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Journal Article

Meton's Star-City: Geometry and Utopia in Aristophanes' Birds

Matthew Amati
The Classical Journal
Vol. 105, No. 3 (February-March 2010), pp. 213-227
DOI: 10.5184/classicalj.105.3.213
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Page Count: 15

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Topics: Geometric centers, Circles, Astronomy, Utopianism, Geometry, Cities, Jokes, Mathematics, City states, Selenology
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Meton's Star-City: Geometry and Utopia in Aristophanes' Birds
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Abstract The geometrical ideas parodied in Meton's speech are not exclusive to his scene but are addressed at various points throughout the play. Meton plans a “starcity” whose chief features—streets, lots, agora and star-shape—represent everything a comic hero despises. His intellectually-derived Nephelococcygia is democratic, allows ownership of property, and lets in all comers. He is a threat to the anti-civic tyrant Peisetairos and must be driven off.

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