Megan Bowler

My research aims to explore the way that Greek Comedy engages with contemporary ideas about etymology during the 5th and early 4th centuries BC. I became interested in this topic after working on Epicharmus’ innovative use of etymologies, and the language of Athenian Old and Middle Comedy, during my BA and MSt.

By analysing relevant types of wordplay and referentiality in the work of Aristophanes and more fragmentary comic material from Athens and Sicily, I hope to contribute further to the understanding of etymological thought in the context of Greek literature. Comedy provides an intriguing case study for questions about perceptions of and possible functions of etymology during this time period, which pre-dates more scientific theorisation about the origins of words. This line of research will also offer further insights into Comedy’s multifaceted interactions with other genres and fields, such as Philosophy, Tragedy, rhetoric, and early scholarly discourse.

I am also interested more broadly in philosophy in ancient literature (including political theory in Comedy), and in the educational value of Classics and language-learning.