The paper examines the surviving references to the setting of the rapes in New Comedy. It argues that the fact that rapes are commonly set in the course of nocturnal festival activities should not be seen merely as a convenient plot device. By using Menander's Epitrepontes as a case study, the paper suggests that there is a close relationship between the character of the festivals where rapes are set and a major theme in the plays themselves: namely, the maturation of the young protagonists and their transition into adulthood. The paper also offers a reassessment of the evidence we have for the Tauropolia—the Attic festival where the rape is set in the Epitrepontes.

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