Religion Past and Present

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(1,701 words)

[German Version]

I. Antiquity


The etymology of the word τραγῳδία/tragōdía indicates the genre’s cultic roots. Contrary to the traditional interpretation (“goat song”), Burkert understands the term to mean a song (ᾠδή/ōdé; Ode) accompanying the sacrifice of a ram (τράγος/trágos). Preliterary evidence of the performance of tragedies has been found in conjunction with the introduction of the cultic hymn to Dionysus (dithyramb; Drama: I) by Arion in Corinth (c. 600 bce) and in Sicyon (northern Pelop…

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Zimmermann, Bernhard and Bartsch, Eva, “Tragedy”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 23 October 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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