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Encyclopedia > Theatre of ancient Greece
The Dionysus Theatre in Athens built into the Acropolis, ~3rd century BC.
The Dionysus Theatre in Athens built into the Acropolis, ~3rd century BC.

The Greek theatre (AE theater) or Greek drama is a theatrical tradition that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c. 220 BC. Athens, the political and military power in Greece during this era, was the centre of ancient Greek theatre. Tragedy (late 6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and satyr plays were some of the theatrical forms to emerge in the world. Greek theatre and plays have had a lasting impact on Western drama and culture. Greek theatre or Greek theater may refer to: Theatre of Ancient Greece One of a number of amphitheatres called Greek Theatre Hearst Greek Theatre in Berkeley, California Greek Theatre (Los Angeles) This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... Image File history File links DionysiusTheater. ... Image File history File links DionysiusTheater. ... Theatre of Dionysus as viewed from the Acropolis. ... For other uses, see American English (disambiguation). ... Serge Sudeikins poster for the Bat Theatre (1922). ... The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of theatrical plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece. ... Papposilenus playing the crotals, theatrical type of the satyr play, Louvre Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar to the modern-day burlesque style. ... Occident redirects here. ...


The origin of western theatre is to be found in ancient Greece. It developed from a state festival in Athens, honoring the god Dionysus. The Athenian city-state exported the festival to its numerous allies in order to promote a common identity. Look up origin in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The term ancient Greece refers to the periods of Greek history in Classical Antiquity, lasting ca. ... For other uses, see Festival (disambiguation). ... This article is about the capital of Greece. ... Honor (or honor) comprises the reputation, self-perception or moral identity of an individual or of a group. ... This article is about the ancient deity. ... A city-state is a region controlled exclusively by a city. ...

Contents

Etymology

The word τραγοιδία, from which the English word tragedy is derived, is a portmanteau of two Greek words: τράγος, the goat, which is akin to "gnaw", and ῳδή meaning song, from αείδειν, to sing.[1] This explains the very rare archaic translation as "goat-men sacrifice song". At the least, it indicates a link with the practices of the ancient Dionysian cults. It is impossible, however, to know with certainty how these fertility rituals became the basis for tragedy and comedy.[2] Also, until the Hellenistic period, all tragedies were unique pieces written in honor of Dionysus, so that today we only have the pieces that were still remembered well enough to have been repeated when repetition of old tragedies became fashion. It was considered a decline of the original, one-time-played tragedy. A portmanteau (IPA: ) is a word or morpheme that fuses two or more words or word parts to give a combined or loaded meaning. ... The archaic period in Greece is the period during which the ancient Greek city-states developed, and is normally taken to cover roughly the 9th century to the 6th century BCE. The Archaic period followed the dark ages, and saw significant advancements in political theory, and the rise of democracy...

Panoramic view of the Greek theatre at Epidaurus.
Panoramic view of the Greek theatre at Epidaurus.

Download high resolution version (2428x626, 382 KB)Large version, by mdoege@compuserve. ... Download high resolution version (2428x626, 382 KB)Large version, by mdoege@compuserve. ... Panoramic view of the theater at Epidaurus Epidaurus (Epidauros) was a small city (polis) in ancient Greece at the Saronic Gulf. ...

Origins

Greek tragedy as we know it was created in Athens some years before 534 BCE, when Thespis was the earliest recorded author. Being a winner of the first theatrical contest held at Athens, he was the exarchon, or leader, of the dithyrambs performed in and around Attica, especially at the rural Dionysia. By Thespis' time the dithyramb had evolved far away from its cult roots. Under the influence of heroic epic, Doric choral lyric and the innovations of the poet Arion, it had become a narrative, ballad-like genre. Thespis probably aided in the final transition from dithyramb to tragedy by adding characters who speak (rather than sing) with their own voice (rather than a single narrative chorus). Because of these, Thespis is often called the "Father of Tragedy"; however, his importance is disputed, and Thespis is sometimes listed as late as sixteenth in the chronological order of Greek tragedians. For example, the statesman Solon is credited with creating poems in which characters speak with their own voice, and spoken recitations, known as rhapsodes, of Homer's epics were popular in festivals prior to 534 B.C.[3] Thus, Thespis' true contribution to drama is unclear at best, but he is forever immortalized in a common term for performer, thespian. Thespis car, relief of the Giottos Belltower in Florence, Italy, Nino Pisano, 1334-1336 Thespis (1965), bronze sculpture by Robert Cook, commissioned for the opening of the Canberra Theatre Thespis of Icaria (6th century BC) is claimed to be the first person ever to have a man-gina According... The dithyramb was originally an ancient Greek hymn sung to the god Dionysus. ... The Dionysia was a large religious festival in ancient Athens in honour of the god Dionysus, the central event of which was the performance of tragedies and comedies. ... For other uses, see Solon (disambiguation). ... A rhapsody in music is a one-movement work that is episodic yet integrated, free-flowing in structure, featuring a range of highly contrasted moods, colour and tonality. ... This article is about the Greek poet Homer and the works attributed to him. ... Thespian may refer to: A citizen of the ancient Greek city of Thespiae An actor; this usage is derived from Thespis of Icaria, the legendary first actor. ...


The drama performances were important to the Athenians - this is made clear by the creation of a tragedy competition and festival in City Dionysia. This was organized possibly to foster loyalty among the tribes of Attica (recently created by Cleisthenes). The festival was created roughly around 508 B.C. While no drama texts exist from the sixth century BC, we do know the names of three competitors besides Thespis: Choerilus, Pratinas, and Phrynichus. Each is credited with different innovations in the field. The Dionysia was a large religious festival in ancient Athens in honour of the god Dionysus, the central event of which was the performance of tragedies and comedies. ... Cleisthenes (also Clisthenes or Kleisthenes) was a noble Athenian of the accursed Alcmeonidate family. ... Phrynichus, son of Polyphradmon and pupil of Thespis, was one of the earliest of the Greek tragedians. ...


More is known about Phrynichus. He won his first competition between 511 BC and 508 BC. He produced tragedies on themes and subjects later exploited in the golden age such as the Danaids, Phoenician Women and Alcestis. He was the first poet we know of to use a historical subject - his Fall of Miletus, produced in 493-2, chronicled the fate of the town of Miletus after it was conquered by the Persians. Herodotus reports that "the Athenians made clear their deep grief for the taking of Miletus in many ways, but especially in this: when Phrynichus wrote a play entitled “The Fall of Miletus” and produced it, the whole theatre fell to weeping; they fined Phrynichus a thousand drachmas for bringing to mind a calamity that affected them so personally, and forbade the performance of that play forever."[4] He is also thought to be the first to use female characters (though not female performers).[5] Centuries: 7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC Decades: 560s BC - 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC - 470s BC - 460s BC Events and Trends Establishment of the Roman Republic March 12, 515 BC - Construction is completed on the... Centuries: 7th century BC - 6th century BC - 5th century BC Decades: 550s BC - 540s BC - 530s BC - 520s BC - 510s BC - 500s BC - 490s BC - 480s BC - 470s BC - 460s BC - 450s BC Events and Trends 509 BC - Foundation of the Roman Republic 508 BC - Office of pontifex maximus created...


Golden age: new inventions

After the Great Destruction by the Persians in 480 BC, the town and acropolis were rebuilt, and theatre became formalized and an even more major part of Athenian culture and civic pride. This century is normally regarded as the Golden Age of Greek drama. The centrepiece of the annual Dionysia, which took place once in winter and once in spring, was a competition between three tragic playwrights at the Theatre of Dionysus. Each submitted three tragedies, plus a satyr play (a comic, burlesque version of a mythological subject). Beginning in a first competition in 486 BC, each playwright also submitted a comedy. The Persian invasion of Greece in 480-479 BC May — King Xerxes I of Persia marches from Sardis and onto Thrace and Macedonia. ... Theatre of Dionysus as viewed from the Acropolis. ... For other uses, see Burlesque (disambiguation). ... Centuries: 6th century BCE - 5th century BCE - 4th century BCE Decades: 530s BCE 520s BCE 510s BCE 500s BCE 490s BCE - 480s BCE - 470s BCE 460s BCE 450s BCE 420s BCE 430s BCE Years: 491 BCE 490 BCE 489 BCE 488 BCE 487 BCE - 486 BCE - 485 BCE 484 BCE...


Aristotle claimed that Aeschylus added the second actor, and that Sophocles added the third actor. Apparently the Greek playwrights never put more than three actors on stage, except in very small roles (such as Pylades in Electra). No women appeared on stage; female roles were played by men. Violence was also never shown on stage. When somebody was about to die, they would take that person to the back to "kill" them and bring them back "dead." The other people near the stage were the chorus which consisted of about 4-8 people who would stand in the back wearing black.


Although there were many playwrights in this era, only the work of four playwrights has survived in the form of complete plays. All are from Athens. These playwrights are the tragedians Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and the comic writer Aristophanes. Their plays, along with some secondary sources such as Aristotle, are the basis of what is known about Greek theatre. Because of this, there is much that remains unknown about theatre. This article is about the ancient Greek playwright. ... This article is about the Greek tragedian. ... A statue of Euripides. ... For other uses, see Aristophanes (disambiguation). ... In library and information science, historiography and some other areas of scholarship, a secondary source is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere. ...


Hellenistic period

The power of Athens declined following its defeat in the Peloponnesian War against the Spartans. From that time on, the theatre started performing old plays again. Although its theatrical traditions seem to have lost their vitality, Greek theatre continued into the Hellenistic period (the period following Alexander the Great's conquests in the fourth century BC). However, the primary Hellenistic theatrical form was not tragedy but 'New Comedy', comic farces about the lives of ordinary citizens. The only extant playwright from the period is Menander. One of New Comedy's most important contributions was its influence on Roman comedy, an influence that can be seen in the surviving works of Plautus and Terence. Athenian War redirects here. ... The term Hellenistic (established by the German historian Johann Gustav Droysen) in the history of the ancient world is used to refer to the shift from a culture dominated by ethnic Greeks, however scattered geographically, to a culture dominated by Greek-speakers of whatever ethnicity, and from the political dominance... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... (5th century BC - 4th century BC - 3rd century BC - other centuries) (2nd millennium BC - 1st millennium BC - 1st millennium AD) Events Invasion of the Celts into Ireland Kingdom of Macedon conquers Persian empire Romans build first aqueduct Chinese use bellows The Scythians are beginning to be absorbed into the Sarmatian... Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of theatrical plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece. ... Bust of Menander Menander (342–291 BC) (Greek ), Greek dramatist, the chief representative of the New Comedy, was born in Athens. ... Titus Macchius Plautus, generally referred to simply as Plautus, was a playwright of Ancient Rome. ... Publius Terentius Afer, better known as Terence, was a comic playwright of the Roman Republic. ...


Characteristics of the building

The plays had a chorus of up to fifty[6] people, who performed the plays in verse accompanied by music, beginning in the morning and lasting until the evening. The performance space was a simple semi-circular space, the orchestra, where the chorus danced and sang. The orchestra, which had an average diameter of 78 feet, was situated on a flattened terrace at the foot of a hill, the slope of which produced a natural theatron, literally "watching place". Later, the term "theatre" came to be applied to the whole area of theatron, orchestra, and skené. The choragos was the head chorus member who could enter the story as a character able to interact with the characters of a play.

A blueprint of an Ancient Theatre. Terms are in Greek language and Latin letters.
A blueprint of an Ancient Theatre. Terms are in Greek language and Latin letters.

The theatres were originally built on a very large scale to accommodate the large number of people on stage, as well as the large number of people in the audience, up to fourteen thousand. Mathematics played a large role in the construction of these theatres, as their designers had to able to create acoustics in them such that the actors' voices could be heard throughout the theatre, including the very top row of seats. The Greeks' understanding of acoustics compares very favourably with the current state of the art, as even with the invention of microphones, there are very few modern large theatres that have truly good acoustics. The first seats in Greek theatres (other than just sitting on the ground) were wooden, but around 499 BC the practice of inlaying stone blocks into the side of the hill to create permanent, stable seating became more common. They were called the "prohedria" and reserved for priests and a few most respected citizens. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1056x750, 521 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Theatre of ancient Greece ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1056x750, 521 KB) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Theatre of ancient Greece ... Greek ( IPA: or simply IPA: — Hellenic) has a documented history of 3,500 years, the longest of any single natural language in the Indo-European language family. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... Acoustics is the interdisciplinary sciences that always deals with the study of sound, ultrasound and infrasound (all mechanical waves in gases, liquids, and solids). ...


In 465 BC, the playwrights began using a backdrop or scenic wall, which hung or stood behind the orchestra, which also served as an area where actors could change their costumes. It was known as the skené, or scene. The death of a character was always heard, “ob skene”, or behind the skene, for it was considered inappropriate to show a killing in view of the audience. The English word 'obscene' is a derivative of 'ob skene.' In 425 BC a stone scene wall, called a paraskenia, became a common supplement to skenes in the theatres. A paraskenia was a long wall with projecting sides, which may have had doorways for entrances and exits. Just behind the paraskenia was the proskenion. The proskenion ("in front of the scene") was columned, and was similar to the modern day proscenium. Today's proscenium is what separates the audience from the stage. It is the frame around the stage that makes it look like the action is taking place in a picture frame. Centuries: 6th century BC - 5th century BC - 4th century BC Decades: 510s BC 500s BC 490s BC 480s BC 470s BC - 460s BC - 450s BC 440s BC 430s BC 420s BC 410s BC Years: 470 BC 469 BC 468 BC 467 BC 466 BC - 465 BC - 464 BC 463 BC... In classical drama, the skene was the background building to which was connected the platform stage, in which were stored the costumes and to which the periaktoi (painted panels serving as the background) was connected. ...


Greek theatres also had entrances for the actors and chorus members called parodoi. The parodoi (plural of parodos) were tall arches that opened onto the orchestra, through which the performers entered. In between the parodoi and the orchestra lay the eisodoi, through which actors entered and exited. By the end of the 5th century BC, around the time of the Peloponnesian War, the skene, the back wall, was two stories high. The upper story was called the episkenion. Some theatres also had a raised speaking place on the orchestra called the logeion. Parodos (plural parodoi) is a term used in Greek tragedy. ... Eisodos (or eisodoi) is a term used for Ancient Greek Plays in order to describe any of two passageways leading into the orchestra, between theatron and skenê (also known as the parodos). ... In classical drama, the skene was the background building to which was connected the platform stage, in which were stored the costumes and to which the periaktoi (painted panels serving as the background) was connected. ...


Scenic Elements

There were several scenic elements commonly used in Greek theatre:

  • machina, a crane that gave the impression of a flying actor (thus, deus ex machina).
  • ekkyklema, a wheeled wagon used to bring dead characters into view for the audience
  • trap doors, or similar openings in the ground to lift people onto the stage
  • Pinakes, pictures hung into the scene to show a scene's scenery
  • Thyromata, more complex pictures built into the second-level scene (3rd level from ground)
  • Phallic props were used for satyr plays, symbolizing fertility in honor of Dionysus.

A modern crawler type derrick crane with outriggers. ... For other uses, see Deus ex machina (disambiguation). ... Pinax of Persephone and Hades from Locri (Museo Nazionale di Reggio di Calabria) // In the culture of ancient Greece and Magna Graecia, a pinax (πίναξ) (plural pinakes - πίνακες) or a board, denotes a votive tablet of painted wood,[1] terracotta, marble or bronze that served as a votive object deposited in a... The phallus usually refers to the male penis, or sex organ. ... Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of comedy, similar to the modern-day burlesque style. ... Fertility is the natural capability of giving life. ... This article is about the ancient deity. ...

Writing

Tragedy and comedy were viewed as completely separate genres, and no plays ever merged aspects of the two. Satyr plays dealt with the mythological subject matter of the tragedies, but in a purely comedic manner. However, as they were written over a century after the Athenian Golden Age, it is not known whether dramatists such as Sophocles and Euripides would have thought about their plays in the same terms. For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... // This evolution is much simpler than that of its sister art, tragedy, mainly because there is little exact information regarding its origin and earlier development. ... Papposilenus playing the crotals, theatrical type of the satyr play, Louvre Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar to the modern-day burlesque style. ...


Comedy and Tragedy masks

Tragic Comic Masks Hadrians Villa mosaic.
Tragic Comic Masks Hadrians Villa mosaic.

The comedy and tragedy masks have their origin in the theatre of ancient Greece. The masks were used to show the emotions of the characters in a play, and also to allow actors to switch between roles and play characters of a different gender. The earliest plays were called Satyrs; they were parodies of myths. Their style was much like what we know as Burlesque. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 250 KB) Tragic and Comic theatrical masks: fine mosaic from Hadrians Villa, Capitoline Museum, Rome Source antmoose, 4June 2005 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1024x768, 250 KB) Tragic and Comic theatrical masks: fine mosaic from Hadrians Villa, Capitoline Museum, Rome Source antmoose, 4June 2005 File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... For other uses, see Burlesque (disambiguation). ...


The actors in these plays that had tragic roles wore a boot called a cothurnus that elevated them above the other actors. The actors with comedic roles only wore a thin soled shoe called a sock. For other uses, see Sock (disambiguation). ...


In order to play female roles, actors wore a “prosterneda” (a wooden structure in front of the chest, to imitate female breasts) and “progastreda” in front of the belly.


Melpomene is the muse of tragedy and is often depicted holding the tragic mask and wearing cothurnus. Thalia is the muse of comedy and is similarly associated with the mask of comedy and comic’s socks. Some people refer to the masks as “Sock and Buskin.”[citation needed] Hesiod and the Muse, 1891 - Oil on canvas, Musee dOrsay, Paris Gustave Moreau. ... For the rock band, see Muse (band). ... For other uses, see Thalia (disambiguation). ... The sock and buskin are two ancient symbols of comedy and tragedy. ...


Influential playwrights (listed chronologically with important/surviving works)

Tragedies

This article is about the ancient Greek playwright. ... The Persians (Πέρσαι) is a tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Επτά επί Θήβας The Seven Against Thebes is a mythic narrative that finds its classic statement in the play by Aeschylus (467 BCE) concerning the battle between the Seven led by Polynices and the army of Thebes headed by Eteocles and his supporters, traditional Theban... The Suppliants (Greek Hiketides, also translated as The Suppliant Maidens) was probably first performed sometime after 470 BC. It was once thought to be the earliest play by Aeschylus due to the relatively anachronistic function of the chorus as the protagonist of the drama. ... The Eumenides redirects here. ... This article is about a character in Greek mythology. ... The Oresteia is a trilogy of tragedies about the end of the curse on the House of Atreus, written by Aeschylus. ... The Oresteia is a trilogy of tragedies about the end of the curse on the House of Atreus, written by Aeschylus. ... Prometheus Bound is an Ancient Greek tragedy. ... Phrynichus, son of Polyphradmon and pupil of Thespis, was one of the earliest of the Greek tragedians. ... A statue of Euripides. ... Alcestis is one of the earliest surviving works of the Greek playwright Euripides. ... Medea is a tragedy written by Euripides, based on the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. Along with the plays Philoctetes, Dictys and Theristai, which were all entered as a group, it won the third prize (out of three) at the Dionysia festival. ... Hippolytus (also known as Hippolytos) is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. ... Euripides Electra was probably written in the mid 410s BC, likely after 413 BC. It is unclear whether it was first produced before or after Sophocles version of the Electra story. ... The Sisyphus fragment is an 42-line excerpt in iambic trimeter from an ancient Greek satyr play written either by Euripides or Critias. ... The Bacchae (also known as The Bacchantes) is a tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides. ... This article is about the Greek tragedian. ... The so-called three Theban plays, written by Greek dramatist Sophocles in the 5th century BCE, follow the tragic downfall of the mythical king Oedipus of Thebes and his descendants. ... Antigone (play) redirects here. ... Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article: Oedipus the King Oedipus the King (Greek , ( ) or Oedipus the Tyrant), also known as Oedipus Rex, is a Greek tragedy, written by Sophocles and first performed ca. ... Oedipus at Colonus (also Oedipus Coloneus, and in Greek Οἰδίπους ἐπὶ Κολωνῷ) is one of the three Theban plays of the Athenian tragedian Sophocles. ... Ajax is a play by Sophocles. ... The Trachiniae (or The Women of Trachis) is a play by Sophocles, notable mainly for the unsympathetic portrayal of Heracles. ... Electra or Elektra is a Greek tragic play by Sophocles. ... The Philoctetes is a play by Sophocles written about 410 BC. Its subject is Philoctetes, the friend of Herakles, who was also a participant in the Trojan War. ...

Comedies

For other uses, see Aristophanes (disambiguation). ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Acharnians in Greek The Acharnians (Ancient Greek: / Akharneĩs) is a comedic play by the ancient Greek satirist Aristophanes. ... Aristophanes play The Knights is an unbridled criticism of Cleon, one of the most powerful men in ancient Athens. ... The Clouds (Nephelae,Νεφέλαι) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes lampooning the sophists and the intellectual trends of late fifth-century Athens. ... The Wasps is a comedy by Aristophanes. ... Peace is a comedy written and produced by the ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. ... The Birds (Ornithes) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes in 414 BC, and performed that year for the Festival of Dionysus. ... Lysistrata (Attic Greek: Λυσιστράτη Lysistratê, Doric Greek: Λυσιστράτα Lysistrata), loosely translated to she who disbands armies, is an anti-war Greek comedy, written in 411 BC by Aristophanes. ... Thesmophoriazusae (Women Celebrating the Thesmophoria) is a comedy written by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. ... Greek Wikisource has original text related to this article: The Frogs Frogs (Βάτραχοι (Bátrachoi)) is a comedy written by the Ancient Greek playwright Aristophanes. ... Aristophanes Assemblywomen (or in Greek Ecclesiazousae ) is a play similar in theme to Lysistrata in that a large portion of the comedy comes from women involving themselves in politics. ... In Greek mythology, Plutus (wealth Πλοῦτος) was a son of Demeter and the Titan Iasion and was the personification and god of wealth and money. ... Bust of Menander Menander (342–291 BC) (Greek ), Greek dramatist, the chief representative of the New Comedy, was born in Athens. ... Greek comedy is the name given to a wide genre of theatrical plays written, and performed, in Ancient Greece. ... Dyskolos (Greek, the grouch) is the only complete play written by Menander, and in general of the whole New Comedy, arrived to present days The complete manuscript of Dyskolos was published from a recovered papyrus manuscript in 1957; the paryrus had been purchased by the Swiss bibliophile Martin Bodmer, and...

Development of the ancient Greek theatre in India

Much of what we know about Ancient Greek theatre is speculation, because very little literature from that time actually survived. In contrast, the documents in Sanskrit from the first century B.C.E in India are numerous and well preserved. By looking at the relationship between ancient Indian drama and ancient Greek drama, it is possible to gain a greater insight into how Greek drama might actually have been performed.


Between the years of 180 and 30 B.C.E., a Greek kingdom (the Bactrian Kingdom established by Alexander the Great) flourished in Northern India, where it was by that time changing into a Indo-Greek Kingdom. This kingdom established a Greek society, including cities based on the Greek polis, on the Indian subcontinent. No polis would be complete without a venue for drama, and so it was very likely that Greek drama was performed in Northern India during these years (this hypothesis is also supported by the discovery of a shard of a pot found in the Bactrian kingdom region depicting a scene from Sophocles' Antigone). The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (or Graeco-Bactrian Kingdom) covered the areas of Bactria and Sogdiana, comprising todays northern Afghanistan and parts of Central Asia, the easternmost area of the Hellenistic world, from 250 to 125 BCE. The expansion of the Greco-Bactrians into northern India from 180 BCE established... For the film of the same name, see Alexander the Great (1956 film). ... The Indo-Greek Kingdom (or sometimes Graeco-Indian Kingdom[2]) covered various parts of the northwest and northern Indian subcontinent from 180 BCE to around 10 CE, and was ruled by a succession of more than thirty Hellenic and Hellenistic kings,[3] often in conflict with each other. ...


A series of invasions in Northern India in the years following 30 B.C.E. destroyed the Indo-Greek Kingdom of Bactria and dispersed many Greeks throughout the rest of India, where the Greek population grew thanks to the increasing trade and the establishment of Greek and Roman trading colonies along the Silk Roads. There is no direct evidence that Greek theatre was performed in India, but as Greek theatre troupes travelled as far as Armenia and Spain, it is probable that some amount of Greek theatre made its way to India. For other uses, see Silk Road (disambiguation). ...


Bactrian Greeks adopted many aspects of the Indian culture, many converting to Buddhism and Hinduism. The cultural exchange between the Greeks and the Indians may also have included theatrical practices. Some aspects of Sanskrit Drama thought to have come from the Greeks are the 5-act form of a drama, and the use of the curtain as a dramatic device. But maybe there was much independent development in Sanskrit drama, because Indian plays had changes of time and setting between acts, while Greek plays did not. However, the discovery of a play from an Alexandrian Jew, in which both time and setting changed between acts, refutes this argument. The evidence that the use of the curtain was a consequence of exchange with Greek theater is that the Sanskrit term for curtain, Yavanika, means "something Greek," though the translation of "something" is debated. The curtain was used as a theatrical device in a fashion very similar to how they were used in Greek mime plays, that is it did not fall from above, but was a construction that could be hoisted from below the stage.


The relationship between Sanskrit drama and Greek mime in all likelihood involved a giving and receiving on both sides. There are parallels between the Indian sutradhara and sutradhari and the Greek archimimus and archimima. Evidence for the mutual influence as opposed to a receiving role of Sanskrit theater is that women, who were excluded all other forms of Greek drama but were performing in India well before any interaction with the Greeks, were allowed to perform in Greek mime.


Kutiyattam of Kerala is a form of Indian theatre that has survived intact from ancient times. Kutiyattam retains many performance aspects from ancient Sanskrit drama and potentially from Greek drama as well. Kutyattam and Greek drama very likely had much interaction given how closely they resemble each other in certain ways: both types of performance take place in temples; both do a mixture of dance, drama, and music (Indian nritha, nataka, and gana, and Greek mousikê); both use the same types of instruments (wind, cymbals, drums); and neither uses realistic scenery, but rather uses representations. Mani Madhava Chakyar and his troop performing Thoranayudham koodiyattam ( 1962- Chennai). ...


Insight into Greek actors' performances can perhaps be found through study of Kutiyattam. It is well known that correct and clear pronunciation was highly valued in Greek drama. The same is true of Kutiyattam. In Kutiyattam, diction must be slow so that the accompanying hand gestures, mudras, could be understood. The Greeks, too, had these hand gestures: cheironomia. Every word was associated with different hand gesture in both forms of drama, and as each word was required to be accompanied by its gesture, the performance of a Greek drama was certainly not quick. Performances may not have been as lengthy as Kutiyattam, which took days to weeks to complete, but it makes sense that it took - and in the dionysia festival is known to have taken - a complete day to do five fifteen-hundred line plays.[7] The Dionysia was a large religious festival in ancient Athens in honour of the god Dionysus, the central event of which was the performance of tragedies and comedies. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Merriam-Webster definition of tragedy
  2. ^ William Ridgeway, Origin of Tragedy with Special Reference to the Greek Tragedians, p.83
  3. ^ Brockett, Oscar G. "History of the Theatre". Allyn and Bacon, 1999. USA. p.16-17
  4. ^ Herodotus, Histories, 6/21. [1]
  5. ^ Brockett, Oscar G. "History of the Theatre". Allyn and Bacon, 1999. USA. p.17
  6. ^ Paper on the Athens Theatre
  7. ^ Free, Katherine B., Greek Drama and the Kutiyattam, Theatre Journal, Vol. 33, No. 1. (Mar., 1981), pp. 80-89.

Sir William Ridgeway (6 August 1858–12 August 1926) was a classical scholar and Disney Professor of Archaeology. ...

References

  • Buckham, Philip Wentworth, Theatre of the Greeks, London 1827.
  • Davidson, J.A., Literature and Literacy in Ancient Greece, Part 1, Phoenix, 16, 1962, pp. 141-56.
  • ibid., Peisistratus and Homer, TAPA, 86, 1955, pp. 1-21.
  • Easterling, Pat and Hall, Edith (eds.), Greek and Roman Actors: Aspects of an Ancient Profession, 2002. [2]
  • Else, Gerald P.
    • Aristotle's Poetics: The Argument, Cambridge, MA 1967.
    • The Origins and Early Forms of Greek Tragedy, Cambridge, MA 1965.
    • The Origins of ΤΡΑΓΩΙΔΙΑ, Hermes 85, 1957, pp. 17-46.
  • Haigh, A.E., The Attic Theatre, 1907.
  • Lesky, A. Greek Tragedy, trans. H.A., Frankfurt, London and New York 1965.
  • Pickard-Cambridge, Sir Arthur Wallace
    • Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy , Oxford 1927.
    • The Theatre of Dionysus in Athens, Oxford 1946.
    • The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, Oxford 1953.
  • Ridgeway, William, Origin of Tragedy with Special Reference to the Greek Tragedians, 1910.
  • Riu, Xavier, Dionysism and Comedy, 1999. [3]
  • Schlegel, August Wilhelm, Literature, Geneva 1809. [4]
  • Sourvinou-Inwood, Christiane, Tragedy and Athenian Religion, Oxford:University Press 2003.
  • Wiles, David, The Masked Menander: Sign and Meaning in Greek and Roman Performance, 1991.
  • Wise, Jennifer, Dionysus Writes: The Invention of Theatre in Ancient Greece, Ithaca 1998. review
  • Zimmerman, B., Greek Tragedy: An Introduction, trans. T. Marier, Baltimore 1991.

Phoenix, originally The Phoenix, is one of two journals of the Classical Association of Canada (the other is Mouseion), and the oldest classics journal published in Canada. ... Sir William Ridgeway (6 August 1858–12 August 1926) was a classical scholar and Disney Professor of Archaeology. ... August Wilhelm von Schlegel (September 8, 1767 - May 12, 1845), German poet, translator and critic, was born at Hanover, where his father, Johann Adolf Schlegel (1721-1793), was a Lutheran pastor. ...

See also

// Main article: Sanskrit Plays Folk theatre and dramatics can be traced to the religious ritualism of the Vedic peoples. ... Look up agon in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... // This evolution is much simpler than that of its sister art, tragedy, mainly because there is little exact information regarding its origin and earlier development. ... Buskin is a sort of knee- or calf- length boot made of leather or cloth. ... A comedy is a dramatic performance of a light and amusing character, usually with a happy conclusion to its plot. ... Hesiod and the Muse, 1891 - Oil on canvas, Musee dOrsay, Paris Gustave Moreau. ... For other uses, see Thalia (disambiguation). ... This article is about theatrical performances in ancient Rome. ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ...

External links

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