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CHORUS 100.00%
the word choros in Greek meant a number of persons who performed songs and dances at religious festivals. When. the drama at Athens was developed from the dithyrambic choruses, the chorus was retained as the chief element in the Dionysiac festival. (See TRAGEDY.) With the old dramatists the choral songs and dances much preponderated over the action proper. As the form of the drama developed, the sphere of the chorus was gradually limited, so that it took the comparatively subordinate position which it occupies in the extant tragedies and comedies. The function of the chorus represented by its leader was to act as an ideal public, more or less connected with the dramatis personae. It might consist of old men and women or of maidens. It took an interest in the occurrences of the drama, watched the action with quiet sympathy, and sometimes interfered, if not to act, at least to advise, comfort, exhort, or give warning. At the critical points of the action, as we should say in the entr'actes, it performed long lyrical pieces with suitable action of dance and gesture. In the better times of the drama these songs stood in close connexion with the action; but even in Euripides this connexion is sometimes loose, and with the later tragedians, after the time of Agathon, the choral performance sank to a mere intermezzo. The style of the chorus was distinguished from that of the dialogue partly by its complex lyrical form, partly by its language, in which it adopted a mixture of Attic and Doric forms. The proper place of the chorus was on the orchestra, on different parts of which, after a solemn march, it remained until the end of the piece drawn up, while standing, in a square. During the action it seldom left the orchestra to re-appear, and it was quite exceptional for it to appear on the stage. As the performance went on the chorus would change its place on the orchestra; as the piece required it would divide into semi-choruses and perform a variety of artistic movements and dances. The name of Emmeleia was given to the tragic dance, which, though not lacking animation, had a solemn and measured character. The comedy had its burlesque and often indecent performance called Cordax; the satyric drama its Sicinnis, representing the wanton movements of satyrs. The songs of the choruses, too, had their special names. The first ode performed by the entire body was called parodos; the pieces intervening between the parts of the play, stasima; the songs of mourning, in which the chorus took part with the actors, commoi. The number of the members (choreutai) was, in tragedies, originally twelve, and after Sophocles fifteen. This was probably the number allowed in the satyric drama; the chorus in the Old Comedy numbered twenty-four. The business of getting the members of the chorus together, paying them, maintaining them during the time of practice, and generally equipping them for performance, was regarded as a Liturgia, or public service, and devolved on a wealthy private citizen called a Choregus, to whom it was a matter of considerable trouble and expense. We know from individual instances that the cost of tragic chorus might run up to 30 minae (about £100), of a comic chorus to 16 minae (about £53). If victorious, the Choregus received a crown and a finely wrought tripod. This he either dedicated, with an inscription, to some deity as a memorial of his triumph, or set up on a marble structure built for the purpose in the form of a temple, in a street named the Street of Tripods, from the number of them monuments which were erected there. One of these memorials, put up by a certain Lysicrates in 335 B.C., still remains. (See LYSICRATES.) After the Peloponnesian war the prosperity of Athens declined so much that it was often difficult to find a sufficient number of choregi to supply the festivals. The State therefore had to take the business upon itself. But many choruses came to an end altogether. This was the case with the comic chorus in the later years of Aristophanes; and the poets of the Middle and New Comedy accordingly dropped the chorus. This explains the fact that there is no chorus in the Roman comedy, which is an imitation of the New Comedy of the Greeks. In their tragedies, however, imitated from Greek originals, the Romans retained the chorus, which, as the Roman theatre had no orchestra, was placed on the stage, and as a rule performed between the acts, but sometimes during the performance as well.
 
EMMELEIA 78.67%
The serious and majestic dance of the chorus in the Greek Tragedy.
 
SICINNIS 78.35%
The wild choral dance of the Greek satyric drama (q.v.>). See also CHORUS.
 
EPINIKION 77.31%
A prize hymn sung by the chorus in honour of the victors at the great national games.
 
TRAGEDY 76.12%
Tragedy in GREECE originated in the lyric dithyramb; i.e. in the song of a chorus at the rites held in honour of Dionysus. This song, in accordance with the cult of the god, expressed at one time exuberant joy, at another deep sorrow. The cult of Dionysus is also indicated by the very name of tragedy, signifying goat-song; i.e. (according to the usual explanation) the hymn sung by the chorus in their dance round the altar at the sacrifice of the goat, which was dedicated to Dionysus. Others derive the name from the fact that, to represent Satyrs, the chorus were clad in goat-skins, and hence resembled goats. These choral songs seem to have received a certain dramatic form as early as the time of Arion, to whom the dithyramb owes its artistic development. The true drama, including tragic and satyric plays, was evolved subsequently in Athens. Tradition ascribes the origin of tragedy to a contemporary of Solon named Thespis, of Icaria, which was a chief seat of the cult of Dionysus. The date assigned to this is 540 B.C. Thespis was at the same time poet, leader of the chorus, and actor. According to the testimony of the ancients, his pieces consisted of a prologue, a series of choral songs, standing in close connexion with the action, and dramatic recitations introduced between the choruses. These recitations were delivered by the leader of the chorus, and were partly in the form of monologues, partly in that of short dialogues with the chorus, whereby the action of the play was advanced. The reciter was enabled to appear in different roles by the aid of linen or wooden masks. These also are said to have been contrived by the poet himself. The invention of Thespis, whose own pieces soon lapsed into oblivion, won the favour of Pisistratus and the approval of the Athenian public. Tragedy thus became a substantial element in the Attic festival of Dionysus. Thespis' immediate followers were Choerilus, Pratinas (the inventor of the satyric drama), his son Aristias, and Phrynichus. Phrynichus especially did good service towards the development of tragedy by introducing an actor apart from the leader of the chorus, and so preparing the way for true dialogue. He further improved the chorus, which still, however, occupied a disproportionate space in comparison with the action of the play. Tragedy was really brought into being by Aeschylus, when he added a second actor (called the deuteragonistes) to the first, or protagonistes, and in this way rendered dialogue possible. He further subordinated the choruses to the dialogue. Sophocles, in whom tragedy reaches its culminating point, added to Aeschylus' two actors a third, or tritagonistes; and Aeschylus accepted the innovation in his later plays. Thenceforward three actors were regularly granted by lot to each poet, at the public expense. Only rarely, and in exceptional cases, was a fourth employed. Sophocles also raised the number of the chorus from twelve to fifteen. The only other important innovation due to him was, that he gave up the internal connexion, preserved by Aeschylus, among the several plays of a tetralogy which were presented in competition by the tragic poets at the festival of Dionysus. (See TETRALOGIA.) The third great master of tragedy is Euripides, in whom, however, we already observe a decline in many respects from the severe standard of his predecessor. During and after the age of these masters of the art, from whom alone have complete dramas come down to us, many other tragic poets were actively employed, whose works are known to us by name alone, or are only preserved in fragments. It is remarkable that, in the case of the great tragic writers, the cultivation of the Muse of tragedy seems to have been hereditary among their descendants, and among those of Aeschylus in particular, for many generations. His son Euphorion, his nephew Philocles, his grand-nephews Morsimus and Melanthius, his grandson Astydamas, and his great-grandsons Astydamas and Philocles, were poets of more or less note. In the family of Sophocles may be mentioned his son Iophon and his grandson Sophocles; and in that of Euripides, his son or nephew of the same name. Among the tragic poets of the 3rd century, Ion, Achaeus, Aristarchus, and Neophron were accounted the most eminent, Agathon may also be included as the first who ventured to treat a subject of his own invention, whereas hitherto mythical history, especially that of Homer and the cyclic poets, or; in rare instances, authentic history, had furnished the materials of the play. After the Peloponnesian War tragedy shared the general and ever-increasing decline of political and religious vitality. In the 4th century, besides the descendants of Aeschylus, we must mention Theodectes, Aphareus, and Chaeremon, who partly wrote for readers only. The number of tragedies produced at Athens is marvellous. According to the not altogether trustworthy records of the number of plays written by each poet, they amounted to 1,400. The works of the foremost poets were represented over and over again, especially in the theatres of Asia Minor, under the successors of Alexander. During the first half of the 3rd century Ptolemy Philadelphus built a great theatre in Alexandria, where he established competitions in exact imitation of those at Athens. This gave a new impetus to tragic poetry, and seven poets became conspicuous, who were known as the Alexandrine Pleias, Alexander Aetolus, Philiscus (see cut), Sositheus, Homerus, Aeantides, Sosiphanes, and Lycophron. The taste of the Alexandrine critics deemed them worthy to occupy a place beside the five great tragic poets of Athens, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Ion, and Achaeus. Inasmuch as tragedy developed itself out of the chorus at the Dionysiac festivals, so, in spite of all the limitations which were introduced as a result of the evolution of the true drama, the chorus itself was always retained. Hence Greek tragedy consisted of two elements: the one truly dramatic, the prevailing metre of which was the iambic trimeter; the other consisting of song and dance (see CHORUS) in the numerous varieties of Dorian lyric poetry. The dramatic portion was generally made up of the following parts: the proloyos, from the beginning to the first entry of the chorus; the epeisodion, the division between each choral song and the next; and the exodos, or concluding portion which followed the last chorus. The first important choral part was called the parodos; and the song following an epeisodion, a stasimon. There were further songs of lamentation by the chorus and actors together, which were called kommoi. A solo was sometimes sung by the actor alone; this became especially common in the later tragedies.
 
PARABASIS 75.94%
A characteristic, but not indispensable, part of the chorus in the Old Attic comedy. About the middle of the piece, when the action of the play had been developed up to a certain point, the chorus, which had up to this time turned towards the actors on the stage, now turned to the audience. This stepping forward towards the audience is itself also termed parabasis. In this position they made an appeal to the public on behalf of the poet, who could thus give expression to his personal views and wishes, and offer advice, as well as explain the purport of his play, etc. This address stood wholly outside the action of the play. When the parabasis was complete, which was seldom the case, it consisted of seven parts, partly spoken by the leader of the chorus, partly sung by the chorus. One of these parts was called the parabasis in a narrower sense, and consisted chiefly of anapaestic tetrameters.
 
THRENOS 67.67%
The Greek term for a dirge sung by a chorus to the accompaniment of flutes, either at the burial, or at the funeral feast.
 
EPITHALAMIOM 60.51%
The wedding-hymn sung before the bridal chamber by a chorus of youths and maidens.
 
PHRYNICHUS 56.82%
A Greek tragic poet, of Athens, an older contemporary of Aeschylus. He won his first victory as early as 511 B.C. He rendered a great service to the development of the drama by introducing an actor distinct from the leader of the chorus, and so laying the foundation for the dialogue. But the dialogue was still quite subordinate to the lyrics of the chorus. In this department he won extraordinary celebrity by the grace and melody of his verses, which continued to be sung at Athens long after. Besides mythical subjects, he dealt with events of contemporary history, e.g. the conquest of Miletus by the Persians. At the representation of that event the audience burst into tears, and the poet was fined 1,000 drachmae for recalling the disasters of his country, all further performance of the piece being prohibited [Herod., vi 21]. Again, in his Phoenissoe (so named after the chorus of Sidonian women) he dealt with the battle of Salamis. This play, which was put on the stage by Themistocles in 478, was the model of Aeschylus' Persoe. Phrynichus, like Aeschylus, is said to have died in Sicily. We only possess the titles of nine of his plays and a few fragments.
 
SATYRIC DRAMA 51.45%
One of the three varieties of the Attic drama. Its origin may be traced back to Pratinas of Phlius (about 500 B.C.). It is probable that, after settling in Athens, he adapted the old dithyramb with its chorus of Satyrs, which was customary in his native place, to the form of tragedy which had been recently invented in Athens. This new kind of drama met with so much approval, and was so much developed by Pratinas himself, as well as by his son Aristeas, by Cloerilus, by Aeschylus, and the dramatists who succeeded him, that it became the custom to act a satyric drama after a set of three tragedies. The seriousness of the preceding plays was thus relieved, while the chorus of Satyrs and Sileni, the companions of Dionysus, served to indicate the original connexion between that divinity and the drama. The material for a satyric drama, like that for a tragedy, was taken from an epic or legendary story, and the action, which took place under an open sky, in a lonely wood, the haunt of the Satyrs, had generally an element of tragedy; but the characteristic solemnity and stateliness of tragedy was somewhat diminished, without in any way impairing the splendour of the tragic costume and the dignity of the heroes introduced. The amusing effect of the play did not depend so much on the action itself, as was the case in comedy, but rather on the relation of the chorus to that action. That relation was in keeping with the wanton, saucy, and insolent, and at the same time cowardly, nature of the Satyrs. The number of persons in the chorus is not known, probably there were either twelve or fifteen, as in tragedy. In accordance with the popular notions about the Satyrs, their costume consisted of the skin of a goat, deer, or panther, thrown over the naked body, and besides this a hideous mask and bristling hair. The dance of the chorus in the satyric drama was called sicinnis, and consisted of a fantastic kind of skipping and jumping. The only satyric play now extant is the Cyclops of Euripides. The Romans did not imitate this kind of drama in their literature, although, like the Greeks, they used to have merry after-pieces following their serious plays. (See <smalCaps>EXODIUM.<smallCaps)
 
PARODOS 50.00%
A technical term of the Greek drama, used to denote, (1) the entrance of the chorus upon the orchestra; (2) the song which they sang while entering; (3)the passage by which they entered. (See THEATRE.)
 
ORCHESTRA 41.05%
The space of the Greek theatre situated in front of the stage, in which the chorus went through its evolutions. In the Roman theatre it was absorbed in the area occupied by the audience. (See THEATRE.)
 
ENCOMION 40.24%
Originally the song sung by the chorus at the komos or festal procession held at the great national games in honour of the victor, either on the day of his victory or on its anniversary. The word came afterwards to denote any song written in celebration of distinguished persons, and in later times any spoken or written panegyric whatever.
 
AESCHYLUS 32.08%
The earliest of the three great tragic poets of Greece, son of Euphorion. He was born at Eleusis, near Athens, B.C. 525, of an old and noble stock, fought at Marathon, Salamis and Plataeae, and in his 25th year appeared as a writer of tragedies and rival of Pratinas and Choerilus, though he did not win his first victory till 488 B.C. About 476 he lived in Sicily, at the court of Hiero of Syracuse, and composed his Aetnoeans for the consecration of the city of Aetna, founded by that king in the place of the ancient Catana. On his return to Athens he was beaten by the young Sophocles with his very first play, but vanquished him again the next year with the Tetralogy of which the Seven against Thebes formed a part. After the performance of his Oresteia, B.C. 459, he quitted home once more, perhaps in disgust at the growing power of the democracy; and after three years' residence at Gela in Sicily, was killed, says one story, by an eagle dropping a tortoise on his bare skull. The inhabitants of Gela buried his remains, and honoured them with a splendid monument. At a later time the Athenians, on the motion of the orator Lycurgus, placed a brazen statue of him, as well as of Sophocles and Euripides, in the theatre; by a decree of the people a chorus was granted for every performance of his plays, and the garland of victory voted him as though be were still living among them. His tragedies, like those of the other two, were preserved in a special standard copy, to guard them against arbitrary alterations. His son Euphorion was also an esteemed tragic poet, so was his sister's son Philocles and his descendants for several generations. (See TRAGEDY.) The number of Aeschylus's plays is stated as 90, of which 82 are still known by title, but only 7 are preserved: (1) The Persians, performed in 473 B.C., was named from the chorus. Its subject was the same as that of Phrynichus' Phaenissae, the defeat of Xerxes at Salamis, but was differently treated. (2) The Seven against Thebes, part of a Tetralogy, embracing the cycle of Theban legend, of which Laius and OEdipus formed the first two pieces, and the satyric drama Sphinx the conclusion. (3) The Suppliants, the reception of Danaus and his daughters at Argos, evidently part of another Tetralogy, and, to judge by the simple plot and its old-fashioned treatment, one of his earliest works. (4) Prometheus Bound, part of a Trilogy, the Prometheia, whose first and last pieces were probably Prometheus the Fire-bringer and Prometheus Unbound. Lastly, the Oresteia, the one Trilogy which has survived, consisting of the three tragedies, (5) Agamemnon, the murder of that hero on his return home; (6) The Choephoroe, named from the chorus of captive Trojan women offering libations at Agamemnon's tomb, in which Orestes avenges himself on Aegisthus and Clytaemnestra; and (7) The Eumenides, in which Orestes, pursued by the Furies, is acquitted by the Areopagus at Athens. This Trilogy, composed B.C. 458, and probably the last work exhibited by Aeschylus at Athens, gives us an idea of the whole artistic conception of the poet, and must be looked upon as one of the greatest works of art ever produced. The style is marked by sublimity and majesty, qualities partly attributable to the courageous and serious temper of the time, but chiefly the offspring of the poet's individuality, which took delight in all that is great and grand, and loved to express itself in strong, sonorous words, an accumulation of epithets, and a profusion of bold metaphors and similes. His view of the universe reveals a profoundly philosophic mind, so that the ancients call him a Pythagorean; at the same time he is penetrated by a heartfelt piety, which conceives of the gods as powers working in the interest of morality. However simple the plot of his plays, they display an art finished to the minutest detail. His Trilogies either embraced one complete cycle of myths, or united separate legends according to their moral or mythical affinity; even the satyric dramas attached to the Tragedies Stand in intimate connexion with them. Aeschylus is the true creator of Tragedy, inasmuch as, by adding a second actor to the first, he originated the genuine dramatic dialogue, which he made the chief part of the play by gradually cutting down the lyrical or choral parts. Scenic apparatus he partly created and partly completed. He introduced masks for the players, and by gay and richly embroidered trailing garments, the high buskin, head-dresses, and other means, gave them a grand imposing aspect above that of common men; and he fitted up the stage with decorative painting and machinery. According to the custom of the time, he acted in his own plays, practised the chorus in their songs and dances, and himself invented new dance figures.
 
DRAMA 31.78%
Greece. In Athens the production of plays was a state affair, not a private undertaking. It formed a great part of the religious festival of the Dionysia, in which the drama took its rise (see DIONYSIA; and it was only at the greater Dionysia that pieces could be performed during the author's lifetime. The performances lasted three days, and took the form of musical contests, the competitors being three tragic poets with their tetralogies, and five comic poets with one piece each. The authority who superintended the whole was the archon, to whom the poets had to bring their plays for reading, and apply for a chorus. If the pieces were accepted and the chorus granted, the citizens who were liable for the Choregia undertook at their own cost to practise and furnish for them one chorus each. (See LEITOURGIA.) The poets whose plays were accepted received an honorarium from the state. The state also supplied the regular number of actors, and made provision for the maintenance of order during the performances. At the end of the performance a certain number of persons (usually five), was chosen by lot from a committee nominated by the senate, to award the prizes (Agonothetoe), and bound them by oath to give their judgment on the plays, the choregi, and the actors. The poet who won the first prize was presented with a crown in the presence of the assembled multitude-the highest distinction that used to be conferred on a dramatic author at Athens. The victorious choregus also received a crown, with the permission to dedicate a votive offering to Dionysus. This was generally a tripod, which was set up either in the theatre, or in the temple of the deity, or in the " Street of Tripods," so named from this custom, an inscription being put on it recording the event (fig. 1). The actors in the successful play received prizes of money, besides the usual honoraria. From the time of Sophocles the actors in a play were three in number. They had to represent all the parts, those of women included, which involved their changing their costume several times during the performance. The three actors were distinguished as Protagonistes, Deuteragonistes, and Tritagonistes, according to the importance of their parts. If the piece required a fourth actor, which was seldom the case, the choregus had to provide one. The choregus had also to see to the position and equipment of the personoemutoe. In earlier times it is possible that the persons engaged in the representation did not make a business of their artp but performed gratuitously, as the poets down to the time of Sophocles appeared on the stage. But the dramatic art gradually became a profession, requiring careful preparation, and winning general respect for its members as artists. The chief requirements for the profession were distinctness and correctness of pronunciation, especially in declamatory passages, and an unusual power of memory, as there was no prompter in a Greek theatre. An actor had also to be thoroughly trained in singing, melodramatic action, dancing, and play of gesture. The latter was especially necessary, as the use of masks precluded all play of feature. The actors were, according to strict rule, assigned to the poets by lot; yet a poet generally had his special protagonistes, on whose peculiar gifts he had his eye in writing the dramatic pieces. The Athenian tragedies began to be known all over the Hellenic world as early as the time of Aeschylus. The first city, outside of Attica, that had a theatre was Syracuse, where Aesebylus brought out some of his own plays. Scenic contests soon began to term part of the religious festivals in various Greek cities, and were celebrated in honour of other deities besides Dionysus. It was a habit of Alexander the Great to celebrate almost every considerable event with dramatic exhibitions, and after him this became the regular custom. A considerable increase in the number of actors was one consequence of the new demand. The actors called themselves artists of Dionysus, and in the larger cities they formed permanent societies (synodoi) with special privileges, including exemption from military service, and security in person and property. These companies had a regular organization, presided over by a priest of their patron-god Dionysus, annually elected from among their members. A treasurer and officers completed the staff. At the time of the festivals the societies sent out their members in groups of three actors, with a manager, and a flute-player, to the different cities. This business was especially lively in Ionia and on the Euxine the societies of Teos, being the most distinguished. The same arrangement was adopted in Italy, and continued to exist under the Roman Empire. The universal employment of masks was a remarkable peculiarity of costume (see MASKS). It naturally excluded all play of feature, but the masks corresponded to the general types of character, as well as to the special types indicated by the requirements of the play. Certain conventionalities were observed in the colour of the hair. Goddesses and young persons had light hair, gods and persons of riper age, dark brown; aged persons, white; and the deities of the lower world, black. The height of the masks and top-knots varied with the age of the actors, and the parts they took. Their stature was considerably heightened in tragedies by the high boot (see COTHURNUS), and the defects in oportion corrected by padding, and the use of a kind of gloves. The conventionalities of costume, probably as fixed by Aeschylus, maintained themselves as long as Greek tragedies were performed at all. Men and women of high rank wore on the stage a variegated or richly embroidered long-sleeved chiton, reaching to the feet, and fastened with a girdle as high as the breast. The upper garment, whether himation or chlamys, was long and splendid, and often embroidered with gold. Kings and queens had a purple train, and a white himation with a purple border; soothsayers, a netted upper garment reaching to the feet. Persons in misfortune, especially fugitives, appeared in soiled garments of grey, green, or blue; black was the symbol of mourning, and so on. In the Satyric Drama the costumes of the heroic characters resembled in all essentials what they wore in the tragedies, although, to suit the greater liveliness of the action, the chiton was shorter and the boot lower. In the Old Comedy the costumes were taken as nearly as possible from actual life, but in the Middle and New Comedy they were conventional. The men wore a white coat; youths, a purple one; slaves, a motley with mantle to match; cooks, an unbleached double mantle; peasants, a fur or shaggy coat, with wallet and staff; panders, a coloured coat and motley over-garment. Old women appeared in sky-blue or dark yellow, priestesses and maidens in white; courtesans, in motley colours, and so on. The members of the chorus were masked and dressed in a costume corresponding to the part assigned them by the poet. (On their dress in the Satyric Drama, see SATYRIC DRAMA.) The chorus of the comedy caricatured the ordinary dress of the tragic chorus. Sometimes they represented animals, as in the Frogs and Birds of Aristophanes. In the Frogs they wore tight dresses of frog-colour, and masks with a mouth wide open; in the Birds, large beaks, bunches of feathers, combs, and so on, to imitate particular birds. (See plate in Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. ii, Plate xiv B, copied in Haigh's Attic Theatre, p. 267.)
 
COMEDY 27.85%
Greek. The Greek comedy, like the Greek tragedy and satyric drama, had its origin in the festivals of Dionysus. As its name, komodia, or the song of the komos, implies, it arose from the unrestrained singing and jesting common in the komos, or merry procession of Dionysus. According to the tradition, it was the Doric inhabitants of Megara, well known for their love of fun, who first worked up these jokes into a kind of farce. The inhabitants of Megara accordingly boasted that they were the founders of Greek comedy. From Megara, it was supposed, the popular farce found its way to the other Dorian communities, and one Susarion was said to have transplanted it to the Attic deme of Icaria about 580 B.C. No further information is in existence as to the nature of the Megarian or Dorian popular comedy. The local Doric farce was developed into literary form in Sicily by Epicharmus of Cos (about 540-450 B.C.). This writer gave a comic treatment not only to mythology, but to subjects taken from real life. The contemporary of Epicharmus, Phormus or Phormis, and his pupil Dinolochus, may also be named as representatives of the Dorian comedy. The beginnings of the Attic comedy, like those of the Attic tragedy, are associated with the deme of Icaria, known to have been the chief seat of the worship of Dionysus in Attica. Not only Thespis, the father of tragedy, but also Chionides and Magnes (about 550 B.C.), who, if the story may be trusted, first gave a more artistic form to the Megarian comedy introduced by Susarion, were natives of Icaria. Comedy did not become, in the proper sense, a part of literature until it had found welcome and consideration at Athens in the time of the Persian wars; until its form had been moulded on the finished outlines of tragedy; and until, finally, it had received from the State the same recognition as tragedy. The Old Comedy, as it was called, had its origin in personal abuse. It was Crates who first gave it its peculiar political character, and his younger contemporary Cratinus who turned it mainly or exclusively in this direction. The masters of the Old Comedy are usually hold to be Cratimis and his younger contemporaries, Eupolis and Aristophanes. It attained its youth in the time of Pericles and the Peloponnesian war; the period when the Athenian democracy had reached its highest development. These three masters had many rivals, who fell, however, on the whole beneath their level, among others Pherecrates, Hermippus, Telclides, Phrynichus, Ameipsias, Plato and Theopompus. A good idea of the characteristics of the Old Comedy may be formed from the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes.* The Greek tragedy has a meaning for all time; but the Old Comedy, the most brilliant and striking production of all Athenian literature, has its roots in Athenian life, and addressed the Athenian public only. Dealing from the very first with the grotesque and absurd side of things, it was the scourge of all vice, folly, and weakness. The social life of Athens, so restless, and yet so open, offered an inexhaustible store of material; and the comedian was always sure of a witty, laughter-loving public, on whom no allusion was lost. The first aim of the Athenian comedy was, no doubt, to make men laugh, but this was not all. Beneath it there lay a serious and patriotic motive. The poet,who was secured by the license of the stage, wished to bring to light and turn to ridicule the abuses and degeneracy of his time. The Attic comedians are all admirers of the good old times, and, accordingly, the declared enemies of the social innovations which were beginning to make their way, the signs in many cases, no doubt, of approaching decline. It was not, however, the actual phenomena of life which were sketched in the Old Comedy. The latter is really a grotesque and fantastic caricature; the colours are laid on thick, and propriety, as we moderns understand it, is thrown to the winds. These plays abound in coarseness and obscenity of the broadest kind, the natural survival of the rude license allowed at the Dionysiac festival. The choice and treatment of the subjects show the same tendency to the grotesque and fantastic. Fancy and caprice revel at their will, unchecked by any regard either for the laws of poetical probability or for adequacy of occasion. The action is generally quite simple, sketched out in a few broad strokes, and carried out in a motley series of loosely connected scenes. The language is always choice and fine, never leaving the forms of the purest Atticism. The metres admit a greater freedom and movement than those of the tragedy. A comedy, like a tragedy, consisted of the dramatic dialogue, written mostly in iambic sendrii and the lyrical chorus. The division of the dialogue into prologos, epeisodion, and exodos, and of the chorus into parodos and stasima, are the same as in tragedy (see TRAGEDY). But, while the tragic chorus consisted of fifteen singers, there were twenty-four in the comic. A peculiarity of the comic chorus is the parabasis, a series of lines entirely unconnected with the plot, in which the poet, through thE mouth of the chorus, addresses the public directly about his own concerns, or upon burning questions of the day (see PARABASIS). Like the tragedies, the comedies were performed at the great festivals of Dionysus, the Dionysia and Lenaea. On each occasion five poets competed for the prize, each with one play. For a short time, but a short time only, a limitation had been put upon the absolute freedom with which the poets of the Old Comedy lashed the shortcomings of the government and its chief men. The downfall of the democracy, however, deprived them of this liberty. The disastrous issue of the Peloponnesian war had, moreover, ruined the Athenian finances, and made it necessary to give up the expensive chorus, and with it the parabasis. Thus deprived of the means of existence, the Old Comedy was doomed to extinction. In its place came what was called the Middle Comedy, from about 400-338 B.C. This was a modification of the Old Comedy, with a character corresponding to the altered circumstance of the time. The Middle Comedy was in no sense political; it avoided all open attack on individuals, and confined itself to treating the typical faults and weaknesses of mankind. Its main line was burlesque and parody, of which the objects were the tragedies and the mythology in general. It was also severe upon the lives of the philosophers. It dealt in typical characters, such as bullies, parasites, and courtesans. The writers of the Middle Comedy were very prolific than eight hundred of their Play having survived as late as the 2nd century A.D. The most celebrated of them were Antiphanes of Athens and Alexis of Thurii; next to these came Eubulus, and Anaxandridas of Rhodes. A new departure is signalized by the dramas of what is called the New Comedy. In these, as in the modern society drama, life was represented in its minutest details. The New Comedy offered a play regularly constructed like that of tragedy, characterized by fine humour, and but seldom touching on public life. The language was that of ordinary society, and the plot was worked out in a connected form from the beginning to the dénouement. The chief art of the poets of the New Comedy lay in the development of the plot and the faithful portraiture of character. The stock subjects are illicit love affairs; for honest women lived in retirement, and stories of honourable love, therefore, were practically excluded from the stage. The ordinary characters are young men in love, fathers of the good-natured or the scolding type, cunning slaves, panders, parasites, and bragging officers. Besides the dialogue proper, we find traces of parts written in lyric metres for the higher style of singing. These were, in all probability, like the dialogue, performed by the actors. The fate of the New resembles that of the Middle Comedy, only a few fragments of its numerous pieces having survived. Of some of them, however, we have Latin adaptations by Plautus and Terence. Its greatest master was Menander, besides whom should be mentioned Diphilus, Philemon, Philippides, Posidippus, and Apollodorus of Carystus. The New Comedy flourished from 330 B.C. till far into the 3rd century A.D. In about 300 B.C. the old Dorian farce was revived in a literary form in Southern Italy by Rhinthon, the creator of the Hildrotragoedia. The Hilarotragoedia was for the most part a parody of the tragic stories.
 
PANTOMIMUS 25.84%
The representation of a dramatic subject by dancing and rhythmic gesticulation alone, as practised by the Romans. It originated in the custom of the ancient Roman drama, of only allowing an actor on the stage to make the necessary movements of dancing and gesticulation, while another actor sang the recitative to the accompaniment of the flute. This recitative was called canticum, and was a monologue composed in rhythmical form. The illustrative dance was raised to a separate, independent branch of art by Pylades and Bathyllus under Augustus, 22 B.C. There were comic and tragic pantomimes, but the latter variety prevailed on the stage of the Empire. The subjects were chiefly taken from tragedies founded on mythological love stories, and treated so that the chief situations were included in a series of cantica. All of these were represented by a single pantomimus, the dancer, as well as the performer, being designated by that name. He thus had to represent several characters, male and female, in succession, while a chorus, accompanied by flutes and other instruments, sang the corresponding song. The pauses necessary for the change of mask and costume for each successive part were apparently filled up with the recital of music by the chorus, which served to connect the chief scenes with each other. It was only in the latest times of the Empire that women were employed in pantomime. Pantomime, aiming at sensual charm alone, went beyond all bounds of decorum in the representation of delicate subjects. As an understanding of the subtleties of the art required a cultivated taste, pantomime was specially favoured by the higher classes, while the mime, with his buffoonery, was more pleasing to the multitude. On the true dramatic ballet of imperial times, see PYRRHIC.DANCE.
 
TRAGEDY 23.87%
ROMAN TRAGEDY was founded entirely on that of the Greeks. In early times there existed crude dramatic productions (see SATIRE), which provided an opening for the translation from the Greek dramas brought on the stage by Livius Andronicus. He was a Greek by birth, but was brought to Rome as a captive about 200 B.C. It is to him that Roman tragedy owes its origin. His dramas and those of his successors were more or less free versions of Greek originals. Even the tragedies, or historical plays, drawn from national Roman materials, called fabuloe proetextoe or proetextatoe, (see PRAeETEXTA), the first writer of which was his immediate successor Noevius (about 235 B.C.), were entirely modelled on the Greek. The most noteworthy representatives of tragedy under the Republic were Ennius (B.C. 239-170), Pacuvius (220-130), and Accius (170-104), besides whom only a few other poets produced any works about this time. It is true that the scanty fragments we possess of these dramas admit of no positive judgment as to their merit, but there is no doubt that they rank far below the original creations of the Greeks. It may also be clearly inferred from the fragments, that declamation and pathos formed a characteristic attribute of Roman tragedy, which was intensified by a studied archaism of expression. Moreover, the titles of their plays that have come down to us show that preference was given to subjects relating to the Trojan epic cycle; this is to be explained by the Trojan origin claimed by the Romans. Next to this the most popular were the myths of the Pelopidae, of the Theban cycle, and of the Argonauts. Euripides was the favourite model; after him Sophocles: rarely Aeschylus. Roman tragedy, like Greek, was made up of spoken dialogue in iambic trimeters and musical portions called cantica (q.v.). On the chorus in Roman tragedy see CHORUS (near the end). In the time of Augustus the representatives of tragedy were Asinius Pollio, Varius, and Ovid; under Tiberius, Pomponius Secundus; under Nero and Vespasian, Curiatius Maternus, of whose works scarcely a line has been preserved. The only tragedies of Roman antiquity which we possess are those of the philosopher Seneca, which show great mastery of form and a fertile imagination, but suffer from an intolerable excess of rhetorical declamation. It is doubtful whether they were intended for the stage at all, and not rather for public recitation and for private reading.
 
AGATHON 23.68%
A tragic poet of Athens, born B.C. 448, a friend of Euripides and Plato, universally celebrated for his beauty and refined culture. The banquet he gave in honour of his dramatic victory of B.C. 417 is immortalized in Plato's Symposion. He was, together with Euripides, at the court of Archelaus, king of Macedonia, and probably died there about B.C. 402. He appears to have carried still further the rhetorical manner of Euripides, adopting entirely the views of the sophist Gorgias; and his namby-pamby style is ridiculed by Aristophanes. On the stage he introduced several innovations: he was the first to make the chorus a mere intermezzo, having nothing to do with the action, and in his tragedy of Anthos (=flower) he invented both characters and plot for himself, instead of resorting to old myths.
 
EPICHARMUS 18.61%
A Greek comedian, born in the island of Cos, about 540 B.C. When only a child of three months old he came with his father Helothales, a physician, to Megara in Sicily, where he died about 450 at the age of 90. Like his father, he is said to have been personally acquainted with Pythagoras, and whether this is so or no, his philosophical attainments were not inconsiderable. It was Epicharmus who gave to the Doric comedy of Sicily its literary form. Thirty-five of his plays, written in the Doric dialect, are known to us by their titles, and a few meagre fragments have survived. They differed from the Attic comedy in having no chorus. Their subjects were taken partly from the stories of gods and heroes, which they burlesqued and caricatured, and partly from life. The plots seem to have been simple and the action rapid. The philosophical leanings of Epicharmus are shown in numerous sayings of deep practical wisdom. Plato said that Epicharmus was the prince of comedy, as Homer was of tragedy, a striking testimony to the perfection of his compositions in their own line. In his mythical comedy he was imitated by Dinolochus of Syracuse,
 
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