Personal jokes in Aristophanes
The material of this thesis is the area of personal humour roughly covered by τὸ ὸνομαστὶ κωμῳεν - the body of jokes which involve reference or allusion to individuals from the contemporary or near contemporary world, and which gave rise to the ancient compilation of κωμῳδούμενι. In an introductory chapter I draw on the combined evidence of plays and fragments to give some impression of the role of this type of satire in Old Comedy as a whole in the later fifth century, stressing in particular the overlap between Aristophanes' choice of targets and his rivals', and suggesting that this indicates the genre's capacity to create publicity for its own exploitation. The second chapter analyses the treatment of personal jokes in the scholia on Aristophanes, and shows that this typically involves a questionable model of satire, largely taken over by modern commentators on the plays, as a reflector of the truth about its targets. In the third chapter I argue that we need to adopt a view of Aristophanes as a much more active creator of publicity and of satirical images which may often owe as much to the appeal of popular stereotypes of disapproved behaviour as to the facts about the individuals to whom they are comically attached. Chapter four concentrates on choral jokes, demonstrating in particular the special scope for inventive satirical colour allowed by the separation of the major choral sections from the concerns of the dramatic episodes. The final chapter focusses on a variety of functional, formal and technical aspects of personal jokes: these include the ways in which jokes are integrated into the composition of dialogue; comically expressive uses of antilabe; the importance of the position of a name within the structure of a joke; and visual elements in personal satire. An index of names and references is included.