Wasps was first produced at the Lenaea festival of 422 BC. The play is at once a political satire and also, like Clouds and the lost Banqueters, a comedy on the theme of the conflict of generations. The play follows the efforts of a mischievous and mercurial old man to escape the control of a stern and heavy son. In its political aspect it attacks the leading Athenian politician Cleon, as Knights had. But Wasps represents a departure as it concentrates less on Cleon personally, and more on his and his associates’ alleged domination of the law courts and the men who served in them as jurors. First published in 1983, this edition contains addenda and a new bibliography. Greek text with facing-page English 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 the 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.’