The Ecclesiazusae (aka Assemblywomen) is a comedy play written by Aristophanes, one of the great Greek comic playwrights. Written sometime between 393 and 391 BCE, it is, along with his play Wealth, one of only two he wrote after the Athenian defeat in the Peloponnesian War. In 403 BCE a new democratic government was reestablished in Athens; however, continued conflicts with Sparta had drawn heavily on both the finances of the city and its manpower. The future of the city remained in question. In the Ecclesiazusae Aristophanes proposed a unique solution: turn the running of the government over to the women of the city. As in his play Lysistrata, the central character of the play is a strong-willed woman - Praxagora. Together with other wives, who are disguised as men, she presents her ideas at the Assembly of Athens and convinces the men to relinquish control of the government. As the newly appointed commander, Praxagora quickly enacts a series of radical changes: community property, communal dwellings and meals, and no brothels. Reluctantly, many of the men quickly adapt to the new order of things. Of course, the possibility that women might rule in a city where they could not normally even vote and Aristophanes' use of that notion for comedy is indicative of just how male-dominated the society of ancient Athens was.

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