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TRAGEDY 100.00%
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.
TRAGEDY 100.00%
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.
THESPIS 98.32%
Of Icaria; the founder of Greek tragedy (q.v.).
TRILOGY 78.50%
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.
The Muse of tragedy. For further details see MUSES.
The serious and majestic dance of the chorus in the Greek Tragedy.
A class of Roman tragedies, which found its materials, not in the Greek myths, but, in the absence of native legendary heroes, in ancient and contemporary Roman history. The name was derived from the fact that the heroes wore the national dress, the toga praetexta, the official garb, edged with purple, of the Roman magistrates. Naevius introduced them, and, following his example, the chief representatives of tragic art under the Republic, Ennius, Pacuvius, and Accius, composed, in addition to tragedies imitated from Greek originals, independent plays of this kind, which were however cast in the form they had borrowed from the Greeks. We also hear of some plays of this class written by poets of imperial times. The solitary example preserved to us is the tragedy of Octavia, wrongly ascribed to Seneca (q.v.), which perhaps may date from 1 A.D. (Cp. TOGATA.)
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.
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)
Of Phaselis, in Lycia, a Greek rhetorician and tragic poet. He carried off the prize eight times, and in 351 B.C. his tragedy of Mausolus was victorious in the tragic contest instituted by queen Artemisia in honour of her deceased husband Mausolus. In the rhetorical contest, held at the same time, he was defeated by Theopompus. Only unimportant fragments of his fifty tragedies are extant.
COMEDY 56.19%
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.
Son of Aeschylus, the great tragedian. He flourished about 450 B.C., and after his father's death put on the stage four of his pieces, which had not yet been performed, and gained the prize. He also exhibited tragedies of his own, not without success.
TOGATA 52.48%
[The general term for a play with an Italian plot and surroundings, including proetextatoe (tragedies) and tabernarioe (comedies). See Diomedes, p. 489, Keil, who makes it clear that the term togata is not confined to comedy, and that Horace, De Arte Poetica 288, is wrong in distinguishing togata from proetexta, as comedy from tragedy.] (See COMEDY, 2, andPRAeTEXTA.) [H.N.]
ENNIUS 45.85%
The founder of the Hellenized type of Latin poetry. He was born 239 B.C. at Rudiae in Calabria, and was by descent a Graecised Messapian. He was probably educated at Tarentum, and served with the Romans in the Second Punic War in Sardinia, whence Cato took him to Rome in 204 B.C. His poetical talent here came to his aid, not in a pecuniary way (for he was in slender circumstances to the end of his life), but as an introduction to the favour of the great men. Among these must be mentioned the Scipios, and Fulvius Nobilior, who took him in his retinue to the Aetolian war in B.C. 189,and whose son procured him the citizenship five years later (184). A gouty affection did not prevent him from continuing his literary work to an advanced age.He was in his sixty-seventh year when he finished his Annales, and he put a tragedy on the stage shortly before his death. He died in 170 B.C., in his seventieth year, It was said that the Scipios placed his image in their family vault. Ennius wrote poetry with success in a great number of styles. But in his own opinion, as well as in that of his fellowcitizens, his greatest work was his Annales in eighteen books. This was a chronological narrative of Roman history in verse. Like Naevius' Bellum Poenicum, it began with the destruction of Troy, and came down to the poet's own times. In this poem Ennius created for the Romans their first national epic, the fame of which was only eclipsed by Vergil. But he did more. By the introduction of the Greek hexameter Ennius did much to further the future development of Latin poetry. His predecessor, Naevius, had continued to write in the native Saturnian metre, which was hardly capable of artistic development. But the practice of writing in the strict dactylic measure enabled the Latin poets to assimilate the other metrical forms presented by Greek literature. Of the Annals we possess, relatively speaking, only a small number of fragments. Some of these can only be distinguished from prose by their metrical form; others are very fine, both in form and ideas. Ennius showed considerable capacity, too, as a writer of tragedies. His dramas, which were very numerous, were composed after Greek models, especially the tragedies of Euripides. More than twenty of these Euripidean plays are known to us by their titles and surviving fragments. He also wrote proetextoe, or tragedies on Roman subjects, as, for instance, the Ambracia, representing the siege and conquest of this city by his patron Fulvius Nobilior. His comedies were neither so numerous nor so important as his tragedies. Besides these he wrote several books of saturoe, or collections of poems of various contents and in various metres. Several of his adaptations or translations of Greek originals were probably included in these: as, for instance, the Hedyphagetica, a gastronomic work after Archestratus of Gela; Epicharmus, a didactic poem on the "Nature of Things"; Euhemerus, a rationalistic interpretation of the popular fables about the gods; Proecepta or Protrepticus, containing moral doctrines; and others of the same kind. There was a poem entitled Scipio, written in honour of the elder Africanus. Whether this was a satura or a drama is uncertain. The memory of Ennius long survived the fall of the Republic. Even after literary taste had taken quite a different direction, he was revered as the father of Latin poetry, and especially as having done much to enrich the Latin language.
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.
COMEDY 37.76%
Roman. Like the Greeks, the Italian people had their popular dramatic pieces; the versus Fescennini, for instance, which were at first associated with the mimic drama, first introduced in 390 B.C. from Etruria in consequence of a plague, to appease the wrath of heaven (see FESCENNINI VERSUS). From this combination sprang the satura, a performance consisting of flute-playing, mimic dance, songs, and dialogue. The Atellana (q.v.) was a second species of popular Italian comedy, distinguished from others by having certain fixed or stock characters. The creator of the regular Italian comedy and tragedy was a Greek named Livius Andronicus, about 240 B.C. Like the Italian tragedy, the Italian comedy was, in form and contents, an imitation, executed with more or less freedom, of the Greek. It was the New Greek Comedy which the Romans took as their model. This comedy, which represents scenes from Greek life, was called palliata, after the Greek pallium, or cloak. The dramatic satura, and the Atellana, which afterwards supplanted the satura as a concluding farce, continued to exist side by side. The Latin comedy was brought to perfection by Plautus and Terence, the only Roman dramatists from whose hands we still possess complete plays. We should also mention Naevius and Ennius (both of whom wrote tragedies as well as comedies) Caecilius, and Turpilius, with whom, towards the end of the 3nd century B.C., this style of composition died out. About the middle of the 2nd century B.C. a new kind of comedy, the togata, (from toga) made its appearance. The form of it was still Greek, but the life and the characters Italian. The togata was represented by Titinius, Atta, and Afranius, who was accounted the master in this kind of writing. At the beginning of the 1st century B.C. the Atellana assumed an artistic form in the hands of Pomponius and Novius; and some fifty years later the mimus, also an old form of popular farce, was similarly handled by Laberius and Publilius Syrus. The mimus drove all the other varieties of comedy from the field, and held its ground until late in the imperial period. The Roman comedy, like its model, the New Comedy of the Greeks, had no chorus, the intervals being filled up by performances on the flute. The play consisted, like the Roman tragedy, partly of passages of spoken dialogue in iambic trimeters, partly of musical scenes called cantica. (See CANTICUM)
A Greek tragedian of Corcyra, in the first half of the 3rd century B.C.; he was priest of Dionysus in Alexandria, and, as such, stood at the head of the Dionysiac guild of actors in that city. He was one of the " Pleiad " (q.v.) of Alexandrian tragic poets. [His portrait is preserved in a relief in the Lateran Museum. See out under TRAGEDY (Greek).]
CRITIAS 34.42%
An Athenian, a disciple of Socrates and Gorgias of Leontini. He was one of the most accomplished men of his time, and was distinguished as a poet and an orator. But he is best known as the chief of the Thirty Tyrants, in defence of whose cause against the Liberators he fell in 403 B.C. He was the author of several tragedies. Some fragments of his poems have survived, the largest being from his political elegies. He seems to have had the gift of expression, but to have written in a harsh style of composition.
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.
ION 29.90%
Of Chios. A Greek author of rare versatility for his time. He composed historical writings, among them a kind of memoirs of men of mark he had met, such as Sophocles; also lyric poems of the most varied types, and thirty or forty tragedies which were more remarkable for elegance and erudition than for elevation of style. When in B.C. 452 he won a dramatic victory at Athens, he is said to have presented every Athenian with a flask of Chian wine. He died at Athens in 422 B.C. We Only possess scanty fragments of his works.
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