Autor:Emiliano J. Buis
It gives me great pleasure to introduce to the reader this book by Emiliano Buis,
based on his University of Buenos Aires doctoral thesis, for which I was his joint su-
perv is or.
Buis’s topic – the ways in which Aristophanes in his comedies thematically ex-
ploits aspects of Athenian law and legal procedure – is a surprisingly neglected one:
it was not covered at all in D.L. Cairns and R.A. Knox ed. Law, Rhetoric and Com-
edy in Classical Athens (Swansea, 2004), while the chapter devoted to the topic in
E.M. Harris, D.F. Leão and P. J. Rhodes eds. (London, 2010) deals only with one play,
and does so more from a legal scholar’s than from a literary/dramatic analyst’s point
of view. What Buis has done is therefore an achievement of considerable originality
and a signicant contribution both to studies of Athenian comedy and to studies of
Athenian law, comparable to what was achieved by Adele Scafuro, e Forensic Stage
(Cambridge, 1997) in relation to the comedy of Menander, his contemporaries and
their Roman successors.
Buis consistently demonstrates an outstanding mastery of the relevant ancient
texts and an up–to–date knowledge of the very extensive scholarly literature on all
aspects of his subject, and indeed beyond it; I am happy to admit that he has un-
earthed a good many articles in my own speciality which were not previously known
to me. But he has not allowed this knowledge of the secondary literature to blur what
Sir Kenneth Dover once called “the distinction between exegesis and doxography”.
Indeed his book is notable for its sensitivity to subtleties of dramatic and imagistic
structure, many of them not previously noticed. ere are few whose understanding
of Aristophanes it will not materially enhance, and I am sure it will nd a wide and
appreciative readership.
Alan H. Sommerstein
University of Nottingham

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