Ancient Greek Soup

The Frogs is a comic play by Aristophanes from around 405 BC.

Yes, that’s a really long time ago and it’s based on a civilisation that is long dead. No, I don’t speak ancient Greek so I had to really on a translation. Yes, some of the jokes are about things lost in the mists of history and I have no idea why they were found funny.

Amongst other things, I’d be interested to understand why that title was used, seeing as frogs only turn up for one scene in the whole play and that’s mostly just to sing a song. Their croaking refrain annoys one of the main characters but is hardly central to the plot.

The play is still pretty funny though and it’s based on the slightly ridiculous premise that Dionysus (known as Bacchus to the Romans, the god of wine, fertility and madness) thinks that all the current playwrights are rubbish so goes to the underworld to get back Euripides (a tragedian who’d died the year before).

The bit that really stuck me though was this:

DIONYSUS Have you e’er felt a sudden lust for soup?
HERACLES Soup! Zeus-a-mercy, yes, ten thousand times!

It may have been a very long time ago but people still understood that sometimes you just really fancy a particular food for no reason. The world has moved on in everything from politics to philosophy, science to art, but sometimes people still experience that sudden lust for soup and then an ancient play seems very relatable.

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15 thoughts on “Ancient Greek Soup

  1. I’ve just come across your blog – mainly because you just seem to have come across mine. I’ve had a quick flick through some of your posts and I’ll enjoy having a longer browse later. I love the breadth of reading choices you have and your slightly irreverent yet thought-provoking take on them.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How nice to find another reader who wonders about similar books.
    I have no answer to your question about why he chose Frogs as the title but when I read it last year, I thought that it was at least better than some other works that have titles that don’t actually feature in the book/play etc. I mean, at least Frogs has frogs in it – and to me even more amusingly, it’s the original Frog Chorus. Wyndham’s The Kraken, James M. Cains The Postman Always Rings Twice are two books that I found utterly disappointing for their lack of titular characters. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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