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A mimic war-dance among the Greeks, representing attack and defence in battle. It originated with the Dorians in Crete, who traced it back to the Curetes, and in Sparta, where it was traced to the Dioscuri. In Sparta where boys of five years old were trained for it, it formed a chief part of the festival of the Gymnopoedia. The war-dance performed at Athens at the Panathenaic festival celebrated Athene as the victor over the Giants. In the Roman imperial times the Pyrrhic dance was a kind of dramatic ballet, which was performed by dancers, male and female, and represented (like the Roman pantomime) mythological subjects, taken frequently from the legend of Dionysus, such as the march of the god against the Indians, the doom of Pentheus, but also from other sources, such as the judgment of Paris and the fate of Icarus. For these performances the emperors frequently brought to Rome from Asia, the home of this dance, boys and girls of noble birth; but there wore also dancers, male and female, who were brought up to it as a regular trade. At times the Pyrrhic dance was performed in the amphitheatre by criminals especially trained for this purpose.
DANCING 77.13%
As early as the Homeric age we find dancing an object of artistic cultivation among the Greeks. The sons and daughters of princes and nobles do not disdain to join in it, whether in religious festivals or at social gatherings. The Greek orchestike, or art of dancing, differed much from the modern. Its aim was to ennoble bodily strength and activity with grace and beauty. Joined with music and poetry, dancing among the Greeks embodied the very spirit of the art of music, mainly because the imitative element predominated in it. For its main aim was to make gesture represent feeling, passion and action; and consequently the Greek dance was an exercise riot only for the feet, but for the arms, hands and the whole body. The art at first observed the limits of a noble simplicity, but was perfected, as time went on, in many directions. At the same time it inevitably tended to become more artificial. As in athletics, so in imitative dancing, mechanical execution was largely developed. This was to a great extent displayed in exhibitions of scenes from the mythology, which formed a favourite entertainment at banquets. On the other hand, a prejudice arose against dancing on the part of any one but professionals. For a grown-up person to perform a dance, even at social entertainments, was regarded as an impropriety. The religious performances, especially, as bound up with the worship of Apollo and Dionysus, consisted mainly in choral dances, whose movement varied according to the character of the god and of the festival. Sometimes it was a solemn march round the altar, sometimes a livelier measure, in which there was a strong dash of imitation. This was especially the case at the festivals of Dionysus. It was from these, as is well known, that the Greek draina was developed, and accordingly the dances formed a part of all dramas, varying according to the character of the piece (see CHORUS). Indeed, there was an infinite variety in the forms of the Greek dance. Not only had almost every country district its own, but foreign ones were in course of time adopted. It must be noticed that in Greek society grown-up men and women were not allowed to dance together, but there were some dances which were performed together by the youth of both sexes. Among these was the Hormos, or chain-dance, performed by youths and maidens, holding their hands in a changing line, the youths moving in warlike measure, the girls with grace and softness. Another was the Geranos, or Crane. This dance was peculiar to Delos, and was said to have been first performed by Theseus after his deliverance from the Labyrinth, with the boys and girls whom he had rescued. Its elaborate complications were supposed to represent the mazes of the Labyrinth. At Sparta dances were practised, as a means of bodily training, by boys and girls. Among them two may be particularly mentioned: the Caryatis, performed in honour of Artemis of Caryaae, by the richest and noblest Spartan maidens; and the dances of boys, youths and men, at the festival of the Gymnopoedia, consisting in an imitation of various gymnastic exercises (see CARYATIDES). Among the Greek country dances was the Epilenioss, or dance of the wine-press, which imitated the actions of gathering and pressing the grape. There were also warlike dances, which were specially popular with the Dorians, and, like others, were partly connected with religious worship. One of the most celebrated of these was the Pyrrhiche (see PYRRHIC DANCE). Roman. Dancing never played such a part in the national life of the Romans as it did in that of the Greeks. It is true that the ancient Roman worship included dances of the priests (see SALII), and that the lower orders in the country were fond of dancing on festive occasions. But respectable Romans regarded it as inconsistent with their dignity. After the second Punic War, as Greek habits made their way into Italy, it became the fashion for young men and girls of the upper class to take lessons in dancing and singing. But dancing was never adopted in Rome as a necessary and effective instrument of education, nor was there any time when public dancing was allowed in society. Performances by professional artists, however (the longer the better), were a favourite entertainment, especially during the imperial period, when the art of mimic dancing attained an astonishing degree of perfection.
HORMOS 47.09%
A chain-dance (see DANCE).
The Muse of dancing. (See MUSES.)
The serious and majestic dance of the chorus in the Greek Tragedy.
The wild choral dance of the Greek satyric drama (q.v.>). See also CHORUS.
THALIA 34.70%
The Muse of dancing and pastoral poetry. (See MUSES.)
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.
CORDAX 25.46%
The licentious dance of the ancient Greek comedy. To perform it off the stage was regarded as a sign of intoxication or profligacy.
A species of lyric, choral song in lively rhythms; its subject was generally gay, and contained imitative dance movements. Like the paeaus, these choral odes were mostly sung in honour of Apollo.
The mythical attendants of the Phrygian goddess Rhea Cybele, who were supposed to accompany the goddess with wild dances and intoxicating music, while she wandered by torchlight over the forest-clad mountains. The name was further given in Phrygia to the eunuch priests of the goddess. (See RHEA.)
CHORUS 15.15%
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.
A great festival held at Sparta from the 6th to the 10th of July. It was an exhibition of all kinds of accomplishments in gymnastics, music, and dancing, given by boys, youths, and men for the benefit of the citizens and of the numerous strangers who flocked to Sparta for the occasion, and were hospitably entertained there. Festal hymns were written for the occasion, in honour not only of the gods but of brave citizens, notably those who had fallen at Thyrea, and later at Thermopylae.
A technical term of Greek architecture. Caryatides were female statues clothed in long drapery, used instead of shafts, or columns, to support the entablature of a temple (see cut). The name properly means "maidens of Caryae (Karyai)," a Spartan town on the Arcadian frontier. Here it was the custom for bands of girls to perform their country dances at the yearly festivals of Artemis Karyatis. In doing so they sometimes assumed the attitude which suggested the form adopted by the artists in the statues mentioned above. (See also CANEPHORI.)
Greek. The Dorians of Crete and Sparta followed a peculiar line in the matter of education. Throughout Greece generally the state left it to private effort; but in Sparta and Crete it came under the direct supervision of the community. At Sparta, as soon as a child was born, a commission of the elders of its tribe had to decide whether it should be reared or exposed. If it was weakly or deformed, it was exposed in a defile of Mount Taygetus. Till his seventh year, a boy was left to the care of his parents. After this the Paidonomos, or officer presiding over the whole department of education, assigned him to a division of children of the same age called a bua. Several of such buas together formed a troop or ila. Each bua was superintended by a Buagoros, each ila by an Ilarchos. Both these officers were elected from among the most promising of the grown up youths, and were bound to instruct the children in their exercises. The exercises were calculated to suit the various ages of the children, and consisted in running, leaping, wrestling, throwing the spear and discus, as well as in a number of dances, particularly the war dance or Pyrrhiche (see PYRRHIC DANCE). The dancing was under the constant superintendence of the Paidonomos, and five Bidyoe, under him. The discipline was generally directed to strengthening or hardening the body. The boys went barefoot and bareheaded, with hair cut short, and in light clothing. From their twelfth year they wore nothing but an upper garment, which had to last the whole year. They slept in a common room without a roof, on a litter of hay or straw, and from their fifteenth year on rushes or reeds. Their food was extremely simple, and not sufficient to satisfy bunger. A boy who did not want to be hungry had to steal; if he did this cleverly, he was praised, and punished if detected. Every year the boys had to undergo a flogging at the altar of Artemis Orthia, as a test of their power to endure bodily pain. They were whipped till the blood flowed, and deemed it a disgrace to show any sign of suffering. Reading and writing were left to private instructors; but music, and choral singing in particular, formed a part of the regular discipline. The understanding was assumed to be formed by daily life in public, and the conversation of the men, to which the boys were admitted. Every Spartan boy looked up to his seniors as his instructors and superiors; the consequence being that in Sparta the young behaved to their elders with more modesty and respect than in any other Greek city. Besides this, every man chose a boy or youth as his favourite. He was bound to set the boy an example of all manly excellence, and was regarded as responsible and punishable for his delinquencies. This public education and the performance of the regular exercises, under the superintendence of the Bidyoe, lasted till the thirtieth year. In the eighteenth year the boy passed into the class of youths. From the twentieth year, when military service proper began, to the thirtieth, the youth was called an eiren. He was not regarded as a man, or allowed to attend the public assembly till his thirtieth year. The girls had an education in music and gymnastic education similar to that of the boys, and at the public games and contests each sex was witness of the performances of the other. The girls' dress was extremely simple, consisting of a sleeveless tunic reaching not quite down to the knees, and open at the sides. In this, however, there was nothing which interfered with modesty and propriety of behaviour. In Crete the system of education was generally similar to that of Sparta. But the public training did not begin till the seventeenth year, when the boys of the same age joined themselves freely into divisions called agelai, each led by some noble youth, whose father was called agelatas, and undertook the supervision of the games and exercises. It is probable that the young men remained in this organization till their twenty-seventh year, when the law compelled them to marry. At Athens, as in Greece generally, the father decided whether the child should be reared or exposed. The latter alternative seems to have been not seldom adopted, especially when the child was a girl. If the education of a child was once fairly commenced, the parents had no power to put it out of the way. At the birth of a boy, the door of the house was adorned with a branch of olive; at the birth of a girl, with wool. On the fifth or seventh day after birth the child underwent a religious dedication at the festival of the Amphidromia ("running round"). It was touched with instruments of purification, and carried several times round the burning hearth. On the tenth day came the festival of naming the child, with sacrifice and entertainment, when the father acknowledged it as legitimate. To the end of the sixth year the boys and girls were brought up together under female supervision; but after this the sexes were educated apart. The girls' life was almost entirely confined to her home: she was brought up under the superintendence of women, and with hardly anything which can be called profitable instruction. The boy was handed over to a slave older than himself called Poedagogos. It was the slave's duty to watch the boy's outward behaviour, and to attend him, until his boyhood was over, whenever he went out, especially to the school and the gymnasium. The laws made some provision for the proper education of boys. They obliged every citizen to have his son instructed in music, gymnastics, and the elements of letters (grammata), i.e. writing, reading, and arithmetic. They further obliged the parents to teach their boys some profitable trade, in case they were unable to leave them a property sufficient to maintain them independent. If they failed in this, they forfeited all claim to support from the children in old age. But with schools and their arrangements the state did not concern itself. The schools were entirely in private hands, though they were under the eye of the police. The elementary instruction was given by the grammatistoe, or teachers of letters, the teacher writing and the scholars copying. The text-books for reading were mostly poems, especially such as were calculated to have an influence on the formation of character. The Homeric poems were the favourite reading book, but Hesiod, Theognis, and others were also admitted. Collections of suitable passages from the poets were early made for the boys to copy, learn by heart, and repeat aloud. The higher instruction given by the grammatikos was also of this literary character. Mathematics were introduced into the school curriculum as early as the 5th century, drawing not till the middle of the 4th century B.C. Instruction in music proper began about the thirteenth year. The profound moral influence attributed to music in Greek antiquity made this art an essential part of education. It brought with it, naturally, an acquaintance with the masterpieces of Greek poetry. The instrument most practised was the lyre, from its suitableness as an accompaniment to song. The flute was held in less esteem. The aim of education was supposed to be the harmonious development of mind and body alike. Instruction in gymnastics was consequently regarded as no less essential than in music, and began at about the same age. It was carried on in the paloestroe (see PALAeSTRA) under the paidotribai, who were, like the grammatikoi, private, not public instructors. The boys began their gymnastics in the paloestra, and completed them in the gymnasia under the superintendence of the gymnastoe. The ephebi, in particular, or boys between sixteen and nineteen, practised their exercises in the gymnasia, till, in their twentieth year, they were considered capable of bearing arms, and employed on frontier service. At this point they became liable to enlistment for foreign service, and obtained the right of attending the meeting of the public assembly. Towards the end of the 5th century B.C. the class of sophistoe, or professors of practical education, arose. This gave the young men an opportunity of extending their education by attending lectures in rhetoric and philosophy; but the high fees charged by the sophistoe, had the effect of restricting this instruction to the sons of the wealthy.
SATYRS 11.77%
In Greek mythology, spirits of the woodland, in the train of Dionysus, with puck noses, bristling hair, goat-like ears, and short tails. They are depicted as wanton, cunning, and cowardly creatures, and always fond of wine and women. They dwell in woods and on mountains, where they hunt, and tend cattle, dance and frolic with the Nymphs (for whom they lie in ambush), make music with pipe and flute, and revel with Dionysus. Their own special dance is called sicinnis. They were considered as foes to mankind, because they played people all kinds of roguish pranks, and frightened them by impish tricks. The hare, as a wanton, cowardly, and amorous creature of the woodland, was their appropriate symbol. In art and poetry they gained a higher significance, owing to the festivals of Dionysus. (See SATYRIC DRAMA.) In early art they are represented for the most part as bearded and old, and often very indecorous. As time went on, they were represented as ever younger and more graceful, and with an expression of amiable roguishness (see cuts). [The artist who led the way in this transformation was Praxiteles. The statue of the Satyr which Pausanias (i 20 § 1) saw at Athens, in the Street of Tripods, is generally supposed to be the original from which the statue in the Capitoline Museum and many others of the same type are derived. "In the Satyr of Praxiteles all that is coarse and ugly in form, all that is mean or revolting in expression, is purged away by the fire of genius. Of external marks of his lower nature nothing is left but the pointed ears and the arrangement of the hair over the forehead, which is a reminiscence of the budding horns of the goat" (Perry's Greek and Roman Sculpture, p. 437). (See fig. 1.) The Satyr represented in fig. 2 was regarded by Winckelmann as, in point of execution, one of the most beautiful works of ancient art.] (Cp. SILENUS.)
SOTADES 11.72%
A Greek poet from Maroneia in Thrace, who lived at Alexandria under Ptolemy Philadelphus about 276 B.C. He is said to have been drowned in the sea in a leaden chest for some sarcastic remark about the marriage of the king with his own sister Arsinoe. He composed in Ionic dialect and in a peculiar metre named after him (Sotadeus or Sotadicus versus), poems called cinoedi, malicious satires partly on indelicate subjects, which were intended for recitation accompanied by a mimic dance, and also travesties of mythological subjects, such as the Iliad of Homer. He found numerous imitators.
A deity of generation and fecundity worshipped in Syrian Hierapolis under the name Atargatis, whom the later Greeks and the Romans simply called the Syrian goddess. From the time of the sovereignty of the Seleucidae, when the ancient paganism was highly honoured in Hierapolis, the worship of this goddess spread among the Greeks, and from them found its way to Rome (where she had a temple in the days of the Empire) and to other parts of Italy, and still farther west. The old idea of her attributes had so widened in the course of time that she shared those of Juno, Venus, Rhea, Cybele, Minerva, Diana, the Parcae, and other goddesses. She is represented on Roman monuments, seated on a throne between two lions. Her priests were generally eunuchs. They were in the habit of making excursions into Greece and Italy to extend the worship of the goddess by means of ecstatic dances and prophecies, and to collect pious alms for her sanctuary.
daughter of Nereus and Doris, is the wife of Poseidon and queen of the sea. Poseidon saw her dancing with the Nereids on the island of Naxos, and carried her off. According to another account she fled from him to Atlas, when the god's dolphin spied her out and brought her to him. In Homer she is not yet called Poseidon's wife, but a sea-goddess, who beats the billows against the rocks, and has the creatures of the deep in her keeping. Her son is the sea-god Triton. She had no separate worship. She is often represented with a net confining her hair, with crabs' claws on the crown of her head, being carried by Tritons, or by dolphins and other marine animals, or drawn by them in a chariot of shells. As the Romans identified Poseidon with their Neptune, so they did Amphitrite with Salacia, a goddess of the salt waves.
Rural festivals, of great antiquity, held by the population of Etruria and Latium, and named, from some cause which cannot now be ascertained, from Fescennium in South Etruria. At harvest festivals, at the feast of Silvanus, and others of the kind, and at weddings, the young men would appear in rough masks or with faces painted with vermilion, bantering each other for the amusement of the spectators in rude and indecent jests. These were thrown into a rough kind of metre, originally no doubt the Saturnian. The Italians had at all times a keen sense of the ridiculous, and a love for personal attack; tendencies which were much encouraged by their gift for improvization, and pointed repartee. In Rome these games were taken up by the young men at public festivals, and combined with a comic imitation of the religious dances introduced from Etruria in 390 B.C. to avert a pestilence. In this form they are supposed to have given birth to the dramatic satura. (See SATURA.) The license of personal abuse ended by going so far that it had to be restrained by a law of the Twelve Tables. The Fescennini versus were gradually restricted to weddings, and the word came to mean the merry songs sung when the bride was brought home.
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