Menander is the most popular and influential playwright of Greek New Comedy, a comedy of characters that flourished in Athens in the 4th century BCE and revolves around everyday family situations. This type of comedy was taken over by Roman dramatists such as Plautus and Terence, and so Menander may be ultimately considered the founding father of European comedy.

Menander was born into a wealthy and socially prominent family of Athens in ca. 342/341 BCE. His father Diopeithes was from Kephisia, a large deme located north-west of the center of Athens, and is recorded as a public arbitrator in the year 325/324 BCE. Menander’s mother was named Hegestrate, and this is all we know about her. Menander had an education suitable to his family’s social standing: he was a pupil of Theophrastus,

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Citation: Nervegna, Sebastiana. "Menander". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 30 April 2008 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=3078, accessed 12 June 2024.]

3078 Menander 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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