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The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought$
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Mirko Canevaro and Benjamin Gray

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198748472

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198748472.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 06 December 2021

Comedy and the Athenian Ideal

Comedy and the Athenian Ideal

(p.109) 6 Comedy and the Athenian Ideal
The Hellenistic Reception of Classical Athenian Democracy and Political Thought

David Konstan

Oxford University Press

New Comedy was a Panhellenic phenomenon. It may be that a performance in Athens was still the acme of a comic playwright’s career, but Athens was no longer the exclusive venue of the genre. Yet Athens, or an idealized version of Athens, remained the setting or backdrop for New Comedy, whatever its provenance or intended audience. New Comedy was thus an important vehicle for the dissemination of the Athenian polis model throughout the Hellenistic world, and it was a factor in what has been termed ‘the great convergence’. The role of New Comedy in projecting an idealized image of the city-state may be compared to that of Hollywood movies in conveying a similarly romanticized, but not altogether false, conception of American democracy to populations around the world.

Keywords:   New Comedy, Menander, Hellenistic democracy, Hollywood cinema, ideological influence of comedy

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