Presenter: Rachel Dowe (Mid-candidature review)

In this paper, I propose to examine closely how gods are portrayed in Aristophanes’ Wealth, and how this treatment differs from wider Athenian religion. In doing so, I wish to determine what these portrayals reveal about the nature of ‘old comedy’ and its license to approach religion in a way that was not be tolerated elsewhere. In this manner, this paper will extend the hypothesis arrived at in my previous paper presented on Aristophanes’ Birds. In a manner similar to this earlier play, Wealth features a human protagonist unhappy with the current state of affairs and who consequently decides to alter the situation. Through his actions, the religious status quo is altered, and a new world is created. Aristophanes’ characters stage a revolution against the traditional rule of Zeus, an action that would have been considered impious outside the Dionysian and comedic theatre. Yet, in the upside-down worlds of Aristophanes’ plays, the gods are still recognisably Athenian. And despite Aristophanes’ comic treatment of the gods, popular religious values are never wholeheartedly abandoned.

About Classics and Ancient History Seminars

The zoom link for the online seminars will remain unchanged for the whole semester, and will be emailed to our mailing list for events in Classics and Ancient History. To receive the zoom link and future event updates, please email

Enquiries about the seminars may be made to Associate Professor David Pritchard.

The Friends of Antiquity, an alumni organisation of the University, runs its own series of public lectures, which take place on Sunday afternoons. The Friends’ program for can be found at


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