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By Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan

This Blackwell advisor introduces old Greek drama, which flourished largely in Athens from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC.
• A broad-ranging and systematically organised advent to old Greek drama.
• Discusses all 3 genres of Greek drama – tragedy, comedy, and satyr play.
• presents overviews of the 5 surviving playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophokles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, and short entries on misplaced playwrights.
• Covers contextual concerns reminiscent of: the origins of dramatic artwork types; the conventions of the gala's and the theatre; the connection among drama and the worship of Dionysos; the political size; and the way to learn and watch Greek drama.
• comprises forty six one-page synopses of every of the surviving plays.

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A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama

This Blackwell consultant introduces old Greek drama, which flourished largely in Athens from the 6th century BC to the 3rd century BC.
• A broad-ranging and systematically organised creation to historical Greek drama.
• Discusses all 3 genres of Greek drama – tragedy, comedy, and satyr play.
• presents overviews of the 5 surviving playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophokles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, and short entries on misplaced playwrights.
• Covers contextual concerns similar to: the origins of dramatic paintings varieties; the conventions of the fairs and the theatre; the connection among drama and the worship of Dionysos; the political size; and the way to learn and watch Greek drama.
• comprises forty six one-page synopses of every of the surviving plays.

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We have no firm evidence for the number of plays produced. An inscription of 418 shows that two tragedians produced two plays each, while another of 363 gives the number of tragic poets as three. For comedy the hypotheses to Acharnians (425-L), Knights (424-L), Wasps (422-L), and Frogs (405-L) record only three plays. Evidence from two Roman inscriptions suggests that five comedies were performed at the Lenaia before and after the Peloponnesian War (431–404). The Rural Dionysia was celebrated in the various local communities (“demes,” 139 in the classical period) of Attica, and there is considerable evidence for the performance of dithyramb, tragedy, and comedy in at least fifteen of the demes, principally the larger of them such as Acharnai, Eleusis, and Ikarion.

Dionysos himself is a character in Greek drama, but as we have pointed out above, not all that common in tragedy. If tragedy did develop from the choral songs accompanying his rituals, it may have been the case that there were not all that many myths about Dionysos that could become good drama. Early Greek myth was an incredibly fertile source of stories, of all kinds about all sorts of heroes. Homer had made the Greek war against Troy part of the common heritage of Greece; other song-cycles had arisen over the troubles at Thebes, the early history of Athens, and the boar-hunt at Kalydon.

Eratosthenes, a scholar at Alexandria in the third century, seems to suggest that the Lenaia was not considered on the same level as the Dionysia and that a relegation system was in operation (POxy. 2737. ii. 10–17): The thea[trical productions] were [of two types]: the Lenae[an appear not to have been equ]ally reputable, perhaps also because of the fact that in s[pring the al]lies had already c[ome from abroa]d to see [the performances and do b]usiness. With “t]o the city” the Dionysia is indicated.

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