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Χρυσουν γένος (Chrysoun genos)
(“The Golden Race”)

Discussion Fritzsche 1835. 145-6 n. 10; Bergk 1838. 361-4; Meineke 1839
1.145-6, 11.535-46; Meineke 1847. 206-10; Wilamowitz 1870. 52-4; Miiller-
Strubing 1873. 164-6; Gilbert 1877. 131-3; Kock 1880 1.333-9; Zielinski 1885.
33-4, 57-8; Kaibel 1907 p. 1232.11-26; Hoffmann 1910. 35-6; Geissler 1925.
35 + 1969. xiii; Norwood 1931. 198-9; Zielinski 1931. 43-4; Schiassi 1944.
58-65; Schmid 1946. 116; Edmonds 1957. 410-17; Luppe 1972. 75 n. 91; Storey
1990. 17-18; Ruffell 2000. 490-2; Sidwell 1993. 381-5, esp. 382-3; Sidwell 1994.
108-12; Storey 2003. 266-77
Title The title is otherwise unknown, but is most naturally taken to refer
somehow to the χροσοΰν γένος of men described by Hesiod (Op. 109-26) who
existed in the time of Cronus and “lived like gods, with a heart free of care”;
had no need to work, since the earth produced everything for them of its own
accord; passed their time instead in feasting; never grew old and died easily,
as if falling asleep; and were ultimately transformed into underground deities,
who guard modern people and bestow wealth upon them.
Content Eupolis’ plays are generally called after their choruses, otherwise
seemingly after the central character (Autolykos I and II; Marikas); for a qua-
si-Hesiodic Golden Race as chorus, cf. Cratinus’ Ploutoi (esp. fr. 171.11-12) and
(a more distant parallel) Aristophanes’ Clouds (esp. 1115-30).* 275 Fr. 299 (n.)
might be set in a world in which burdensome household chores are taken care
of automatically, with no human effort required (cf. Hes. Op. 117-18). But the
fact that Athenaeus does not include Chrysoun genos in his extended catalogue
of Golden Age comedies at 6.267e-70a suggests that it was a different sort
of play (thus Wilamowitz 1870. 54 n. 44), and none of the other fragments
is obviously set anywhere other than in the real contemporary world. The
praise of Athens in fr. 316.1-2, 4-5 (from the parabasis) is patently sarcastic,
and Weicker suggested that the Golden Age nominally in question was the
actually less-than-golden period of Cleon’s political dominance. The limited
evidence cannot be pushed so far,276 but it is nonetheless tempting to think

“75 Bergk (followed by Edmonds), comparing fr. 314 (n.), took the chorus of Eupolis’
play to be made up instead of Cyclopes; but the source appears to be corrupt.
276 Ruffell’s reconstruction of the play as “the principal example of the automatist
utopia being inverted” (quote from p. 490) is particularly overconfident.
© Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften