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Ambivius Turpio

(143 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] Impresario, director and actor; leader of a troupe of actors in Rome in the 2nd cent. BC. He provided successful performances for the aediles who organized the plays, at the same time supporting authors who enjoyed his confidence:  Caecilius and esp.  Terentius. He performed the latter's Phormio to the author's entire satisfaction (Donatus on Ter. Phorm. 315). He also twice took on the role of a supportive and combative prologue: for the Heautontimoroumenos and for the 3rd performance of the Hecyra (160 BC). His advocacy of intellectual comedy and purity of diction ( pura…

Masada

(348 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] This item can be found on the following maps: Dead Sea (textual finds) (Greek Μασάδα, Masáda; Hebrew mṣdh, Arabic Tall al-Sab). The name, which is recorded only in Greek and Latin, is probably derived from the Aramaic meṣādā (‘fortress’). It stands in isolation on a rocky plateau on the western shore of the Dead Sea, a rhomboid 600 m north-south and 300 m east-west; 50 m above sea-level with steep cliffs c. 350 m above ground level in the east and c. 150 m in the west. Jos. BI 7,280-294 offers a detailed description, and it is mentioned in Plin. HN 5,73 and S…

Mechane

(320 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] The Greeks called any mechanical device μηχανή but in the narrow sense it referred to the Greek theatre machinery: a crane installed behind the stage as a flying apparatus that can be swung into the scene to take the characters in a drama to a remote location or cause gods to appear up high. The mechane is referred to in drama texts and later sources under many names: κρεμάθρα ( kremáthra, ‘suspension device’, Aristoph. Nub. 218), γέρανος ( géranos, ‘crane’ [in both senses], Poll. 4,130), αἰώρημα ( aiṓrēma, ‘swing’, schol. Aristoph. Pax 80), κράδη ( krádē, ‘fig branch’, Ari…

Callippides

(224 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (Καλλιππίδης; Kallippídēs). Tragic actor of the 5th/4th cents. BC, who, popular and controversial, was remembered long after his death. He himself was many times the victorious  protagonist, for example at the Lenaia of the year 418, but the tetralogy of his poet did not win a prize [1]. His expressive gesticulation, aimed at producing a realistic effect, was modern in its style; it displeased Mynniscus who had once appeared with Aeschylus and who described the young colleague as a…

Theorikon

(135 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (θεωρικόν; theōrikón). Public payment to Attic citizens for participating in festivals, particularly dramatic performances. The introduction of the t. (also in the plural θεωρικά/ theōriká sc. χρήματα/ chrḗmata) was sometimes ascribed to Pericles [1], who was suspected of bribing the people with it (Plut. Pericles 9), sometimes to Agyrrhius, who c. 400 BC had expenses paid to participants in the Ekklēsía; there is no contemporary evidence, however. Apparently, Eubulus [1] was c. 350 the first to regularly use public money for subsidising visits to th…

Deuteragonistes

(154 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (δευτεραγωνιστής; deuteragōnistḗs). ‘Second actor’, introduced by Aeschylus, but the designation deuteragonistes is more recent. Whilst the ‘first actor’ ( prōtagōnistḗs) traditionally took on the main role ( Átossa, Oidípous, Mḗdeia) and could identify with this, the deuteragonistes ─ or even the ‘third actor’ ( tritagōnistḗs) ─ had to cope with a large number of different roles. The amount of text that had to be mastered by the deuteragonistes was considerable and rapid mask changes required great declamatory skill but brought less fame than th…

Aesopus, Clodius

(163 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] Tragedian in 1st-cent. BC Rome; respected freedman ( nostri familiaris Cic. Ad Q. Fr. 1,2,14), achieved wealth as a ‘star’. Scattered mentions provide no coherent picture of his art. In the role of Atreus, carried away by emotion, he is said to have killed a servant with his sceptre (Plut. Cicero 5,5), but  Cicero says his anger was simulated (Cic. Tusc. 4,55). His use of facial expression was praised (Cic. Div. 1,80); however Fronto (p. 143,13-14) emphasizes his intensive study of masks […

Hypokrites

(1,294 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
(ὑποκριτής; hypokritḗs). [German version] I. Concept The underlying verb ὑποκρίνομαι ( hypokrínomai) means in Homer ‘to make a decision upon request’, ‘to interpret’ (on omens: Hom. Il. 12,228 or dreams: Hom. Od. 19,535; 555) or ‘to answer’ (Hom. Od. 2,111). The basic meaning of the noun hypokrites, which is first attested in the 5th cent. BC, was thus postulated now as ‘answerer’ (to questions of the director of the chorus), now as ‘interpreter’ (of the myth which the chorus performed). It refers to the speaker who appeared opposite the si…

Manducus

(168 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] Roman mask figure with an etymologically transparent name (derived from the verb mandere/manducare, meaning ‘chewer, ‘eater); its origin, however, is uncertain. According to Paul. Fest. 115 M. was brought along in the celebratory procession at the circus games ( pompa circensis; cf. [1]) as a tooth-gnashing monster to elicit laughter and fright. If we follow Varro (Ling. 7,95), this M. seems to have found his way into the improvisational Atellana fabula , where he was identified with the character of Dossennus [1] (whose name has b…

Cytheris

(167 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] Descriptive artist's name (‘belonging to Aphrodite’) of a Roman mime actress ( mima) of the 1st cent. BC; bought out of slavery by Volumnius Eutrapelus, her official name was Volumnia (Cic. Phil. 2,58). Nothing is known about her stage performances, but all the more about her erotic qualities. She attained notoriety as mistress of Antonius [I 9]: before his marriage to Fulvia in 47 she accompanied him on his public appearances in an open litter (Cic. Att. 10,10,5; Plut. Antonius 9,7). Cicero …

Archimimus

(119 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] ( archimimus). Probably an honorific for prominent actors in the  mime, independent of their role within the ensemble, so that there might be several archimimi in one troupe [1.179-181]. As women also took part in the Mime, there were archimimae (CIL VI 10106/7). The archimimus Sorix equalled the comic actor  Roscius in popularity (Plut. Sulla 36,2). Stars bore pseudonyms: Lepos (Porph. Hor. Sat. 2,6,72), Favor (Suet. Vesp. 19,6); list of names [2.1583]. As freed persons, archimimi played for day wages ( archimimus diurnus, CIL XIV 2408) or for a fixed salary ( archimimu…

Choregos

(180 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (χορηγός; chorēgós). Literally ‘chorus leader’ (in lyric texts); in Athens the ‘sponsor of a lyric or dramatic chorus. The choregoi themselves were responsible for assembling their chorus of citizens, looking after their upkeep during the month of rehearsals, seeing to the smooth running of rehearsals, which were led by the poet or by a professional chorodidaskalos, and above all for meeting the costs. (In Plautus the choregos became a lender of costumes; in Plaut. Curc. 462-486 he makes a metatheatrical appearance.) Many ancillary services ( parachoregema) were c…

Histrio

(1,128 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] I. Term Term for the Roman actor. Livy (7,2: according to Varro) reports that after a plague epidemic in 364 BC, dancers ( ludiones) with a flautist were called from Etruria in order to purify the city with a cultic ceremony. The local youth is said to have imitated their dances and added satirical verses until finally professional artists, for whom the Etruscan word histrio was used, developed this improvization further.  Livius Andronicus only had to add a fable to create the tragedy. This bold combination of Italian ludi scaenici and the Greek artistic drama contai…

Tritagonistes

(160 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (τριταγωνιστής; tritagōnistḗs). The third actor in a tragedic tetralogy, introduced by Sophocles [1]. In the competition for  best performer (at the Dionysia from 449 BC onwards) only the prōtagōnistḗs would take part. He would take the main role and possibly also powerful single-actor scenes, the two lesser actors (particularly the tritagonistes) would master a large number of different male and female roles; this would require linguistic and performing expression of great variety. In Soph.  OC two performers (Oedipus and Antigo…

Echeia

(173 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (ἠχεῖα; ēcheîa). Instruments/objects producing or amplifying sound (echo). Vitruvius refers to echia as bronze vessels with a wide opening, which were used for resonance reinforcement in the theatre (Vitr. De arch. 1,1,9; 5,5). Tuned to various keys, they were supposedly installed under the rows of seats according to mathematical calculations. They did not exist in Rome, but L. Mummius is said to have brought pieces of loot of this type back from Corinth. However, nothing in the theatre of C…

Protagonistes

(354 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (πρωταγωνιστής/ prōtagōnistḗs, 'first in competition', esp. 'first actor, chief presenter'). As a t.t., rare and attested only late; since the derived verb πρωταγωνιστεῖν/ prōtagōnisteîn was used in a metaphorical sense ('stand in the foreground') as early as Aristotle (Aristot. Poet. 1449a 18 and Pol. 1338b 30), however, the word prōtagōnistḗs may have its origin in the 5th cent. BC. In dramatic competitions much depended on the abilities of the prōtagōnistḗs. Aeschylus [1] personally undertook the leading parts in his tragedies, while Sophocles […

Maeson

(233 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (Μαίσων; Maísōn). In the catalogue of masks of Iulius [IV 17] Pollux (4,148; 150), M. is listed among the slave characters of the New Comedy as a man with a red fringe of hair around his bald head [1]. Athenaeus (14,659a) specifies the mask type as a local cook (in contrast to Tettix who comes from a foreign country) and names as his source Aristophanes of Byzantium (fr. 363 Slater). The latter derives M. from an actor of the same name from Megara (it has been debated since antiqui…

Bronteion

(146 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (βροντεῖον; bronteîon). Device for producing thunder in the theatre. Behind the scenes a leather sack filled with pebbles was made to collide with a bronze metal plate or stones were shaken in iron vessels (Poll. 4,130; Schol. Aristoph. Nub. 292), but late witnesses certainly are not reporting from their own experience. In tragedy, thunder provided a background for the appearance of gods or catastrophes sent by the gods, and the authors did not differentiate between rumbling in the…

Ekkyklema

(226 words)

Author(s): Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
[German version] (ἐκκύκλημα; ekkýklēma). Theatre machine, through which ‘interior scenes’ could be made visible: a platform which ‘rolled out’ of the fly tower. Since the word ekkyklema is not documented prior to Poll. 4,128 (Aristophanes, however, uses the related verbs) and since clear archaeological indications are lacking, the existence of such a device in the theatre of the 5th cent. was called into question despite better knowledge of the texts [1; 2]. The tragedians removed bloody acts of violence from the audienc…

Polus

(313 words)

Author(s): Narcy, Michel (Paris) | Blume, Horst-Dieter (Münster)
(Πῶλος; Pôlos). [German version] [1] Sophist from Agrigentum Sophist, from Agrigentum. Sometimes mentioned as a pupil of Empedocles (31 A 19 DK), sometimes of Gorgias (82 A 2 and 4 DK; Philostr. VS 1,13). This is why Plato makes him one of Socrates' conversation partners in his Gorgias (461b-481b). The technical treatise Μουσεῖα λόγων ( Mouseîa lógōn, lit. 'Rhetorical Museum'), attributed to him in Pl. Phdr. 267b-c, may also be the one that is alluded to in Pl. Grg. 462c. The Suda (s.v. Πῶλος) gives P. as the teacher of Licymnius [2]. Rhetoric; Sophists Narcy, Michel (Paris) …
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