persons, wear out, “???????? ?????? ???????? ????????” Hes.Op. 251; ????????? ??????? to be worn out by ills, Il.23.735; “????? ?????? ??????? ????????” A.Ag.1573 (anap.); ?. ?????????? wear them both out, Th.8.56, cf. 7.48, Plu.Caes.40:—Med., ????????? ????? ???? ????? wear itself out by internal struggles, Th.6.18, cf. 7.42:—Pass., “?????????? ????” oppressed, Hdt. 2.124; “???????? ????????????? ?? ??????” App. l. c.; ????????? ????? ???? ???? codd.) “??? ??????” Plu.Pomp.41.
2. of money and property, waste, squander it, “???? ?? ??? ??????? ???????? ???? ??????????” Hdt.2.37.
3. use constantly, “???????? . . ?? ????? ?????? ????? ??? ??????? ???? ???????” Ar.Av.636 (lyr.); “????? ??????? ??? ??????????” D.H.Comp. 25; “? ????. ??? ????? ?????????” Id.Th.23; “????. ???????????” in common use, A.D.Pron.115.16, cf. S.E.M.1.229.
4. Pass., to be much busied or engrossed with a thing, “??????” Hdt.3.134; ???? ????? ?. practise oneself in, use oneself to it, Thgn.465; “????????? ???? ???? ????????” Philostr.VA4.41: esp. in pf. part. Pass. ???????????, practised, expert, “???????? ??? ?.” Phld.Rh.2.281 S.; “?? ?? ??????? ?.” Id.Po.5.21; ?. ???? a trained, expert ear, ib.24; “????????? ??? ????. ??? ?????” Plu.Eum.11; “???? ????????? ??? ??? ????? ????.” Gal.15.585, cf. 623.
Deep Breath relax! :mrgreen:

Krokoto as Yannis said defines the yellow painted cloth.
(This was customary with the Phoinicians that Ancient Greeks regarded them as "mistakes of nature" so other insults might be implied here) :roll:

"Trivo" = to rub but also with the use of proverbs can change meaning. (i.e, kata-trivo - slowly/gradualy damage something or to erode)

Now those who delve in cloth making know that pilima (tsocha) = felt is made with various techniques of rubbing rather than weaving wool.
Therefore tribon (lit. trivon) ia a chiton make of thick felt probably Very coarse But very weather resistant.
The art of making this type of cloth survives still in Greece as long there will be some old ladies who know it in some remote mountain villages.

Last century wars proved that well woven heavy coat compares ill a similar "coarse" coat made of felt.
And after enduring the winter ice-rain in the sentry post of Aegean island, I learned the "hard way" that the old felt coat that was making ones skin to itch, was far superior the modern field-jackets. (No relation to the fine felt coats given to naval officers!)

Imagine an ancient "pampered spoiled brat" who had to exchange his fine woven clothes with the "coarser" stuff that could endure the rigors of a campaign

Kind regards
Sounds fun! Maybe I'll look up that book. It is a pity that by late antiquity the ancients had decided that 11 or so plays of Aristophanes were all the Old Comedy you really needed to know (although if they had saved a play of Eupolis, we might have lost something else).

From the quotes it doesn't seem clear whether Dionysios was part of a regular training program, or just getting special tutoring though. From Plato and Xenophon it seems that whether or not to learn hoplomachia was up to the individual.
Hey, I've missed you guys!

LOL.

Sean, I'll have a good quote on that in about 2 more hours of translating. Of course, Giannis or Stefanos could do it in 2 minutes...
Quote:The 'tribon' was of course the Lakedaimonian cloak, as worn by Paul Bardunias' Avatar - a single, cloak/robe worn summer and winter, allowed to wear thin and seldom washed - a mark of Spartan 'toughness'.

As such, like other Spartan fashions ( e.g. long hair), it was widely imitated by those soldiers in other states aping Spartans, along with single soled sandals and the Spartan staff or 'crutch'. Later this dress of large cloak, thin sandals and staff(bakterion) would be taken up by 'austere' philosophers too.

There seems to be little difference between a 'tribon' and a 'himation' save that the former was probably simpler, less decorated, and not so fine-spun.....

This dress was seen as older, more conservative, and soldierly than the later 'chlamys'......

A tribon is simply a threadbare or otherwise worn-out garment, as noted, and the word has no associations with the Spartans by itself - Aristophanes mentions slaves wearing tribones, for instance. It is mentioned in connection with the Spartans to emphasize their laconic ways, but it wasn't a particular kind of garment, and the intended meaning in this passage is almost certainly simply that Dionysus is lamenting the different in lifestyle - from beautiful robes to worn out tunic.