CLEONICE But how should women perform so wise and glorious an achievement, we women who dwell in the retirement of the household, clad in diaphanous garments of yellow silk and long flowing gowns,decked out with flowers and shod with dainty little slippers?
LYSISTRATA Ah, but those are the very sheet-anchors of our salvation-those yellow tunics, those scents and slippers, those cosmetics and transparent robes. Aristophanes

Aristophanes' anti-war comedy Lysistrata, written in 411 BC, has female characters, led by the eponymous Lysistrata, barricading the public funds building and withholding consensual sex from their husbands to secure peace and end the Peloponnesian War.

The play remains popular, and for instance was produced in the National Theatre's 1992/3 season transferring successfully from the South Bank to Wyndham's Theatre.

The play was adapted into a film in 1976 by Ludo Mich, in which all the actors and actresses were naked throughout.

In reaction to the Iraq disarmament crisis, this play was the focus of a peace protest initative called The Lysistrata Project in which public readings of the play were held on March 3, 2003.


Excerpts from Lysistrata with illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley

Aristophanes, Lysistrata & Other Plays: The Acharnians, the Clouds, Lysistrata , Alan H. Sommerstein (Penguin Classics)

Aristophanes, Lysistrata (Modern Greek Text, PDF)

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