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Menander ’Perikeiromene’ or ’The Shorn Head’

Menander set Perikeiromene, or the ‘Woman with shorn head’ in Corinth, famous for its beautiful women, at a time when the city’s troubles were at their height owing to the Macedonian conquest of Greece. The story reflects in miniature some of the turbulence of the times. A mercenary soldier Polemon returns home from service to discover, as he thinks, that his girl, Glykera, has found another lover. In a fit of jealous rage he shears off her hair and goes off to drown his sorrows with companions. Glykera promptly moves out from Polemon’s house to the neighbour’s house, in which her purported new lover Moschion lives. But all is not as it seems... Typically for the genre of New Comedy, Menander takes his characters to the brink in this lively drama before the recognitions which set everything straight. Discoveries of fragmented manuscripts of this play in the twentieth century have more or less brought it back to life.

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