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DRAMA 100.00%
Roman. Dramatic performances in Rome, as in Greece, formed a part of the usual public festivals, whether exceptional or ordinary, and were set on foot by the aediles and praetors. (See GAMES.) A private individual, however, if he were giving a festival or celebrating a funeral, would have theatrical representations on his own account. The giver of the festival hired a troupe of players (grex), the director of which, (dominus gregis), bought a play from a poet at his own risk. If the piece was a failure, the manager received no compensation. But after performance the piece became his property, to be used at future representations for his own profit. In the time of Cicero, when it was fashionable to revive the works of older masters, the selection of suitable pieces was generally left to the director. The Romans did not, like the Greeks limit the number of actors to three, but varied it according to the requirements of the play. Women's parts were originally played by men, as in Greece. Women appeared first in mimes, and not till very late times in comedies. The actors were usually freedmen or slaves, whom their masters sent to be educated, and then hired them out to the directors of the theatres. The profession was technically branded with infamia, nor was its legal position ever essentially altered. The social standing of actors was however improved, through the influence of Greek education; and gifted artists like the comedian Roscius, and Aesopus the tragedian in Cicero's time, enjoyed the friendship of the best men in Rome. The instance of these two men may show what profits could be made by a good actor. Roscius received, for every day that he played, £35, and made an annual income of some £4,350. Aesopus, in spite of his great extravagance, left Ae175,400 at his death. Besides the regular honoraria, actors, if thought to deserve it, received other and voluntary gifts from the giver of the performance. These often took the form of finely wrought crowns of silver or gold work. Masks were not worn until Roscius made their use general. Before his time actors had recourse to false bair of different colours, and paint for the face. The costume in general was modelled on that of actual life, Greek or Roman. As early as the later years of the Republic, a great increase took place in the splendour of the costumes and the general magnificence of the performance. In tragedy, particularly, a new effect was attained by massing the actors in great numbers on the stage. (See further THEATRE, TRAGEDY, COMEDY, and SATYRIC DRAMA.)
DRAMA 100.00%
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.)
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)
In the Greek drama, the actor who played the leading part.
The third actor in the Greek drama, who played in the least important parts.
The wild choral dance of the Greek satyric drama (q.v.>). See also CHORUS.
A tragic poet of Tegea, a contemporary of Euripides; he is said to have lived more than a hundred years. Of his 70 dramas only two titles remain.
A Greek word meaning (1) The performance of a drama. (2) The pieces brought forward for performance at a dramatic entertainment. (3) A board hung up in the theatre, with short notices as to the time and place of the contest, the competing poets, their plays and other successes, perhaps also the Choregi, and the most celebrated actors. These, documents, so important for the history of the drama, were first collected and arranged by Aristotle, whose example was followed by the Alexandrian scholars Callimachus, Aristophanes of Byzantium, and others. From these writings, also called didascaliae, but now unfortunately lost, come the scanty notices preserved by grammarians and scholiasts upon the particular tragedies and comedies. Following the example of the Greeks the Romans provided the dramas of their own poets with didascaliae, as for instance those attached to the comedies of Terence and the Stichus of Plautus.
The Athenian term given to the group of four plays which the poets produced in rivalry with each other at the dramatic contests held at the feast of Dionysus. After the introduction of the satyric drama, this, or a drama of a comparatively cheerful character (such as the Alcestis of Euripides), formed the fourth piece of three tragedies or of a trilogy. By a tetralogy is more particularly meant such a group of four dramas as had belonged to the same cycle of myths, and had thus formed a connected whole. Of such a kind were the tetralogies of Aeschylus. It is doubtful, however, whether he found this type of connected tetralogy already in use, or was the first to introduce it. Sophocles abolished the connexion between the several pieces, and Euripides followed his example. A complete tetralogy is not extant, although a trilogy exists in the Oresteia of Aeschylus, consisting of the tragedies Agamemnon, Choephoroe, and Eumenides; the satyric play appended to it was the Proteus.
ACHAEUS 42.74%
A Greek tragic poet of Eretria, born about 482 B.C., a contemporary of Sophocles, and especially famous in the line of satyric drama. He wrote about forty plays, of which only small fragments are preserved. Not being an Athenian, he only gained one victory.
PARODOS 40.72%
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.)
A Greek poet of the Old Comedy, a younger contemporary of Aristophanes; he is known to have been engaged in composition as late as about 370 B.C. Only fragments remain of his twenty-four dramas, which prepared the way for the transition to the Middle Comedy.
An Athenian dramatist, one of the oldest Attic tragedians, who appeared as a writer as early as 520 B.C. He was a rival of Pratinas, Phrynichus and Aeschylus. His favourite line seems to have been the satyric drama, in which he was long a popular writer.
EXODIUM 36.81%
A play of a lively character acted on the Roman stage at the end of a serious piece. It corresponded in character to the satyric drama of the Greeks. The place of the exodium was originally taken by the dramatic satura, and later by the Atellana and Mimus.
TRILOGY 34.33%
A set of three tragedies which, together with a satyric drama, formed a tetralogy (q.v.). The several tragedies were generally, but not always, connected with each other in subject. The only surviving example is the Oresteia of Aeschylus, consisting of the Agamemnon, Chocphoroe, and Eumenides.
CHORUS 32.57%
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.
TRAGEDY 29.15%
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.
Alexander Aetolus (the Aetolian) of Pleuron in Aetolia, lived about 280 B.C. at Alexandria, being employed by Ptolemy in arranging the tragedies and satyric dramas in the Library. He was afterwards at the court of Antigonus Gonatas in Macedonia. As a writer of tragedies he was reckoned one of the so-called Pleiad. He also tried his hand at short epics, at epigrams, elegies, and the like, of which some graceful fragments are preserved.
Of Alexandria in the Troad; a Greek tragedian, one of the Alexandrine <italis>Pleids (q.v.). He lived in the first half of the 3rd century B.C., in Athens and in Alexandria in Egypt. In an epigram of the Greek Anthology [vii 707] he is celebrated as the restorer of the satyric drama. We still possess an interesting fragment of his satyric plays, the Daphnis [twenty-one lines in Nauck's <italisc>Tragicorum Gr. Fragm., p. 822, ed. 1889].
Apollonius, king of Tyre, the hero of a Greek romance (now lost), composed in Asia Minor, in the 3rd century A.D., on the model of the Ephesian History of Xenophon (q.v. 2). We have a free Latin version made by a Christian, about the 6th century, probably in Italy, which was much read in the Middle Ages, and translated into AngloSaxon, English, French, Italian, Middle Greek and German, in prose and verse. Its materials are used in the pseudo-Shakspearian drama of Pericles Prince of Tyre.
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