The Birds


The Birds, by Aristophanes - click to see full size image

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The Birds is an ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes, first performed in 414 BC in Athen. It tells the story of Pisthetaerus and his friend Euelpides, who convince the birds that they should re-take their rightful places as gods. The friends urge them to build a city in the sky (Nephelokokkygia, literally 'cloud cuckoo land'), as this would enable them to not only have power over humans, but it would also mean they could blockade any Olympian gods. This was a reference to the island of Melos, which had been recently starved into submission after rebelling against Athenian control. Once they have managed to persuade the birds that this is a good idea, Pisthetaerus and Euelpides eat a magical root that will transform them into birds too - the plan here being that Pisthetaerus will eventually usurp Zeus and become god over everything.

Part of Anne Haight's List of Banned Books.

Part of the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World set.

This book has 21,144 words, and 60 pages in the PDF version. This translation was first published in 1912 by the London Athenian Society.

Production notes: This ebook of The Birds was published by Global Grey on the 22nd July 2021. The artwork used for the cover is from the book 'Natural History of the Birds of Central Europe' by G. Berg.

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