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Encyclopedia > Old Comedy

Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of For other usages see Theatre (disambiguation) Theater (American English) or Theatre (British English and widespread usage among theatre professionals in the US) is that branch of the performing arts concerned with acting out stories in front of an audience using combinations of speech, gesture, music, dance, sound and spectacle —... theatrical A play (noun) is a common literary form, usually consisting chiefly of dialog between characters, and usually intended for performance rather than reading. However, many scholars study plays in this more academic manner, particularly classical plays such as those of Shakespeare (rare authors, notably George Bernard Shaw, have had little... plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece is the term used to describe the Greek_speaking world in ancient times. It refers not only to the territory of the present Greek state, but also to those areas settled in ancient times by Greeks: Cyprus, the Aegean coast of Turkey (then known as Ionia), Italy (known as... Ancient Greece. Along with Tragedy is one of the oldest forms of drama. Its origins are obscure, but it is certainly derived from the rich poetic and religious traditions of ancient Greece. Its roots may be traced more specifically to the dithyrambs, the chants and dances honoring the Greek god Dionysus, later known to... tragedy, it makes up the greater portion of ancient Greek theatre, and its descendent traditions.



The evolution of comedy is much simpler than that of its sister art, tragedy, though as to its origin and earlier development there is little exact information. All that This article needs cleanup. Please edit this article to conform to a higher standard of article quality. Aristotle (sculpture) Aristotle (Greek Αριστοτέλης Aristotelēs) (384 BC – March 7, 322 BC) was an ancient Greek philosopher. Along with Plato... Aristotle can tell us is that it first took shape in Megaris and Sicyon, an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea. It was built on a low triangular plateau about 2 miles from the Corinthian Gulf. Between the city and its port lay a fertile plain with olive groves and orchards. After the Dorian invasion the community... Sicyon, whose people were noted for their coarse humour and sense of the ludicrous, while Susarion, the earliest comic poet, was a native of a Megarian town. Add to this that it arose from the phallic processions of the Greeks, as did tragedy from the The dithyramb was originally an ancient Greek hymn sung to the god Dionysus. Its wild and ecstatic character was often contrasted with that of the paean. Just as Paian was both a hymn to and a title of Apollo, dithyrambos was also a title of Dionysus as well as a... dithyramb, and we have about all that is known as to the inception of the lighter branch of the drama.

At country festivals held in celebration of the vintage it was the custom for people to pass from village to village, some in carts, uttering the crude jests and abuse unjustly attributed to the tragic choruses; others on foot, bearing aloft the phallic emblem and singing the praises of Phales, the comrade of Bacchus is the name of: the Roman god Bacchus, known to the Greeks as Dionysus the asteroid 2063 Bacchus the Bacchus grape variety, grown predominantly in Germany the painting Bacchus by Leonardo da Vinci This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise... Bacchus. In cities it was also the custom, after an evening State Banquet.--Serving the Peacock.--Fac-simile of a Woodcut in an edition of Virgil, folio, published at Lyons in 1517. A banquet is a large public meal or feast, complete with main courses and desserts. It usually serves a purpose, such as a charitable gathering, a ceremony, or a... banquet, for young men to roam around the streets with torches in their hands, headed by a A Lyre is a stringed musical instrument well known for its use in Classical Antiquity. The recitations of the Ancient Greeks were accompanied by it, yet the lyre was not of Greek origin. We have to seek in Asia, the birthplace of the genus, and to infer its introduction into... lyre or This article pertains to the musical instrument. For the sailing ship class that has a variant spelling using this word, see Fluyt. The flute is a musical instrument of the woodwind family. Unlike other wind instruments, a flute produces its sound from the flow of air against an edge, instead... flute-player. Such a group of revellers was called a comus, and a member of the band a comoedus or comus-singer, the song itself being termed a comoedia, or Comedy is the use of humour in the performing arts. It also means a performance that relies heavily on humor. The term originally comes from theater, where it simply referred to a play with a happy ending, in contrast to a tragedy. The humor, once an incidental device used to... comedy, just as a song of Satyrs (Satyri) in Greek mythology are half-man half-beast nature spirits that haunted the woods and mountains, companions of Pan and Dionysus. Although they are not mentioned in Homer, in a fragment of Hesiod they are called brothers of the mountain nymphs and Kuretes, and an idle and worthless... satyrs was named a tragoedia, or Tragedy is one of the oldest forms of drama. Its origins are obscure, but it is certainly derived from the rich poetic and religious traditions of ancient Greece. Its roots may be traced more specifically to the dithyrambs, the chants and dances honoring the Greek god Dionysus, later known to... tragedy.

The Phallic processions were continued as late as the days of Aristotle ( Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 430s BC 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC 390s BC - 380s BC - 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC Years: 389 BC 388 BC 387 BC 386 BC 385 BC - 384 BC - 383 BC 382 BC... 384 Centuries: 5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC Decades: 370s BC 360s BC 350s BC 340s BC 330s BC - 320s BC - 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC 327 BC 326 BC 325 BC 324 BC 323 BC - 322 BC - 321 BC 320 BC 319... 322 BCE), and we learn from one of the Orator is a Latin word for speaker (from the Latin verb oro, meaning I speak or I pray). In ancient Rome, the art of speaking in public (Ars Oratoria) was a professional competence especially cultivated by politicians and lawyers. It later was developed into rhetoric. In the 18th century, Orator... orations of For the Athenian general during the Peloponnesian War, see Demosthenes (general). Demosthenes Demosthenes (384 BC - 322 BC) is generally considered the greatest of the Ancient Greek orators. His writings provide an insight into the life and culture of Athens at this period of time. Born the son of a wealthy... Demosthenes that the riotous youths who infested the streets of The Acropolis in central Athens, one of the most important landmarks in world history. The Parthenon, the main monument on the site, was built in favour of goddess Athena, the patron of the city Athens ( Greek: Αθήνα Athína) is the capital of Greece, and... Athens delighted in their comic buffooneries. Pasquinades of the obscenest kind were part of the exhibitions, and hence, probably, it was that comedy found a home at Athens during the time of For the Shakespeare play, see Pericles, Prince of Tyre. Pericles (c. 495 BC - 429 BC, Greek : Περικλής) was an influential and important leader of Athens during the Athenian Golden Age (specifically, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars), from the Alcmaeonidae family. The... Pericles, for it furnished the A demagogue (sometimes spelled demagog) is a leader who obtains power by appealing to the gut feelings of the public, usually by powerful use of rhetoric and propaganda. H. L. Mencken defined a demagogue as one who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be... demagogues with a safe and convenient means of attacking their political opponents. When formally established as a branch of the drama it had its chorus, though less numerous and costly than the dithyrambic choir, and the Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. An actor is a person who acts, or plays a role in an artistic production. The term commonly refers to someone working in movies, television, live theatre, or radio, and can occasionally denote a street entertainer... actors, at first without masks, disguised their features by smearing them with the Lees is the detritous of fermentation, consisting of dead yeast, fruit debris and schmutz. ... lees of This article is about the beverage. See WINE for an article about the software of the same name. Wine is an alcoholic beverage resulting from the fermentation of grapes or grape juice. The word comes from Greek Fοινος through Latin vinum, (both wine and the... wine.

By For the computing technology, see PLATO System. Plato (Greek: Πλάτων Plátōn) (c. 427 BC – c. 347 BC) was an immensely influential classical Greek philosopher, student of Socrates, teacher of Aristotle, writer, and founder of the Academy in Athens. Plato, a philodorian... Plato comedy is defined as the generic name for all exhibitions which have a tendency to excite laughter. Though its development was mainly due to the political and social conditions of Athens, it finally held up the mirror to all that was characteristic of Athenian life.

Forms of Ancient Greek Comedy

By a consensus of authorities comedy has been arranged in three divisions, or rather should they be termed variations in form - the old, the middle and the new.

Old Comedy

The old comedy, dating from the establishment of This article deals with democracy in its modern sense. For other meanings, see Democracy (disambiguation). Democracy is a form of government under which the power to alter the laws and structures of government lies, ultimately, with the citizenry. Under such a system, legislative decisions are made by the people themselves... democracy by Pericles, about Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 500s BC 490s BC 480s BC 470s BC 460s BC - 450s BC - 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC 410s BC 400s BC Years: 455 BC 454 BC 453 BC 452 BC 451 BC - 450 BC - 449 BC 448 BC... 450 BCE, arose, as we have seen, from the obscene jests of Bacchus by Caravaggio The god Dionysus is occasionally confused with one of several historical figures named Dionysius, a theophoric name that simply means [servant] of Dionysus. Dionysus (or Dionysos; also known as Bacchus in Roman mythology and associated with the Italic Liber), the Thracian god of wine, represents not only... Dionysian revellers, to which was given a political application. In outward form these comedies were the most extravagant of In Art Burlesque was originally a form of art that mocked by imitation. It was often ridiculous in that it imitated several styles and combined imitations of authors and artists with absurd descriptions. In this, the term burlesque was often used interchangeably with pastiche, parody, and, at the turn of... burlesque, in essence they were the most virulent of abuse and personal vilification. In its license of word and gesture, on its audacious directness of invective, no restriction was placed by the dramatist, the audience or the authorities. The satire and abuse were directed against some object of popular dislike, to whom were not only applied such Linguistics An epithet (Greek epitheton) is a descriptive word or phrase, often metaphoric, that is essentially a reduced or condensed appositive. Epithets are sometimes attached to a persons name, such as Richard the Lionheart or Alexander the Great. In contemporary usage, epithet often means an abusive or defamatory phrase... epithets as coward, fool and knave, but he was represented as saying and doing everything that was contemptible, as suffering everything that was ludicrous and degrading. But this alone would not have won for comedy such recognition as it received from the refined and cultured community of the age of Pericles. The comic dramatist who would gain a hearing in Athens must borrow from tragedy all its most attractive features, its choral dances, its masked actors, its metres, its scenery and stage mechanism, and above all the chastened elegance of the Attic Greek is the ancient dialect of the Greek language that was spoken in Attica, which includes Athens. Of the ancient dialects, it is the most similar to later Greek. It differs from Ionic in not changing the neuter plural ending to ê, from Doric (?) in changing some long a to... Attic language - for this the audience required from the dramatist, as from the Lyric can have a number of meanings. A lyric (from the Greek) is a song sung with a lyre. Now, it is commonly used to mean a song of no defined length or structure. A lyric poem is one that expresses a subjective, personal point of view. I would be... lyric poet and the Orator is a Latin word for speaker (from the Latin verb oro, meaning I speak or I pray). In ancient Rome, the art of speaking in public (Ars Oratoria) was a professional competence especially cultivated by politicians and lawyers. It later was developed into rhetoric. In the 18th century, Orator... orator. Thus comedy became a recognized branch of the drama, often presenting a brilliant sparkle in dialogue and a poetic beauty in the choral parts not unworthy of the best efforts of the tragic muse. Thus, also, it became a powerful engine in the hands of a skillful and unscrupulous politician.

It was upon this stock that the mighty genius of A bust of Aristophanes Aristophanes (c. 448 BC - 380 BC) was a Greek comic dramatist. The place and even the exact date of his birth are unknown, but he was probably educated in Athens. He is famous for writing comedies such as The Birds for the two Athenian festivals: the... Aristophanes grafted the Gargantua and Pantagruel is a connected series of five books written in the 16th century by François Rabelais. It is the story of two giants, a father (Gargantua) and his son (Pantagruel) and their adventures, written in an amusing, extravagant, satirical vein. Outline It was Pantagruel, which became the... Pantagruelism, which, ever since it was reproduced by François Rabelais (ca. 1493 - April 9, 1553) was a Renaissance writer, born in Chinon, Indre-et-Loire, France. Life Rabelais was first a novice of the Franciscan order, and later a friar at Fontenay-le-Comte, where he studied Greek and Latin, as well as science, philology, and law... Rabelais, has had among European writers, as in Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra (September 29, 1547 - April 23, 1616), was a Spanish author, best known for his novel Don Quixote de la Mancha. Biography Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was born to a family of modest means in 1547 in Alcalá de Henares, Spain. He never obtained a university education... Cervantes, Jonathan Swift Jonathan Swift (November 30, 1667 - October 19, 1745) was an Anglo-Irish writer and satirist. Jonathan Swift was born, after his father had been dead for seven months, to an English mother, and educated by his Uncle Godwin. After a not very successful career at Trinity College, Dublin... Swift, Voltaire François-Marie Arouet (November 21, 1694—May 30, 1778), better known by the pen name Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, deist and philosopher. Biography Voltaire was born in Paris to François Arouet and Marie-Marguerite Daumart or DAumard. Both parents were of Poitevin extraction... Voltaire and others, some adequate representation. Though the word Pantagruelism is applied by Rabelais to the characters sustained by court fools, he made a free use both of the spirit and mechanical appliances of old Greek comedy, adopting the disguise of buffoonery to attack some prevailing form of cant and hypocrisy. And this is precisely what Aristophanes did, the term invented by the great French master accurately describing the chief characteristics of his prototype.

Middle Comedy

The line between old and middle comedy is not very clearly marked, Aristophanes and others of the latest writers of the one becoming the earliest writers of the other. The latter was indeed merely an offshoot of the former, but differed from it in three essential particulars:

  1. it had no chorus
  2. public characters were not personated on the stage
  3. the objects of its ridicule were general rather than personal, literary rather than political.

Where Old Comedy was caricature and lampoon, Middle Comedy was criticism and review.

The period of the middle comedy extended from the close of the Map of the Greek world at the start of the Peloponnesian War Temple of Apollo at Corinth The Peloponnesian War was begun in 431 BC between the Athenian Empire and the Peloponnesian League which included Sparta and Corinth. The war was documented by Thucydides, an Athenian general, in his work... Peloponnesian war to the enthralment of Athens by Philip II of Macedon (Macedonia) (382 BC - 336 BC), King of Macedon (ruled 359 BC - 336 BC), was the father of Alexander the Great (Alexander III of Macedon) and Philip III of Macedon. Portrait of Philip II of Macedon, found at Vergina Born in Pella in 382 BC, he was... Philip of Macedon; that is to say, from the closing years of the (6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Demotic becomes the dominant script of ancient Egypt Persians invade Greece twice (Persian Wars) Battle of Marathon (490) Battle of Salamis (480) Athenian empire formed and falls Peloponnesian War... fifth to nearly the middle of the fourth century BCE. It was extremely prolific in plays, but not especially so in genius. The favorite themes were the literary and social peculiarities of the day, which, together with the prominent systems of Classical (or early) Greek philosophy focused on the role of reason and inquiry. In many ways it paved the way both to modern science and to modern philosophy. Clear unbroken lines of influence lead from early Greek philosophers, through early Muslim philosophy to the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the secular... philosophy, were treated with light and not ill-natured ridicule. The grandest tragedies of Æschylus and A Roman bust of Sophocles. Sophocles (early 5th century–406 BC; Greek: Σοφοκλης) was an ancient Greek playwright, dramatist, priest, and politician of Athens. He is known as the second, chronologically, of the three great Greek tragedians; Sophocles was several decades younger... Sophocles, the noblest passages of For other uses, see Homer (disambiguation). Homer (Greek Ὅμηρος Hómēros) was a legendary (or perhaps mythical) early Greek poet and rhapsode traditionally credited with authorship of the major Greek epics Iliad and Odyssey, the comic mini-epic Batrachomyomachia (The Frog-Mouse War... Homer, and the most beautiful lyrics of Pindar (or Pindarus) (522 BC – 443 BC), the greatest lyric poet of ancient Greece, was born at Cynoscephalae, a village in Thebes. He was the son of Daiphantus and Cleodice. The traditions of his family have left their impression on his poetry, and are not without importance for a... Pindar and This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. If an article link referred you here, you might want to go back and fix it to point directly to the intended page. Two poets of Ancient Greece: Simonides of... Simonides were freely parodied, and in the same way were treated subjects taken directly from ancient mythology. In dealing with society, classes rather than individuals were attacked, as courtesans, parasites, revellers, and especially the self-conceited cook, who, with his parade of culinary science, was always a favorite target for the shafts of middle comedy.

New Comedy

The new comedy lasted throughout the reign of the Macedonian rulers, ending about (Redirected from 260 BCE) Centuries: 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC Decades: 310s BC 300s BC 290s BC 280s BC 270s BC - 260s BC - 250s BC 240s BC 230s BC 220s BC 210s BC Years: 265 BC 264 BC 263 BC 262 BC 261 BC - 260 BC... 260 BCE. It may be studied to better advantage in the Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. It gained great importance as the formal language of the Roman Empire. All Romance languages are descended from Latin, and many words based on Latin are found in other modern languages such as English. It is said... Latin adaptations by Titus Maccius Plautus was a comic playwright of the Roman Republic. The years of his life are uncertain, but his plays were first produced between about 205 and 184 BCE. Twenty-one plays survive. Plautus comedies, which are the earliest surviving intact works in Latin literature, are all adaptations of... Plautus and Publius Terentius Afer, better known as Terence, was a comic playwright of the Roman Republic. His comedies were performed for the first time c. 170 - 160 BC, and he died young in 159 BC. He wrote 6 plays, all of which survive. (In comparison, his predecessor Plautus wrote 21 extant... Terence than in the few Greek fragments that have come down to us (though during the (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). Sometimes it is known as the nineteen hundreds (1900s), referring to... twentieth century, the complete text of Dyskolos, a play by For the Indo-Greek king (160–135 BC) see Menander the Just. For the Byzantine historian and ethnographer of the 6th century, see Menander Protector. Menander (342–291 BC), Greek dramatist, the chief representative of the New Comedy, was born in Athens. He was the son of well... Menander, the leading writer of New Comedy, has been rediscovered. It is the only example of New Comedy to have survived in its entirety. A few long fragments by Menander have survived as well from such plays as The Arbitration, The Girl from Samos, The Shorn Girl, and The Hero), nor did it differ essentially from the comic drama of William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. His ability to capture and convey the most profound aspects of human nature is regarded by many... Shakespeare and Benjamin Jonson (June 11, 1572 - August 6, 1637) was an English Renaissance dramatist, poet and actor. He is best known for his plays Volpone and The Alchemist, his garrulous personality, and his tempestuous rivalry with William Shakespeare. Ben Jonson by Abraham Blyenberch, cirka 1617. Biography Early life Although he was... Ben Jonson, There have been two notable figures named William Congreve For the playwright, see William Congreve (playwright) For the inventor, see William Congreve (inventor) For the Victoria Cross winner, see William La Touche Congreve This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share... Congreve and Wycherley. For the first time love became the principal element in the drama, but it also was seldom an honest love. The heavy father also makes his appearance, as still we know him, and is often led into the vices and follies which he has reproved in his son. With these exceptions the characters were very much as in the middle comedy, but with the addition of the mercenary soldier newly returned from the wars, with noisy tongue, full purse and empty head. There can be little doubt that the new comedy represented faithfully the most salient features of Athenian society; but it made no attempt to improve it, presenting only in attractive colors the lax morality of the age.


  • The Drama: Its History, Literature and Influence on Civilization, volume 1, by Alfred Bates. ( London — containing the City of London — is the capital of the United Kingdom and of England and a major world city. With over seven million inhabitants (Londoners) in Greater London area, it is amongst the most densely populated areas in Western Europe. Founded as Londinium, the capital of... London: Historical Publishing Company, 1906 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). Events January 8 - Landslide in Haverstraw, New York kills 20 January 31 - Earthquake in Ecuador (8.6 in Richter scale) February 11 - Pope Pius X publishes the encyclical Vehementer nos. February 15 - Representatives of the Labour Representation Committee... 1906)

  Results from FactBites:
Ancient Greek comedy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1302 words)
By Plato comedy is defined as the generic name for all exhibitions which have a tendency to excite laughter.
The old comedy, dating from the establishment of democracy by Kleisthenes, about 510 BCE, arose, as we have seen, from the obscene jests of Dionysian revellers, to which was given a political application.
The period of the middle comedy extended from the close of the Peloponnesian war to the enthralment of Athens by Philip of Macedon; that is to say, from the closing years of the fifth to nearly the middle of the fourth century BCE.
Old Comedy, on the other hand, was tied to the political and social milieu of fifth century Athens and therefore could not be as easily transplanted.
Old Comedy was presented in the same theater of Dionysus as was tragic drama, with the same background (skene), orchestra and theatrical devices (mechane and ekkyklema).
Although Old Comedy occasionally employs the tragic structure in which stasima act as dividers between episodes, it tends to favor the construction (found in early tragedy) wherein the stanzas of choral songs are separated one from another by interspersed dialogue, thus closely integrating choral song and dialogue.
  More results at FactBites »



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