Antiphanes (Ancient Greek: Ἀντιφάνης; c. 408 to 334 BCE) is regarded[by whom?] as the most important writer of the Middle Attic comedy with the exception of Alexis.[1]

He was apparently a foreigner (perhaps from Cius on the Propontis, Smyrna or Rhodes[2]) and, by some accounts, was the child of slaves.[3] He settled in Athens, where he began to write about 387. He was extremely prolific: more than 200 of the 365 (or 260) comedies attributed to him are known from the titles and considerable fragments preserved in Athenaeus.[1] His plays chiefly deal with matters connected to mythological subjects, although others referenced particular professional and national persons or characters, while other plays focused on the intrigues of personal life. The Suda claims he died at the age of seventy-four after being struck by a pear.[3] About 130 titles of his plays are known.[4]

Stephanus, an Athenian comic poet of the New Comedy, is said to have exhibited some of the plays of Antiphanes and was probably his son. One quotation by Athenaeus is the only surviving fragment of the works of Stephanus.[5]

Surviving titles and fragments


  1. ^ a b  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antiphanes". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 133. This cites:
    • Koch, Comicorum Atticorum Fragmenta, ii. (1884) (fragments)
    • Clinton, Philological Museum, i. (1832)
    • Meineke, Historia Critica Comicorum Graecorum (1839)
  2. ^ Manual of Greek Literature: From the Earliest Authentic Periods to the Close of Byzantine Era Page 221 by Charles Anthon (1853)
  3. ^ a b Suda α 2745
  4. ^ Smith, Sir William, ed. (1849). "Antiphanes, a comic poet". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. I. Boston: Little & Brown. p. 204.
  5. ^ Smith, Sir William, ed. (1859). "STEPHANUS, literary". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. III. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. p. 904.