The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Trabea – Tragedy



correspond to the directions from which the eight winds blow. The figures of these are represented in beautiful reliefs on the frieze, and beneath them on the marble walls are engraved the lines of the sundial. The culminating point of the sloping roof was once surmounted by a bronze Triton, placed on a Corinthian capital, so as to revolve and point with his staff to the figure of


Andronicits Cyrrhestea), athens.

the wind which was blowing at the time (see cut).

Trabda. The purple-striped cloak worn by Roman augurs and Roman Squites (q.v.).

Tragedy. (I) Tragedy in greece ori­ginated in the lyric dithyramb; i.e. in the song of a chorus at the rites held in honour of Dionysus. This song, in accordance with the cult of the god, expressed at one time exuberant joy, at another deep sorrow. The cult of Dionysus is also indicated by the Tery name of tragedy, signifying goat-song; i.e. (according to the usual explanation) the hymn sung by the chorus in their dance round the altar at the sacrifice of the goat, which was dedicated to Dionysus. Others derive the name from the fact that, to repre­sent Satyrs, the chorus were clad in goat­skins, and hence resembled goats. These choral songs seem to have received a certain dramatic form as early as the time of ArtOn, to whom the dithyramb owes its artistic development. The true drama, including tragic and satyric plays, was evolved sub­sequently in Athens.

Tradition ascribes the origin of tragedy to a contemporary of S6lon named Thespis,

| of Icarla, which was a chief seat of the cult of Dionysus. The date assigned to this is

! 540 B.C. Thespis was at the same time poet, leader of the chorus, and actor. According

| to the testimony of the ancients, his pieces

' consisted of a prologue, a series of choral songs, standing in close connexion with the action, and dramatic recitations introduced between the choruses. These recitations were delivered by the leader of the chorua, and were partly in the form of monologues, partly in that of short dialogues with the chorus, whereby the action of the play was advanced. The reciter was enabled to appear in different mles by the aid of linen or wooden masks. These also are said to have been contrived by the poet himself. The invention of Thespis, whose own pieces soon lapsed into oblivion, won the favour of Plsistratus and the approval of the Athenian public. Tragedy thus became a substantial element in the Attic festival of Dionysus. Thespis' immediate followers were Ctuerilus, Pratlnas (the inventor of the satyric drama), his son Aristids, and Phri/nlchus. Phrynichus especially did good service towards the development of tragedy by introducing an actor apart from the leader of the chorus, and so preparing the way for true dialogue. He further improved the chorus, which still, however, occupied a disproportionate space in com­parison with the action of the play.

Tragedy was really brought into being by sEschyhts, when he added a second actor (called the deutlragonistes) to the first, or protaganistes, and in this way rendered dialogue possible. He further subordinated the choruses to the dialogue.

SGphdcle's, in whom tragedy reaches its culminating point, added to jEschylus' two actors a third,OTtrltagonistes; and jEschylus accepted the innovation in his later plays. Thenceforward three actors were regularly granted by lot to each poet, at the public expense. Only rarely, and in exceptional cases, was a fourth employed. Sophocles also raised the number of the chorus from twelve to fifteen. The only other important innovation due to him was, that he gave up the internal connexion, preserved by jEschylus, among the several plays of a tetralogy which were presented in compe­tition by the tragic poets at the festival of Dionysus. (See tetralogia.)

The third great master of tragedy is Euripides, in whom, however, we already

About | First | Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.