Menander (Greek Μένανδρος, Latinized Menander; * 342/341 BC in Kephisia; † 291/290 BC) was a Greek comic poet.


Menander grew up as the son of Diopeithes up in a wealthy home. He was at the school of philosophy founded by Aristotle the Peripatetic school pupils of Theophrastus and served together with Epicurus as Éphèbe in Athens. He probably died in a swimming accident and was buried on the way between Piraeus and Athens.

Work and significance

Menander wrote according to different products 105 to 109 comedies, known are the titles of 96 pieces. Until the 19th century there were only scanty fragments and adaptations. But after the discovery of papyri 1905-1907 and in 1959, 18 plants, for example, the arbitration court, and Samierin The sign of them only are known. The work Dyskolos ( German Translation: The old curmudgeon, The Misanthrope ) was even almost completely rediscovered. In 2003 they found a manuscript from the 9th century it in the Bibliotheca Bodmeriana in Cologny in Geneva, next to 200 verses of a hitherto unknown work.

In Menander ' comedies of the chorus plays, unlike, for example, in Aristophanes, only a background role. It only occurs with musical performances between the acts. Menander ' comedies are apolitical, their subject are the little foibles of the bourgeoisie of his city, the plot always ends in a happy ending.

In various ancient mosaics and wall paintings in Pompeii, Mytilene and Antioch scenes from Menander ' plays are presented.

Menander is often referred to as one of the most important poets of the New Comedy. His work influenced Plautus and Terence, the comedies of Menander adapted, and later Ovid. It is assumed that Menander has indirectly influenced modern playwrights such as Molière and Carlo Goldoni, communicated through works of Plautus and Terence.


  • Aspis ( The Shield )
  • Dyskolos ( The Difficult / The Grouch / The Misanthrope )
  • Epitrepontes ( The arbitration )
  • Perikeiromene ( The Sheared )
  • Samia ( The girl from Samos)
  • Sikyonios ( The man from Sicyon )
  • Andria
  • Dis Exapaton
  • Encheiridion
  • Georgos ( The Farmer )
  • Heros ( The demigod )
  • Hypobolimaios
  • Iereia ( The Priest )
  • Kolax (the flatterer )
  • Leukadia
  • Misumenos ( The man she hated )
  • Phasma ( The Ghost )
  • Plokion
  • Philadelphoi
  • Pseudherakles
  • Synaristosai ( women at lunch )
  • Thais
  • Theophoroumene
  • Trophonios


  • Reinhard Buchenwald, Hans Klein piece (including epilogue ), Siegfried Müller ( eds. ): Greco- Roman comedies. Menander, Herodas, Plautus, Terence. Series: Seal of Antiquity (8). Translator: Alfred Korte, Louis Gurlitt, Ernst Lehmann, Johannes autumn. Standard, Hamburg 1958; again Vollmer, Wiesbaden, about 1970.
  • Pieces. Translation, afterword and notes by Kurt and Ursula litter. Loeb Classical Library, RUB 626 Reclam, Leipzig 1975.
  • Aristophanes and Menander: Greek comedies. Edited and Introduction Eberhard Rechenberg. Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Leipzig 1966.