A scholiast's note on Lysistrata mentions that there was an alternative title to the play: Adôôniazousai. A close reading of the play with this title in mind reveals that Lysistrata and her allies metaphorically hold an Adonis festival atop the Acropolis. The Adonia, a festival that is typically regarded as ““marginal”” and ““private”” by modern scholars, thus becomes symbolically central and public as the sex-strike held by the women halts the Peloponnesian war. The public space of the Acropolis becomes, notionally, a private rooftop, and Adonia-like activity proliferates; boars, myrrh, Aphrodite, ““gardens of Adonis,”” and lamentation all play important roles. The notion that the women of Lysistrata hold an unexpected Adonis festival on the Acropolis, at the very heart of the Athenian polis, provides a more nuanced reading of the play and forces us to rethink the place of the Adonia at Athens as well as, more generally, the distinction between public and private festivals.
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