From the fifth to the second century BC, innovative comedy drama flourished in Greece and Rome. This collection brings together the greatest works of Classical comedy, with two early Greek plays: Aristophanes' bold, imaginative "Birds", and Menander's "The Girl from Samos", which explores popular contemporary themes of mistaken identity and sexual misbehaviour; and two later Roman comic plays: Plautus' "The Brothers Menaechmus" - the original comedy of errors - and Terence's bawdy yet sophisticated double love-plot, "The Eunuch". Together, these four plays demonstrate the development of Classical comedy, celebrating its richness, variety and extraordinary legacy to modern drama.
Little is known about Aristophanes' life (c. 445BC-c.386BC), but there is a portrait of him in Plato's Symposium. His first comedy was produced when he was 20 and he wrote 40 plays in the course of his life. Erich Segal has taught Classics at Harvard, Yale and Princeton and is currently an Honorary Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford. He has published widely on Greek and Roman Comedy, his latest book, The Death of Comedy, was published in 2001. He is also the author of nine best-selling novels.