Classical Drama and Theatre
Return to ChaptersUnfortunately, neither Platonius' dates nor the authenticity of his data is secure. To wit, he endorses sweeping generalizations and cites only well-known plays, none of which constitutes new information to us. In other words, he could have cobbled together most of his history of this so-called Middle Comedy period from the same basic data we have, which does not speak well for his having access to important information no longer available. For instance, in the quote above, it seems he is somewhat uncertain that Euripides was the author of Aeolus ("that drama by the tragedians"). Still, what he says makes a great deal of sense, in particular, the tendency in post-Classical comedy to spoof tragedy and myth, a pattern supported in the titles and fragments of Middle Comedy known today. But the question still lingers, whether or not the same data we have led him to this very conclusion, which is why it makes sense to us. If so, he is no better source than any modern scholar and we must treat him as such.
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