The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Panotlia – Pantomfmus

PANTOMIMUS.

religious worship was not the only object for which they assembled at the Panionium ; on certain emer­gencies, especially in case of any danger threaten­ing their country, the Icnians discussed at these meetings political questions, and passed resolutions which were binding upon all. (Herod, i. 141, 170.) But the political union among the lonians appears nevertheless to have been very loose, and their confederacy to have been without any regular in­ternal organization, for the Lydians conquered one Ionian town after another, without there appearing anything like the spirit of a political confederacy ; and we also find that single cities concluded sepa­rate treaties for themselves, and abandoned their confederates to their fate. (Herod, i. 169.)

Diodorus (xv. 49) says that in later times the lonians used to hold their meeting in the neigh­bourhood of Ephesus instead of at Mycale. Strabo, on the other hand, who speaks of the Panionic panegyris as still held in his own time, does not only not mention any such change, but appears to imply that the panegyris was at all times held on the same spot, viz. on mount Mycale. Diodorus therefore seems to consider the Ephesian panegyris [ephesia] as having been instituted instead of the Panionia. But both panegyreis existed simul­taneously, and were connected with the worship of two distinct divinities, as is clear from a com­parison of two passages of Strabo, viii. p. 384, xiv. p. 639.

(Compare Tittmann's Griech. Staatsv. p. 668, &c. ; Thirl wall, Hist, of Greece, ii. p. 102 ; C. F. Hermann, Lehrb. der Gottesd. Alterth. § 66. n. 2, 3.) [L. S.j

PANOTLIA. [arma.]

PANTOMFMUS is the name of a kind of actors peculiar to the Romans, who very nearly re­sembled in their mode of acting the modern dancers in the ballet. They did not speak on the stage, but merely acted by gestures, movements, and atti­tudes. All movements, however, were rhythmical like those in the ballet, whence the general term for them is saltatio, saltare; the whole art was called musica muta (Cassiodor. Var. i. 20) ; and to represent Niobe or Leda was expressed by saltare Nioben and saltare Ledam.

Mimic dancers of this kind are common to all nations, and hence we find them in Greece and Italy ; in the former country they acquired a degree of perfection of which we can scarcely form an idea. But pantomimes in a narrower sense were peculiar to the Romans, to whom we shall therefore confine ourselves. During the time of the republic the name pantomimus does not occur, though the art itself was known to the Romans at an early period ; for the first histriones said to have been introduced from Etruria were in fact nothing but pantomimic dancers [HiSTRio, p. 612], whence we find that under the empire the names histrio and pantomimus were used as synonymous. The pantomimic art, however, was not carried to any degree of perfec­tion until the time of Augustus ; whence some writers ascribe its invention to Augustus himself, or to the great artists who flourished in his reign. (Suidas, s. v. "Opxrjcris iravTo/juf-ios.) The greatest pantomimes of this time were Bathyllus, a freedman and favourite of Maecenas, and Pylades and Hylas. (Juv. vi. 63; Suet. Aug. 45 ; Macrob. Sat. ii. 7 ; Athen. i. p. 70.) The great popularity which the pantomimes acquired at Rome in the time of Augustus through these distinguished actorss was

PANTOMIMUS.

the cause of their spreading not only in Italy but also in the provinces, and Tiberius found it neces­sary to put a check upon the great partiality foi them: he forbade all senators to frequent the houses of such pantomimes, and the equites were not allowed to be seen.walking with them in the streets of Rome, or to attend their performances in any other place than the public theatres, for wealthy Romans frequently engaged male and female pan­tomimes to amuse their guests at their repasts. (Tacit. Annal. i. 77.) But Caligula was so fond of pantomimes that one of them, M. Lepidus Mnester, became his favourite ; and through his influence the whole class of pantomimes again r covered their ascendancy. (Suet. Calig. 36, 55, 57 ; Tacit. Annal. xiv. 21.) Nero not only patronised them, but acted himself as pantomime (6uet. Nero, 16, 26), and from this time they retained the highest degree of popularity at Rome down to the latest period of the empire.

As regards their mode of acting, we must first state that all pantomimes wore masks, so that the features of the countenance were lost in their act­ing. All the other parts of their body, however, were called into action, and especially the arms and hands, whence the expressions manus loquacis-simae, digiti clamosi, xelpes ira^fywvoi, &c. Not­withstanding their acting with masks, the ancients agree that the pantomimes expressed actions, feel ings, passions, &c., more beautifully, correctly, and intelligibly than it would be possible to do by speaking or writing. They were, however, as­sisted in their acting by the circumstance that they only represented n^thological characters, which were known to every spectator. (Juv. vi. 63, v. 121; Horat. Epist. ii. 2. 125; Sueton. Nero, 54; Veil. Pat. ii. 83.) There were, moreover, certain conventional gestures and movements which every body understood. Their costume appears to have been like that of the dancers in a ballet, so as to show the beauty of the human form to the greatest advantage; though the costume of course varied according to the various characters which were re­presented. See the manner in which Plancus is described by Velleius (ii. 83) to have danced the character of Glaucus. In the time of Augustus there was never more than one dancer at a time on the stage, and he represented all the characters of the story, both male and female, in succession. (Lucian, de Saltat. c. 67; Jacobs, ad AnthoL ii. 1, p. 308.) This remained the custom till towards the end of the second century of our aera, when the several parts of a story began to be acted by several pantomimes dancing together. Women, during the earlier period of the empire, never ap­peared as pantomimes on the stage, though they did not scruple to act as such at the private parties of the great. During the latter time of the empire women acted as pantomimes in public, and in some cases they threw aside all regard to decency, and appeared naked before the public. The Christian writers therefore represent the pantomimic exhibi­tions as the school of every vice and licentiousness, (Tertull. deSpect. p. 269, ed. Paris; see also Senec. Quaest. Nat. vii. 32 ; Plin. Epist. v. 24; Ammian. Marc. xiv. 6 ; Procop. Anecdot. 9.)

Mythological love stories were from the first ths favourite subjects of the pantomimes (Ovid. Itemed. Am. 753), and the evil effects of such sensual re* presentations upon women are described in strong colours by Juvenal (vi. 635 &c.). Every represent"

Pages
About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index

861

862

863
letter/word  
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.