Aristophanes’ Frogs was produced in 405 BC, shortly after the deaths of the two great veteran Athenian tragic dramatists, Euripides and Sophocles. It was restaged a year later, a few weeks before starving Athens at last accepted defeat in the long Peloponnesian War. Dionysus, the god of drama, wine and joyful celebration, goes down to the underworld to bring his favourite poet, Euripides, back from the dead, and surprises both himself and the audience by bringing back instead Aeschylus, who had died fifty years before, with the mission of saving both Athens and Tragedy from ruin. The contest for the throne of tragedy between Euripides and Aeschylus is the earliest sustained piece of literary criticism in the Western tradition. This edition is the first to combine a reliable English translation of Frogs with a full explanatory commentary; it also includes a freshly constituted Greek text. [Greek text with facing-page translation, commentary and notes.]
Alan H. Sommerstein is Professor of Greek and Director for Ancient Drama and its Reception, University of Nottingham, and editor of a celebrated complete edition of Aristophanes volumes in the Aris & Phillips Classical Texts series. His many other publications include Aeschylean Tragedy (1996), an edition of Aeschylus Eumenides (1989), Greek Drama and Dramatists (2002) and Sophocles: Selected Fragmentary Plays Volumes 1 and 2 (2006, 2011) in this series.
‘For an overall series of the entire corpus, including critical text, commentary, translation, and full introduction, all subsumed to one man’s intelligent analysis and wide-ranging scholarship, Sommerstein stands triumphantly alone. […] Aristophanes is lucky to have so devoted, erudite, and witty a modern celebrant.’