Lysimache and lysistrata
Journal of Hellenic Studies
© It has long been suspected that the eponymous heroine of Aristophanes' Lysistrata was intended to evoke the historical Lysimache, priestess of Athena Polias at the time of the play's first production. But the reasons for this (partial) identification have been relatively little discussed. This paper argues that the Lysistrata engages more closely than has traditionally been assumed with urgent political issues at Athens in late 412 and early 411 BC, in particular with the decision in summer 412 BC to broach the 'Iron Reserve' of 1,000 talents set aside at the beginning of the Peloponnesian War (Thuc. 8.15.1). A possible intervention of the historical Lysimache in the controversy over the appropriate use of the 'Iron Reserve' would help account for various otherwise surprising features of the Lysistrata.