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BIOGRAFIE: Ménandros (griechisch Μένανδρος, latinisiert und deutsch Menander; * 342/341 v. Chr. in Kephisia; † 291/290 v. Chr.) war ein griechischer Komödiendichter.


''In großen Teilen erhaltene Werke'''


'''Bruchstücke und verlorene Werke'''

  • * Andria
    * Dis Exapaton
    * Encheiridion
    * Georgos (Der Bauer)
    * Heros (Der Halbgott)
    * Hypobolimaios
    * Iereia (Die Priesterin)
    * Kolax (Der Schmeichler)
    * Leukadia
    * Misoumenos (Der Mann, den sie hasste)
    * Phasma (Das Gespenst)
    * Plokion
    * Philadelphoi
    * Pseudherakles
    * Synaristosai (Frauen beim Mittag)
    * Thais
    * Theophoroumene
    * Trophonios


von George G. A. Murray

(ab 1889 Prof Gräzistik in Glasgow,

dann ab 1908 in Oxford)

In den Fragmenten des Menander liegt eine große Faszination. Und ich finde, das liegt nicht nur in der Leichtigkeit und dem "Attic Salt" seines Stils, oder dem subtilen und
freundlichen Realismus seiner Figuren. Es steckt sogar in seinen Konventionalitäten ein gewisseer Charme - die Situationen und Bühnentricks, die heute vielleicht etwas altmodisch wirken, hat er in einem Momentum eingefangen, in dem sie noch jung und frisch waren.


Aber vor allem zieht mich seine Lebensphilosophie an, die ironisch und dennoch sensibel ist, die den Geist der sensiblen und aufs Höchste zivilisierten Gesellschaft seiner Zeit auszudrücken scheint.


Es bedurfte einigem an Stärke für einen
Athener dieses vierten Jahrhunderts v. Chr., um in einem kriegsgeplagten Gebiet seinen Kopf und sein Temperament zu bewahren, da die besten Hoffnungen Athens in Trümmern lagen und die Menschen sich nur noch um Zufriedenheit bemühten,  um nicht ganz zu verbittern, und "nicht lebten, wie sie gerne wollten, sondern wie sie es eben mussten".


Wie die homerischen Rhapsoden "Sängerinnen und Sänger von zusammengestückelten Songs" waren, habe ich - wo immer das möglich war - ebenfalls nach Möglichkeit "zusammengefügt", und nur da neu erfunden. wo ich mich hierzu gezwungen sah.


Seine Stücke sind sicherlich auf einer modernen Bühne darstellbar.


Mein früherer Versuch einer Rekonstruktion eines Stückes von Ménandros - dessen Fehler mir jetzt bewusster sind, als sie es mir noch beim Schreiben, bei der Herstellung, waren, wurde an mehreren Orten aufgeführt, und haben gezeigt, dass er ein Publikum amüsieren kann.


Dieser jetzige Versuch ist vielleicht noch ambitionierter, und zwar sowohl weil "The Arbitration" das ernsthaftere und reifere Werk als "The Rape of the Locks" sind, aber auch weil die Lücken noch schwerer zu füllen sind.


Free and natural as it is in outward appearance, there can be little doubt that the New Comedy, like all or almost all Greek drama, was in
its essence the performance of a religious ritual.


It took the form of what we may call a Nativity Play, celebrating the annual discovery, when all the earth seems dead, of that Renewal of Life which we think of as the New Year or the Spring, but which was to the Greeks a Being far more personal.


This ritual in its simplest shape, still to be found in some Easter celebrations in Italy and Eastern Europe, used the symbol of a divine babe or lamb or young animal to typify the new life.


Its birth or arrival was the gist of the celebration. At another stage, represented
by Euripides' "Ion" and several fragmentary Greek tragedies, the rite has developed into drama, and the birth into a heroic myth. An outcast baby, found in the wild woods, and perhaps suckled by a mare, a cow, or
some wild animal, is really the son of a god and a royal maiden and, after suitable adventures or sufferings, is duly "recognized" and
accepted as the king or hero-founder of his tribe.


The baby, though its presence is essential, is no longer the centre of interest. It is either
allowed to relapse into the background or else its Recognition is delayed till the divine child is old enough to be a mysterious hero.


Another unintended result of this dramatization is that the god is made to play a somewhat questionable part.


We may see him at his best in a magnificent hymn in Aeschylus' "Suppliant Women" (verses 524-600), where the heroine's sufferings form an element in a high, inscrutable purpose,
and a virgin birth by the touch of the divine hand gives life to a miraculous child "perfect in blessedness"; at his worst probably in the
"Ion", where Apollo well deserves the curses which his deserted victim hurls at him in his own temple precinct.


We know of no tragedies of this type after the "Ion". It may well be that the divine ravisher was increasingly felt to be an unsuitable and indeed an impious figure. At any rate, the ritual was about this time transferred from the tragic to the comic stage, and the story brought down to a human level. In New Comedy the outcast babe is the fruit of some forbidden or secret amour, and the Recognition exalts him not to divinity but merely to wealth and fortune.


The place of the god is taken, to use Aelian's contemptuous words, by "Menander's young puppies misconducting themselves at midnight
festivals" (_Hist. Nat._ VII, 19).


The transference was not an entire success. Piety indeed was saved; but the more human and lifelike the general story became, the harder it was to feel much sympathy for the baby's father, who nevertheless has to be
something like the hero of the play.


In this play, for instance, it is hard to combine the Charisius whom we see and whom his friends describe to us with the tipsy rioter who did violence to Pamphile.


His scene of repentance and bitter self-reproach--all of it, I hasten to add, the
work of the real Menander makes him forgivable, but still not easy to understand. We might come nearer to understanding if we listened to what Callisto had to say on the subject, or indeed if we reflected on the
actual proceedings of those all-night festivals once universal throughout Europe, from ancient dances in worship of some Artemis or
Dionysus to the May-day junketings of eighteenth-century England.


Most, if not all, of them might have accepted as their motto the famous refrain of the §Pervigilium Veneris": Cras amet qui numquam amavit, quique amavit cras amet.[1]


"The Arbitration" is among the most frequently quoted of Menander'splays. It belongs to his   style. It is less farcical than either the "Locks_ or the "Samian Woman", which is the only other play about which we have enough left to form a judgement. It has more of the smooth
long speeches, in conversational style with a quiet undercurrent of wit, which were so highly appreciated in antiquity.


On the other hand, the plot is richer, more romantic, and more skilfully developed; there is much deeper emotional tension. In character also, though the female parts in Menander are always good, the two earlier plays have no one
comparable to Habrotonon.


As for my own work, although the  extant fragments of papyrus probably cover rather more than half the play, considerably more if we count the long passages where only two or three letters at the beginning or end of a line have been preserved, I found it much harder
than in the "Locks" to conjecture the rest of the plot with any approach to confidence.


I have only tried to observe Menandrian conventions and, as far as I can hope to  understand it, the Menandrian spirit.


I have used chiefly the texts of Jensen and Koerte; have often consulted Mr. Frost's scholarly translation; and in matters of interpretation must express my deep obligations to the masterly treatise of Wilamowitz. On one important and doubtful problem (v. p. 123) I have accepted an
attractive guess of Professor D. S. Robertson.

[Footnote 1: "To-morrow let him love who never has loved, and he who has
loved let him love to-morrow."]



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