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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…

Hypothesis

(474 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
(ὑπόθεσις; hypóthesis). Introduction, summary. [German version] A. History of literature Three types can be distinguished in tragedy: 1. The hypothéseis of  Aristophanes [4] of Byzantium found in the Peripatetic tradition ( Dicaearchus fr. 78 Wehrli); they contain a brief summary, point to the treatment of the same material by another tragedian, name the setting, the identity of the chorus and the speaker of the prologue and give further information on the play's performance (dating, title of the author's other p…

Perdix

(132 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Πέρδιξ/ Pérdix , also called Talus or Calus), great-grandson of Erechtheus, nephew of  Daedalus [1], whose skill he surpassed - he is considered the inventor of, among other things, the saw and the compass (Ov. Met. 8,246ff.; Hyg. Fab. 39; Verg. G. 1,143) - and who therefore threw him to his death from the Acropolis  (Soph. fr. 323 TrGF; Hyg. Hab. 39). In Ov. Met. 8,251-253 P. is rescued by Athena, who turns him into a partridge ( perdix), which watches the burial of Daedalus's son Icarus [1], who also fell to his death, maliciously applauding with its wings ( ibid. 236ff.). Ac…

Didaskaliai

(700 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
(αἱ διδασκαλίαι; hai didaskalíai). [German version] I. Greek Derived from the verb διδάσκειν, the singular didaskalía has the general meaning of ‘teaching’, ‘instruction’ (Pind. Pyth. 4,102; Xen. Cyr. 8,7,24) and in a special sense of ‘choral training’ (Pl. Grg. 501e); in the plural it is a technical term for lists of dramatic and choral productions with associated details: year of performance (archon), poet, title, festival, choregos, actors. The entries were made in the archive of the authority responsible for the production, such at least was the case in A…

Thespis

(238 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Θέσπις; Théspis) from Icarium [1] in the Attic deme of Icaria [1. 49], according to one tradition attested on the  Marmor Parium (43) the ‘inventor’ ( prôtos heuretḗs ) of tragedy (TrGF I 1 T 2), according to another (Suda θ 282 = T 1) the sixteenth or second tragedian after Epigenes [0] of Sicyon. Between 535/4 and 532/1, he is supposed to have presented the first tragedy at the great Dionysia in Athens (but cf. [3]) and is considered to be the inventor of theatrical masks (made of linen, T 1). By adding a prologue ( prólogos) and a  rhêsis , he transf…

Deus ex machina

(407 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Θεὸς ἀπὸ μηχανῆς; theòs apò mēchanês). Crane-like stage machinery (μηχανή, γέρανος, κράδη; mēchanḗ, géranos, krádē) that became proverbial as early as the 4th cent. BC, by which a deity could suddenly appear hovering and traversing the air, and imbue the plot with fresh momentum or bring it to an end (cf. Pl. Cleit. 407a; Crat. 425d; Antiphanes 189,13-16 PCG; Alexis 131,9 PCG; Men. Theophorumene fr. 5 Sandbach = 227 Körte; Cic. Nat. D. 1,53). Its use in the parodies of Aristophanes (Pax 174ff.…

Choregia

(217 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (ἡ χορηγία; hē chorēgía). Office of the choregos; from c. 500 BC a special form of   leitourgia in Athens. The choregia was imposed on prosperous citizens by the appropriate archon, and young notables were glad to use this kind of leiturgia in order to win political esteem (in 472 Pericles was choregos for Aeschylus' ‘Persians; cf. also Thuc. 6,16,3 on Alcibiades). The political significance of the choregia becomes especially clear in the dithyrambic agon, where it is not the poet but the choregos who is named in the inscription ( Didaskaliai). Towards the end o…

Sosiphanes

(83 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
(Σωσιφάνης; Sōsiphánēs). [German version] [1] Tragedian, died 336/333 or 324/321 BC S. of Syracuse, tragedian (TrGF I 92), died 336/333 or 324/321 BC. The Suda (σ 863) credits him with 73 plays and 7 victories. Meléagros is attested as a title. Inclusion in the Pleiad of tragic poets (TrGF T 1) relates to S. [2]. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg) [German version] [2] Tragedian, born 306/5 BC Tragedian (TrGF I 103), born 306/5 BC, numbered among the Pleiad of tragic poets. Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Philicus

(114 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Φίλικος; Phílikos) of Corcyra (Corfu). Poet and tragedian, priest of Dionysus at Alexandria in the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246 BC). Member of the Pleias, often confused with Philiscus [4] of Aegina (TrGF I 89; I 104 T1, T4). Nothing survives of the 24 tragedies attributed to him. A large section is preserved of a hymn to Demeter in stichic catalectic choriambic hexameters (SH 676-680). In it, Demeter is consoled for the loss of her daughter with the prospect of cultic honours at Eleusis and by the wit of the maiden Iambe (in direct speech). Zimmermann, Bernhar…

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)

Polyphrasmon

(60 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (Πολυφράσμων/ Polyphrásmōn). Son of Phrynichus [1], tragedian, first victory between 482 and 471 (DID A 3a, 13), successful at the Dionysia in 471  (DID A 1, 22). In 467 he is recorded as third to Aeschylus [1], who won with his Theban trilogy, and Pratinas' son Aristias [2] with his trilogy Lykourgeia (TrGF I 7). Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)

Stichomythia

(484 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (στιχομυθία/ stichomythía). A form of dialogue in ancient drama in which two persons - or, more rarely, three -  speak in regular turns. It was first documented as a technical term in Poll. 4,113, but a description of the dramatic technique of 'dialogue intensification' [6] appears as early as in Aeschylos [1] (Eum. 585 f.). The origins of stichomythia are unknown (initiation rites: [8. 201], folk customs: [2. 95-106]). Under the general heading of the technique of stichomythia, sc…

Rhesis

(452 words)

Author(s): Zimmermann, Bernhard (Freiburg)
[German version] (ἡ ῥῆσις/ hē rhêsis), generally 'speech' (Hom. Od. 21,291). As early as the 5th cent. BC, rhesis was a technical term for a speech in a play, especially in a tragedy (for the concept cf. Aristoph. Ach. 416, Nub. 1371, Vesp. 580, Ran. 151; Aristot. Poet. 1454a 31, 1456a 31). The length of a rhesis varies from c. 7 to over 100 verses (Eur. Ion 1122-1228, Phoen. 1090-1199, Bacch. 1043-1152). The most important function of rhḗseis in the context of the storyline is to supply information. The requisite details which are important for the storyline are frequen…
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