The Ancient Library

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On this page: Drachma – Draco – Dracontius – Drama



(1) *HIKB POUBINO A LIBATION BEFORE A CHORAOIC TRIPOD. Inscribed 'AKaMa^Tis ivixo, £iiAtf : rAav<cwk KoAds.

(Panofka, H-utte Blactu, pi. 1; now in British Museum.)

with a literal Greek translation, which was not fully completed. With this was bound op (whether by Dositheus himself is un­certain) a miscellany of very various con­tents by another author. This comprises Cl) anecdotes of the Emperor Hadrian, (2) fables of .fisop, (3) an important chapter on jurisprudence, (4) mythological stories from Hygmus, (5) an abridgment of the Iliad, (6) an interesting collection of words and phrases from ordinary conversation.

Drachma (Greek). A weight and coin = 6 obols, = y^j of a mina or ^5Vo °f a talent. Before the time of Solon it = 6'03 grs., or rather more than a shilling. After Solon it maintained the same value as a weight, but as a coin (the Attic dr.) it sank to 4'366 grs., about Sd. (See coinage.)

Draco. The standard of the Roman cohort. (See signum.)

Dracontlus (Blosslus ^Emilius), A Latin poet who lived and practised as an advocate at Carthage towards the end of the 5th century a.d. He was a man of real poetic gifts and con­siderable reading, but his style is spoiled by rhetorical exaggeration and false taste. His surviving works are ; (1) a number of short epics upon sub­jects taken from the old mythology and school-room rhetoric. (2) An apo­logetic poam (Satisfactld) addressed in the form of an elegy to Guthamund, king of the Vandals, whose wrath he had excited by writing a panegyric on a foreign prince. (3) A Christian didactic poem in three books. This is a really poetical treatment of the story of the creation.

Drama. (1) Greece, In Athens the produc­tion of plays was a state affair, not a private undertaking. It formed a great part of the religious festival of the DiSnysIa, in which the drama took its rise (see dionysia); and it was only at the greater Dionysia that pieces could be performed during the author's lifetime. The performances lasted three days, and took the form of musical contests, the competitors being three tragic poets with their tetralogies, and five comic poets with one piece each. The authority who superintended the whole was the archon, to whom the poets had to bring their plays for reading, and apply for a chorus. If the pieces were accepted and the chorus granted, the citizens who were liable for the ChdrSgia undertook at their own cost to practise and furnish for them one chorus each. (See leitourgia.) The poets

whose plays were accepted receive?! an honorarium from the state. The state also supplied the regular number of actors, and made provision for the maintenance of order during the performances. At the end of the performance a certain number of persons (usually five), was chosen by lot from a com­mittee nominated by the senate, to award the prizes (AgGnSthStce), and bound them by oath to give their judgment on the plays, the chdrggl, and the actors. The poet who won the first prize was presented with a crown in the presence of the assembled multitude—the highest distinction that used to be conferred on a dramatic author at Athens. The victorious chSregus also received a crown, with the permission to

dedicate a votive offering to Dionysus. This was generally a tripod, which was set up either in the theatre, or in the temple of the deity, or in the " Street of Tripods," so named from this custom, an inscription being put on it recording the event (fig. 1), The actors in the successful play received prizes of money, besides the usual hono­raria.

From the time of Sophocles the actors in a play were three in number. They had to represent all the parts, those of women included, which involved their changing their costume several times during the performance. The three actors were distinguished as PrOtagOnistes, DeutSra-gdnistes, and Trltdgonistes, according to the importance of their parts. If the piece required a fourth actor, which was seldom the case, the chorcgus had to pro-

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All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.