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Birds

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  3,769 ratings  ·  111 reviews
Birds is generally recognized as one of Aristophanes' masterpieces, for its imaginative plot (it is the source of the word "Cloudcuckooland"), and its charming and original lyrics. This abridgment of Nan Dunbar's widely acclaimed edition of Birds, published in 1995, preserves all the material designed to help the less advanced student of Greek or the non-specialist to tran ...more
Paperback, 552 pages
Published June 4th 1998 by Clarendon Press (first published -414)
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 ·  3,769 ratings  ·  111 reviews


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Ahmad Sharabiani
Όρνιθες = The Birds: a comedy, Aristophanes

Characters: Pisthetairos, Euelpides, Hoopoe

Aristophanes (Born: 445 BC, Classical Athens, Died: 385 BC, Delphi, Greece, Books: Frogs and Other Plays, Birds and Other Plays, more), son of Philippus, of the deme Kydathenaion, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوازده نوامبر سال 2011 میلادی

عنوان: پرندگان (مجموعه کمدیهای آریستوفان)؛ نویسنده آریستوفان؛ مترجم: رضا شیرمرز؛ تهران
...more
Phoenix2
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: philosophy, thinking, allegory
Shelves: classics
A classic comedy that makes you think, without being too tiring to read or too heavy on the message that it wants to get through.
Luís
When a play from the 5th century BC has themes that still speak to us, it is proof that it is successful!
A comic critique of society, laws, and ultimately living together.
Praj
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: phanes

Nephelococcygia, a metropolis in air,
Zeus' cloudy nightmare,
Unlikely a bedroom scare
From a sparrow’s wild rare.

A respite between heaven and earth,
“An avian heaven”, says Pisthetaerus,
Flirting with the nightingale’s mirth
Hoopoe consents ; what a fucking putz!

Sacred chants float over the lustral waters,
The birds join the jubilant choir,
The peacock dancing in a tutu simply backfires,
It’s not an ass-whooping Le Ballet Noir!

The pelican, the spoon-bill, the horned-owl, the teal, the stormy petrel and
...more
Paul Christensen
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I liked this - a strange and nebulous atmosphere
As two buffoon-clowns organise a biosphere,
An Avian Kingdom high up in the stratosphere.
Apparently this parodies the Sicilian sphere;
I couldn’t see that myself, but if it’s true I fear
That it proved to be prophetic in the coming year.
For the war was lost for Athens in that fateful year,
And the sharp decline of Hellas became über-clear.

Toria
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Must have gotten a good translation on this because I enjoyed and understood the play much more then I thought I would.
Jane
Masterful translation of a witty play. I'm not sure of the meaning of the play, but I can see where elements of low humor today were birthed in ancient times. I appreciated the translator's notes and glossary. They explained many obscure [to us] references--cultural and topical in Aristophanes' day. I read this to compare it with Braunfels' treatment of the story in his opera "Die Vögel" based on the same play. ...more
Frank
Dec 01, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: art-poetry, classic, drama
First attempts are often weak.
Gini
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Skip this comedy and read Lysistrata instead would be my last word for it. This one gets 2 thumbs down.
Illiterate
Aug 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Social satire meets bawdy farce. Cloudcuckooland is appropriately full of the tittle tattle of religion, politics, philosophy, poetry.
Beth
I read the George Theodoridis translation available here:
http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PI...

The only drawback to reading this version is that there are no annotations. It's a pretty accessible translation, so I understood most of it anyway, but I'd like to read an annotated version eventually, to see what I might have missed.

My favorite Aristophanes is still Lysistrata (I think I read the Lattimore translation) but this was fascinating. It's less explicitly political than Lysistrata, but
...more
Sarah
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"PEISTHETAERUS: The Air's betwixt the Earth and the Sky.
And just as we, if we go to Pytho,
Must crave a grant of passage from the Boeotia,
Even so, when men slay victims to the Gods,
Unless the Gods pay tribute, ye in turn
Will grant no passage for the savoury steam
To rise through Chaos, and a realm not theirs."

The Birds is another one of my all-time favorites from Aristophanes, ranking amongst plays such as The Clouds and The Frogs- it simply is an imaginative work of art to behold compared to the
...more
Adam Nelson
Jul 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I read William Arrowsmith's translation of this, and I enjoyed it more than I would have thought. I found myself drifting, as I often do with classical works that don't translate well into modern English, but Arrowsmith did a splendid job not only of translating it but also explaining his reasons for translating, giving very interesting insight into the process that I haven't had before. I had always thought that language translation was literal and word-for-word, requiring the translator basica ...more
Maggie
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
"The Birds" was both witty and insightful about the nature of the Athenian dream: to live through play and not pay taxes. Though comical, it changes from a story of two men looking to escape their responsibilities, to their dream of a new world and overthrowing the gods, to the two men's domination. Ironically, much of their power was gained through a matter of others shrugging and doing their very best to avoid responsibility. I found that this play was both charmingly cheeky-- at a couple poin ...more
Rob Roy
Aug 17, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: play, ancient-lit
A bird city is built between men and the gods, and thereby everyone, man and god alike are humbled.
Ivy-Mabel Fling
Sep 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Like most of Aristophanes' plays this is extremely odd - but quite amusing. I would recommend reading up on it before attempting the text! ...more
Basilius
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
Now let the Golden Age of Birds begin
by lovely marriage ushered in.


At first blush it's hard or me to recommend this play by Aristophanes; Lysistrata is a lot more enjoyable and displays the comic at his moral zenith, while The Clouds is his best satire and was influential in getting Socrates killed. I would only recommend the play under review if you're ready to chew on something a bit more...well, ambiguous. While many scholars see The Birds as fun escapism, I'm part of the crowd that views it
...more
Lia
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
This is one of those texts that could be laborious to read if you lack background knowledge about Aristophanes and his milieu. Obviously, on the surface, it's a silly comedy full of vulgar sexual innuendos and absurd dialogues. It's short enough that you could enjoy the play just based on these dirty jokes, but I don't think that would get you very far (or I just don't have a sense of humor.)

The missing star means I don't know enough to fully engage the text critically. I'm hoping to learn enou
...more
محمد عبادة
My first experience with classical Greek comedy. A colorful lesson in many elements of theater, namely the use of chorus in Aristophanes' parabasis & how to satirize your society to the extent of crushing its religious idols.. Well there was definitely sacrilege in it and it sounds thought provocative even today. Aristophanes was really post modern.. One has to contemplate how the chorus was addressing the judges of the show.. A great experience it was. ...more
Ledimir Nuñez
This was a great satirical piece. I would love to see this play performed, or recreated as an animated film of the same mold as Hercules (1997 film). A deeply philosophical read that I would encourage anyone to read because of its wide-ranging, creative translation.
Elizabeth Pyjov
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-classics, plays
If you get a good translation, The Funniest book in the world!
Batgrl (Book Data Kept Elsewhere)
The important thing to note about this review is that I'm reading the version of the Birds that's subtitled "A Modern Translation by William Arrowsmith." If you read a translation by someone else it's likely you'll have a different experience - but then, a lot of your enjoyment of Aristophanes will depend on the translator's own sense of humor.

This is a text where it's critical to read the notes - not just for explanations but to get an idea of what Aristophanes is trying to make a joke about, b
...more
Grady Ormsby
Feb 13, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Reading The Birds by Aristophanes (414 B.C.) was a joyous romp. This is not the typical fare from "The Father of Comedy." There are no politics, no satire, no social commentary, no lampooning of public mores, no derision or mockery of public officials. It’s not just a play, but an exhibition. Full of burlesque buffoonery, modern admen would call it “A Spectacle! An Extravaganza! An Epic Fantasy!” If it were produced in the 20th Century, it would have to have been produced by Busby Berkley, Flo Z ...more
Mike
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
2.5 stars. Aristophanes’ conservatism is one full display throughout this work as he rails against philosophy, mathematics, the state, poetry, and just about anyone else who doesn’t respect the old gods. This wouldn’t be so bad if the play were a little less goofy. I sometimes wonder if stuff like this would be considered classic if any other works survived on which to compare it. The only Old Comedy we have is Aristophanes, and so Aristophanes is the author of these Masterpieces. While I can ce ...more
Jeremy
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
A popular play written by Aristophanes in the 5th century BCE, The Birds is about two men who decide to become birds in order to find some solace away from Athens. They are successful by getting all of the bird kingdom to buy into their idea of creating a massive city (Cloudcuckooland) in the sky, and not letting the gods through to the humans, and not letting the humans' offerings up to the gods. The immense strength of all of the birds are a formidable force against the gods, and they offer up ...more
Patrick
My edition (in a collection translated by Benjamin Bickley Rogers) is of a similar vintage to other translations I've been reading of the Ancient Greek gang, but it's in a different category entirely. It gives rhythm and rhyme to the text, shifting tone and style as required, wringing humour out of what would otherwise be a rather dry exercise. There's only so much the translator can do, though, this play being like 80% very specific jokes/references to other stories, real people, and localities ...more
I-kai
Apr 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I read the student version, which was "shortened" to 542 pages and took me two months to finish! It was worth it. Most of her metrical analysis flew right over my head, but that's my problem, not Dunbar's. Undisputed classic of a commentary. Besides the usual stuff one expects from a commentary, this one stands out with intelligible explanations of variant readings and criteria for her choices, and the occasionally sharp observations of Aristophanic choice of words and particles for effect. High ...more
Mont
Jul 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
This comedy ridicules the disastrous Greek expedition to Sicily in 413 BC. More generally, The Birds is a rollicking commentary on man's eternal dissatisfaction with his lot; his habit of ignoring the divinities which shape his ends; is crowded, evil-breading cities; and his tendency to disturb the equilibrium of the universe, Pisthetaerus, with his irresistible rhetoric, is a forebear of the men who sell salvation or the world's goods with equal glibness and ease. ...more
Whiskey
This comedy ridicules the disastrous Greek expedition to Sicily in 413 BC. More generally, The Birds is a rollicking commentary on man's eternal dissatisfaction with his lot; his habit of ignoring the divinities which shape his ends; is crowded, evil-breading cities; and his tendency to disturb the equilibrium of the universe, Pisthetaerus, with his irresistible rhetoric, is a forebear of the men who sell salvation or the world's goods with equal glibness and ease.
...more
Phebe
Oct 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A skillful translation of a hilarious play-- the translator was quite successful in carrying over the humour, puns especially (which are notoriously difficult to relay between languages, but abound with a clarity that's not cheap so much as accessible, here).

I've performed this translation twice now, and recommend it for complete or partial performances, fully staged or stripped down to plain audio.
...more
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Aristophanes (Greek: Αριστοφάνης; c. 446 BCE – c. 386 BCE) was a playwright of ancient Athens.

About 11 of his works are known in full, and they are the only plays of the "Old Comedy" style to have survived. They are The Acharnians, The Birds, The Clouds, The Ecclesiazusae, The Frogs, The Knights, Peace, Plutus (Wealth), The Thesmophoriazusae, and The Wasps. These plays have been translated into m
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