During the second half of the fifth century BC, oratory was an essential skill for a successful politician. This art of persuasive speaking was one of several subjects which sophists, lesser philosophers (with whom Socrates was often identified), offered at a price. Aristophanes' Clouds, performed in its original version in 423 BC, is a witty and merciless satire at the expense of Socrates, which ridicules features ascribed by the man in the street to Socrates and sophistic teaching. Dover's standard edition of the Clouds is now made available in paperback. In punctuating the text and writing the commentary, he has endeavoured to act as a modern 'producer' of the play, in order to bring across the full effect of the drama to the reader. The full introduction, which covers all aspects of Aristophanes' play, from the playwright himself to the manuscript tradition of the text, is followed by Dover's text and apparatus criticus. This is supplemented by a detailed and lively commentary, addenda, and indexes.
'a work of unusual excellence and an indispensable tool for all who are interested in understanding Aristophanes' Hermathena 'a splendid book, easily the best edition of a play of Aristophanes yet to appear in this country' Classical Review 'at last we have a major edition and a splendid commentary remarkable both for its learning and its conciseness' American Journal of Philology