©Damen, 2021

Classical Drama and Theatre

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Cleon's family business was tanning leather and Paphlagonia (in northern Asia Minor) was famous among the ancient Athenians for leather work. Thus, the allusion to Cleon—and the insult!— would have escaped virtually no one in Aristophanes' audience. But why didn't Aristophanes attack Cleon directly by name? He had not been reluctant to do so in the past. Perhaps by making Cleon's character a foreigner and referring to him only through an allusion to his family, Aristophanes means to return the insult Cleon had recently leveled in court when he charged that Aristophanes did not belong to a good Athenian clan.

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