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Φίλοι (Philoi)

Discussion Wilamowitz 1870. 48-51; Miiller-Strubing 1890. 545-6; Geissler
1924. 34-5 + 1969. xiii; Kaibel 1907 p. 1235.16-18; Schiassi 1944. 27-33; Schmid
1946. 117; Schiassi 1955. 298; Schwarze 1971. 122-4; Storey 2003. 263-6; Storey
2011. 223-5; Rusten 2011. 268
Title We know of no other comedy entitled Philoi. Wilamowitz 1870. 49 took
“friends” to mean “pederastic suitors”; compared Autolykos I and II; and argued
for a chorus of aspiring lovers of the beautiful Demos son of Pyrilampes (PA
3573; PAA 317910; cf. Ar. V 98 with Biles-Olson 2015 ad loc.), a hypothesis
for which there is not a shred of substantial evidence; cf. Zelle 1892. 31. The
more obvious conclusion is that the chorus was in fact made up of “friends”,
sc. of the central character or characters, like the philoi of Cratinus who made
up the chorus of Pytine (test, ii.6), the philoi of Bdelycleon who make up the
chorus of old jurors in Aristophanes’ Wasps (esp. 317), and the άνδρες φίλοι
και δημόται (“friends and demesmen”) of Blepyrus who make up the chorus of
farmers in Aristophanes’ Wealth (esp. 254). Or “friends” might mean “political
allies”, as at e. g. X. HG 6.5.48; IGI3 67.4 (partially restored), making this a title
formally similar to Demoi and Poleis.
Friends (philoi) are distinguished a number of times in comedy, as in other
contemporary sources, from relatives, on the one hand, and from demesmen,
on the other (fr. 99.24-5 with n.; Eq. 320; Nu. 1128, 1209; Ec. 1024-5; Men.
Asp. 117-18), the point apparently being that friends are made rather than
born—and can be lost. In practical terms, a friend is a person one can count
on for assistance in times of trouble or to share whatever windfalls one comes
into (e.g. Ar. Eq. 94, 473; Av. 133-4; Ec. 528-31; Pl. 239-40, 345, 398, 782-3,
829-31, 834-6 (the majority of the passages from this play colored by the
cynical attitude adopted by most of its characters); Antiph. frr. 208.1; 226.3-4;
note Ar. Th. 1027 άφιλον = “with no one to help me”). But the relationship is
not a simple matter of coldly calculated expediency, for a friend—the word
is in fact routinely used in the plural in the sense “group of friends, circle of
friends”—is also a person about whom one speaks no evil (Telecl. fr. 44.4-5)
and whom one can potentially embarrass (fr. 99.25); to whom one can com-
plain when life is going badly (Ar. Ach. 690-1); to whom one can also tell the
truth (Ar. Ach. 513), and who may occasionally offer unsolicited advice in
turn (Ar. V. 1430-1); whom one can bore from time to time, e. g. by practicing
© Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften