!READ EBOOK ⚖ Λυσιστράτη ⚕ First presented inBC this ancient comedy concerns the efforts of Lysistrata, an Athenian woman, to persuade other women to join together in a strike against the men of Greece, denying them sex until they've agreed to put down their arms and end the disastrous wars between Athens and Sparta When the strike begins, and the men respond, the comedic battle of the sexes that ensues makes this spirited play one of the most enjoyable of the classics In it, Aristophanes employs a mixture of shrewd logic and raffish humor that fully exploits the rich comic potential of the story and its underlying antiwar sentiment Always a favorite of audiences, Lysistrata, because of its pointed feminist sympathies, is studied and performed today than ever
Today Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike in response to Georgia's abortion ban, which raises two questions: 1) Alyssa Milano is still a thing?! and 2) Haven't I heard this before? I can help with the second thing Milano got it from Aristophanes, who in 411 BC invented the sex strike and, for all you know, dildos It's 411 BC and Athens is deep in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta and everyone's pretty stressed about it In Aristophanes' brilliantly simple idea, the women of both sides organize and throw a sex strike Stop fighting, they say, Or nohumping! The plot is that they say that and then it works There's some stuff about dildos, for obvious reasons, but that's about all there is to it Unfortunately it was a madeup story; in real life this didn't happen and Athens lost the war and that was basically the end of the Golden Age of Democracy But the play is great easily Aristophanes's best surviving play funny and filthy and don't forget, the thing about Greek plays is that you can knock one out in an hour and a glass of wine, so why haven't you read this?Translation and illustration courtesy of Valerie Schrag for The Graphic CanonAlyssa Milano, who played a kid on the 80s TV show Who's The Boss and is now still a thing, LysistrataSome Greek men, you’ll discover,Being a lesser loverThan a renderer of war,Treat their wives much like a whore.So one day, Lysistrata,Equipped with all the data,Reckoned upon a tacticTo withhold love climactic.She aimed to end all conflictWith some cohorts she had picked,To flaunt breasts and nothing hide,Though, ‘til peace, men were denied.Males came with their pricks erect,Revealed for all to inspect,Still their wives rejected them,Until war they would condemn.So the violence did decrease And the warring tribes made peace,A gently handled magic wandMade sure a double entendre.At play’s end, the sun went downOn the whole of Athens townAnd nothing followed after,But the echoes of laughter Illustration by Norman Lindsay How old is the idea of women withholding sex from men to get what they want? Well, apparently as far back as 405 BC, because that's what happens in this hilarious (and bawdy) Greek comedy In this play it was en masse' with the singular purpose of bringing peace between the warring Athenians and Spartans Did it work? Well, what do you think? TV Commercial: Does your husband and the men of Athens just want to wage war? Do they ignore your pleas for peace no matter how long the Peloponnesian War has been going on? Tired of your men's stupid decisions in such a trying time? Do you wish to end it? Well women of Athens, you are in luck, we have the solution for you, withhold sex from your husbands and lovers, that will bring them back with their tails between their feet and a signed peace document Women of Athens: Would that not just create divisions between the sexes and a sort of war between the citizens?TV Commercial: ehhhh, most likely But, their idiocy must be stopped.Lysistrata: You have got a deal! I am starting now Women let us meet! My time has come to convince you to withhold sex so we can have peace This cannot possibly backfire Now that that is aside, THIS IS NEITHER A FEMINIST PLAY, NOR A PACIFIST ONE I understand why modern readers might interpret it as such, but at the time it was written,and many years after, it was clear that the view was that women were a nuisance that needed to be protected from themselves It basically begins with these lines: LYSISTRATA There are a lot of things about us women That sadden me, considering how men See us as rascals.CALONICE As indeed we are!Not the greatest sentence for a supposedly feminist play Now this is also quite a crude play, maybe evenso than the Bard himself In it men walk about with erect penises for no other reason that them being denied sex and unable to control erections We have a woman that sort of teases her lover by saying she will do him and them promptly bringing a bed, a mattress, a pillow, a blanket, some oil, and then ends up running back up to the Acropolis where the women are holding out Their oath to not have sex tells them not to do a certain sexual pose that apparently was popular back then I would say this play is a bit offensive to men, not as much as women, but it does dictate that men cannot function unless their penis is inside someone's vagina That kind of does them a disservice Here's a few reasons why it is not feminist:The first lines of the play as written above Majority of women, except Lysistrata, are presented as voluptuaries A magistrate arrives and starts spouting about how women are hysterical and that men should keep better hold of them He proceeds to also claim they have too much of a liking to wine, promiscuous sex, and for some weird reasons, exotic cults There are two women with these names: seedmarketporridgevegetablesellers and garlicinnkeepingbreadsellers Lysistrata uses a woman for her beauty to distract the men enough to have them sign peace I did laugh nonetheless, I prefer to read it as satire, it makes the funny and cringe worthy moments all thefun. It had been quite awhile since I contemplated over any books let alone penning a critical appraisal on Goodreads It was tough trying to get words out of the overwhelming emotional vortex; an obstinate ketchup bottle ignoring the need of a fried potato for the tangy goodness So, when Brian suggested a group reading of Lysistrata, I was a bit apprehensive A Greek playwright crossing the dreaded course of fallen heroic tragedies; evenremorse to my cerebral coma; not a luxurious indulgence at the moment Lysistrata is a woman’s name; yes it is and sex is the weapon used to hem the broken olive branch “To husband or lover, I’ll not open arms Though love and denial may enlarge his charms But still at home, ignoring him, I’ll stay Bountiful, clad in saffron silk all day If then he seizes me with by dint of force, I’ll give him reason for a long remorse I’ll never lie and stare up at the ceiling Nor like a lion on all four go kneeling If I keep faith then bounteous cups be mine Do you swear to this? Then I shall immolate the victim thus.” Holding a pair of olive logs, a vine torch and a small pot of live embers; Lysistrata and her women folk thus embarked on an egalitarian journey within the locked Acropolis citadel; a long awaited unified cry of misplaced wisdom Neither the pointless sexist blabber from unassailable old men who rather burn the protesters than give a patient ear nor the wailing of desperate husbands and lovers could shake the well rooted fortitude of this rebellious bunch Peace is what they strive at the cost of their fornication We pay taxes, manage finesse with domestic budgetary, and give birth to descendants who will render their youth to deathly absurdities in a unproductive war Abandoned voices yearning to be heard outside the bedroom in the ubiquitous courtyards of masochism I’m a free woman; screams this slapstick engaging play Aristophanes delineated a cohesive front; an equalized gender dais debating the validity of aggressive hostilities Wars not only annihilate countries but families too Common sense is a rarity and idiocy the universal daily crow of a proud rooster Underestimating the weak is the biggest blunder of an astute strategist And, 'Groupthink' is not just a term coined by a confident Mr Janis; harried egocentric faulty pronouncements can even corrupt sincerity Remember the ‘Bay of Pigs’?? Nevertheless all is not lost and the inbred humor prances around like a spring rabbit One cannot help but laugh when distressed over the abstinence issue Myrrhine’s husband Cinesias brings their child to convince to come back to a lovely home and a lonely husband Even after pledging to bringpeace to the land, Myrrhine does not give in to the carnal needs bringing Cinesias to tear his hair out CINESIASA wicked thing, as I repeat.O Zeus, O Zeus,Canst Thou not suddenly let looseSome twirling hurricane to tearHer flapping up along the airAnd drop her, when she's whirled around,Here to the groundNeatly impaled upon the stakeThat's ready upright for her sake Baudrillard was precise in inferring the power of seduction to be greater than the act itself.Master the kitchen, master the bedroom and so shall rule your husband The evergreen thumb rule of triumph of one of my elderly aunt’s longlasting marriage In a world devoid of any sex toys or cinematic screenings, sex and food was the ultimate seduction of power “Buy me the silver or no midnight climaxes!” You want me to clean after you; my closed legs will be your eternal marriage gift!” Can sex be really used as a weapon by ladies of all societal strata? Power seekers beware of the fairer sex for they have unfailing artillery!! Is the abstinence of sex capable of stopping mindless male aggression of power? Could Silvio Berlusconi minimize the impact of EU crisis if Ruby had protested the Bunga Bunga? Gaddafi would not have met with such a brutal death for being a scoundrel of a dictator An excellent point put forth by Brian, about the Iraq War; wonders if the search of the indiscernible WMDs would have stopped if Mrs.Bush along with Mrs Blair transpired Lysistrata proposal at the White House The new democratic gesticulation could discipline the wildest of men, Napoleon would have been the best candidate; as the saying goes small men huge “ego” Aristophanes is undoubtedly a visionary for banishing the discrepancies of gender biases bequeathing the ‘weaker’ sex with a new leash of power and control Nowill the patriarchal societies characterize gender roles and women no longer will be pretty bodies sitting on a vagina Lysistrata’s protest was not designated to demoralize the validity of manhood, but an outright memo of the rarity of common sense and advocacy of peace over a senseless war fought for decades The weak can be strong when they stand up for their rights and cannot be easily dismissed by mere ignorance Not only wars, but numerous crimes against can be stopped with the ongoing strategy The only fear looms is of how long it will be until the newly acquired democratic forum spits an authoritative fire But, that is yet a farsighted destination and as of now, peace was ultimately restored and the Greeks merrily celebrated with abundance wine and sex Wasn't that (sex) the ultimate catch after all? LYSISTRATAEarth is delighted now; peace is the voice of earth.Spartans, sort out your wives: Athenians, yours.Let each catch hands with his wife and dance his joy,Dance out his thanks, be grateful in music,And promise reformation with his heels. How do you translate comedy that isthan 25 centuries old? With ease apparently, Lysistrata, first performed way back in 411 BC is just as funny now as it must have been for the ancient Greeks! It was while holidaying in the Peloponnese that it occurred to me to brush up on the ancient Greek classics A good decision since it really contextualised all the history I was literally walking over every day.The play commences in 431–404 BC with the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta Almost all the men are engaged in what seems to be an interminable conflict It is Athenian woman, Lysistrata who decides on an unusual course of action to bring the war to an end and restore peace – she calls on women from all the warring states to refuse their men sex until peace is achieved! As you can imagine, this may have been a measure welcomed by many women, but generally unpopular with the gents…There is much debate between the women leading this movement and the men in power, and the dialogue is very witty and funny as justifications for and arguments against are bantered back and forth Aristophanes is known primarily as a comedian and the play is certainly amusing, though the underlying message is quite sombre: there are very few solutions to war In reality the Peloponnesian War has been raging for twenty years by the time the play was first staged, and it still wasn’t over The powerhouse that had been Athens was effectively reduced to a pile of rubble and Sparta emerged as the new seat of power Albeit at a massive cost to life It equally raises pertinent questions about the traditional roles of women in society and highlights gender inequality the fact that the women know that the most effective tool to curb men's behaviour is through their bodies clearly underlines that not much has changed in terms of gender bias over the centuries!An exceptional (and timely) read for me The ancient Greeks never cease to amaze me with their skills and knowledge in just about everything Make sure you read a well translated copy. This was hilarious Women withholding sex until all the men stopped the war What an imaginative idea I especially liked how the women fought against their own desires despite being in heat Several laugh out loud moments for me. People who are currently sleeping with an academic may be interested to know that I just sent the following GENUINE letter to an Elsevier journal, in response to a request to review a paper If this catches on, don't blame Not Blame Aristophanes.Dear Professor ██████,My girlfriend, on whom I rely for advice in ethical matters, has researched Elsevier's business model in some detail She says that, after careful consideration, she would not be able to sleep with someone who continued to review for an Elsevier journal.Given my girlfriend's uncompromising stance on this issue, I am afraid that I must decline your offer to review this paper and ask you to remove me permanently from your list of reviewers Sincerely,Lysistrata's Guy Looking at the themes of sex and gender, this bawdy antiwar sex comedy, of which I found rather amusing, was first staged in 411 BCE In simplistic terms, the play is the account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War, as Lysistrata convinces the women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands as a means of forcing the men to negotiate a peace In other words its like a sex strike! Lysistrata, a strong minded Athenian with a great sense of individual responsibility, reveals her plan to take matters into her own hands and end the interminable war between Athens and Sparta She has convened a meeting of women from various city states in Greece and, with support from the Spartan Lampito, she explains to the other women her plan, which Leads to some really laughable moments.Modern adaptations of the play are often performed with a feminist and/or pacifist viewpoint, but the original all the way back then was neither particularly feminist nor unreservedly pacifist Even while apparently demonstrating empathy with the female condition, Aristophanes still tended to reinforce sexual stereotyping of women as irrational creatures in need of protection from themselves and from others Certainly, it seems clear that Aristophanes was not actually advocating real political power for women.Lysistrata herself, though, is clearly an exceptional woman and, even when the other women waver in their resolution, she remains strong and committed She is usually quite separate from the other women: she does not herself exhibit any sexual desire, has no obvious lovers or husband and does not purposely flirt with men; she is smarter, wittier and generally adopts aserious tone than the other women the humour throughout is highly topical and the playwright expected his audience to be familiar with myriad local personalities, places and issues, a difficulty faced by any producer trying to stage Lysistrata for modern audiences As well as the slapstick comedy and the raucous and risqué doubleentendres, much of the humour in the play derives from the audience’s knowledge of specific figures from Athens’ public life and recent history.Known as the 'Father of Comedy', this was great fun, and I just can't quite believe its as old as it is I imagine it will never feel dated, long live Aristophanes!