Drama

A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama (Blackwell Guides to by Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan

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By Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan

This Blackwell advisor introduces old Greek drama, which flourished largely in Athens from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC.A broad-ranging and systematically organised advent to historical Greek drama. Discusses all 3 genres of Greek drama – tragedy, comedy, and satyr play. offers overviews of the 5 surviving playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophokles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, and short entries on misplaced playwrights. Covers contextual concerns reminiscent of: the origins of dramatic artwork varieties; the conventions of the fairs and the theatre; the connection among drama and the worship of Dionysos; the political size; and the way to learn and watch Greek drama. comprises forty six one-page synopses of every of the surviving performs.

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Extra resources for A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama (Blackwell Guides to Classical Literature)

Sample text

In Bacchae the messenger describes the women on the mountain, both in harmony and in control of nature. They nurse the young of wild animals, and with their thyrsoi produce milk and honey from the earth. Dionysos is a god of the wild, the mountain as opposed to the city, a god of release from the normal routine (two of his most important titles are eleuthereus, “freer,” and lyaios “releaser”). “City Dionysia” seems like a contradiction in terms, since Dionysos is a deity of the wild rather than the city, a god of the release from cultural constraints, but perhaps a “City Dionysia” was an attempt to rein in this potentially dangerous god and drama a means of channeling the emotional experience involved in his worship.

In the victory-lists the name of the victorious choregos is given before that of the winning poet: [for 473/2] comedy: Xenokleides was the choregos, Magnes the didaskalos; tragedy: Perikles of Cholargai was the choregos, Aeschylus the didaskalos. Perhaps a modern equivalent is the announcement of the award for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, where the producer (often virtually unknown) accepts that award, rather than the high-profiled director or the leading actors. But in the public atmosphere at Athens the choregos was someone whom everyone would know – the choregos himself would see to that.

One rich source of visual evidence is terracotta masks from various periods that shed valuable light on the nature of comic masks. Scenes from the comedy of Menander (career: 325–290) were often part of the decoration of ancient houses, most notably the so-called “House of Menander” in Pompeii (destroyed in AD 79 by the eruption of Vesuvius) and a third-century AD house in Mytilene on Lesbos, where eleven mosaics remain, with named characters that allow us to identify the exact scene in at least two comedies.

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