Intro to Greek Comedy

Intro to Greek Comedy - Greek Comedy means Athenian comedy...

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Greek Comedy means Athenian comedy It’s all that survives The “Big Olive
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Greek Comedy divided into Old, Middle, and New Comedy We will start with Old Comedy
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Comedy most likely a combination of the words Komos : drunken procession after a drinking party And Ode : song Kylix [cup] with padded komasts [revelers], c. 580 B.C.
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Aristotle wrote that comedy originated in phallic processions that were part of certain religious rites ( Poetics , 1449a1): comedy begins when the leader interacts with the revellers Impossible to confirm or reject this idea: evidence is of too late a date Sixth-century painting on cup 6 th cent. BC
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After entering the portal in silence, when they [men associated with the ceremony] reach the center of the orchestra, they turn toward the audience and recite: Give way; give way; make room for the god; for the god wishes to march through your midst upright and bursting. But the phallus-bearers . . . come in, some by the side entrance, some by the middle doors, marching in step and reciting: To thee, Bacchus, we lift up this music Pouring forth a song with varied melody New and undefiled and in no way used in older Songs; no, untouched is the hymn we dedicate. They would then run forward and jeer at anyone they picked out; they did this standing still. But the man who carried the phallos pole marched straight on, covered with soot. Athenaeus 622a (c. 200 A.D.) quoting Hellenistic writer Semos of Delos
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Plays produced as part of state religious festivals of Dionysus Dionysus the god of wine, liberation, fertility, illusion, madness, passion of living
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Rituals of Dionysus could involve masks Dionysus represented by a mask on a pole worshipped by maenads
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Masks used by actors in ancient tragedy and comedy Scene from Aristophanes’ Thesmophoriazusae
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Productions of tragedy made part of City Dionysia in 534; comedy included 487-486 Reorganization of festival with the inclusion of theatrical performances done by populist tyrant P(e)isistratus [died 527] Won support of non-aristocrats with populist reforms such as land redistribution, help for small farmers, public works projects to improve the city and to create jobs (improved water supply, for example), and big festivals like the City Dionysia and the Panathenaic. Also commissioned first written copies of the Iliad and the Odyssey Pisistratus and friend
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Old Comedy flourished in hothouse atmosphere of fifth-century Athens: radical democracy, political equality among citizens, freedom of speech, period of great changes Freedom of Speech , Norman Rockwell
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Athenian democracy Assembly [e kklesia ]: Male citizens 20 years old and older have right to speak and vote Met about 40 times a year at the Pnyx Called by 50 prytaneis [executive council of the Council of 500] Prytaneis put matters before the assembly; the assembly debated them and voted on them Passed decrees that managed foreign and domestic policy Could intiate legislation or political prosecutions, but could not actually
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This note was uploaded on 02/09/2012 for the course CLST 3040 taught by Professor Major during the Fall '09 term at LSU.

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Intro to Greek Comedy - Greek Comedy means Athenian comedy...

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