April 30, 2003

Classical Riddle

If I'm not mistaken, there are exactly four surviving ancient dramas that entirely lack female characters: one Greek tragedy, one Greek comedy, one Roman comedy, and one Roman tragedy. Without peeking, which are they?

I had to peek for Aristophanes, but not the others, so I may be wrong. Am I right in thinking there are only four? And am I right in also thinking that there are no ancient dramas without male characters?

Answers may be placed in the comments. There is no prize for the victor except the honor and respect of everyone who reads this weblog.

Note: Perhaps I should add that I'm only counting the 80 plays that have come down to us more or less complete, those attributed (in some cases wrongly) to Aeschylus (7), Sophocles (7), Euripides (19), Aristophanes (11), Plautus (20), Terence (6), and Seneca (10). Also, as far as I'm concerned, goddesses and talking female animals count as female characters, while inanimate objects, even if they have speaking roles, and non-talking animals that happen to be female do not. If you count inanimate objects, then I believe there are only three plays.

Posted by Michael Hendry at April 30, 2003 09:53 PM
Greek tragedy: Philoctetes. Greek comedy: Knights -- even the standard sex-object/reward/eye-candy at the end is a boy Roman comedy: Captivi Roman tragedy: Heracles Oetaeus I'm not sure of the Roman ones, though. Posted by: Anne Mahoney at May 1, 2003 09:14 AM