Panoramic view of the ancient theatre at Epidaurus. The classical Greek valued the power of spoken word, and it was their main method of communication and storytelling. Bahn and Bahn write, "To Greeks the spoken word was a living thing and infinitely preferable to the dead symbols of a written language. For these reasons, among many others, oral storytelling flourished in Greece.
It was probably a very ancient festival, perhaps not originally associated with Dionysus. This "rural Dionysia" was held during the winter, in the month of Poseideon the month straddling the winter solstice, i.
After the pompe procession was completed, there were contests of dancing and singing, and choruses led by a choregos would perform dithyrambs. Some festivals may have included dramatic performances, possibly of the tragedies and comedies that had been produced at the City Dionysia the previous year.
This was more common in the larger towns, such as Piraeus and Eleusis. Because the various towns in Attica held their festivals on different days, it was possible for spectators to visit more than one festival per season. It was also an opportunity for Athenian citizens to travel outside the city if they did not have the opportunity to do so during the rest of the year.
This also allowed travelling companies of actors to perform in more than one town during the period of the festival. This festival was held probably from the 10th to the 16th of the month Elaphebolion  the lunar month straddling the vernal equinox, i.
According to tradition, the festival was established after Eleutheraea town on the border between Attica and Boeotiahad chosen to become part of Attica. The Eleuthereans brought a statue of Dionysus to Athens, which was initially rejected by the Athenians.
Dionysus then punished the Athenians with a plague affecting the male genitaliawhich was cured when the Athenians accepted the cult of Dionysus. This was recalled each year by a procession of citizens carrying phalloi.
The urban festival was a relatively recent invention. This ceremony fell under the auspices of the Archons of Athensrather than the basileusto whom religious festivals were given when the office of archon was created in the 7th century BC. As with the Rural Dionysia, they also carried phalloimade of wood or bronze, aloft on poles, and a cart pulled a much larger phallus.
Basket-carriers and water and wine-carriers participated in the pompe here, as in the Rural Dionysia. Also included in the procession were bulls to be sacrificed in the theatre. These were extremely competitive, and the best flute players and celebrity poets such as Simonides and Pindar offered their musical and lyrical services.
After these competitions, the bulls were sacrificed, and a feast was held for all the citizens of Athens. The next day, the playwrights announced the titles of the plays to be performed, and judges were selected by lot: During the Peloponnesian Warorphaned children of those who had been killed in battle were also paraded in the Odeon, possibly to honour their fathers.
Dramatic performances[ edit ] Following the pompe, the Theatre of Dionysus was purified by the sacrifice of a bull. His award was reportedly a goata common symbol for Dionysus, and this "prize" possibly suggests the origin of the word "tragedy" which means "goat-song".
During the fifth century BC, five days of the festival were set aside for performance, though scholars disagree exactly what was presented each day.
At least three full days were devoted to tragic plays, and each of three playwrights presented his set of three tragedies and one satyr play on the successive days.
It was considered a great honour to win the comedic prize at the City Dionysia, despite the belief that comedies were of secondary importance.
The Lenaia festival, held earlier in the year, featured comedy more prominently and officially recognized comic performances with prizes in BC. Though much of the work of this period is either lost or forgotten, it is considered to owe a great debt to the playwright Euripides.
His plays, along with other fifth-century BC writers, were often re-staged during this period. At least one revival was presented each year at City Dionysia.
It has been suggested that audiences may have preferred to see well-known plays re-staged, rather than financially support new plays of questionable quality; or alternately, that revivals represented a nostalgia for the glory of Athens from before the devastation of the Peloponnesian War.
Nevertheless, plays continued to be written and performed until the 2nd century BC, when new works of both comedy and tragedy seem to have been eliminated. After that point drama continued to be produced, but prizes were awarded to wealthy producers and famous actors rather than the long-dead playwrights whose work was being performed.
The winning playwrights were awarded a wreath of ivy. Known winners of the City Dionysia[ edit ].The Dionysia (/ d aɪ ə ˈ n aɪ s i ə /) was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from BC, comedies.
Sophocles' Oedipus Rex essaysTragedy was performed in Athens at the annual festival of Dionysus, the Great, or the City, Dionysia in late March.
Competition was held on three successive mornings of the festival.
Three tragic poets, who had been selected earlier in the year, each presented a tet. The Stromata, or Miscellanies Book VI. CHAPTER I -- PLAN. The sixth and also the seventh Miscellany of gnostic notes, in accordance with the true philosophy, having delineated as well as possible the ethical argument conveyed in them, and having exhibited what the Gnostic is in his life, proceed to show the philosophers that he is by no means impious, as they suppose, but that he alone is.
Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Austrian princess Maria Antonia, child bride of the future French King Louis XVI. Their marriage was an attempt to bring about a major change in the balance of power in Europe and to undermine the influence of Prussia and Great Britain, but she had no say in the matter and was the pawn of her mother, the Empress Maria Theresa.
Agathon. Agathon (c. BCE) was an Athenian tragic poet and friend of Euripides and Plato. He is best known from his mention by Aristophanes (Thesmophoriazusae) and in Plato's Symposium, which describes the banquet given to celebrate his obtaining a prize for his first tragedy ().
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