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Πόλεις (Poleis)

Discussion Raspe 1832. 81-4, 87-8, 89; Meineke 1839 1.140-4,11.507—8; Kock
1880 1.314; Kaibel 1907 p. 1232.26-46; Norwood 1931. 193-7; Schiassi 1944.
70-80; Schmid 1946. 118; Edmonds 1957. 386-97; Cassio 1985a. 118; Storey
1990. 18-20; Sidwell 1994. 98-104; Rosen 1998; Storey 2003. 216-30; Kidd
2014. 79-81
Title The cities in question are generally taken to be the subject-states of the
Athenian Empire (for this use of the word, e.g. fr. 316.1; Telecl. fr. 45.1; Ar.
Ach. 506, 636), including the elaborately costumed female figures representing
Tenos, Chios and Cyzicus referred to in frr. 245-7 (nn.).106 What attitude the
play adopted toward the treatment of the allies is impossible to say, despite the
conviction of many modern critics that its guiding purpose must have been
to turn the Athenians away from their cruel handling of their subjects (thus
already Raspe 1832. 83 “in vero exhortatum esse Athenienses, ne diutius avare
crudeliterque consulerent in socios”).107 Nor is there any evidence—except for
fr. 243 (n.), which might be connected with almost any part of the play—that
the action ended with a marriage of Athenian men and personified cities, as
Norwood 1931. 196 fancifully proposed.
Plays entitled Poleis were also written by Philyllius (frr. 9-16; alterna-
tively attributed to Eunicus or Aristophanes; date unknown), Anaxandrides
(fr. 40; 370s or 360s BCE) and perhaps Heniochus (cf. fr. 5). For other titles
in which the chorus represent generic political or geographical units, cf.
Demoi; Telecleides’ Amphiktyones (“Amphictyonies”, or perhaps “Amphictyonic
Delegates”)·, Aristophanes’ or Archippus’ Nesoi (“Islands’); Plato Comicus’
Hellas e Nesoi (“Greece or Islands’); and perhaps Plato Comicus’ Symmachia
(“Alliance”) and Cantharus’ Symmachiai (“Alliances”).

106 Note also the reference to the cities bringing their tribute to Athens at Dionysia-
time in fr. 254, which would provide a reasonable excuse for their initial arriv-
al onstage in Eupolis’ play, and cf. Ar. fr. 410 ώς ές την γην κύψασα κάτω καί
ξυννενοφυΐα βαδίζει (“How stooped down toward the ground and gloomy she
makes her way!”; from Nesoi, and taken by Bergk to be a description of one of the
eponymous Islands).
107 References to more recent authorities collected at Storey 2003. 219.
© Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften