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On this page: Daphne – Daphnis

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DAPHNK——DAPHNIS.

gatherings. The Greek orchestike, or art of dancing, differed much from the modern. Its aim was to ennoble bodily strength and activity with grace and beauty. Joined with music and poetry, dancing among the Greeks embodied the very spirit of the art of music, mainly because the imitative ele­ment predominated in it. For its main aim was to make gesture represent feeling, passion and action; and consequently the Greek dance was an exercise not only for the feet, but for the arms, hands and the whole body. The art at first observed the limits of a noble simplicity, but was per­fected, as time went on, in many directions. At the same time it inevitably tended to become more artificial. As in athletics, so in imitative dancing, mechanical execution was largely developed. This was to a great extent displayed in exhibitions of scenes from the mythology, which formed a favourite entertainment at banquets. On the other hand, a prejudice arose against dancing on the part of any one but pro­fessionals. For a grown-up person to per­form a dance, even at social entertainments, was regarded as an impropriety. The reli­gious performances, especially, as bound up with the worship of Apollo and Dionysus, consisted mainly in choral dances, whose movement varied according to the character of the god and of the festival. Sometimes it was a solemn march round the altar, some­times a livelier measure, in which there was a strong dash of imitation. This was espe­cially the case at the festivals of Dionysus. It was from these, as is well known, that the Greek drama was developed, and accord­ingly the dances formed a part of all dramas, varying according to the character of the piece (see chorus). Indeed, there was an infinite variety in the forms of the Greek dance. Not only had almost every country district its own, but foreign ones were in course of time adopted.

It must be noticed that in Greek society grown-up men and women were not allowed to dance together, but there were some dances which were performed together by the youth of both sexes. Among these was the Jlormtis, or chain-dance, performed by youths and maidens, holding their hands in a changing line, the youths moving in warlike measure, the girls with grace and softness. Another was the G&r&nos, or Crane. This dance was peculiar to Delos, and was said to have been first performed by Theseus after his deliverance from the Labyrinth, with the boys and girls whom

he had rescued. Its elaborate complica­tions were supposed to represent the mazes of the Labyrinth. At Sparta dances were practised, as a means of bodily training, by boys and girls. Among them two may be particularly mentioned: the Cdryatts, performed in honour of Artemis of Caryse, by the richest and noblest Spartan maidens; and the dances of boys, youths and men, at the festival of the Gymndpcedia, con­sisting in an imitation of various gymnastic exercises (see caryatides).

Among the Greek country dances was the Epllenws, or dance of the wine-press, which imitated the actions of gathering and pressing the grape. There were also warlike dances, which were specially popu­lar with the Dorians, and, like others, were partly connected with religious worship.

I One of the most celebrated of these was the Pyrrliiclie (see pyrrhic dance).

Roman. Dancing never played such a part in the national life of the Romans as it did in that of the Greeks. It is true that the ancient Roman worship included dances

' of the priests (see salii), and that the lower orders in the country were fond of dancing on festive occasions. But respectable Romans regarded it as inconsistent with their dignity. After the second Punic War. as Greek habits made their way into Italy, it became the fashion for young men and girls of the upper class to take lessons in dancing and singing. But dancing was never adopted in Rome as a necessary and effective instrument of education, nor was there any time when public dancing was allowed in society. Performances by pro­fessional artists, however (the longer the better), were a favourite entertainment, especially during the imperial period, when the art of mimic dancing attained an aston­ishing degree of perfection.

Daphne1. A nymph, daughter of the Thessaliau river-god Peneius, or according to another story, the Arcadian Ladon, was beloved both by Apollo and by Leucippus, the son of (EnSmaus. The latter followed her in a woman's dress, but was discovered and killed by the nymphs at the instance of his rival. Pursued again by Apollo, the chaste maiden was, at her own entreaty, changed into a bay tree, the tree consecrated to Apollo.

Daphnis. A hero of the Sicilian shep­herds, son of Hermes and of a nymph. A beautiful child, he was exposed by his mother in a grove of bay trees, brought up by nymphs and Pan, and taught by Pan to play

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