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Prologue

(1,052 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
(ὁ πρόλογος/ ho prólogos, Lat. prologus, prologium). [German version] A. Concept In his list of the individual elements (μέρη/ mérē) of tragedy in the 'Poetics', Aristotle defines the prologue as a complete section of a tragedy preceding the chorus' párodos (Aristot. Poet. 13,1452b 22 f.) [9. 471 f.]. However, the term prólogos was already in use in the technical sense before Aristotle: in 'The Frogs', Aristophanes subtitles the prologue the 'first part of a tragedy' (Aristoph. Ran. 1120: τὸ πρῶτον τῆς τραγῳδίας μέρος/ tò prôton tês tragōidías méros), which, however, can have ref…

Drama

(450 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] Derived from the verb δρᾶν ( drân), predominantly attested in Attic, the noun δρᾶμα ( drâma; ‘action’, ‘deed’ in a general sense) is the antonym of ‘what is experienced’ (πάθος/ páthos) (Aesch. Ag. 533); it can also mean ‘duty’, ‘task’ (Pl. Tht. 150a, Resp. 451c ). For the most part, though, drama is a technical term meaning ‘theatrical play’ (tragedy, comedy, satyr play) in the context of its performance (Aristoph. Ran. 920); it appears in the plural form in the title of Aristophanes' play Δράματα ἢ Νίοβος ( Drā́mata ē Níobos; fr. 289-298 PCG III2; fr. 299-304 PCG III2), in T…

Spintharus

(65 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Σπίνθαρος; Spíntharos). Tragic poet (TrGF I 40), according to Suda σ 945 author of a Heracles burned and a ‘ Semele struck by lightning. Since Heraclides [16] Ponticus (fr. 13 Wehrli) describes him as an old man, he cannot be identical to the Phrygian S. mentioned in Aristoph. Av. 762, but must have lived in the 4th cent. BC. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Euphantus

(61 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] of Olynthus (TrGF 1, 118; FGrH 74), end of the 4th, beginning of the 3rd cent. BC; according to Diog. Laert. 2,110 teacher of  Antigonus [2] Gonatas, to whom he dedicated a work ‘On the Rule of Kings’ (Περὶ βασιλείας; Perì basileías). Writer of a history of the Diadochi period and of several successful tragedies. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Greek tragedy

(3,204 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) [German version] A. Antiquity and Middle Ages (CT) The following article is only concerned with the performance of plays by the three main Greek tragedians and the various tendencies of their productions in modern times. It is not possible in this context to deal with adaptations, new arrangements or reworkings, nor with the reception of Greek tragedy as a whole in the history of European cultural and intellectual history. The seminal year marking a decisive change in the practice of performing dramatic plays in Athens was 386 BC, bec…

Euripides

(4,470 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
(Εὐριπίδης / Euripídēs) [German version] [1] Tragedian The Attic Tragedian. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) [German version] A. Biography The most important evidence comes from the vita passed down to us in several MSS, the  Marmor Parium, the  Suda, Gell. NA 15,20 and the vita by  Satyrus. Only a few details of E.'s life can be considered certain: born between 485 and 480 BC on Salamis, son of a Mnesarchus or Mnesarchides. He took part in the Great Dionysia for the first time in 455, achieving his first victory in 441. During his lifet…

Epirrhematic

(88 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] Derived from tó epírrhēma (τό ἐπίρρημα, ‘that which is said afterwards’), i.e. the speech following a lyric part. The succession of lyrical and spoken (or rather recited) parts is referred to as an epirrhematic composition. Aeschylus frequently used this form in semi-lyrical  amoibaia. In the Old Comedy, epirrhematic composition can be found in the  parabasis and in the epirrhematic agon. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) Bibliography Th. Gelzer, Der epirrhematische Agon bei Aristophanes, 1960 B. Zimmermann, Unt. zur Form und dramatischen Technik der Ar…

Pythangelus

(21 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Πυθάγγελος; Pythángelos). Tragedian of the 5th cent. BC, mentioned only in Aristoph. Ran. 87. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Sinis

(85 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Greek Σίνις/Sínis, robber). One of the scoundrels who are killed by Theseus in their own vicious manner ( e.g. Bacchyl. 18,19-22): S., a son of Poseidon with the cognomen Pityokámptēs ('spruce bender'), is a brigand on the Corinthian Isthmus who ties the arms and legs of travellers to spruce trees that he bent down before. When he lets the trees shoot up, the victims are torn apart. He dies in the same fashion following the principle of Talion Law. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Messenger scenes

(478 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] Longer rhesis in drama, in which other characters or the chorus are informed, either behind or off scene, of events that have taken place before or during the dramatic action and that could not represented on stage either because of the means or the conventions of Attic drama. These reports, furnished with all available rhetorical means, are usually presented by a main or a supporting figure (Eur. Heraclid. 389ff; Soph. El. 680ff.), but often by a nameless messenger specifically introduced for this purpose (ἄγγελοι/ ángeloi or ἔξαγγελοι/ éxangeloi, if the message co…

Mnesilochus

(103 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
(Μνησίλοχος/ Mnēsílochos). [German version] [1] see Mnasilochus See Mnasilochus Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) [German version] [2] Father-in-law of Euripides Father-in-law of Euripides [1], of the deme of Phlya. In our sources, the daughter's name varies between Choerile and Melito. In the hypothesis to Aristophanes' ‘Thesmophoriazousai the kēdēstḗs (close relative) of Eupolis is incorrectly identified with M. (also in manuscript R). Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) Bibliography U. v. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Euripides, Herakles I 1895, 7. [German version] [3] Secon…

Critias

(386 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Κριτίας; Kritías) of Athens, born about 460 BC, descended from an old Attic noble family, on his mother's side he was an uncle of  Plato. Like  Alcibiades [3] he belonged to the circle around  Socrates. Politically he belonged to the antidemocratic forces: in 415 he was accused of participating in the mutilation of the  Herms, in 411 he was a member of the oligarchic council of the 400 ( Tetrakosioi). After the democratic restoration he stayed in Thessaly until 404, after the Athe…

Greek comedy

(2,016 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) [German version] A. Antiquity and Middle Ages (CT) In contrast to Greek tragedies, where repeat performances had been officially permitted since 386 BC, there is no epigraphical evidence of any repeat performances of 'ancient' comedies prior to 339 BC. It appears, though, that not the 5th cent.-comedies, but those by contemporary authors or by poets of the immediate past, i.e. those from the periods of the Middle and New Comedy, were performed again.The Old Comedy of the 5th…

Parodos

(451 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (ἡ πάροδος/ hē párodos, literally 'entrance, entry song of the chorus'). In his list of components common to all tragedies, Aristotle [6] defined parodos in his Poetics (12, 1452 b22f.) as the first chorus part, with an additional sense of 'entry song' or 'entry speech' (cf. Aristot. Eth. Nic. 1123 a23f.). However, structural analysis should not be limited to rigid, schematic definitions, but also consider the construction and development of dramatic action (σύστασις τῶν πραγμάτων, ibid.). In Attic tragedy, the parodos may open the play (Aesch. Pers. and Supp…

Intrigue

(195 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (τὸ μηχάνημα, τὸ τέχνημα; tò mēchánēma, tò téchnēma). Already Hom. Od., bks. 19-24 shows the close link between recognition scenes ( Anagnorisis) and intrigue that is typical of Attic tragedy. Locus classicus is Aesch. Cho. Intrigue is missing from almost none of Euripides' plays, so that Aristoph. Thesm. 94 can rightly call him the ‘master of the intrigue play’. Euripides composes anagnṓrisis-intrigue dramas especially in his later work. After the recognition, rescue is effected by an intrigue (e.g. Eur. IT 1017ff.; Eur. Hel. 1034ff.). In Ion there is a playful …

Exodos

(280 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (ἔξοδος, generally ‘departure’, ‘end’). According to Aristot. Poet. 1452b 21f., the exodos is the part of a tragedy which is not followed by a chorus ( Stasimon) (concluding act). Moving from this broad definition, it probably makes more sense to define the exodos in a narrower sense as the exit of the chorus at the end of a drama (cf. Aristoph. Vesp. 582). The most frequent form in tragedy is the ‘ ecce conclusion’: the deed and the doer are presented in a pathos-laden concluding scene (initially usually indirectly by means of a messenger's report […

Katharsis

(608 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (ἡ κάθαρσις; hē kátharsis). Katharsis, derived from καθαίρειν ( kathaírein, purge), generally means any type of purgation and elimination of visible (dirt) and invisible uncleanliness (religious defilement: míasma, cf. Hdt. 1,35; Aristot. Poet. 17,1455b 15). In the 2nd half of the 5th cent. BC the term was used as medical term for the removal of harmful substances from the human body or soul (LSJ, s.v. κ. II). The cultic-ritual and medical-psychological meanings have merged in Aristotle's concept of katharsis, which of old has been a matter of scholarly con…

Mesatus

(23 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] Greek tragedian, who enjoyed success at the Dionysia several times after 468 BC (TrGF I 11). Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Morychus

(32 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] Tragedian from the closing years of the 5th cent. BC; according to the scholia on Aristophanes he was known for his gluttony (TrGF I 30 T 1-3). Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Polychares

(21 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Πολυχάρης/ Polychárēs). Early 4th cent. BC poet, uncertain whether of tragedy or dithyramb (DID B 6). Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
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