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παρῳδία). Parody, burlesque. Parody among the Greeks is ascribed by Aristotle to Hegemon of Thasos (Poët. ii. 5; Athen. 698 B), who flourished at the time of the Peloponnesian War, and is frequently cited by Athenaeus, who mentions his nickname of Φακῆ or “Lentil.” His parodies are based upon the Greek epics which be burlesqued. Mention is especially made of his parody of the Gigantomachia. (See Athen. i. p. 5; iii. p. 108; ix. pp. 406-407; and Meineke, Hist. Crit. Com. Graec. pp. 214-215.) Another Greek, Matron of Pitana, wrote burlesques of Homer, from one of which Athenaeus has preserved a long fragment which parodies the beginning of the Odyssey. He flourished in the fourth century B.C. (See Athen. iv. pp. 134-137; Eustath. ad Hom. pp. 1067, 1571, etc., and the monograph by Moser, Ueber Matron den Parodiker in Daub and Kreuzer's Studien, vi. pp. 293 foll.). Matron gave a gastronomical turn to his fun, as the first line of the passage mentioned above plainly shows:
Δει_πνα μοι ἔννεπε, Μου_σα, πολύτροφα καὶ μάλα πολλά.

In this he was followed by Archestratus of Gela, whose Ἡδυπάθεια was afterwards translated into Latin by Ennius. Another famous Homeric parody is the Batrachomyomachia or “Battle of the Frogs and Mice,” commonly ascribed to Pigres. See Batrachomyomachia; Homerus.

The philosophical writers were parodied first by Timon of Phlius, a skeptic of the school of Pyrrho (about B.C. 280), who was a writer of very great ability. His parodies were known as Silli (Σίλλοι), a word of uncertain derivation, and were in three books, partly in dialogue, and written in hexameters in the epic style. They ridiculed the dogmatic philosophers, but also parodied the Homeric language, as in the following line in imitation of Iliad, ii. 484:
Ἔσπετε νυ_ν μοι ὅσοι πολυπράγμονές ἐστε σοφισταί.

Some have ascribed the Silli to Xenophanes of Colophon as the originator whom Timon introduces in his dialogue, but of this there is no definite proof. These compositions by Timon were regarded by the Greeks as so important that commentaries were afterwards written on him, notably by Apollonides of Nicaea; and were imitated by various writers, such as Sotades, Blaesus, Salerias, and Sopater of Paphos. See Diog. Laert. ix. ch. 12; Brunck, Analecta, ii. pp. 67 foll.; Langenreich, Dissertationes Tres de Timone Sillographo (Leipzig, 1720-21); Wölcke, De Graecorum Sillis (Berlin, 1820); and F. Paul, De Sillis (Berlin, 1821).

Burlesques of the dramatic writers were apparently first written by Rhinthon (q.v.) of Tarentum (or Syracuse), whose thirty-eight dramas parodied the classic tragedy and gave rise to the so-called ἱλαροτραγῳδία, which became very popular among the Greeks of Southern Italy. Rhinthon belongs to the Ptolemaic period, and therefore lies beyond the domain of classic Greek literature; but the comedies of Aristophanes contain many scenes that are evidently written in mockery of the tragedians and that contain many touches of subtle banter.

Among the Romans parody was early written, the most complete specimen that we have being the Amphitruo of Plautus, which is the only remaining model that we have of the Rhinthonic play. The burlesque epic is well represented in the pseudo-Vergilian Culex(q. v.). Bucolic poetry was ridiculed in the Antibucolica of one Numitorius, who in them poked fun at Vergil's Eclogues (ad Ecl. vi. 43). A line or two of these have been preserved—e. g. the following in ridicule of Ecl. i. 1:
Tityre si toga calda tibi, quo tegmine fagi?

Parody flourished most, however, in the period of the decline. The first satire of Persius parodies a number of lines from the popular poetry of the day; and Juvenal occasionally amuses himself by burlesquing a Vergilian line, as in i. 25, which recalls Verg. Ecl. i. 28; and he often falls into the mock-heroic vein, as did Horace at times. (Cf. Hor. Sat. i. 5, 9-10; 53; Juv.iv. 58.) Petronius burlesqued the improvvisatori. Legal forms are ridiculed in the Testamentum Porcelli (“Last Will and Testament of a Little Pig”); and in the Lex Tappula of the strange humorist Valerius Valentinus. See Fest. 363; Bücheler, Bonner Ind. Lect. (1877); Ribbeck, Römische Dichter, i. 232.

In modern times burlesques of classical subjects were made popular by Scarron in his Virgile Travestié, which was the first of a number of such works, most of them, however, being very dreary.

See Moser in Heidelb. Studien, vi. 2, pp. 267 foll., and Delapierre, La Parodie chez les Grecs, les Romains, et les Modernes (London, 1871).

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    • Vergil, Eclogues, 1
    • Horace, Satires, 1.5
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