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Dithyramb
(963 words)

[German version]

(ὁ διθύραμβος; dithýrambos). Choral song in honour of  Dionysus. The origin and meaning of this term has caused much speculation since ancient times. The word itself is certainly not a Greek, perhaps a Phrygian composition; most likely from a combination of íambos (ἴαμβος; two-step) and thríambos (θρίαμβος; three-step) [1]. In a contested passage of his Poetics (Aristot. Poet. 4,1449a 10-13) Aristotle makes the dithyramb the harbinger of tragedy ─ or, say others [2], of comedy.

Three phases can be distinguished in the history of the genre: the pre-litera…

Cite this page
Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg), “Dithyramb”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 10 August 2020 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/1574-9347_bnp_e321540>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510



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