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Spoudaiogeloion (Greek: σπουδαιογέλοιον) denotes the mixture of serious and comical elements stylistically.[1] The word comes from the Greek σπουδαῖον spoudaion, "serious", and γελοῖον geloion, "comical".[2]

The concept of the word, but not the word itself, first appears in Aristophanes's The Frogs (405 BC) lines 389–393, in a scene where the Chorus, who are devoted to Demeter, pray for victory: καὶ πολλὰ μὲν γελοῖά μ’ εἰπεῖν, πολλὰ δὲ σπουδαῖα, καὶ τἡς σἡς ὲορτἡς ὰείως παίσαντα και σκώψαντα νικήσαντα ταινιούσθαι. (Allow me to say many things in jest and many things in seriousness, and, having sported and lampooned in a manner worthy of your feast, let me, victorious, win the victor's wreath.)[3] The word was first coined in the Old Comedy period.[4]

Spoudaiogeloion was often used in satirical poems or folktales, which were funny, but had a serious, often ethical, theme.[5] The serio-comic style became a rhetorical mainstay of the Cynics. The Romans gave it its own genre in the form of satire, contributed to most notably by the poets Horace and Juvenal.[1][2] It was the most common tone of the works made by Menippus and Meleager of Gadara.[6]



  1. ^ a b Amir 2013, p. 11.
  2. ^ a b c Ferriss-Hill 2015, p. 15.
  3. ^ Freudenburg 2014, p. 81.
  4. ^ Ferriss-Hill 2015, p. 22.
  5. ^ Fain 2010, p. 73.
  6. ^ Fain 2010, p. 201.


  • Amir, Lydia B. (2013). "Kierkegaard and the Traditions of the Comic in Philosophy". Kierkegaard Studies Yearbook. 2013 (1). doi:10.1515/kier.2013.2013.1.377. S2CID 171327208. Retrieved 28 January 2018.
  • Fain, Gordon L. (2010). Ancient Greek Epigrams: Major Poets in Verse Translation. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 9780520265790.
  • Ferriss-Hill, Jennifer L. (2015). Roman Satire and the Old Comic Tradition. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781316240786.
  • Freudenburg, Kirk (2014). The Walking Muse: Horace on the Theory of Satire. Princeton University Press. ISBN 9781400852932.