A comedy by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. It is Older Than Feudalism, having first been performed in 411 BC, and (as such) is one of the oldest scripts still in use today.The play takes place during The Peloponnesian War, when Athens and Sparta were embroiled in a hard, sweaty, nasty conflict. Lysistrata, an Athenian woman who is sick of all this war nonsense, manages to convince a large group of women from several city-states (including Sparta) to come together for a meeting, wherein she proposes a dramatic tactic: they (the women) should swear a vow to bring about the end of the war by refusing to have sex with their men until there is peace. As a more practical measure they seize hold of the root of the war effort: the Acropolis, which contains Athens' treasury. The menfolk laugh at the absurdity of this idea: in Ancient Greece, All Women Are Lustful, and indeed Lysistrata and her friend Calonice must constantly prevent their co-conspirators from sneaking out to, shall we say, engage enemy forces. With the women's resolve shown to be firm and upstanding, the menfolk, their ability to make war now wilted and slumping, and tormented by enormous, err, burdens, agree to work out a peace treaty. Celebration ensues.And if you think that the previous summary was full of hot and steamy innuendo, you should be aware that the play itself is a hell of a lot raunchier. We're not joking about the burdens: the costumes for male characters include a Gag Penis. Oh, and, the vow sworn by the women includes very explicit detail of what they are forswearing, such as agreeing not to "crouch like the lioness on the cheese grater" (No, we don't know what that means either. It's been lost to the mists of time. All we have from the historical record is a menu from a Greek brothel, on which this position is the most expensive act you can purchase from a prostitute. Imaginations, start your engines).This is the Trope Namer for the Lysistrata Gambit, a more X-rated version of Exiled to the Couch. And, if it's performed by a cast with enough balls to do it justice, it is still side-splittingly funny today.Because translations often reflect the spirit of their own era, some of them include rather bizarre euphemisms and dated-sounding dialogue.
Lysistrata by Aristophanes provides examples of: