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Hellenistic Tragedy: Texts, Translations and a Critical Survey
 1472524217, 9781472524218

Table of contents :
Cover
Half-title
Title
Copyright
Contents
Abbreviations
List of Figures
Preface
1 Tragedy in the Hellenistic Age – General Observations
Preservation and transmission of texts
Hellenistic criticism on tragedy
Tragic themes
Problems concerning the metre and language
The chorus
The satyr play
2 Tragedians and Tragedies
The tragic Pleiad
Other tragedians mentioned in literature
Other tragedians mentioned in inscriptions
Fragmenta adespota
3 Hellenistic Tragedy with Biblical Themes
Ezekiel TrGF 128
Other fragments of assumed Jewish tragedies
4 The Staging of Hellenistic Tragedies
Choregia and agonothesia
Old and new tragedies
The theatre building
Costumes
Aspects of Hellenistic tragedy beyond the stage
Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres
Bibliography
Index of Hellenistic Tragedians
Index of Historical Figures
Index of Plays

Citation preview

Hellenistic Tragedy

Also Available From Bloomsbury Greek Tragedy, Marion Baldock Surviving Greek Tragedy, Robert Garland Looking at Medea, edited by David Stuttard

Hellenistic Tragedy Texts, Translations and a Critical Survey Agnieszka Kotlińska-Toma

Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc LON DON • OX F O R D • N E W YO R K • N E W D E L H I • SY DN EY

Bloomsbury Academic An imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc 50 Bedford Square London WC1B 3DP UK

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www.bloomsbury.com BLOOMSBURY and the Diana logo are trademarks of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc First published 2015 Paperback edition first published 2016 © Agnieszka Kotlińska-Toma 2015 Agnieszka Kotlińska-Toma has asserted her rights under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988, to be identified as the Editor of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage or retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publishers. No responsibility for loss caused to any individual or organization acting on or refraining from action as a result of the material in this publication can be accepted by Bloomsbury or the author. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. ISBN: HB: 978-1-47252-421-8 PB: 978-1-47428-865-1 ePDF: 978-1-47252-394-5 ePub: 978-1-47252-489-8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Kotlińska-Toma, Agnieszka, author. Hellenistic tragedy : texts, translations, critical survey / Agnieszka Kotlińska-Toma. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4725-2421-8 (hardback) 1. Greek drama (Tragedy)–History and criticism. I. Title. PA3131.K59813 2014 882’.0109–dc23 2014023585 Typeset by Fakenham Prepress Solutions, Fakenham, Norfolk NR21 8NN Printed and bound in Great Britain

Contents Abbreviations List of Figures Preface 1

2

3

4

Tragedy in the Hellenistic Age – General Observations Preservation and transmission of texts Hellenistic criticism on tragedy Tragic themes Problems concerning the metre and language The chorus The satyr play Tragedians and Tragedies The tragic Pleiad Other tragedians mentioned in literature Other tragedians mentioned in inscriptions Fragmenta adespota

vi viii x 1 9 12 23 33 36 43 49 49 113 161 178

Hellenistic Tragedy with Biblical Themes Ezekiel TrGF 128 Other fragments of assumed Jewish tragedies

199

The Staging of Hellenistic Tragedies Choregia and agonothesia Old and new tragedies The theatre building Costumes Aspects of Hellenistic tragedy beyond the stage

243

Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres Bibliography Index of Hellenistic Tragedians Index of Historical Figures Index of Plays

202 234

243 246 249 257 264 281 289 313 315 320

Abbreviations CIG

Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, Berlin 1825–77.

CIJ

J.-B. Frey, Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum. Recueil des inscriptions juives qui vont du Ille siècle av. J.-C. au Vlle siècle de notre ère, 2 vols., Roma 1936–52.

FD

Fouilles de Delphes, Paris 1902–.

FGrH

F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der Griechischen Historiker. Leiden 1923–58.

ID

Inscriptions de Délos, Paris 1926–72

IG

Inscriptiones Graecae, Berlin 1873–.

llasos

W. Blümel, Die Inschriften von lasos, 2 vols. Bonn 1985.

IMagn

O. Kern, Die Inschriften von Magnesia am Meander, Berlin 1900.

KP

Der kleine Pauly: Lexikon der Antike auf der Grundlage von Pauly’s Real-Encyclopädie (…), hrsg. von K. Ziegler, W. Sontheimer. Stuttgart 1964–75.

LGPN

Lexicon of Greek Personal Names, P. M. Fraser and E. Matthews (eds), vols I–VA. Oxford, 1987–2010.

LSJ

A Greek–English Lexicon compiled by H. G. Liddell and R. Scott. A new edition revised and augmented by Sir H. S. Jones with the assistance of R. McKenzie and with the cooperation of many scholars. Oxford, 1940.

LSJ-SP

Greek–English Lexicon Revised Supplement, ed. P. G. W. Glare, with the assistance of A. A. Thompson. Oxford, 1996.

OGIS

W. Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci inscriptiones selectae. Leipzig 1903–5.

OLD

Oxford Latin Dictionary, P. G. W. Glare (ed.). Oxford 1982.

PAPPE

W. Pappe, Wörterbuch der griechischen Eigennamen. Dritte Auflage, neu bearbeitet v. G. E. Benseler. Braunschweig 1911.

PCG

Poetae Comici Graeci, R. Kassel and C. Austin (eds). Berlin 1983–.

RE

Paulys Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, neue Bearbeitung begonnen v. G. Wissowa, fortgeführt von W. Kroll und K. Mittelhaus, unter Mitwirkung zahlreicher Fachgenossen herausgegeben von K. Ziegler. Stuttgart–München 1893–1978.

Abbreviations

vii

Σ

Scholia, scholion.

SEG

Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, Leiden 1923–.

SGF

Satyrographorum Graecorum Fragmenta collegit disposuit adnotationibus criticis instruxit V. Steffen Poznań 1952.

SIG3

W. Dittenberger, Sylloge inscriptionum graecarum. Leipzig 1915–24.

TGF

Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, rec. A. Nauck. Lipsiae 1889.

TrGF

Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, vol. 1, Didascaliae Tragicae, Catalogi Tragicorum et Tragoediarum Testimonia et Fragmenta Tragicorum Minorum, ed. B. Snell, ed. correctior et addendis aucta curavit R. Kannicht. Göttingen 1986.

TrGF 2

Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, vol. 2, Fragmenta Adespota, Testimonia Volumini 1 Addenda, Indices ad Volumina 1 et 2, R. Kannicht and B. Snell (eds). Göttingen 1981.

List of Figures 1. Dress rehearsal of a satyr play (first century bc, original c.310–280 bc). Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. 2. A tragic poet contemplating a mask (the source of his inspiration), or considering whether it suits a character from his work. Webster (1970), p. 159, posited that this image could be a copy of a portrait of Philiscus by Protogenes. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività CulturaliSoprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. 3. A silver kantharos with Lycophron in front of a mask (in front of him, not visible in the picture, is Cassandra, the heroine of his most famous poem, Alexandra). Bibliothèque nationale de France. 4. A silver skyphos from the treasure of Boscoreale, representing Moschion as a skeleton. Musée du Louvre. 5. Moschion. The hands and head are an element of sculptural reconstruction. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. 6. Scene from a tragedy (from the House of the Comedians, Delos), most probably a Hellenistic revival of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. Archaeological Museum of Delos. ©Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports/21st Ephorate of Antiquities/Delos Museum. 7. A wall fresco depicting the scenery of a satyr play and tragedy. Frescoes from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor, Bocoreale. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.14.13a–g). Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 8. A wall fresco depicting the scenery of a tragedy from Herculaneum. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. 9. A tragic actor after his appearance. A servant takes off his mask. At the back is possibly the second actor taking off his costume (the hair of both actors is sweaty due to wearing the masks). Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione



List of Figures

ix

del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei. 10. A scene from a tragedy. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

Preface The Hellenistic period is for the researcher on drama above all a time of the birth and development of New Comedy. This form of Greek comedy gained huge popularity in all areas of the world inhabited by Greeks and indubitably played a key role in the dissemination of Greek culture. Alongside comedy, however, tragedy and satyr plays were no less popular in every theatre. The works of Menander and his contemporaries have stood the test of time and have had a great influence on stage performances in Europe, thanks chiefly to their famous Roman imitators, Plautus and Terence. Tragedy and satyr drama, however, has fallen into oblivion and has not survived to our times. Only fragments of the texts remain to us, preserved in the works of other writers or on pieces of papyrus or in inscriptional references to the plays, which were once put on in competition for public favour. This by no means proves the superiority of New Comedy, as many works of eminent Hellenistic poets have also been lost: Callimachus, Alexander Aetolus and – ironically – also works by the comic playwrights themselves, including Menander. Papyrus findings have now supplied us with greater fragments from the literary output of these – and not only these – Hellenistic writers. However, in contrast to the poetry of Callimachus or the plays of Menander, which posterity knew to be distinguished works, Hellenistic tragedy did not enjoy high esteem in subsequent years. The decline of the tragic genre was predicted almost a century before the onset of the Hellenistic period by an aged Aristophanes, who one day in the year 405 brought onstage Heracles and Dionysus, engaged in the following pessimistic dialogue: HERACLES Now we have an abundance of such striplings, Writing thousands of tragedies, and then some, More loquacious than Euripides! DIONYSUS Those are mere washings, vacuous chatterers, screeching swallows and bunglers of the art. So soon forgotten, once they get a chorus They trifle with a single tragedy. And a real poet you’ll not find, Were you to search an entire year for one of noble words. Frogs 89–97

Thus the comic dramatist, who after the death of Euripides, expressed his regret and disappointment on observing the theatrical efforts of his colleagues in Greek tragedy at the turn of the fourth century bc. Then, as now, he was not alone in

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holding this opinion. When studying the history of drama it is easy to note that most publications, even if their titles include phrases such as ‘Greek Theatre’, ‘Greek Tragedy’ or ‘Ancient Drama’, essentially limit themselves to the classical period, rarely referring to fourth-century plays and virtually never mentioning Hellenistic tragedy. Admittedly, the very origins of theatre are every so often the subject of heated debate, with many publications fiercely defending one stance or another.1 The ‘dark ages’ of Greek tragedy and the satyr play, issues concerning how such forms came to be and their mysterious connotations, are no doubt an interesting subject, one that has since Aristotle’s day allowed for the intellectual reflections and speculations (albeit unverifiable) of many scholars. Nevertheless, the prevailing opinion is that Greek drama ended as it began, in the fifth century bc, and is essentially limited to Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes. Of course, this notion stems in its entirety from the fact that, unlike those of other dramatists, the works of these particular authors are the ones that have survived to this day, and these are the works that have been studied since. Ever since they became established as the classics of the stage these plays have never ceased to be performed, and, embellished with countless commentaries and scholia, they continue to be set literature in schools. It is therefore hardly surprising that these three Athenian tragedians are so immensely popular, and yet this does not alter the fact that such a point of view greatly distorts our understanding of ancient Greek theatre. More has been written about individual plays of the three great tragedians than about the sum total of the entire works of all the postClassical dramatists, including those of the once very popular Menander. Present-day scholars, following on, as it were, from the famous statement in Aristophanes’ Frogs (71/72): Δέομαι ποητοῦ δεξιοῦ. Οἱ μὲν γὰρ οὐκέτ’ εἰσίν, οἱ δ’ ὄντες κακοί, (‘I need a clever poet. There aren’t any left – all the current ones are rubbish’) usually conclude their analyses with the sad reflection that the fourth century bc marked the decline and eventual demise of ancient Greek tragedy. Such views are hardly surprising, for the few extant fragments of plays from the post-Classical period in no way compare well with the works of the great tragedians. However, these fragments do not constitute unequivocal historical evidence that such was the state of Greek tragedy in general. But regardless of this fact, scholars have continued to support the pessimistic theory in successive publications.2 Only rarely, in recent years, have articles appeared expressing criticism of this communis opinio. Certainly the unfavourable opinion of modern scholars on the subject of Hellenistic tragedy was also unexpectedly shared Important treatments on the origins of Greek tragedy and religion include e.g.: Patzer (1962); Else (1965); Burkert (1966); Lesky (1983); Herrington (1985); Winkler (1990); Seaford (1995); Rozik (2002); Scullion (2002, 2005); Sourvinou-Inwood (2003). 2 Very important here seems to be the impact of F. Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music (1872) and his opinion on the decline of tragedy already evident in the time of Euripides. Subsequently scholars expressed strong opinions on the post-Classical decline of tragedy. See, for example, A. E. Haigh (1896), p. 434: The tragic drama, after it had passed out of the hands of the Athenians, and been transformed into a cosmopolitan institution, though it advanced to the highest pitch of external splendour, steadily declined in real significance; De Romilly (1970), pp. 153–4: ‘Mais ce progrès même porte en lui, pour la tragédie, des germes de mort. Et, à force d’innovations, l’on sent par fois que l’on arrive à la limite du genre’; or Rachet (1973), p. 238, in the chapter entitled ‘La fin de la tragédie grecque’: ‘Les innovations des Agathon, des Critias, des Karkinos, des Moschion, représentent des signes évidents de decadence et annoncent la fin de la tragédie’. 1

xii Preface by Callimachus himself. His critical observation – surely not without some malice – in Iamb 2, 12, that οἱ δὲ τραγῳδοὶ τῶν θάλασσαν ο̣ἰ̣[κεύντων ἔχο[υ]σι φωνήν (tragic artists have the voice of sea-dwelling creatures) was interpreted as an expression of disapproval of tragic composition in his generation. Although it is actually impossible to establish exactly what Callimachus had in mind when speaking of the voice of sea-dwelling creatures,3 the outcome of the whole context is that this is the fastidious criticism of tragic actors (probably in equal part of how and what they perform). The problem for us, however, is the reliability of Callimachus’ assertion, which unapologetically attacks authors of different genres as well. His ideological-literary polemic, of course, concerns above all the genre of epic, but much indicates the fact that in the case of drama his personal preferences did not reflect the tastes of the contemporary audience.4 It is also worthwhile to observe the fact that he does not criticize the dramatists themselves (at that time he would have been attacking his friends from the Museion: Lycophron and Alexander Aetolus), but rather the performers: that is, the actors.5 Callimachus was a great poet and an unequalled individual of the Alexandrian period, yet while his literary opinions were not shared by all the intellectuals of the time, they did reach a wide audience. An attempt to properly verify such conventional wisdom regarding post-Classical tragedy therefore seems justified. After all, we know that tragedy not only continued to be staged in the Greek world for another four centuries, but also experienced a period of unprecedented popularity, with countless performances, and even underwent some significant changes. Hellenistic tragedy influenced the birth of Roman tragedy as well as the development of other theatrical forms (e.g. comedies and mime) and literature (Greek romance). If only for these reasons, the subject deserves detailed research. In the recent decades scholars have taken up this topic with increasing eagerness, and pay increasing attention to the role of tragedy in the cultural life of towns. A type of slow rehabilitation of this genre is beginning, thanks in particular to the work of B. Le Guen, P. Easterling, G. Xanthakis-Karamanos and others. However, the main reason for writing a book on tragedies and satyr plays in the Hellenistic period is simply because in themselves they constitute an exceptionally interesting subject. What makes it fascinating is above all the great difference between Classical and Hellenistic tragedy. Many elements of the Hellenistic performance are very well known and paradoxically even became the hallmarks of ancient theatre: the perspective added to the stage scenery, the actors wearing long robes, kothurnoi and high onkos-masks, the theatre building and the closed stage on the logeion. This enigmatic expression has earned a rich bibliography. Platt (1910) thinks of the sounds of seagulls; Immisch (1930), p. 161, believes it refers to the hollow echo of a conch; Pfeiffer (1949), p. 173, observes only that it does not refer to dumb creatures; Bing (1981) suggests that we should understand it as the unmusicality (pylon amouson) of the sea creatures; Nikitinski (1998) observes that it refers to the cacophony of actors. See also the discussion in Kerkhecker (1999), pp. 18f; Acosta-Hughes (2002), pp. 187f. 4 On the subject of possible criticism of New Comedy, see Thomas (1979). 5 Although in fragment 215, 1 he probably criticizes the genre in general. The word ληκυθίζω has many meanings (etymologically: to speak into a lekythos, a vessel with a narrow neck), and might denote a deaf sound of the type made when actors spoke through theatrical masks, or figuratively to declaim cant; this is possibly related to Ar. Ra. 1200–48: see Thomas (1979), pp. 189f. However, this fragment is without a context. 3

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Nevertheless the plays that engaged the ancient audience in a specific world that was maintained until the end of the final act have remained until now an almost completely unexploited subject for scholarly research. The contemporary political themes of these plays might even surprise many who are accustomed to the mythical heroes of the fifth century. The actual authors of these tragedies are also, in themselves, interesting: scholars such as Lycophron and Callimachus, philosophers such as Timon of Phlius, professional tragedians like Astydamas III or Sophocles, descendant of the famous Sophocles, and even rulers, such as Ptolemy IV or Artavasdes of Armenia. Tragedies were performed throughout the Greek-speaking oikoumene, and the audiences reached unprecedented proportions. The theatre was a universal form of entertainment, as well as an opportunity for public gatherings. But above all theatre was a cornerstone of Greek culture and a chief instrument of Hellenization, a process in which tragedy played no small role. This book has been written to fill a rather conspicuous gap in the study of the history of ancient drama. As has already been noted, a great deal has so far been written about the tragedies and comedies of the Classical period, as well as the works of Menander. In contrast, the tragedies and dramas of the Hellenistic period are virtually non-existent in academic literature – not a single work has been entirely devoted to this particular subject, which makes it a curiosum in the long history of Classical literature and philology as well as in the now extensive research into theatre history. This monograph was originally written as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Wroclaw Institute of Classical Philology and Ancient Culture and was first published in 2006 under the Polish title Tragedia hellenistyczna. The supervisor of that project was the late Prof. Janina Ławińska-Tyszkowska, to whom I remain grateful for her great help and generosity. This new English edition has been developed from that original version. During the lapse of these few years my views on certain points have naturally changed. This book also contains a great deal of new source material, most notably of all a new chapter concerning Hellenistic tragedy with a biblical theme. The chief representative of this genre was of course the tragedian Ezekiel, 269 verses of whose drama entitled Exagoge have survived to this day. Over the past 150 years both Ezekiel and his play have been the subject of much detailed research. One could even say that in recent decades the subject has been so popular among scholars that today he is one of the most extensively discussed Hellenistic authors. In this book, however, his work is presented against the background of other Hellenistic dramas. Although Exagoge most probably had no meaningful influence on Greek theatre, in some way it must have reflected certain contemporary trends and been an integral part of the genre. In fact Exagoge is not the only example of drama with a biblical theme, or what scholars call tragedies with a Jewish topic. We also have other fragments of clearly Jewish provenance as well as reference to a drama by Nicholaus of Damascus, written against the background of the biblical story of Susanna. Taken together, all these fragments and testimonia form a coherent image of a peculiar and original Jewish genre which drew inspiration from historic Classical tragedy as well as then-popular Hellenistic tragedies such as Lycophron’s Marathonians and Allies or Moschion’s Themistocles. In addition, it also constituted an indubitably important eastern element of Hellenistic aesthetics.

xiv Preface The first incomplete edition of Hellenistic tragedy is found in A. Nauck’s seminal Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta. An important supplement to this work is R. J. Walker’s Addenda Scenica (1923), which includes some Hellenistic fragments. The first history of Greek tragedy to discuss the issues that interest us here is F. G. Welcker’s Die griechischen Tragödien mit Rücksicht auf den epischen Cyclus (vol. III, 1841). Of the more contemporary studies of ancient Greek literature that also refer to Hellenistic tragedy, one should include W. Schmid’s study of W. von Christ’s fundamental Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur and O. Stählin’s Die nachklassische Periode der griechischen Litteratur. Von 320 vor Christus bis 100 nach Christus. The chief reference source and basis for this book has been the 1929 doctoral thesis of the Silesian priest F. Schramm, which is entitled Tragicorum Graecorum hellenisticae, quae dicitur, aetatis fragmenta [praeter Ezechielem] eorumque de vita atque poesi testimonia collecta et illustrata. This has greatly influenced the way this book has been written; for instance, the order in which the poets and tragedians of the Alexandrian Pleiad have been mentioned. On account of the time when it was written, Schramm’s work fails to mention more recent papyrus discoveries, and, owing to its form (comments added to texts), it also lacks any general conclusions concerning tragedy as a dramatic genre in the Hellenistic period. The main edition of the texts used in this book is B. Snell’s Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, vol. 1, Didascaliae Tragicae, Catalogi Tragicorum et Tragoediarum, Testimonia et Fragmenta Tragicorum Minorum. (1986), as well as B. Snell and R. Kannicht’s Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, vol. 2, Fragmenta Adespota, Testimonia Volumini 1 Addenda, Indices ad Volumina 1 et 2, (1981). With regard to satyr plays, whose development in the Hellenistic period has been studied in far greater depth than that of tragedies, one should first and foremost look to R. Krumeich, N. Pechstein and B. Seidensticker’s Das griechische Satyrspiel (1999). Mention should also be made of a collective work published by B. von Gauly, Musa tragica: die griechische Tragödie von Thespis bis Ezechiel (1991), which includes German translations of what that book’s authors consider to be the most important fragments of Hellenistic tragedies and satyr plays, with short commentaries and an important introduction by A. Kannicht. Two works by Greek scholars constitute a very important contribution to the study of post-Classical drama: G. Xanthakis-Karamanos’ Studies in Fourth Century Tragedy (1980) concerns tragedies of the earlier period, while G. M. Sifakis’ Studies in the History of Hellenistic Drama (1967) deals with many aspects of Hellenistic drama, though, by the author’s own admission, in a very selective way. Many fragments have now acquired their own, individual explanations, but such papers are usually of only a contributory nature with regard to general research. Despite their undoubted importance, they are too numerous to be referred to here, so instead they have been listed in the bibliography. Chapter 1 of this book has the character of a brief introduction, the aim of which is to present to the reader the most characteristic features of Hellenistic tragedy and what distinguishes it from tragedy of earlier periods. I present the state of extant fragments as well as the influence this has had on the study of extant texts. Some space has been devoted to the theoretical issues that were of particular importance to Hellenistic authors. Insofar as extant texts permit it, I have also tried to outline the specific problems and subjects that particular tragedies were trying to deal with, as well as

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issues concerning the language of the actual plays. The final section of Chapter 1 is devoted to the presentation of questions relating to satyr drama from the Hellenistic period. On account of the nature of the subject and the sparseness of relevant literature, in Chapter 2 of this book I feel obliged to present brief descriptions of the works and personalities of Hellenistic tragedians. Ancient references to their lives and ancient citations of these Hellenistic playwrights are evidence of their popularity in their day and the fact that they were also read by later generations. In order to be objective and honest, each short biography starts with the quotation of such ancient references and play fragments in Greek and in English translation. I have done my utmost to be faithful to the original, particularly with regard to testimonies originating from scholia and lexicons, so as to preserve the specifically banal and sometimes stylistically atrocious quality of the original texts. Due to the language of inscriptions being replete with the trite phrases of tributes, erected monuments and dedications, which not only frequently hinder comprehension, but are also very often irrelevant to this study, I have decided to modify the subchapter concerning tragedians mentioned exclusively in epigraphic sources. I quote the inscriptions in their original language in full, but only sum up the essence of what they say for those who cannot read ancient Greek. Here I have avoided translation as it would only disrupt the narrative, all the more so because many inscriptions contain references to more than one author. I have also tried to draw the reader’s attention to some aspects of Hellenistic tragedy and drama that lay beyond the theatre building and stage. It is impossible to discuss plays performed in any period without trying to consider what kind of scenery was used. It was therefore necessary to briefly describe how the appearance of theatre buildings changed and how these changes, such as the installation of raised stages, altered the method of presenting the plays. In my opinion, the stage scenery and the actors’ costumes were important aspects of Hellenistic tragedy. The costumes, especially the masks and shoes, differed considerably from those used in the Classical period. Illustrations constitute an extensive supplement to Chapter 4. Changes in the organization of theatre life (the professionalization of acting and the increased number of celebrations involving the theatre and stage) diversified the possibilities and forms of presenting tragedies and satirical dramas. Here I would like the reader to note that this book considers Hellenistic tragedies only in the context of their reception as something performed on stage. It is generally known that in the fourth century bc the texts of both Classical and contemporary tragedians were available for the individual to read. Nevertheless, drama is by definition associated with performance on stage and must include the possibility of being performed. It is plainly a prerequisite of this art form. In the case of Hellenistic tragedy, one cannot accept the a priori assumption that some of them were written exclusively to be read.6 There is simply no evidence for this in the texts. Naturally, one Norwood (1942), p. 37; and Lesky (1972), pp. 530f. Both mention the tragedies of Diogenes the Cynic and Timon of Phlius as written exclusively to be read. There is also a long-lasting debate about the audience of fourth-century tragedy in the light of Aristotle’s Rhethoric (1413b12). Aristotle calls Chaeremon and Licymnius (poet of dithyrambs) ἀναγνωστικοί, and states that

6

xvi Preface may assume the texts of tragedies were also simply read by individuals, but the poetic appreciation of such literature is an entirely different subject. Extant fragments of Hellenistic tragedies are evidence of the originality of the authors not only in adapting traditional themes, but also, consistent with the spirit of the age, in introducing previously quite unknown themes. Despite what might seem to have been Aristophanes’ opinion, tragedy did not die together with Euripides, and continued to be a lively and popular literary and theatrical genre for another few centuries. Changing tastes and the establishment of a literary canon in the Byzantine era are the reasons why this genre was forgotten. Nevertheless, devoting some time to the study of Hellenistic theatre is worthwhile if only because as Moschion, one of the tragedians of that age, said: ‘a word shall not be spoken vainly to those who listen considerately’ (F9).

tragedies suitable to be read became favoured in his times. The passage was misunderstood by older scholars and interpreted as proof for the existence of tragedies not meant to be staged: see Dieterich (1908); Mahaffy (1891), p. 174;, Haigh (1896), pp. 426–9; Norwood (1942), p. 32. The term anagnostikos concerns the authors whose poetry was more suitable to be read than intended exclusively for reading: see Crusius (1902), pp. 382ff.; Croiset and Croiset (1913), pp. 384f.; Else (1957) p. 58; Pfeiffer (1968), p. 29. The discussion flares up from time to time in the background of the debate on so-called ‘Lesedramen’ and the tragedies of Seneca. See especially Zwierlein (1966), pp. 127–55.

1

Tragedy in the Hellenistic Age – General Observations

Understanding the phenomenon of tragedy and satyr plays in the Hellenistic period requires an appreciation of the incredible popularity of theatre in this period. It appears to have been the time of this art form’s greatest flourishing, and this was thanks not only to the ubiquitous new comedy and mime. In the Classical period tragedy, comedy and satyr play were a typically Athenian form of entertainment, while in other parts of Greece other types of drama prevailed, such as Doric farce on the Peloponnesus or phlyakes in Sicily. In the Hellenistic period the situation was quite different. Attic dramatic genres dominated the theatre throughout the Greek world and together with other genres had an enormous influence on numerous types of mime. On the boards, or rather the theatre’s stone slabs, many plays were performed throughout the year, while the professionalization of stage artists gathered pace and made the production of plays more efficient. Tragedy, that Athenian genre par excellence, became in the Hellenistic period a characteristic aspect of a widely understood culture of ‘Greekness’. The new geopolitical situation, which began as a result of Alexander’s expedition and the decade of subsequent conflicts between his successors, led to the creation of a new Greek cultural community. This community, not limiting itself exclusively to ethnic Greeks, but including all inhabitants who identified with Greek culture, created over the following decade new forms of literature, and yet also gave new meaning to the old ones. The new royals and their new, ambitious elite invested in the widespread understanding of culture, including literature, which not only served the areas that were undergoing the process of Hellenization, but also had a clear political and propagandistic function. Greek drama in particular devoted itself to this aim. The genre’s scope, influence and clarity of presentation could not be rivalled by any other literary form.1 Alongside New Comedy, tragedy and satyr drama were required to play no small role. These genres, based chiefly on mythological material, in an obvious way popularized their principal content within Greek culture. Theatre, as the most accessible and egalitarian form of mass entertainment in the period, perfectly met the Of course, the games of all kinds (especially athletic competition) also belong to mass entertainment, but in the context of cultural events it is difficult to put this together with drama.

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needs of developing Hellenistic societies. Insofar as it is easy in the case of historical science to determine the agreed time boundaries of the period (for the Hellenistic era, it is usual to take the dates of the deaths of its eminent figures, that is Alexander the Great and Cleopatra VII), it is also difficult to mark them out in the literature. The scholar of literature preserved only in fragments is placed in an unfortunate situation, since one’s reasonable assumptions in the absence of sufficient information may be far from the actual facts. As a result, for the requirements of this book, tragedy and satyr dramas start with the performance of Agen during Alexander’s expedition. This play, in terms of both context and form and the circumstances of its performance, is significantly different from the popular classic fourth-century satyr play. The end of Hellenistic tragedy is marked by the stage works of Nicholaus of Damascus and the works of Asinius Pollio, which were written in Greek. Both apparently represent the Hellenization of the Eastern and Western elite. Their work has unfortunately not survived, but their dramatic output is certified in historical sources. It must also be underlined that the period in question lasted more than 300 years. But it is evident that in terms of literary history this period was not uniform. Similarly to other genres, we can clearly distinguish the first decades of the third century bc, of which eminent representatives were, for example, the members of the tragic Pleiad or Moschion. In light of the fragmentary nature of the extant texts we can only say with certainty that the surviving material from this period is distinguished by its perfection of form, both stylistic and metrical, and also by the originality of its vocabulary. During this period there are also certified works on the topic of contemporary life. The development of Hellenistic tragedy in the second and first centuries bc is significantly less defined. We can, however, observe its unprecedented popularity among Greek-speaking societies, and not only these. Unfortunately the exact changes which took place across the span of these three centuries are for us indefinable. Perhaps we ought also to speak not only of changes across the passage of time, but also of the ‘geographical’ differences, since local factors certainly had an influence on the origin, content and form of tragedy. Recently scholars have sought to prove the importance of theatrical performances, especially tragedy, in a political context by showing in which cities and under what circumstances honours and privileges were bestowed on outstanding citizens, especially in Athens.2 The inscriptional material is, however, insufficiently representative, and examination leads to various results and conclusions. A particular study of all tragic agones, during which the individual poleis proclaimed their honours, was recently undertaken by P. Ceccarelli, who shows the main differences arising from local traditions and their changes over the course of the decades.3 The proclamation of honours for citizens cannot constitute the only (though certainly it is the only measurable) criterion for the importance of tragedy in the political life of the public, or for its popularity in comparison with other forms of entertainment. Besides the

Wilson (2009); also Le Guen (1995), pp. 73f. Ceccarelli (2010), who concludes that tragedy and the polis as a socio-political institution gradually ‘went their own independent ways’.

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possibilities of study, there is also the impact of tragedy’s content and its important role in the growth of a town’s culture to consider. In a certain sense Hellenistic theatre was closer to contemporary mass culture than to modern theatre, for it was quite devoid of the elitist element that is so apparent in the drama performed today. But in this respect it also differed from Classical theatre, because, despite its commonness, it did define culture: Greek culture. The level of Hellenization in towns that remained in the Greek orbit after Alexander the Great’s conquests was testified to by the presence of theatre buildings. Hellenic civilization lasted as long as these theatres remained in use, and an example of this was the theatre building in Ai-Khanoum.4 The popularity of the theatre was also apparent in people’s everyday lives. Many terracotta figurines from Tanagra, Myrina and other towns and cities of the Mediterranean portray characters from dramas, chiefly the comedies and farces, but there are also terracotta tragic and satyr masks. Indeed, the theatre mask is one of the best-known decorative motifs of the age, ranging from architectural elements to decorations in private interiors and female jewellery.5 The best evidence of theatrical tastes towards the end of this age are the wall paintings from Pompeii, which express Greek art in southern Italy and its influence on Roman aesthetics. The number of frescoes and mosaics inspired by the theatre is vast, sometimes limited to the mask motif, at other times depicting scenes from the lives of artists and scenes from the actual plays. Hellenistic homes in the entire Greek oikoumene must have been adorned in a similar way, though these have not survived to our times. Normally, much more attention is paid to images associated with comedies, and yet images concerning tragedies and satyr plays are just as numerous and certainly not inferior in terms of quality. We try to match Pompeian artefacts with the comedies that we know (that is with the new comedy plays of Menander, as well as those of his Latin counterparts such as Plautus and Terence). No texts of Greek or Latin tragedies or satyr plays from this period have survived, so the characters in these paintings remain anonymous. But does that mean such plays were less popular on the stage? And on the basis of terracotta figurine statistics, is it at all possible to compare comedy with tragedy and satyr plays and thus assess public tastes? We do not know what made particular plays popular in Hellenistic times because we do not know what public tastes were like. We also do not know on what basis particular plays won competitions. This lack of knowledge prevents us from making an objective assessment of Hellenistic drama. Returning, however, to the phenomenon of mass reception, we should consider the possible size of audiences. By comparing theatres built in the Hellenistic period, one can see that audience capacities varied from 800 in Nikaia in Epirus to 24,000 in Ephesus.6 If we assume that an average audience was 5,000 people and multiply this sum by the number of existing theatres (of which over 170 were built in this period alone), and also assume that several troupes of actors could travel from city to city with the same play, we arrive at the incredible conclusion that a popular play could, in a short space of time, reach an audience of up to a million people! Such a scale was On the theatre and its meaning for the inhabitants, see Posch (1995), pp. 31ff. On the importance of the theatres in the East, see esp. Le Guen (2003). See Webster (1966), p. 127. 6 See list of theatres (Appendix). 4

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quite unthinkable in the Classical period, and can be matched today only thanks to mass media and frequent repetitions in one season. This is an important aspect of Hellenistic drama, one which was decisive in making it so different from Classical drama. The main criticism made of Hellenistic tragedy is that it does not resemble fifthcentury drama. However, if this genre had remained faithful to the Euripidean model, it would have ceased to evolve and over the centuries become fossilized, and then we could indeed speak of its demise. But the case of Hellenistic drama is quite different. It was a time of continual changes, starting with the subjects of tragedies, then the stage on which plays were performed and finally the costumes worn by actors, all of which testified that drama was very much alive. Trying to evaluate it in comparison with the Classical period is misleading from the methodological point of view and essentially futile. We do not make such comparisons between old and new comedy and we do not depreciate the comedy of manners in relation to the works of Aristophanes. Here scholars generally accept that these were simply two different types of comedy. Why should we treat tragedy differently? How can one compare a play performed in a Classical theatre with a large Athenian chorus during a festival devoted to Dionysus to a tragedy performed on the logeion of the theatre in Priene, with actors wearing cothurni and masks with onkos headdresses, assisted by a small chorus in the orchestra, and all occurring during a state festival? In the study of Hellenistic theatre it is essential to appreciate the sheer scale of the changes it went through. Virtually all the elements of Classical drama were transformed, as a result of which we are dealing with a completely different type of tragedy. Towards the end of the fourth century important changes were made in the selection of subjects for tragedies. While up until then the plots of plays were primarily based on mythological tales, be they fairly liberally modified by the playwrights, and more rarely on historical events associated with Athens, at the beginning of the Hellenistic period both tragedy and satyr drama turned to contemporary events. The authors now made the protagonists of their plays people whom they actually knew and who were still living, public figures. Such is the case of Python’s Agen, whose antihero is the infamous Harpalus, and such is the case of Lycophron’s Menedemus, whose main character is a philosopher the author personally knew. As can be surmised from the personal attack on the philosopher Cleanthes, this was also the situation in the play with the lost title by Sositheus. In Hellenistic tragedy we observe events that had occurred in very recent history, such as Lycophron’s Cassandreians and Moschion’s Men of Pherae. Of course, there were also more traditionally historical tragedies, e.g. two plays entitled Themistocles – by Moschion and Philiscus. With regard to mythological subjects, apart from the time-honoured tales about the Labdacids or Pelopids as well as the Trojan cycle, there were also less well-known myths about Aeolus (Lycophron) or Aethlius (Sositheus), as well as quite new, typically Hellenistic characters, such as deities personifying abstract concepts. Tragedies, moreover, reflect new, eclectic beliefs, such as the myth about Adonis. Among the mythological satyr plays from this period, an important place is held by Sositheus’ Daphnis or Lityerses, which adopted a theme from Phrygian folklore. This play is also evidence of literary discussions among the Alexandrian poets: Theocritus and Hermesianax and the



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playwright. An interesting example of Hellenistic literary games and displays of virtuosity in script-writing has been preserved in the papyrus fragment of a play entitled Atlas by an anonymous author. The entire text is written with the omission of the letter ‘s’. Serious changes were also made to the technique of staging plays. The issue of the presence of the chorus in Hellenistic tragedy has aroused the greatest emotions among scholars. The solution, however, may actually be fairly simple. Epigraphic sources indicate that troupes of artists performing at festivals did sometimes include tragic choruses, though not always. The extant texts of plays such as the papyrus fragment of the Cassandra or the Gyges verses indicate the presence of a chorus in the orchestra. Moreover, some play titles, such as the aforementioned Cassandreians and Men of Pherae, are actually in the plural on account of the chorus.7 Thus the chorus was an important element in Hellenistic tragedies. On the other hand, there were situations where for practical reasons (e.g. financial constraints and/or a limited number of performers) tragedies were performed in an abridged version without the choral sections. I am not entirely sure such a play could still be called a tragedy in the strict sense of the word, but it seems such nuances were not all that important to ancient audiences. Greater difficulty may be had with establishing how far choral songs were relevant to the plots of plays. We know that in the fourth century bc plays gradually reduced the role of choruses in relating their story, which eventually led to the emergence of quite independent embolima. However, the opinion that this was also the case in Hellenistic theatre is purely hypothetical, as there are no extant copies of entire Hellenistic plays, or even tragic choral sections for that matter. The popularity of recasting the earlier plays, especially the adaptations of Euripides and fourth-century dramas that were written with choral parts, do allow us to surmise that embolima were still common in Hellenistic times. Moreover, one should take into account the considerable freedom protagonists had in altering plays, and so dispensing with the chorus altogether was quite possible. Indeed, some extant texts are clearly specially edited versions of an original play, perhaps for some kind of solo performance. We therefore need to accept that there was considerable freedom in the staging of tragedies in Hellenistic times, which facilitated diversity and proliferation but also hindered the establishment of strict rules. This in turn prevented the creation of a consistent and cohesive genre that could be adopted in subsequent centuries and thus be preserved. Nevertheless, we may assume that the performance of a full tragedy had to comprise certain elements. These were: the prologue, choral songs and the epeisodia. In the Hellenistic sense of the word, epeisodia seems to have meant something like an act, of which there would have most probably been five. These acts were interspersed with songs sung by the chorus, which after singing its part did not walk off the stage, as was the case in comedies, but instead remained in the orchestra. One of the important issues concerning the performance of Hellenistic tragedies is the actual place in which they were staged. Here too there were revolutionary changes. Plays were now performed on a raised platform, i.e. the logeion. The stage now had Sifakis (1967), p. 122.

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two levels, with the actors chiefly performing on the top level. Both the skene and the proskenion were richly decorated. The possibility of changing the scenery allowed for the performance of one play after another. Thanks to the great popularity of the theatre in southern Italy, particularly in the first century bc, and the fashion of decorating home interiors with scenes from plays and copies of stage scenery, we are able to imagine what Hellenistic theatre looked like. This is a paradoxical situation, for we do not have a single complete copy of a play from that period, yet the Pompeian frescoes present such vivid images of the stage and performing actors that Hellenistic theatre seems more familiar to us than Classical theatre, whose plays we know. In other words, while we have the texts of fifth-century tragedies, we do not know how they were staged, and while we do not have any complete copy of a Hellenistic tragedy or satyr play, we have pictures of how these plays were performed. And thus we know that the performances were very colourful, as the stage costumes and scenery were both designed in vivid colours, which in itself involved serious expense for the organizers. A closer look at the stage scenery for these tragedies and satyr plays reveals how sensitive the decorators were to the beauty and harmony of architecture and landscape. A lot of care was given to produce the illusion of reality, which is especially evident in the use of perspective. Hellenistic plays must have been visually very attractive, and that is why theatre decorations were so popular in the interiors of private homes: hence also the large number of terracotta and gold copies of masks. Another important change in Hellenistic theatre concerned religious associations, which differ from those in Classical theatre. Dramatic performances were of course still associated with the god Dionysus, because stage artists identified themselves with his cult, an expression of which were the religious and professional technitai guilds.8 Moreover, Dionysus was in this period one of the most popular Greek gods, with whom many dynasties willingly identified themselves, as did individual rulers, even very strongly in the case of some, e.g. Ptolemy XII Auletes. At the same time theatre was also associated with other deities. This is above all testified by the construction of theatres in the sanctuaries of various gods. There was a theatre in the Apollo temple complex in Delphi, on Kos, Delos, Rhodes and in Caria (Letoon), in the temple complexes of Asclepius in Epidaurus and Messina, near the Zeus sanctuary in Dodona and Aigeira, as well as in one dedicated to the Muses in Troezen. And one could give many more examples. The building of theatres near sanctuaries may be explained by the large numbers of worshippers arriving to attend festivals in such places, and the performance of dramas was therefore an added attraction to these events. As can be easily surmised on the basis of the few examples in this book of festivals in which tragedy and satyr drama contests were held, these celebrations were not necessarily in honour only of Dionysus. This was case with the Delphic Soteria, Tanagrian Sarapieia, Argive Heraia or the Amphiaraia in Oropos. Festivals in honour of rulers could also serve as a pretext for the organizing of tragic agones, for example the Demetrieia and

The religious character of these stage artists’ associations is best described by J. L. Lightfoot (2002), who draws attention to the professional terminology concerning technitai activities. This terminology reveals both the religious as well as the social and political aspects of their organizations.

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Ptolemaia. This is not only evidence of the huge popularity of drama, but also above all shows that drama actually served to raise the status of all these different festivals. In discussing drama one should never forget that its integral part is the receiver, i.e. the audience. The work of a tragic poet was to a large extent dependent on the public’s appraisal as well as that of the dramatic competition judges. The importance attached by playwrights to these opinions is expressed in the comedies of Plautus and Terence, in which the authors turn to the audience with a request to give their play a good reception. Thus sacrificing all stage illusions, the authors of New Comedy appealed directly to the public. Tragedians, however, could not afford to make such overt appeals. Tragedy could not have anything in common with mundane reality, it could not suddenly ‘notice’ the audience and ‘blow’ the author’s ‘cover’. But this certainly did not mean that tragedies were to any lesser an extent written with the audience in mind, and therefore also by the audience. It is obvious that audiences in the Hellenistic period were very different from those of the Classical period. It is sufficient to know that in the fifth century the audience in the Theatre of Dionysus primarily comprised Athenians. During the Great Dionysia visitors also came from beyond Attica, but they were still predominantly Greeks. In the Hellenistic period, on the other hand, when theatres were being built as far apart as from the Black Sea to the Red Sea, from Epirus to Bactria, native Greeks gradually became a minority among the audiences of tragedies. Of course this did not apply to the old Greek cities and poleis colonized by Alexander’s veterans (though in the latter case, on account of mixed marriages, it was also increasingly difficult to speak of Hellenes). Increasingly Hellenized social groups in the states of the Seleucids, Attalids and Lagids gradually became predominant among theatre audiences, and, despite their Greek education, these people represented many civilizations. As we know, theatre was par excellence a Hellenic form of entertainment, but at the same time it was an important factor in combining diverse cultures, and thus it became one of the most important agents of Hellenization. The ubiquity of theatre and the fact that it communicated by means of images and music made it comprehensible even to people who had not yet properly learnt the Greek language. We should add here that tragedies and satyr dramas were written in common Hellenistic Greek, including elements of Classical tragedy vocabulary and phraseology and other poetic forms, but devoid of any dialects. Hence, drama was understood, more popular and thus more influential in society. Suffice to say that non-Greeks also took up writing plays. Tragedies in Greek were written by King Artavasdes II of Armenia as well as Ezekiel, a member of the Jewish Diaspora, a community that essentially rejected foreign cultural influences. Perhaps the greatest reason as to why theatre audiences were so multicultural is because, apart from musical and gymnastic contests, this was the most popular form of entertainment in antiquity and the best opportunity for local inhabitants to meet. It was also an integral part of celebrations at festivals. Of course, we do not know the percentage of non-Greeks in various audiences in various centuries, and there is no way this problem can be properly examined. However, as I have indicated earlier, the important fact here is that most of the themes of tragedies and satyr plays remained traditional and Greek. This undoubtedly had an influence on the promulgation of Greek mythology and history. However, we cannot say whether or not non-Hellenic

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populations had a meaningful influence on the plots of plays. The mere fact that tragedies were written which contained reference to new cults, e.g. for Adonis, is evidence of social interest in new religions. Even more significant is the example of Ezekiel’s Exagoge and other Biblical dramas, modelled on Greek plays but referring to the Jewish tradition. This is a quite exceptional phenomenon of the age. Whoever was to be the recipient of this play, whether it was a reader or theatre spectator, must have been familiar with both Jewish and Greek culture. Moreover, such a person must have been sympathetic to both Jewish and Greek cultures, because otherwise the author could not expect a positive reception. Greeks were not generally interested in histories that did not in some way include their civilizational contribution, while Jews could treat this type of play as blasphemous with regard to the Scripture. Therefore it must have been written for a tolerant Jewish community which loved Greek theatre and lived in Alexandria, a city that assimilated many cultures. The writing of such a play may also be evidence of the existence of a group of people who were willing to go so far in merging together the civilizational achievements of two societies. M. A. Vinagre is right to note that, while fourth-century tragedy was Pan-Hellenic and centred in Athens, in the Hellenistic period tragedy had become universal, with its centre moved to multicultural Alexandria.9 The big challenge Hellenistic tragedy poses to scholars today concerns the way in which this epoch changed people’s understanding of drama. One has to bear in mind that plays from this period influenced the emergence of Roman tragedy. Ever since the Romans first began to receive Greek dramatic culture (thanks to the large number of theatres in southern Italy) to the sacking of Corinth and the taking of useful acoustic devices from the city’s looted theatre,10 the plays that entertained these conquerors were Hellenistic. Even if the first Roman tragedians referred to the literary works of Euripides and Sophocles, they had no idea of how these fifth-century plays were staged. However, they were quite familiar with how contemporary Greek plays were staged and it is these plays that they imitated. One may also assume that they copied subjects and themes. The study of Hellenistic tragedy should therefore be the starting point for any scholar wishing to write about early Roman drama. Of course, this problem might seem quite unsolvable on account of the fragmentary remains of both forms of tragedy, but even similar play titles give a reason for hope. After all, the first Roman man of letters and the father of Latin drama, Lucius Livius Andronicus, was a Greek by birth, and as far as we know, his plays were modelled on Greek dramas (it is enough to look at his preserved titles: Achilles, Aegisthus, Aiax Mastigophorus, Andromeda, Antiopa, Danae, Equus Troianus, Hermiona and Tereus). Even the new genre of tragedy invented by Gnaeus Naevius, called Praetexta Fabula, seems to have been based on the Greek models of contemporary historical or political plays. We should remember that in the region of Naples not only professional Greek artists created Greek tragedies, but so also did Romans, such as Asinius Pollio, who wrote plays in both languages. A Roman by the name of Publius is also recorded to have been the second place winner of an agon in Tanagra. Such co-existence, mutual Vinagre (2001), p. 94. Vitr. 5.5.

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exchanges of thoughts and experiences regarding the theatre, both on the ‘high culture’ level of Pollio’s literary circle as among actual performers, like the above-mentioned Publius, could not but have had an influence of the shape of Roman tragedy. Ancient theatre in southern Italy, additionally rich in archaeological comparative materials, allows us to evaluate and match stage costumes and scenery. However, such issues go beyond the scope of this book. Another matter that holds promise for greater insight into Hellenistic tragedy is a meticulous examination of extant papyrus fragments and manuscript traditions whose original authors remain unknown. On account of the time-honoured preference for Classical drama, so far these sources have been cautiously attributed to the fifth or fourth centuries bc, but many might actually originate from the Hellenistic period. The so-called adespota fragments still require a great deal of scholarly attention, and work on this subject could open whole new fields of study for philologists.

Preservation and transmission of texts The first important issue to be examined before we can proceed to discuss other matters concerning Hellenistic tragedy and satyr plays is the actual state of the extant plays. On account of the fact that such a minimal number of play fragments have survived to this day, it is important to know why those relatively few extant pieces of text were preserved. This is especially significant when it comes to interpreting the texts and discussing the Hellenistic choice of themes. There are two ways in which fragments of ancient plays can survive: either through literary tradition or on account of a papyrus find. Both forms have their specific characteristics which affect our knowledge regarding the subject of the given fragment. In the case of Hellenistic tragedies, medieval manuscripts have not recorded a single play in its entirety, nor even a larger fragment. All we have are individual quotations, fragments dispersed in the works of later authors or simply information regarding the existence of such a play. Testimonia or citations in ancient works usually state the name of the original author or the title of the cited play, but they rarely comprise more than a few and, exceptionally, no more than just over a dozen lines. Papyrus fragments can contain much more text, even several dozen lines, but on account of inevitable damage to the external parts of the papyrus scroll, the authors and play titles usually remain unknown. Obviously the citing of a fragment in other works is decided by the specific context. With regard to Hellenistic tragedy, the fragments at our disposal originate chiefly from two works: Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists and Stobaeus’ Anthology. In the both cases the cited fragments are entirely dependent on the given context. As we know, the story of the Deipnosophists is set in the house of a wealthy Roman, where 29 intellectuals engage in a discussion during a banquet. The fragments cited by Athenaeus are naturally selected on account of the subjects discussed by the intellectuals in the book. This learned lexicon, in the form of a dialogue, deals with various subjects associated with the banquet, and thus in a way ‘scans’ ancient literature from this particular

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angle. That is why there is a predominance of comedy and satyr play quotations over those from tragedies. Nevertheless, the fragments preserved in this book are exceptionally valuable. If not for the conversation about the two famous hetaerae Glycera and Pythionice, we would not have a fragment of Python’s Agen, and the discussion regarding the organizing of feasts has preserved for us verses from Lycophron’s Menedemus. A few verses from the latter play are also cited by Diogenes Laertius in his biography of the philosopher Menedemus. Stobaeus’ Anthology is of a completely different nature. Living at the start of the fifth century ad, the author prepared for his son a vast collection of extracts from the writings of ancient authors to exemplify various philosophical, ethical, political and economic issues. That is why the fragments preserved in this book express universal types of wisdom, sometimes even in the form of maxims. Thanks to Stobaeus we have, for instance, a few examples of the playwright Moschion’s thoughts on man’s changing fortunes, justice and death, but the cited verses tell us nothing about his actual play. Stobaeus himself most probably did not actually know the Hellenistic dramas he was citing, for he appears to have made use of earlier anthologies and extracts. In one case we can be certain he used the same source as Clement of Alexandria.11 Such an indirect tradition poses additional problems in the interpretation of the cited fragments. It is hardly possible to establish a play’s theme, let alone its plot, on the basis of four verses regarding a universal truth. For instance, the sentences (F 11 of Moschion) ‘For it is a true adage among people / Little effort – to criticize your neighbour. / Oneself to bear a hurtful remark / Is the greatest of all burdens on mankind’ could be said by virtually any character in any type of play. It is the way in which the fragments have been passed on to us that has to a large extent impaired our ability to define which particular issues were prevalent in Hellenistic tragedies and satyr plays. While extant titles attributed to particular authors allow us to establish the general themes, the essential drama and actual plots remain elusive. Before undertaking a study of Hellenistic drama using the evidence we have, we must also make an assumption. The extant fragments may be, and in all likelihood are, a quite accidental collection of evidence that might not necessarily be representative of the entire Hellenistic period. Therefore if we classify them according to philosophical issues, e.g. the already mentioned changing of human fortune, and one category turns out to include the largest group of extant fragments, this does not allow us to conclude that this philosophical issue was the predominant theme in Hellenistic tragedy. Instead we should accept that the selective processes by which these fragments have survived to this day does not allow us to draw any general conclusions. The study of papyrus fragments poses quite different problems. The first of these is dating the original play, which usually does not correspond to the physical age of the papyrus. In other words the material on which the fragment is preserved may be dated to the second or third century ad, but is a copy of a text that was composed much earlier. Scholars meticulously analyse the language and themes of the texts in order to determine the original date, but there can never be absolute certainty. Fragment 1 of Apollonides (TrGF 152) is identically cited by both authors.

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Another problem is the physical damage incurred by extant texts. This necessitates reconstruction, which can only be performed by a modern scholar and is therefore in no sense concrete evidence of the content of the original text. Another problem is the random way in which papyrus texts are found. However, this randomness is quite different to that of the literary tradition, where a fragment survives on account of its subject. A papyrus text’s continued existence depends on where it was deposited, and the sheer chance of one fragment surviving while others are damaged or destroyed. Thus, for physical reasons, none of the beginnings or endings of plays have survived. Texts believed to be fragments of Hellenistic plays are very short, never more than a couple of dozen lines. This again naturally prevents us from formulating any general conclusions regarding Hellenistic tragedies and satyr plays. The four papyrus fragments presented in this book were written down for different purposes and on material derived from different periods. The oldest appears to be P. Oxy XXXVI 2746 from the first century ad, with the fragment that is in this book entitled Cassandra. The remaining papyri are at least 100 years later. With the exception of the fragment of Atlas, which was written down not only with care, but also on good-quality, lightcoloured papyrus, the rest of the fragments were written on less expensive materials. Atlas is an unusual literary work, written down without the use of the letter ‘s’, so the copy that we have might have been reserved for some private library or collection. The artists’ ‘working copies’ might have been papyri containing Cassandra (the text has didaskalia), or P.Oslo 1413 (which we refer to as Neoptolemus), which contains musical annotations. In relation to the popularity of Hellenistic tragedy we can testify only to the fact that these texts were written down by someone (and possibly used on stage) a few decades or even a few centuries after their origin. However, it is evident, considering the number of papyri containing fragments of New Comedy, that the identification of only a few fragments from an equally popular tragedy of this period is significant and in itself testifies to our scant acquaintance with this genre. Nevertheless, in contrast to the literary tradition, which has already been thoroughly studied, with papyrus texts there is still the hope of making a new discovery –the possibility, as in the case of Menander’s comedy, of eventually finding a larger number of texts from one Hellenistic tragedy, or even an entire play. Information regarding the authors of Hellenistic tragedies and satyr plays is also very scarce, especially if, unlike Alexander Aetolus or Lycophron, they were not also active in other fields of literature and arts. An example of a Hellenistic author about whom we know nothing is Moschion. This does not mean that an author like Moschion was not well known to his contemporaries. A silver cup bearing an inscription of his name as well as a Roman replica of his statue are evidence of him being a well-known and admired artist. Therefore our knowledge of Hellenistic playwrights is haphazard and does not reflect the actual popularity of their plays in their day. Apart from the works of Athenaeus and Stobaeus, the most helpful is of course the Suda. This tenth-century Byzantine encyclopaedia-dictionary contains the biographies of many Hellenistic dramatists. The book contains numerous mistakes, usually caused by attributing play titles to the wrong authors or mixing up the biographies of authors bearing the same name. Nevertheless, if the name of an author or the title of a play are recorded in such a book, this is evidence that the author and his plays were appreciated and even read in

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a later period. No less useful is the information found in the works of John Tzetzes, a Byzantine grammarian writing in the twelfth century, whose information also powerfully testifies to the fact that the fame of Hellenistic dramatists lasted until the late Byzantine period. The situation is quite different in the case of tragedians whose names only appear on inscriptions. They were the winners of dramatic agones in various places, and therefore they must have won the favour of judges or even the general public, but more often than not the author’s name and his play title are all that have survived. This begs the question why they should be mentioned in this study at all. First of all, titles are a valuable source of information regarding which subjects Hellenistic drama was interested in. There is also always a chance of attributing a particular papyrus fragment to an author whose name only appears in such an inscription. Moreover, we should note that only the names of winners in some towns are known, and this should give us an indication of how many playwrights there were in the Hellenistic period. In this book I have included all the tragedy and satyr play authors mentioned in lists of agon winners, and the fact that 50 are so far known demonstrates the scale of engagement in the writing of tragedies in the Hellenistic period. First of all we need to realize that not every playwright won, and only the names of those who did were inscribed in stone. Second, apart from Athens and some of the smaller towns, stone inscriptions of dramatic agon winners have not been found in all the cultural centres of the time, and this includes Alexandria, then the greatest metropolis of all. It is hard to imagine how many dramas were written during the whole Hellenistic period, but we should realize that we possess only a very scanty percentage of the whole.

Hellenistic criticism on tragedy It seems that the interest of contemporary scholars in the theoretical aspect of tragedy and the satyr drama played a very important role in the development of both genres. As we known, philology flourished in the Hellenistic period. All the major oikoumene centres had their schools of philosophy and rhetoric, where citizens were taught subjects concerning language and literature. Large teams of scholars were employed in the libraries of Alexandria, and from the second century bc also in Pergamum, to produce critical appraisals of texts and formulate the theory of literature. These studies had a profound influence on the development of writing, as is demonstrated, for instance, by the vast number of academic treatises, catalogues, encyclopaedic works, compendia and monographs, as well as the appearance of technical language in poetry and prose. So too drama became a subject of study for contemporary scholars, who created a theoretical basis and literary criticism, which in turn contributed to the further development of these genres.12 The treatises on tragedies and satyr plays For general information about Hellenistic literary criticism, see: Atkins (1934); Grube (1965), pp. 103–49; Kennedy and Innes (1989); Russel (1981); with the account of rhetoric, Russel (2006), Asmis (1998, 2006); Fraser (1972 I), pp. 480–94; Too (1998), pp. 115ff. Schenkeveld and Barnes (1999). On literary theory in the fourth century and the idea of literature, see Ford (2002), pp. 229–96 with further bibliography; and on the theatre, see Carlson (1993), pp.15–30.

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have not survived to this day. We know of their existence only thanks to what has been mentioned by later authors and scholiasts. As usual, an invaluable source here is Athenaeus’ Deipnosophists, where occasionally entire passages of treatises are cited, more often than not including the author’s name. Plutarch is another valuable source, who when dealing with related subjects, such as in his Moralia, sometimes quotes Alexandrian philologists. Naturally, the more renowned scholars are mentioned in the Suda, where we learn the titles of their lost works. Scholia on the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides also occasionally cite works from the Hellenistic period concerning the three great tragedians. Closer examination of extant testimonia and fragments from theoretical works concerning drama in the period after Alexander the Great’s conquests reveals several major courses of study. One without doubt was the study of music and dance in drama. The second concerned the language, expressions and words. A third course dealt with the stories and myths found in plays. To this type of literature, centred around the theory of drama, we should add the biographies of tragedians from the Classical period, works concerning Dionysian festivals and drama agones. Of the known scholars dealing with the theory of drama one can mention Asclepiades of Tragilos, the author of Tragodoumena.13 This work comprised at least six books, and concerned myths that were used and modified by tragedians. Philochorus of Athens,14 a friend and correspondent of Asclepiades, was another drama theoretician, as well as a historian and attidographer, who died sometime after 262 bc. He wrote On Tragedies, where he included information regarding myths used by Sophocles and Euripides. Among the most distinguished scholars in general who also wrote works concerning the theatre was Duris of Samos,15 who died in 175 bc. He was the epimeletes of Samos as well as a representative of the Peripatetic school of historiography, and wrote histories (Hellenica and Macedonica) as well as theoretical works (e.g. On Painters). His works concerning drama included: On Tragedy, On Euripides and Sophocles and On Agones. Virtually nothing is known about the work entitled Tragodoumena, which was written by Demaratus (though the author’s name may have actually been Damagetus).16 This work may have been similar to that written by Asclepiades of Tragilos, but we only make such an assumption on account of the identical title. Lysanias of Cyrene, the teacher of Eratosthenes,17 was the author of a work on Euripides. We also know that he wrote a treatise On Iambographers, and it is highly probable that this work would have concerned tragedians. It is also probable that from this period there was also an author by the name of Dionysius, who wrote a now lost work on Euripides.18 Since we know that this treatise was one of the main sources for Tzetzes’ On Comedy, I believe that it dealt with not only comedy, but also with tragedy and satyr drama. The musical aspects of stage works were dealt with by Aristocles, who lived during the reign of Ptolemy Physcon (145–116 bc).19 Among 15 16 17 18 19 13 14

Wentzel (1896a), p. 1628; Susemihl (1892), p. 20; Lesky (1963), p. 752; Bagordo (1998), p. 33. Laqueur (1939), p. 2435; Bagordo (1998), p. 33. Schwartz (1905), pp. 1853–6; Bagordo (1998), pp. 33–4. Schwartz (1901), p. 2706; Bagordo (1998), p. 35. Gudeman (1927), pp. 2508–11; Bartol (1992), p. 269; Bagordo (1998), p. 36. Cohn (1905a), pp. 985–86; Bagordo (1998), p. 62. Bagordo (1998), p. 58.

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other treatises, he wrote Peri Choron, which was cited by Athenaeus as Peri Mousikes, though it is possible that these were two different works. Thanks to its frequent quotations in the Deipnosophists, we know that this work concerned music and dance, presented the profiles of all sorts of poets and discussed genres in music and literature. Among the more well-known and universal philologists interested in the theory of drama, we find Draco of Stratonikeia.20 He is chiefly famous as the author of monographs on Pindar, Sappho and Alcaeus. He also wrote a work On Satyrs, which without doubt must have concerned the satyr play. Dionysodorus of Alexandria, a student of Aristarchus,21 wrote a treatise On the Errors of Tragedians, in which he pointed to all sorts of geographical and topographical mistakes that appeared in such plays. Artemon of Cassandreia22 was the author of an unknown work intriguingly entitled περὶ Διονυσιακοῦ Συστήματος. It may have been a treatise on festivities in honour of a deity that to a large extent involved stage performances. Such a type of book entitled ἀστικοῦ ἀγῶνος was written by Charicles of Carystus and undoubtedly concerned the Dionysia in Athens.23 Towards the end of the second century bc Carystius of Pergamum wrote a treatise entitled περὶ διδασκαλιῶν, which likewise included much information that was later used by scholiasts.24 Naturally there were also works that concentrated on only the vocabulary used in tragedies. However, the only information that has survived to our day concerns a type of dictionary entitled λέξις τραγική, which was compiled by Didymus of Alexandria.25 The Suda states that he was a contemporary of Cicero, Antony and Augustus. In its day a lexicon of words appearing in tragedies would have already been a very useful study aid on account of the rapid development of the Greek language. Interest in tragedies, or rather more generally in drama, can be observed in the work of scholars employed in the Alexandrian Library. None other than Callimachus himself was the author of Πίναξ καὶ ἀναγραφὴ τῶν κατὰ χρόνους καὶ ἀπ’ἀρχῆς γενομένων διδασκάλων (Pinax and Register of the Dramatic Poets in Order from the Beginning). This work is now lost, but we know it included information regarding various aspects of tragic and comic literature and was based on Aristotle’s Didascaliae26. The work is mentioned in scholia to Aristophanes.27 Likewise Callimachus’ student Istrus of Cyrene, among his many other treatises, wrote a biography of Euripides with a special focus on his tragedies.28 It is significant that in the Hellenistic period the formal aspects of drama were examined Cohn (1905b), pp. 1662–3; Susemihl (1892), p. 193; Bagordo, (1998), p. 49. Cohn (1905c), p. 1005; Susemihl (1892), p. 161; Bagordo (1998), p. 49. Susemihl (1891), p. 511; Bagordo (1998), p. 49. 23 Susemihl (1892), p. 399; Bagordo (1998), pp. 62–3. 24 Jacoby (1919), pp. 2254–5; Bagordo (1998), p. 59. 25 Cohn (1905d), pp. 445–72; Bagordo (1998), p. 59. 26 Pfeiffer (1968), pp. 81, 132. 27 Pfeiffer (1949), pp. 349–50. 28 Bagordo (1998), p. 40. We can only guess that some parts of Eratosthenes’ nine books on comedy were also devoted to tragedy, at least by contrast or comparison. Of particular interest are his opinions on the aims of poetry, which is attested by Strabo 1.2.3: (in short) ‘1. The aim of poetry is to give pleasure and not to instruct. 2. Poet is not supposed to be an expert in strategy, agriculture or rhetoric. 3. Critics should not waste their time establishing the truth of a poet’s facts.’ This stays in clear opposition to the precepts of Neoptolemus of Parion (which we know via Horace’s Ars Poetica, pp. 86–8, see below). No doubt we are dealing here with the early Hellenistic discussion on the aims and techniques of poetry, including tragedy. 20 21 22



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not only by theoreticians, but also by people practically engaged in this art form. At least three members of the Pleiad wrote about stage plays. Above all Alexander Aetolus created a catalogue of tragedies and satyr dramas for the Alexandrian Library, and Lycophron did the same for comedies. One should add that these were not mere ‘inventories’ but primarily works of literary criticism that put into order contemporary knowledge regarding tragedies. Another presumed Pleiad member, Dionysiades of Mallos, wrote a treatise entitled Characteres or Philokomodoi (Χαρακτῆρες ἢ Φιλοκώμῳδοι), which most probably concerned comedy writers, though the word Φιλοκώμῳδος is a hapax legomenon and as such poses certain interpretational difficulties. Theoretical knowledge of stage performances would have certainly affected the way in which Hellenistic authors wrote their tragedies. It should be noted that contemporary studies devoted a great deal of attention to the techniques of the three great tragedians. In a sense, and to a certain degree officially, they became ‘classics’ several years before the start of the Hellenistic period, when around the year 330 bc Lycurgus ordered the texts of their tragedies, at the time circulated around Athens, to be recorded on papyrus scrolls and forbade protagonists to make any further amendments to them. At the time these papyrus scrolls were a sort of canon edition. Soon afterwards, Ptolemy III borrowed them and they ended up in the Alexandrian Library, while only duplicate copies were sent back to Athens.29 The desire to possess these valuable manuscripts bears testimony to the great esteem in which Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides were then held. The works of the Great Three became the ultimate examples on which Hellenistic authors modelled their own plays. While scholars are generally of the opinion that, starting in the fourth century bc, Hellenistic tragedy suffered a gradual decline, there is no hard evidence to support this view. We do not know whether or not third- and second-century authors continued the rhetorical trend in this genre, or whether indeed they modelled their works on fourthcentury plays at all. On the other hand, we do know that Euripides continued to arouse delight and that Classical plays were the subject of many scholarly treatises. The only extant critical work on tragedy preserved in its entirety is, of course, the Poetics of Aristotle. It provides a good ground for drawing conclusions about the possible interests of his contemporary and later critics. The version that we have at our disposal is based primarily on a tenth-century manuscript called Parisinus Graecus (1741) and an older Syro-Arabic translation of a lost version as well as another Greek manuscript – Codex Riccardianus and the Latin translation.30 The date of the composition of the Poetics is not certain, as we do not know if it is an early work of the philosopher or if it was written much later. In fact it is not even clear if the text we possess is not in fact a compilation of the students’ notes circulating among the pupils of the Peripatetic school. Some parts of it may be even an addition of later (Hellenistic?) commentators.31 Chapters 4 and 532 give the history of poetic genres, Gal. Hipp. Epid. (XVII a), p. 606. For the manuscript tradition of the Poetics, see the Introduction to Tarán and Gutas (2012). 31 On the character of so-called esoteric works of Aristotle, see Barnes (1995), pp. 12ff. with further bibliography (1995). 32 Although the division into chapters is modern for practical reasons, it is present in all editions of the Poetics and it would be hard to find a better way to refer to it. 29 30

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especially of tragedy. Chapter 6 of the Poetics briefly presents the six elements of tragedy: plot, character, thought, diction, performance and song. These elements are subsequently discussed in the next 16 chapters. The author places particular emphasis on formulating a proper definition of tragedy, which would distinguish it from the other genres and present all the subtleties of its character (1449b 21): ἔστιν οὖν τραγῳδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας καὶ τελείας μέγεθος ἐχούσης, ἡδυσμένῳ λόγῳ χωρὶς ἑκάστῳ τῶν εἰδῶν ἐν τοῖς μορίοις, δρώντων καὶ οὐ δι’ ἀπαγγελίας, δι’ ἐλέου καὶ φόβου περαίνουσα τὴν τῶν τοιούτων παθημάτων κάθαρσιν.33 This definition, as well as the whole passage on tragedy, is of course limited by Aristotle’s attitude to criticism and the circumstances of his lifetime.34 I cannot here go into the obvious fact that Aristotle drew his examples from both classical tragedy and the contemporary works of Theodectes, Astydamas, Carcinus, Polyidus or Dicaeogenes. He presents his ideal tragedy through good examples which he had either read or seen on stage, but at the same time he clearly shows the elements of which he disapproved (e.g. the function of chorus, 18, 1456a25). Yet he is drawing the picture of an ideal genre, which as we could expect should have become a point of reference for later critics. Drawing a picture of an ideal play by giving positive and negative examples also seems to be the means by which Horace in the Ars Poetica was presenting the genre. Here the question arises: what was the influence of the Poetics on the development of tragedy in Hellenistic times and whether, or rather to what extent, was it known, at least among Alexandrian scholars?35 The only testimony which proves that the corpus Aristotelicum could had been found in the Great Library is Athenaeus Deipnosophists (1.3A-B), where we read that Neleus, who inherited ‘the library of Theophrastus and of Aristotle’ sold it to Ptolemy Philadelphus.36 This of course shows that Alexandrian intellectuals had access to the majority of peripatetic works, as well as those concerning literary theory. Principally however we cannot state with complete certainty that the Poetics was one of the works they studied. The diligent and most eminent student and successor of Aristotle, Theophrastus, also authored a book on poetics, in which he included his definitions of the poetic genres, including tragedy. Only a very distant echo and one small fragment of it were preserved in Diomedes’ Ars Poetica, namely the brief definition of tragedy: Else (1957) translated it as follows: ‘Tragedy then is an imitation of an action which is serious, complete, and has bulk, in speech that has been made attractive, using each of its species separately in the parts of the play; which persons performing the action rather than through narrative, carrying to completion, through a course of events involving pity and fear, the purification of those painful or fatal acts which have that quality’ (p. 221). 34 In the midst of a plethora of commentaries on the Poetics, the most valuable are Else (1957) and the latest Editio Maior by L. Tarán and D. Gutas, as well as the studies of Halliwell (1986), Rorty (1992) and Andersen and Haarberg (2001); on the tragedy in the Poetics, see especially Jones (1962) and Belfiore (1992). 35 On the reception of Aristotle in the circle of Callimachus, see Brink (1946). 36 On the other hand Strabo (13.1.54) writes that the descendants of Neleus were still in possession of the books many years after his death, storing them in horrible conditions, and then finally selling them several decades later to Appelicon of Theos, whose library was taken to Rome by Sulla. Athenaeus (5. 214 D-215A) confirms that Appelicon bought a collection of Aristotle’s works but does not mention that it was the former library of Neleus. Strabo’s version in fact defies common sense as there is enough evidence to prove that many works of Aristotle were well known since the beginning of the Hellenistic period. 33



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|tragoedia est heroicae fortunae in adversis conprehensio. a Theophrasto |ita definita est, τραγῳδία ἐστὶν ἡρωϊκῆς τύχης περίστασις.37 It seems that Theophrastus modified the definition of his master as the main accent is put on the heroic fortune, but also the term περίστασις instead of peripatheia is not accidental.38 It is a real misfortune that the above fragment is so small, but it is worth noticing here that the most famous distinction between comedy and tragedy, which is presented in Chapter 2 of the Poetics, is based on the representation of men: comic heroes are worse and tragic ones are better than in real life (1448a). The term spoudaios was in the past misunderstood and translated consequently as ‘noble’, which gave the assumption that tragedy has to deal with kings and people of royal origins. However, it was proved that the Aristotelian meaning of the word should be placed in the moral, not social, context39. It seems that Theophrastus’ definition was formulated with the obvious reference to the Aristotelian one and even this short passage shows that Theophrastus was not only echoing his uncle’s theories, but was also trying to improve and modify the stipulations. The only trace of purely Hellenistic poetics concerning drama is Horace’s Ars Poetica. According to the ancient commenter Porphyrion, in this work Horace made use of the literary theory of Neoptolemus of Parion. In its original form this scholium reads as follows: ‘… in quem librum [sc. Artem Poeticam] congessit praecepta Neoptolemi τοῦ Παριανοῦ de arte poetica, non quidem omnia, sed eminentissima.’40 From this text it transpires that an important part of Horace’s poem is based on Neoptolemus’ writings41. Thus we cannot rule out that the Ars Poetica fragment concerning tragedy contains echoes of Hellenistic arguments with regard to this genre and this is a good enough reason to take a closer look at the standards advocated by the Roman poet. Unfortunately, we know very little about Neoptolemus himself. It is difficult to ascertain with which particular centre of learning in the ancient world he was associated. On account of the fact that his place of birth was Parion in Troas, some scholars, such as E. Norden, believe it to be Pergamum.42 Nonetheless, in Hellenistic times, when long journeys for scientific purposes were the order of the day, this is not a very reliable indicator. Instead, C. O. Brink is of the opinion that the nature of his work suggests he was active in Alexandria.43 Establishing when Neoptolemus lived is also very difficult. The fact that he was cited by Aristophanes of Byzantium means that the terminus ante quem must have been the end of the third century bc. Another indicator as to when this author lived is a testimony by another Hellenistic theoretician, Philodemus. In his treatise περὶ ποιημάτων the name of Neoptolemus appears Gramatici Latini, Kock (1, 487).The shortness is probably due to the fact that the whole work of Diomedes has a compilatory character and the fragment was abbreviated either by him or his source. The rest of the text is mostly taken from Varro and Horace. 38 See Fortenbaugh (1988), p. 313. On the direct and indirect relation between the literary criticism of Theophrastus and Aristotle, see McMahon (1917), esp. pp. 43ff. 39 Grube (1965), p. 74f.; on the word in Theophrastus, see Margoliouth (1911), p. 44. 40 Porph. Hor. (c. vol. II), p. 649, Hauthall. See also Jensen (1918). 41 On the topic of Horace’s own contribution and the influence of Callimachus on literary theory, see D’Anna (2003). 42 Norden (1909), p. 189; Schmid and Stählin (1920), p. 170. For the edition of the works of Neoptolemus, see Mette (1980). 43 Brink (1963), p. 44. 37

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or may be reconstructed several times. According to C. Jensen44, the chronological order in which Philodemus mentions other authors suggests that Neoptolemus was active in the first half of the third century bc. We know the titles of only several of Neoptolemus’ works: two poetic pieces and four treatises on the theory of literature and criticism. We do not know from which work Horace derived the information for his poem. A comparison of the general ideas of Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric with those in the Ars Poetica suggests that Neoptolemus’ work dealt with poetry and the poet, and that the author belonged to the Peripatetic school of philosophy. The only way in which we may at least hypothetically reconstruct Neoptolemus’ arguments concerning tragedy is to analyse the relevant fragment of the Ars Poetica. In lines 185–93, Horace sets out five guidelines for stage performances, including tragedies. Lines 185–88 include aesthetic postulates for stage scenes not to be too drastic or off-putting. As examples to illustrate this argument, Horace mentions Medea murdering her children, Atreus cooking Thyestes’ sons and people transforming into animals, i.e. Cadmus turning into a snake and Procne into a bird. We do not know whether or not there ever existed Hellenistic tragedies displaying such scenes, for there are not even any extant play fragments with themes remotely related to the above examples. Indeed, none mention such gruesome stories, and one has to concede that if not for this fragment of Horace’s poem, nobody would be able to suspect that Hellenistic tragedies included such scenes. Whether Horace was genuinely postulating against scenes that really appeared on the Hellenistic stage or whether this guideline blew the problem out of proportion is a matter of pure conjecture and very uncertain assumptions. With so little evidence, there is little hope that it will ever be properly explained. The next precept of the poet concerns the division of plays into five acts. Horace writes: ‘neve minor neu sit quinto productior actu’. However, first one has to ascertain what the poet understood by the word actus.45 For this term could mean the acting of the players, action in the play, the part played by the actor, as well as each time an actor appeared on the stage – it is from this last meaning that our understanding of the word ‘act’ is derived. The Latin actus is not an equivalent of the Greek word μέρος (i.e. part) used by Aristotle, who distinguishes four basic parts in a drama: prologue, epeisodion, exodos and choral part. This is also not the division presented by Horace. Already on the morphological level the difference in thinking is visible, μέρος is simply a part, whereas actus is connected with the content of the play, with its exact action and acting itself; actus is therefore a much more precise term. Meros was nevertheless used in the later Greek theatre terminology to mean actus in the Horatian sense. When Marcus Aurelius compares life to drama (12, 36), he is talking about five parts which are supposed to be completed, or more precisely he uses the word in the sense of lines delivered by the actor (ἀλλ’ οὐκ εἶπον τὰ πέντε μέρη, ἀλλὰ τὰ τρία. – ‘But I did not recite all five acts – only three of them’). Can we therefore assume that the original Greek precept of Neoptolemus was about five mere in tragedy, and if so, why has Horace translated it as actus? To answer these questions we have first Jensen (1923), p. 95, with some hesitation accepted by Brink (1963), p. 52. On the meaning of actus in the Ars Poetica, see Beare (1946) and Brożek (1959/60), pp. 16–17.

44 45



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to establish what the practical meaning of an act in ancient drama is. The most natural ‘act-divider’, already mentioned in the Poetics, is the entry of the chorus, therefore acts are the parts of drama involving actors (with and without the chorus). The moment when the stage is left empty and the chorus performs the strophic lyric, the actus is over. It must be stressed here that actus is not an equivalent of a scene per se but in Hellenistic times the dramatist probably started for the sake of the clarity of the plot to limit acts to particular scenes. To describe contemporary practice the Alexandrian critics probably began with the Aristotelian division, but it was far too general to describe the established Hellenistic form of the stage genres. The struggle with the terminology is visible in an extraordinary remark of Pollux: Καὶ ἐπεισόδιον δ’ἐν δράμασι πρᾶγμα πράγματι συναπτόμενον (4.108.6). By πρᾶγμα he probably means scene, but deliberately or not he uses the exact and adequate equivalent of Latin actus. Pollux uses older, mainly Hellenistic, sources and this must be also the origin of the term pragma. It is possible that the Latin form actus originates in pragma, and is an echo of the Alexandrian search for the proper word to express the parts of the drama between the choral songs. Therefore we cannot really say how precise Neoptolemus wanted to be and what term he used.46 It may be that the word pragma was not really accepted in the later theoretical writings because of the great influence of Aristotelian terminology, and maybe also because of the simplicity of the word meros. The recovery of Menander’s comedies has made it clear that his plays were divided into five acts by four choral interludes.47 We can assume that it was the common practice in the whole New Comedy as Menander was its most eminent and influential representative (therefore most of the authors probably imitated his style). The traces of five-act division in Hellenistic comedy are also visible in Roman adaptations of Greek plays by Plautus and Terence (though because of the lack of chorus the structure of the comedies is in this regard strongly modified). A. H. Sommerstein showed that in fact Old Comedy was already dominated by the five-act format (or rather was slowly approaching this principle), although the number of acts varied from seven to four and they were of different lengths.48 The same process is also visible in the plays by Euripides; most of his plays are clearly divided into five parts by the choral entrances.49 It must be stated, though, that what we call the five-act rule was never so closely followed as it was in Elizabethan theatre and its successors. In antiquity, or more precisely from the fourth century bc onwards, it was probably the most common practice dictated by practical considerations and the inner economy of the plays. The division into acts of Greek drama was a gradual process and the ultimate Cf. Beare’s conclusions about the meaning of actus and his unjustified rejection of Pollux’ pragma. See Beare (1948), p. 58. 47 On the division of acts in ancient drama, see Weissinger (1940); in New Comedy, especially Schäfer (1965), Holzberg (1974) as well as: Harsh (1944), p. 316; Damen (1989) and McBrown (1992) with further bibliography. 48 Sommerstein (1984). See also Zimmermann (1987) and Hamilton (1991), who specify more precisely the criteria of act division in Old Comedy. Sommerstein proposed three: the entrance of the chorus, empty stage and the lapse of time, but the last one is especially difficult to prove. 49 Flickinger (1926), p. 193; Harsh (1944), p. 163. For the exact division in each preserved play, see: Aichele (1971), pp. 50f.; Hamilton (1991), p. 354. 46

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five-act rule is a consequence of the constant quest for the perfect play. The practice is, as mentioned before, proven in Hellenistic comedy, but can it also be traced in contemporary tragedy? Of course, we have no Hellenistic play preserved in its entirety to prove or disprove this theory.50 However, there is a suggestion in Hero’s description of Philo of Byzantium’s steam-propelled puppet-staging of the Nauplius myth in a play in Alexandria which indeed comprised five parts or, more precisely, five separate scenes.51 Each part of that play was divided by the time-lapse and different scenery. The division was clear – shutting and opening of the pinax separated the scenes. When the pinax was reopened the audience saw the new arrangement of the ‘scene’: Hero calls it διάθεσις. The term is used to describe the composition of a painting or, in rhetorical terminology – speech composition. Here it is clearly used in the plastic sense of the word: the new composition – arrangement of the scene, i.e. scenery. Therefore it is logical to assume that in the case of Nauplius’ puppet play the division of acts was based on the changing of the scenery, and this is how Hero describes it. Another piece of evidence could be provided by analysing the Exagoge by Ezekiel. The suspected division of the Jewish-Hellenistic drama into five acts could partly solve the problem. But in fact there is no certainty on any point, only that the play was suspected to have be staged in five different scenes.52 Another of Horace’s guidelines concerned the prudent use of divine intervention to solve drama plots. Of course, this instruction concerns the gratuitous use of the deus ex machina in plays that Aristotle had already criticized. None of the extant Hellenistic tragedy fragments actually concerns such solutions of divine intervention, but it is fairly safe to assume that they were used just as they had been used in Classical drama. This was even more likely considering the spectacular nature of such solutions in plot, even if they did betray a rejection of an outcome that was psychologically plausible on the human level as well as being in accordance with a logical sequence of events. Horace’s next precept concerns the maximum number of actors delivering speeches or engaging in dialogues on stage. He recommends that it be no more than three (v. 192: nec quarta loqui persona laboret). Here we should note that such restrictions were in any case dictated by technical possibilities, and not only out of consideration for the audience. After Sophocles introduced the third actor, the practice of three actors speaking on stage became standard in tragedy.53 The important question – why only three? – was already formulated by many scholars, and the answers proposed take into account the role-distribution, audience preference and competition between On the structure of post-Euripidean tragedy, see Taplin (1976); additionally the tragedies of Seneca can be seen as modelled on Hellenistic plays, cf. Tarrant (1978). See page 85f. of this book. Beare (1948), pp. 56ff., argues that the description of the puppet show given by Hero proves that it did not mirror any kind of theatrical practice. His opinion however is not widely accepted. 52 See page 225. 53 The problem of the number of personae loquentes and the distribution of the parts in Classical drama was undertaken in the plethora of scholarly works. The most comprehensive account still seems to be Pickard-Cambridge (1988), pp. 135–56. However different ideas and solutions of the controversy over the rule and the distribution of parts have been proposed; see especially: Rees (1908); Walcot (1976), pp. 44f.; Walton (1980), pp. 138–44; Jouan (1983), pp. 63–80; Gredley (1984); Pavlovskis (1977); Damen (1989); Csapo and Slater (1995), pp. 222f. 50

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actors, as well as other possible factors.54 In the case of Horace’s prohibition of the fourth speaking actor, it is clearly a matter of aesthetic judgement. The poet is not concerned about the staging possibilities, nor does he care about the feelings of competing technitai – actors. He (or rather his Hellenistic original) stands for the traditional exposition and distribution of the play. Naturally enough, again we have no extant fragments to prove that there was any alternate practice, i.e. any testimony that would prove that in Hellenistic times tragic writers started to experiment with the fourth speaking persona on the stage. With the exception of the play Cassandra, where there were indeed three actors (Priam, Cassandra and Deiphobus) and also the chorus, we do not even have examples of plays with more than two actors on the stage. Nevertheless inscriptions from Delphi do mention troupes of three actors playing in comedies and tragedies during the Soteria.55 And there may be evidence that the ‘three-actor rule’ was still practised. The most interesting of Horace’s instructions is one for the chorus to take on the role of an actor in the play, i.e. for the chorus to engage in dialogues with the characters in the play and to sing not abstract songs but words that are relevant to the play. This instruction, if it originated from Neoptolemus of Parion, could express a will to break with the fourth-century practice of choruses singing universal embolima between the acts. In this case, it seems that extant fragments and testimonia confirm such practices in the Hellenistic period, a subject that is discussed more fully in this chapter in a section on the chorus. The precepts of Horace and Neoptolemus are to some extent in accordance with the Aristotelian theories expressed in the Poetics, but they certainly differ markedly in detail and in fact only three of them can be directly linked to Aristotle. The prohibition of horror enacted on stage may be a distant echo of Aristotle’s postulate 14. 1452b12: οἵ τε ἐν τῷ φανερῷ θάνατοι καὶ αἱ περιωδυνίαι καὶ τρώσεις καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα, but the precept was drawn up and expressed much more precisely. The same applies to the precept about the use of the deus ex machina: in the Poetics it is said that it should be restricted to the ‘external’ parts of the play (prologues and epilogues)56. Aristotle condemns Agathon’s dramas because he disapproves of the use of embolima and demands that the chorus’s parts should be the integral part of the whole. Horace though demands more – he wants the chorus to be morally involved in the plot (v. 193: actoris partis chorus officiumque virile/ defendat).57 The most mysterious and puzzling part of the Ars Poetica is the section on the satyr play (vv. 220–50). The genre, unlike tragedy and comedy, was neither written nor staged in Rome and despite that fact Horace writes: ‘verbaque, Pisones, satyrorum scriptor amabo’. Many interpretations have been posed for explaining the passage and See especially Appendix of Damen (1989), with further bibliography. Sifakis (1967), p. 74. But see Bywater (1909) on Arist. Po. 15. 1454b2: ἀλλὰ μηχανῇ χρηστέον ἐπὶ τὰ ἔξω τοῦ δράματος (pp. 330f.). 57 On the moral aspect of the music in the Ars Poetica (vv. 202–19), see Brink (1971), pp. 260ff., who collates the passage with clearly Hellenistic resentments of Aristoxenus (Ath. 14. 632B): ‘… let the few of us by ourselves remember what music was like, for now the theatres have become utterly barbaric and that vulgar music has proceeded to destruction and ruin’. 54 55 56

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its relation to Roman literary conditions.58 The content must be Hellenistic as the satyr play is presented through a negative comparison to New Comedy (‘ut nihil intersit Davusne loquatur et audax /Pythias emuncto lucrata Simone talentum’), but the whole passage is strongly Latinized, which is a paradox per se as the genre is not Roman. For Horace the satyr play is a middle genre between tragedy and comedy, which is fundamentally different to what Aristotle said in his history of the development of the dramatic genres (Poetics 4. 1449a 9ff.). However, we have to keep in mind that whatever Horace says about the satyr play is a combination of Hellenistic theory on an ideal satiric genre and the poet’s idea of it. It is very doubtful that he had ever witnessed a staging or re-staging of a Greek satyr play, and therefore his knowledge of the genre is purely theoretical (no doubt he was familiar with the works of the classical tragedians). Presenting the satyr play as a middle genre between tragedy and comedy is, however, very interesting; it may mirror the early Hellenistic struggle to redefine the genre and to adapt it to the new social and staging conditions. It is symptomatic that the plays of early Hellenistic poets (Python, Lycophron and Sositheus) that we know presented elements typical in Old Comedy (mocking the contemporary, wellknown personalities like Harpalus, Menedemus and Cleanthes, obscene language). The yearning for the old type of satyr play evident in the epigram AP 7.707 by Dioscorides59 presents similar longing for the traditional themes and staging practice as the precepts of Horace. Therefore it is possible that Neoptolemus already presented the genre as a transitional form. The last but not least influential Hellenistic treatise on poetics, which included a discussion of dramatic genres, was the work On Poetry by Philodemus of Gadara (c. 110–40bc), a contemporary of Horace. Only very short passages of his work (or rather of the extant fragments of it) are devoted to tragedy. Fragments 23–2860 of Book 2 are devoted to the problem of euphony in drama, and 28–31 probably deal with the features of a good poet, especially in the context of originality (it is being discussed in relation to the example of Euripides). Unfortunately, the passage of Book 3, which contains Philodemus’ discussion of Aristotle’s view on the satyr play and tragedy, is severely damaged. It is possible to reconstruct to some extent the general idea, but the detailed argumentation is not really preserved. Interesting though are the single phrases and expressions used by Philodemus. In fr. 3 col. 1 he implies that the satyr play employs mockery (χλευασμός), which is by other authors, including Aristotle, collated with comedy.61 It may again be an effect of the early Hellenistic practice of writing satyr plays with the mocking elements of Old Comedy. Philodemus’ long disquisition on mimesis, representation of people in action and – most of all – his criticism of Aristotelian definitions of poetic genres mirror his own struggle with creating definitions at a time when poetic composition was both eclectic and found in See Brink (1971), pp. 274ff., with the survey of interpretations (including Brink’s own idea of Horace intending to re-establish the Greek genre in Rome). The hypothesis of Plotnick (1979) that we are dealing here with a Horatian literary play (satyr drama for Latin satura, which Horace indeed authored) seems to me more plausible. This does not change the fact that the passage is taken (and maybe slightly caricaturized) from a Hellenistic treatise – most probably from Neoptolemus. 59 See page 47 and 93f. 60 Lines numbers after Janko (2010). 61 Rhet. 2.6.1384b10; Plu. Mor. 348B; Ath 5.187C, 15. 694E. See Janko (2001), p. 247n. 7. 58



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mixed forms. Again in fr. 3, 111, 20, the term spoudaios appears in the context of the definition of tragedy – Philodemus concludes the whole passage with the statement that σεμνότερα μεμιμῆσθαι (imitating the more dignified) cannot be a basis for definition. At the end of the third book Philodemus criticizes the Aristotelian division of tragedy into parts (εἴδη). Unfortunately, Philodemus’ fervent criticisms in Book 3 focus mostly on Aristotle and do not mention Neoptolemus, to whom he will turn directly in Book 5. 3 – not in the context of drama, but the manner of composition and style in general, and criticism of the division: style–content–author .62 Neoptolemus was probably the originator of the threefold formula – known from later grammarians and in Horace’ Ars Poetica.63 One should not underestimate the contribution of literary theory to the development of Hellenistic drama. In this respect certainly for the first time we are dealing with an epoch where the official study of literary genres was considered important and as a result of which closer attention was paid to the proper composition of literary works. Such care would have also undoubtedly applied to tragedies, at least during the so-called Alexandrian period, when distinguished dramatists such as Lycophron and Alexander Aetolus were at the same time ‘research fellows’ at the Alexandrian Library. It is very important to realize that that the classical tragedians had themselves already reflected on the changes in the genre that they had made. They were also fully conscious of the rules of their art. Aristotle quotes an interesting reflection of Sophocles on the comparison between his poetry and that of Euripides: he made his characters what they ought to be while Euripides made them what they were (Poetics 4, 1449a15).64 We can be sure that no less conscious of their work were the Hellenistic tragedians, especially the ones working in the Great Library of Alexandria. Naturally literary theory in the case of drama could merely codify existing practice, but it also thus formed a reference base for later playwrights. Basically, we lack information concerning both practice and theory in Hellenistic drama, but in both cases even the small fragments of information that do exist cannot be overlooked in the study of the general history of theatre.

Tragic themes Historical themes Political and social changes of the sort that occurred towards the end of the fourth century bc could not but have had an influence on the development of drama in this period. We know that in the middle of the fifth century comedy, tragedy and the satyr For the recent translation of Philodemus’ On Poems Book 5 by D. Armstrong, see Obbink (1995), pp. 255–69. The passage is also discussed in Porter (1995), pp. 102–8. 63 The idea is nevertheless based on an earlier Aristotelian idea; see Porter (1995), pp. 118–23. 64 There are also gnomic reflections on poetry in classical tragedy, e.g. Eur. Supp. vv. 180–3, Andromache, v. 476. Not to mention the Euripidean covert criticism of Aeschylus’ dramatic technique (Phoenician Women, vv. 751–3; contra Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes, vv. 375–676; or Electra vv. 518–43, against the tokens of anagnorismos in Aeschylus’ Libation Bearers). 62

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play had already ceased to be an exclusively Attic way of celebrating religious and state events, as they began their triumphal procession throughout the Greek-speaking world. Dramatic performances came to symbolize Hellenization and thus also to represent high culture in the provinces. Of course, drama had been known as an ‘export product’ of Athens ever since the days of Aeschylus and his journeys to Sicily, but it was not until the time of Euripides that Greece realized the potential cultural power of drama. This is best testified by the efforts undertaken by King Archelaus of Macedonia to draw the great tragedians Euripides and Agathon to his court. It is generally known that plays dealing with historical subjects had been written as early as the fifth century bc. However, these concerned the historical events of Athens, usually recent ones which would have been within people’s living memories. Although selecting such subjects was in a sense representing the ‘voice’ of the democratic polis, the plays were not supposed to have any political undertones. Evidence of this was the punishment of Phrynichus for staging the Sack of Miletus. The city authorities most probably felt that the dramatist was playing with the emotions of citizens, who had earlier been greatly angered by Athens’ failure to save Miletus. Aeschylus’ Persians, by contrast, belonged to a different category of historical play in that it is in equal measure a tragedy of character as it is praise of Athens. Reminding the Greeks of their past victories over the mighty Persians played a very important social role and raised civic morale at a time of internal crisis, but its purpose was not to achieve any specific political goals. That type of function was performed by Old Comedy, particularly as such plays were performed during the Lenaia, a special time when the citizens of Athens were at liberty to ‘settle scores’ with current politicians without fear of reprisals. Tragedy was at most supposed to present the grandeur of democratic Athens. In the fourth century historical plays of a different sort began to appear. This was directly associated with the spreading of the tragic genre to other, non-democratic Greek poleis. The first tragedy of this new sort was written by the tyrant Dionysius the Elder (430–367 bc)65 and it concerned his recently deceased wife, Doris. Two fragments of this play have survived: Doris the wife of Dionysius is gone (F9) and oimoi excellent wife is dead (F 10). To be precise, this play cannot be called a historical play in the strict sense of the word as it concerned very recent and indeed exceptionally personal events. In the play Dionysius treats himself and his wife as the equivalents of mythical heroes in a Classical tragedy, perhaps even modelling it on Euripides’ Alcestis.66 One cannot rule out that the tyrant even played himself in the tragedy. Like Lucian,67 we may be critical of Dionysius’ stage activities, but one cannot deny that he was original in his selection of topics. In a certain sense, the tragedy Mausolus by Theodectes was similar. After the death of the tyrant of Caria, the one whose famous tomb was constructed in Halicarnassus, Mausolus’ wife, Artemis, persuaded the playwright to write the tragedy as a sort of homage to this deceased ruler. There exist TrGF 76. Dionysius was in fact the author of many tragedies, of which several titles are preserved (Adonis, Alkmene, Hektoros lytra), and at least one satyr play Limos. He got a prize for a tragedy at the Lenaia in Athens (D.S. 15.74.5). 66 See Xanthakis-Karamanos (1980), pp. 153–4. 67 We have both extant fragments thanks to Lucian (Ind. 15), who ridiculed Dionysius’ style. 65



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justified doubts as to whether or not this was a play intended for the stage, or rather whether or not it was ever performed.68 Yet even if it was never staged in Athens or any other polis, this is still interesting evidence of a new, nascent trend in Greek theatre. The commemoration of a recently deceased ruler who was a great friend of Athens and the Hellenic world also had its political aspect, one which highlighted the ties between Caria and Greek civilization. The disappearance of this play is a great loss to theatre history, for it was unique evidence of ongoing changes in the writing of tragedy. It is possible that an image of the performance of a lost play concerning contemporary events has been preserved on an Apulian crater of the so-called Darius Painter.69 The scene depicts Darius Codomannus consulting his advisers. If this scene indeed has anything to do with a lost tragedy, it would be evidence that dramatists were interested in political events. Such a tragedy would mark the start of new Hellenistic trends. The great breakthrough in the writing of tragedy actually came with the onset of the Hellenistic era, and it was associated with a change in the mentality of both the Greeks and the people who would henceforth be influenced by Greek culture. At a time when the fate of individuals was increasingly affected by the personal urges of rulers, when the free Hellenic world, having defeated Persia, itself became fascinated with the East and absorbed elements of its culture, at a time when Greece lost the delusion of democracy and personal freedom for good and replaced it with a sense of Pan-Hellenic grandeur, Greek tragedy embarked on a new, quite different course of development70. The political and social situation posed new challenges for Greek drama, as it now became an everyday form of entertainment, not only for the Athenians or Greeks, but also for all those who wished to be assimilated into Hellenic culture. The first stage in this change of course was a change of topics taken up in tragedies and satyr dramas to serve particular political goals. It is not mere coincidence that this new historic epoch actually started in the theatre. The road to the throne and to world conquest began for Alexander in a small theatre in Aigai, where his father Philip II, who knew the power of the stage as a political propaganda weapon, was murdered. Alexander himself, during his long expedition, was accompanied by artists and actors.71 And it was during this great campaign, which transformed the world, that we have the first example of the revolutionary change in satyr play themes, the staging of Python’s Agen. As has already been stated, plays on contemporary topics sporadically appeared in the previous centuries, but it was not until the Hellenistic period that the effect that the stage could have on society was fully appreciated and exploited as a political instrument. The authors of tragedies now focused on contemporary figures and The Suda s.v. Θεοδέκτης only states: Ἀρτεμισίας τῆς γυναικὸς αὐτοῦ προτρεψαμένης, καί ἐνίκησε μάλιστα εὐδοκιμήσας ἐν ῇ εἶπε τραγῳδίᾳ. Gellius in Attic Nights, 10. 18.5: ‘extat nunc quoque Theodecti tragoedia quae inscribitur Mausolus’. Ribbeck (1875), p. 146, and Pohlenz (1954), p. 191, are of the opinion that this was a sort of monodrama, whereas Zwierlein (1966), p. 154, nevertheless considers it to be a tragedy. 69 Naples Museum: nr 3253; Pickard-Cambridge (1988), fig. 191; Trendal and Webster (1971), pp. III, 5, 6. 70 On the pan-Hellenic ideas in fourth century drama, see Xanthakis-Karamanos (1980), p. 4. 71 On Philip’s theatre, see Wiles (1997), pp. 38–9. On dramatic performances held during Alexander’s campaign in Tyre, Susa and Ecbatana, see Plu. Alex. 29 and 72; Ath. 12. 538F–539A; Arr. An. 7.14.1. 68

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events. Plays were now not only supposed to interest the audience, they were also supposed to inform them of political events and provide an interpretation that was at the given time politically expedient. A tragedy of this sort was Moschion’s Men of Pherae. If scholars who consider that this play was about the killing of the cruel Thessalian tagos Alexander of Pherae are right,72 we are dealing with the presentation of a tyrant being punished, and this was not a mythical punishment but something that had really happened and was proof of divine justice within people’s living memories. In an era when new dynasties and kingdoms were being founded, and as a result politics was becoming increasingly aggressive, a play like this carried a clear socio-political message. It was a means of comforting citizens, providing hope and also in a sense a warning to other rulers of inescapable retribution for their crimes. It was also the expression of political views opposed to Alexander of Pherae. Possibly a similar type of tragedy was written by Lycophron under the title of Cassandreians if, for example, we accept that it concerned the tyrant Apollodorus.73 However, if this tragedy was about the fate of Phila, the wife of Demetrius Poliorcetes, or that of Arsinoe, the matter is even more pronounced. If this was so, it would have concerned not only contemporary issues but also explicitly the Ptolemaic point of view. As such it would have propagated the political course adopted by Ptolemy II, and in a sense served as a means of passing information on to the Alexandrian public. As a ‘state official’ at the Library, Lycophron’s association with the royal court was close enough to make his writing of such a play plausible. Judging by its title, one may also imagine that another of Lycophron’s tragedies, Allies, had a contemporary, military or political context. However, this title is much too general for us to formulate any far-reaching theories. Undoubtedly contemporary topics in plays did to some degree serve the purposes of political propaganda. Yet fascinating as it might be, this particular aspect of theatre goes beyond the scope of this book.74 A different trend in the use of historic themes in tragedies of the Hellenistic period concerned stories of the fortunes of Eastern dynasties. An example of this may be the partially preserved tragedy about Gyges. We do not know the name of the author, but there can be little doubt that he lived in the Hellenistic period.75 Largely based on Herodotus’ account, the drama presents an episode from the history of Lydia. This colourful tale of an imprudent ruler, blinded by love for his wife, the humiliated queen and the loyal servant is particularly appropriate to this age. So too the scenery, steeped in Eastern lavishness, which allowed the author to express the realities of the Lydian court as a virtual fantasy world. And likewise the bloody punishment inflicted on the husband perfectly matches the Hellenistic view of tragedy. In certain respects Moschion’s Themistocles might be seen as a historical drama of a similar sort. Although the subject was actually an Athenian politician, if O. Ribbeck’s interpretation is correct, the play is set at the court of Artaxerxes and concerns the final years of Themistocles’ life. It is really only in the final period of his political life that one can find tragic elements that lend themselves to dramatic material. As such 75 72 73 74

See p. 131ff. See p. 83ff. Some of the problems regarding this issue are discussed in Perrin (1997). This play is discussed in detail on p. 178ff. of this book.



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it would suit the Hellenistic fashion for writing tragedies with an Eastern flavour. Additionally, the tragedy refers to a period of Athenian might, which would be very significant if Moschion staged the play in that very city. At a time when the intellectual capital of the Greeks was a mere memory, recalling in tragedies the city’s outstanding citizens was an important element in restoring in Athenians a sense of self-esteem. Perhaps that is why not only Moschion, but also Philiscus wrote a play entitled Themistocles. In the case of tragedies concerning historical or contemporary events, it is easy to find a reason why they have not survived to this day. It is said that if something becomes outdated, it ceases to be comprehensible to audiences and thus also ceases to be performed on the stage. Undoubtedly this was one of the reasons why the plays Men of Pherae and Cassandreians have not survived – perhaps not the only reason, but certainly a sufficient one for the tragedies not to be popular in later times. The texts must have survived for another several centuries for their fragments to be cited by Stobaeus in his Anthology and Athenaeus in the Deipnosophistae, but they were certainly not as well known to the general public as the plays of Euripides. Furthermore, one has to concede that even only a hundred years after the death of Alexander of Pherae his story would have in all probability only been known to historians, other scholars and perhaps the descendants of the city inhabitants who had been wronged by him. One could therefore hardly expect the general public of Athens or Alexandria to have been moved by the story of how he was killed. The relevance and existence of such plays was very short-lived. It seems that political dramas of this sort were generally only written at the start of the Hellenistic period. Later, at least up to the second half of the third century bc we hear of no tragedies concerning contemporary themes. Perhaps this was just a passing fad that emerged at the end of fourth century as a result of the then ongoing political upheavals. In the subsequent century the political situation became sufficiently stable for plays on contemporary affairs to cease being popular or perhaps even tolerated. Judging by the pathos of the actors’ masks, always with a high onkos, and their elevated boots, one gets the impression that plays now expressed an exclusively mythical reality, and that on the stage audiences now only saw legendary heroes and gods. Yet the association of theatre with politics remains an interesting issue. In the Hellenistic epoch the theatre building frequently served as a venue for public gatherings: as the ekklesiasterion. Real political events took place on the theatre stage or were at least announced from there. Several such events occurred in the second half of the fourth century bc, including the aforementioned death of Philip II, the ‘staging’ of the execution of Hippo, the tyrant of Messana (conducted in a public theatre in 344 bc) and the failed suicide attempt of Mamercus, the tyrant of Catana, on a theatre stage in Syracuse. It seems that events of this sort, bordering between reality and theatre, had a powerful influence on the development of tragedies dealing with contemporary subjects. In a sense real life had made its way to the stage. Later politicians mastered the ability of using the theatre for their own purposes. Political events started being re-enacted on stage and the audience’s emotions were controlled using the techniques developed in tragedies. This was how in 294 bc the entry of Demetrius

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Poliorcetes into Athens was arranged so that the Athenians would see him for the first time when they were gathered in the theatre and he appeared coming through a side entrance on to the stage.76 Andronidas and Callicrates hired an actor to pretend to be a courier from Rome and thus persuade the Achaean League in Sicyon (naturally gathered in the theatre) to adopt their policy of making peace between Ptolemy VIII and Antiochus IV.77 And one could cite many other examples.78 In my opinion it is this close association between politics and theatre that influenced the development of social and political themes in tragedy.

Mythical themes Historical tragedies nevertheless accounted for no more than a small percentage of the plays performed on the Hellenistic stage. In this period, as indeed throughout the entire history of ancient theatre, mythological themes predominated. Of course, our knowledge regarding the most frequently used myths is very selective. We need to remember that only small fragments of information on drama in those times have survived to our day, and extant play titles only account for a tiny percentage of tragedies written in the Hellenistic period. One might even question whether there is any point in presenting mythological tragedies, since we know so little about the work of Hellenistic dramatists. After all, hypothetically we could assume that the extant titles are in no way representative of tragedies written in that period and that they might even be unique. Yet even such a small number of extant tragedy fragments and relevant testimonia do create a remarkably consistent picture which points to specific tendencies and trends in the writing of Hellenistic tragedies. And these trends are confirmed in other forms of literature in that period. Certain groups of titles allow us to discern the popularity of given mythological cycles, while others confirm a strong connection with tragedies from earlier epochs. There also exist specific groups of titles that are evidence of the typically Hellenistic interest in previously unknown mythical versions. Studying the legacy of Hellenistic tragedy, one quickly notices that the most frequently repeated mythological cycle in that period was the Trojan cycle. Interest in the fate of Ilion, and especially those events that were not described in the Iliad and Odyssey but were instead taken from the epic cycles, was a universal feature of literature in the Hellenistic period. The tradition of tragedies of the Classical period must also have had a not inconsiderable influence on the popularity of such themes. Hellenistic plays inspired by Trojan myths also concerned the founding of the city, e.g. Dymas’ Dardanus, as well as the fate of the heroes who took part in the expedition against it, such as Eurypyleia by Homerus of Byzantium. The largest number of tragedies known to have concerned Troy was written by Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas. This should not surprise us, since he glorified the legendary past of his homeland. Of the 13 extant titles of his plays, five are associated with the Trojan cycle: Plu. Demetr. 34. Plb. 29. 25, this took place in 169 bc. 78 A large number from various areas of politics are mentioned in the article by Chaniotis (1997). 76 77



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Alexander, Neoptolemus, Sack [of Troy], Polyxena and Teucer. Moreover, epigraphic records also mention titles of tragedies with Trojan themes written by lesser known authors, e.g. Phoenix by …]enodorus. Two inscription titles are associated with the house of Atreus: Theodorus’ Hermione and Polemaius’ Clytemnestra. To this second group we may also add Nicomachus’ Tyndareus, as in it he must have written about the misfortunes of Helen’s father. Plays dealing with ‘Trojan’ related myths or rather the fortunes of heroes involved in the war include Lycophron’s Nauplius and Moschion’s Telephus. It is interesting that in the same period the Trojan cycle also served as a backdrop for satyr drama plots. The known titles include Harmodius’ Protesilaus, Polemaius’ Ajax and Theodotus’ Palamedes. Of the small number of extant papyrus fragments that can be dated to the Hellenistic period, two deal with Trojan events. The first of these, which I have suggested we call Cassandra on account of it presenting a dialogue between Cassandra and Priam as well as Deiphobus, concerned the famous duel between Hector and Achilles. The second, entitled Neoptolemus, includes an account related to Deidamia on the epiphany of Achilles as well as another fragment in which Neoptolemus is perhaps presented to Phoenix. Other plays that were in all probability taken from this epic cycle include Lycophron’s Telegonus, as well as the presumed tragedy entitled Astragalistae by Alexander Aetolus.79 Another epic cycle that seems to have been a popular theme in Hellenistic tragedies is the Theban cycle. Here again this seems to have been dictated by playwriting tradition and the exceptionally tragic history of the Labdacids. From Lycophron’s legacy we know of four play titles concerning this group of myths: Laius, Chrysippus and two plays entitled Oedipus. The aforementioned Nicomachus authored three plays from this cycle: Eriphyle, Alcmaeon and Oedipus. In all, we know of four Hellenistic plays entitled Oedipus, adding to the above a tragedy called Oedipus by Sosiphanes. No doubt there were actually many more than that, but because the myth was already very popular in the Classical period and the masterpieces of the three great tragedians were so well known historically, Hellenistic plays did not survive confrontation with the ‘classics’. Even a cursory review of the list of extant play titles reveals striking similarities with the works of dramatists of the Classical period and the fourth century bc. It is hard not to get the impression that the range of myths used in plays by and large remained the same after the repertoire had been set by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. These fifth-century authors were also naturally the first to use themes from the two above-mentioned Trojan and Theban groups of myths. We know that Sophocles also wrote tragedies entitled Hermione and Clytemnestra. The same can be said for other tragedies: Nicomachus’ Mysians can be compared with dramas of the same title by Aeschylus and Euripides, and Moschion’s Telephus with plays of the same title by all three of the great tragedians. These similarities can be best illustrated in table form. Table 1 presents only the Hellenistic play titles that match up exactly to those of the Classical authors, and one should note that many more plays dealt with the same myths but bore different titles. For example, Lycophron’s Pentheus most probably Venini (1953), p. 9.

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Table 1.  Play titles from the Hellenistic and Classical periods. Title

Hellenistic author

Classical author

Oedipus

Sosiphanes, Lycophron, Nicomachus Nicomachus Nicomachus Lycophron Lycophron Lycophron Lycophron Moschion …]enodorus Theodorus Polemaius Nicomachus Nicomachus Sosiphanes Nicomachus Nicomachus Nicomachus Homerus of Byzantium

Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides Sophocles, Euripides Sophocles, Euripides Sophocles, Euripides Sophocles Euripides Euripides Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides Euripides Sophocles Sophocles Sophocles Sophocles Sophocles, Euripides Sophocles Sophocles Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides Sophocles

Alcmaeon Alexander Andromeda Nauplius Hippolytus Chrysippus Telephus Phoenix Hermione Clytemnestra Neoptolemus Eriphyle Meleager Polyxena Tyndareus Mysians Eurypylus

corresponded to The Suppliants by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Likewise the aforementioned Lycophron’s Pelopidai most probably corresponded to, for example, Euripides and Sophocles’ Atreus and Sophocles’ Tantalus. One can go on making such comparisons, but the most important point proven here is the popularity of the Classical authors, who went on to influence their successors in the third and second centuries bc. The names that most frequently appear are those of Sophocles and Euripides. Why the latter should be so popular in later centuries is generally known, but Sophocles appears to be no less fashionable as far as inspiring later playwrights is concerned. On should add that particular themes in myths were especially evident in tragedies, and that is why they were so frequently repeated. This had already been noticed by Aristotle, who from a dramatic point of view considered the best mythological figures to be Alcmaeon, Oedipus, Orestes, Meleager, Thyestes and Telephus.80 As can be easily noted, Hellenistic tragedians also appreciated the attractiveness of these mythological figures on the stage. They have followed the example of not only Classical writers, but also the dramatic authors of the fourth century, as Telephus was written by Cleophon, whereas plays entitled Oedipus were written by Carcinus, Theodectes, Timocles and Diogenes of Sinope.81 Yet in another respect, as far as the use of myths in tragedies was concerned, the Hellenistic period was original, because the range of myths was now extended to Arist. Po. 1453a 17–22. See also the analyse of Le Guen (2007), pp. 85–139. See Xanthakis-Karamanos (1980), p. 16.

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include new, typically Eastern elements. A. Lesky called these elements exotic, and in fact the tragic themes of this type mirror the general tendency of Hellenistic aesthetics – to merge various traditions, sometimes diametrically different in character82. A special position was held by Adonis, who as a hero of an eclectic mix of Greek and Syrian beliefs became a very popular figure in Hellenistic times. A precursor in introducing this myth is Dionysius the Elder (430–367 bc), who wrote a tragedy entitled Cinyras, relating the tale of the undoubtedly incestuous relationship of Adonis’ mother, Myrrha, with her father, Cinyras, as well as the tragedy Adonis. In the Alexandrian era Ptolemy IV became the author of an Adonis play. It is quite telling that dramatic adaptations should be made of the same myth by both a tyrant and a king. Clearly Dionysius had ‘paved the way’ and this encouraged the Hellenistic ruler to take up the same theme. Of course, a tragedy entitled Adonis was also written by Philiscus. Hellenistic tragedians, moreover, came up with quite unique titles, such as Nicomachus’ Eileithyia, Lycophron’s Aeolus and Aeolids or Sositheus’ Aethlius. These titles bear testimony to a search for originality by dramatists of that period and, as in the case of Adonis or historical plays, they belie the notion that these authors only reproduced previous works. Of course the lack of any complete Hellenistic tragedy prohibits the construction of a coherent image of this subject. Nevertheless, we should take into the account the exceptionally valuable testimony provided by Pollux regarding special masks used to express concepts, such as Λύσσα (Rage), Οἶστρος (Passion), Ὕβρις (Hubris), Πόλις (City), Πειθώ (Persuasion), Ἀπάτη (Deceit), Μέθη (Drunkenness), Ὄκνος (Hesitation) and Φθόνος (Envy). If there existed a need to produce such masks, then they would have no doubt been worn on the stage. Hellenistic drama thus introduced to the theatre a new pantheon of personified abstract concepts. Such deities were very popular in the visual arts of that period, so it is hardly surprising that tragedies also provided an excellent means of propagating new cults (Polis, Peitho). Some of these figures, such as Lyssa and Hybris, did not even really belong to the ‘divine’ canon but instead represented the acting force in tragedies. An absolutely essential deciding factor in the selection of subject matter was also, it appears, the place of the performance of the play. The authors wrote frequently for the taste of the local public (and perhaps even at the commission of local officials). This practice is confirmed by the example of Dymas of Iasos, who was twice honoured with gold crowns by the Samothracians for his work for the citizens of the island and his composition of a drama on the theme of their hero, Dardanus.83 Similarly honoured was Zotion of Ephesus by the inhabitants of Coroni. The poets would in addition willingly reach for the local histories of their poleis and sing the praises of their homeland. This is the case with the tragedies of Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas, which concerned the Trojan heroes. Homerus of Byzantium proceeded in the same way: according to Christodorus’ epigram, ‘he practised the wise art of tragedy/ adorning his Byzantine motherland with poetry’ (AP 2. 407–413). It is not out of the

Lesky (1972), p. 536. See p. 174.

82 83

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question that, for the similar glorification of his homeland in his works, Theatetus was mentioned on the famous inscription Pride of Halicarnassus. Despite the very incomplete state of evidence, a very careful study of Hellenistic tragedy reveals its impressive richness. Hellenistic dramatists not only drew inspiration from the Classical tradition, but also took up quite original, mythological and historical themes in their plays. On the basis of very short fragments or mere titles, we cannot know how themes and plots in tragedies were realized, but what evidence we have shows the very broad range of stories that were staged. The innovation of the age is apparent not only in the introduction of contemporary history to tragedies, but also in the employment of new acquisitions of Greek religion. So this was by no means exclusively a time of duplicating the ‘tried and tested’ tragedies of previous epochs. Even when they wrote tragedies on the same themes, or even bearing the same titles as those by Sophocles and Euripides, Hellenistic authors had to take into account the fact that they were dealing with a public that knew the Classical versions very well. Often by renewing Classical tragedies, contemporary dramatists were forced to compete with their predecessors.84 Thus even tragedies with well-known plots and themes had been more than mere replicas of Classical dramas. After all, this was a time when old plays were revived with unusual frequency; the inscriptional evidence certifies situations when a Euripidean tragedy was staged alongside the performance of a new tragedy. Moreover, we should not forget that some members of the public would have owned papyrus copies of Classical tragedies, and were therefore a very ‘refined’ theatre audience.

Issues in tragedy Usually, when discussing tragedy as a literary genre in a given epoch, one cannot ignore the issues they dealt with. But in the case of the Hellenistic epoch this seems virtually impossible. While the extant titles of lost dramas may to a greater or lesser extent give us an idea of their general topics, extant play fragments are too short, and more often than not too universal in meaning, to allow us to determine what the plot was really about. Thus one can hardly answer the question of whether or not Hellenistic tragedies dealt with moral, philosophical or social issues. However, enough is known about the principles that applied to this particular genre as well as the tastes of the Hellenistic public to allow us to make such an assumption. Nonetheless, every thesis, no matter how seemingly obvious, needs to be based on some form of evidence, be it only circumstantial. And in this case the evidence can only be found in the extant fragments. Stobaeus’ work, for which we have the greatest number of verses from Hellenistic tragedies, is arranged in ways that to some extent indicate the issues these plays broached. The Anthology is essentially structured as a collection of gnomai extracted from ancient works of literature and ordered according to given topics. A certain pattern emerges in the case of the Hellenistic fragments. Sosiphanes is cited exclusively in book III, once in the section concerning anger (3.20.18=F5) and twice in that on self-recognition (3.22.3=F6). From book III comes See p. 246ff.

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Moschion’s fragment 8 (3.13.30) in a part of the Anthology devoted to the freedom of speech. However, Hellenistic authors are most frequently cited in book IV. In section 10, entitled In praise of courage, we find fragments from Sositheus’ Aethlius (F3) as well as Moschion’s Themistocles (F1). Both extracts concern lone heroes single-handedly fighting hosts of enemies. In another section of book IV, concerning the proper treatment of the deceased, we have two more fragments from Moschion, one was undoubtedly taken from Men of Pherae F3 (4.57.3), and the other may have also originated from this play F7 (4.57.14). Moreover, book IV includes three other places where Stobaeus quotes Moschion. Fragment 5 (4.41.22) concerns the former king of Argos and is found in a section On the changeability of human life, whereas in a section entitled On the ruler and on what kind of ruler there should be is fragment 9 (4.5.10). Apart from forming such conclusions in relation to individual plays, we cannot, unfortunately, formulate an evaluation which would be applicable to a group of tragedies. Moschion’s fragment 11 is in another section, entitled It is easier to admonish another person than yourself, and is ideally suited there. In book IV there are furthermore a few verses from Lycophron’s Pelopidai, in a section entitled In praise of life. Finally, in section 22a of book IV, which concerns the praise of marriage, we find two fragments from Apollonides, both naturally concerning women. The only fragments to be found in book I are two citations from Moschion. The first includes the title of the play from which it came, Telephus, and is found in a section on the inescapability of fate, whereas the second is the largest extant fragment of the author’s work (F4=1.8.38), and is naturally found in a section on time and beginnings. On the basis of the above we can conclude that Stobaeus (or the source he used) ordered fragments according to general topics undertaken in particular Hellenistic plays. Even if the issues dealt with in particular fragments were not the main subject of the play, thanks to Stobaeus we know at least some of the matters it concerned. For example, we know that part of Apollonides’ tragedy was on the virtues of a good wife, and that Sositheus and Moschion wrote plays in which the protagonist (Aethlius and Themistocles, respectively) heroically confronted an enemy horde. Unfortunately, apart from such individual conclusions we cannot formulate a more comprehensive theory that would encompass a larger group of tragedies. Even extant papyrus fragments are too short to constitute comparative evidence. Thus until the discovery of more Hellenistic tragedy texts, we should refrain from making any final conclusions.

Problems concerning the metre and language One of the most difficult problems associated with Hellenistic tragedies and satyr plays concerns the metre of the texts. In order to discuss it we should consider several matters. First, we should realize that we are dealing with a period that lasted almost 300 years, and so it would be ridiculous to assume that during three centuries dramatic genres did not change. It is enough to consider how much Aeschylus’ metre differed from that of Euripides, who was only two generations younger. This brings

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us to the second matter, namely that particular solutions regarding metre were largely due to the individual preferences of a given author and therefore it would be hard to talk of general trends in any particular genre. Third, our knowledge regarding tragedies written in this period is frustratingly sparse. Of the hundreds of written and staged tragedies and satyr plays, not one single text has survived in its complete form. What fragments we have comprise from just one verse to approximately 40, which in the case of analyzing the metre in dramas normally including over 800 verses is a very serious hindrance. Above all, it forces us to consider the randomness of the extant phrases. Moreover, the lack of texts forces us to compare tragic texts with satyr drama texts, whose respective metres in Classical times, though in both cases dynamic, differed considerably and are even used to determine which genre an unknown play belongs to. In terms of metrical analysis, the only relatively comprehensible phase is that of the Pleiad poets, i.e. at the very start of the Hellenistic period. Extant fragments from the works of Sosiphanes, Sositheus, Lycophron and Moschion do indeed reveal certain common features. We should note that by sheer chance all the known fragments from the works of the above authors are in iambic trimeter. And the first evident characteristic in the extant fragments is the lack of any resolutions in the trimeter. These are ‘clean’ texts with astoundingly regular structures and without a single anapaest! F. Schramm even compared Moschion’s fragments with Lycophron’s Alexandra to show that in the entire ‘tragic epic’ there were only 20 resolutions.85 And none of these fragments break Porson’s law. Such ‘purity’ in several contemporary fragments must be more than coincidental. Conversely, they indicate a certain tendency in the Alexandrian period wherein highly polished works in terms of language and metre were very much appreciated. The period’s learned poetry, the study of metre and the creation of figurative poetry – including games with metre – all bear testimony as to the great importance then attached to this aspect of literature. And contemporary playwrights also followed this trend, not only the authors of tragedies, but also those of satyr plays, who had previously had a more liberal approach to metre. There are additional problems with regard to the study of metre in extant papyrus texts. First, it is virtually impossible to precisely date the fragments. Second, some of the verses have been reconstructed on the basis of the assumed metre, which naturally helps make the text more comprehensible, but assumed additions in the same metre cannot serve as evidence that the original was written with textbook correctness. Moreover, the same problems that hinder the analysis of metre in Hellenistic tragedies also concern the actual language of these texts. In all certainty we can say that the language of Hellenistic tragedy no longer has the idiosyncrasies of any particular dialect but is written in the general standard Greek of the age, based on the Attic dialect, and replete with poetic expressions, taken primarily from fifth-century bc tragedians, though also from Homer, Pindar and other Archaic poets. Moreover, the poetic vocabulary of extant texts indicates the presence of new features, peculiar to the Hellenistic age. Schramm (1929), p. 81.

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Unlike the fragments of Latin playwrights, all the extant Greek tragedy and satyr play fragments of the Hellenistic period, with the exception of a few glosses from Nicomachus of Alexandria in the Lexicon of Photius, originate from anthologies of a gnomic or antiquarian nature. It is for this reason that they generally do not provide us with any unique morphological or phonetic forms and thus contribute virtually nothing to the history of Greek grammar. Some of the poetic forms found in these texts can be explained in metrical terms, for example καταιβάτις (Sosiphanes, F1), a rare feminine form of καταιβάτης, which appears only twice in Lycophron’s Alexandra (91 and 497), once in Apollonius of Rhodes (2, 353 and 3, 160) and even later in Paul the Silentiary (Descriptio ambonis 219).86 Another example is αἰετὸς (Sositheus, F3), a poetic form also frequently applied metri causa by tragedians of the Classical period. Hellenistic tragedians also use specifically non-Attic forms, ones associated with the poetic genres of other dialects. An example of this is ἔμπης, which frequently appears in Homer and other epic poets, e.g. Apollonius of Rhodes, but is quite absent in fifth-century tragedy and comedy, where the ἔμπας form predominates. There are cases where Hellenistic tragedies use colloquial Attic expressions that had previously appeared in comedies but never in Classical tragedies, for example νυνί, which frequently appears in Aristophanes but never in the plays of the three great tragedians, who instead use the νυν form. Moreover, Hellenistic tragedians did not hesitate to use words that Atticists of the Second Sophistic School later declassified as inappropriate to pure Attic style. An example of this is στρηνιῶ (Lycophron, F2), about which Phrynichus Atticista writes that it is used only by the poets of the New Comedy.87 There is also use of words normally found only in prose writing, e.g. τὸν ἀνδρομήκης (Sosiphanes, F1). A frequently expressed opinion among scholars is that one of the specific features of Hellenistic literature includes the accumulation of many rare expressions, including hapax legomena and prota eiremena, of which there are more than a few examples in the discussed fragments, for example the hapax legomena: στεγήρης, εὐιώτιδος, σαρκοβρῶτες, ζυγουλκοῖς (Moschion, F4) and κἀπεχόρτασεν (Sositheus, F1). In addition there are the prota eiremena ἀλληλοκτόνους, σύνθρονος, ἠροτρεύετο (Moschion, F4) as well as the semantic hapax δημόκοινος (Lycophron, F2) – in the sense ‘common’. Rare also is ὀρειγενῆ (Moschion, F4), which we can find only in Nic. Th. 874. Hapaxes are usually compound words. It is a specific feature of the Greek language that it allows for an almost unlimited number of word combinations of this sort, so much so that it is virtually impossible to determine whether we are dealing with a given author’s artistic invention or a traditional poetic expression. Interpreting hapaxes as a differentia specifica of Alexandrian poetry usually seems justified. Nevertheless, on account of the very small number of extant fragments in relation to so many plays that must have been written in the Hellenistic period, one has to bear in mind that we are dealing with hapaxes only in the context of the limited number of texts at our disposal.88 After all, The poetic form of the preposition καται appears already in Homer in compounds. Phryn. Att. 358: · τούτῳ ἐχρήσαντο οἱ τῆς νέας κωμῳδίας ποιηταί, ᾧ οὐδ’ ἂν μανείς τις χρήσαιτο, παρὸν λέγειν τρυφᾶν 88 On the hapaxes in the fourth-century tragedy, see especially Xanthakis-Karamanos (1982). 86 87

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we have no way of knowing whether or not these expressions were used in other plays of this genre. It is hardly surprising that the vocabulary in some of the extant fragments is reminiscent of words used by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, for example: μυρίας λόγχης (Moschion, F2), the singular form of μυρίας as a collectivum of an identical expression in Euripides (Ph., 441–2); δυστήνων βροτῶν (Moschion, F2), exactly the same phrase as used in Euripides, F987; ὀμπνίου (Moschion, F4), a rare expression also found in Sophocles, F246; and τὸν δεκάμφορον (Sositheus, F1), also found in Euripides’ Cyclops, 388, and here we should note that both expressions appear in satyr plays. The use of the same words was not merely coincidental. Unfortunately, we do not know all the works of the three great tragedians, let alone those of the Hellenistic authors, and thus proper comparisons are impossible. As it is, until at least another tragedy or satyr play text is discovered, we should refrain from formulating any general conclusions regarding the language and metre of Hellenistic plays.

The chorus One of the most significant problems concerning the history of ancient drama is the existence and the role of the chorus in Hellenistic tragedy. Many scholars have researched this subject but their published works fail to provide satisfactory solutions89. Studies into Middle and New Comedy have indeed revealed that although the chorus continued to exist in these genres, its songs were at best loosely if at all connected with the actual plots of the plays. However, in the case of tragedies, drawing general conclusions of this sort is hindered by the lack of comparative sources. The great authority of Aristotle, as well as a deep conviction that tragedy gradually declined in the fourth century bc, has persuaded scholars to think that in the Hellenistic period choruses either only sang embolima or simply disappeared90. Additional evidence in support of this view are the changes in the performance of plays that occurred once the actors were moved to the proskenion, for it was believed that this would cause communication problems between actors and the chorus. Yet despite this, a study of extant ancient testimonia as well as epigraphic evidence leads us to a very different conclusion. However, first we should take a closer look at the transformations the theatre chorus underwent during the fourth century bc. As already stated, big changes For a detailed study about the ancient evidence on the Greek chorus, see Webster (1970). A good analysis of the problem is provided by Kaimio (1970) and Bacon (1995). On the chorus in tragedy, see especially Müller (1967), and Rode (1971) and Centanni (1991). For detailed studies on Sophocles and Euripides, see Burton (1980), Gardiner (1987), Paulsen (1990), Arthur (1972) and Hose (1990–1). See also Maidment (1935), Sifakis (1980) and Bierl (2000) with further bibliography on the chorus in Attic comedy. On the gradual changes in the structure and the role of chorus, see Nagy (1995) and recently (and very importantly) Wilson (2000). 90 The problem of the role of the chorus in post-Euripidean drama has been tackled in many works, see especially the old but still interesting article by Capps (1895), Körte (1900) and Maidment (1935). For more recent and important discussions of the subject, see the Appendix to Sifakis (1967), Hunter (1979) and Rothwell (1992). 89



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occurred above all in comedy. In play scripts the choral parts were only marked with a short XOPOY note on the margin, which most probably meant the performance of a universal song or sometimes merely a dance sequence with accompanying music. These changes were begun by Aristophanes; the role of the chorus is visibly reduced already in his Ecclesiazusae and Plutus, as in these plays the note XΟPΟY appears in the manuscripts91. Nevertheless we have to keep in mind that in the Ecclesiazusae, as well as in Plutus, the chorus played an important and integral part. The changes were introduced probably very slowly and gradually. Unfortunately the fragments of fourth-century dramas are too rare to analyse the changes play by play. R. Hunter collated all internal evidence in the texts of later Greek comedy, including fragments indicating chorus performances, but the exact role of the chorus in the plays is still an open issue.92 The emergence of embolima that could be easily transferred from one play to another may among other reasons have been dictated by financial considerations as well as perhaps a change in public tastes. Nevertheless, it should be stressed that the chorus continued to exist and was present on the stage throughout the performance of plays. The situation underwent further changes during the whole Hellenistic period. In New Comedy the chorus’s role was reduced to an absolute minimum. Not only did the songs bear no relevance to the comedy plots, but the chorus was also limited to performing merry music and dance sequences called the komos, which involved chorus members encroaching on the orchestra in between acts. More often than not they were portrayed as drunken revellers, the sequence was more or less the same regardless of the play and no particular rehearsal was required. Nevertheless, the chorus remained an important element of the comic performance. Its songs divided the plays into acts and enabled the authors to introduce the necessary time-lapses in the plot, and above all the chorus enhanced the humorous element of the spectacle; the merry komos was to entertain the public. To a certain extent fourth-century tragedy seems to have undergone similar changes. The process was begun by Agathon, in whose plays we indeed observe embolima. The papyrus fragments of many fourth-century tragedies include the short XΟPΟY annotations, signifying choral songs. In all probability the choral repertoire included songs especially suited to particular themes that might appear in plays, such as changing human fortunes, piety or the omnipotence of deities. In the fourth century bc the chorus was present in the orchestra. We know this thanks to a papyrus fragment from Medea, in which the main heroine turns to the chorus (F3, verse 5).93 Tragedy titles such as Agathon’s Mysoi, Cleophon’s Bacchae and Timesitheus’ Danaides also indicate the existence of a chorus in fourth-century plays. G. Xanthakis-Karamanos is of the opinion that although the role of the chorus was considerably reduced, unlike in comedy it was not exclusively limited to dancing On the meaning of the note and its origin in these plays, see: Handley (1953); Koster (1957), pp. 117–35; Pöhlmann (1977). 92 Hunter (1979). 93 The Medea papyrus fragment (P. Lond. 2. 186) is also sometimes interpreted as a comedy; see Snell (1971), p. 92. Xanthakis-Karamanos (1980) nevertheless classifies it as a tragedy. Medea’s reference to the chorus appears after the embolima annotation:] ΧΟΡΟΥ || Μ· γ]υναῖκε αἳ Κορίνθιον πέδον οἰκε]ῖτε χώρα τῆδε πατρώιοι νόμοι. 91

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with the accompaniment of music. In the instructions to tragedies the phrases XΟPΟY and MEΛΟΣ remained.94 G. M. Sifakis holds the opinion that later, i.e. in the Hellenistic period, the changes that took place in the choruses of tragedies were not as drastic as those in New Comedy, as in the former the songs had to in some way be connected with the dramatic plot. Another piece of evidence to support the view that the chorus continued to play a role in the tragedies of the third and second centuries was its existence in Roman tragedy, which no doubt emerged under the influence of Hellenistic theatre.95 Yet on account of the importance of this issue we should take a more systematic approach to ascertain the existence and role of choruses in Hellenistic tragedies. Above all the existence of choruses is evident in the very titles of some Hellenistic tragedies. Sifakis noticed that if the title is in the plural, such as the Mysians, Cassandreians or Men of Pherae, this can only mean that the characters were played by members of a chorus.96 Therefore it cannot be denied that the chorus played an important and integral role in such tragedies. Who the chorus members actually play is also significant, since if they play the inhabitants of the city where the action takes place, they must inevitably be on one of the two sides of the tragic conflict. Even if the songs they sang were of a universal nature, they would still have to have had some connection with the drama plot. However, from the philological point of view the most significant evidence of the existence of choruses has to be found in the actual texts of the plays, and here a papyrus fragment of the Cassandra play provides the only irrefutable proof. In this text the sequences played by the chorus are marked with the abbreviation CΟ. This abbreviation appears three times and on each occasion it asks Cassandra a question. The chorus’ role is active, because it participates in a dialogue between Cassandra and Priam, and thus its uttered words cannot be considered abstract interludes. We do not know whether the chorus also sang the song that on the papyrus fragment is marked ᾠδή (song, ode), but if this was the case, the song would indeed have been an interlude of no greater relevance to the play. However, this is highly unlikely, as the ᾠδή word appears so frequently (roughly every four lines) that any longer piece sung by the chorus would quite disrupt the narrative. Therefore we should rather assume that if the ᾠδή word did not mean something sung by Cassandra97 herself but by the chorus, it would have been no more than a very brief chant. The extant Gyges play fragment also suggests the existence of a chorus. The queen most probably delivers her monologue in front of a gathering of women. P. Maas even believed that the partially preserved opening verses were the chorus’ parodos.98 The evidence is not irrefutable, but verse 7 may be interpreted in the context of the traditional curtseying of women before their queen. Moreover, the high probability Xanthakis-Karamanos (1980), p. 10. One should also stress that there was no chorus in Roman comedy; it also came into existence under the strong influence of the Greek contemporary comedy (although many different factors determined the independent development of dramatic genres in Rome). 96 Sifakis (1967), p. 122. 97 See pp. 195ff. of this book. 98 Maas (1950). 94 95



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of there being a chorus is due to the fact that queen Nysa needed someone in the play (i.e. someone other than the audience) to address her account to, and the most natural recipient of such reporting monologues was indeed the chorus. However, most significant of all is the fact that in both the above examples the chorus would have had to have been in the orchestra while the actors were playing on stage! Here it is out of the question for the chorus to merely enter the stage in between acts of the tragedy. Traditionally another piece of documentary evidence used with regard to the existence of choruses is Ezekiel’s play on Moses. In fact we do not have any evidence that there was a chorus in Exagoge, but it is very possible. There are several hypotheses about the identity of the chorus in Ezekiel’s drama. In the opinion of Sifakis, Sephoras’ sisters are the chorus. He also argues that the number of sisters mentioned in the Book of Exodus need not have determined the number of chorus members in the tragedy.99 Other scholars, on the other hand, believe that this chorus comprised two half-choirs: Jewish and Egyptian.100 Whatever the truth is, on account of the fact that the choral part has been lost, this issue remains open. Yet even if we accept that this work was a play and was actually performed in a theatre or at some private gathering of the Jewish Diaspora, we still do not know whether the chorus remained on the stage during the performance of the actors or whether it merely filled in during the interludes and had nothing to do with the acts. A surprising source of evidence for the existence of choruses in Hellenistic tragedies has turned out to be inscriptions, which confirm the presence of both choreuts and chorodidaskaloi. First, this epigraphic material is exceptionally valuable above all because it usually concerns distinctions and material awards given to specific people, and nothing can be more certain as evidence than an issued invoice or receipt. Second, it is important because, insofar as one can always question whether or not a found literary text was really intended for the stage, inscriptions concerning the theatre set in stone what was at that time really practised in drama. The first of these inscriptions, IG XII 9, 207 from Chalcis, is a decree dated 294–287 bc and guaranteeing provisions for artists performing during the Dionysia and Demetrieia. In it we find the following text about new dresses for the actors: … καὶ τοὺς χοροὺς τῶν ἀνδρῶν τραγῳδῶν τοῖς ὑποκριταῖς τὰ ἱμάτια νέα πα[ρέχειν (l. 31). On the basis of this document we do not exactly know what members of the tragic chorus received, because parts of the text are missing, but it does clearly confirm a chorus of τῶν ἀνδρῶν τραγῳδῶν.101 Slater is right when pointing out all the inconsistencies and difficulties in the reading of this inscription102. Tragodos usually, not only in the inscriptions from Chalcis, means the chief actor of tragedies, so it would suggest a chorus of actors. However, the same inscription (l. 15) mentions the hiring of three choruses of men and three choruses of boys, in addition to three tragodoi and three aulos-players (most probably for the accompaniment to the staged tragedies). One of these three men-choruses must have sung for the tragedies, and therefore several lines Sifakis (1967), p. 123. On the chorus in the Exagoge, see p. 226f. 101 For an important examination of the inscription and valuable corrections, see Stephanis (1984), pp. 499–564 (esp. pp. 533–5) and SEG 34. 896. 102 Slater (1993), pp. 195ff. 99

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below it is specified as τῶν ἀνδρῶν τραγῳδῶν. Much richer in detail is a first-century bc ‘invoice’ from Serapieia in Tanagra.103 In the inscription the agonothetes specifies the sums he spent on the production of gold crowns and on offerings. Moreover, he mentions additionally incurred costs, including 100 Attic drachmas for τ̣οῖς τραγικοῖς καὶ σατύροις (l. 44), as well as 50 drachmas for χοροδιδασκάλοις τοῖς διδάξασι τὰς καινὰς τραγ[ῳδίας καὶ το]ὺς σατύρους (l. 45–6), i.e. the ‘directors’ of a tragic chorus for new plays, and another 50 drachmas for the comic chorus and its chorodidaskalos. Unfortunately, we cannot establish the earnings of individual artists as we do not know how many artists were paid in all. Nevertheless, the text implies that they were most probably paid in a lump sum.104 It is puzzling why the comic chorus is paid in a lump sum with its chorodidaskalos and the satyr play and tragic chorus directors got the money separately from the group called tragikoi and satyroi. In my opinion, we should understand the inscription as follows: tragic and satyr play chorus men get 100 silver drachmas, and the directors of new tragedy and satyr plays 50 drachmas. If we assume that the number of staged comedies and tragedies was the same, it is surprising that the comic artists got much less money. Although on other known inscriptions comic performers and authors got less money, here the disproportion is huge. It can be explained by the fact that the same choruses took part in performing both tragedy and satyr plays, and therefore had been paid double. Alas, the inscription is the only known example of its sort and on such a basis it is impossible to ascertain what the average earnings of a tragic director, the chorus-men and the stage actors were.105 It should be noted here that in the Hellenistic period the terms chorodidaskalos and hypodidaskalos were used interchangeably.106 Both terms, of course, referred to persons who were responsible for preparing the chorus before performances. In periods when the same play was staged many times and the author could not physically be present at each and every performance (which was especially the case with old tragedies, whose authors were dead), chorus ‘conductors’ and the leading actors frequently carried out the role of the play’s director. On various inscriptions we find the term chorodidaskalos used among listed actors. There is an inscription from Argos that mentions as many as 13 such actors.107 Slater raises another problem – the training of the choruses for new plays. He is of the opinion that the chorus-men could only perform interludes irrelevant to the specific texts of dramas as they ‘were in no position to practice special steps or music for all the visiting tragedians’,108 But actually why not? How long in advance did the chorodidaskalos and chorus make themselves acquainted with the texts of the plays? This is a question that is not easy to answer, but we can imagine The first lines of the inscription, IG VII 540, and its remainder, see Christou (1956), pp. 36–8; also SEG 19. 335. An extensive commentary on this inscription is provided by Slater (1993), pp. 189–99 although it is to be stressed that Slater is not convinced that this inscription proves the staging of tragedy, comedy and satyr play with choruses (see p. 192). 105 Interesting (although predating the Hellenistic period) inscriptions from Cyrene (dated circa 335 bc SEG 9. 13 and SEG 48. 2052) certify the granting of an ox to the tragic chorus: for particular discussion of the inscription, see Ceccarelli and Milanezi (2007). 106 This is confirmed by the fact that the same people are referred to in various inscriptions sometimes as chorodidaskalos and at other times as hypodidaskalos. See Sifakis (1967), p. 119. 107 The inscription is published in Vollgraff (1919), pp. 252ff. 108 Slater (1993), p. 192. 103

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that professional dancers and singers do not really need much time, and the texts of new tragedies and satyr plays could easily have been sent to them by the author in advance,109 Many of the tragedy and satyr play poets were members of Dionysiac guilds, and therefore they had good access to professional chorodidaskaloi. Even if some members of the chorus (or the whole group), as suggested by Stephanis,110 were amateur local talents, the professional chorodidaskalos was probably able to train them in a relatively short period of time. I am however not sure if in fact time is the problem here, rather than the number of staged plays. Both the organizers and the artists were fully aware of where and when such festivals would take place, and must have known months if not years in advance. However, the number of both festivals and staged plays must have required either quick training or a large number of choruses. Evidence of sorts regarding the existence of choruses in renewed performances of Classical tragedies is found in Plutarch’s account of what happened at the court of Artavasdes in Armenia (Crass. 33, 3).111 In it we learn that in 53 bc the actor Jason of Tralles performed part of Euripides’ Bacchae before Artavasdes. In Plutarch’s words, ᾀδομένων δὲ τῶν ἑξῆς ἀμοιβαίων πρὸς τὸν χορόν the actor performed the part alternately with a chorus. However, one has to realize that this version of the Bacchae was performed in quite exceptional circumstances. Above all, the actor’s chief prop was the slain Crassus’ head. Moreover, the play was performed in the male section of the Parthian king’s palace. Therefore, we cannot be certain as to what extent this account reflects normal theatrical practice. All other evidence for the restaging of Classical drama proves that it was, rather, performed without a chorus. Many honorary inscriptions certify the presence of the chorus during festivals when tragedies, among other plays, were performed. However, we cannot always be certain that the choruses mentioned were a part of the tragedy’s staging.112 In a few cases this appears to be immediately obvious (e.g. IG XII, 7, 231, 34). The existence of the chorus in Hellenistic tragedies is undeniable. Only the question of its size and the precise role it played continues to pose problems. Dramatic texts indicate that the chorus was present in the orchestra throughout the performance of the plays. In the Cassandra it participates in the exchanges between the characters. If we assume that, at least towards the end of the Hellenistic period, plays were divided into five acts (as Horace’s theory postulated), it seems natural that in between acts, when the actors disappeared behind a door, the audience’s attention would be focused on the chorus. An indication of what may have been performed in practice is expressed in a sentence by Philodemus (Mus. IV, 121, 3–6 Delattre): καὶ διότι περι[ε]ῃρημένης ὀρχήσεως ἐκ τῶν δραμάτων οὐδέν ἔχομεν ἔλαττον, ἐπειδήπερ οὐδὲν ἦν ἐν οὐδεμίᾳ πρὸς τὸ καλὸν καὶ γενναῖον συνέργημα..113 E. Reisch, who mistakenly attributed these The fact that, during the Serapieia in Tanagra, the winning poets originate from Athens and Rome is also not an argument that these tragedians actually came to Tanagra from those cities; they may have been so-called poeti vaganti and have travelled from town to town offering their texts or resided near Tanagra. 110 Stephanis (1984), p. 527, writing in the context of hiring the artists in the IG XII 9. 207. 111 See pp. 156ff. 112 See the interpretations of Ceccarelli (2010), pp. 138ff. 113 ‘And when the dancing was removed from drama, we incurred no loss, as it contributed neither beauty nor dignity.’ (= Mus. IV: see Kemke, p. 70). 109

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words to Diogenes of Babylon, interpreted them quite literally to mean that dancing was totally absent in tragedies.114 Yet perhaps we should not interpret this sentence so dogmatically. Perhaps it rather suggests that there was simply less choreography in Hellenistic tragedies. Teaching the chorus complicated dance routines required time, and there might have been a shortage of rehearsal time on account of the tight schedule of holidays, during which artists had to perform in order to earn a living. G. M. Sifakis, however, rightly points out that Philodemus’ statement could only refer to theatrical practice in southern Italy, which is also very possible.115 Evidence regarding the existence of the chorus in Hellenistic times may also be found in its later fortunes. In the Roman Empire period the presence of choruses in tragic plays is testified to several times. Lucilius, a poet active during the reign of Nero, states in an epigram (AP 11, 11) that a tragic poet is surrounded by a chorus: Οὐκ ᾔδειν σε τραγῳδόν, Ἐπίκρατες, οὐδὲ χοραύλην,  οὐδ’ ἄλλ’ οὐδὲν ὅλως, ὧν χορὸν ἔστιν ἔχειν· I didn’t know, Epicrates, that you were a tragic actor, or a choral flautist, Or something else altogether – someone among the chorus.

Plutarch also confirms the performances of choruses in his days: ἀλλ' ὥσπερ οἱ τραγῳδοὶ χοροῦ δέονται φίλων συνᾳδόντων ἢ θεάτρου συνεπικροτοῦντος.116 But – like tragic actors – they [the rich and royals] need their own chorus of friends to sing along with them, or the applause of the theatre audience.

The fact that some form of tragic chorus in Greek plays continued into the second and third centuries ad is indisputable. However, we know virtually nothing about original productions from this period.117 The question of the size of Hellenistic choruses is basically unanswerable. There can be no doubt it was drastically reduced since Classical times. Perhaps the different numbers of choristers in Hellenistic performances is confirmed by the statement of Zeno, as quoted by Plutarch:118 ὁ δὲ Ζήνων ὁρῶν τὸν Θεόφραστον ἐπὶ τῷ πολλοὺς ἔχειν μαθητὰς θαυμαζόμενον, ‘ὁ ἐκείνου μὲν χορός,” ἔφη, “μείζων, οὑμὸς δὲ Reisch (1899), p. 2404. Sifakis (1967), p. 121. D. Delattre suggests that Philodemus is writing about Roman Comedy, especially Terence: see Delattre (2007), p. 223, n. 4. 116 Plu. Moral., 63A = Quomodo adulator ab amico internoscatur 48e–74e. 117 A fragment from Dio Chrysostom (19. 5), in which the orator suggests the elimination of the choral parts from the drama, is discussed by Sifakis, and is notable for its exclusive reference to the revival of Classical tragedies in the form of shows: καὶ τά γε πολλὰ αὐτῶν ἀρχαῖά ἐστι καὶ πολὺ σοφωτέρων ἀνδρῶν ἢ τῶν νῦν· τὰ μὲν τῆς κωμῳδίας ἅπαντα· τῆς δὲ τραγῳδίας τὰ μὲν ἰσχυρά, ὡς ἔοικε, μένει· λέγω δὲ τὰ ἰαμβεῖα· καὶ τούτων μέρη διεξίασιν ἐν τοῖς θεάτροις· τὰ δὲ μαλακώτερα ἐξερρύηκε τὰ περὶ τὰ μέλη· ‘And the most of what they give us comes from ancient times, and from much wiser men than those of the present. In the case of comedy everything is kept; in the case of tragedy only the strong parts, it would seem, remain – I mean the iambics, and portions of these they still give in our theatres – but the more delicate parts have fallen away, that is, the lyric parts.’ (trans. J. W. Cohoon in: Dio Chrysostom, vol 2, Discourses 12–30. Harvard University Press: Loeb Classical Library, 1939), p.121. 118 Plu. Moral. 78 E = Quomodo quis suos in virtute sentiat profectus 75a–86a. 114 115



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συμφωνότερος.’ (Zeno, seeing that Theophrastus was admired by many students, said: ‘His chorus is greater than mine, but mine is more harmonious.’) Such a theatrical comparison might point to either the varying numbers of choristers in the competitive performances or the same in various theatres (depending on their financial expenses), or else to the quantity of demi-choruses in tragedy in the first decades of the Hellenistic period.119 A fresco from a tomb in Cyrene presents seven chorus members. This fresco is dated to the times of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and therefore on its basis one may very cautiously estimate the size of Hellenistic choruses.120 However, this fresco is from many centuries later and might after all only present a certain agreement, or a symbolic number of choreuts, standing by the three actors. It is also fundamental that, in the Hellenistic period, satyr drama was for obvious reasons put on with the participation of a chorus of satyrs (without this element the play would have completely lost its character). Both the extant texts and the iconography confirm this. A chorus of satyrs appeared in Lycophron’s satyr drama Menedemus and most likely presented themselves as students of philosophy.121 In addition a mosaic of a performance from the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeii is known (fig. 1) which presents the satyr chorus members rehearsing and trying on their costumes. The author of the play presents them with masks while the aulosplayer practises his tunes. Webster presumed that this is a copy of some original from the fourth-century bc,122 but the high onkos of the female tragic mask suggests rather the Hellenistic period. On the mosaic three masks are presented along with the rest; two of these belong to the tragic type. This might point to the fact, that in the same place and with the participation of the same people, both types of dramatic performances were rehearsed. The performance was characteristic of the Hellenistic period, showing artists at work and exposing, as it were, the actors’ workshop. And yet neither tragedy nor satyr drama lost its choral element. However, a precise analysis of the choral role in these plays without even one fragment of lyric is impossible.

The satyr play The development of post-Classical satyr drama took a very different course to that of tragedy. Unfortunately, while tragedy underwent many formal and performative changes which are to us more or less understandable, the contemporary transformations of the satyr play seem virtually incomprehensible. The major obstacle is our It is rather obvious that this concerns tragic performances, because comparing both student camps of the two scholars to the members of the comic chorus, which was formed of singing drunkards, would have been rather insulting. 120 This fresco has unfortunately been destroyed; we only have a colour drawing from the publication of Pacho (1827–9), pls. 49–50. See also Sifakis (1967), p. 122; Pickard-Cambridge (1988), frg. 120; Bieber (1961), pp. 238f., fig. 787. 121 See page 81f. 122 Webster (1967), p. 85. 119

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Figure 1.  Dress rehearsal of a satyr play (first century bc, original c.310–280 bc). Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

lack of knowledge regarding this genre in the Classical period. One has to remember that as many as 31 plays by the three great tragedians of the Classical period have survived, whereas today we have only one complete satyr play, Euripides’ Cyclops. Even if in addition to this single play there are also several dozen larger or smaller extant fragments, contrary to what scholars would wish, this does not amount to a coherent picture of the genre. What is worse, our chief ancient source of information regarding drama, Aristotle’s Poetics, almost completely avoids the presentation of the satyr play. To realize just how infinitesimal is the percentage of ancient satyr plays currently at our disposal, we need only to consider the fact that during the Great Dionysia in the fifth century alone approximately 300 satyr plays were staged.123 B. Seidensticker Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 2.

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noted that already towards the end of the Classical period public interest in this genre began to wane. The process was of course very gradual but nonetheless discernible. By the fifth-century agones were held without satyr plays. In 438 bc Euripides ends his tetralogy with the hilarotragoedia Alcestis instead of a satyr play. Of course throughout the Classical period during the Great Dionysia the trilogies traditionally ended with a satyr play, but the status of this last play visibly wanes. The turning point seems to have been 341 bc, when during the tragic agon of the Great Dionysia only one satyr play is recorded. In a certain sense the genre appears to become quite independent of tragedy, not only in terms of subject matter, but also in terms of staging. The transformations undergone by satyr drama in the fourth century are difficult to represent in concrete terms. The changes that occurred were without doubt a part of the evolution of all dramatic genres. In particular the departure of middle comedy from political themes and the onstage presentation of mythological parody,124 which in Classical drama was the speciality of satyr plays, might have caused the latter genre to extend to new topics. Unfortunately, the precise relationships between these changes are impossible to establish, since only fragments of both fourth-century comedy and satyr drama have survived. In addition, the practice of stage performance beyond Attica was certainly significant, the more so since this was a period of gradual expansion for all dramatic genres. One of the few things we can be sure about the fifth-century satyr play is that the material for it was taken from mythology. The plot was never historical or strictly political. We know about only one play that had certain political undertones, namely Cratinus’ Dionysalexandros.125 The characters of Cratinus’ play were no doubt mythical (Dionysus, Alexander-Paris, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite), and so was the plot. Nevertheless at the very end of an ancient hypothesis of Dionysalexandros (POxy 4. 663) we read: κωμῳδεῖται δ' ἐν τῷ δράματι Περικλῆς μάλα πιθανῶς δι’ ἐμφάσεως ὡς ἐπαγηοχὼς τοῖς δ' Ἀθηναίοις τὸν πόλεμον. (In the play Pericles was very convincingly ridiculed by innuendo for having brought war upon the Athenians). This single reference proves that political satire was not totally alien to the fifth-century satyr play but it was presented by the means of mythical parody and burlesque. Unfortunately Cratinus’ drama is the only witness to such practice and we should remember that the author was a master of Old Comedy and therefore his satyr play may have resembled a comedy. The regular satyr play in the Classical period, though, remained – as far as we know – politically uninvolved. Towards the end of the fourth century bc and at the start of the Hellenistic period the satyr drama took on some of the functions and features of Old Comedy. With the development of the comedy of manners, which chiefly dealt with family issues, a certain gap emerged for more social literature. After all, there was a need to take a more wry look at social and political problems so as to allow people to let off steam in the face of how these problems were affecting their daily lives. Comedy no longer fulfilled this role, so audiences turned to the satyr play. The first extant example of this breakthrough in the satyr play is Python’s Agen. This is a political play through and through, performed during the campaign of Alexander On the parody of myths in Middle Comedy, see: Nesselrath (1995); Nesselrath (1990), pp. 188–241. See: Sutton (1980), pp. 136f.; Bakola (2005).

124 125

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the Great in the military camp. An in-depth discussion of this exceptionally interesting and unusual play is found on pp. 113–123. It is worthwhile to briefly recall here that the whole drama concerned Harpalus and his embezzlement of the public purse and scandalous lifestyle. The circumstances of the production, its themes and its particular engagement with various dramatic genres (comedy, tragedy and the ‘actual’ satyr play) make this play a unique phenomenon in the history of Greek drama. Another example of this new type of satyr play is Lycophron’s Menedemus. The testimonia and fragments of this play will be discussed on pp. 77–82 of this book. Here, however, we should look at the deeper meaning of this satyr play as a phenomenon. The title immediately tells us that it concerns the philosopher Menedemus. From the extant fragments we know that among other things the play describes how this learned man organized banquets. Lycophron, who was the philosopher’s personal friend, laughs at how he hosted these parties: a lot of philosophical talk with very little food, of very low quality, and minimal amounts of diluted wine. These soirées, lasting till dawn, were basically classes in his philosophical academy, and so Lycophron in a sense caricatures his entire school of philosophy. This seems even more likely if we accept W. Steffen’s theory that satyrs played the philosopher’s students. Silenus calls them παῖδες κρατίστου πατρὸς ἐξωλέστατοι, which can hardly be treated as a compliment. Aristophanes made Socrates one of the chief characters in Clouds, and based his entire play on mocking the philosopher as well as the stupidity and social menace of his students. Naturally Menedemus also had the typical features of a satyr play. At least one of them was the aforementioned presence of Silenus and the group of satyrs, the children of Dionysus. It was they who must have made up the chorus. The combination of mythological and historical figures was already present in dramas of the Classical period. Such was the situation in Aristophanes’ Frogs, where appearing alongside Dionysus and Heracles are Euripides and Aeschylus. Guggisberg notes that in ancient drama satyrs appear in diverse roles, for instance as fishermen, shepherds, trackers or heralds.126 In Lycophron’s play they are most probably Menedemus’ students, i.e. adepts in philosophy. If so, then their behaviour is in the satirical sense that of contemporary youths. It must have been humour similar to that enjoyed by the audience of Aristophanes’ Clouds. We will never learn what motivated Lycophron to write such a play, but we can assume that he was responding to public demand for drama that exposed contemporary social issues. One more example of change in satyr drama is a play by Sositheus, with an unknown title, which mocks the philosopher Cleanthes. We do not really know if the main plot of the play did actually concern Cleanthes. It is only attested that the author simply threw in the disparaging comment on Cleanthes which by chance was later cited by Diogenes Laertius.127 Then again ‘chance’ might not have had anything to do with it. Without doubt, Sositheus used the οὓς ἡ Κλεάνθους μωρία βοηλατεῖ phrase in his play on purpose, whereas Cleanthes’ explanation and use of the τῇ τυχούσῃ βλασφημίᾳ phrase means that such abuse was ‘casual’. The very fact that satyr plays included such comments, ones that were addressed from the stage to a person still Guggisberg (1947), p. 35. For details regarding this play, see pp. 106ff.

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very much alive, a public figure and a philosopher, may be surprising. Again this was something actually taken from Old Comedy. The method of attack is Aristophanic: strong language used against a person sitting in the theatre and recognized by the public. And yet Dioscorides in his epigram (AP 7, 707) calls Sositheus the restorer of the satyr drama tradition. Could it be that an author who was criticized by the public (and we know that his attack on the philosopher Cleanthes was not well received by the Athenians) had returned to a ‘pure’ form of writing plays? This question could be answered by examining the chronology of Sositheus’ works, but this is something we do not have at our disposal. The only two other satyr plays known to have been written by him (Daphnis or Lityerses and a play about Crotus) indeed confirm a return to the traditional forms of satyr drama. One element in Dioscorides’ epigram is of particular significance, namely the poet’s notion of the existence of a ‘pure’ form of satyr drama and the need to restore it. This is proof that in the Alexandrian period there was an awareness of the changes that had occurred and that some, such as Dioscorides, were not satisfied with how drama had recently evolved. Thus Sositheus’ Daphnis or Lityerses is perhaps seen as a play most ideally suited to the principles of the Classical satyr play. This is on account of elements such as where the play is set and the main characters: the ogre Lityerses, the noble Daphnis and the saviour Heracles. Even if we assume, as some scholars do, that the play was actually a tragedy, it still has enough satyr play elements to border on this genre and to resemble the Classical model. Much the same can be said about Sositheus’ play concerning Crotus. While we cannot be certain that this was a satyr play, the mountain forest setting, the wild character of Crotus and the aition of clapping hands all give the play a very specific character – typical for a satyr play. Consequently we have two examples of very traditional renditions of satyr drama, both written by Sositheus. The papyrus fragment of the Atlas play could also be considered traditional128. The characters of Atlas (the giant strongman) and Heracles are typical personae of the genre, as is the setting on the western edge of the world, near the paradisiacal garden of the Hesperides. Of course the whole drama could be considered traditional were it not for the distinctly Hellenistic game played on the recipient by removing from the entire text the letter ‘s’. Some information on satyr drama in the Hellenistic period can also be derived from inscriptions. We know from them the names of several authors and several satyr play titles. We know, for instance, that the satyr plays Thytes by Theodorus, Protesilaus by Harmodius and Palamedes by Theodotus were staged in Magnesia on the Meander sometime between 150 and 100 bc. Unfortunately, nothing more can be said about these plays. One of the most profound changes in the staging of satyr dramas was its separation from the tragic trilogy. This had already happened in the fourth century bc. Concrete evidence of it is found in the inscriptions listing the names of dramatists and explicitly naming some the authors of satyr plays (e.g. Heraclides and Callippus on Amphiaraia and Rhomaia in Oropos – IG VII 416 and 419). Thus on various holidays separate contests were held for this genre. We do not know how many authors would compete in one such contest, but most probably the number was three (an author who came See p. 189ff.

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second was once recorded and this fact would not have been noted if he came last). So how can one explain this separation? We do not know if Agen was staged individually, i.e. the performance was not preceded by a tragedy. Since the play was a specific hybrid of satyr drama and Old Comedy, perhaps matching it with a tragedy no longer seemed necessary. However, it is even more likely that it was intended as a completely individual play on account of the extraordinary circumstances of its presentation (most of the audience were soldiers) and its specific political purpose. We do not know whether the satyr plays of Lycophron and Sositheus were parts of tetralogies. The testimonia are silent with regard to the staging of plays by Pleiad members. We can assume that during the whole Hellenistic period satyr plays had not been part of tragic tetralogies as this had already come into practice in the fourth century. Very interesting evidence regarding the staging of satyr plays is provided by inscriptions stating the victors of drama agones in cities such as Oropos, Magnesia on the Menander, Samos or Thespiae. We know the names of some of the victors from Oropos, such as the aforementioned Heraclides the Athenian (IG VII 416), Callippus of Thebes (IG VII 419) and Philoxenides of Oropos (IG VII 420). Unfortunately, the author of the inscription did not record the titles of the plays. Most often the names of the victors in satyr play agones are not the same as those who had won tragic agones. Nevertheless, there are cases of the same person winning in both dramatic categories. Such is the case of Polemaius of Ephesus, as well of Theodorus son of Dionysius, who according to inscription I Magn 88a won at Magnesia on the Menander as the author of a tragedy entitled Hermione and of a satyr play entitled Thytes129. However, most interestingly of all from our point of view is the phrasing that appears in the two above-mentioned inscriptions from Magnesia. They refer to the victors of tragic and satyr agones as τῶν Ῥωμαίων ποιηταὶ καινῶν δραμάτων. Does this suggest that Classical satyr plays were regularly restaged in the same way as Classical tragedies most certainly were? Use of the term New Dramas seems deliberate, and if so, it unequivocally suggests that old satyr plays were also staged. Extant inscriptions are unfortunately insufficient as a historical source to allow us to study the history of post-Classical satyr drama. Similarly, there is very limited information that can be derived from archaeological finds. The most popular decorative motif associated with satyr drama in the Hellenistic period is Papposilenos. His image appears in vase paintings, reliefs, figurines, terracotta masks and mosaics, as well as frescos in Pompeii. In a sense this popularity is obvious. After all, Papposilenos was the most distinctive character in this genre, and without doubt the moving spirit in every satyr play. Studying individual finds may at best tell us something about the costumes worn by actors and what Papposilenos masks looked like. On the stage he was invariably portrayed as a corpulent old man with a curly beard and chaotically arranged locks of hair. The thick beard contrasts with his balding head, while his animal ears are supposed to remind us of his original form. He is sometimes also portrayed as having a very hairy torso, legs and arms, for instance in the figurine from the Louvre (CA 942). Alas, neither the images of Papposilenos, nor those of the satyrs tell us anything about satyr drama in post-Classical times other than perhaps the fact that they were extremely popular and very much alive in the Hellenistic period. See pp. 171f.

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The Tragic Pleiad ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Suda s.v.1 1. ᾿Αλέξανδρος Αἰτωλός· […] ὡς καὶ τῶν ἑπτὰ τραγικῶν ἕνα κριθῆναι, οἵπερ ἐπεκλήθησαν ἡ Πλειάς. 2. Διονυσιάδης, […] ἦν δὲ οὗτος τῶν τῆς Πλειάδος, 3. Λυκόφρων, […] ἔστι γοῦν εἷς τῶν ἑπτὰ οἵτινες Πλειὰς ὠνομάσθησαν. 4. ῞Ομηρος: ᾿Ανδρομάχου καὶ Μυροῦς Βυζαντίας, […] διὸ συνηριθμήθη τοῖς ἑπτά, οἳ τὰ δευτερεῖα τῶν τραγικῶν ἔχουσι καὶ ἐκλήθησαν τῆς Πλειάδος. 5. Σωσίθεος, […] τῶν τῆς Πλειάδος εἷς 6. Σωσιφάνης, […] ἔστι δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκ τῶν ζ′ τραγικῶν, οἵτινες ὠνομάσθησαν Πλειάς. 7. Φιλίσκος, […] ἔστι δὲ τῆς δευτέρας τάξεως τῶν τραγικῶν, οἵτινές εἰσιν ζ′ καὶ ἐκλήθησαν Πλείας.

As well as: Τραγικώτερος: […] ὅτι οἱ ἑπτὰ τραγικοὶ Πλειὰς ἐπεκλήθησαν. Σοφοκλῆς, ᾿Αθηναῖος, […] γέγονε δὲ μετὰ τὴν Πλειάδα, ἤτοι μετὰ τοὺς ζ′ τραγικοὺς οἵτινες ὠνομάσθησαν καὶ Πλειάς.

T2 Σ A in Heph. p. 140 Consbr. ἑπτὰ γὰρ ἐλέγοντο εἶναι τραγῳδοί· διὸ καὶ πλειὰς ὠνομάσθησαν. ὧν εἷς ἐστιν οὗτος ὁ Φίλικος· ἐπὶ Πτολεμαίου δὲ γεγόνασιν ἄριστοι τραγικοί· εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι· Ὅμηρος νεώτερος, Σωσίθεος, Λυκόφρων, Ὰλεξανδρος, Φιλίκος, Διονυσιάδης. Translations of testimonies in the Suda are presented next to the names of particular authors.

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It was said that there were seven tragedians and that is why they were called the Pleiad. One of them was the famous Philicus. These best tragedians lived under the reign of Ptolemy; they were: Homer the Younger, Sositheus, Lycophron, Alexander, Philicus and Dionysiades.

T3 Σ B in Heph. p. 279 Consbr. ἐπὶ τῶν χρόνων Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου ἑπτὰ ἄριστοι γεγόνασι τραγικοί. Οὓς Πλειάδας ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ λαμπρούς εἶναι ἐν τῆι τῇ τραγικῇ ὥσπερ ἄστρα τὰ ἐν τῆι Πλειάδι. Εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι· Ὅμηρος (οὐχ ὁ ποιητής, ἀλλ’ υἱὸς ὁ Μυρου ς τῆς Βυζαντίας ποιητρίδος), καὶ Σωσίθεος, Λυκόφρων καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος καὶ Αἰαντιάδης καὶ Σωσιφάνης καὶ Φιλίσκος. In the times of Ptolemy Philadelphus there were seven outstanding tragedians, whom they called the Pleiad, for they shone brightly in the field of tragic poetry like stars in the Pleiad. These were: Homer (not the Poet, but the son of the poetess Myro of Byzantium), Sositheus, Lycophron, Alexander, Aeantiades, Sosiphanes and Philiscus.

T4 Choerob. in Heph. pp. 236. 4–14 Consbr. Φίλικος δὲ ὁ Κερκυραῖος εἷς ὢν τῆς Πλειάδος· καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. —Ἰστέον ὅτι ἐπὶ τῶν χρόνων Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου ἑπτὰ ἄριστοι γεγόνασι τραγικοί, οὓς Πλειάδα ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ λαμπροὺς εἶναι ἐν τῇ τραγικῇ ὡς τὰ ἄστρα τῆς Πλειάδος. εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι· Ὅμηρος, οὐχ ὁ ποιητής (περὶ τραγικῶν γὰρ ὁ λόγος), ἀλλ’ ὁ Μυροῦς τῆς ποιητρίας υἱὸς τῆς Βυζαντίας, καὶ Σωσίθεος καὶ Λυκόφρων καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος, Αἰαντιάδης, Σωσιφάνης καὶ οὗτος ὁ Φίλικος. τινὲς ἀντὶ τοῦ Αἰαντιάδου καὶ Σωσιφάνους Διονυσιάδην καὶ Εὐφρόνιον τῇ Πλειάδι συντάττουσιν. Philicus of Corcyra, one of the Pleiad and so on. One has to know that in the times of Ptolemy Philadelphus there were the seven best tragedians who were called the Pleiad, because they shone in the poetry of tragedy as the Pleiad stars shone: Homerus, not the poet (for here we speak of tragedians) but the son of the poetess Myro of Byzantium, Sositheus, Lycophron, Alexander, Aeantiades, Sosiphanes and the said Philicus. Some, instead of Aeantiades and Sosiphanes, include Dionysiades and Euphronius to the Pleiad.

T5 Tz. ad Lyc. p. 4 Scheer Λυκόφρων […] εἷς δὲ ἦν τῶν ἑπτὰ ποιητῶν, οἵτινες διὰ τὸ εἶναι ἑπτὰ τῆς Πλειάδος ἐλέγοντο· ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα Θεόκριτος ὁ τὰ βουκολικὰ γράψας, Ἄρατος ὁ τὰ Φαινόμενα γράψας καὶ ἕτερα, Νίκανδρος Αἰαντίδης ἢ Ἀπολλώνιος ὁ τὰ Ἀργοναυτικά, Φίλικος, Ὅμηρος ὁ νέος τραγικός […] ὁ Ἀνδρομάχου Βυζάντιος,



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ὃς δράματα ἐποίησεν νζʹ, καὶ οὗτος ὁ Λυκόφρων κἂν ἕτεροι μὴ εἰδότες ἄλλους φασὶν εἶναι τῆς Πλειάδος. ἦσαν δὲ οὗτοι ἐν χρόνοις Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου καὶ Βερενίκης, οἳ παῖδες ἦσαν ἀμφότεροι Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Λαγωοῦ καὶ Βερενίκης τῆς Ἀντιγόνου θυγατρός. Lycophron, one of the seven poets who, on account of their number, were called the Pleiad. Theocritus, who wrote bucolics, Aratus, who wrote Phaenomena and other poems, Nicander, Aeantides or Apollonius, the author of Argonautica, Philicus, Homerus the young tragedian and son of Andromachus of Byzantium, who wrote 57 plays, as well as the said Lycophron, although others, not knowing [the matter] state that others belong to the Pleiad. They lived in the times of Ptolemy Philadelphus and Berenice, both the children of Ptolemy the son of Lagus and Berenice the daughter of Antigonos.2

The enthusiasm of Alexandrian scholars for creating catalogues of people and things considered the best and the greatest gave birth to the concept of the Tragic Pleiad. The Pleiades, the name of the seven bright stars in the Taurus constellation, was how they described the seven most outstanding tragedians of the Hellenistic period. They came ‘second’ only after the three great tragedians: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. Extant sources, however, fail to provide us with a single canon of the seven poets of the Tragic Pleiad. All the testimonia name Homerus of Byzantium, Philiscus of Corcyra and Lycophron. To these three we may confidently add Sositheus and Alexander Aetolus, whose membership of the Pleiad is confirmed in the Suda as well as in three versions of scholia to Hephaestion. As Table 2 shows, the names of the remaining poets differ, depending on the list. These include: Sosiphanes, Dionysiades and Aeantiades, as well as Euphronius, who is mentioned only once. The presence of Theocritus, Nicander, Aratus and Apollonius of Rhodes in John Tzetzes’ list is difficult to explain. Perhaps he recalled from memory a list of outstanding third–century bc poets who were not necessarily tragedians. It is equally probable that two lists, one of tragedians and another of lyric poets, were muddled up and Tzetzes inadvertently copied the latter.3 One of the first modern scholars to successfully try and establish the original Alexandrian Pleiad list of poets was W. Steffen.4 He rightly notes that with regard to Homerus of Byzantium, Lycophron, Philiscus, Sositheus and Alexander Aetolus we can be certain they were included among the seven famous tragedians from the start. Following on from F. Jacoby, he also casts aside doubts regarding Sosiphanes’ place on this list by arguing that there was an older and a younger Sosiphanes and it was the younger one who belonged to the Tragic Pleiad. The seventh poet, according

Here Tzetzes confuses particular members of the Ptolemaic dynasty: the wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus was Arsinoe, not Berenice. Perhaps Tzetzes had in mind Ptolemy Philadelphus’ daughter-in-law Berenice II (known from Callimachus’ Lock of Berenice). On the other hand, Berenice the wife of Ptolemy I was herself the daughter of Magas and his wife Antigone, not Antigonos. 3 See Schramm (1929), p. 4. 4 Steffen (1939). 2

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Table 2.  Catalogues mentioning the Pleiad poets. (The numbers in brackets indicate the order in which the poet appears in the scholia) Suda

Σ A in Heph.

Σ B in Heph.

Choeroboscus J. Tzetzes in Heph.

Homerus Lycophron Philiscus Sositheus Alexander Sosiphanes

Homerus (1) Lycophron (3) Philicus (5) Sositheus (2) Alexander

Homerus (1) Lycophron (3) Philiscus (7) Sositheus (2) Alexander Sosiphanes

Dionysiades

Dionysiades (6) Aeantiades (5)

Homerus (1) Lycophron (3) Philicus (7) Sositheus (2) Alexander Sosiphanes or Euphronius (6) Aeantiades or Dionysiades (5)

Homerus (6) Lycophron (7) Philicus (5) Theocritus (1) Nicander (3) Aratus (2) Aeantides or Apollonius (4)

to Steffen, was Dionysiades, while the name of Aeantiades appeared on the list by accident.5 It is hard to say when the first list of the greatest tragedians of the age was compiled. We can be confident that it was not before the end of the third century bc, for it was basically a posthumous, commemorative list. We also do not know the exact reasons why these particular poets were listed rather than others. On the basis of extant testimonia, only five tragedians can be included in the canon. It is possible that by the end of the Hellenistic period there already existed several lists of greatest poets which subsequently became a historical source for later scholiasts. Strabo, who lived at the turn of the first century bc, uses the term ‘Pleiad’ in Book XIV of his Geographica (5, 15), as if the term was universally known.6 This is therefore the terminus ante quem for the creation of the Pleiad list of tragedians. When analysing what was written in antiquity about the Pleiad poets, one is compelled to ask some basic questions. First, what did the members of this tragic constellation have in common? In the case of the other list of tragedians (i.e. the great three, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides), the answer is obvious. These were the most famous dramatists of their day and each was recognized as the best in his lifetime. Here it was not so much the number of victories, but rather their contributions to developing the genre and the genuine recognition they had among their contemporaries. Moreover, all three tragedians were from Athens and their work was associated with that city. The situation was quite different in the case of the Tragic Pleiad poets, who came from various Greek towns, and not all of them were active in Athens. So little is known about their plays that we are not even able to ascertain whether they introduced any important innovations to drama or, conversely, played an important role in standardizing and consolidating conventions. However, one thing Steffen (1939), p. 24. Individual poets of the Tragic Pleiad will be discussed in greater detail later in this book. 6 Of the same opinion is Stoessl (1951), pp. 191–2. 5



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they all undoubtedly had in common was the time of their activity: the first quarter of the third century bc. Therefore they were all more or less of the same generation. The second question one is compelled to ask concerns the association of these particular poets with King Ptolemy II Philadelphus. After only a cursory examination of the testimonia, the association between the monarch and the famous seven becomes very apparent. The simplest explanation would be that, for the Alexandrian scholars compiling the Pleiad list, a monarch’s reign was the most natural definition of a period. But could there also be a more specific reason? We know that at least three of the Pleiad poets were definitely active in Alexandria, namely: Lycophron, Alexander Aetolus and Philiscus. Is it possible that at some stage in their lives the remaining tragedians also visited the land of the Lagids? Was that royal patron of scholars and artists also the benefactor of Sositheus, Sosiphanes, Homerus and Dionysiades? Perhaps the royal court commissioned plays from these tragedians for the Great Theatre in Alexandria, or perhaps the king simply had copies of their plays deposited in the Great Library, which was where the scholars compiling the list later found them. For obvious reasons, such questions remain unanswered, but one may at least presume that the patronage of Ptolemy II Philadelphus could have easily been extended to ‘non-Alexandrian’ tragedians. Another intriguing question is whether the seven tragedians maintained professional contact with one another. Did they know each other? Again, here there can be no doubt that Alexander Aetolus and Lycophron, both of whom worked in the Great Library, as well as Philiscus, who was a Dionysian priest in Alexandria, all knew each other and most probably met more than once, if only on account of their respective occupations. Moreover Alexander Aetolus and Homerus of Byzantium collaborated with the philosopher Timon of Phlius in the writing of tragedies, and even if they may not have actually met in person, they would have at least exchanged correspondence regarding this subject.7 But as far as the remaining members of the Pleiad are concerned, the lack of information regarding their lives greatly hinders the possibility of ascertaining whether or not they knew of each other or each other’s work. However, when we take into account the realities of the Hellenistic world, including the flourishing commercial and cultural contacts between its various centres, we may reasonably assume that even if they had never met personally, it is more than likely that the Pleiad tragedians at least knew of each other’s work. Finally, perhaps the most important thing that all the Pleiad tragedians had in common was the fact that they must have been educated people who knew the formal principles of writing dramas. They must all have known the tragedies of the Classical period, and that must have influenced their own work. To be appreciated by contemporary scholars, Alexandrian literary works were supposed to be learned and ‘pure’ in the terms of technique, style and metre; only finely crafted compositions were noteworthy. We know very little about the work of the Pleiad tragedians, but appreciation of the genre, reflected in the fact that these poets’ names were included among the great seven, could have had something to do with the formal perfection of their playwriting style. Their fame among contemporaries was not great, since they are The nature of this collaboration between the two tragedians is discussed on pp. 123f.

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relatively rarely mentioned in ancient sources, but perhaps in the Great Library their works were eventually appreciated and deemed great by the compilers of the Pleiad list. In other words, perhaps it took scholars to appreciate other scholars. Yet in order to understand the phenomenon of the Tragic Pleiad, we should first examine each of the tragedians individually by analysing the ancient testimonia that concern them and, if possible, the extant fragments of their plays.

Sosiphanes (TrGF 103) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 92 T 1 Suda s.v. Σωσιφάνης, Σωσικλέους, Συρακούσιος, τραγικός. ἐδίδαξε δράματα ογ′, ἐνίκησε δὲ ζ′. ἔστι δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκ τῶν ζ′ τραγικῶν, οἵτινες ὠνομάσθησαν Πλειάς. ἐγένετο δὲ ἐπὶ τῶν τελευταίων χρόνων Φιλίππου, οἱ δὲ ᾿Αλεξάνδρου τοῦ Μακεδόνος. τελευτᾷ δὲ ρια′ ὀλυμπιάδι, οἱ δὲ ριδ′· οἱ δὲ ἀκμάσαι αὐτὸν γράφουσι. Sosiphanes, son of Sosicles, Syracusan, tragedian. He produced 73 dramas, won with seven and is one of the seven tragedians called the Pleiad. He was born in the final years of the reign of Philip, though others say under Alexander the Macedonian. He died in the years of the 111th Olympiad, though some say it was during the 114th Olympiad, while others say that this was the time when he reached his peak.

T2 TrGF 92 T 2 Marm. Par. B 15 (116) – 313/312 bc: ἀφ’ οὗ Σωσιφάνης ποιητὴς τελευτᾶι, ἔτη ΔΔΔΔΠΙΙΙΙ, ἄρχοντος [Ἀθήνη]σιν [Θ]εο[φρ]άστου, [β]ι[οὺς ἔτη Δ]ΔΔΔΠ. 49 years after the death of the poet Sosiphanes … (when the archon of Athens was Theophrastus), he had lived 45 years.

[TrGF 103 T 1] Marm. Par. B 22 (123) – 306/305 bc: ἀφ’ οὗ Σωσιφάνης ὁ ποιητὴς [ἐ]γ[ένετο καὶ …] [ἔτη ΔΔΔΔΙΙ, ἄρχοντος Ἀθήνη]σ[ι Κ]οροίβου. 42 years after the birth of the poet Sosiphanes … (when the archon of Athens was Coroebus)

T3 TrGF 92 T 3 Ath. 10. 453 A



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καὶ [ὁ] Σωσιφάνης ὁ ποιητὴς εἰς Κηφισοκλέα τὸν ὑποκριτὴν εἶπεν λοιδορῶν αὐτὸν ὡς εὐρύστομον· ‘ἐνέβαλον γὰρ ἄν σου, φησίν, εἰς τὰ ἰσχία λίθον, εἰ μὴ καταρραίνειν ἔμελλον τοὺς περιεστηκότας.’ The poet Sosiphanes said to the actor Cephisocles, accusing him of being a big-mouth: ‘I’d throw,’ he says, ‘a stone at your hips, but I’d be afraid you’d splash the people standing around you.’8

It is difficult to establish when the tragedian actually lived, as the Suda entry poses certain problems. It is at least partially wrong because it includes contradictory information. We therefore have three interpretations, depending on which sentences we believe to be true: 1. τελευτᾷ δὲ ρια′ ὀλυμπιάδι, οἱ δὲ ριδ′·

Sosiphanes died sometime between 336 and 332 bc (the years of the 111th Olympiad) or between 324 and 320 (the years of the 114th Olympiad). Such dating would force us to include this tragedian among the fourth-century playwrights and for the same reason exclude him from the Pleiad. Yet this interpretation seems unlikely exactly because it is not compatible with the firm tradition of including Sosiphanes as one of the famous ‘Seven’. He is recognized as a member of the Pleiad in the Suda, Scholia B to Hephaestion and in Choeroboscus. Therefore H. F. Clinton might be right to suggest that in the text the numbers ρια′ and ριδ′ should be replaced by ρκα′ and ρκδ′.9 Such a mistake regarding numbers could be made if the entry’s author or copyist was thinking of the deaths of Philip and Alexander, whose names appear just before the numbers of the Olympiads. Accepting this conjecture would be justified if we assume that the poet died young, aged approximately 40. It is possible, too, that the confusion arose when the text with the old numerical system was written down with the new alphabetical one.10 2. τελευτᾷ δὲ ρια′ ὀλυμπιάδι, οἱ δὲ ριδ′· οἱ δὲ ἀκμάσαι αὐτὸν γράφουσι

Sosiphanes apparently flourished in the years of the 111th or 114th Olympiad. In such a case we would again, for chronological reasons, be unable to include him among the Pleiad poets. Such dating would make him a contemporary of Python. Ultimately he could be regarded as a precursor of Hellenistic drama, and perhaps for this reason included in the Pleiad lists. 3. ἐγένετο δὲ ἐπὶ τῶν τελευταίων χρόνων Φιλίππου, οἱ δὲ ᾿Αλεξάνδρου τοῦ Μακεδόνος.

Sosiphanes was born in the years 336–332 or 324–320. If we accept this last and most likely version, the poet’s inclusion in the Pleiad is chronologically justified as his years of activity would have been at the start of the third century bc. Nevertheless, even This was at the same time an allusion to Cephisocles’ homosexuality. Clinton (1830), p. 5. He is of the opinion that Sosiphanes was born in the reign of Philip II or Alexander (between 340 and 330 bc) and was therefore a contemporary of the Pleiad. 10 These would be acrophonic numerals, which were replaced by alphabetic numerals most probably at the turn of the third century bc. 8 9

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in this case the Suda would be very imprecise. This is because we should consider the cultural revolution that followed in the wake of Alexander the Macedonian’s conquests, and it is not without meaning to ask whether Sosiphanes was already active at the time of these great changes or whether he was still growing up during the Diadochi wars. The most satisfactory interpretation of the Suda entry would be to combine two philological conjectures, though from the scholarly point of view that would be very risky. For example, if like G. Bernhard11 we change the order of the verbs τελευτᾷ and ἀκμάσαι and accept Clinton’s correction (i.e. replace ρια′ and ριδ′ with ρκα′ and ρκδ′), we acquire an entry that is logical and consistent with tradition. In this case the poet would have reached his acme (floruit) in the years 296–292 bc and he would have died c. 284–280 bc. The so-called Parian Marble chronicle provides us with new interpretational possibilities, yet here too we have some contradictory information. B 15 states that a poet called Sosiphanes died in 313/312 bc, having lived for 45 years. B 22, on the other hand, states that another poet called Sosiphanes was born in 306/305 bc. J. A. R. Munro12 suggested that only the B 15 entry refers to Sosiphanes, whereas the B 22 entry repeats the name by mistake because the second poet’s real name was Sositheus. This correction was accepted by A. Rostagni and K. J. Beloch,13 but flatly rejected by F. Schramm,14 chiefly because the Marmor Parium mentions no other Pleiad poet and also because the information in the two entries is so different (regarding the names of archons and dates). A mistake seems highly unlikely when the two entries provide such precise facts. F. Schramm and later scholars were more inclined to accept the interpretation provided by F. Jacoby in 1878.15 According to Jacoby, there were two poets of the same name; one was active in the years 357/356 –313/312 bc, whereas the younger Sosiphanes was born in 306/305 bc as the son of Sosicles and may have been the grandson of the first Sosiphanes. The older Sosiphanes presented his dramas in Athens, whereas the younger Sosiphanes produced dramas in Alexandria and was considered to be one of the Pleiad tragedians. If this theory is correct, we face another problem: which of the two was the author of the extant drama fragments? It seems that opinions on this subject among scholars were dictated by the periods they happened to be interested in. If they were interested in the Hellenistic, they attributed the fragments to the Pleiad poet, and if they were more interested in the earlier period, they believed the author to be the fourth-century poet. B. Snell and R. Kannicht attribute all the known fragments to the older Sosiphanes. The existence of two ancient poets of the same name seems highly probable. It would certainly help explain the contradictory information in the Suda book as well as in the Parian Chronicle. Yet it still seems curious that none of the ancient authors mentions the fact that there were two poets by the name of Sosiphanes. Normally, 13 14 15 11 12

In the 1853 edition of Suda. Munro (1901), p. 361. Rostagni (1916), p. 343; Beloch (1927), pp. 565–6. Schramm (1929), p. 9. Jacoby (1903), p. 459.



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ancient encyclopaedists and lexicographers willingly pointed to such coincidences and family connections, as was evident in the case of Sophocles, whose descendant and namesake was also a tragedian. Obviously one Sosiphanes could hardly have been equally famous as the other, for had it been otherwise, knowledge of such a remarkable fact would have reached us. Nevertheless, the strong tradition of including Sosiphanes in the Alexandrian Pleiad suggests that the younger tragedian was a well-known and recognized artist. If so, it is more likely that the surviving drama fragments were authored by the Pleiad poet rather than his older namesake. If we assume the existence of two tragedians by the name of Sosiphanes, we also have to decide which of the two was Sosiphanes the Syracusan. Snell indeed treats the place of origin as the distinguishing factor between the two poets. But if we accept Jacoby’s theory of the two being related, we may also assume that the Pleiad member was, like his grandfather, called Συρακούσιος. In Hellenistic Egypt people were described as being of a certain polis even several generations after their forebears had left that particular polis, as this was to some extent an extra form of identification in addition to the patronymic. Thus Sosiphanes the Younger, the son of Sosicles, had he been born anywhere – for instance, in Alexandria – could on account of the origins of one of his forebears be called the Syracusan. Naturally, we should always remember that we are dealing with an accumulation of theories. The theory of there being two Sosiphanes seems justified, but so too does the possibility of a double correction being made in the Suda testimony, one that points to only one Sosiphanes, the tragedian who was active in the years 296–293. The Marmor Parium, however, unequivocally states that there were two tragedians and that the younger of the two was still alive when the inscription was being made (thus the rare phrase [ἐ]γ[ένετο, meaning ‘he was born’).16 Whichever theory we take to be true, the fact remains that there was a member of the Pleiad called Sosiphanes and – contrary to the current academic trend – it is to him that the extant drama fragments should be attributed. It is also in reference to this Sosiphanes that we should regard Athenaeus’ anecdote (T3) about the cutting remark a poet of that name made to the famous actor Cephisocles. Of course this sketch from the Deipnosophistae tells us nothing about the poet Sosiphanes’ work, but it does suggest that he had a sense of humour and a sharp tongue. We know that he produced 73 tragedies and that with seven of these he won drama competitions.

Meleager F1 Σ A.R. 3, 533b Σωσιφάνης ἐν Μελεάγρῳ· Sosiphanes in Meleager: Apart from Sosiphanes, the only other recorded births were that of Euripides (because it coincided with Aeschylus’ first victory) and that of Ptolemy Philadelphus, who, like Sosiphanes, was still alive when the Marmor Parium was being inscribed, i.e. in 264–263 bc.

16

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Hellenistic Tragedy ‘μάγοις ἐπῳδαῖς πᾶσα Θεσσαλὶς κόρη ψευδὴς σελήνης αἰθέρος καταιβάτις.’ Every Thessalian girl with magic spells Charms the moon down from the sky.

Of all the dramas written by Sosiphanes, Meleager is the only known title. Apart from the story of eponymous protagonist, little else can be said about the play. The oldest epic version of the myth,17 i.e. Phoenix’s speech to the enraged Achilles (Il. 9, 527–57), presents Meleager as the son of Oeneus and Althaea. During a war between the Aetolians and Curetes, his heroic deeds tipped the balance in favour of the Aetolians. Yet when he killed his mothers’ brothers and she cast a spell on him, Meleager became so enraged that he withdrew from the fighting and remained at home with his wife, Cleopatra. Even in the face of defeat, he was unmoved by the pleas of his father, mother and friends. Finally, it was only his wife who managed to persuade him and at the very last moment Calydon was saved. Homer does not explain the reasons for the war between the Aetolians and Curetes, clearly assuming that that was something his listeners already knew. In the fifth century bc Bacchylides provides a different version of this myth (Epinikion 5): angered at Oeneus for forgetting to offer her sacrifices, Artemis sent a boar to ravage Calydon. The hunt for the beast lasted six days. However, once the boar was killed, Meleager got involved in a conflict with the Curetes, during which he inadvertently slew his uncles, Iphiclus and Aphares. His mother remembered a prediction that Meleager would only live as long as a brand indicated by the Moirae was not consumed by fire; she put this brand into the fire. Thus Meleager perished, pulling the armour off his enemy and being quite unaware of the reason for his death. Together with the Homeric version, Apollodorus recounts a more elaborate tale, in which there is already an assumption that Meleager’s father was actually Ares (1. 65). The hunting theme is also more detailed and includes among the hunters the huntress Atalanta, with whom Meleager, though married to Cleopatra, wishes to have a child. The conflict between Meleager and his uncles erupts because after killing the boar he gives the chief prize, the hide, to Atalanta. Learning of Meleager’s crime, his mother puts the brand into the fire and commits suicide by hanging. Cleopatra also commits suicide. However, the most elaborate version is recounted by Ovid.18 The Roman poet focuses on events that occur during the hunt as well as on the emotions that Meleager experiences internally and is forced to struggle with. Moreover, in Metamorphoses both Meleager’s parents commit suicide, while his sisters (with the exception of Gorgo and Deianira) in their despair are turned into guinea fowls. The Meleager myth already appears in Aeschylus’ The Suppliants.19 The chorus reminds us of the crime committed by Althaea against her own son. Aeschylus makes use of the brand theme. Extant fragments of the tragedy Meleager by Sophocles (TrGF 401–406) are too insufficient for us to establish which version of the myth On the tragedies based on the myth, see: Grossardt (2001), pp. 76–104; van der Kolf (1931), pp. 446–78. On the critical dabate on the authenticity of the epic passage, see: Noé (1940), p. 34; Page (1959), pp. 297–315; Kirk (1962), p. 217; Rosner (1976), pp. 314–27. 18 Met. 8. 260–546. 19 Ch. pp. 602ff. 17



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this playwright chose to display. But surely Sophocles included the Calydonian hunt theme in his Meleager. The version presented by Euripides in his Meleager20 most probably had the greatest influence on the development and propagation of this myth. As many as 25 fragments of his Meleager have survived, but it is difficult to draw any general conclusions about the play because it is mostly reconstructed on the base of Apollodorus (1.64–73). It is very probable that Ovid’s version was the closest to Euripides’ play. Ovid’s account is the richest with respect to the plot. It includes a clear sense of guilt in Meleager’s desire for Atalanta, the mother’s internal conflict (the duty to avenge her brothers versus the love she feels for her son), the tragic deaths of Meleager, Althaea, Cleopatra and Oeneus, as well as the sad fate of his sisters. It is also mainly thanks to Euripides that the Meleager myth became so popular on the stage. His version was most probably parodied by Theopompus.21 Other comic poets known to have produced plays using this theme included: Callias (Ἀταλάνται), Strattis (Ἀτάλαντος [-η, -αι ]), Philyllius (Ἀταλάντη), Euthycles (Ἀταλάντη), Philetaerus (Ἀταλάντη) and Alexis (Ἀταλάντη). After Euripides, Antiphon also took up Meleager as a tragic theme (TrGF 55 F 1b). In his Poetics,22 Aristotle states that the story of Meleager is one of the best presented in contemporary tragedy, and most probably he also had Antiphon’s Meleager in mind because he refers to this play on two more occasions in his writings.23 Sosiphanes must have known antecedent tragic versions of the Meleager tale. However, we do not know whether he adopted or modified any of these versions. As far as Sosiphanes’ own tragedy is concerned, we know virtually nothing. We cannot even say what the original context of the preserved fragment was. It refers to a well-known Thessalian witch topos of ancient Greek folklore without any discernible link to the Meleager myth. The only possible line of investigation is to examine the contexts in which this theme of such magic spells was used by other authors. The earliest known example in literature appears in Aristophanes’ Clouds (vv. 749–55), but there the use of magic is part of Strepsiades’ extraordinary plan to avoid incurring debt. Two subsequent works that mention Thessalian women pulling down the moon, Plato’s Gorgias (513a 5–6) and Hippocrates’ treaty (De Morbo Sacro 1.76–82), provide no reason for such magic being performed. It is only in a Hellenistic epic poem, the Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes (4. 57–61) that we discover the appropriate context of this magic being associated with love. It is also in this context that the magic is mentioned by Roman poets of the Augustan period who were influenced by Alexandrian tradition. Pulling down the moon is mentioned by the infatuated Simaetha in Virgil’s Eclogue VIII (vs. 69). The spell is also cast by the lustful Folia in Horace’s Epode V (vv. 41–6), as well as by the witch Canidia in Epode XVII (vv. 77–8). Ovid also frequently refers to this magic, and even if in The Art of Love (1, 23–6), as well as in his Love’s Remedy (vv. 250–60), the author doubts the effectiveness of On the play generally, see: Mette (1981–2), pp. 186–92; van Looy (1992); p. 284, Grossardt (2001), pp. 88–96. The play was probably staged circa 414 bc, see: Webster (1967), p. 163; Cropp and Fick (1985), pp. 84–5. 21 Mayer (1883), pp. 77–93; on the drama of Theopompus, see Grossardt (2001), p. 101. 22 Po. 1453a. 23 Rh. 1379b15 and 1399b26. 20

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bewitching the moon to retain the object of one’s amorous desires, he is clearly aware of the fact that these charms were performed for that very purpose. The erotic context of pulling down the moon is evident also in an anonymous epigram from the Greek Anthology (AP 11. 262). It is therefore not improbable that Sosiphanes also had the young Thessalian women drawing the moon down to Earth for the same reason, i.e. love magic.24 This may be confirmed by the fact that the particular fragment was found in scholia to Apollonius’ epos. The story of Meleager, who desires Atlanta and thus wrongs his wife, Cleopatra, could provide a reason as to why the playwright would wish to evoke the Thessalian spell.

Incertarum fabularum fragmenta F2 TrGF 92 F5, ΣTheoc. 18, 51 Μενελάου … καὶ ῾Ελένης … παῖδες … Νικόστρατος καὶ ᾿Ιόλαος, … (καὶ θυγατέρες Μελίτη καὶ ῾Ερμιόνη)25 Menelaus and Helen … sons … Nicostratus and Iolmos … and daughters Melite and Hermione

F3 TrGF 92 F7, ΣE. Andr. 32.10 ἐξ αὐτῆς (sc. ῾Ερμιόνης) Νεοπτολέμῳ ᾿Αγχίαλον γενέσθαι26 With her [i.e. Hermione] Neoptolemus fathered Anchialos.

These fragments found in scholia to Theocritus’ Epithalamium for Helen inform us that Sosiphanes had also written a play which mentioned Helen and Menelaus’ children. It is difficult to establish what the actual tragedy was about because the reference could have been merely incidental. Nonetheless, it is significant that Sosiphanes names Nicostratus and Iolmos27 as the children of the famous couple. While Nicostratus28 is mentioned as one of Menelaus’ children (sometimes said to have been borne by a slave woman), the name Iolmos is nowhere else to be found. It has to be stressed that this statement contradicts Homer’s version, where, after giving birth to the beautiful Hermione, the gods make Helen infertile.29 Therefore perhaps, in a typically

On erotic spells addressed to Selene and the connection between love, magic and the moon, see Faraone (1999), pp. 139–41, although he does not mention the drawing down of the moon. 25 ΣTheoc.18.51 Μενελάου δὲ καὶ ῾Ελένης ἀναγράφονται παῖδες Σωσιφάνης, Νικόστρατος καὶ ᾿Ιόλαος, οἱ δὲ Θρόνιον, καὶ θυγατέρες Μελίτη καὶ ῾Ερμιόνη. 26 ΣE.Andr.32.10 Σωσιφάνης δὲ καὶ ᾿Ασκληπιάδης φασὶν ἐξ αὐτῆς Νεοπτολέμῳ ᾿Αγχίαλον γενέσθαι. 27 The versions of this name is taken from codices UEA. In his edition C. Wendel (1914) amended it to Ἰόλαος, whereas earlier L. C. Valckenaer (1789) altered it to [Αἰθ]ιόλας, in accordance with the traditional pronunciation of the son’s name. 28 Hanslik (1936), pp. 540–1. 29 Od. IV 12–14. 24



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Hellenistic manner, Sosiphanes had selected an obscure, arcane version of the myth and for this reason the Scholiast cited it as a curiosity. F4 TrGF 92 F4 ΣE.Ph. 101030 ὑπὸ τοῦ Λαΐου … τεθνηκέναι τὸν Μενοικέα By Laius … Menoeceus was killed.

This quotation in scholia to Euripides’ The Phoenician Women informs us that Sosiphanes had written an otherwise unidentified tragedy based on the Labdacid myths. We do not know the exact subject of Sosiphanes’ drama, but the extant fragment indicates that the Labdacid family’s misfortune resulted from a crime committed by Oedipus’ forebears, i.e. the murder of Menoeceus, the father of Jocasta, by his son-in-law Laius.31 The scholiast notes that in Nicostratus’ play32 the killer is the Sphinx, so Sosiphanes had made a significant choice in the selection of mythical versions. F5 TrGF 92 F2 Stob. 3. 20. 18 Νῦν σοι πρὸς ὄψιν θυμὸς ἡβάτω, γέρον, νυνὶ † δεῖ γ’ ὀργήν, ἡνίκ’ ἠδικοῦ λαβεῖν. Now at the sight of this, old man, let your spirit be rejuvenated Now that you have been wronged, your anger must be awakened.

F6 TrGF 92 F3 Stob. 3. 22. 3 ῏Ω δυστυχεῖς μὲν πολλά, παῦρα δ’ ὄλβιοι βροτοί, τί σεμνύνεσθε ταῖς ἐξουσίαις, ἃς ἕν τ’ ἔδωκε φέγγος ἕν τ’ ἀφείλετο; ἢν δ’ εὐτυχῆτε, μηδὲν ὄντες εὐθέως ἴσ’ οὐρανῷ φρονεῖτε, τὸν δὲ κύριον ῞Αιδην παρεστῶτ’ οὐχ ὁρᾶτε πλησίον. ΣE.Ph. 1010: Σωσιφάνης ὁ τραγικὸς ὑπὸ τοῦ Λαΐου φησὶ τεθνηκέναι τὸν Μενοικέα· Νικόστρατος δὲ ὑπὸ τῆς Σφιγγός 31 See Robert (1915), pp. 493–94. 32 We do not know any tragedy author of that name. It is possible that the scholiast was thinking about the comedy writer Nicostratus, or, as C. Mueller suggested (see: Hecker (1850), p. 428; Robert (1915), p. 65), we should read here Nicomachus from Alexandria in Troas, one of the Hellenistic tragedy writers (see pp. 148ff.). 30

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O mortals, so unhappy, who rarely prosper, why do you boast of wealth, which one day is given and another day is taken away? When for you, who are nothing, fortune once smiles, your Pride reaches the heavens and you do not see standing Close beside you the ruler Hades.

Fragments 5 and 6 provide us with no indications as to the play they could have come from. Both were passed on to us by Stobaeus and, on account of the specific nature of his work, are deprived of their original context. Fragment 5 is part of a speech directed to a specific person in a specific situation, whereas fragment 6 is more of a philosophical reflection on the transience of human existence and wealth. But the messages in these texts in themselves do not allow us to determine the contexts in which they were conveyed. F7 TrGF 92 F6 Σ Hom Il. 9, 453 (ex. vel Porph.) τῇ πιθόμην : ᾿Αριστόδημος ὁ Νυσαιεύς, ῥήτωρ τε ἅμα καὶ γραμματικός, φεύγων τὸ ἔγκλημα, ἐπενόησε γράφειν „τῇ οὐ πιθόμην †οὐδὲ ἔρεξᆔ. καὶ οὐ μόνον γε ηὐδοκίμησεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐτιμήθη ὡς εὐσεβῆ τηρήσας τὸν ἥρωα. πρὸ δὲ αὐτοῦ Σωσιφάνης τὴν τοιαύτην εὗρε γραφήν. καὶ Εὐριπίδης δὲ ἀναμάρτητον εἰσάγει τὸν ἥρωα ἐν τῷ Φοίνικι. ταῦτα ἱστορεῖ ῾Αρποκρατίων ὁ Δίου διδάσκαλος ἐν ὑπομνήματι τῆς Ι. [to verse II. 9, 453]: ‘in obedience to her, I did’: Aristodemus of Nyssa, the orator and grammarian, wishing to avoid an accusation, decided to write ‘in disobedience to her, I did not do’. And not only did he appreciate this but even honoured him [in the text] as the reverent hero. Before him Sosiphanes had applied such an alteration. And Euripides introduces an innocent hero in Phoenix. Thus says Harpocration, the teacher of Dios, in Notes to the Iliad.

The above scholium does not actually state that Sosiphanes was the author of an unknown play that mentions the hero Phoenix. Instead it suggests that he wrote commentaries to the Iliad. However, the phasing πρὸ δὲ αὐτοῦ Σωσιφάνης τὴν τοιαύτην εὗρε γραφήν is sufficiently vague for us to suppose that Sosiphanes could have written a tragedy of this sort, all the more so because the text next mentions the tragedy Phoenix by Euripides. If we assume that Sosiphanes did write a tragedy about Phoenix, then he must have followed Euripides’ example. Phoenix was a son of Amyntor, the king of Ormenium near Mount Pelion in Thessaly, or of Eleum in Boeotia. In Homer’s poem Phoenix was persuaded by his mother to seduce Amyntor’s mistress. In response his enraged father gouged out both his eyes. The blinded hero later found refuge at Peleus’ house and had his eyesight restored by Chiron. According to the above scholium, Sosiphanes presented Phoenix as an unblemished hero who had in fact not seduced his father’s concubine. Unfortunately, it fails to provide



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sufficient information for us to make any other theories about the possible contents of this unknown play.

Homerus of Byzantium (TrGF 98) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 98 T1 Suda s.v. ῞Ομηρος: ᾿Ανδρομάχου καὶ Μυροῦς Βυζαντίας, γραμματικὸς καὶ τραγῳδιῶν ποιητής· διὸ συνηριθμήθη τοῖς ἑπτά, οἳ τὰ δευτερεῖα τῶν τραγικῶν ἔχουσι καὶ ἐκλήθησαν τῆς Πλειάδος. ἤκμαζεν ὀλυμπιάδι ρκδ′. ἔγραψε δὲ τραγῳδίας με′. Homerus, son of Andromachus and Myro of Byzantium, grammarian and tragic poet; hence he was counted as one of the seven who hold the second rank among the tragedians and were called the Pleiad. He reached his peak during the 124th Olympiad (284–280) and he wrote 45 tragedies.

T2 TrGF 98 T 2 Suda s.v. Myro Μυρώ, Βυζαντία, ποιήτρια ἐπῶν καὶ ἐλεγείων καὶ μελῶν, ῾Ομήρου τοῦ τραγικοῦ θυγάτηρ, γυνὴ δὲ ᾿Ανδρομάχου τοῦ ἐπικληθέντος φιλολόγου. Myro, a Byzantine, epic, elegiac and melic poetess. The daughter of the tragedian Homerus33 and the wife of Andromachus, called the philologist.

T3 TrGF 98 T 3 Suda s.v. Σωσίθεος, […] ἀνταγωνιστὴς ῾Ομήρου τοῦ τραγικοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ Μυροῦς τῆς Βυζαντίας· Sositheus … Competed with Homerus the tragic poet, the son of Myro of Byzantium.

T4 TrGF 98 T 7 Tz. Chil. 12. (399), 202–3 εἴτε καὶ τὸν Βυζάντιον υἱὸν τοῦ Ἀνδρομάχου, τοῦ Ἀνδρομάχου καὶ Μυροῦς τῶν ποιητῶν τὸν παῖδα

Here there is obviously a mistake as Moiro/Myro was the mother, not the daughter of Homerus. This fact is confirmed in remaining Suda entries.

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Or the son of Andromachus, from Byzantium Child of the poets Andromachus and Myro.

T5 TrGF 98 T5 Christodorus AP 2 407–13 ῞Ιστατο δ’ ἄλλος ῞Ομηρος, ὃν οὐ πρόμον εὐεπιάων θέσκελον υἷα Μέλητος ἐυρρείοντος ὀίω, ἀλλ’ ὃν Θρηικίῃσι παρ’ ᾐόσι γείνατο μήτηρ Μοιρὼ κυδαλίμη Βυζαντιάς, ἣν ἔτι παιδνὴν ἔτρεφον εὐεπίης ἡρωίδος ἴδμονα Μοῦσαι· κεῖνος γὰρ τραγικῆς πινυτὴν ἠσκήσατο τέχνην, κοσμήσας ἐπέεσσιν ἑὴν Βυζαντίδα πάτρην. There too stood the other Homer, I think not the master of epic song, That extraordinary son of the beautifully flowing Meles, But the one whom on the Thracian shore his mother Moiro bore, The famous Byzantine. Already in childhood she was nurtured by the Muses Who made her fluent in heroic poetry. Whereas he practised the wise art of tragedy, Adorning his Byzantine motherland with poetry.

T6 TrGF 98 T 6 Tz. ad Lyc. p. 4, 30 Scheer ῞Ομηρος ὁ νέος τραγικός […] ὁ ᾿Ανδρομάχου Βυζάντιος, ὃς δράματα ἐποίησεν νζ′ Homer the Younger, tragedian, son of Andromachus, from Byzantium, wrote 57 plays.

T7 TrGF 98 T 9 Tz. Vita Hes. p. 49, 25 Wil. οὗτος ὁ νεώτερος ῞Ομηρος ἦν παῖς ᾿Ανδρομάχου, τῷ γένει Βυζάντιος, ὁ τὴν Εὐρυπύλειαν ποιήσας.34 The younger Homer was the child of Andromachus, of a Byzantine family, wrote Eurypyleia.

T8 TrGF 98 T 8 D.L. 9, 113

The codices also use the form: Εὐρυπυλίαν.

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φιλογράμματός τε καὶ τοῖς ποιηταῖς μύθους γράψαι ἱκανὸς καὶ δράματα συνδιατιθέναι. μετεδίδου δὲ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ καὶ ῾Ομήρῳ. [Timon of Phlius] a bibliophile who could write plots for poets and help them create dramas. He co-authored tragedies with Alexander and Homerus.

The name Homerus of Byzantium appears in all extant lists of the Tragic Pleiad.35 We know a little more about his life than those of other Pleiad members. He was the son of Andromachus, a grammarian, and the famous poetess Myro36 of Byzantium. Byzantium was also the place where he was raised, as is testified in Christodorus’ poem, and where, in F. Schramm’s opinion,37 he must have started his career. However, later he moved to Athens, for that was where he collaborated with the philosopher and tragedian Timon and also competed with Sositheus. He reached his acme during the 124th Olympiad, i.e. 284–280 bc. We also have an epigram written for Homerus’ wedding, written by his mother, Myro (AP 6, 119). An extraordinarily interesting testimony is provided by Diogenes Laertius, according to whom Timon of Phlius ‘wrote his tragedies together with Alexander [of Aetolia] and Homerus [of Byzantium]’ (D.L. 9, 113: μετεδίδου δὲ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ καὶ ῾Ομήρῳ). Would this mean that for a certain period of time they formed some sort of literary circle where they mutually reviewed each other’s work, or did Timon only give them his tragedies? W. Crönert38 doubts the veracity of this statement in its entirety. Nevertheless, they may have collaborated to write tragic trilogies, though, insofar as I know, there is no other evidence of such literary behaviour. And if they knew each other personally, where would Homerus and Timon have met? Was it still in Byzantium (for a time Timon ran a school of philosophy in Chalcedon),39 or was it in Athens, where both eventually ended up? Unfortunately, we have no means of answering this question. Information concerning Homerus’ literary activities is exceptionally scarce. The book of Suda states that he wrote 45 tragedies, while scholia on Lycophron say he authored 57 plays. According to R. J. Walker40 this discrepancy is due to the fact that the scholia included 12 satyr plays. The first list may have also included trilogies and tetralogies. Though highly plausible, such explanations are merely hypotheses, no more verifiable than other possible factors. However, there are a couple of facts to confirm that Homerus was once a well-known and valued tragedian. For a start, all the Pleiad lists mention his name.41 Second, and very significantly, his statue stood in the gymnasium of Zeuxippus in Constantinople, among the statues of other outstanding Diehl (1913), pp. 2247–8 The name sometimes appears as Μυρώ. However, on account of the value of Meleager’s testimony (AP IV 1, 5), F. Schramm prefers to use the Μοιρώ form. Also see: TrGF, p. 268. The alternate use of forms results from phonological changes that later occurred in the Greek language. 37 Schramm (1929), p. 16. 38 Crönert (1906), p. 30. 39 Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1881), p. 501, believes Timon could have only written his tragedies during his stay in Byzantium. 40 Walker (1923), p. 254. 41 Walker’s theory (1923), p. 255, that according to the book of Suda Homerus was an eighth, additional member of the Pleiad was refuted by Schramm (1929), pp. 18–19, because συναριθμεῐν with dat. can leave no doubt that he was ‘included’ in the Pleiad. 35 36

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Greeks. Homerus’ statue could still be seen in the fourth century ad by the poet Christodorus, who recorded the fact in his ekphrasis (T5). But then again there is no information regarding the actual literary achievements of Homerus the Tragedian. The lack of even a single fragment of his plays prohibits us from formulating any theories. Only the title of one of his plays is known: Eurypyleia (T7). Unfortunately, Tzetzes does not state what type of play it was, and instead only writes: ὁ τὴν Εὐρυπύλειαν ποιήσας (who wrote Eurypyleia). This piece of information has been compared with Christodorus’ epigram (T5), which also refers to Homerus’ work. Yet here, on account of the poetic character of the epigram, we have to be very cautious. F. Schramm’s opinion that Eurypyleia was an epic poem glorifying Byzantium, and Gercke’s theory42 that it was an epyllion, seem unfounded. They based their conclusions on the expression ἐπέεσσιν, which frequently, though not always, refers to hexametric verse. There are other cases when this expression also described dramatic poetry.43 Looking at the context, i.e. the preceding verse, κεῖνος γὰρ τραγικῆς πινυτὴν ἠσκήσατο τέχνην (whereas he practised the wise art of tragedy), I am convinced that in this case we have a reference to dramatic poetry. Walker seems closer to the truth in suggesting that it could have been a tragic tetralogy. It is worth noting that Sophocles had already written a tragedy entitled Eurypylus and the subject had been used on the stage in the Classical period. Aristotle himself (Po. 1459b6) names Eurypylus as one of the tragedies that could be written on the basis of myths contained in the so-called Little Iliad. Telephus had vowed that neither he nor any of his children would ever fight the Greeks. However, Eurypylus’ mother, Astyoche, was bribed with a gold vine to send her son to fight for Troy. There Eurypylus was killed at the hands of Neoptolemus. We do not know which part of the myth was used in Homerus’ tragedy (or tragedies). In some way he must have referred to the play by Sophocles, of which, unfortunately, only tens of verses and a few hundred individual words remain.

Philiscus of Corcyra (TrGF 89, 104) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 104 T1 Suda s.v. Φιλίσκος, Κερκυραῖος, Φιλώτου υἱός, τραγικὸς καὶ ἱερεὺς τοῦ Διονύσου ἐπὶ τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου Πτολεμαίου γεγονώς. καὶ ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ τὸ Φιλίσκιον μέτρον προσηγορεύθη, ἐπείπερ αὐτῷ ἐνεδαψιλεύετο. ἔστι δὲ τῆς δευτέρας τάξεως τῶν τραγικῶν, οἵτινές εἰσιν ζ′ καὶ ἐκλήθησαν Πλείας. αἱ δὲ τραγῳδίαι αὐτοῦ εἰσι μβ′. Philiscus the Corcyrean, son of Philotus, tragic poet and Dionysian priest, lived under Ptolemy Philadelphus. The Philiscian metre was named after him, since he used it frequently. He is one of the second rank of tragedians, of whom there are seven called the Pleiad. There exist 42 of his tragedies. Gercke (1889), p. 133. For example, Ar. Ra. 862, 956.

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TrGF 89 T5 Suda s.v. Φιλίσκος, κωμικός. τῶν δραμάτων αὐτοῦ ἐστιν ῎Αδωνις, Διὸς γοναί, Θεμιστοκλῆς, ῎Ολυμπος, Πανὸς γοναί, ῾Ερμοῦ καὶ ᾿Αφροδίτης γοναί, ᾿Αρτεμίδος καὶ ᾿Απόλλωνος. Philiscus, a writer of comedies, which include: Adonis, The Birth of Zeus, Themistocles, Olympus, The Birth of Pan, The Birth of Hermes and Aphrodite, [The Birth of] Artemis and Apollo.

T2 Inscription from Kos [Hellenistic period] Inscr. Cos 218 Paton-Hicks [π]ρὶν μὲν Ὁμήρειο[ι γρα]φ̣ίδες φιλ[οδέσπο]τ̣ον ἦθος Εὐμαίου χρυσέαις ἔκλαγον ἐν σελίσιν· σεῦ δὲ καὶ εἰν Ἀίδαο σαόφρονα μῆτιν ἀείσει, Ἴναχ’, ἀείμνηστον γράμμα λαλεῦσα πέτρη, καί σε πρὸς εὐσεβέων δόμον ἄξεται ἐσθλὰ Φιλίσκος δῶρα καὶ ἐν ζωοῖς κἀμ φθιμένοισι τίνων, σήν τ’ ἄλοχον Κλειοῦν ταὐτόν σοι παῖδα τίουσαν, πηγῆς ἧς μαστῶν εἴλκυσε νηπίαχος. ὦ δυσάλκτ’ Ἀίδη, τί τὸ τηλίκον ἔσχες ὄνειαρ, κλεινὸν Κλευμαχίδος κοῦρον ἀειράμενος; Once Homer’s gravers in gold verse cried out The character Eumaeus so devoted to his master. And in Hades your shrewd wisdom shall sing, Inachus, the stone that with an eternal inscription speaks. And you to the home of the pious Philiscus shall guide, Entwining with noble gifts among the living and dead, And your wife Cleo, who honoured you with the same son – Sucking as a child from the source of her breast. O inevitable Hades, what a boon it was for you To take Cleumachid’s famous boy!

T3 TrGF 104 T2 Heph. Ench. P. 30, 21–31, 5 Consbr. Φίλικος δὲ ὁ Κερκυραῖος, εἷς ὢν τῆς Πλειάδος, ἑξαμέτρῳ συνέθηκεν ὅλον ποίημα    τῇ χθονίῃ μυστικὰ Δήμητρί τε καὶ Φερσεφόνῃ     καὶ Κλυμένῳ τὰ δῶρα. τοῦτο δὲ καὶ ἀλαζονεύεται εὑρηκέναι Φίλικος λέγων    καινογράφου συνθέσεως τῆς Φιλίκου, γραμμα     τικοί, δῶρα φέρω πρὸς ὑμᾶς· ψεύδεται δέ· πρὸ γὰρ αὐτοῦ Σιμμίας ὁ Ῥόδιος ἐχρήσατο ἔν τε τῷ Πελέκει

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Hellenistic Tragedy Philicus the Corcyrean, being one of the Pleiad, composed an entire poem in hexametres: Mystic gifts for earthly Demeter, Persephone and Clymenus. Philicus boasted that he had invented it, saying: ‘Grammarians! I bring you gifts recorded in the new style of Philiscian metre.’ Yet he lied, since Simmias of Rhodes had used it in the Axe …

T4 Σ B in Heph. (Trichas Gramm., Libellus de novem metris) p. 387 Καὶ τὰ ἑξάμετρα δὲ καταληκτικά, εἰ καί ὑπέρμετρα φαίνεται, ἀλλ’ ὅμως ἐπετηδεύσατο ταῦτα ὅ τε Κερκυραῖος Φίλικος, εἷς τῆς ἐπὶ Πτολεμαίου Πλειάδος. The catalectic hexametre seems to exceed the metre, and yet it was used by Philicus of Corcyra, one of Ptolemy’s Pleiad.

T5 Caesius Bassus De metris, p. 263 Keil Philicius versus ex duplici pede constat, quem bacchicon musici, choriambicon grammatici vocant. Habet longam et duas breves et longam, id est trochaeum et iambum. Hoc autem Philicus conscripsit hymnos Cereri et Liberae, tali genere metri, quod scilicet † est acri salis et arcanae deorum venerationi † credidit convenire. Apud nostros hoc metrum non reperio. Philiscian verse comprises a double foot, called by musicians bakchicon, whereas grammarians call it choriambicon. It has one long, two short and a long, which is a trochee and an iamb. Thus Philicus wrote hymns in this metre in honour of Ceres and Libera, believing it to harmonize with the intelligent wit and arcane cult of deities. In our writings I have not encountered such a metre.

T6 TrGF 104 T4 Callix. FGrH 627 F2 ap. Ath. 5. 198B. μεθ’ οὓς ἐπορεύετο Φιλίσκος ὁ ποιητὴς ἱερεὺς ὢν Διονύσου καὶ πάντες οἱ περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνῖται. Behind them [the Satyrs in Ptolemy Philadelphus’ procession] strode Philiscus, who was a poet and a priest of Dionysus and all the technitai of the Dionysiac association.

T7 Anonymous epigram, PHamb. inv. 312 (third century ad) = Suppl. Hell. frg. 980. ἔρχεο δὴ μακάριστος ὁδοιπόρος, ἔρχεο καλοὺς χώρους εὐσεβέων ὀψόμενος, Φίλικε, ἐκ κισσηρεφέος κεφαλῆς εὔυμνα κυλίων ῥήματα, καὶ νήσους κώμασον εἰς μακάρων, εὖ μὲν γῆρας ἰδὼν εὐέστιον ᾿Αλκινόοιο



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Φαίηκος, ζώειν ἀνδρὸς ἐπισταμένου· ᾿Αλκινόου τ̣ι̣ς̣ ἐ̣ὼ̣ν̣ ἐξ αἵματος < > Go, most blessed wayfarer, go Philicus To see the beautiful lands of the hallowed. Your head crowned with ivy, juggling the words of beautiful songs Go in komos to the fortunate isles. Knowing well the hospitality of Alcinous, the Phaeacian, A man who knew how to live … Someone of Alcinous’ blood …

T8 Σ Germ. Arat. 70, 15 … sunt in hoc signo in eius testa aliae stellae, quas asinos appellant. Graeci enim ὄνους dicunt. quos Liber astris intulit, quod cum a Iunone insania obiecta fugeret ad occasus, ut in Dodonaei Iovis templo responsa peteret, ut Philiscus refert, et magnis imbribus cum grandine ortis stagna, quae transiturus erat, inundata detinerent iter eius, asini ex contrario transeunt per aquas. ex his uno insidens et ipse transvectus est sine periculo insaniaque liberatus dicitur. uno itaque ex his fecisse, ut voce humana loqueretur. qui cum sensum accipisset, post paucum tempus cum Priapo de membro naturali contendere coepit. In this sign, in its shell there are other stars, called the donkeys; whereas the Greeks call them ὄνοι. Liber raised them to the stars when, driven insane by Juno, he had fled west to Dodona, to seek a response from the oracle in Jupiter’s temple, as Philiscus reports, and when, on account of great rainfall with hailstones, the marshes he was to cross were flooded and rendered impassable, donkeys came across the water from the other side. They say he got through safely, mounted on the back of one of these and was thus delivered from his madness. And he also made one of them able to speak in a human voice. And when it gained the capacity to think, it soon began to contend with Priapus on the subject of the male member.

T9 Plin. HN 35, 106 Protogenes … fecit … Philiscum, tragoediarum scriptorem, meditantem Protogenes … made … Philiscus, the tragic author, pensive

As with the other members of the Pleiad, information regarding the life and work of Philiscus is extremely sparse.44 The above testimonies undoubtedly show that he was one of the seven most outstanding tragic poets of the post-Classical era, but we have no evidence to confirm it in the form of an extant play or at least a more extensive fragment. Even an approximate date of birth, his actual name and type of literary output are uncertain. It seems very probable that already in ancient times Stoessl (1938), pp. 2379–81.

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Figure 2.  A tragic poet contemplating a mask (the source of his inspiration), or considering whether it suits a character from his work. Webster (1970), p. 159, posited that this image could be a copy of a portrait of Philiscus by Protogenes. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.



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he was confused with Philiscus of Aegina45 and perhaps a namesake who wrote comedies.46 F. Schramm argues that if γεγονώς in the book of Suda is taken to mean ‘he was born’, Philiscus would have been a very young poet among the stars of the ‘tragic constellation’.47 We should, nevertheless, trust the statistical studies of Rohde, which interpret γεγονώς to mean ἀκμάσας,48 which would make Philiscus very much a contemporary of other Pleiad members. Such an interpretation tallies with the testimony of Callixenus of Rhodes (T6), who, describing a great procession organized by Ptolemy Philadelphus, mentions Philiscus as a poet and Dionysiac priest, and, moreover, the head of the Dionysiac artists’ (technitai) association. The famous pompe was most probably held in 275/274 bc49 and so Philiscus would have been a wellknown and respected person, maybe 30–35 years old – assuming, of course, that he was born before 300 bc. A different birth date is given by R. J. Walker, followed by F. Schramm and T. Sinko.50 These scholars consider Philiscus of Corcyra to be represented in a portrait by Protogenes (born c. 360 bc). The painting was made no later than 290 bc and portrays a famous tragedian who was already quite mature. Hence Philiscus may have been born earlier, around the year 320 bc.51 One of the clues as to when Philiscus could have been active is the aforementioned inscription from Kos, thanks to which R. Reitzenstein estimated that the tragedian was on the island in the years 275–270.52 However, if the funerary epigram for Inachus refers to Philiscus’ guardian, then perhaps Philiscus had actually spent his childhood on Kos and need not have necessarily been present on the island after his guardian’s death to supervise the inscription. The poet undoubtedly came from the island of Corcyra, as this is testified to not only by the addition of Κερκυραῖος to his name, but also the mentioning of the island’s mythical ruler, Alcinous, in the epigram on Philiscus. The tragedian’s name appears in two forms: Philicus and Philiscus. There is strong evidence to support both names53 and it is hard to judge which is more correct. The Philicus form is used by Hephaestion, Choeroboscus, Tzetzes and Caesius Bassus, Philiscus of Aegina was the son of Onesicritus, the helmsman of Alexander the Great. According to Diogenes Laertius (6.74) he was taught by Diogenes the Cynic, who even dedicated to him one of his written works. Later Philiscus’ tragedies were actually attributed to Diogenes, who had allegedly also been Alexander’s teacher prior to Aristotle’s arrival in Pella. One of the comedies of Alexis bore his name (Ath. 14.642F.). See: Fritz (1938), pp. 2382–3; Brown (1949), pp. 1–8. 46 Philiscus the comic poet, see Körte (1938), pp. 2381–2. 47 Schramm (1929), p. 21. 48 Rohde (1878), pp. 161–220, 638–9; Rohde (1879), pp. 620–23. 49 Fraser (1972, I), pp. 231–2, dates the pompe to have been held in 279–278 or 275–274 bc and believes it to have been part of broader Ptolemaic celebrations. On the basis of astronomical evidence, Hölbl (2001), p. 85 dates the pompe to have occurred in February 274 bc. 50 Walker (1923), p. 244; Schramm (1929), p. 21; Sinko (1947), p. 499. But Walker assumed that the pompe was held in 284 bc. 51 Snell and Kannicht, the last publishers of Philiscus’ fragments, identify Protogenes’ portrait as representing Philiscus of Aegina (TrGF, 258). For photographic reproductions of Protogenes’ assumed work, see: Webster (1963), p. 49; Bieber (1961), fig. 300a; Richter (1965), p. 242. Here fig.2. 52 Reitzenstein (1893), p. 222. 53 See the above testimonia regarding the tragic poet. 45

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and it also appears in the papyrus epigram. Philiscus, however, appears in the Suda, in Athenaeus, in scholia on Germanicus’ Aratea, scholia on Hephaestion and, if it is in reference to the same poet, in Pliny. The correct form has been the subject of heated debate among philologists since the start of the nineteenth century.54 Schramm categorically favoured the Philicus55 form as that was how the poet refers to himself in the extant choriambic fragment. However, this form actually suited the choriambic metre and so perhaps the author deliberately altered his real name from Philiscus to Philicus for this very reason. We should also note that in extant ancient Greek texts the name Philiscus appears far more frequently than the sporadic instances of Philicus.56 It needs to be stressed that Philiscus was a particularly important member of the Pleiad on account of his function as a Dionysiac priest and head of the stage artists association, positions that must have entitled him to many royal privileges. G. Wojaczek makes a connection between Philiscus’ priestly status and his work as a playwright: ‘Dionysische Religiosität spricht auch aus seinem Werk’.57 To support his thesis, Wojaczek points to Philiscus’ Hymn to Demeter, the satyr play ῎Ονοι (Donkeys) with its distinctly Dionysiac, mythological theme and the two epigrams concerning Philiscus. But this theory seems a bit far-fetched, since one would be hard put to find in ancient Greek literature an author who did not use mythological topics, ones which were inevitably also religious, and in this respect Philiscus’ fragments in no way stand out as being particularly pious. Equally little is known about Philiscus’ literary work. He was certainly the author of lyric poetry, since choriambic metre was even described with his name. Hephaestion’s testimony states that although he had not invented the metre, Philiscus was the first to use its hexametric form, in the hymn to Demeter and Kore (Libera),58 no doubt originally from an Attic cult and perhaps associated with the Eleusinian mysteries.59 Caesius Bassus erroneously writes of two separate hymns (the second devoted entirely to Libera). Virtually nothing is known of Philiscus’ work as a playwright. The Suda attributes 42 tragedies to him but fails to name even one of them. After a thorough analysis of extant titles of plays ascribed to Philiscus the comic poet – ῎Αδωνις (Adonis), Διὸς γοναί (The Birth of Zeus), Θεμιστοκλῆς (Themistocles), ῎Ολυμπος (Olympus), Πανὸς γοναί (The Birth of Pan), ῾Ερμοῦ καὶ ᾿Αφροδίτης γοναί (The Birth of Hermes and Aphrodite), ᾿Αρτεμίδος καὶ ᾿Απόλλωνος γοναί ([The Birth of] Artemis and Apollo) – U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff60 came to the conclusion that none of them seemed suitable as the subjects of comedies and therefore could have actually been written by a tragic poet. Of the same opinion was Walker, who states that ‘Philiscus comicus … was almost a nobody’, and all above-mentioned plays have been called comicosatyrica 57 58 59 60 54 55 56

Comp. Welcker (1841), p. 1265; Norsa (1927) and the editions by Schramm and Snell-Kannicht. Schramm (1929), p. 23. See LGPN s.v. Wojaczek (1969), p. 134. The fragments identified and published by Norsa (1927), pp. 87–92. Maas (1927), p. 439. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1924), p. 550, 1.



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by the tragedian61. T. Sinko62, in turn, proposes to classify these plays as something in the style of Epicharmian mimes, or even more probably as satyr plays, especially since the birth of deities is very much in keeping with this genre. Yet are such tenuous arguments sufficient to deny the comic poet a claim to the authorship of the said plays? Contrary to Wilamowitz’s opinion, there are confirmed examples of Middle Comic plays bearing similar titles: Πανὸς γοναί by Aratus, ᾿Αφροδίτης γοναί (The Birth of Aphrodite) by Antiphanes, Διονύσου γοναί (The Birth of Dionysus) by Anaxandrides, ᾿Αθηνᾶς γοναί (The Birth of Athena) by Hermippus as well as Διονύσου γοναί (The Birth of Dionysus) and Μουσῶν γοναί (The Birth of the Muses) by Polyzelus63. Moreover, a fragment of a comedy entitled The Birth of Zeus has also been discovered and attributed to Philiscus.64 Snell proposes to attribute all the aforementioned play titles to Philiscus of Aegina (but with some hesitation), and furthermore suggests distinguishing the tragic poet from the comic one by calling them the Corcyrean Philicus and the Aeginian Philiscus. It would appear, however, that the issue remains open. Nevertheless, with regard to one title, Themistocles, we can be certain that the play was not a comedy but rather a tragedy with a historical setting. Could this be one of only two extant traces of Philiscus of Corcyra’s work as a tragic poet? The other could be a tragedy entitled Adonis. Tragedies concerning this myth, of Syrian provenance and popular in Hellenistic times, were written by the tyrant of Syracuse Dionysius the Elder, and also by Ptolemy IV. The tale of Aphrodite’s grief-stricken love and the death of her beloved was hardly a natural plot for a comedy. However, the distich from a tragedy cited by Stobaeus (4.33.17), and ascribed by Nauck to a member of the Pleiad, was, on account of its cynical undertone, certainly not written by the Corcyrean poet and was more probably the work of Philiscus of Aegina.65 The traces of a literary piece by Philiscus of Corcyra may be found in scholia on Germanicus’ Aratea (70.15). These scholia portray a Dionysus driven insane, who is helped on his way across a river to the Dodona oracle by a herd of donkeys. One of the beasts, endowed by the deity with the gift of human speech, later engages in a dispute with Priapus de membro naturali. This piece ridiculing a new-fangled cult was classified by Wilamowitz-Moellendorff66 as the work of a lyric poet. This would to some extent be confirmed by Caesius Bassus’ testimony if we amend the text to read: ‘Philiscus conscripsit Cereri et Libero [not Liberae].’67 One nevertheless has to acknowledge that this subject was also ideally suited to the plot of a satyr play, and as such did indeed follow a very classical convention. The protagonists of such a drama would be Dionysus and Priapus as well as a talking donkey, raised (like Crotus in Sositheus’ play) to be among the stars. A solution to this problem could be 64 65 66 67 61 62 63

Walker (1923), p. 244. Sinko 1947, p. 499. Cf. also Nesselrath (1990), pp. 229f. Körte (1930), pp. 472–5; Nesselrath (1990, 1995); Rosen (1995). TrGF 89; Schramm (1929), p. 24. Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (1924), p. 550. See Sinko (1947), p. 500.

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a hypothesis that we are actually talking about two different works: one a hymn to Demeter and Kore (Libera), and the other a satyr play concerning Dionysus. Such an explanation would not require either testimony to be amended.

Lycophron (TrGF 100) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 100 T 1 Tz. Ad Lyc. p. 4, 20. 25 Scheer ἀλλαχοῦ γὰρ οὗτος ὁ Λυκόφρων τραγικός ἐστι ξδ′ ἢ μϚ′ δράματα τραγῳδιῶν γεγραφώς. […] Γένος Λυκόφρονος. *῾Ο* Λυκόφρων οὑτοσὶ τῷ μὲν γένει Χαλκιδεὺς ἦν, υἱὸς Σωκλέους ἢ Λύκου τοῦ ἱστοριογράφου κατά τινας. εἷς δὲ ἦν τῶν ἑπτὰ ποιητῶν, οἵτινες διὰ τὸ εἶναι ἑπτὰ τῆς Πλειάδος ἐλέγοντο· […] καὶ οὗτος ὁ Λυκόφρων κἂν ἕτεροι μὴ εἰδότες ἄλλους φασὶν εἶναι τῆς Πλειάδος. […] εὐδοκίμει δὲ τότε *ὁ* Λυκόφρων οὐ τοσοῦτον διὰ τὴν ποίησιν ὅσον διὰ τὸ λέγειν ἀναγραμματισμοὺς οἷον ὅτι Πτολεμαῖος ἀπὸ μέλιτος λέγει μεταγραμματιζόμενον, ᾿Αρσινόη *δὲ* ἴον ῞Ηρας καὶ ἕτερα τοιαῦτα τούτοις ὅμοια. For elsewhere this tragedian Lycophron wrote 64 or 46 tragedies (…). The family of Lycophron: The family of this Lycophron was from Chalcis. He was the son of Socles, or, according to some, of the historiographer Lycus. He was one of seven poets who, on account of being seven in number, were called the Pleiad. (…) as well as this Lycophron, though some, not knowing [the matter], say that others belonged to the Pleiad. (… ) was appreciated not so much for poetry as for his anagrams, for example, anagrammatizing Ptolemy to mean ‘from honey’, Arsinoe to become ‘violet of Hera’ and other anagrams of this sort.

T2 TrGF 100 T 2 Tz. Chil. 8, (204) 474–7 Οὗτος ὁ παῖς τοῦ Λύκου δέ , εἶτε μὲν τοῦ Σωκλέους, Λυκόφρων ὁ καὶ σύγχρονος ὑπάρχων Πτολεμαίῳ, πολλὰ μὲν συνεγράψατο δράματα, τραγῳδίας, καὶ βίβλον ἣν ἐπέγραψεν τὴν κλῆσιν Ἀλεξάνδραν, This Lycophron was the son of Lycus, or Socles, Lived in the time of Ptolemy, Wrote many satyr plays, tragedies And a book which he called Alexandra.

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Tz. περὶ κωμῳδίας 1 Prolegomena de comoedia Aristophanis, 22–38 ἰστέον, ὅτι Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Αἰτωλὸς καὶ Λυκόφρων ὁ Χαλκιδεὺς ὑπὸ Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου προτραπέντες τὰς σκηνικὰς διώρθωσαν βίβλους, Λυκόφρων μὲν τὰς τῆς κωμῳδίας, Ἀλέξανδρος δὲ τὰς τῆς τραγῳδίας, ἀλλὰ δὴ καὶ τὰς σατυρικάς. It should be noted that Alexander Aetolus and Lycophron of Chalcis, persuaded by Ptolemy Philadelphus, put in order stage plays. Lycophron worked on the comedies, whereas Alexander worked on the tragedies, as well as satyr plays.

T4 TrGF 100 T3 Suda s.v. Λυκόφρων, Χαλκιδεὺς ἀπὸ Εὐβοίας, υἱὸς Σωκλέους, θέσει δὲ Λύκου τοῦ ῾Ρηγίνου· γραμματικὸς καὶ ποιητὴς τραγῳδιῶν. ἔστι γοῦν εἷς τῶν ἑπτὰ οἵτινες Πλειὰς ὠνομάσθησαν. εἰσὶ δὲ αἱ τραγῳδίαι αὐτοῦ Αἰόλος, ᾿Ανδρομέδα, ᾿Αλήτης, Αἰολίδης, ᾿Ελεφήνωρ, ῾Ηρακλῆς, ῾Ικέται, ῾Ιππόλυτος, Κασσανδρεῖς, Λάϊος, Μαραθώνιοι, Ναύπλιος, Οἰδίπους α′, β′, ᾿Ορφανός, Πενθεύς, Πελοπίδαι, Σύμμαχοι, Τηλέγονος, Χρύσιππος. διασκευὴ δ‘ ἐστὶν ἐκ τούτων ὁ Ναύπλιος. ἔγραψε καὶ τὴν καλουμένην ᾿Αλεξάνδραν, τὸ σκοτεινὸν ποίημα. Lycophron of Chalcis in Euboea, son of Socles, adopted by Lycus of Rhegium, grammarian and tragic poet. In every respect he is one of the seven who were called the Pleiad. His tragedies include: Aeolus, Andromeda, Aletes [The Wanderer?], The Aeolides, Elephenor, Heracles, The Suppliants, Hippolytus, The Cassandreians, Laius, The Marathonians, Nauplius, Oedipus 1 and 2, The Orphans, Pentheus, The Pelopidai, The Allies, Telegonus and Chrysippus. Of these Nauplius is a revised version. He also wrote an obscure poem entitled Alexandra.

T5 TrGF 100 F 5 D.L. 2. 133 πλείω συνάγων συμπόσια· ἐν οἷς καὶ ποιητῶν καὶ μουσικῶν. ἠσπάζετο δὲ καὶ ῎Αρατον καὶ Λυκόφρονα τὸν τῆς τραγῳδίας ποιητὴν καὶ τὸν ῾Ρόδιον ᾿Ανταγόραν· (Menedemus) often invited guests, also poets and musicians. His friends were Aratus, the tragedian Lycophron and Antagoras of Rhodes.

T6 TrGF 100T 7 Ovid. Ibis 531–2 Utque coturnatum periisse Lycophrona narrant, Haereat in fibris fixa sagitta tuis. And as they say Lycophron, who wore cothurn shoes, died, So too may the arrow thrust into your guts stick.

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Lycophron is mentioned as a Pleiad member in four of the extant lists: Hephaestion Scholia A and B, Choeroboscus and Tzetzes, and is also confirmed as such in the Suda. He came from Chalcis in Euboea as the son of Socles.68 He was later adopted by Lycus of Rhegium, of whom the Suda says: ‘Also called Butheras of Rhegium, a historian who lived in the time of the Diadochi and was conspired against by Demetrius of Phalerum. He wrote a history of Libya and also a piece on Sicily.’69 Lycophron was most probably born sometime between 315 and 310 bc.70 His youth might have been spent in Chalcis, Athens or Rhegium. It was in this period of his life that he would have been able to meet and befriend the philosopher Menedemus,71 who had founded the Eretrian school of philosophy. It seems that Lycophron arrived in Alexandria no earlier than in 285 bc. It seems certain that as long as his father’s personal enemy, Demetrius of Phalerum, had influence in the royal court of Ptolemy I, Lycophron had no chance of settling in Alexandria. It was only when Ptolemy II took over the throne and after Demetrius had died that this tragedian could join the Alexandrian scholars of the Museum. There he was entrusted with cataloguing the works of comic poets. The fruit of his labours was περὶ κωμῳδίας, a work cited several times by Athenaeus (4, 140A; 7, 278B; 11, 485D; 11, 501DE; 13, 555A). Many scholars believe that it comprised at least 11 books.72 We do not know how long Lycophron lived in Alexandria, or when and in what circumstances he died. Ovid’s distich from the Ibis would indicate that he had suffered a sudden death, shot with an arrow. The information about the circumstances of Lycophron’s death was probably taken from the original Ibis by Callimachus.73 The Alexandrian poet was not only a contemporary, but also an acquaintance (if not a friend) of Lycophron; therefore details on his death seem to be true. In the case of precedent and subsequent writers (vv. 519–26: Callisthenes, Archilochus, Hipponax and Stesichorus as well as Euripides, Empedocles and Orpheus vv. 595–600) Ovid – again probably after Callimachus – followed the traditional legends, but there is no reason to assume that the account of Lycophron’s death was also fictitious, even if the circumstances were of an extraordinary nature. The scholia to Ovid’s Ibis present an even more detailed picture of Lycophron’s

Maybe the same Socles who is mentioned by Athenaeus 11. 473A. The Suda: Λύκος, ὁ καὶ Βουθήρας, ῾Ρηγῖνος, ἱστορικός, πατὴρ Λυκόφρονος τοῦ τραγικοῦ, ἐπὶ τῶν διαδόχων γεγονὼς καὶ ἐπιβουλευθεὶς ὑπὸ Δημητρίου τοῦ Φαληρέως. οὗτος ἔγραψεν ἱστορίαν Λιβύης, καὶ περὶ Σικελίας. 70 If we assume that he must have been in his acme when he got the position at the library of Alexandria. Different dates were established by Susemihl: 330–325 bc (see Susemihl (1891), pp. 272–3), but also the discussion on the termini of the Alexandra in this book. 71 See testimonia on the play about Menedemus. 72 Such is the opinion of Ziegler (1927), pp. 2323–4, Sinko (1947), p. 510. Yet the passage from Athenaeus 11.501D (᾿Ερατοσθένης ἐν τῷ ἑνδεκάτῳ περὶ Κωμῳδίας τὴν λέξιν ἀγνοεῖν φησι Λυκόφρονα) may be construed as a quote from the 11th book of Eratosthenes, which was in turn citing Lycophron. 73 On Ovid’s debt to the Ibis Callimachus, see especially: Zipfel (1910); Martini (1932); Kolar (1933); La Penna (1957), XXXII–LV; and more recently Watson (1991), pp. 79ff.; Williams (1996), p. 13ff. I do not share Rostagni’s radical view that Ovid’s poem is a direct translation from a Greek original (Rostagni, 1920); nevertheless in the case of Lycophron’s death we may assume that Callimachus’ lines are the direct source of the information. 68 69



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death: the arrow was poisoned74.Yet who would wish to kill one of the best tragedians of the Hellenistic period, and why, will no doubt for ever remain an unresolved mystery. Tzetzes states that he had written 46 or 64 tragedies and satyr dramas. The Suda names 40 titles in alphabetical order, which would suggest that the source had been a now lost list or catalogue of the author’s works. These titles show that Lycophron frequently followed the tragic convention set in the Classical period (e.g. Hippolytus, Oedipus and The Pelopidai), but was not afraid to use less well-known and tragic themes, such as Nauplius. As a writer he was also interested in contemporary affairs, as the title The Cassandreians would suggest.

Menedemus F1 Ath. 10. 420 παῖδες κρατίστου πατρὸς75 ἐξωλέστατοι, ἐγὼ μὲν ὑμῖν, ὡς ὁρᾶτε, στρηνιῶ· δεῖπνον γὰρ οὔτ’ ἐν Καρίᾳ, μὰ τοὺς θεούς, οὔτ’ ἐν ῾Ρόδῳ τοιοῦτον οὔτ’ ἐν Λυδίᾳ κατέχω δεδειπνηκώς. ῎Απολλον, ὡς καλόν. SILENUS:

Cursed children of the mighty father I shall, as you can see, revel, for neither in Caria, by the gods, nor on Rhodes, nor in Lydia have I been at such a feast; Apollo, how beautiful!

F2 Ath. 10. 420 ἀλλὰ κυλίκιον ὑδαρὲς ὁ παῖς περιῆγε τοῦ πεντωβόλου, ἀτρέμα παρεξεστηκός· ὅ τ’ ἀλιτήριος καὶ δημόκοινος ἐπεχόρευε δαψιλὴς θέρμος, πενήτων καὶ τρικλίνου συμπότης. And the boy Passed around a cup of diluted wine, somewhat stale, And the plentiful lupine came dancing in, that criminal common to all, Fellow reveller of paupers and banquets in the triclinium Although obvious differences and mistakes (e.g. the name of the tragedian) in the scholia should be noted: G. 531: Utque cothurnatum. Licophorus tragicus nimis ignominiose de principibus loquebatur, unde in ipsa recitatione saggita toxicata percussus interiit and C. et Ask: Licoris quidam poeta scribens percussus est saggita a quodam inimico suo in vena, unde incessanter inundante sanguine mortuus est. (after Williams and Ellis (2008), pp. 91–2) 75 Πατρός is Canter’s universally accepted conjecture. Only Wikarjak (1948–9) tried to defend the παιδός by explaining that this was how old Sylen could have spoken about Dionysus, whom he had raised. 74

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78 F3 D.L. 2. 140

ὡς ἐκ βραχείας δαιτὸς ἡ βαιὰ κύλιξ αὐτοῖς κυκλεῖται πρὸς μέτρον, τράγημα δέ ὁ σωφρονιστὴς πᾶσιν ἐν μέσῳ λόγος When, after the humble feast, a none too large goblet was passed among them in moderation, and in the middle the dessert for all was instructive conversation.

F476 Ath. 10. 420 πολλάκις συνόντας αὐτοὺς ἐπὶ πλεῖον ὁ ὄρνις κατελάμβανε τὴν ἕω καλῶν τοῖσι δ’ οὐδέπω κόρος often when together they’d be quite startled by a bird summoning the dawn, [and] they still had not had enough.

T1 Antigon. Caryst. (pp. 99–100 Wil) D.L. 2, 139–140 Τὰ δὲ συμπόσια τοῦτον ἐποιεῖτο τὸν τρόπον· προηρίστα μετὰ δυοῖν ἢ τριῶν ἕως βραδέως ἦν τῆς ἡμέρας· ἔπειτά τις ἐκάλει τοὺς παραγενομένους καὶ αὐτοὺς ἤδη δεδειπνηκότας· ὥστ’ εἴ τις ἔλθοι θᾶττον, ἀνακάμπτων ἐπυνθάνετο τῶν ἐξιόντων τί εἴη παρακείμενον καὶ πῶς ἔχοι τὸ τοῦ χρόνου· εἰ μὲν οὖν λαχάνιον ἢ ταρίχιον, ἀνεχώρουν· εἰ δὲ κρεᾴδιον, εἰσῄεσαν. ἦν δὲ τοῦ μὲν θέρους ψίαθος ἐπὶ τῶν κλινῶν, τοῦ δὲ χειμῶνος κώδιον· προσκεφάλαιον αὑτῷ φέρειν ἔδει. τό τε περιαγόμενον ποτήριον οὐ μεῖζον ἦν κοτυλιαίου·77 τράγημα θέρμος ἢ κύαμος, ἔστι δ’ ὅτε καὶ τῶν ὡρίων ἄπιος ἢ ῥοιὰ ἢ ὦχροι ἢ νὴ Δί’ ἰσχάδες. ἃ πάντα φησὶν ὁ Λυκόφρων ἐν τοῖς πεποιημένοις σατύροις αὐτῷ, οὓς Μενέδημος ἐπέγραψεν, ἐγκώμιον τοῦ φιλοσόφου ποιήσας τὸ δρᾶμα· ὧν καί τινά ἐστι τοιαυτί· [F 3] Menedemus received guests in the following way. He shared breakfast with two or three friends, with whom he would spend the entire day; only after dusk fell, would one of those present summon the guests, who would arrive having consumed a meal In his edition of Athenaeus’ work, Kaibel seems to consider the words ὁ ὄρνις κατελάμβανε τὴν ἕω καλῶν, τοῖσι δὲ οὐδέπω κόρος to be a quotation from the play. 77 From this point on the Diogenes Laertius testimony is cited by Snell and Kannicht (TrGF), but it would seem that the rest of this text (cited in English below) could actually be in reference to a play by Lycophron. 76



Tragedians and Tragedies at their own home. Whoever came earlier, would not immediately enter, but instead wait to find out from someone leaving what was being served and to which stage the feast had proceeded; if he learned that only vegetables or salted fish were served, he would go away; if he heard that there was meat, he would enter. In the summertime the tableside couches were covered with mats, whereas in winter they were covered with sheepskins. Each guest had brought their pillow to rest the head. The goblet which was supposed to be passed around the entire table was no larger than an ordinary cup. Lupines or peas were served for dessert, or also fruit which happened to be in season, pears, pomegranates, or simply dried figs. All this is described by Lycophron in a satyr drama that he had written in honour of the philosopher and entitled Menedemus. Here is a fragment from Lycophron’s play: [F3]

Ath. 10.419C–420C ᾿Αντίγονος δ’ ὁ Καρύστιος ἐν τῷ Μενεδήμου βίῳ τὴν διάταξιν διηγούμενος τοῦ παρὰ τῷ φιλοσόφῳ συμποσίου φησὶν ὅτι ἠρίστα μὲν δεύτερος ἢ τρίτος καθ’ αὑτόν· κἆτ’ ἔδει καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς παρεῖναι δεδειπνηκότας. ἦν γὰρ τὸ τοῦ Μενεδήμου τοιοῦτον ἄριστον. μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα εἰσεκάλουν τοὺς παραγινομένους· ὧν, ὡς ἔοικεν, ὅτε προτερήσειαν ἔνιοι τῆς ὥρας, ἀνακάμπτοντες παρὰ τὰς θύρας ἀνεπυνθάνοντο τῶν ἐξιόντων παίδων τί τὸ παρακείμενον εἴη καὶ πῶς ἔχοι τῆς τοῦ χρόνου συμμετρίας τὸ ἄριστον. ὅτε μὲν οὖν ἀκούσειαν λάχανον ἢ τάριχος, ἀνεχώρουν, ὅτε δ’ ὅτι κρεᾴδιον, εἰσῄεσαν εἰς τὸν ἐπὶ τοῦτο παρεσκευασμένον οἶκον. ἦν δὲ τοῦ μὲν θέρους ἡτοιμασμένη ψίαθος ἐφ’ ἑκάστης κλίνης, τοῦ δὲ χειμῶνος κώδιον· προσκεφάλαιον δὲ αὐτὸν φέρειν ἕκαστον ἔδει. τὸ δὲ περιαγόμενον ποτήριον οὐ μεῖζον ἦν κοτυλιαίου, τράγημα δὲ θέρμος μὲν ἢ κύαμος συνεχῶς, ποτὲ δὲ καὶ τῶν ὡρίων εἰσεφέρετό τι, τοῦ μὲν θέρους ἄπιος ἢ ῥόα, τοῦ δ’ ἔαρος ὦχροι, κατὰ δὲ τὴν χειμερινὴν ὥραν ἰσχάδες. μαρτυρεῖ δὲ καὶ περὶ τούτων Λυκόφρων ὁ Χαλκιδεὺς γράψας σατύρους Μενέδημον, ἐν οἷς φησιν ὁ Σιληνὸς πρὸς τοὺς σατύρους· [F 1] καὶ προελθών· [F 2] ἑξῆς δέ φησιν ὅτι ζητήσεις ἦσαν παρὰ πότον· [F 3] ἱστορεῖται δὲ καὶ ὅτι [F 4] In his Life of Menedemus, Antigonus of Carystus, when describing how the symposium was organised, states that the philosopher had breakfast with two or three of his associates; and the rest would arrive only after they had eaten dinner. For so poor was Menedemus’ breakfast. Later he would summon those present. Some, it would seem, when they arrived too early, would mill around outside the door and ask servants leaving the building what was happening inside, and at what stage breakfast was. When they heard that vegetables or fish were served, they would leave, but when they heard there was meat, they would enter the fully prepared household. For in summer mats would be especially laid on every couch, and sheepskins in winter. Each guest had to bring his own pillow. The drinking vessel which was passed around was not larger than one cotyle, while snacks were invariably lupines or broad beans, though sometimes seasonal fruit were brought, pears or pomegranates in summer, peas in spring and dried figs in wintertime. This is testified by Lycophron of Chalcis, who

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wrote the satyr play Menedemus, with the words Silenus directs to the satyrs [F1] and continuing [F2] in turn says that inquiries came with the drinking [F3] and also recounts that [F4]

T2 Athen 2.55C Λυκόφρων δ’ ὁ Χαλκιδεὺς ἐν σατυρικῷ δράματι, ὃ ἐπὶ καταμωκήσει ἔγραψεν εἰς Μενέδημον τὸν φιλόσοφον, ἀφ’ οὗ ἡ τῶν ᾿Ερετρικῶν ὠνομάσθη αἵρεσις, διασκώπτων τῶν φιλοσόφων τὰ δεῖπνά φησι· [F2, 4–5] In a satyr drama that he had drolly written about the philosopher Menedemus, after whom the Eretrian school is named, Lycophron of Chalcis, mocking the feasts of philosophers, states: [F2]

The extant fragments come from a satyr play entitled Menedemus. We know of the play’s title thanks to Antigonus of Carystus as cited by Athenaeus, who in turn, quoting the fragments, once uses the expression ἐν σατυρικῷ δράματι, from which we have been able to determine the drama’s genre. The title itself tells us the subject of the play. The eponymous protagonist was a philosopher from Eretria, a contemporary, public figure, someone the tragedian knew personally. Menedemus was born in 350 bc. According to Diogenes Laertius (2, 125–6), his father came from a noble family called the Theopropidae but he was himself a humble builder. In his youth Menedemus also had to earn his living by painting theatre stage scenery. Laertius moreover reports that, during military service, Menedemus met Plato and henceforth resolved to remain in Athens. This, however, is an obvious error, since Plato’s pupil was a different Menedemus, namely, Menedemus of Pyrrha.78 The Menedemus of Eretria, on the other hand, befriended Asclepiades of Phlius, with whom he went to Megara, to the philosopher Stilpo. Next he joined Phaedo’s Elean school of philosophy, which was later renamed the Eretrian school in honour of Menedemus. As a person Menedemus was said to be aloof, rather impolite and very irritable, leading a very frugal existence, as befitted philosophers. He had many friends in philosophical and literary circles, including Aratus, Lycophron and Antagoras of Rhodes. Diogenes Laertius’ testimony regarding Menedemus’ friendship with Lycophron is very important. In his play, the tragedian described feasts at the philosopher’s house, ones he had personally witnessed. Naturally, this was a caricatured portrayal, typical for satyr play or comedy. We do not know whether Menedemus was upset by this play because no known source has recorded his reaction. We also do not know why Lycophron would wish to ridicule this philosopher and his school. Lycophron most probably met Menedemus in Eretria, and this even allows us to speculate as to when he actually decided to write the play. C. Holzinger believes this would have had to occur before the battle of Lysimachea (277 bc), after which K. von Fritz (1931) believes that the source of this error could have been a biographical piece by Heraclides Lembus.

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Menedemus left Eretria for good. Besides, shortly afterwards he died, at the court of Antigonus Gonatas, and that would hardly have been an appropriate time to write an amusing play about his foibles. The fragments cited from the satyr drama concern the specific nature of the feasts organized by Menedemus. Fragment 1 has the worldly-wise ‘expert’ of bacchanalia, Silenus, seemingly praise the lavishness of the feast, though what is really said is pure sarcasm. This becomes fully apparent in fragment 2, a citation that Athenaeus introduces with the phrase ‘to continue’ (καὶ προελθών). However, it should be stressed that these two fragments are not directly linked because the author leaves out part of Silenus’ speech.79 The second fragment describes the food served at the philosopher’s feast: cheap wine, diluted and musty, as well as lupines, though plentiful, food for the poor. Fragment 3, cited by Diogenes Laertius, confirms the meagreness of the meals served by the philosopher to guests; sometimes, apart from wine, you could also receive … an instructive talk! Despite attempts to match the text to metre, fragment 4 is cited by Athenaeus rather as a summary of a larger part of the play,80 in reference to the length of the feasts. They ended at dawn, when the cockerel called but the participants hungered for more, though it is unclear whether for more conversation or rather for food. Little can be said about the characters in the play. From one of the fragments cited by Athenaeus we can be certain that one of them was Silenus. From the sentence παῖδες κρατίστου πατρὸς ἐξωλέστατοι it transpires that Dionysus’ children, the satyrs, were also present.81 W. Steffen believes that other characters in the play included the philosopher’s pupils, or rather that the ‘school’ comprised a group of satyrs.82 It seems more than likely that the chief protagonist was none other than Menedemus, since the title of the play bears his name.83 Many scholars point to the tone of the play. Was it generally favourable to the philosopher or was the intention to ridicule his peculiarities? In this matter the ancient testimonia of Athenaeus and Diogenes Laertius do not concur. Diogenes uses the words ἐγκώμιον τοῦ φιλοσόφου ποιήσας, whereas Athenaeus states καταμωκήσει ἔγραψεν. The extant fragments certainly sound irreverent and sarcastic. Yet T. Sinko believed that the play praised the philosopher and was written by Lycophron in Alexandria (i.e. after Menedemus’ death).84 Earlier scholars had tried to reconcile the two ancient testimonies. J. Sajdak wrote: ‘… inerat igitur laus sed eius modi, ut omnes spectatores ironiae acerbitatem facile agnoscerent.’85 E. Friebel in turn wrote: Proof of this is the fact that Athenaeus uses the phrase καὶ προελθών in other parts of the Deipnosophistae, when he cites someone’s work and divides cited fragments with the expression ‘to continue’, thus indicating that something has been left out. We know this because there are other works cited by Athenaeus which have survived in their entirety and that is how he also introduces fragments from Plato’s Symposium (Ath. 5.217 B–C), Theophrastus’ On the Causes of Plants (Ath. 3.77 C–D) and Aristotle’s On the Generation of Animals (Ath. 3.88 B–C). 80 Wikarjak (1948–9), pp. 127–37. 81 Friebel (1837), p. 105. 82 Steffen (1935), XXIV. 83 Sinko was of a different opinion, believing the play to be similar to Alexandra and that it was only a Silenus’ rhesis, thus Menedemus did not actually appear on the stage. See Sinko (1948–9), p. 28. 84 Sinko (1948–9), p. 28. 85 Sajdak (1920), p. 73. 79

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‘Mediis, quae dicunt vocabulis annumerandum est ἐγκώμιον, quae quidem sententia confirmatur etiam eius originatione.’86 Neither explanation satisfied J. Wikarjak.87 He therefore proposed what seems the most likely version: knowing that Diogenes Laertius used Antigonus of Carystus’ biography of Menedemus but had never read Lycophron’s play, it is plausible that he had failed to notice the irony in the play fragment and instead treated it as praise of the philosopher’s humble lifestyle.88 This theory was firmly rejected by W. Steffen, who argued that only the first part of Silenus’ speech concerned Menedemus’ feast, whereas the second part (F2) was in reference to the feasts of other philosophers.89 However, there is no evidence in the extant fragments to confirm this. On the contrary, the fact that Athenaeus and Diogenes Laertius had both decided to cite the fragments they did in this particular context clearly confirms that Menedemus’ feast was specifically noted for its exceptional meagreness. Therefore Lycophron’s satyr play was most certainly ridiculing the philosopher’s eccentricities, in a similar way to how Aristophanes had made fun of Socrates and his school in The Clouds. But this does not necessarily mean that Lycophron’s play was not also, in a sense, praising the philoso-pher. One has to bear in mind that none other than Silenus mocks Menedemus’ feast – the Silenus who together with the satyrs spends all his time engaged in bacchanalian revelry. For a philosopher espousing temperance and moderation such a play could be perceived as cryptic praise.

The Pelopidai F5 Stob. 4, 52, 4 ᾿Αλλ’ ἡνίκ’ ἂν μὲν ᾖ πρόσω τὸ κατθανεῖν, ῞Αιδης ποθεῖται τοῖς δεδυστυχηκόσιν· ὅταν δ’ ἐφέρπῃ κῦμα λοίσθιον βίου, τὸ ζῆν ποθοῦμεν· οὐ γὰρ ἔστ’ αὐτοῦ κόρος. But if death is remote, unhappy people long for Hades. When life’s last wave nears, we desire life more; never having enough of it.

These four extant lines originate from Stobaeus, who cites them using the phrase: Λυκόφρονος ἐκ Πελοπιδῶν. The play’s title is also confirmed by the Suda. The Pelopidai were the sons of Pelops: Atreus and Thyestes. The mutual hatred of these brothers and the crimes they committed were the subject of many ancient tragedies. Among those who used this myth, were: Sophocles (Thyestes at Sicyon, and another play entitled Thyestes), Euripides (Thyestes), Agathon (Aerope), Chaeremon (Thyestes), Carcinus the Younger (Thyestes, Aerope?) and Diogenes of Sinope (Thyestes). Only fragments of any 89 86 87 88

Friebel (1837), p. 103. Wikarjak (1948–9), p. 134. Wikarjak (1948–9), p. 136. Steffen (1951), p. 334.



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of these plays remain, sometimes only the title. The sententious nature of the fragment from Lycophron’s play does not allow us to draw any general conclusions about the entire piece. All we can really establish is the fact that Lycophron used themes from classical tragedies, which had been popular in previous centuries.

The Cassandreians Judging by the title cited in the Suda, the Cassandreians tragedy was a historical, or, more accurately, a political drama. For it dealt with events that were virtually contemporary to Lycophron. Potidaea was rebuilt and renamed Cassandreia in 310 bc,90 and thus this year is the terminus post quem of the tragedy. Much has been said by scholars about the theoretical contents of this play, but nothing has been firmly established. Niebuhr and Welcker considered that it concerned the tyrant Apollodorus, who had been the cruel ruler of Cassandreia from the invasion of the Celts to 276 bc.91 Holzinger, on the other hand, suggests that the play’s chief protagonist was Phila, the wife of Demetrius Poliorcetes.92 When in 288 bc her husband lost his throne and fled to Cassandreia, the distraught Phila committed suicide by taking poison.93 Holzinger also considers the possibility of the play concerning the story of Arsinoe, the daughter of Ptolemy I. After the death of her first husband, Lysimachus, Arsinoe married her half-brother Ptolemy Keraunos. Then, once they were married, Keraunos entered Cassandreia and had the two sons of Arsinoe and Lysimachus killed. Justin gives a very heart-trending description of the queen’s sons dying in her arms, and then the grieving mother herself being banished in rags to the island of Samothrace.94 However, this theory immediately raises the question of whether Lycophron would have dared to write and then stage such a play about Ptolemy II’s wife.95 It is doubtful that such a play would have been staged during Arsinoe’s lifetime, while after her death it would have been virtually out of the question, for the Alexandrian court immediately and officially deified the late queen. And when considering the vile role Ptolemy Keraunos would have played in such a tragedy, one also has to remember that he was nevertheless still a member of the ruling Lagid dynasty. It is therefore very difficult to determine the actual theme of Lycophron’s play. The only thing we can be certain of is that the chorus in this tragedy were the inhabitants of Cassandreia. Perhaps it did indeed concern the tyrant Apollodorus, similarly to how Moschion recounted the story of Alexander the tyrant of Pherae in his play Men of Pherae. But, on account of the lack of any tangible evidence, we should refrain from formulating any verdicts.

Fraser (1972, II), p. 619. Niebuhr (1827), p. 117; on Apollodorus, see D.S. 22. 5. 1–2, Polyaen. Strat. 2. 29.1; 4. 6.18, 4. 7. 1–2, 8. 7.2 Ael. VH 14. 41, Dio Chrys. 19.52.1–2, 61.2, Plu. Mor. De sera 555b–556d, 778e, Sen. De Ira 2. 5. 1; Ben. 7. 19. 7; Kaerst (1894), p. 2851. 92 Holzinger (1895), p. 5. 93 An account of these events is given by Plutarch (Dem. 45). 94 Just. 24. 2–3. 95 Ptolemy II was Arsinoe’s third husband, as well as her brother and also the half-brother of Keraunos. 90 91

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Titles F1=T4 Suda s.v. Λυκόφρων Αἰόλος, ᾿Ανδρομέδα, ᾿Αλήτης, Αἰολίδης, ᾿Ελεφήνωρ, ῾Ηρακλῆς, ῾Ικέται, ῾Ιππόλυτος, Κασσανδρεῖς, Λάϊος, Μαραθώνιοι, Ναύπλιος, Οἰδίπους α′, β′, ᾿Ορφανός, Πενθεύς, Πελοπίδαι, Σύμμαχοι, Τηλέγονος, Χρύσιππος. διασκευὴ δ’ ἐστὶν ἐκ τούτων ὁ Ναύπλιος.

The Suda names 20 titles of plays by Lycophron. They are arranged alphabetically and most probably originated from a list that since been lost. Little can be said about the plays themselves apart from the myths on which they were based. Walker tried to arrange the titles into dilogies: a) Aeolus and the Aeolides, b) Aletes and Telegonus, c) Andromeda and Heracles, d) Chrysippus and the Pelopidai, e) Elephenor and Nauplius, f) Hippolytus and the Marathonians, g) Laius and Oedipus, h) Oedipus and the Orphans,96 i) Pentheus and the Suppliants, j) the Cassandreians and the Allies. Schramm modified this list by arranging three of the titles as a trilogy: Oedipus I, Oedipus II and Laius. a) Aeolus and the Aeolides – the reason for combining these two titles in a dilogy is fairly obvious, even if there is no way of guessing what the plays were actually about. F. Schramm notes that it is impossible determine which mythological Aeolus was the protagonist in Lycophron’s play. Was it the son of Helen and founder of the Aeolian race, or was it rather the son of Poseidon and Melanippe? It should be stressed that the Melanippe story had previously been used by Euripides (in two tragedies: Melanippe Sophe and Melanippe Desmotis). Euripides authored also a tragedy entitled Aeolus. Lycophron’s writing of a play concerning this particular mythological theme seems plausible. b) Aletes and Telegonus – Walker explains that the word ᾿Αλήτης is not a proper name but simply means ‘the wanderer’, in other words, Odysseus, and that is why the play can be associated with Telegonus, who was Odysseus and Circe’s son.97 The tragic theme in these two plays could have been Telegonus’ inadvertent act of patricide, a theme that Lycophron also employed in Alexandra (vv. 783–98). 98 c) Andromeda and Heracles – this subsequent pairing up is justified by Walker on the grounds that the two myths were associated with the Lagid dynasty (the Ptolemaic line was supposed to have descended from Heracles and Perseus). In my opinion this is too tenuous a link. F. Schramm rightly pointed out that the Lagids more willingly traced their origins to Dionysus rather than Perseus.99 Other than that, it is very difficult to find any connections between the two myths. d) Chrysippus and the Pelopidai – the Pelopidai title no doubt refers to the sons of Pelops: Atreus and Thyestes. Linking the Pelopidai with Chrysippus is fully justified as he also was a son of Pelops. According to one version of the myth he was seduced by 99 96 97 98

Here Walker applies the conjecture ᾿Ορφανοί. Walker (1923), p. 233. See Hartman (1917), p. 44. Schramm (1929), p. 30.



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Laius and committed suicide out of shame, a crime for which Pelops cast a curse on the seducer’s entire family. In another version Chrysippus was murdered by his halfbrothers Atreus and Thyestes. Euripides wrote a play entitled Chrysippus dealing with the abduction of the boy by Laius. e) Elepenor and Nauplius – here there is no obvious connection between the two heroes and it is very difficult to see how these two myths could be combined. If a dilogy or trilogy were necessary, Elepenor’s story should rather be linked with that of Telegonus and Odysseus, as all three were associated with Circe. Nauplius, on the other hand, did play a certain role in the Pelopidai myth, for he had saved the life of Aerope, who later became the wife of Atreus. f) Hippolytus and the Marathonians – the first tragedy concerned the undoubtedly sad tale of Hippolytus and Phaedra. Yet the title of the other play is more problematic. Walker believes that the chief protagonist in the Marathonians was Theseus, who had killed the famous Marathonian Bull. Ribbeck in turn believes the play to have been about Marathon, the eponymous hero who gave his name to the Marathon district,100 while Wagner and Welcker were of the opinion that the play should be associated with Aeschylus’ Persians (i.e. it was about the battle of Marathon). 101 And yet it is impossible to say what the play could have been about exclusively on the basis of such a title. g and h) Laius, Oedipus I and II as well as the Orphans – Walker divides these four plays into two dilogies. The first three plays clearly relate to the story of Oedipus and present the history of the three generations of his family. The Orphans mean, according to Walker, Eteocles, Polynices and Antigone, but the title of the fourth was recorded in the sources as the Orphan (᾿Ορφανός), which, if not amended to give it a plural meaning, does not really provide any premise to associate it with the Theban myths. We are therefore unable to say what the subject of a play with such a title could have concerned. i) Pentheus and the Suppliants – in Walker’s opinion, these tragedies are based on the Dionysian cycle of myths and belong to the same dilogy. He thinks that the Suppliants presented the story of the Thebans after the death of Pentheus. Walker suggests also that it must have been an equivalent to Aeschylus’ lost play Xantriae. The myth had also been used by Aeschylus in a now lost tragedy Pentheus, as well as by Euripides in his Bacchae. j) the Cassandreians and the Allies. The play entitled The Cassandreians has been discussed above, whereas the title of the second play, The Allies (Σύμμαχοι), is too general to indicate any specific theme. A historical theme has often been suggested, but there is not enough evidence to strongly support this view; however it is very tempting. In discussing the above titles we should also include an important theory concerning the Nauplius play. Among other interesting inventions, Hero of Alexandria describes in his Pneumatica (20–28) a mechanical puppet theatre where characters and objects were moved using compressed steam. It was apparently on such a contraption that

Ribbeck (1875), pp. 145ff. Wagner (1878), p. 76; Welcker (1841), p. 1257.

100 101

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Philo of Byzantium staged a play entitled Nauplius.102 It comprised five short scenes,103 separated from each other by the closing and opening of a door. The first scene showed the Greeks preparing to return home from Troy, with the puppets imitating the work of carpenters and shipwrights. The next scene showed the ships being launched. Scene three was exceptionally dynamic, with the ships sailing one after the other and dolphins jumping alongside. Then the artificial sea waves rose and the ships huddled together. In the fourth scene Nauplius appeared, holding a flaming torch, with Athena standing by his side. In the final scene the ships crashed while Ajax drifted on the waves. Then Athena would appear ex machina, and with a thunderclap, lighting would strike the drowning warrior. It is feasible that the basic ‘script’ of Philo’s puppet scenes was taken from Lycophron’s tragedy since the two men were contemporaries and the latter was the only Pleiad member known to have written a play of that title. The fact that the puppet theatre play included five scenes might also be significant, as it could have corresponded to five acts in Lycophron’s tragedy. And indeed was not such a division into acts what the theoreticians of tragedy postulate? In my opinion an important testimony is also the interesting and obscure sentence from the Suda about the Nauplius drama. There we read: διασκευὴ δ’ ἐστὶν ἐκ τούτων ὁ Ναύπλιος. διασκευή may mean the recasting104of a play and in this case it is a very adequate term for such a stage adaptation.

Alexandra The question of attribution Not without a reason in 1827 did B. G. Niebuhr call the Alexandra a grammaticalpoetic monster,105 for the poem was not only created to be obscure for its contemporary readers but even in modern times it keeps presenting scholars with serious interpretative problems and dilemmas. Paradoxically, the greatest riddle of the riddle-poem seems to be the authorship and the time of the composition, and scholars have persistently tried to answer the question for over 200 years. The reason for this problem is a statement of an ancient scholiast (perhaps Theon, who lived in the first century ad), quoted in Isaac and John Tzetzes’ Scholia to Alexandra to the verse 1226: ἐντεῦθεν περὶ Ῥωμαίων λέγει καὶ Λυκόφρονος ἑτέρου νομιστέον περὶ Ῥωμαίων ἐντεῦθεν διαλαμβάνει. The sentence was commented by the entrance of John Tzetzes himself: τὰ δὲ λοιπὰ τοῦ σχολίου γελοῖα· φασὶ γὰρ Λυκόφρονος ἑτέρου εἶναι τὸ ποίημα, οὐ τοῦ γράψαντος τὴν τραγῳδίαν·.106 But the Byzantine grammarian did not solve the problem once and for all. There are in fact two enigmatic prophecies concerning Rome and her future dominant role in the Mediterranean (vv. 1226–80 and 1446–50). For some scholars it was hard to believe that Lycophron could have predicted the rise of Orinsky, Neugebauer and Drachmann (1941), pp. 53–4. See Schnayder (1960), pp. 374–81. 104 The word is used as a technical term to denote a new edition of a piece, revised and changed. 105 Niebuhr (1827). 106 Here he talks about Romans, and one must suppose a second Lycophron here [talks] about the Romans. The remaining part of the scholion is absurd: it says that the the poem was of another Lycophron, not the one who wrote tragedies. 102 103



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the Roman Empire and its supremacy.107 B. G. Niebuhr excluded the possibility that the Alexandra was written by the famous Pleiad member and put forward a hypothesis that it was a poem of a second Lycophron, who composed it after Titus Quinctius Flamininus’ conquest of Greece and the battle of Cynoscephalae in 197 bc. Among the most prominent supporters of the idea of the second Lycophron are K. J. Beloch,108 K. Ziegler and St. Josifović109 and lately by E. Kosmetatou.110 Some scholars, including S. West,111 accept the tragic writer Lycophron to be the author of the poem but consider the Roman passages as later interpolations. First, it is important to stress that with the exception of the vague, subjective and late comment in the Scholia, no ancient testimonium questions the authorship of Lycophron. The traditional view, that the Alexandra was in fact the only extant work of the Pleiad member, was represented for instance by U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff112 and C. von Holzinger113 and it is still the prevailing opinion today. The most convincing arguments to support the traditional attribution of the Alexandra were presented by A. Momigliano.114 The latest fact alluded to in the poem is the assassination of the alleged son of Alexander the Great and Barsine, Heracles, in 309 bc (vv. 800ff.), and it is surely the terminus post quem of the composition of the Alexandra. The terminus ante quem is of course debatable, but Momigliano offered a very attractive solution. The famous tribute of two Locrian maidens to the temple of Athena in Ilium and their miserable lives of hierodoule is mentioned by Lycophron in lines 1141–73. The ritual was discontinued after the year 346 bc (the Phocian War) and undertaken again after a direct demand of the Delphic oracle by the king Antigonus Gonatas.115 Momigliano states that the passage of the Alexandra must had been composed before the restoration of the custom as the poet would no doubt mention such an extraordinary event. It is worth adding that the Scholia also state that Callimachus, in an unknown work, mentions the Locrian maidens. It is therefore very tempting to see the passage as one of many that show the inner discussions between famous poets of the age. The mutual influence between Callimachus and Lycophron is additional, internal evidence for the termini of the Alexandra.116 In modern times the discussion was undertaken first in the correspondence of C. J. Fox and G. Wakefield from the year 1800. Cf. Mair (1955), pp. 308–9; West (1984), p. 127. Cf. also Welcker (1841), pp. 1259–63. 108 Beloch (1927), p. 566. 109 Both authors of the subsequent RE entries on Lycophron, see Ziegler (1927), Josifović (1968). 110 Kosmetatou (2000), who is of the opinion that the Alexandra was composed on the Attalid court. 111 West (1984) concentrates on presenting the incoherence of style and internal purpose of the Alexandra, showing ‘the second hand’ of an interpolator. 112 Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (1883) and Wilamowitz-Moellendorf (1924), p. 143, where he is of the opinion that Lycophron was able to predict the future political situation in the Mediterranean and the supremacy of Rome already in the third century bc. 113 Holzinger (1895), pp. 71f. See also Corssen (1913), p. 321; Rollo (1928), p. 93. 114 Momigliano (1942, 1945). 115 The name of the king is known from the book of Suda (s.v. Ἐφεθέν:. ὁ δὲ βασιλεὺς Ἀντίγονος, ἐφεθέν οἱ δικάσαι, προσέταξε κλήρῳ διακριθῆναι, yet the controversy exists concerning the identity of the king, also the names of Antigonus Monophthalmus and Antigonus Doson – the last name is hardly possible in the light of so called ‘Lokrische Mädcheninschrift’: see: Wilhelm (1911); Swoboda (1913), p. 448; Momigliano (1945). On the Locrian maidens’ passage, see also West (1983), pp. 119ff. 116 See: Pfeiffer (1953), xliii; West (1984), p. 130. 107

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Figure 3.  A silver kantharos with Lycophron in front of a mask (in front of him, not visible in the picture, is Cassandra, the heroine of his most famous poem, Alexandra). Bibliothèque nationale de France. All prophecies in the Alexandra are in fact vaticinia ex eventu and therefore we have to seek an historical event, which could give reason to call Romans the rulers of the land and sea (vv. 1446–50). The battle of Beneventum (275 bc) and the retreat of Pyrrhus from Italy as well as the rising naval power of Rome fit the description of Lycophron.117 However, perhaps we should consider the Alexandra as a late work of the poet,118 possibly written during the First Punic War. Very tempting would be the year of the battle of Mylae (260 bc), in which the Romans used the corvus for the first time and were able to fight on the boarded ships using the technique of land battle. Some very convincing evidence was lately presented by A. Hurst – the famous silver kantharos representing Cassandra in front of the sitting Lycophron, belonging to See Momigliano (1945), 49f. Already Holzinginer and Rollo saw Pyrrhus as the lion of the verses 1439–41. Cf. Rollo (1928), p. 95: Lycophronem anno 283 a.C. n. ad triginta annos habuisse (…) officio bibliothecari fungentem permutos annos vivere potuisse.

117

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the Berthouville treasure.119 In the second century ad Lycophron was associated with the heroine of his most famous work, exactly like Aratus is presented with Urania and Theocritus with Thalia on cups from the same collection.

The poem The only work by Lycophron to have survived in its entirety is therefore the poem Alexandra.120 The Suda describes it as an ‘obscure poem’ and indeed in many respects it is an exceptionally unusual piece of ancient Greek literature. It comprises 1,474 verses, written in iambic trimeter, which are the report of a messenger, i.e. a monologue, relating Cassandra’s prophecies uttered the day Paris’ ships set sail from Troy. This piece stands out due to its accumulation of cryptic metaphors and peculiar manner of disguising famous characters with enigmatic names and descriptions. Such a fascinating poem deserves detailed discussion elsewhere, but here at least we should consider in what ways Alexandra relates to a tragedy. An undoubtedly dramatic feature of Alexandra is the use of rhesis angelike, and, moreover, the metre actually corresponds to that part of a tragedy.121 Indeed, the poem could basically be described as an epeisodion extended to almost 1,500 verses. This of course sounds absurd, but here the author’s intention would have been to combine two high forms of literature: tragedy and epic poetry. Thus we have a dramatic monologue which uses many expressions and phrases borrowed from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon and Euripides’ Trojan Women. On the one hand, Cassandra’s prophecies are of key importance in both tragedies, on the other, the plots of these tragedies are a fulfilment of the visions recounted in Alexandra. The choice of words and grammatical forms also clearly show this connection. Lycophron exhibits a thorough knowledge of the works of Aeschylus and Euripides and apparently expects the same from the reader.122 Yet the dramatic elements are only one aspect of the poem, equivalent to the epic elements. As with the tragedies, the author also drew on themes from the Odyssey and the Cypria. In its entirety, however, the poem abounds with expressions that are quite unique or at least extremely rare.123 The prophecy itself as the poem’s central theme is also a distinctly Hellenistic form – one that was also used by Lycophron’s colleague at the Alexandrian Library, Alexander Aetolus, who wrote an elegy based on a prophecy by Apollo. Such a ‘concoction’ of styles, genres and language used to express a quasi-tragic tale is without doubt an ingeniously devised, artistic novelty of a very Hellenistic nature. Naturally, this piece has proved very difficult to classify, or rather, bearing in mind its uniqueness, simply name for the genre. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff calls it an iamb on account of its metre, whereas E. Ciaceri calls it an epical-lyrical monologue.124 Yet these definitions fail to address the tragic form that also appears in the poem. Thus T. Sinko’s definition of it being a ‘recited, fictional mime’ seems better, though it actually has less in common with proper, stage-performed mime than with tragedy. Hurst (2008), XVIII. See Figure 3. The modern editons: Mascialino (1964), Hurst (2008). 121 On the metre of the Alexandra see Paduano, Fusilli and Hurst (1991), pp. 9–17 122 For an exhaustive survey of tragic elements, including vocabulary, in the poem, see Cusset (2002). 123 Holzinger (1895), p. 22, cites after Scheer as many as 328 hapax eiremena in Alexandra. 124 Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1924), p. 149; Ciaceri (1901), p. 8. 119 120

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Generally speaking, the best definition has been proposed by K. Holzinger, namely: an ‘epic monodrama’, though here we should also add ‘tragic’.125

Alexander Aetolus (TrGF 101) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 101 T1 Suda s.v. ᾿Αλέξανδρος Αἰτωλός· ἐκ πόλεως Πλευρῶνος, υἱὸς Σατύρου καὶ Στρατοκλείας, γραμματικός. οὗτος καὶ τραγῳδίας ἔγραψεν, ὡς καὶ τῶν ἑπτὰ τραγικῶν ἕνα κριθῆναι, οἵπερ ἐπεκλήθησαν ἡ Πλειάς. Alexander the Aetolian from the city of Pleuron, the son of Satyrus and Stratocleia, grammarian. He also wrote tragedies and was considered one of the seven tragedians called the Pleiad.

T2 TrGF 101 T2 Suda s.v. ῎Αρατος, Σολεὺς τῆς Κιλικίας […] γεγονὼς ἐν τῇ ρκδ′ ᾿Ολυμπιάδι, […] σύγχρονος ᾿Ανταγόρᾳ τῷ ῾Ροδίῳ καὶ ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ τῷ Αἰτωλῷ· Aratus of Soloi in Cilicia … lived in the time of 124th Olympiad, … contemporary to Antagoras of Rhodes and Alexander of Aetolia.

T3 TrGF 101 T8 Ath. 15, 699B from Polemon (frg. 45 Pr.) ᾿Αλέξανδρος ὁ Αἰτωλὸς ὁ τραγῳδοδιδάσκαλος ποιήσας ἐλεγεῖον τρόπον τοῦτον δηλοῖ· Alexander the Aetolian, tragododidaskalos, having written an elegy, explains as follows: [Coll. Alex. frg. 5 Powell].

T4 TrGF 101 T 3 Vita Arati, p. 147/8 Maass Arati genus (= Vita 3) (olim sub auctore Theone Alexandrino Gramm. vel Theone Alexandrino Math.) (e codd. Edimburg. + Ambros. C263 p. 15). Ἀντίγονος ὁ Γονατᾶς, παρ’ ᾧ διέτριβεν […] καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Αἰτωλός, ὡς αὐτός φησιν ὁ Ἀντίγονος ἐν τοῖς πρὸς Ἱερώνυμον. Antigonus II Gonatas, who was visited by … Alexander Aetolus, about which Antigonus himself writes in To Hieronymus. On the literary genre of the poem, see also Fountoulakis (1998).

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TrGF 101 T 4 Vita Arati, p. 78 Maass Vita Arati (= Vita 1) (olim sub auctore Achille Tatio) (e cod. Vat. gr. 191), p. 8 γέγονε δὲ Ἀντίγονος κατὰ τὴν ρκεʹ Ὀλυμπιάδα, καθ’ ὃν χρόνον ἤκμασεν ὁ Ἄρατος καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Αἰτωλός. Antigonus lived in the time of the 125th Olympiad, during which period Aratus and Alexander Aetolus were in their prime.

TrGF 101 T 5 Vita Arati, p. 323 Maass Vita Arati (= Vita 2) (e codd. Matrit. 4691 + 4629), p. 11 συνήκμαζε δὲ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ τῷ Αἰτωλῷ καὶ Φιλητᾷ

TrGF 101 T 6 Vita Arati, p. 325 Maass Vita Arati (= Vita 4) (e codd. Matrit. 4691 + 4629; Vat. gr. 1910; Paris. gr. 2403; Scorial. Σ III 3; Palat. 40; Estensi II B14) p. 19 συνήκμασε δὲ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ τῷ Αἰτωλῷ καὶ Καλλιμάχῳ καὶ Μενάνδρῳ καὶ Φιλητᾷ Aratus was in his prime at the same time as Alexander Aetolus, Callimachus, Menander and Philetas.

Alexander of Aetolia was one of the most famous Pleiad members and is mentioned in all extant lists of the grand seven.126 The testimony from the Suda (T1) informs us that he was born in the city of Pleuron as the son of Satyrus and Stratocleia. The remaining testimonies are useful in determining when Alexander lived. He was a contemporary of Aratus of Soloi, Philetas and Callimachus as well as the monarchs Ptolemy Philadelphus and Antigonus Gonatas. Therefore we can say that he lived in the first half of the third century bc and, more accurately, he would have flourished during the 125th Olympiad, i.e. 280–276 bc. We also know that he spent most of his life in Alexandria, where King Ptolemy had appointed him to set up a catalogue of tragedies and satyr dramas at the Alexandrian Library. We therefore know that he must have been a colleague of Callimachus and Lycophron. He moved in the highest intellectual circles of the Lagid state. He was also associated with the ruling dynasty, personally knowing not only Ptolemy II, but also Antigonus Gonatas, to whose court he was invited in 276 bc. His impressively prolific literary output included elegies, epyllions and epigrams. Unfortunately, not a single piece of his poetry has survived to this day in its entirety. However, we do have some more extensive fragments from two of his elegies: Apollo and The Muses. Apollo is a collection of love stories with tragic endings, written as a pronouncement of the Oracle of Apollo in a difficult, academic style, which was typical in the Hellenistic period. The Muses takes the form of a competition among poets to write a hymn for Artemis of Ephesus. There also a few extant verses from each of two of Alexander’s epyllions: The Fisherman (Halieus) and Circe. Only very small fragments from Alexander’s other works remain. See Magnelli (1997); Magnelli (1999), pp. 9–11.

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Despite the fact that all the above cited testimonia confirm his stage productions, no fragments of his dramatic works have survived to this day. And yet the very reason why Alexander Aetolus was included in the Pleiad and, even more significantly, why he was entrusted with the cataloguing of tragedies and satyr dramas at the Alexandrian Library was above all on account of his renown as the author of stage plays. F1 Σ Hom. Il. 23, 86a1 (=Coll. Alex. 10) ἀνδροκτασίης: καταχρηστικῶς· παῖδα γὰρ ἀνεῖλεν, ὃν μὲν Κλεισώνυμον, οἱ δὲ Αἰανῆ, οἱ δὲ Λύσανδρον καλεῖσθαι. ἀπέκτεινε δὲ αὐτὸν παρὰ Ὀθρυονεῖ τῷ γραμματιστῇ, ὥς φησιν Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Αἰτωλὸς ἐν Ἀστραγαλισταῖς ‘manslaughter’ – wrongly applied: for he had killed a boy called Cleisonymus by some, whereas others called him Aeanes or Lysander. He killed him at the home of his teacher Othryoneus, as is recorded in Alexander Aetolus’ Astragalistae (Dice Players).

Comp. Hellan. FGrH 4 F 145 (Σ Hom. Il. 12, 1) Πάτροκλος ὁ Μενοιτίου τρεφόμενος ἐν ᾽Οποῦντι τῆς Λοκρίδος περιέπεσεν ἀκουσίωι πταίσματι· παῖδα γὰρ ἡλικιώτην ᾽Αμφιδάμαντος οὐκ ἀσήμου Κλην περὶ ὰστραγάλων ὀργισθεὶς ἀπέκτεινεν· ἐπὶ τούτωι δὲ φυγὼν εἰς Φθίαν ἀφίκετο. Patroclus, the son of Menoetius, raised in Opus in Locris, inadvertently committed a crime. For in a fit of rage over a game of dice he killed another boy of his age, the son of the famous Amphidamas, called Cleisonymus by some and Aeanes by others. Forced for this reason to flee, he arrived at Phthia.

The surviving title of a play known to have been written by Alexander Aetolus is Astragalistae. Unfortunately, this is only a conjecture by Meineke; in the codices the actual expression is ἀστρολογισταῐας (scholion T on Il. XXIII 86a) and ἀμφ’ ἀστραγάλοισι χολωθείς (scholion to Il. 23.88), but the emendation is generally accepted.127 If we recognize that the title means The Dice Players, then the play could have concerned a specific episode in Patroclus’ life as recounted in Book XXIII of the Iliad (85–91). Prior to his funeral ceremony, Patroclus’ ghost appears before Achilles and delivers his famous speech, in which he also mentions the shameful crime he had committed in his early youth. During a game of dice, in a sudden outburst of anger, he had murdered Amphidamas’ son. Citing the various versions of the murdered boy’s name, the scholiast adds that according to Alexander all this happened at the house of Othryoneus, who was Patroclus’ teacher.128 In 1802 C. G. Hayne saw it as a tragedy129 and since then the Astragalistae is generally considered to be a stage play. Schenkl was the first to suspect it to be a satyr play because the house of a music teacher is a perfect setting for this Comp. also Cobet (1873), p. 633. Only Blydes (1894), p. 220, proposed instead Ταγηνισταί – Τυμπανισταί. 128 Doubts have been cast as to Othryoneus. See: Oldfather (1942), p. 1873. 129 Hayne (1802), p. 374. 127



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genre. He was of the opinion that Patroclus was studying at Othryoneus’ school with a group of satyrs, which would be similar to the play entitled Linos by Achaeus, in which Hercules was studying music with satyrs.130 We do still not know whether this was a satyr drama, or rather a tragedy. J. Powell saw it as the former, whereas Meineke left the question open and did not rule out the possibility of it being a tragedy. The most radical stance was held by Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, who believed it was not a stage play at all, but rather an epyllion.131 Schramm seems to share this view as, for him, Patroclus’ crime was not a proper subject for a stage play plot.132 This opinion is rather surprising as an inadvertent crime seems to be one of the most popular dramatic themes. The problem is that in this case it could not have been a satyr play. Patroclus did not kill a horrible ogre, but his own friend and the son of Amphidamas. It seems to be a typical tragic fault. The title, although in the plural, does not have to suggest the chorus of the play, but rather denominates the two main heroes. The remaining fragments of Alexander Aetolus’ work would be difficult to classify as intended for the stage. For example the fragment from Scholia to Theocritus (cited by Snell and Kannicht as F2 =15 Coll. Alex.: Σ Theoc. 8 arg. B): ᾿Αλέξανδρος δέ φησιν ὁ Αἰτωλὸς ὑπὸ Δάφνιδος μαθεῖν Μαρσύαν τὴν αὐλητικήν (Alexander Aetolus says that Marsyas had been taught to play the aulos by Daphnis), could equally well be part of a lyrical piece (e.g. an elegy) as it could be a line from a satyr play. There are no grounds to assume that the text was intended for performance on stage.

Sositheus (TrGF 99) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 99 T1 Suda s.v. Σωσίθεος, Συρακούσιος ἢ ᾿Αθηναῖος, μᾶλλον δὲ ᾿Αλεξανδρεὺς τῆς Τρωϊκῆς ᾿Αλεξανδρείας· τῶν τῆς Πλειάδος εἷς, ἀνταγωνιστὴς ῾Ομήρου τοῦ τραγικοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ Μυροῦς τῆς Βυζαντίας· ἀκμάσας κατὰ τὴν ρξδ′ ᾿Ολυμπιάδα· γράψας δὲ καὶ ποιήματα καὶ καταλογάδην. Sositheus, Syracusan or Athenian, but most probably Alexandrian from Alexandria in Troas, one of the Pleiad. He was a rival of the tragedian Homerus, the son of Myro from Byzantium, flourished during the 124th Olympiad [284–281]. He wrote poetry and prose.

T2 TrGF 99 T2 Dioscorides AP 7, 707 Schenkl (1888), p. 326. On the same grounds Susemihl (1891, I), p. 188, considered it to be a comedy, but the ancient testimonia do not attest that Alexander Aetolus had written comedies and therefore it is pretty impossible. Lately Magnelli (1999), p. 249, shares the opinion of Schenkl. 131 Meineke (1843), pp. 215ff.; Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1924), p. 167n. 1; Powell (1925), p. 128. 132 Schramm (1929), p. 41. 130

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Hellenistic Tragedy Κἠγὼ Σωσιθέου κομέω νέκυν, ὅσσον ἐν ἄστει ἄλλος ἀπ’ αὐθαίμων ἡμετέρων Σοφοκλῆν, Σκίρτος ὁ πυρρογένειος. ἐκισσοφόρησε γὰρ ὡνὴρ ἄξια Φλιασίων, ναὶ μὰ χορούς, Σατύρων κἠμὲ τὸν ἐν καινοῖς τεθραμμένον ἤθεσιν ἤδη ἤγαγεν εἰς μνήμην πατρίδ’ ἀναρχαΐσας, καὶ πάλιν εἰσώρμησα τὸν ἄρσενα Δωρίδι Μούσῃ ῥυθμόν, πρός τ’ αὐδὴν ἑλκόμενος μεγάλην εὔαδέ μοι θύρσων τύπος αὖ χερὶ καινοτομηθεὶς τῇ φιλοκινδύνῳ φροντίδι Σωσιθέου. And I guard the body of Sositheus, as in Athens my kinsman, Scritus the red-beard, guards Sophocles. For this man wore an ivy wreath worthy, by choirs!, the Phliusian Satyrs, and me, raised in new fashions, he brought to the restored tradition of the fathers. Yet again I introduced a masculine rhythm to the Doric Muse. Engrossed in the great song I took to striking freshly cut thyrsus with a new hand by the danger-loving thought of Sositheus.

The Suda states that Sositheus was one of the Pleiad poets who flourished during the 280s bc, and therefore, according to scholars, he would have lived in the years 315–260.133 As an author he wrote both plays and prose, though today there is no further information with regard to the latter. He was apparently a rival of Homerus of Byzantium, which might mean that they had both been active at the same time in Athens or Alexandria. Opinions are divided as to Sositheus’ place of origins.134 The Suda states that he may have come from Athens, Syracuse or Alexandria in Troas (the author of the Suda entry is most inclined to believe it was the last of these three places). Indeed, Athens and Syracuse were large cultural centres associated with drama, and therefore they may have been where Sositheus had originally worked, or perhaps these cities were simply associated with the births of other playwrights. Alexandria in Troas, however, was quite provincial and so is most likely to have only been mentioned because it was where Sositheus had actually been born. The other important source regarding Sositheus’ biography is an epigram by Dioscorides (AP 7, 707). From the first two verses we may conclude that the tragedian was not buried in Athens – there is a clear distinction between ἐν ἄστει (i.e. ‘in Athens’), where the body of Sophocles is buried, and the place where Sositheus was laid to rest. Therefore perhaps the latter was buried in the place where he had been active towards the end of his life. That place would have most probably been Alexandria in Egypt. The epigram is directly linked with another epigram by Dioscorides (AP 7, 37). This is a fictitious funerary See Sinko (1947), p. 504. Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1924), p. 124 n. 2, believes he came from Athens, whereas Susemihl (1891) p. 270, and Rostagni (1916), p. 343, consider him to have been a native of Alexandria.

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epigram for Sophocles, and one of subjects (for the poem has the form of a dialogue) is the statue of a satyr, recounting the poet’s contributions to drama. The juxtaposing of Sositheus with one of antiquity’s three greatest tragedians bears testimony to the great esteem the slightly younger Dioscorides must have had for him. The somewhat enigmatic wording that Sositheus ‘wore an ivy wreath worthy of Phliusian satyrs’, and that he brought back the old tradition of satyr drama, refers to the quintessence of the poet’s creativity, but it is difficult to fully understand what Dioscorides had in mind. ‘Phliusian satyrs’ is a periphrastic way of referring to the dramas of Pratinas of Phlius in Peloponnesus, whose work had supposedly inspired Sositheus. The reference could concern a return to an archaic form of satyr drama. T. Günther notes that it could signify a return to traditional themes in this kind of drama, evidence of which could be the drama Daphnis or Lityerses.135 Then again it is also possible that Dioscorides is generally referring to the fact that Pratinas had introduced satyr drama to the stage, in which case the comparison with Sositheus could be in the struggle to establish for this type of drama its rightful place in the theatre and its ennobled status as equal to tragedy. Such an interpretation would appear to be confirmed by an extant fragment from a play by Pratinas, where somewhat aggressive satyrs chase tragic actors off the stage with the words (TrGF F3, 2–3): ἐμὸς ἐμὸς ὁ Βρόμιος, || ἐμὲ δεῖ κελαδεῖν, ἐμὲ δεῖ παταγεῖν. The end of the hyporchema with the ivy and Doric song resembles Dioscorides’ epigram so much that one is tempted to say this was exactly to what the epigrammatist was referring. But what transpires from the last three verses most clearly of all is that, by the fourth century bc, stage performances (particularly in the realm of music) must have differed greatly from the classical canon, since Sositheus reintroduced ‘a masculine rhythm to the Doric Muse’.

Daphnis or Lityerses F1 De impiis, Mythogr. anon. p. 346 Westerm. τούτῳ Κελαιναὶ πατρίς, ἀρχαία πόλις Μίδου γέροντος, ὅστις ὦτ’ ἔχων ὄνου ἤνασσε καὶ νοῦν φωτὸς εὐήθους ἄγαν. οὗτος δ' ἐκείνου παῖς παράπλαστος νόθος, μητρὸς δ' ὁποίας ἡ τεκοῦσ᾿ ἐπίσταται, ἔσθει μὲν ἄρτους, τρεῖς ὅλους κανθηλίους, τρὶς τῆς βραχείας ἡμέρας· πίνει δ', ἕνα καλῶν μετρητήν, τὸν δεκάμφορον πίθον. ἐργάζεται δ' ἐλαφρὰ πρὸς τὰ σιτία ὄγμον θερίζων· τῇ μιᾷ δ' ἐν ἡμέρᾳ †δαινυσίτ’ ἔμπης συντίθησιν εἰς τέλος. Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), pp. 603f. But see also my interpretation of the Crotus Play, p. 108ff.

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χὤταν τις ἔλθῃ ξεῖνος ἢ παρεξίῃ, φαγεῖν τ' ἔδωκεν εὖ† κἀπεχόρτασεν καὶ τοῦ ποτοῦ προὔτεινεν ὡς ἂν ἐν θέρει πλέον· φθονεῖν γὰρ τοῖς θανουμένοις ὀκνεῖ. ἐπιστατῶν †οἴδηα Μαιάνδρου ῥοαῖς καρπευμάτων ἀρδευτὰ δαψιλεῖ ποτῷ τὸν ἀνδρομήκη πυρὸν ἠκονημένῃ ἅρπῃ θερίζει· τὸν ξένον δὲ δράγματι αὐτῷ κολούσας κρατὸς ὀρφανὸν φέρει γελῶν θεριστὴν ὡς ἄνουν ἠρίστισεν

F2 Mythogr. anon. p. 346 Westerm. θανὼν μὲν οὖν Μαίανδρον ἐρρίφη ποδός σόλος τις ὥσπερ δίσκος· ἦν δ' ὁ δισκεύσας ἀνήρ †πυθιο· τίς γὰρ ἀνθ’ ῾Ηρακλέους; F1 His fatherland Celaenae, an ancient city Of Old Midas, who ruled with donkey’s ears And an overly gentle mind. While he was his illegitimate son, bastard, By which mother – only she who bore him knows. Bread from three fully laden donkeys he eats, And thrice in the short day he drinks, calling A ten-measure pithos – a single measure. He works lightly, reaping crops in the fields, One day he is able to feast, And despite this, still collect all the sheaves. Whenever a guest comes or passes by, He gives him food and feeds till sated. He invites to drink generously, as is usual in summer; He does not begrudge those soon to die. Then he leads his guest to fields replete with crops, Profusely bedewed by Meander’s waves, And wheat of a man’s height he cuts with a sharp Sickle. Shortening the guest by a head, he Carries him together with the sheaf, laughing How he’s hosted the foolish reaper. F2 By the leg he hurled the corpse like an iron discus into the Meander. Who’s this discus thrower you ask? Who other than Heracles?

For scholars of Hellenistic dramatic literature, this surviving fragment from a play by Sositheus entitled Daphnis or Lityerses is something quite exceptional. It is without doubt the longest fragment of text written for the stage by a member of the Pleiad to



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have survived to this day. Thanks to Athenaeus we know the play’s title,136 as well as the names of two of the characters. Nonetheless, it needs to be stressed that the title was not, as some scholars maintain, Daphnis or Lityerses. The ‘or’ between the names may have been inserted by Athenaeus because he did not know which one was correct, or because eventually in his day both titles were equally popular.137 An anonymous mythographer testifies that the real title was Daphnis, as does Tzetzes, so that may indeed originally have been the case. If so, the title itself allows for an at least partial reconstruction of the plot in Sositheus’ play. Also of help here are the numerous ancient testimonia and scholia which are available today thanks to the immense popularity of the Daphnis myth in the Alexandrian period.138

Dramatis Personae DAPHNIS ΣTheoc. 8 arg b Σωσίθεος δὲ Δάφνιν γενόμενον, ὑφ’ οὗ νικηθῆναι Μενάλκαν ᾄδοντα Πανὸς κρίναντος, γαμηθῆναι δὲ αὐτῷ καὶ Νύμφην Θάλειαν. Sositheus [says] that Daphnis was …, who defeated Menalcas in song with Pan as judge, he was married to the Nymph Thalia.

ΣTheoc. 8,93a ἱστοροῦσι γὰρ αὐτὸν ὑπό τινος ἀγαπηθῆναι Νύμφης, ἣν Σωσίθεος Θάλειαν καλεῖ. They say he was loved by a nymph whom Sositheus calls Thalia.

Servius, in Vergilii ecl. 8. 68 … alii hunc Daphnin Pimpleam amasse dicunt. quam cum a praedonibus raptam Daphnis per totum orbem quaesisset, invenit in Phrygia apud Lityersem regem servientem, qui hac lege in advenas saeviebat, ut cum multas segetes haberet, peregrinos advenientes secum metere faceret victosque iuberet occidi. sed Hercules, miseratus Daphnidis, venit ad regiam et audita condicione certaminis, falcem ad metendum accepit eaque regi ferali sopito metendi carmine caput amputavit. ita Daphnin a periculo liberavit et ei Pimpleam, quam alii Thaliam dicunt, reddidit: quibus dotis nomine aulam quoque regiam condonavit. … others say that this Daphnis loved Pimplea. When she was carried off by pirates, he searched for her all over the world. He found her to be a slave of King Lityerses in Phrygia, who imposed a fierce law on foreigners, so that when he had plentiful crops, he forced the travellers to reap with him, and when they were thus Ath. 10. 415B: ἐν δράματι Δάφνιδι ἢ Λιτυέρσᾳ In antiquity this was fairly common practice (see for instance many of Menander’s play titles). 138 The popularity of this myth is discussed by Ławińska-Tyszkowska (1981), p. 47, and Wojaczek (1969), p. 48. It is also forthrightly confirmed by ancient poets such as Callimachus (AP 7,518) οὐκέτι Δικταίῃσιν ὑπὸ δρυσίν, οὐκέτι Δάφνιν || ποιμένες, ᾿Αστακίδην δ’ αἰὲν ἀεισόμεθα and Ovid (Met. 4, 276): Vulgatos taceo … amores Daphnidis. 136 137

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defeated he had them killed. But Heracles, taking pity on Daphnis, arrived at the royal court and, after hearing the conditions, grabbed a sickle [for reaping] and with it cut off the head of the murderous king while he was engrossed in a reaper’s song. Thus Heracles freed Daphnis from danger and had him married to Pimplea, whom others call Thalia, and as wedding gift granted them the royal palace.

The Daphnis myth, indubitably originating from Sicilian folklore, was introduced to literature by Stesichorus of Himera, a poet from the seventh century bc.139 Daphnis, the son of Hermes and a nymph, was a shepherd of exceptional beauty as well as a talented flautist. A nymph called Echenais fell in love with him and, on pain of losing his eyesight, he promised her his loyalty. Unfortunately, the king’s daughter, having got Daphnis inebriated with wine, managed to seduce him. Hence the curse worked and Daphnis lost his eyesight. Aelianus writes that the shepherd expressed his suffering in song and thus became the creator of Sicilian bucolic poetry. According to Diodorus (4.84.4), he was also the hunting companion of Artemis, who liked listening to him play the flute. It is a patent sign of the age that three outstanding Alexandrian poets, Theocritus, Sositheus and Hermesianax, all used the Daphnis myth. On account of his Sicilian background, credit for ‘rediscovering’ this hero in literature is primarily attributed to Theocritus. He made Daphnis the main character of two of his idylls: I Thyrsis and VI A Country Singing Match. In the first of these themed idylls the singer Thyrsis recounts the sad fate of Daphnis, who dies refusing to succumb to the power of the goddess Aphrodite and Eros. The author does not explain the reason for Daphnis’ suffering or provide any details as to the kind of idylls he sang. 140 In Idyll VI Daphnis appears as a herdsman leading a singing agon with Damoetas, but the poem does not provide significant information about the myth itself. In idylls VIII and IX, which were most probably not written by Theocritus himself, Daphnis competes in a singing contest against Menalcas. Hermesianax writes about Daphnis’ unrequited love for Menalcas. Hermesianax’s tale is not set in Sicily, but on Euboea, and is rather a tragic tale about Menalcas, who commits suicide after his love is rejected by a nymph. Idyll IX is closer to the latter version in that, after winning the bucolic agon, Daphnis is awarded the nymph Nais to be his wife. This last version also resembles the information we gain from scholia on Theocritus and Servius concerning the plot of Sositheus’ drama. LITYERSES Σ Theoc. 10, 41c ὁ δὲ Λιτυέρσας ἦν Μίδου νόθος παῖς, γεωργὸς δὲ ὢν τοὺς παριόντας θερίζειν ἠνάγκαζε καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἑσπέραν συναπέτεμε τοῖς δράγμασιν αὐτῶν τὰς κεφαλάς. ὃν ὁ ῾Ηρακλῆς ὕστερον ἔκτεινε. Stesichorus’ work is now lost, but we know its synopsis from: Ael. VH 10. 18; D.S. 4, 84; Parth. Erotica Pathemata 29: De Daphnide, Timaeus FGrHist 566 F83. For the theories of contemporary scholars on the myth version used in Idyll I, see ŁawińskaTyszkowska (1981), pp. 50–2.

139

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Lityerses, the illegitimate son of Midas, was a farmer who forced travellers to reap, and in the evening he would cut off their heads as one cuts sheaves. He was later killed by Heracles.

Σ Theoc. 10, 41c ὁ Λιτυέρσης οἰκῶν Κελαινὰς τῆς Φρυγίας τοὺς παριόντας τῶν ξένων εὐωχῶν ἠνάγκαζε μετ’ αὐτοῦ θερίζειν. εἶτα ἑσπέρας ἀποκόπτων τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν τὸ λοιπὸν σῶμα ἐν τοῖς δράγμασι συνειλῶν ᾖδεν. ῾Ηρακλῆς δὲ ἀναιρήσας αὐτὸν κατὰ τὸν Μαίανδρον ποταμὸν ἔρριψεν.141 Lityerses, who lived in Celaenae, hosted foreign travellers and forced them to reap with him. Next, in the evening, he would cut off their heads, and having stuffed the rest of their bodies in sheaves, sing. Heracles killed him and threw his body into the Meander.

De impiis (Mythogr. anon. p. 346 Westerm.= Script. rerum mirab. Gr., p. 220 Westerm.) Λιτυέρσης Μίδου υἱὸς νόθος, ὃν ὁ ῾Ηρακλῆς ἀνεῖλεν ὄντα κακόξενον. ἠνάγκαζε γὰρ τοὺς ξένους συνθερίζειν αὐτῷ, εἶτα εὐωχῶν ἀπεκεφάλιζε, τὰ δὲ σώματα ἐκόμιζεν ἐν τοῖς δράγμασιν ὡς παραλελογισμένων. ἱστορεῖ ταῦτα κατὰ μέρος Σωσίθεος ἐν Δαφνίδι λέγων οὕτως· [F1] ὅτι δ’ ἀπέθανεν ὑφ’ ῾Ηρακλέους φησὶ λέγων· [F2] Lityerses, Midas’ illegitimate son, who was killed by Heracles because he was inhospitable. He would welcome his guests then force them to reap with him, and then while they were feasting he would cut off their heads. The bodies he would take out in sheaves, thus hiding them. This is related in detail by Sositheus in Daphnis, where he says: [F1] he died at the hand of Heracles saying [F2]

Tz. Chil. 2, (41) 595–8 Ὁ Λιτυέρτης δε υἱὸς νόθος ὑπάρχων Μίδου, οἴνου μὲν πίθον ἐξαντλῶν ὅλον ὑπῆρχε πίνων, ἄρτους δὲ τρώγων ἤσθιεν ὄνων τριῶν φορτίον, ὡς ἐν τῷ Δάφνιδι φησὶ Σωσίβιος ἰάμβοις· Lityerses was Midas’ illegitimate son, Who while drinking would empty an entire barrel of wine, And when snacking on bread, he consumed as much as three donkeys would carry. Thus says Sosibius in iambs in Daphnis.142

Ath. 10. 415b

There is a third, similar scholium to Theocritus (Xb) τὰ περὶ τοῦ Λιτυέρσου τοῦ Μίδου υἱοῦ, ὃν ῾Ηρακλῆς ἀνεῖλε πολλοὺς ἀναιροῦντα ἐν τῷ θερίζειν. παραινεῖ δὲ αὐτῷ λοιπὸν τὸν κατ’ αὐτὸν ἔρωτα. 142 The name Sosibius actually appears in the text, but it is fairly safe to assume that this was a mistake made by either Tzetzes himself or a copyist. 141

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Λιτυέρσας δὲ ἦν μὲν υἱὸς Μίδου νόθος, Κελαινῶν δὲ τῶν ἐν Φρυγίᾳ βασιλεύς, ἄγριος ἰδέσθαι καὶ ἀνήμερος ἄνθρωπος, ἀδηφάγος δ’ ἰσχυρῶς. λέγει δὲ περὶ αὐτοῦ Σωσίθεος ὁ τραγῳδιοποιὸς ἐν δράματι Δάφνιδι ἢ Λιτυέρσᾳ οὕτως· [F1, 6–8]. Whereas Lityerses was Midas’ bastard son, the king of Celaenae in Phrygia, who looked like a wild, uncivilized man and was extraordinarily rapacious. Sositheus the tragedian in his drama Daphnis or Lityerses speaks of him as follows: [F1, vv. 6–8].

Poll. 4, 54 Λιτυέρσας δὲ Φρυξίν· οἱ δ’ αὐτὸν Μίδου παῖδα εἶναι λέγουσιν, εἰς ἔριν δ’ ἀμητοῦ προκαλούμενον μαστιγῶσαι τοὺς ἐνδιδόντας, βιαιοτέρῳ δ’ ἀμήτῃ περιπεσόντα αὐτὸν θάνατον παθεῖν. οἱ δ’ ῾Ηρακλέα γεγενῆσθαι τὸν ἀποκτείναντα αὐτὸν λέγουσιν.143 Lityerses the Phrygian …, some say he was the son of Midas, challenging people to duels in reaping, and those who gave in he flogged. He was killed when he encountered a more powerful reaper; they say the one who became his killer was Heracles.

Suda s.v. Λιτυέρσης Μίδου δὲ ἦν ὁ Λιτυέρσης νόθος υἱός, κατοικῶν δὲ ἐν Κελαιναῖς τοὺς παριόντας ὑποδεχόμενος ἠνάγκαζε μετ’ αὐτοῦ θερίζειν· εἶτα ἀποκόπτων τὰς κεφαλὰς τὸ ἄλλο σῶμα συνείλει ἐν τοῖς δράγμασιν. ἀπέθανε δὲ ὑπὸ ῾Ηρακλέους· εἰς τιμὴν δὲ τοῦ Μίδου θεριστικὸς ὕμνος ἐπ’ αὐτῷ συνεθέτη. Lityerses was the illegitimate son of Midas and lived in Celaenae. He would host passers-by and force them to reap with him. Next he would cut off their heads and tie the rest of their bodies in sheaves. He died at the hands of Heracles. In honour of Midas he had composed a reaper’s song.

The character of Lityerses originates from Phrygian folklore. Scholars assume that the name is derived from a traditional Phrygian song, as he was the mythological figure who had originally sung it.144 Indeed, Theocritus mentions Lityerses primarily in connection with the reaper’s song. In Idyll X (v. 41) we read: θᾶσαι δὴ καὶ ταῦτα τὰ τῶ θείω Λιτυέρσα. According to the scholia to this fragment as well as the remaining testimonies, he was the illegitimate son of Midas, a cruel ogre who, after initially pretending to be hospitable, challenged guests to contests in the reaping of crops. When the guest lost, he cut off their head and hid the decapitated body in a sheaf. Only Heracles eventually managed to beat Lityerses, and kill him. We should note that all the testimonies concerning Lityerses cite Sositheus’ drama as a source. If, as in the case of Daphnis, Theocritus had been the first Hellenistic author to recall the name of this character, The same text appears in the Lexicon of Photius s.v. Λιτυέρσης. See: Kretschmer (1925), Geisau (1969), p. 686; Gow (1950), p. 204.

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it is significant that he failed to mention his outrageously savage behaviour. It is also curious that Sicilian herdsmen should sing the song of a Phrygian reaper, something that can only happen in a literary idyll, regardless of being quite implausible in reality. Consequently it must have been a poetic means of alluding to something the listener would associate with the song. Therefore Sositheus was most probably the one who actually first brought up the name of Lityerses in the Hellenistic period, whereas Theocritus, the author of Idyll X, referred to the singing killer as a character who was already known to the general public. Perhaps this was also a form of polemic with the image of the cruel monster created by Sositheus, for Theocritus calls Lityerses ‘divine’ and suggests he is the author of an evocative song. The way in which Sositheus presents Lityerses in his play deserves our particular attention. I shall hazard the conjecture that here the character is supposed to be more comic than terrifying. The first verses are not very respectful towards his parents: the father has donkey ears and ‘an overly gentle mind’, while the mother, contrary to the mater semper certa principle, is unknown. The fact that Lityerses was born out of wedlock is stressed, together with the epithet παράπλαστος. Next his voracious appetite is ridiculed. One has to concede that up to the moment of his hosting strangers, Lityerses is indeed caricatured but hardly menacing. So too his guests, thus put off their guard, willingly follow him out into the fields on the Meander. The next two verses, in which Lityerses cuts their heads off with a sickle, come as a shock. But very soon we return to the idyllic atmosphere as we hear our protagonist, with the sheaf slung over his shoulder, laughing. Lityerses is portrayed with all the traits of a primitive simpleton, one quite devoid of human virtues, such as sympathy and respect for other people’s lives. Such wicked monsters, as in the folktales of all nations, can only be stopped from perpetrating even more evil by being killed (ideally in the same fashion as they themselves had killed their victims, so that folktale justice may be done). And this is what happens, as we read in the extant fragment 2. The monster’s killer is, of course, Heracles – the principal vanquisher of mythological evil ogres. HERACLES One of the best known mythological figures, and frequently present on the Greek theatre stage. In the tragic tradition, this was a complex character. In Euripides’ or Seneca’s Hercules Furens he is a quite tragic figure, one driven to madness, but elsewhere he is far less serious, even comic. It is in the latter persona that he appears in the satyr dramas Busiris and Syleus as well as Euripides’ Alcestis. And it is this other Heracles that we also recognize in Sositheus’ play. As in his struggles against Busiris, here too he saves the world from a cruel villain. His role in the play, in which he rescues Daphnis and the nymph from a hopeless situation, is essential in order to give the plot a happy ending. MENALCAS The play’s other idyllic hero. This was undoubtedly a bucolic character, but he is only associated with the Daphnis myth in idylls VIII and IX (which were not written by Theocritus) and also by Hermesianax. We do not even know if he actually appeared as

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a character in Sositheus’ play, or whether his singing contest with Daphnis was merely mentioned by other personae. Either way, the agon would have most probably taken place before Daphnis’ arrival in Phrygia in search of his beloved. THALIA This nymph, whose name only Sositheus associates with Daphnis, naturally has nothing to do with the comedy muse. In other sources (Hom. Il. 18, 39; Verg. Aen. 5, 826) she is a naiad.145 We know nothing more about this particular character in the play.

The play The action takes place in Midas’ Phrygian kingdom, whose capital is Celaenae. Lityerses has his palace near the river Meander. Fragment 1 is most probably part of the prologue. We may assume this on account of the introductory nature of the text. In it we are introduced to the character of Lityerses, the place of action as well as the danger threatening our heroes (by briefly relating the fate that befell hapless visitors who had previously ventured on to Lityerses’ land). We do not know which of the characters actually recited the prologue. O. von Jahn assumes it to be Daphnis’ monologue in which he explains to Heracles the predicament he and the nymph have found themselves in.146 It is also possible the prologue is delivered by Silenus, as this is what he does in Cyclops.147 It seems that the plot at the start of the play is as follows. After winning a singing contest with Menalcas, which was judged by Pan, Daphnis is awarded the nymph Thalia. However, before they are able to get married, pirates abduct the nymph. Having searched for her all over the world, Daphnis eventually finds Thalia at the court of the cruel Lityerses. This is no doubt where the drama really begins, for other plays with similar love stories also begin with the chief protagonist arriving in the land where the loved one he has been searching for is found. It is also possible that in this play Daphnis is first abducted by Lityerses. However, before the singing herdsman is forced to compete with the host on the fields overlooking the Meander, Heracles arrives. It is then that the choir or Daphnis sings the reaper’s song, which makes Lityerses doze off (as reported by Servius). Fragment 2, which describes what happens to Lityerses in the end, suggests that Heracles kills the Phrygian somewhere beyond the stage, for that was how he also disposes of Thanatus in Euripides’ Alcestis. According to Servius, Sositheus’ play included a laetus exitus: Daphnis is reunited with Thalia, and the two of them receive Lityerses’ palace as a gift from Heracles. Sositheus’ drama has many traits that are typical for the Hellenistic period. First, the characters were all fashionable in the Alexandrian age: Daphnis, the nymph as well as Menalcas, though he actually plays a minor role in this particular play. As has been said, beautiful and musically talented shepherds bearing these names also appear in the works of Theocritus, in two idylls erroneously attributed to him as well as in the Lesky (1934), p. 1207. Jahn (1869), p. 181. 147 T. Günther in Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 611. 145 146



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writings of Hermesianax. Sositheus also alludes to Theocritus’ pet idyllic theme: two singing herdsmen competing with one another in an agon. Audiences familiar with contemporary literature would undoubtedly have been aware of the games learned authors played with mythological themes, how they ‘vied’ with one another for mythological nuances and were always ready to adopt new motifs. G. Xanthakis-Karamanos also notes the bucolic atmosphere in the play, the harvest theme and vivid description of nature.148 Another theme used by Sositheus, one not so much associated with Hellenistic aesthetics, is the romance between the shepherd and the nymph. The story of two lovers being separated by fate, the hero searching for his chosen one per totum orbem and finally finding her in a barbarian land, enslaved by a villain, was, on the other hand, one of the period’s favourite literary themes – one that would later, during the Roman Empire, evolve into the enormously popular Greek Romance. Of course, this theme was also present in classical drama, e.g. in Euripides’ Iphigenia in Tauris or Helen. G. Xanthakis-Karamanos notes that the very fact that the subject of Daphnis travelling to Phrygia had not previously been heard in dramatic literature is in itself a very Hellenistic trait.149 Here, however, one should add that there are doubts as to whether Sositheus was the first author to adapt the Lityerses myth for the stage. In his introduction to Euripides’ Medea, Aristophanes of Byzantium writes about the staging of a tetralogy, including Medea, Philoctetes, Dictys and the satyr drama Theristai (The Reapers), which took place in 431 bc.150 Aristophanes of Byzantium notes that the Theristai play was subsequently lost. It is impossible to say for certain what this satyr play was about on the basis of a mere title, but it is natural that the Lityerses story should spring to mind. Many scholars have supported such a hypothesis.151 If these scholars are correct, it would have been a play written in the style of the now also lost Busiris. For us this is a question of major importance, because if the first ‘discoverer’ of the myth was neither Theocritus nor Sositheus but Euripides, then he may have also directly inspired the other two. However, N. Pechstein could be right in arguing that Sositheus would not have known the Theristai as Aristophanes of Byzantium, who was writing only decades after him, already considered the play to be lost.152 A different argument against this hypothesis, in my opinion, is the fact that none of the ancient sources recounting the Lityerses myth cite Euripides. This is very significant because one of the three great tragedians would have certainly been mentioned if there had been the slightest suspicion that he had written a drama based on this Phrygian myth. Of course, whether or not Euripides had written a play about Lityerses remains an open question, but I still support the thesis that introducing this subject to the stage was Sositheus’ innovation. Even if Euripides had been the first, Sositheus used the

Xanthakis-Karamanos (1994), p. 241. Xanthakis-Karamanos (1994), p. 237. 150 Ar. Byz. Arg. Eur. Med.: ὁ δὲ χορὸς συνέστηκεν ἐκ γυναικῶν πολιτίδων. ἐδιδάχθη ἐπὶ Πυθοδώρου ἄρχοντος κατὰ τὴν ὀγδοηκοστὴν ἑβδόμην ὀλυμπιάδα. πρῶτος Εὐφορίων, δεύτερος Σοφοκλῆς, τρίτος Εὐριπίδης. Μήδεια, Φιλοκτήτης, Δίκτυς, Θερισταὶ σάτυροι. οὐ σώζεται. 151 See Xanthakis-Karamanos (1994). 152 N. Pechstein in Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 476. 148 149

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subject 150 years later when the great tragedian’s play had been quite forgotten not only by the general public, but even by Alexandrian scholars. The most noteworthy problem with the play entitled Daphnis or Lityerses is determining which genre it belongs to. Up until the 1990s scholars basically had no doubts that this was a satyr drama. This was the opinion of, among others, A. Rostagni, W. Steffen, A. Lesky and D. F. Sutton, to name just a few of the most distinguished authorities.153 Among these, two scholars stand out for admitting that the possibility of this play being a tragedy cannot actually be ruled out: O. von Jahn (‘Dass es ein Satyrdrama gewesen sei, wird nicht gesagt, wir dürfen es uns wohl nach dem Zuschnitt der Alkestis, wenn auch viel derber denken’)154 and P. Maas (‘[regarding Lityerses] Held einer Tragödie (oder eines Satyrspiels) des Sositheos …’).155 Currently G. Xanthakis-Karamanos holds the most extreme view in arguing that the extant fragments belong to a tragedy. Although her opinions are not shared by the subject’s most recent publisher and commentator, T. Günther,156 it is nevertheless worthwhile to examine the arguments on both sides of this debate. The opinion that this is a satyr drama is above all based on the argument of the theme: the struggle with and ultimate defeat of Lityerses, who mistreats visitors and violates the sacred law of hospitality.157 Such a motif is present in the satyr dramas of Euripides’ Cyclops, Busiris, Syleus and Sciron. In two of these plays (Busiris and Syleus) Heracles is the one who ultimately defeats the evil antagonist. Supporters of this view also presume mythological similarities with Euripides’ Theristai. A more concrete argument is Dioscorides’ epigram praising Sositheus for returning the old tradition to satyr drama. G. Xanthakis-Karamanos has put forward some very interesting arguments for the opposite view, that the Daphnis or Lityerses play actually originated from the tragic tradition. She draws our attention to the fact that the play has much in common with the ‘romantic’ trend in tragedy as represented by Iphigenia in Tauris and even more with its tragicomic variant, Alcestis. The motif of searching, rescuing and identifying is also typical of Euripides’ Helen and Ion, as is setting the action in a barbarian land (Celaenae in Phrygia). The most immediately recognizable similarity between Daphnis or Lityerses and Alcestis is of course the role of Heracles as the rescuer and the one who returns to the chief protagonist, his beloved. Indeed, such themes are noticeable in so-called romantic tragedies, but no more so than in satyr dramas, and therefore this observation cannot be treated as a decisive argument. Much the same can be said with regard to the assumed presence or absence of a satyr chorus. There is no extant fragment or testimony to confirm the presence of such typically bacchic characters in the play. But then again there is also no evidence that they did not appear in this play. And in this case, contrary to what G. Xanthakis-Karamanos would have us believe, the argumentum ex silentio does not apply. Analysis of ancient testimonia, Rostagni (1916), p. 155; Steffen in SGF, p. 253; Lesky (1972), p. 537; Sutton (1974), p. 120. Jahn (1869), p. 181. 155 Maas and Kroll (1926), p. 806. 156 Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 605. 157 With regard to this type of characters in satyr play, see also the comments of Seidensticker in Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 26. 153 154



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however, does provide a powerful argument – nowhere is it mentioned that this was a satyr play. Athenaeus writes λέγει δὲ περὶ αὐτοῦ Σωσίθεος ὁ τραγῳδιοποιὸς ἐν δράματι Δάφνιδι ἢ Λιτυέρσᾳ (10.415 B–C). Therefore he instead uses the noun δρᾶμα which usually refers to tragedies,158 and only very rarely to satyr plays (except in inscriptions). Writers in ancient times referred to satyr drama using the term satyricon drama or simply with the adjective (ἐν σατυρικῷ δράματι, ἐν σατύροις). From this point of view, the suspicion that the play Daphnis or Lityerses was a tragedy in the style of Alcestis becomes plausible. However, the most convincing evidence G. Xanthakis-Karamanos has produced concerns the metre and language of the extant text. In her analysis of the fragment,159 she proves that the selected vocabulary was typical for tragedies. As far as metre is concerned, the text is written with exceptional care and regularity. In none of the extant verses can a long-syllable resolution be found. Nowhere is the Porson’s law broken, while breaking it was fairly typical in satyr plays. Regular iambs are more usually found in tragedies, especially in the Hellenistic period, when it became a distinctive form.160 Perhaps what might help to resolve the debate is ultimately determining the proper title of this play. It has been observed that there is a certain order wherein satyr plays including barbaric brutes like Lityerses appear (e.g. Cyclops, Busiris, Syleus and Sciron) to use the brute’s name in the title, while the titles of romantic tragedies with happy endings (e.g. Alcestis and Iphigenia in Tauris) use the name of the positive hero. It seems to me that the matter of Sositheus’ play having alternative titles requires further research, for it is possible that already Athenaeus or even his sources had contradictory information on this play, and hence the uncertainty regarding the title. One has to concede that so far no argument has resolved the issue. Philological tradition tells us to treat the play Daphnis or Lityerses as a satyr drama. Yet the hypothesis that it could be a tragicomedy of the Alcestis sort is not unfounded. Despite this, A. T. Cozzoli has returned to the satyr theory.161 She points to the possibility of Silenus being a character in the play, for he was bound by bonds of hospitality with Midas and therefore could have also been at the court of his successor, Lityerses. This, of course, supports the notion that Sositheus’ play was a satyr drama. At present it would be fairest to leave the discussion open and refrain from drawing any firm conclusions. Nevertheless, we may note that the problem in itself reveals yet another of the play’s Hellenistic characteristics in that it borders between two genres and may indeed have emulated the most popular classical tragedian, Euripides, who also broke genre conventions in drama.

Aethlius F3 TrGF 1 Stob. 4, 10, 18 See Richards (1900a), pp. 388–93. Xanthakis-Karamanos (1997b), pp. 127–30. See the Gyges tragedy, discussed later in this book. 161 Cozzoli (2003). 158 159 160

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εἷς μυρίους ὄρνιθας αἰετὸς σοβεῖ λαῶν τε δειλῶν πλῆθος εὖ τραφεὶς ἀνήρ As a solitary eagle scares a thousand birds, So too a strong man a cowardly throng of people.

The title Aethlius is testified by Stobaeus when he cites this extant fragment. The distich is gnomic and tells us nothing about the content of the play. The play’s title merely states that it concerned a rather obscure mythological figure, Aethlius, the son of Zeus and Protogeneia, and the father of Endymion. So little is known about this hero162 that we cannot even speculate as to what the plot in this particular drama by Sositheus could be about.

A play about Cleanthes F4 TrGF 4 D.L. 7.173 Σωσιθέου τοῦ ποιητοῦ ἐν θεάτρῳ εἰπόντος πρὸς αὐτὸν παρόντα, οὓς ἡ Κλεάνθους μωρία βοηλατεῖ, ἔμεινεν ἐπὶ ταὐτοῦ σχήματος· ἐφ’ ᾧ ἀγασθέντες οἱ ἀκροαταὶ τὸν μὲν ἐκρότησαν, τὸν δὲ Σωσίθεον ἐξέβαλον. μεταγινώσκοντα δ’ αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῇ λοιδορίᾳ προσήκατο, εἰπὼν ἄτοπον εἶναι τὸν μὲν Διόνυσον καὶ τὸν ῾Ηρακλέα φλυαρουμένους ὑπὸ τῶν ποιητῶν μὴ ὀργίζεσθαι, αὐτὸν δ’ ἐπὶ τῇ τυχούσῃ βλασφημίᾳ δυσχεραίνειν. … When in the theatre the poet Sositheus in Cleanthes’ presence said: ‘Driven by Cleanthes’ stupidity like oxen,’ and Cleanthes did not react, the audience, admiring his bearing, applauded him and threw Sositheus out of the theatre. Later, when Sositheus apologized for causing offence, Cleanthes declared it would be inappropriate for him to be angered by such casual abuse as neither Dionysus nor Heracles are ever angry at poets who ridicule them.

T1–F4 Ind. Stoic. Herc. col. XXIV τοῦτ’ ἦν ὁ Κλεάνθης, ὡς περὶ τὰς σπονδὰς ἑκάστῳ μικρὸν ἀπα(ρ)χόμενος, πλατῦναι δὲ τὸν λόγον οὐδέποτ’ ἐθέλων ἢ οὐ (δυ)νάμενος Here was Cleanthes, who as with libations, pouring everyone just a little,

See Hoefer (1893), p. 699.

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so too to speak extensively, he never wanted nor could,

We do not know the title of the play by Sositheus whose sole extant fragment has been passed on to us by Diogenes Laertius. The fragment itself concerns the philosopher Cleanthes of Assos in Troas, an extremely humble and hardworking man who, according to Diogenes, put into practice the teachings of his mentor, Zeno of Citium. Unfortunately, Cleanthes had a reputation for being dim-witted and not particularly talented, which on more than one occasion made him an object of ridicule among Athenians163. Evidence of this may also be seen in Sositheus’ discourteous remark. However, we do not know whether this fragment originated from a tragedy or satyr play, as no other ancient source mentions the play. In response to Sositheus’ apology, Cleanthes recalled poets ridiculing Dionysus and Heracles, on the basis of which T. Günther argues that the play was a satyr play as follows: ‘Sositheos hätte also ein Dionisos- oder Herakles-Satyrspiel geschrieben, in welchem er in einen Seitenhieb auch Kleanthes auf die Schippe nam.’164 This theory seems to go too far. Cleanthes says ὑπὸ τῶν ποιητῶν, which is a very general remark and does not suggest any particular connection with Sositheus. Thus we do not know who the protagonist was and what the play was essentially about. The Cleanthes incident may have been mentioned as the account of a one-off acerbic comment or as the fragment of a longer tirade against the philosopher. It is also possible that, as in the case of Lycophron’s Menedemus, it was a description of the philosopher and his students. This, however, seems unlikely when we consider that Diogenes Laertius used the words τῇ τυχούσῃ βλασφημίᾳ to describe the insults with regard to Cleanthes. This does not necessarily mean that a substantial part of the play was not about Cleanthes. If we accept Gallo’s hypothesis that a fragment in Index Stoicorum (P. Herc. 1018) also originates from this play, then Sositheus also ridiculed specific aspects of Cleanthes’ character.165 Fragment T1=F4 makes fun of the philosopher’s meagre libations and use of words, and here the comment πλατῦναι δὲ τὸν λόγον || οὐδέποτ’ ἐθέλων || ἢ οὐ (δυ)νάμενος is especially snide. The most significant piece of information to transpire from the extant fragment is the fact that the playwright Sositheus refers not only to a contemporary character, but also to one who is actually in the audience – an approach that is more akin to Old Comedy.166 It is also noteworthy that the incident and therefore also the drama performance must have taken place in Athens sometime after 262 bc, for that was when Cleanthes became Zeno’s successor in the Stoa and acquired his own small ‘flock’ of disciples.

Comp. epigram by Timon (AP 11. 296), who calls him a ram. T. Günther in Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 616. 165 Gallo (1978), pp. 161–78. 166 T. Günther notes that this not consistent with the theory of reviving the traditional character of satyr drama, from which he deduces that this must have been one of Sositheus’ early plays. See Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 616. 163 164

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A play about Crotus F5 TrGF 5 T1 ad F5 Anon. II ad Arat. P. 239, 6 Maass = Eratosth. Cat. 1, 28 Κρότον τὸν Εὐφήμης τῆς τῶν Μουσῶν τροφοῦ υἱόν· οἰκεῖν δ’ αὐτὸν καὶ διαιτᾶσθαι ἐν τῷ ῾Ελικῶνι· ὃν καὶ αἱ Μοῦσαι τὴν τοξείαν εὑράμενον τὴν τροφὴν ἀπὸ τῶν ἀγρίων ἔχειν ἐποίησαν, καθάπερ φησὶ Σωσίθεος· συμμίσγοντα δὲ ταῖς Μούσαις καὶ ἀκούοντα αὐτῶν ἐπισημασίαις ἐπαινέσαι κρότον ποιοῦντα· τὸ γὰρ τῆς φωνῆς ἀσαφὲς ἦν ὑπὸ ἑνὸς κρότου σημαινόμενον, ὅθεν ὁρῶντες τοῦτον καὶ οἱ ἄλλοι ἔπραττον τὸ αὐτό· Crotus, the son of Eupheme, the nurse of the Muses, lived on Mount Helicon, where he invented archery. Thanks to the Muses he had wild animals for food, as is stated by Sositheus. He kept the company of Muses, listening to them and expressing his appreciation by clapping. He expressed an inarticulate sound, so that those who saw it did the same.167

T2 ad F5 Hygin. Astron. 2. 27 Sagittarius … dicunt … nonnulli hunc esse Crotum nomine, Euphemes Musarum nutricis fi lium, ut ait Sositheus tragoediarum scriptor; eumque domicilium in monte Helicone habuisse et cum Musis solitum delectari, nonnumquam etiam studio venationis exerceri. Itaque pro merita diligentia magnam laudem assecutum; nam et celerrimum in silvis et acutissimum in Musis factum esse. pro quo studio illius petisse Musas ab Iove, ut in aliquo astrorum numero eum deformaret. Itaque Iovem fecisse; et cum omnia illius artifi cia uno corpore vellet signifi care, crura eius equina fecisse, quod equo multum sit usus, et sagittas adiunxisse ut ex his et acumen et celeritas eius videretur, caudam satyricam in corpore fi nxisse, quod non minus hoc Musae quam Liber {Satyris} sit delectatus. Ante huis pedes stellae sunt pauce in rotundo deformatae, quam coronam huius ut ludentis abiectam nonnulli dixerunt. Sagittarius, … say … some, was the one named Crotus, the son of Eupheme, the nurse of the Muses, according to Sositheus the author of tragedies. His home was on Mount Helicon and he would keep the merry company of the Muses. He also frequently practised his hunting skills. Through diligence he earned and achieved great fame, becoming the swiftest in the forest and very sensitive to the art of the Muses. As a reward for his dedication, the Muses persuaded Jove to turn him into an astral constellation. And this Jove did; and since he wanted to display all his skills in one body, he is said to have given horses’ legs because he frequently rode horses, and added arrows to symbolize his alertness and speed, while to his body The names of the hero in this play are significant: Κρότος means a rattling noise, whereas Εὐφήμη means ‘pious silence’ (alternatively ‘good news’ – the verb from which the name originates has many meanings).

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he also added a Satyr’s tail, for he was no less pleasing to the Muses than Liber (to the Satyrs). At his feet several stars are arranged in a circle, which some say is a wreath thrown by him in play.

T3 ad F5 Σ Germ. Arat. P. 90, 3 Hic (Sagittarius) dicitur Crotus, Euphemes Musarum nutricis filius, ut Sositheus tragoediographus refert, inhabitasse Helicona, qui sagittarius venatu vitam exigeret. At is qui inter Musas saepius moratus plausu cantus earum distinguebat id est ad pedem manibus plaudebat † quem alii timerent, hunc Musae benefi cio Iovis astris intulere. Cuius artes mortales mansere plausus et sagittari. They say that Sagittarius is Crotus, son of Eupheme, the nurse of the Muses, as Sositheus the tragedian reports. He lived on Helicon and spent his life as a hunting archer. On account of the fact that he very often accompanied the Muses, he appreciated their singing with clapping, that is striking his foot with his hands, something others feared [?]. Jove, doing the Muses a favour, raised him up among the stars. His abilities were retained by mortals: clapping and archery.

The above ancient summaries inform us that Sositheus had made the main character of one of his plays Crotus, the son of Eupheme, the nurse of the Muses. Of course, we do not know what kind of a play this was, but Crotus fulfils all the prerequisites for a main character in a satyr play. He is semi-wild, possessing the animal attributes of a centaur and spends his time hunting. At the same time he is also associated with the arts – in childhood, having been raised with the Muses, he became sensitive to their creativity. This fact gave rise to an aetiological tale on the custom of clapping, as he was the first to do so, being unable to express his emotions in any other way. We do not know which part of the Crotus myth was focused on in the plot. Was it is the aition of clapping or the posthumous transformation into a constellation? We can be certain Sositheus referred to Crotus’ love of archery (T1, 2, 3 ad F5). F. Schramm argues that the play was based on the tale of the invention of clapping, for this custom was particularly widespread in Egypt.168 If he is correct, this play would probably have been staged in Alexandria and thus should be considered a late work by Sositheus. On the other hand, clapping was also popular in Classical Greece, as testified in the expression κρότος χειρῶν (Ar. Ra. 157, X. An. 6, 1, 13). It should also be added that a copy of the Sositheus’ drama would have certainly been kept in the Library of Alexandria, since its later chief librarian, Eratosthenes, so scrupulously referred to the play’s plot in his own work. The story in the play must have been set on the inaccessible slopes of Mount Helicon, very much the scenery of a satyr drama.169 Perhaps, apart from Crotus, the play also included the Muses. Although there is no evidence that satyrs were present, it seems probable that they could have formed the choir, for they were as closely associated with wild forests as Crotus himself. The play may have ended with the hero being turned into a constellation, yet it seems more probable that Schramm (1929), p. 48. Vitr. 5.6.9.

168 169

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dramatic emphasis was placed on the aetiology of the clapping theme. This theory is consistent with the view posited by W. Steffen that: ‘The favourite subjects of satyr plays are so-called πρῶτα εὑρήματα, i.e. inventions and discoveries contributing to the development of culture and civilization.’170 Other satyr plays have been about discoveries and inventions, such as the discovery of fire (Aeschylus’ Prometheus the Fire Bringer), the invention of mechanical man (Sophocles’ Amycus), the invention of wine pressing (Sophocles’ Dionysiacus) or the lyre (Sophocles’ The Tracking Satyrs). Thus, in my opinion, it seems very plausible that Sositheus’ play was about the invention of clapping or perhaps the invention of archery, as that was also attributed to Crotus. Here we should bear in mind that in ancient times clapping chiefly served to produce rhythm, and it is about the reintroduction of rhythm to the ‘Doric muse’ that Dioscorides writes in his epigram dedicated to Sositheus (T2), describing it as τὸν ἄρσενα ῥυθμόν. This fact may be linked with what Aristides Quintilianus wrote about the ancients feeling that rhythm was masculine and melody feminine: τινὲς δὲ τῶν παλαιῶν τὸν μὲν ῥυθμὸν ἄρρεν ἀπεκάλουν, τὸ δὲ μέλος θῆλυ. 171 Hence one cannot rule out that Dioscorides’ comment about male rhythm is actually an allusion to Sositheus’ aition of clapping, i.e. striking a rhythm.

Dionysiades (TrGF 105) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 105 T 1 Suda s.v. Διονυσιάδης, Φυλαρχίδου, Μαλλώτης, τραγικός. ἦν δὲ οὗτος τῶν τῆς Πλειάδος, Dionysiades, son of Phylarchides, of Mallos, a tragic poet. He was one of the Pleiad …

T2 TrGF 105 T2 Str. 14.5.15 [regarding outstanding people from Tarsus] … ποιητὴς δὲ τραγῳδίας ἄριστος τῶν τῆς Πλειάδος καταριθμουμένων Διονυσίδης. … and tragic poet, the best of those included in the Pleiad, Dionysides.

Dionysiades172 is included in three Pleiad lists: in the Suda, in Scholia A on Hephaestion and in Choeroboscus. Apart from the above two testimonies, we have no other information regarding this tragedian. The Suda states that he was the son of Phylarchides and came from Mallos in Cilicia, while Strabo lists him as one of the famous people of Tarsus. It is difficult to understand why Strabo defined him as the most outstanding Steffen (1954–5), p. 68. ‘Some of the ancients called rhythm masculine and melody feminine, for melody is passive.’ Aristid. Quint. De mus. 1, 19, Winnington-Ingram. Also see West (1992), p. 129. 172 Dieterich (1905), p. 881. 170 171



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Pleiad member as not a single piece of Dionysiades’ work has survived to this day. Walker173 puts forward the idea that Dionysiades was a ‘family appellation’ and that he was really called Euphronius. This, however, contradicts extant source evidence, where in Choeroboscus they are mentioned as different playwrights, and in Strabo, who writes about Euphronius (8, 6, 24), but does not define him as the ‘the best of those included in the Pleiad’. On a list of tragic poetry agon winners compiled in 278 bc (IG II2 2325) we can still see the initials Δι… (see TrGF 110), which may be interpreted as a statement of Dionysiades’ victories at the Dionysia prior to 278 bc.

Aeantiades (TrGF 102) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Σ B in Heph. p. 279 Consbr. ἐπὶ τῶν χρόνων Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου ἑπτὰ ἄριστοι γεγόνασι τραγικοί. Οὓς Πλειάδας ἐκάλεσαν διὰ τὸ λαμπρούς εἶναι ἐν τῆι τραγικῆι ὥσπερ ἄστρα τὰ ἐν τῆι Πλειάδι. Εἰσὶ δὲ οὗτοι· Ὅμηρος (οὐχ ὁ ποιητής, ἀλλ’ υἱὸς ὁ Μυροῠς τῆς Βυζαντίας ποιητρίδος), καὶ Σωσίθεος, Λυκόφρων καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος καὶ Αἰαντιάδης καὶ Σωσιφάνης καὶ Φιλίσκος. In the times of Ptolemy Philadelphus there were seven of the best tragedians, whom they called the Pleiad, for they shined brightly in the field of tragic poetry like stars in the Pleiad. These were: Homer (not the Poet, but the son of the poetess Myro of Byzantium), Sositheus, Lycophron, Alexander, Aeantiades, Sosiphanes and Philiscus.

T2 Choerob. in Heph. p. 236 Consbr. καὶ οὗτος ὁ Φίλικος. τινὲς ἀντὶ τοῦ Αἰαντιάδου καὶ Σωσιφάνους Διονυσιάδην καὶ Εὐφρόνιον τῇ Πλειάδι συντάττουσιν. … and the well-known Philicus. Others, instead of Aeantiades and Sosiphanes, include Dionysiades and Euphronius among the Pleiad.

T3 Tz. ad Lyc. p. 4 Scheer Πλειάδος ἐλέγοντο· ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα Θεόκριτος ὁ τὰ βουκολικὰ γράψας, Ἄρατος ὁ τὰ Φαινόμενα γράψας καὶ ἕτερα, Νίκανδρος Αἰαντίδης ἢ Ἀπολλώνιος ὁ τὰ Ἀργοναυτικά, Φίλικος, Ὅμηρος ὁ νέος τραγικός […] ὁ Ἀνδρομάχου Βυζάντιος, […] καὶ οὗτος ὁ Λυκόφρων κἂν ἕτεροι μὴ εἰδότες ἄλλους φασὶν εἶναι τῆς Πλειάδος. … they were called the Pleiad. Their names: Theocritus, who wrote bucolics, Aratus, who wrote Phaenomena and other works, Nicander, Aeantides or Walker (1923), p. 249.

173

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Apollonius, the author of Argonautica, Philicus, Homerus, the young tragedian, son of Andromachus of Byzantium (…), and that Lycophron, though other people, not knowing [the matter], say that others belonged to the Pleiad.

This is perhaps the most mysterious Pleiad member. Apart from his name being mentioned on two extant Pleiad lists (testimonia 1 and 2), there is no other source evidence regarding this particular tragedian. Even the Suda does not mention him at all. Yet his name is recorded in two versions. Choeroboscus and the Scholia to Hephaestion mention Aeantiades, whereas Tzetzes calls him Aeantides. On the list of poets who had won tragic poetry contests (carved in the year 278 bc, IG II2 2325) one can actually see the initials AI…174, which have been interpreted as evidence of Aeantiades victories at the Dionysia prior to 278. Nevertheless, one has to concede that in the Greek language many male names begin with the letters ‘AI’ and so drawing such conclusions is very risky. W. Steffen is of the opinion that Aeantiades was not a star in the Pleiad and that his name had appeared on the lists only on account of a simple spelling error.175 We should also consider the fact that in the Greek language the name Aeantiades is rather rare. Therefore Dieterich176 might be right to opt for Tzetzes’ name version, i.e. Aeantides, which appears in inscriptions from diverse parts of Greece as a male name.177 As far as proper nouns are concerned, however, the lectio facilior might be deceptive. For two sources confirm the rarer version and this makes it seem more probable. Be that as it may, regardless of the correct spelling of his name, the chances are that this author appeared on the list of Pleiad poets purely by mistake and it is safest to assume that his name was not featured on the original list.

Euphronius (TrGF 106) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Choerob. in Heph. p. 236 Consbr. καὶ οὗτος ὁ Φίλικος. τινὲς ἀντὶ τοῦ Αἰαντιάδου καὶ Σωσιφάνους Διονυσιάδην καὶ Εὐφρόνιον τῇ Πλειάδι συντάττουσιν. … and the well-known Philicus. Others, instead of Aeantiades and Sosiphanes, include Dionysiades and Euphronius among the Pleiad.

His name178 is found only on the list of Pleiad tragedians in the scholia to Hephaestion. He was an Alexandrian grammarian and the teacher of Aristophanes of Byzantium.179 In his studies he was particularly interested in comedy, hence he is frequently cited in See TrGF, 107. Steffen (1939), p. 24, where he argues that the error resulted from swapping the first two letters, ΔΙΟΝΥΣΙΑΔΗΣ – ΑΙΑΝΤΙΑΔHΣ. 176 Dieterich (1893), p. 929. And after him other authors, including Snell and Kannicht in TrGF. 177 LGPN s.v. 178 Regarding the name forms in the codices, see Schramm (1929), p. 60. 179 Cohn (1909), pp. 1220–1. 174 175



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scholia to Aristophanes. Euphronius was himself also engaged in writing various kinds of literature. He is the author of Priapeia. In this collection of poems he calls Ptolemy IV Philopator the new Dionysus, and since this king ruled in the years 221–205 bc, it is during his reign that the collection is dated. Bearing these dates in mind, one has to note that as a tragedian he was at least a generation younger than the other Pleiad members.180 Therefore he was most probably added to the list later on, or perhaps even by mistake. We have no further details about him as a tragedian.

Other tragedians mentioned in literature Python (TrGF 91) Agen T1 Ath. 2. 50 F ὅτι ᾿Αγῆνα σατυρικόν τι δρᾶμα ἀμφιβάλλεται εἴτε Πύθων ἐποίησεν ὁ Καταναῖος ἢ Βυζάντιος ἢ καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ βασιλεὺς ᾿Αλέξανδρος. Concerning Agen, the satyr play, it is disputed whether the author is Python of Catana or Byzantium, or King Alexander himself.

T2 Ath. 13. 586 D ὁ δὲ γράψας τὸν ᾿Αγῆνα τὸ σατυρικὸν δραμάτιον, εἴτε Πύθων ἐστὶν ὁ Καταναῖος ἢ αὐτὸς ὁ βασιλεὺς ᾿Αλέξανδρος, φησίν (p. 810 N ed.)· The one who had written the satyr play Agen (whether it was Python of Catana or King Alexander himself) says: F 2

T3 Ath 13. 595 E …συνεπιμαρτυρεῖ δὲ τούτοις καὶ ὁ τὸν ᾿Αγῆνα τὸ σατυρικὸν δραμάτιον γεγραφώς, ὅπερ ἐδίδαξεν Διονυσίων ὄντων ἐπὶ τοῦ ῾Υδάσπου [τοῦ] ποταμοῦ, εἴτε Πύθων ἦν ὁ Καταναῖος ἢ [ὁ] Βυζάντιος ἢ καὶ αὐτὸς ὁ βασιλεύς. ἐδιδάχθη δὲ τὸ δρᾶμα ἤδη φυγόντος τοῦ ῾Αρπάλου ἐπὶ θάλατταν καὶ ἀποστάντος. καὶ τῆς μὲν Πυθιονίκης ὡς τεθνηκυίας μέμνηται, τῆς δὲ Γλυκέρας ὡς οὔσης παρ’ αὐτῷ καὶ τοῖς ᾿Αθηναίοις αἰτίας γινομένης τοῦ δωρεὰς λαμβάνειν παρὰ ῾Αρπάλου, λέγων ὧδε F1 … And this is also testified by the one who had written the satyr play Agen, which was staged during the Dionysia celebrated at the banks of Hydaspes River, whether the author was Python of Catana or Byzantium, or King Alexander himself. The drama was staged when Harpalus was already fleeing to the sea after his revolt. And it mentions Pythionice as being already dead and Glycera as being See Schramm (1929), p. 61.

180

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with him [i.e. Harpalus], and as being the reason for the Athenians’ receiving of Harpalus’ gifts. F1

T4 Athen 13. 596A Παλλίδην δ’ ἐνταῦθα ἐκάλεσε τὸν ῞Αρπαλον. ἐν τοῖς ἑξῆς τῷ κυρίῳ καλέσας αὐτόν φησιν· Here he called Harpalus by the name Pallides. But in the next passage he called him by his proper name, saying: F2

F1 ἔστιν δ’ ὅπου μὲν ὁ κάλαμος πέφυχ’ ὅδε † φέτωμ’ ἄορνον. οὑξ ἀριστερᾶς δ’ ὅδε πόρνης ὁ κλεινὸς ναός, ὃν δὴ Παλλίδης τεύξας κατέγνω διὰ τὸ πρᾶγμ’ αὑτοῦ φυγήν. ἐνταῦθα δὴ τῶν βαρβάρων τινὲς μάγοι ὁρῶντες αὐτὸν παγκάκως διακείμενον ἔπεισαν ὡς ἄξουσι τὴν ψυχὴν ἄνω τὴν Πυθιονίκης …)

F2 (…) ἐκμαθεῖν δέ σου ποθῶ μακρὰν ἀποικῶν κεῖθεν, ᾿Ατθίδα χθόνα τίνες τύχαι καλοῦσιν ἢ πράττουσι τί. ὅτε μὲν ἔφασκον δοῦλον ἐκτῆσθαι βίον, ἱκανὸν ἐδείπνουν· νῦν δὲ τὸν χέδροπα μόνον καὶ τὸν μάραθον ἔσθουσι, πυροὺς δ’ οὐ μάλα. καὶ μὴν ἀκούω μυριάδας τὸν ῞Αρπαλον αὐτοῖσι τῶν ᾿Αγῆνος οὐκ ἐλάσσονας σίτου διαπέμψαι καὶ πολίτην γεγονέναι. Γλυκέρας ὁ σῖτος οὗτος ἦν· ἔσται δ’ ἴσως αὐτοῖσιν ὀλέθρου κοὐχ ἑταίρας ἀρραβών. F1 This is where the reed grows, and here is a rock, inaccessible to birds, while on the left the famous temple of the whore, which Pallides built and on this account condemned himself to exile. Here several barbarian magi, seeing his terrible predicament, persuaded him that they would summon up the soul of Pythionice from the dead … F2 A. I wish to learn from you, since I am a long way from there, how are the people of Attica – what are they saying and doing?



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B. They say that when they sold themselves to slavery they feasted, but now they only eat peas with fennel, and hardly any wheat bread. A. But I hear that Harpalus sent them plenty of grain, no less than Agen, and that he became a citizen. B. This grain was for Glycera, but perhaps it will be a deposit for their downfall, not for the hetaera.181.

Agen was most probably first staged in 324 bc and it can certainly be considered a precursor to the Hellenistic satyr play. For this reason we should take a closer look at the two fragments that have survived until our times. There is very little information about this play, but what we know is quite astounding. Athenaeus attributes the two fragments to Python of Catana or Byzantium, or even to king Alexander of Macedonia himself. Most scholars regard this last possibility as quite improbable, the exception being W. Süß, who, like Athenaeus, leaves the matter open.182 The author might have been Python of Byzantium, the rhetor and diplomat at the court of Philip II, who was known for being politically engaged and delivering pro-Macedonian speeches. But it could equally well have been the otherwise littleknown Python of Catana, who on account of having the same name was confused with the famous rhetor. The reference to Alexander seems to be explained by J. Wikarjak, who argues that the king may have been the choregos of this particular play, for which reason his name may have appeared next to that of the author and the title.183 The association of Alexander with this play, as shall soon be shown, is of no small significance. But let us first consider where and in what circumstances this play was staged. Athenaeus writes: ὅπερ ἐδίδαξεν Διονυσίων ὄντων ἐπὶ τοῦ ῾Υδάσπου [τοῦ] ποταμοῦ (13.595E: which was put on during the Dionysia, which took place by the river Hydaspes). We know that in the spring of 326 bc Alexander crossed the Indus and for the first time camped on the Hydaspes. A few months later he was again forced to camp there. And it was then that, according to Arrian,184 Alexander organized musical and gymnastic contests. Snell believes that this was also when the play Agen was staged for the first time, to raise the morale of the exhausted soldiers.185 Nevertheless, one may have justified reservations regarding the information provided by Athenaeus and as well as regarding Snell’s opinion.186 The events in this play concern the famous ‘Harpalus affair’, which did not begin until 325 bc and therefore chronologically could not have been the subject of a play in 326 bc, before it actually happened. Moreover, Arrian writes only about music and gymnastic contests, There are diverse interpretations of this verse. The gen. Γλυκέρας may be interpreted as the corn ‘belongs to’ Glycera or the it is ‘for’ Glycera. Maybe the context is similar to the one about Pythionice in Timocles’ Icarioi Satyroi (Timocles F 16 PCG). 182 Süß (1924), p. 8. 183 Wikarjak (1950), p. 44. 184 Arr. An. V, 3. 185 Snell (1967, 1971). Comp. also a passage on another dramatic event in Diodorus Siculus Library, where he writes expressis verbis that thanks to the festival at Dion in 335 bc Alexander restored the strength of his army (προσανέλαβε τὸ στρατόπεδον, 17. 16. 4). 186 For a detailed criticism of Snell’s stance, see Lloyd-Jones (1966). 181

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but does not mention any dramatic agones being held in the camp on the Hydaspes. Beloch and Körte therefore date the premiere to have occurred in October 324 bc and the venue to have been Ecbatana.187 C. W. Blackwell, in turn, believes it happened towards the end of 325 bc.188 P. Goukowsky believes it was the winter of 325 or early 324 bc, during the Dionysia in Carmania, arguing that Athenaeus’ Hydaspes was actually the river Halil-rud.189 An interesting version of events is presented in an article by J. Wikarjak, which, sadly, due to language barriers (it was only published in Polish) has been more or less ignored by the world’s academic community. In it J. Wikarjak posits that the play was first performed in 324 bc, during the weddings in Susa, in the military camp on the river Choaspes (Karkheh River).190 Wikarjak here explains that in the Greek manuscript this river’s initial letters XO could easily be mistaken for those of Hydaspes, YΔ.191 This thesis can be further supported, in my opinion, by other evidence. These weddings took place in March, and as a result in calendar terms fell more or less during the period of the Great Dionysia in Athens. So perhaps Athenaeus’ original source noted the fact that during the long wedding celebrations stage performances were also put on, just as they were in the birthplace of drama. What is true is that the main extant biographers (Plutarch, Arrian and Curtius) are silent on the topic of theatrical entertainment; however, we should not be surprised at this: these kinds of events were neither shocking nor outrageous, in contrast with the very idea of group weddings with Iranians or the generous gifts bestowed on the feasters. Athenaeus himself reports elsewhere on the performances. During the course of five days artists’ appearances took place with the participation of musicians (soloists and choristers) and also declaimers (Ath. 12.538F-539A): ὑπεκρίθησαν δὲ τραγῳδοὶ μὲν Θεσσαλὸς καὶ Ἀθηνόδωρος καὶ Ἀριστόκριτος, κωμῳδοὶ δὲ Λύκων καὶ Φορμίων καὶ Ἀρίστων. παρῆν δὲ καὶ Φασίμηλος ὁ ψάλτης. οἱ δὲ πεμφθέντες, φησί, στέφανοι ὑπὸ τῶν πρεσβευτῶν καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ταλάντων ἦσαν μυρίων πεντακισχιλίων.’ Performing in addition were the tragic actors Thessalus and Athenodorus and Aristocritus, whereas Lycon, Phormion and Ariston were the comedy performers; and also present was Phasimelos, a harp-player. And he says that the ambassadors and remaining participants funded the crowns [for the victors] for the price of 15,000 talents.

Athenaeus mentions the famous actors and therefore the protagonists of the works. So it was not one play that was performed, but three tragedies and three comedies (or Beloch (1927), p. 435; Körte (1924), p. 220. Blackwell (1999), p. 143. 189 Goukowsky (1978), p. 65–77. 190 The first to propose this version was Droysen (1877), p. 244, but on account of J. Beloch’s criticism this theory was not accepted. 191 Wikarjak (1950), p. 49. Not only could this be the reason for the confusion. As Snell (1971), p. 121 n. 43, notes, ancient authors frequently confused Choaspes and Hydaspes, which might even by the reason why Virgil refers to a river called Hydaspes Medus (Georg. 4.211, and Petronius 123, 239). Beloch’s theory – supported by Sutton (1980a), p. 78 – that this was a river upon which lay Ecbatana, is difficult to support. This city lies at a height of above 1,800 metres, and mountain rivers that flow in the valley of Hamadan are in the main seasonal, and in early autumn are virtually streams. 187 188



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maybe three trilogies). He also clearly tells of the competitions that took place and the funded prizes.192 As a result we are actually dealing with a substitute or in addition some particular form of Dionysiac festival.193 We can conclude that just after these three tragedies Agen was performed. This seems to be the most convincing explanation in terms of the chronology of events and the technical possibilities of staging a new play, but above all because it is entirely consistent with both of Athenaeus’ testimonies. However, the most astounding of all is the actual content of the extant fragments, which concerns the famous Harpalus affair.194 He was Alexander’s trusted friend ever since childhood, and thus perhaps, shortly after the death of Philip II, Alexander appointed him the administrator of his treasury. Harpalus was for the first time involved in a major scam concerning money in 333 bc. Today the details of this scandal remain unknown, but as a result of it Harpalus fled to Megara. Alexander, nevertheless, forgave him and two years later again entrusted him with the state treasury. When Alexander was far away in the East, Harpalus began to doubt he would ever return, and so again embezzled a considerable amount of money. But then news reached Babylon, where Harpalus was posted, of Alexander’s return, that he had passed through Gedrosia and of how brutally he had punished his disloyal prefects. Fearing what might also happen to him, Harpalus again decided to flee. He mustered 6,000, hired a fleet of 30 ships and, trusting in the Greeks’ dissatisfaction with Alexander’s policies as well as the personal gratitude of the Athenians (who had even awarded him citizenship after he had sent them grain at a time of famine), set off for Athens. However, the Athenians refused to let Harpalus and his fleet into their port, for they, too, feared Alexander’s return and did not wish to provoke him. The fugitive official therefore had to retreat to Tainaron. Fairly soon afterwards fortune seemed to once again smile on him. Alexander issued a decree obliging all poleis to receive political refugees. This aroused great anger among the Greeks, as the ruling elites feared the return of their political enemies as well as being forced to return to them their confiscated property. Taking advantage of this new situation, Harpalus returned to Athens, and this time he was received, only to be soon afterwards arrested and imprisoned. Yet he managed to escape and reached Crete. But it was there that he was finally murdered by one of his own men. Harpalus was famous not only on account of his financial abuses and daring actions in serving his own interests, but also on account of his most peculiar lifestyle. For years he had kept in excessive luxury an Athenian hetaera called Pythionice. After her death, he arranged for her a funeral of astounding Eastern opulence and also erected temples dedicated to her: one in Babylon, to Pythionice Aphrodite, and another in Attica. Next he turned his affections to another Athenian hetaera, called Here we should note that these performances were different from the ones that took place in Tyre (Plu. De Alexandrii Magni fortuna aut virtute 326D- 345 B = Moral. 334 E), when Thessalus was competing with Athenodorus and lost. 193 The celebration of weddings with theatrical spectacles was nothing unusual during the Argive dynasty. Certain theatrical performances were also put on to mark the marriage of Alexander I of Epirus to Cleopatra, daughter of Philip II, who was murdered during the occasion. 194 For more on Harpalus, see Heckel (1992), pp. 213–21 and Bosworth (1998), pp. 149–50, 215–20. 192

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Glycera. And again in showering his lover with gifts money was no object, all the more so as it came from the state coffers. In Tarsus Harpalus even ordered that Glycera was to be treated like royalty, while in Rhossus in Syria he had a bronze effigy made of her. For a royal official to display blatant extravagance and brazen moral indecency may have been tolerated in the East, but it certainly outraged the Greeks, all the more so as the satrap’s behaviour reflected badly on Alexander’s internal policies. We may conclude from the text that the play is set in Babylon, near the temple of Pythionice. The local magi promised him that they would summon up Pythionice’s soul from the underworld to comfort Harpalus in his difficult situation. Verse 4 informs us that the financial abuse has already been revealed and that none other than the official had condemned himself to exile, which may be interpreted as a covert reference to Harpalus’ escape from Babylon. Yet, it seems that he had not left Babylon yet; he is only preparing himself to do so, and therefore he is seeking advice from his late mistress. Other allusions to the point in time include the reference ‘I am a long way from there [i.e. Athens]’ (μακρὰν ἀποικῶν κεῖθεν) and questions regarding the mood in this city. This means that Harpalus is still only preparing to travel to Athens, where he expects help for previous services rendered. We should note that from the formal point of view the two fragments are not connected and come from two different parts of the play, though the amount of text left out by Athenaeus is most probably small.195 The first fragment, as W. Süß notes, is a monologue introducing the dramatic plot and therefore most probably the start of the prologue.196 The second fragment is a dialogue between two unidentified characters, of whom one has arrived from Athens. We are not informed who the personae in the play were. Harpalus would have certainly been one of the main characters. On account of the genre it is also highly probable that there were also some satyrs together with Silenus, though there is no evidence in the fragments to confirm this. Snell is of the opinion that the above mentioned magi also had parts in the play. In his opinion satyrs were presented as the barbarian sorcerers and appeared on the stage as the chorus.197 A. von Blumenthal has suggested that the prologue was actually delivered by Silenus. Another character in the play could have been none other than king Alexander, for it has been proved that the name in the title actually refers to him.198 We may note that in the play he does not appear under his real name but as Agen, i.e. Commander,199 although this definition would have been sufficiently clear to the audience. The play is set in Babylon. On the left of the stage was the temple of Pythionice and on the right a place designated as aornon (birdless). The word in known from Sophocles (F748=682N), who describes Lacus Avernus in southern Italy as Aornos

The first to suggest this was Körte (1924), p. 221. See Süß (1939), p. 211. Evidence of this might also be a paraphrased citation from Sophocles’ Electra, which will be discussed later. 197 Snell (1971), p. 107. 198 See Süß (1924), p. 214; Blumenthal (1939), pp. 216–17. 199 Süß suggests the etymology of this word to be a nomen agentis form ἄγω and the Macedonian ἄγημα, which means the person in command. All other scholars have accepted this explanation. 195 196



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limen and sets there the Nekyia of Odysseus. In Python’s play the entrance to Hades is situated in Babylon and the sorcerers can easily bring up the soul of the hetaera.200 What makes this satyr play special are several very significant and unprecedented features. First and foremost it concerns contemporary events, not mythological ones. The Harpalus affair was still ongoing and how it would eventually end was still unknown. The characters in the play were very familiar to the audience, some they even knew personally. The scandal that is the subject of the play was also one of the chief topics of conversation among Alexander’s soldiers. This together with the inclusion of courtesans in the plot makes Agen much more similar to a comedy by Aristophanes than any satyr play from the Classical period. Moreover, this political cabaret or farce was without doubt also intended to be informative and serve propagandistic purposes. Perhaps those close to Alexander were justly concerned on account of the disappearance of Harpalus together with a very considerable sum of money, and the king’s helplessness in this situation only compounded the negative mood. Faced with such a difficult problem, perhaps it was safest to caricature it and, to a certain extent, officially play it down. It is here that the question of Alexander’s authorship re-emerges. Even if it has been proven that he was the choregos rather than the actual writer of the play, this still leaves open the possibility that he was the instigator or that it was written on his express instructions – after all, he was paying for the drama. This would also explain why the author could have been a rhetor and politician who was skilled in interpreting facts favourably to those in authority. Here it is necessary to return briefly to the play’s exact dating. I stated earlier that the performances took place in March in the year 324 bc in Susa. Let us return briefly to Beloch’s theory – which is also now accepted by Sutton – that Agen was put on in the autumn of the same year in Ecbatana. In reality, as is certified by Plutarch, theatrical performances were put on there in succession, and as many as 3,000 actors were brought from Greece for the occasion (Alex. 72). Do these few months have any significance for the performance of the play? From the perspective of the drama, quite possibly not; but from a political one – without a doubt. Sutton focuses on explaining the political and propagandistic significance of the play precisely in the year 324 bc, and on refuting the theory of Lloyd-Jones – that Agen was a work in the manner of a modern music-hall comedian’s jibes at the fall of a minister, and an innocent piece of fun. In actual fact, this satyr play was significantly more than this – it was not only essential as the official version of events, but also an attempt to discredit Harpalus and to lighten the general mood.201 In the spring of 324 bc, Alexander’s relationship with his army was markedly more tense than it was a few months later at Ecbatana. Suffice to say that during the summer, a few months after the weddings in Susa, a famous uprising took place in Opis (Arr. An. 7, 6-7). However, more important is the An in-depth description of the hypothetical set is found in Snell (1971), pp. 110ff. Here it must be noted that the dissemination of the official version in its early form and its stance towards Harpalus was publicized in the denunciation letter of Theopompus (Ath. 13, 595 A = FGrHist 115 F 253) on the subject of Harpalus’ ostentatious lifestyle and his relationship with the concubine Pythionice. This letter did not have to be a direct source for the author of Agen (thus Snell (1971), p.123f.), since the information contained in it was already commonly known in 324 bc, as is shown by the references in the comedies by Alexis and Philemon.

200 201

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fact that in Susa itself things had reached the point that the king made an unexpected move. He decided to pay off the debts of all his soldiers, but according to various authors they reached from nearly 10,000 to 20,000 talents. We might wonder where this sudden generosity on the part of the king came from, since it was received with disbelief and mistrust even by the creditors (they did not want to enrol on the lists of payment, believing that Alexander wanted to check which of them was living above his means).202 The immediate incentive for settling the army’s claims was its anxiety about the state of the public purse after the escape of Harpalus. The mockery directed at the latter through the performance of Agen and the unheard-of organization of the extravagant weddings in Susa, in addition to the settlement of the soldiers’ debts, proved that the episode of the embezzlement of the public purse meant nothing, and that Alexander would always have enough money (even with his current taxes). Therefore, the performance of Agen in the spring and not the autumn was precisely a necessity from the perspective of royalist propaganda. A few months after the suppression of the uprising at Opis, at Ecbatana, Alexander’s relationship with his army was no longer so strained. Here we might also be tempted to hypothesize on reconstructing the play’s possible ending. We know that the satyr play had to finish with a laetus exitus, and therefore in the case of a negative character, the anti-hero had to be punished. It is easy to imagine that the person to teach the miscreant official a lesson would be Agen. Thus the play would end with Alexander’s victory and the expulsion or even killing of Harpalus. At this point one can explain most probably why Python selected this literary genre to present this particular problem. Why, if he could have written a Classical comedy, did he write a satyr play, a genre traditionally quite remote from such themes? The argument that the contemporary, so-called Middle Comedy only concerned manners is not only uncertain but also quite inadequate. Why did Python write a peculiar ‘Aristophanic’ satyr play when he could equally well have written a normal Aristophanic-style comedy? This question is all the more pertinent because, also thanks to Athenaeus, we know both Harpalus and Pythionice were being ridiculed in the contemporary comedies of Philemon, Timocles, Antiphanes and Alexis203. It seems that the nub of the problem is in the persona of Alexander: the king appearing as a character in a comedy would be demeaning, but his role in a satyr drama would put him on a par with Heracles and Dionysus, who were frequently featured as saviours in such plays. If in such a play a hero or a god could be portrayed with humour, such a portrayal would also do no harm to the reputation of the new ruler of the world. R. Pretagostini suggests that the decision to write a satyr play was actually due to the association of the personae Agen-Alexander-Dionysus.204 Ever since his Indian expedition, the identification of Alexander with Dionysus had become an element of royal propaganda. All scholars have noticed that the play Agen shares many characteristics with other genres, particularly comedy. Above all the subject, i.e. political current affairs, See Nawotka (2010), p. 347. Philemo F15 PCG, Alexis F 143 PCG, Timocles F 16 PCG, Antiphanes F 27, 20 PCG. 204 Pretagostini (2003), pp. 169–70. Previously suggested by Webster in Snell (1971), p. 117n. 33. 202 203



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is typical of comedy, but also the metre in the fragments cited by Athenaeus is more reminiscent of comedy than of the satyr play.205 Of course, there are only 19 verses, but it seems rather unlikely that the lost remainder of the play differed so greatly as not to have the same irregularities. Of the 19 extant verses, as many as 11 have resolutions. Anapaests appear twice in the second foot (1, 8; 2, 9), once in the fourth foot (2, 7) and once in the fifth (1, 6). Dactyls appear twice in the fifth foot (2, 5 and 2, 9), whereas Porson’s law is broken in verse 11 of fragment 2. From a literary point of view the comic aspect of Agen is also quite interesting, since one can hardly classify it as typical in satyr drama. One can say that this play essentially mixes various styles and genres. In order to better understand the forthrightness of the humour in Python’s play, we should take a closer look at some of the jokes contained in the two short fragments. The play was staged when the Harpalus affair was still on everyone’s lips, so while some allusions might seem meaningless to the modern reader, they would have been patently obvious to the audience. The first of these is the notion of ‘summoning back up the soul’, which then had many connotations. For instance, this theme appears in Aeschylus’ Persians, but it can also be found in Old Comedy. In Aristophanes’ Birds, Socrates is said to ψυχαγωγεῖ the souls from the underworld, which is also meant as a gag about a psychomanteum.206 Another extant satyr play fragment concerning the summoning of souls from the underworld is Aeschylus’ Trophoi. A different aspect of the play that is difficult for us to grasp concerns the ridicule of barbarians. The cunning magi who wish to exploit the gullibility of the bereaved Harpalus are distinctive character types in later farces. Their precursors, however, can be found much earlier, and also in Attic comedy. Fake Persian emissaries, babbling incomprehensible phrases and speaking dreadfully bad Greek in Aristophanes’ Acharnians can serve as a prime example. However, in Agen fun is also made of the Greeks, and more specifically the Athenians. When they were Alexander’s subjects, they felt they were slaves but had full stomachs, whereas now all they have to eat are pulses and only rarely bread. This is a subtle jibe at the stance taken by supporters of freedom and democracy that values impoverished liberty more than prosperity, something that would seem quite risible to most Greeks. The next two verses cast the Athenians in an even worse light. The sentence Γλυκέρας ὁ σῖτος οὗτος ἦν· ἔσται δ’ ἴσως || αὐτοῖσιν ὀλέθρου κοὐχ ἑταίρας ἀρραβών puts them in the role of a common pimp selling a hetaera. It has been established that the ἀρραβών word is also taken to mean a payment for a prostitute.207 A similar association appears in Herodas’ Mime II, where the work of a brothel owner is compared to that of a grain merchant.208 Perhaps this is just because both types of trade were so common, and only the products differed. Probably the most obscure joke in the entire play is calling Harpalus ‘Pallides’. There appears to be no obvious reason why he should have been called this. Associating Pallides with Athena Pallas seems probable as an intended joke regarding Sutton (1980a), p. 77. Ar. Av. 1555. 207 See Hommel (1940), p. 238; Snell (1971), p. 115. 208 Herodas II, 16–18: …]..χ…ν “ἐξ ῎Ακης ἐλήλ̣ο̣υ̣θα || πυρ]οὺς ἄγω̣ν κἤστησα τὴν κακὴν λιμ̣όν,” || ….] ε̣ π̣ό̣[ρ]νας ἐκ Τύρου· τί τῶι δήμωι. 205 206

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Harpalus’ newly acquired Athenian citizenship.209 W. Süß suggests that the name had an obscene connotation as it sounds similar to the Greek word φαλλός.210 Bearing in mind that Harpalus was famous for his kept women and his particular habit of funding temples to Aphrodite, such a joke cannot be ruled out and it is probably not without reason that the word Pallides is also reminiscent of the Greek word παλλακίς, which means mistress. We might ask ourselves, to what end do the magi want to conjure up Pythionice’s spirit? This must obviously have some comical or satirical overtone. It was certainly a feature that could still further demean Harpalus in the eyes of his army. Perhaps the intention was to show him as a man unfit to make sensible (or indeed any) decisions without consulting his mistress, which in an overt way mocked and undermined him as a leader and politician. It is also possible that Pythionice, newly risen from the dead, was meant to comfort Harpalus in another, more obscene way – an element characteristic of old Greek comedy and other burlesque-miming acts. However, whatever the reason for Pythionice’s return to life, it is important that Harpalus is presented surely as a man dependent on and addicted to her presence. In this way his presentation is emasculating. In this play we are also dealing with the parody of a tragedy. W. Süß points to the parallel between the beginning of Agen and that of Sophocles’ Electra. The similarity between the verses is so great that it must be more than a mere coincidence. In Sophocles’ play we read (vv. 7–8): οὑξ ἀριστερᾶς δ’ ὅδε || ῞Ηρας ὁ κλεινὸς ναός, whereas in Python’s play we read οὑξ ἀριστερᾶς δ’ ὅδε || πόρνης ὁ κλεινὸς ναός. Such a tragic parody, and especially turning the name of a goddess into an obscene word, is certainly intended to be humorous. As has been shown by R. Pretagostini, this is not the only reference to Sophocles, the δοῦλον ἐκτῆσθαι βίον verse is reminiscent of verse 302 in Women of Trachis: δοῦλον ἴσχουσιν βίον.211 Clearly such allusions were intended for an audience that was very familiar with the culture of Greek theatre. Essentially, one can say that the only aspect of Agen that is characteristic of the satyr play is its setting. A distant land, in this case Babylon, was for most Greeks virtually a mythical place. It is in such semi-mythical regions that Euripides’ Busiris is set. And yet in this case we cannot speak of the setting being selected on account of its mythical connotations. Indeed, for most Greeks Babylon was as distant as Busiris’ homeland in Egypt, but not for the audience that saw Agen. These were Alexander’s soldiers, at that point in time still posted in a place not so long ago considered mythical, for whom Babylon was as real as Athens was to the audiences of Aristophanes. Alexander had opened up new horizons for the Greeks not only in the strictly geographical sense. He had also forced changes in literature, for what had until then been considered mythical, now became reality and in the future would be legendary. Palpable evidence of this is the extant fragments from Python’s play. That is why D. F. Sutton’s view that Agen was not the first play of its sort, and that such a great innovation could not have been made by an unknown poet in such peculiar circumstances seems quite This has been suggested by Sutton (1980b), p. 96. Süß (1924), p. 216. The very first person to propose such an amendment to the text was Meineke (1867), p. 280. 211 Pretagostini (2003), p. 172. 209 210



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unacceptable.212 The very fact that the play was commissioned by the king to fulfil a very specific political goal in such unusual circumstances could indeed be the actual reason why such a revolutionary change was possible. Perhaps in reality there had been earlier tendencies to modernize the satyr drama, but today we have no evidence of this. Lycophron’s Menedemus and Sositheus’ play attacking Cleanthes are sometimes cited as early examples of this new genre, but chronologically both plays postdate Agen. For us, therefore, Agen is the very first example of this new kind of play. Moreover, it is quite possible that the play’s exceptional status was also apparent to Athenaeus, who describes it as τὸ σατυρικὸν δραμάτιον, and his using the deminutivum does not necessarily have to mean that the play was short.

Timon of Phlius (TrGF 112) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 D.L. 9.109. 1–3 ᾿Απολλωνίδης ὁ Νικαεὺς […] φησὶ τὸν Τίμωνα εἶναι πατρὸς μὲν Τιμάρχου, Φλιάσιον δὲ τὸ γένος· Apollonides of Nicaea … says that Timon’s father was Timarchus, a native of Phlius …

T2 D.L. 9.110. 10–12 ποιήματα συνέγραφε· καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἔπη καὶ τραγῳδίας καὶ σατύρους (καὶ δράματα κωμικὰ τριάκοντα, τὰ δὲ τραγικὰ ἑξήκοντα) σίλλους τε καὶ κιναίδους. … he wrote poems, epics, tragedies and satyr plays (thirty comedies and sixty tragedies), Silloi and Kinaidoi.

T3 D.L. 9.113. 1–3 […] φιλογράμματός τε καὶ τοῖς ποιηταῖς μύθους γράψαι ἱκανὸς καὶ δράματα συνδιατιθέναι. μετεδίδου δὲ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ καὶ ῾Ομήρῳ. … a lover of books who could write plots for poets and help create plays. He co-authored tragedies with Alexander and Homerus.

In discussing Hellenistic tragedians from beyond the Pleiad it is right that we should start with the sceptic philosopher Timon of Phlius, who lived in the years 320–230 bc213 and collaborated with two of the Pleiad tragedians. According to Diogenes Laertius (9.109–16), he was the son of Timarchus. Orphaned at an early age, he initially earned his living as a dancer. He later took lessons from Stilpo in Megara and Sutton (1980a), p. 77. For the account of Timon as philosopher and the author of Silloi, see: Long (1978); Decleva Caizzi (1986), pp. 147–83; Clayman (2009).

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later from Pyrrho in Elis. Next he moved to Chalcedon, and then to Athens, where he lived until his death at the age of 90. He also spent some time in Thebes, where he became personally acquainted with Antigonus Gonatas. Timon also personally knew Ptolemy Philadelphus, so he may have additionally spent some time in Alexandria.214 In the field of literature he was exceptionally prolific, writing not only poetry, but also prose. As an author he is most famous for his Silloi and Indalmoi, though he was also not averse to writing obscene poetry (kinaidologia).215 In total he wrote 30 comedies and 60 tragedies, which most probably also included satyr plays.216 The exact nature of the collaboration between Timon and two eminent Pleiad members, Homerus of Byzantium and Alexander Aetolus, remains unclear. We do not know how to properly interpret the expression δράματα συνδιατιθέναι. μετεδίδου δὲ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ καὶ ῾Ομήρῳ. Did it mean that he shared his tragedies with fellow poets in the literal sense, i.e. allowed his colleagues to take the credit for staging his works, or did he, with his erudite knowledge of literature, simply provide the tragedians with mythological themes for them themselves to fashion into plays?217 To this day this question remains unanswered, all the more so because none of the plays in question has survived. The preceding statement (μύθους γράψαι ἱκανός) suggests that Timon was talented in dramatizing myths, but that still begs the question why such famous tragedians should need his assistance. Unknown also are the reasons why Timon was not included in Pleiad lists, as is the place where these three eminent people could have met. It is very probable that his activities as a philosopher and author of obscene poetry eclipsed his stage works.

Callimachus (TrGF 234) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Suda s.v. Καλλίμαχος, υἱὸς Βάττου καὶ Μεσάτμας, Κυρηναῖος, γραμματικός, (…) ἐπὶ δὲ τῶν χρόνων ἦν Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλαδέλφου. (…) τῶν δὲ αὐτοῦ βιβλίων ἐστὶ καὶ ταῦτα· (…) σατυρικὰ δράματα, τραγῳδίαι, κωμῳδίαι, … Callimachus, son of Battus and Mesatme, a native of Cyrene, grammarian … from the times of Ptolemy Philadelphus, among his works there are also: … satyr plays, tragedies, comedies …

Apart from the Suda, no other source confirms that Callimachus authored tragedies and satyr plays. Nevertheless, F. Schramm218 is right to note that among this author’s many works, covering virtually all genres, there could also have been stage plays. He was closely associated with two eminent Pleiad members, Alexander Aetolus and Nestle (1937), p. 1301. Comp. Di Marco (1989); Brunschwig (1995), pp. 271–87. 216 Wachsmuth (1885), p. 20. 217 Wachsmuth (1885), pp. 18–19. 218 Schramm (1929), p. 63. 214 215



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Lycophron, and therefore perhaps he competed with them in the field of writing dramas. Yet his name does not appear on any of the extant Pleiad lists, which would suggest that his plays were not well appreciated or popular. His extant poetry displays meticulousness, great attention to detail, erudition and formal perfection. One may therefore assume that if Callimachus did genuinely also write tragedies, they would also have these qualities, which does not necessarily mean that they would have been written with dramatic flair. The difference between Callimachus’ acquired artistic taste and that of the general public is actually mentioned in an epigram on Theaetetus (AP 9, 565).219 Perhaps an inability (or unwillingness) to meet the general public’s expectations was the reason why Callimachus’ plays proved unpopular and were thus forgotten and lost to future generations. An interesting testimony on Callimachus’ dramatic writings is also his own satiric epigram (AP 11. 362), in which he states that because of writing one drama he has lost many good friends. Unfortunately the epigram is quite enigmatic and we do not really know if he meant a tragedy, comedy or a satyr play. In this epigram Callimachus identifies himself with Orestes and his ex-friends with Pylades, which could indicate in my opinion a tragedy. We also find a connection to dramatic composition in a different epigram AP 9.566, which refers to dramatic contests. Its contents show clearly that Callimachus took or intended to take part in this type of event. Nevertheless, it has to be added that Snell and Kannicht dispute the veracity of the Suda entry and argue that Callimachus should not be considered a playwright.220

Theaetetus (TrGF 117) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Call. Epigr. 7 Pf. (AP 9.565) ῏Ηλθε Θεαίτητος καθαρὴν ὁδόν. εἰ δ’ ἐπὶ κισσόν τὸν τεὸν οὐχ αὕτη, Βάκχε, κέλευθος ἄγει, ἄλλων μὲν κήρυκες ἐπὶ βραχὺν οὔνομα καιρόν φθέγξονται, κείνου δ’ ῾Ελλὰς ἀεὶ σοφίην. Theaetetus pursued a pure path. Yet if This route, Bacchus, did not lead to your ivy, Let the names of others for a short while be Announced by heralds, but his wisdom by Hellas forever.

T2 Pride of Halicarnassus: editio princeps: S. Isager, ZPE 123 (1998) v. 48 ἥδε Θεαιτήτου πνεῦμ’ ἐλόχευς’ ἱερόν (Halicarnassus) who gave birth to the holy spirit of Theaetetus See the next section on Theaetetus. Snell and Kannicht in TrGF, Callimachus, no. 234 (p. 327), among Poetae falsi vel maxime dubii.

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Theaetetus is known to us as the author of six extant epigrams.221 What we know about him comes mainly from the above cited epigram by Callimachus, who was his contemporary. The period he lived in has been to a certain extent established on the basis of an epitaph he wrote for the philosopher Crantor (D.L. 4, 25). Crantor died sometime before 270 (or 266/65),222 which determines the epigram’s terminus post quem. It is difficult to ascertain whether Theaetetus was the author of dramas or rather of dithyrambs. Both forms were associated with Dionysus, and that is why we do not know which art form is alluded to in Callimachus’ epigram. All we know of his stage work is that it appealed to the learned Callimachus but not to the general public. The epigram provides a very ambiguous description of Theaetetus’ works. The expression καθαρὴν has more than one meaning. Does it mean unobstructed, as is suggested by the editors to the commentary, A. S. F. Gow and D. L. Page,223 or, conversely, was it a novel way of saying ‘unbeaten track’, or does it mean that Theaetetus’ writing was stylistically perfect? These questions have never been answered, if only because there are no extant examples of Theaetetus’ work. Nevertheless, we may to some extent hypothesize on the basis of Callimachus’ use of metaphors in his other writings. For example, in epigram AP 12.43 he uses the phrase [… Ἐχθαίρω τὸ ποίημα τὸ κυκλικὸν οὐδὲ κελεύθῳ / χαίρω, τίς πολλοὺς ὧδε καὶ ὧδε φέρει] to express his disapproval of the ‘path’ selected by other poets – in this case, repeating the formal motifs that had been invented by the authors of cyclic epics. He uses the adjective ‘pure’ to mean ideal form in his Hymn to Apollo (v. 111), where the god of poetry contrasts the pure source, from which one should draw, with a silted-up Assyrian river. The famous Pride of Halicarnassus inscription (discovered in 1995) seems to suggest yet another consideration as there Theaetetus is mentioned between the names of two comedy writers, Menestheus (PCG VII, 3) and Dionysius (PCG V, p. 41).224 The Catalogue of Halicarnassian Authors in the Pride of Halicarnassus is compiled chronologically, but also groups the authors according to types of literary genre. Therefore there can be no doubt that the author of the inscription considered Theaetetus to be a writer of comedies as well as a distinguished son of Halicarnassus. However, one might be surprised by the fact that he moreover possessed a ‘holy spirit’. This certainly seems to be a rather turgid way to speak about a comedy writer, even if it is consistent with the grandiloquent tone of the epigram written by Callimachus in his honour.

Moschion (TrGF 97) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF97 T 1 Geffcken (1934), p. 1372. Four of these epigrams, which have been preserved in the Greek Anthology, come from the Stephanos of Meleager and the other two have been quoted by Diogenes Laertius, see: Gow (1959), pp. 5–7; Livrea (1989), pp. 24–31. 222 See Gow and Page (1965), p. 520. 223 Gow and Page (1965), p. 210. 224 For the editions of The Pride of Halicarnassus, see S. Isager, The Pride of Halikarnassos, Editio princeps of an inscription from Salmakis, ZPE 123 (1998), pp. 1–23; H. Lloyd-Jones, The Pride of Halicarnassus, ZPE 124 (1999a), pp. 1–14, and Corrigenda and Addenda, ZPE 127 (1999b) pp. 63–5. See also Gagné (2006).

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Pocula Boscoreali inventa: Μοσχίων ᾿Αθηναῖος (fig. 4)

T2 TrGF97 T2 Inscr. Statuae Neapolit. Inv. 6238: Μοσχίων (fig. 5)

Virtually nothing is known about the tragedian Moschion. We do not know where he was from or when he lived. Scholars had once classified him as a fourth-century poet, until U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff225 noticed that there is no logical basis upon which to assume such a time period. Judging by the preserved title of one of his plays, the Men of Pherae, we can assume that he wrote the tragedy after the death of Alexander of Pherae, which occured in 358 bc. However, this is merely a terminus post quem. On the basis of references in Middle and New Comedy,226 where someone called Moschion appears as a parasite or alternatively as a youth, scholars such as W. Kayser, F. W. Wagner, A. Meineke, O. Ribbeck and A. Nauck (TGF 2, 812) have argued that he was indeed active in the fourth century.227 F. Schramm, however, regarded such a method of identifying people as unverifiable and, after conducting a detailed analysis of phraseology and metre, assessed his extant work to originate from the Alexandrian age.228 Both the iambic trimeter and the application of caesuras resemble the techniques used by Sositheus, Sosiphanes and Lycophron.229 Apart from his name and ethnikon, Testimony 1 does not impart any direct information about Moschion. However, the fact that Moschion is named and represented on this silver skyphos is significant. The vessel is one of the two famous silver cups, which formed a pair of modioli with a complementary repoussé decoration depicting the skeletons of famous Greek writers and philosophers.230 The cups are part of a remarkable tableware collection found at a Roman villa at Boscoreale and must be dated to the first century ad, prior to the eruption of Vesuvius. The main message of the cups is the brevity of life and the final victory of Epicurean philosophy, emphasized by engraving mottoes and a main scene with Epicurus debating with Zeno, founder of the Stoic philosophical school, in front of a two mating dogs. On the cups, beneath garlands of flowers, Clotho looks at Menander, Euripides, Archilochus, Monimus the Cynic, Demetrius of Phalerum, Sophocles and Moschion. It clearly suggests that Moschion was considered to be a tragedian worthy of being immortalized alongside the two Great Tragedians and his famous contemporary, Menander. Each writer is depicted with a proper attribute of literary genre and a name engraved in dots to form captions. Moschion is represented with a satyr play mask, which is quite interesting as it is the only testimony attesting to him as an author of satyr plays. It is also worth mentioning that the second testimony Wilamowitz-Moellendorff (1924), p. 149n. 1. Alexis PCG 238, Strato PCG 1.13. 227 Kayser (1845), p. 240; Wagner (1846), p. 1; Meineke (1855), p. 111; Ribbeck (1875), p. 152. 228 Schramm (1929), pp. 66–7. 229 See Schramm (1929), p. 81. 230 Baratte (1986), pp. 35, 65–7 and 91 225 226

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Figure 4.  A silver skyphos from the treasure of Boscoreale, representing Moschion as a skeleton. Musée du Louvre. is a signature beneath a sculpture dated c. 300 bc. The sculpture depicts him as a balding man with a thick beard and seems to be a fairly good representation. Both artefacts prove his great popularity in the Hellenistic era. None of Moschion’s plays have survived in their entirety. However, thanks to Stobaeus, we know the titles of three: Themistocles, Men of Pherae and Telephus. The first two of these concerned historical events. Extant fragments of his plays, on account of the fact that they were recorded by Stobaeus, are of a general and moralizing nature, which rules them out as a basis for any reconstruction or even speculation with regard to the plots.

Themistocles F1 Stob. 4, 10, 17 Μοσχίωνος ἐκ Θεμιστοκλέους. Καὶ γὰρ ἐν νάπαις βραχεῖ



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Figure 5.  Moschion. The hands and head are an element of sculptural reconstruction Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

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πολὺς σιδήρῳ κείρεται πεύκης κλάδος· καὶ βαιὸς ὄχλος μυρίας λόγχης κρατεῖ.

From Moschion’s Themistocles: For also in the wooded valley A little iron cuts many pine branches And a handful of men defeats thousands of spears

Taken out of context, this fragment of Themistocles preserved by Stobaeus speaks of a small group of men defeating a myriad of armed enemies. We do not know which episode in the great leader’s life this statement refers to. We do not know what part of the play it comes from, nor do we know who said it and in what context. Meineke and Wagner considered it to be a description of the battle of Salamis and the tragedy, like Aeschylus’ lost play Women of Salamis, to be in its entirety about this historic event. Ribbeck231 questions this view and suggests that the statement could equally well be part of a conversation between Themistocles and King Artaxerxes regarding the sending of ships against Cimon. Ribbeck’s hypothesis is interesting in that it is consistent with the aesthetic interests of the Hellenistic age. The tragedy could very well have been set in the exotic scenery of the court of an Eastern ruler. Such themes were also not uncommon in the Classical period – suffice to mention Aeschylus’ Persians. In fact, Themistocles’ life story is full of episodes that were ideal subjects for a tragedy, including his suicide, committed at a particularly dramatic moment in history. There is also a generally rejected theory that Moschion’s play was about the battle of Cnidus. Nevertheless, when reading the three verses, it is hard not to notice their typically gnomic and universal tenor, and that is why one cannot construe from them any specific historical event. What we can say, though, is that the subject of this tragedy was historic, and, what is more, it concerned the history of Athens as well as its outstanding political leader.

Telephus F2 Stob. 1. 4. 1 Μοσχίωνος Τηλέφου. ῏Ω καὶ θεῶν κρατοῦσα καὶ θνητῶν μόνη Μοῖρ’, ὦ λιταῖς ἄτρωτε δυστήνων βροτῶν, πάντολμ’ ᾿Ανάγκη, στυγνὸν ἣ κατ’ αὐχένων ἡμῶν ἐρείδεις τῆσδε λατρείας ζυγόν. From Moschion’s Telephus. O Moira, who alone rules both gods And mortals, impervious to the pleas of unhappy people, O all-daring Necessity, on our backs You place the dismal yoke of your service.

Telephus was a popular tragic hero. The theme of him killing his mother’s brothers, Hippothous and Pereus, was used by Sophocles in Aleadae, whereas the theme of Wagner (1878), p. 74; Meineke (1839), p. 522; Ribbeck (1875), p. 147.

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being reunited with and recognizing his mother was most probably used in the Mysians. Euripides authored a play entitled Telephus in which the hero, disguised as a beggar, goes to Aulis and begs Achilles to heal a wound which the same Achilles had previously inflicted on him. Euripides also recounts the tale of Telephus abducting the child Orestes in order to blackmail the Greek army. We do not know which of these tales Moschion based his drama on. The extant fragment has survived by chance and what it expresses, the helplessness of humankind in the face of fate, could apply to any episode in the hero’s life story.

Men of Pherae F3 Stob. 4, 57, 3 Μοσχίωνος ἐκ Φεραίων. Κενὸν θανόντος ἀνδρὸς αἰκίζειν σκιάν· ζῶντας κολάζειν, οὐ θανόντας εὐσεβές. From Moschion’s Men of Pherae. To torment the shadow of a dead man is futile, It is right to punish the living, not the deceased.

This is the second historic play attributed to Moschion, and the story is almost contemporary to his own lifetime, or at least within the living memories of his audience. A. Meineke, O. Ribbeck and F. Schramm232 all concur in the opinion that the play was about Alexander of Pherae, the tyrant (or rather tagos) of Thessaly in the years 369–358 bc. Ancient sources present Alexander as an exceptionally cruel and ruthless man, though here one has to bear in mind that these sources are very favourable towards his enemy, Pelopidas. Plutarch (Pel. 29, 7) and Diodorus (15, 75) describe the massacres he perpetrated in the cities of Skotousa and Meliboea in Thessaly, to which Plutarch adds gory details of terrible atrocities, such as people being buried alive or dressed in animal skins so that the dogs could be set on them. If Moschion’s play was for an Athenian audience, it may have included the fact that Alexander had betrayed their city by forming an alliance with Thebes and defeating the Athenian fleet at Peparethus in 362 bc. However, we have no way of knowing for certain which events were included in the play, and if the theme was political, it could equally well have focused on the 364 bc battle of Cynoscephalae, which Alexander lost against Thebes. The Men of Pherae title suggests that the choir comprised the city’s inhabitants and that was where the action of the drama took place. From the dramatic point of view, it seems highly likely that there would have been a portrayal of the Thessalian ruler’s bloody demise – and the first to suggest this was A. Meineke. Alexander was Schramm (1929), p. 68; Ribbeck (1875), p. 156; Meineke (1855b), p. 106. The title Men of Pherae may indicate that the play was undertaking the subject of Alcestis, but I cannot find any justification for this assumption. It is difficult to find a reason to use the phrase about tormenting the corpses in the drama based on the myth as we know it from Euripides’ play (and in the case of Moschion, Euripides would be the most obvious model). Alcestis’ body was treated with respect and she is the only one who dies within the play.

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murdered by his wife’s brothers. Plutarch (Pel. 35, 6) and Xenophon (HG 4, 4) report the events very similarly: Alexander’s wife, Thebe, persuaded her three brothers, Tisiphonus, Pytholaus and Lycophron, to kill her husband when he was asleep. First she let them into the king’s private chambers, and then in the night, using threats and extortion, she forced the terrified men to commit the crime. According to Xenophon, the reason Thebe did this was because Alexander had murdered a boy that she had begged him to release, or alternatively because Alexander intended to marry Jason’s widow.233 The murder scene as depicted by Plutarch resembles the sad end that befell king Agamemnon of Mycenae, killed by his own wife and her lover, Aegisthus. From the theatrical perspective, this final episode in the Pheraean tyrant’s life is undoubtedly the most spectacular. Plutarch additionally describes how Alexander’s body was thrown out of the palace and seized by a crowd of Pheraeans. This could well have been the final scene in the tragedy, with the participation of the choir, and hence the title: Men of Pherae. Ribbeck notes that Alexander of Pherae’s family history resembles the story of Tantalus’ family. Alexander came to power by killing his uncle Polyphron, who had earlier murdered his own brother. Thebe, Alexander’s aforementioned wife, was Polyphron’s niece. Thus there is an obvious tragic conflict to be used in such a play. Ribbeck posits that one of the central issues in Moschion’s play was the fate of Alexander’s body. Basing his arguments of the version passed on to us by Theopompus (FGrH 115 F 352), he believes that in the tragedy the tyrant’s body was thrown into the sea and later, thanks to the intervention of Dionysus, whom Alexander had ardently worshipped, pulled ashore by a fisherman. The above cited fragment, which describes punishing the deceased (defiling corpses), could have come from this part of the play. If so, then fragment 10 could also most probably be interpreted in the context of Alexander of Pherae. The similarity between the two texts is additionally stressed by the verb αἰκίζειν. Of course, the similarity of themes and phrases could be purely coincidental, whereas also including fragment 4 in Men of Pherae merely on account of an aetiological tale regarding the burial of bodies is less than tenuous.

Incertarum Fabularum Fragmenta F4 (TrGF 6) Stob. 1. 8. 38 Πρῶτον δ’ ἄνειμι καὶ διαπτύξω λόγῳ ἀρχὴν βροτείου καὶ κατάστασιν βίου· ἦν γάρ ποτ’ αἰὼν κεῖνος, ἦν ποθ’ ἡνίκα θηρσὶν διαίτας εἶχον ἐμφερεῖς βροτοί, ὀρειγενῆ σπήλαια καὶ δυσηλίους φάραγγας ἐνναίοντες· οὐδέπω γὰρ ἦν For the murder motivations, also see: Cic. Off. 7. 25; Val. Max. 9. 3. 5. Plutarch (Pel. 28. 9) moreover speaks of Alexander seducing Thebe’s youngest brother.

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Tragedians and Tragedies οὔτε στεγήρης οἶκος, οὔτε λαΐνοις εὐρεῖα πύργοις ὠχυρωμένη πόλις· οὐ μὴν ἀρότροις ἀγκύλοις ἐτέμνετο μέλαινα καρποῦ βῶλος ὀμπνίου τροφός, οὐδ’ ἐργάτης σίδηρος εὐιώτιδος θάλλοντας οἴνης ὀρχάτους ἐτημέλει, ἀλλ’ ἦν ἀκύμων † κωφεύουσα ῥέουσα γῆ. βοραὶ δὲ σαρκοβρῶτες ἀλληλοκτόνους παρεῖχον αὐτοῖς δαῖτας· ἦν δ’ ὁ μὲν Νόμος ταπεινός, ἡ Βία δὲ σύνθρονος Διί, ὁ δ’ ἀσθενὴς ἦν τῶν ἀμεινόνων βορά. ᾿Επεὶ δ’ ὁ τίκτων πάντα καὶ τρέφων χρόνος τὸν θνητὸν ἠλλοίωσεν ἔμπαλιν βίον, εἴτ’ οὖν μέριμναν τὴν Προμηθέως σπάσας, εἴτ’ οὖν ἀνάγκην, εἴτε τῇ μακρᾷ τριβῇ αὐτὴν παρασχὼν τὴν φύσιν διδάσκαλον, τόθ’ εὑρέθη μὲν καρπὸς ἡμέρου τροφῆς Δήμητρος ἁγνῆς, εὑρέθη δὲ Βακχίου γλυκεῖα πηγή· γαῖα δ’ ἡ πρὶν ἄσπορος ἤδη ζυγουλκοῖς βουσὶν ἠροτρεύετο. ἄστη δ’ ἐπυργώσαντο καὶ περισκεπεῖς ἔτευξαν οἴκους· καὶ τὸν ἠγριωμένον εἰς ἥμερον δίαιταν ἤγαγον βίον· κἀκ τοῦδε τοὺς θανόντας ὥρισεν νόμος τύμβοις καλύπτειν, κἀπιμοιρᾶσθαι κόνιν νεκροῖς ἀθάπτοις, μηδ’ ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἐᾶν τῆς πρόσθε θοίνης μνημόνευμα δυσσεβοῦς. First I shall return and in speech reveal The origin and order of mortal life. There once was such a time when Mortals lived similarly to animals. They inhabited mountainous caves And shadowy ravines, where there was yet No roofed house, nor great city Fortified with stone towers. Nor was earth – the black provider of wheat Crops – cut open with curved plough, Nor did iron diligently cultivate rows Of ripe Euian vines. Instead the earth was silent, infertile and fluid. Ravenous carnivores got their food From mutual murder. The law was Debased, and Violence shared Zeus’ throne. The weak were the fodder of the stronger.

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But then time, which delivers and nourishes everything, Altered mortal life entirely, Whether due to Prometheus’ concern, Or out of necessity, or through long practice Making nature herself become a teacher. Thus was discovered the civilized food Of immaculate Demeter, thus the sweet Bacchus spring, the soil previously unsown Now tilled with yoke laden oxen. Cities they surrounded with towers and built Covered houses and from a wild To a civilized way of life they converted. And thus the law was set whereby the dead Are concealed in graves and unburied bodies Are covered by soil, so that once out of sight They do not recall what was once a godless meal.

This longest surviving fragment of Moschion’s writings describes the civilizational advancement of the human race. It has a typical rhesis form, but we do not know which part of the play it comes from. The fragment has been passed on to us from Stobaeus’ Eclogae, in a section devoted to time. The phrase πρῶτον δ’ ἄνειμι indicates that it is the start of a speech by one of the characters in the play. The first 16 verses describe life in the first human society. After a general statement that people lived like animals, the speaker proceeds to describe this lifestyle through negation, by contradicting the most important features of ancient culture: the house, the city, the cultivation of land and the vineyard. Each feature is negated individually, and the sum of these negations οὐδέπω, οὔτε, οὐ accentuates the fact that these things had not yet happened, which implies that eventually they would. Verses 14–16 emphasize the wildness of people, cannibalism and the survival of the strongest, so that even divine justice is different than in civilized times. Zeus did not yet rule with Dike, but instead had to share his throne with Violence (ἡ Βία). The next part of the speech begins with mentioning time as the provider and ruler of everything. Here the text is clearly divided into two parts: a description of the first type of humanity, beginning with the expression [ἦν γάρ ποτ’ αἰὼν κεῖνος], and the second part with the words [᾿Επεὶ δ’ ὁ τίκτων πάντα καὶ τρέφων χρόνος]. The ultimate reason for the civilizational revolution is not fully apparent. Three are mentioned: the intervention of a concerned Prometheus, sheer necessity [ἡ ἀνάγκη] and nature (φύσις) by many years of practice. No main reason is given intentionally, perhaps in order to suggest that all three were essential for the breakthrough to occur. Next the speech describes civilized life, which is the reverse of what was said before: the production of wine, using oxen to cultivate the soil, houses providing the sense of safety and fortified cities. The antithetic scheme of the text appears to emphasize the fact that the revolution occurred over an extended period of time. The entire speech culminates at the point of laying down a law regarding the burial of the dead: a law that is in some way divine, for in the text not respecting this law is deemed δυσσεβής.



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The threefold emphasis on the wild aspects of human behaviour (the inhabiting of caves, inability to farm, common murder and the devouring of those who are weaker) highlights the ultimate civilizational change that leads humanity to respect the bodies of the dead. Through burial of the deceased the last vestige of animal nature is removed. This particular fragment by Moschion has aroused considerable interest among scholars. They have tried to match the specific view of how human civilization developed with various philosophical ideas. The first significant and immediately apparent observation to be made is that the fragment contradicts the Hesiodic concept of the Golden Age as well as Empedocles’ theory of initial perfect order and an ideal world devoid of violence. The notion of the gradual decline of man is replaced with one of humankind’s progressive development. Of course Moschion was not the first to espouse such a concept, for it had already been formulated by pre-Socratic philosophers. In Greek tragedies its echoes can be traced in Aeschylus (Prometheus Bound, 442–506), Sophocles (Antigone, 332–375), Euripides (The Suppliants, 195–218) and Critias (TrGF F 19). Here one may equally well refer to the philosophical prose of Democritus, Plato (Protagoras) or Hippocrates.234 In Moschion’s fragment we may also note a specific view on divine intervention or rather the complete lack of such intervention. I. Gallo even calls it a secular theory of human progress235 and compares it to Xenophanes’ statement οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖσ’ ὑπέδειξαν, || ἀλλὰ χρόνωι ζητοῦντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον (frg. 18 D–K).236 Indeed, in Moschion’s fragment deities appear only as personifications of certain aspects of human life: Zeus – the law; Demeter – the earth; Dionysus – wine. However, the changes that occur in time (αἰών χρόνος) are influenced by either Prometheus’ intervention, by sheer necessity ἀνάγκη or by nature (φύσις). In her article G. Xanthakis-Karamanos rightly points to the exceptionally realistic way in which this fragment views civilizational progress as well as the presence of elements of both pre-Socratic philosophy and Orphic cosmology, as far as the significance of time is concerned. Orphic connotations are particularly noticeable in words about mutual killing and cannibalism. The notion of early man practising barbaric customs played an important role in Orphic religion, according to which Orpheus had taught humanity to behave peacefully; and encouraging people to desist from killing was one of the basic Orphic beliefs.237 The role time plays in civilizational changes was also a very Orphic notion. Scholars have for a long time conducted a heated debate on the role of Chronos in Orphic theogony238. It is only in Orphic tradition that Chronos appears as an individual deity, and extant fragments indisputably show his active role

Xanthakis-Karamanos (1981), p. 411. Gallo (1998), p. 107. ‘The gods did not at first give everything to people, but with time [people] being in need discovered what was better.’ The same idea we can trace in Chaeremon’s verses (TrGF 71 F21) and Sophocles El. v. 179 Χρόνος γὰρ εὐμαρὴς θεός. 237 See F. 292, Kern. 238 See: Brisson (1985), pp. 37–55; Kirk, Raven and Schofield (1983), pp. 56–60; Betegh (2004), p. 157 with further bibliography. 234 235 236

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in creation239. Yet this idea can also be found in this play, and there are other clear examples present in the tragedies and comedies of every epoch. The cultic name Euios (Dionysus) and the depiction of Demeter as the Mother Earth are also especially Orphic. In Moschion’s fragment, Violence shares the throne of Zeus, instead of Dike. Two personifications of abstract ideas are very typical in Orphic thought, such as Dike, represented in Pseudo-Demosthenes Against Aristogeiton (11.4) (…)Δίκην, ἣν ὁ τὰς ἁγιωτάτας ἡμῖν τελετὰς καταδείξας Ὀρφεὺς παρὰ τὸν τοῦ Διὸς θρόνον φησὶ καθημένην πάντα τὰ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐφορᾶν (…) Dike, as stated by Orpheus, the teacher of our most holy mysteries, sits next to the throne of Zeus and sees all human affairs. (…)240

In a context similar to that of Moschion, Ananke (to anankaion) appears in the fragment of Sextus Empiricus’ Against the Mathematicians (ΙΙ. 31.4.= Kern 292= Bernabé 641) παρὸ καὶ ὁ ἠθολόγος Ὀρφεὺς τὸ ἀναγκαῖον αὐτῶν ὑποφαίνων φησὶν ἦν χρόνος ἡνίκα φῶτες ἀπ’ ἀλλήλων βίον εἶχον σαρκοδακῆ, κρείσσων δὲ τὸν ἥττονα φῶτα δάιζεν. As stated by the ethologos Orpheus, these things have been revealed by Necessity: there was a time when people survived by cannibalism; the stronger slaughtered the weaker.

The philosophical and literary allusions in fragment 4 have already been presented in detail by three eminent contemporary scholars: G. Xanthakis-Karamanos, I. Gallo and Th. K. Stephanopoulos.241 However, the actual style of the text is equally interesting. As has been noted, two comments on time are divided into two virtually equal parts. The described features of civilization can be seen as following the pattern a, b, c, d, (time, change) d, c, b, a, which gives the text a certain internal harmony. The notion of passing time is evoked with key expressions: ἀρχή, αἰών, χρόνος, ἥμερος βίος. It is worth noticing that the power of time is a very popular literary topos.242 Another very important issue concerning fragment 4 is its provenance. Already F. Schramm drew attention to the similarity between fragment 3 and Moschion’s fragments 4 and 10. O. Ribbeck suggested that all three originated from the same play: Men of Pherae. G. Xanthakis-Karamanos is inclined to agree, as is I. Gallo. If this play was about Alexander of Pherae’s death and denial of burial, then indeed such a long passage on the religious and cultural aspect of burying the deceased would seem logical. The issue of burying the deceased would not be so much about Alexander himself, as about the people who ought to bury him. But if, taking the similarities into consideration, one may connect fragments 4 and 10 to the same play, it does not necessarily mean that they were consecutive texts, one following on from the other. It seems that in fragment 10 the emphasis is placed on the actual deceased, who cannot Guthrie and Alderlink (1993), p. 85. Comp. also Sophocles OC 1382 Δίκη ξύνεδρος Ζηνὸς. Gallo (1998); Stephanopoulos (1988). 242 See: Simon. 531.5; Bacchyl. 13.205; Pind. F. 33, S. OC 609; cf. S. Aj. 713f, S. Ant. 607. 239 240 241



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be punished after death on account of his being unaware of such a punishment. This particular aspect, however, is absent in fragment 4, presumably as it would contradict the idea of civilizational progress, as well as the notion that corpses should be concealed in order to suppress barbaric instincts. And in this respect the tone of fragment 4 is additionally similar to the fragment from Men of Pherae (F3). Therefore we cannot rule out that F4 and F10 also originate from the Men of Pherae. The metre of the text is very correct. It comprises 33 iambic trimeters without any resolutions. The vocabulary, as I. Gallo has noted, bears the hallmarks of Hellenistic poetry.243 The expressions ὀρειγενῆ, ὀμπνίου, περισκεπεῖς certainly belong to Alexandrian poetry. More significantly than that, within these 33 verses we find as many as four hapax legomena: στεγήρης, εὐιώτιδος, σαρκοβρῶτες, ζυγουλκοῖς. The use of rare or totally new expressions is especially typical of Hellenistic writing. We should also look at another aspect that might help us date Moschion’s work. His descriptions of wild and civilized lifestyles in fragment 4 are reminiscent of the ethnographic excursuses found in Hellenistic literature. Similarly to Moschion’s text, in these excursuses, moral, legal and political standards, as well as the achievements of human thought, are considered to be the distinguishing features of civilization.244 The similarity between this fragment and several passages of Diodorus’ Library is particularly striking. The closest affinity between the texts is visible especially in the description of Egyptian customs and religion, which Diodorus borrowed from Hecataeus of Abdera:245 1.90.1 – 1.90.2 Φέρουσι δὲ καί τινες τοιαύτην αἰτίαν τῆς τῶν ζῴων ἀφιερώσεως. συναγομένων γὰρ ἐν ἀρχῇ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐκ τοῦ θηριώδους βίου, τὸ μὲν πρῶτον ἀλλήλους κατεσθίειν καὶ πολεμεῖν, ἀεὶ τοῦ πλέον δυναμένου τὸν ἀσθενέστερον κατισχύοντος· μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα τοὺς τῇ ῥώμῃ λειπομένους ὑπὸ τοῦ συμφέροντος διδαχθέντας ἀθροίζεσθαι καὶ ποιῆσαι σημεῖον ἑαυτοῖς ἐκ τῶν ὕστερον καθιερωθέντων ζῴων· πρὸς δὲ τοῦτο τὸ σημεῖον τῶν ἀεὶ δεδιότων συντρεχόντων, οὐκ εὐκαταφρόνητον τοῖς ἐπιτιθεμένοις γίνεσθαι τὸ σύστημα· τὸ δ’ αὐτὸ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ποιούντων διαστῆναι μὲν τὰ πλήθη κατὰ συστήματα … When men, they say, first ceased living like the beasts and gathered into groups, at the outset they kept devouring each other and warring among themselves, the more powerful ever prevailing over the weaker; but later those who were deficient in strength, taught by expediency, grouped together and took for the device upon their standard one of the animals which was later made sacred; then, when those who were from time to time in fear flocked to this symbol, an organized body was formed which was not to be despised by any who attacked it. And when everybody else did the same thing, the whole people came to be divided into organized bodies …246

Gallo (1998), p. 117. See Jacob (1991), p. 136. 245 On the similarities between Egyptian religion and Orphic thought, see Merkelbach (1999). 246 Trans. Charles H. Oldfather in Historical Library of Diodorus Siculus, vol. I, Loeb Classical Library edition, (1933), p. 307. 243 244

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A very interesting point is how in this text as well as in Moschion’s fragment humans are compared to animals, and the stress placed on their cannibalism and gradual progress. It is possible that not only Diodorus, but also Moschion used the ideas of Hecataeus as both of them use very similar expressions, which can hardly be a coincidence. The echo of this account of progress is also visible in Roman writings, in Cicero (De invent. 1.2.5–1.3.4) and Horace’s Ars Poetica (vv. 391ff.), which indicates its great popularity in Hellenistic philosophical and scientific writings. The second interesting passage of Diodorus’ Library is 1.13.4–1.14.1. Ὄσιριν μεθερμηνευόμενον εἶναι Διόνυσον, τὴν δὲ Ἶσιν ἔγγιστά πως Δήμητραν. ταύτην δὲ γήμαντα τὸν Ὄσιριν καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν διαδεξάμενον πολλὰ πρᾶξαι πρὸς εὐεργεσίαν τοῦ κοινοῦ βίου. Πρῶτον μὲν γὰρ παῦσαι τῆς ἀλληλοφαγίας τὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων γένος, εὑρούσης μὲν Ἴσιδος τόν τε τοῦ πυροῦ καὶ τῆς κριθῆς καρπόν, φυόμενον μὲν ὡς ἔτυχε κατὰ τὴν χώραν μετὰ τῆς ἄλλης βοτάνης, ἀγνοούμενον δὲ ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, τοῦ δὲ Ὀσίριδος ἐπινοησαμένου καὶ τὴν τούτων κατεργασίαν τῶν καρπῶν, ἡδέως μεταθέσθαι πάντας τὴν τροφὴν διά τε τὴν ἡδονὴν τῆς φύσεως τῶν εὑρεθέντων καὶ διὰ τὸ φαίνεσθαι συμφέρον ὑπάρχειν ἀπέχεσθαι τῆς κατ’ ἀλλήλων ὠμότητος. Osiris when translated is Dionysus, and Isis is more similar to Demeter than to any other goddess; and after Osiris married Isis and succeeded to the kingship he did many things of service to the social life of man. Osiris was the first, they record, to make mankind give up cannibalism; for after Isis had discovered the fruit of both wheat and barley which grew wild over the land along with the other plants but was still unknown to man, and Osiris had also devised the cultivation of these fruits, all men were glad to change their food, both because of the pleasing nature of the newly-discovered grains and because it seemed to their advantage to refrain from their butchery of one another247.

Grain-crop cultivation is an important stage in the development of civilization in both works. But the text of Diodorus is much closer to the fragment of Moschion if we read the Egyptian deities as their Greek counterparts: Osiris as Dionysus and Isis as Demeter.248 Fragment 4 of Moschion presents many Hellenistic features. It proves his knowledge of contemporary philosophical thought, especially Orphic, and at the Trans. Charles H. Oldfather, The Library of History of Diodorus Siculus, vol. I, Loeb Classical Library edition (1933), pp. 47–9. 248 Diodorus quoting Orpheus writes (1.11.3): τῶν δὲ παρ’ Ἕλλησι παλαιῶν μυθολόγων τινὲς τὸν Ὄσιριν Διόνυσον προσονομάζουσι καὶ Σείριον παρωνύμως· ὧν Εὔμολπος μὲν ἐν τοῖς Βακχικοῖς ἔπεσί φησιν  ἀστροφαῆ Διόνυσον ἐν ἀκτίνεσσι πυρωπόν, Ὀρφεὺς δὲ τούνεκά μιν καλέουσι Φάνητά τε καὶ Διόνυσον. Some of the ancient Greek mythographers call Osiris Dionysus a slightly different Syrius. One of them, Eupolmus in the Bacchic Questions says: Dionysus shining like a star, in his eyes embers of flames. And Orpheus: this is why they call him Shining and Dionysus. And further about Demeter (1.12.4): καὶ τοὺς Ἕλληνας δὲ ταύτην παραπλησίως Δήμητραν καλεῖν, βραχὺ μετατεθείσης διὰ τὸν χρόνον τῆς λέξεως· τὸ γὰρ παλαιὸν ὀνομάζεσθαι γῆν μητέρα, καθάπερ καὶ τὸν Ὀρφέα προσμαρτυρεῖν λέγοντα Γῆ μήτηρ πάντων, Δημήτηρ πλουτοδότειρα. And also the Greeks similarly call her Demeter, slightly changed with time the words, in the ancient times she was called Mother Earth (Ge Meter), as it is attested by Orpheus, who says: Earth Mother of everything, Demeter who gives the affluence. 247



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same time ethnographic writings. Moreover, Moschion deliberately alludes to these known trends. It seems that in Fragment 4 an important issue is also the demythologization of the account of human civilization as it was in the scientific writing of the Hellenistic age. F5 (TrGF 9) Stob. 4. 41. 22 † Σὺν αἷσι δόξῃ πρόσθε καὶ γένει μέγας ῎Αργους δυνάστης, λιτὸς ἐκ τυραννικῶν θρόνων, προσίκτην θάλλον ἠγκαλισμένος ἔστειχεν εἰς γῆν ὄμμα συμπαθὲς φέρων καὶ πᾶσι δεικνὺς ὡς τὰ λαμπρὰ τῆς τύχης τὴν κτῆσιν οὐ βέβαιον ἀνθρώποις νέμει. ὃν πᾶς μὲν ἀστῶν ἠλέησεν εἰσιδών, ἅπας δὲ χεῖρα καὶ προσήγορον φάτιν ὤρεξε κανθούς τ’ ἐξέτηξε δακρύοις τύχαις συναλγῶν· τἀξίωμα γὰρ νοσοῦν τὸ πρόσθε πολλοῖς οἶκτον ἐμποιεῖ βροτῶν. With whom the once famous and mighty Ruler of Argos, deprived of royal Thrones, arrived in the land clutching a suppliant’s bough; He had a face that aroused sympathy And he showed everyone that brilliant fortune Does not guarantee perpetual security. All the city’s inhabitants took pity on him, They all reached out and with kind words Blessed him, in the corners of their eyes tears glistening, Feeling sorry for him in his misfortunes. The suffering of a man once great Stirs the compassion of many people.

Fragment 5 concerns a descendant of the royal family of Argos who, owing to changing human fortune, becomes a suppliant at the court of another ruler in a foreign country. Of course we do not know who this hero is. F. Schramm, following on from F. G. Walker, presumes him to be Archelaus, the son of Temenus, who had been expelled from Argos by his brothers and went to the court of king Cisseus in Macedonia.249 There Archelaus helped the besieged ruler, in return for which he was to receive not only the hand of Cisseus’ daughter, but also his kingdom. Cisseus, however, preferred to break his promise and murder Archelaus. Archelaus was forewarned of this plot and pre-empted its realization by killing the king. In accordance with the oracle, he later founded the city of Aigai and started the Argead dynasty. Euripides wrote a lost tragedy entitled Archelaus, a fact which makes Moschion’s choice of this subject seem all the more likely. One also has to recognize that the history of Alexander the Great’s dynasty See Schramm (1929), p. 80.

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was naturally very much of interest to Alexandrian authors. Nevertheless, there is no concrete evidence that Moschion’s extant fragment actually referred to this particular hero. The expression γένει μέγας ῎Αργους δυνάστης could equally well apply to Adrastus.250 If this was the case, the whole fragment should be interpreted in the context of Euripides’ Suppliants, in which Adrastus arrives in Athens together with the mothers of warriors who had fallen beneath the walls of Thebes, and as a suppliant appeals to Theseus for help in recovering their sons’ bodies. Yet here one should consider whether a king who had brought misfortune on his own country and had come to embroil Athens in a war against Thebes would garner so much sympathy among Athenians. Schramm draws attention to a similarity between Moschion fragment 5 and a statement made by Pelasgus in The Suppliants (vv. 481–9), but it is difficult to discern whether the fragment is a conscious allusion to the earlier play or merely a coincidental statement on changing fortunes. Careful reading of the extant fragment might suggest a different interpretation. The circumstances in the extant fragment in many respects resemble the situation of Danaus and his daughters after they leave Egypt. Danaus arrives in Argos as a suppliant and the city’s inhabitants receive him with compassion. Such an interpretation would explain the ambiguous expression Σὺν αἷσι, which is incomprehensible in reference to the Archelaus myth but quite logical in the context of Danaus’ 50 daughters. In the surviving version of the myth, Archelaus does not arrive in Macedonia as a suppliant, for at this time king Cisseus’ city is under siege. Therefore fragment 5 cannot directly refer to Archelaus. Of course, the term γένει μέγας ῎Αργους δυνάστης, casts doubt on this interpretation, for it nevertheless points to Archelaus, who indeed was a descendant of the Argos dynasty. However, in Aeschylus’ tragedy the choir of 50 Danaids sing of their origins: βραχὺς τορός θ’ ὁ μῦθος· ᾿Αργεῖαι γένος ||ἐξευχόμεσθα, σπέρματ’ εὐτέκνου βοός (274 f),251 and therefore the term may also apply to Danaus. Although one has to concede that the extant fragment from Euripides’ Archelaus also speaks of Danaus, this coincidence does not permit us to immediately assume the Moschion play was about the founder of the Argeads. In fact, apart from the assumption that the protagonist in fragment 5 is Archelaus, there is no concrete evidence to support this. It seems at least probable that it actually refers to Danaus, and if so one may even hazard to suggest that the entire play concerned this hero and his daughters. The behaviour of the protagonist in fragment 5 corresponds to what Aeschylus’ Pelasgus suggests Danaus should do (Supp. 481–7): κλάδους τε τούτους αἶψ’ ἐν ἀγκάλαις λαβὼν βωμοὺς ἐπ’ ἄλλους δαιμόνων ἐγχωρίων θές, ὡς ἴδωσι τῆσδ’ ἀφίξεως τέκμαρ πάντες πολῖται, μηδ’ ἀπορριφθῇ ψόγος ἐμοῦ· κατ’ ἀρχῆς γὰρ φιλαίτιος λεώς. καὶ γὰρ τάχ’ ἄν τις οἰκτίσας ἰδὼν τάδε ὕβριν μὲν ἐχθήρειεν ἄρσενος στόλου.

Such an interpretation is suggested by Ribbeck (1875), p. 154. ‘My word[s] shall be short and clear: from Argos our dynasty, a heifer branch.’

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And at once take these suppliant boughs in your arms And place them on other altars of our native gods, So that all the people will see that you have come In supplication, so that accusation is laid upon me: the people are always ready to blame their rulers. Perhaps soon one of them shall take pity on seeing This bough and suppress their male hubris.

Fragment 5 might be someone’s account of events in Argos after Danaus’ arrival. In The Suppliants Danaus relates this himself at an Argive public gathering, whereas in Moschion’s tragedy the situation is recounted by another character. Apart from hypothesizing that the play concerned the Danaus myth, nothing more concrete can really be said. The fragment is too short to attempt to reconstruct the plot or define the characters. F6 (TrGF 10) Clem. Al. Strom. 6. 2. 14 Μοσχίων ὁ κωμικὸς γράφει· κεῖνος δ’ ἁπάντων ἐστὶ μακαριώτατος, ὃς διὰ τέλους ζῶν ὁμαλὸν ἤσκησε βίον. Moschion the comedy playwright writes: He of all is the happiest Who has led an entirely consistent life.

F7 (TrGF 12) Gnomol. Flor. PSI Congr. XI ὦ μοῖρα δυσπάλαιστος ἀνθρώπ[οις Destiny, which people cannot fight against

F8 TrGF 4 Stob. 3. 13. 30 Μοσχίωνος. ῞Ομως τό γ’ ὀρθὸν καὶ δίκαιον οὔποτε σιγῇ παρήσω· τὴν γὰρ ἐντεθραμμένην ἀστοῖς ᾿Αθάνας τῇ τε Θησέως πόλει καλὸν φυλάξαι γνησίως παρρησίαν. Yet it is never right or just To pass in silence. It is noble To earnestly guard the freedom of speech, Jointly nurtured by the citizens of Athens and the city of Theseus.

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F9 TrGF 5 Stob. 4. 5. 10 Μοσχίωνος. Μόνον σὺ θυμοῦ χωρὶς ἔνδεξαι λόγους οὓς σοὶ κομίζω· τὸν κλύοντα γὰρ λαβὼν ὁ μῦθος εὔνουν οὐ μάτην λεχθήσεται. Only without anger accept the words Which I bring to you; a word shall not be spoken vainly To those who listen considerately.

F10 TrGF 7 Stob. 4. 57. 14 Μοσχίωνος. κέρδος οὐκέτ’ ὄντας αἰκίζειν νεκρούς; τί τὴν ἄναυδον γαῖαν ὑβρίζειν πλέον; ἐπὰν γὰρ ἡ κρίνουσα καὶ τὰς ἡδονὰς καὶ τἀνιαρὰ φροῦδος αἴσθησις φθαρῇ, τὸ σῶμα κωφοῦ τάξιν εἴληφεν πέτρου. What use in tormenting the dead who no longer exist? Why defile more the mute earth? Since conscience, distinguishing what is good, And what is painful, having been destroyed, is far away, The body has taken the form of a dumb rock.

F11 TrGF 8 Stob. 4. 49. 10 Μοσχίωνος. ῏Ην ἆρα τρανὸς αἶνος ἀνθρώπων ὅδε· ὡς τὸν πέλας μὲν νουθετεῖν βραχὺς πόνος, αὐτὸν δ’ ἐνεγκεῖν ὕβριν ἠδικημένον πάντων μέγιστον τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις βάρος. For it is a true adage among people, That it takes little effort to criticize your neighbour. Oneself to bear a hurtful remark Is the greatest of all burdens on mankind.

Moschion’s remaining six fragments, of which three (F8, 10 and 11) count 4–5 verses, have a typically gnomic nature. There are no titles to betray their origins and on the basis of their content alone one cannot classify them as belonging to any particular play. Fragment 6 may even not have been written by Moschion. His authorship is



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doubtful first because Clement of Alexandria cites the fragment using the words Μοσχίων ὁ κωμικὸς, in other words calling Moschion a comic playwright. Second, the cited fragment includes the resolution of a long syllable in the iambic foot, something that appears nowhere else in the tragedian’s texts. Therefore this fragment may actually originate from a comedy. If so, this raises the question whether there was a comedy writer by the name of Moschion or whether the tragedian Moschion also wrote comedies.252 All the fragments are taken out of context, while their communication of universal truths prohibits trying to reconstruct even a tenuous hypothesis regarding a broader perception of the play. Fragment 10, as I have already mentioned, is close in its theme to the fragments from Men of Pherae. Both include comments on the futility of tormenting the deceased. Fragment 10 might be a conclusion to the thought that only the living should be punished, since the deceased are deprived of consciousness and senseless to what is being done to them. Hence, particularly on account of the lengthy exposition in fragment 4, we cannot rule out the possibility of all three fragments (3, 4, and 10) originating from Men of Pherae.

Dionysius of Heraclea, Spintharos (TrGF 113) ANCIENT TESTIMONY D.L. 5.92.6–93.3 ἔτι καὶ Διονύσιος ὁ Μεταθέμενος (ἢ Σπίνθαρος, ὡς ἔνιοι) γράψας τὸν Παρθενοπαῖον ἐπέγραψε Σοφοκλέους (….) ἐπέστειλεν ἰδεῖν τὴν παραστιχίδα· καὶ εἶχε Πάγκαλος. οὗτος δ’ ἦν ἐρώμενος Διονυσίου·. Again, Dionysius the Renegade (or, as some people say Spintharos, the ‘Spark’) when he wrote the Parthenopaeus, entitled it a play of Sophocles. (…) Ordered him (Herakleides) to look at the acrostic Pancalus, who was a lover of Dionysius.

Dionysius of Heraclea was a Stoic philosopher, pupil of Zeno of Citium. He was known mostly because in his old days he abandoned Stoicism and joined the ultrahedonistic Cyrenaics, and thus he was called ὁ Μεταθέμενος (the one who changed his mind). It seems very probable that in ancient times he was already confused with Spintharos from Heraclea (TrGF 40), a tragic writer mocked by Aristophanes in the Birds (Av. 762).253 The passage of Diogenes Laertius is the only testimony of Dionysius being an author of a tragedy. The title Parthenopaeus indicates that the piece dealt with the known episode from the campaign of the Seven against Thebes. The interesting anecdote of Diogenes Laertius about the misunderstanding between Dionysius the Renegade and Heraclides Ponticus (see below) proves that a remarkable acrostic was contained in the verses of the Parthenopaeus – the name of Dionysius’ lover Pancalus.254 It seems that the acrostic may had been written in a form Meineke and Edmonds include this fragment in their editions of comedies. It is interesting that Snell and Kannicht quote the anecdote from Diogenes Laertius under the name of Spintharos, TrGF 40. 254 A similar acrostic was found on the papyrus fragment PHib. 2.224 (the first letters of the name of Chaeremon the tragedian, TrGF 71, F 14b). Although the acrostic verses are hexametric, they may 252 253

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of steganography, and therefore it was indeed difficult to notice. The acrostic with the lover’s name and the choice of the main hero may also indicate the purpose and character of the tragedy. According to Hyginus (99–100), Parthenopaeus was the son of Atalanta and Meleager and was exposed on the Mount Parthenius.255 He was found by shepherds along with Telephus, his future companion, who was also exposed by his mother Auge on the same mountain. Parthenopaeus’ beauty as well as his aristeia and death in warfare were later given detailed treatment in the Thebaid of Statius.256 We do not in fact know what the subject of Dionysius’ tragedy was, but it seems reasonable to imagine that it was based on the honourable deeds and tragic death of the beautiful boy, a perfect story to dedicate to the young eromenos of the author.

Heraclides Ponticus (TrGF 93) ANCIENT TESTIMONY T1 D.L. 5.92.1–2 Φησὶ δ’ ᾿Αριστόξενος ὁ μουσικὸς καὶ τραγῳδίας αὐτὸν ποιεῖν καὶ Θέσπιδος αὐτὰς ἐπιγράφειν. Aristoxenus the Musician states that he [Heraclides] also wrote tragedies and published them under the name of Thespis.

Heraclides of Heraclea Pontica, the son of Euthyphro, lived c. 388–310 bc. He is above all known as a philosopher and scholar who was active in Athens.257 From his biography, written by Diogenes Laertius, we learn that he wrote ethical dialogues, philosophical, grammatical and rhetorical treatises as well as works concerning music. It is only from his contemporary, Aristoxenus of Tarentum, that we know Heraclides also wrote tragedies, under the pen-name Thespis. Perhaps this is the reason why so little information is available about his plays. In the philosopher’s biography, Diogenes Laertius (5.92–3) also includes an anecdote about a stage play that to a certain extent illustrates the literary practice of the age as far as writing plays was concerned, but also puts Heraclides’ mentality in a less than favourable light. Dionysius the Renegade (Spintharos – TrGF 113, see above) wrote a tragedy entitled Parthenopaeus and published it under the name of Sophocles. Heraclides, believing have belonged to a tragedy or satyr play (Centaur?), as he was famous for writing poetry and dramas in diverse metres (Arist. Po. 1. 447b20: Χαιρήμων ἐποίησε Κένταυρον μικτὴν ῥαψῳδίαν ἐξ ἁπάντων τῶν μέτρων and Ath. 13. 608 E: ἐν δὲ Κενταύρῳ, ὅπερ δρᾶμα πολύμετρόν ἐστιν), see XanthakisKaramanos (1980), pp. 177f. On this type of acrostic, see also Vogt (1967). 255 Other authors name Ares, Melanion, Hippomenes and Talaos as fathers of the hero. It is worth mentioning that Parthenopaeus’ search for his mother was treated probably in the Atalanta by Pacuvius, from which only several lines exist; see: Fantham (2003), pp. 103–8; Manuwald (2003), p. 44 n. 4 with further bibliography. 256 On Parthenopaeus’ characterization in the Stat. Theb. 4.246–275, the foot-race 6.550–645, aristeia and death 9.683–907, see also the commentary on the hero by Dewar (1991), xxii–xxvii. On the strong eroticization of the death of Parthenopaeus see Jamset (2004). It is possible that this aspect was also taken up by Dionysius. 257 On Heraclides as philosopher and astronomer, see Gottschalk (1980).



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that the author of the play really was the great tragedian, cited it as such in one of his own works. Dionysius next admitted that he had actually written the play, but Heraclides refused to believe him. Therefore Dionysius presented as evidence of his telling the truth an acrostic which formed the name of his lover, Pancalus. And yet the philosopher refused to be convinced. So next Dionysius told Heraclides to find in the text and read the verses: Α. γέρων πίθηκος οὐχ ἁλίσκεται πάγῃ· Β. ἁλίσκεται μέν, μετὰ χρόνον δ' ἁλίσκεται. A. An aged monkey will not get easily caught in a net. B. It will, it will get caught, but only after some time.

adding: ῾Ηρακλείδης γράμματα οὐκ ἐπίσταται οὐδ’ ᾐσχύνθη. (Heraclides knows nothing of letters and is not ashamed of it).258 The fact that both men wrote tragedies under the names of very famous tragedians – Heraclides as Thespis and Dionysius as Sophocles – is in itself an interesting literary phenomenon of the age.

Euphantus of Olynthus (TrGF 118) ANCIENT TESTIMONY T1 D.L. 2.110 = FGrH 74 T1 Εὐβουλίδου δὲ καὶ Εὔφαντος γέγονε ὁ ᾿Ολύνθιος, ἱστορίας γεγραφὼς τὰς κατὰ τοὺς χρόνους τοὺς ἑαυτοῦ. ἐποίησε δὲ καὶ τραγῳδίας πλείους, ἐν αἷς εὐδοκίμει κατὰ τοὺς ἀγῶνας γέγονε δὲ καὶ ᾿Αντιγόνου τοῦ βασιλέως διδάσκαλος, πρὸς ὃν καὶ λόγον γέγραφε Περὶ βασιλείας σφόδρα εὐδοκιμοῦντα. τὸν βίον δὲ γήρᾳ κατέστρεψεν. Euphantus of Olynthus was a pupil of Eubulides. He wrote books about the history of his own times. He also wrote many tragedies, with which he became famous during agones. He was also the preceptor of King Antigonus, for whom he wrote a treatise On the Kingdom, which was highly valued. He died of old age.

Thanks to Diogenes Laertius we know that the Megarian school philosopher Euphantus of Olynthus was also the author of many tragedies. As a student of Eubulides and also the teacher of Antigonus Gonatas, he must have been active in the first half of the second century bc.259 We know very little about his literary work. He wrote a history of his times and a treatise On the Kingdom. No other ancient author mentions him as a tragedian. It is important to note Euphantus of Olynthus was a contemporary of the Pleiad authors and yet he is remembered in posterity not as a tragedian, but as a philosopher. The insult is stronger than it seems: he is not only not able to read but he does not know the letters! On the words signifiying ‘to read’ and differences in meaning, see Chantraine (1950), p. 215. 259 Natorp (1909), 1166. 258

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According to Diogenes Laertius, Euphantus of Olynthus wrote plays that were very popular. Unfortunately, not a single fragment of any of his tragedies has survived, nor does the name Euphantus appear on the drama agon winners’ lists of any of the known festivals.

Ptolemy IV Philopator (TrGF 119) ANCIENT TESTIMONY T1 Σ Ar. Th. 1059 ἐπεὶ εἰσήγαγε κακοστένακτον τὴν ᾿Ηχὼ ὁ Εὐριπίδης ἐν τῇ ᾿Ανδρομέδᾳ, εἰς τοῦτο παίζει. ἐζήλωσε δὲ αὐτὸν Πτολεμαῖος ὁ Φιλοπάτωρ ἐν ᾗ πεποίηκε τραγῳδίᾳ ᾿Αδώνιδι, περὶ ἧς ὁ ἐρώμενος αὐτῷ ᾿Αγαθοκλῆς γέγραφεν, ὁ ἀδελφὸς τῆς ἐρωμένης αὐτοῦ πάλιν ᾿Αγαθοκλείας. [Aristophanes] is mocking the manner in which Euripides introduced the distraught Echo in Andromeda. Euripides was imitated by Ptolemy Philopator in his tragedy Adonis, about which wrote his lover Agathocles, brother of Agathocleia, who was also his lover.

Ptolemy IV Philopator, 244–204 bc, was the son and successor of Ptolemy III Euergetes and Berenice II. During his reign in Egypt he had to overcome an economic and political crisis. Despite his successes in the fourth Syrian War and victory at the battle of Raphia (217 bc), he was unable to halt internal disintegration within his state. In 206 bc this led to secession and loss of control of Thebaid in the south of the country for 20 years. Ultimately Ptolemy IV was murdered in a palace coup plotted by Sosibius and Agathocles. The sources do not tell us much about what Ptolemy IV was like as a person. It is therefore quite interesting to note that apart from being a patron of artists, he was himself also personally engaged in literary activity. According to the above testimony, he wrote a tragedy entitled Adonis. We do not know whether this was the monarch’s only drama and whether it was created before or after his ascension to power in 222–221 bc. The testimony states that it was written in the style of Euripides and perhaps implies that it abounded in mournful wailing over the dead Adonis. The reported fact that Agathocles had written somewhere about such a play seems rather strange. There is no other evidence that this commander and palace conspirator had ever dabbled in literature.260 It seems far more probable that Ptolemy had devoted the play to his lover as the tragic love theme would have certainly suited such a ‘dedication’. Thus Agathocles would not have written about Ptolemy’s play but instead the king would have written about Agathocles. We do not know whether this play was performed in the Alexandrian theatre or privately in the royal palace, that is if it was ever staged at all. The scholiast to Aristophanes may have had access to Ptolemy’s play, but he may equally well have only heard of it, which would account for The explanation that a Scholiast might have read Agathocles’ (published?) correspondence seems after all rather implausible.

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his making a mistake. Ptolemy was not the only tragedian to use the Adonis myth as a subject. Dionysius the Elder had done so before him, as most probably did Philiscus. There is no evidence to confirm that the king was ever engaged in any other playwriting activity.

Melanthios of Rhodes (TrGF 131) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 131 T1 Apollod. Chron. FGrH 244 F 58 ap. Philod. Acad. Ind., col. 31. P. 101 Mekl. καὶ μὴν Μελάνθιόν γε γινώσκεις ὅτι τραγωιδίαι μὲν ἦν ποτ᾽ ἐστεφανωμένος ἱκανόν τ᾽ ᾽Αριστάρχωι συνεσχολακὼς χρόνον πολύ τ᾽ ἐν ᾽Αθήναις μᾶλλον ωσ….σ[χο]λῆς, ἄλλως ὑπά[ρχων ἐν μεγάληι περισ[τάσει τοῦ Καρνεάδου δ᾽ ενχ[ And you know about Melanthios, who [thanks] to tragedy was once crowned, and for some time studied under Aristarchus and much more in Athens … school, and elsewhere he was among the grand entourage of Carneades

T2 TrGF 131 T 2 Cic. Luc. 16. 14–18. qui illum [sc. Carneadem] audierant admodum floruerunt, e quibus … plurimum … fuit … in Melanthio Rhodio suavitatis Those who had been his [Carneades’] pupils were of great eminence, among them (…) Melanthios was of great charm.

T3 TrGF 131 T3 D.L. 2. 64 Γεγόνασι δ’ Αἰσχίναι ὀκτώ· […] ἕκτος Νεαπολίτης, φιλόσοφος ᾿Ακαδημαϊκός, Μελανθίου τοῦ ῾Ροδίου μαθητὴς καὶ παιδικά· There were eight [men called] Aeschines: … the sixth from Naples, a philosopher of the academy, … a pupil and a boy of Melanthios of Rhodes.

T4 TrGF 131 T4 Plu. X orat. 842E

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καὶ ἔστιν αὐτῶν τὰ μνήματα ἄντικρυς τῆς Παιωνίας ᾿Αθηνᾶς ἐν τῷ Μελανθίου τοῦ φιλοσόφου κήπῳ. Their monument stands opposite the sanctuary of Athena Paionia, in the garden of the philosopher Melanthios.

F1 Plu. De Cohib. 453F and Plu. Plu. De Sera 551A. ὁ δὲ θυμὸς οὐχ ᾗ φησιν ὁ Μελάνθιος [de sera… : ὡς γὰρ ὁ θυμὸς κατὰ τὸν Μελάνθιον] ‘τὰ δεινὰ πράσσει τὰς φρένας μετοικίσας,’ Rage not in the way that Melanthios says: ‘Do terrible deeds, after casting aside reason.’

Melanthios of Rhodes was a student of Carneades and a member of the Academy, which is confirmed by numerous ancient sources, including Cicero, Plutarch and Diogenes Laertius.261 He was born c. 145 bc. Known primarily as a philosopher, only Apollodorus states that he was the author of tragedies, and a good one at that if we consider the expression ἐστεφανωμένος. Of his dramatic works only the above cited fragment (F1) remains, passed on to us by Plutarch without the title. Owing to its universal character, it is impossible to determine the general theme of the play from which the fragment originates.

Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas (TrGF 127) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 127 T 1 Suda s.v. Νικόμαχος, ᾿Αλεξανδρεὺς τῆς Τρωϊκῆς, τραγικός, γράψας τραγῳδίας ια′, ὧν καὶ αἵδε· ᾿Αλέξανδρος, ᾿Εριφύλη, Γηρυόνης, ᾿Αλετίδης, Εἰλείθυια, Νεοπτόλεμος, Μυσοί, Οἰδίπους, Πέρσις, Πολυξένη, Τριλογία, Μετεκβαίνουσαι, Τυνδάρεως ἢ ᾿Αλκμαίων, Τεῦκρος. Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas, tragedian, wrote 11 tragedies, which among others included: Alexander, Eriphyle, Geryon, Aletides, Eileithyia, Neoptolemus, The Mysians, Oedipus, Sack [of Troy], Polyxena, Trilogy, Passing [to something else], Tyndareus or Alcmaeon and Teucer.

T2 Suda s.v. Νικόμαχος, ᾿Αθηναῖος, τραγικός· ὃς παραδόξως Εὐριπίδην καὶ Θέογνιν ἐνίκησε. τῶν δραμάτων ἐστὶν αὐτοῦ Οἰδίπους. Nicomachus the Athenian, a tragedian who unexpectedly defeated Euripides and Theognis. One of his dramas is Oedipus. Cic. Luc. 6, 16; Plu. An seni. 791 A; D.L. 2. 64.

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F1 Phot. Lexicon s.v. ᾿Αμβλυδερκές· Νικόμαχος ᾿Αλεξάνδρῳ· Διὸς γὰρ οὐκ ἀμβλυδερκὲς ὄμμα. ‘The one with a blank gaze’ – Nicomachus in Alexander: For Zeus’ gaze is not blank.

F2 Oros, Orthographia (περὶ τῆς ι ἀνεκφωνήτου) f. 281 r 6 νικῴη σὺν τῷ ι. Νικόμαχος Οἰδίποδι ‘ὅτι μὲν λῷστον, τόδε νικῴη’. νικῴη with ι. Nicomachus in Oedipus: that the best thing would be to win it.

F3 Phot. Lexicon s.v. ᾿Αηδόνειος κλαγγή· Νικόμαχος· μέλπουσι τὴν ἀηδόνειον κλαγγήν. ‘Nightingale clangour’ – Nicomachus: they sing nightingale clangour.

F4 Phot. Lexicon s.v. ᾿Αγηλατῶν· ἀντὶ τοῦ διώκων, φυγαδεύων. οὕτως Νικόμαχος. ‘Hustling’ – instead of chasing, driving to flight. Thus Nicomachus

Phot. Lexicon s.v. Αἱμόφυρτα· Νικόμαχος εἶπε. σημαίνει δὲ . ‘Soaked in blood’ – said Nicomachus. Meaning…

Phot. Lexicon s.v. ᾿Ανηλέητος, οὐ μόνον ὁ ἀνηλεής.. (…) καὶ Νικόμαχος· δαίμων ἀνηλέητος. ‘merciless – Not only unmerciful.. (…) And Nicomachus: Merciless deity.

Phot. Lexicon s.v. Αὔθαιμος· εἰς σίδηρον. Νικόμαχος· εἰς σίδηρον ᾖξεν αὔθαιμος σπορά. ‘Of the same blood’ – onto the sword]. Nicomachus… onto the sword the kindred seeds flung themselves.

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Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas was without doubt an author of the Hellenistic period, as the city was founded in 302 bc.262 The testimonies in the Suda are spoilt. As many as three known tragedians by the name of Nicomachus existed and these got mixed up. According to the Suda, Nicomachus of Alexandria wrote 11 dramas, but this statement needs to be verified if only because the Suda next lists 15 titles: Alexander, Eriphyle, Geryon, Aletides, Eileithyia, Neoptolemus, The Mysians, Oedipus, Sack [of Troy], Polyxena, Trilogy, Metekbainousai, Tyndareus or Alcmaeon and Teucer. The Eileithyia title seems doubtful, as Athenaeus (7, 290 E) attributed this play to Nicomachus the comedy writer. Meineke, moreover, attributes Metekbainusai to this comedy writer.263 Welcker, in turn, considers that Trilogy and Tyndareus also to have been comedies.264 Finally Walker established the canon of Nicomachus’ plays as follows: Alexander, Eriphyle, Geryon, Neoptolemus or The Mysians, Sack [of Troy], Polyxena, Trilogy, Tyndareus or Alcmaeon and Teucer.265 In these circumstances it seems most sensible to stick strictly to what the ancients testified. Thanks to Athenaeus, we may exclude Eileithyia from the list. Neoptolemus, Sack [of Troy] and Polyxena sound like titles to the same trilogy, therefore Trilogy might not actually be a separate title but the sum of those three plays (since it is mentioned immediately after the last of them, Polyxena). If to this we also accept Meineke’s amendment and treat Metekbainousai as a comedy, and indeed such a title is reminiscent of New Comedy while being exceedingly difficult to match to any tragic theme, then we arrive at the sum originally mentioned in the Suda, i.e. 11. Naturally, other titles may also be linked as part of a trilogy, for instance Eriphyle with Alcmaeon or Tyndareus, but these are not immediately followed by the word ‘trilogy’. The appearance of the word ‘Trilogy’ immediately after Sack [of Troy] and Polyxena, however, explicitly links the two plays. Other than this, all that remains are fairly pointless divagations. The Oedipus title may arouse some uncertainty as it also appears in the Suda in a biographical note concerning Nicomachus of Athens, a tragedian who was a contemporary of Euripides. It is therefore possible that one play was attributed to two different playwrights of the same name. On the other hand, it is equally possible that the two authors wrote different plays of the same title, especially since the Oedipus myth was one of the most popular themes among Greek tragedians.266 It is very interesting that all of the author’s extant fragments originate from grammar works. It is reminiscent of how the extant texts of Roman tragedians were frequently used by later scholars to exemplify specific phrases and grammatical issues. When we look more closely at Nicomachus’ fragments, or rather individual phrases, we notice that Photius most frequently uses them as the demonstration or explanation of a particularly rare expression. From this we may infer that, as an author, Nicomachus used a specific language abounding in very peculiar phrases, e.g. the somewhat absurd ᾿Αηδόνειος κλαγγή – meaning the nightingale’s clangour rather than trill! Str. 1. 2. 33. Meineke (1855), p. 496. 264 Welcker (1841), p. 1014, on the basis of similarity to other comedy titles, such as: Διθύραμβος, Σάτυροι, Κωμῳδοτραγῳδία, Τραγῳδοί (ἢ Ἀπελεύθεροι). 265 Walker (1923), p. 69. 266 See also hypothetical reading of the name Nicomachus instead of Nicostratus in ΣE.Ph. 1010. 262 263



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Sophocles III (TrGF 147) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 147 T 3 Suda s.v. Σοφοκλῆς, ᾿Αθηναῖος, τραγικὸς καὶ λυρικός, ἀπόγονος τοῦ παλαιοῦ. γέγονε δὲ μετὰ τὴν Πλειάδα, ἤτοι μετὰ τοὺς ζ′ τραγικοὺς οἵτινες ὠνομάσθησαν καὶ Πλειάς. δράματα αὐτοῦ ιε′. Sophocles the Athenian tragic and lyric poet, descendent of the old [Sophocles]. Lived after the Pleiad, the seven poets called the Pleiad. There are 15 of his dramas.

Little is known about this descendant of the famous Sophocles apart from the Suda testimony, which states the number of plays written by him (15). It is interesting that the author of the Suda uniquely defines the period in which Sophocles III lived (γέγονε δὲ μετὰ τὴν Πλειάδα), as if by, in associating Sophocles III with the Pleiad poets, he was trying emphasize his importance as a tragedian. There are only two known inscriptions concerning Sophocles III. From one of these we know that in c. 100 bc he won an award at a Charitesia festival in Orchomenus as the author of a tragedy IG VII 3197, 28–29: ποιητὴς τραγῳδιῶν Σοφοκλῆς Σοφοκλέους Ἀθηναῖος. He was also the author of satyr plays, since in the other inscription, from Delphi 97 bc, he is mentioned among authors of this genre: (SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2: 48 [π]οητὰς δὲ σατύρων Σοφοκλῆν Σοφοκλέους).267 Both inscriptions are dated, which helps us to establish when Sophocles III lived. Unfortunately, we do not know any titles of the plays written by this descendant of the great tragedian.

Archytas (TrGF 120?) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 TrGF 129 T 2 Plu. Quest. Graec.294F–295A ἔνιοι δὲ τοὐναντίον πολυάνθεμον τὴν χώραν οὖσαν ὑπ’ εὐωδίας τοὔνομα λαβεῖν· ὧν ἐστι καὶ ᾿Αρχύτας ὁ ᾿Αμφισσεύς· γέγραφε γὰρ οὕτω·

Coll. Alex. frg. 1, p.23

‘τὴν βοτρυοστέφανον μυρίπνουν Μάκυναν ἐραννήν.’

This inscription is an important epigraphic source concerning the Delphic Pythias festival and is dated 97 bc. It mentions the artists who took part in this specific Athenian theoria to Delphi. Among those mentioned are tragic poets and satyrographers. The inscription also contains important information on the structure of technitai associations.

267

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Some, on contrary, [say] that the country abounding in flowers acquired its name from their beautiful scent. Among them Archytas of Amphissa wrote as follows: crowned with grapes, scented with ointments, delightful Makynia

T2 TrGF 120 T 1 IG IX2 1, 1. 31, 149-155: Αἰτωλοὶ ἔδωκ̣αν̣ α̣ὐτ̣ο̣ῖ̣ς̣ [καὶ ἐκ]||γ̣όνοις κατὰ τὸν νόμο̣ν το̣[ῖ]σ̣[δε]·|| Γείται Ἀντιπατρίδου Χαλκ̣[ιδεῖ].|| ἔνγυος Ἀρχύτας Λαμέ̣ν̣[εος] || Ἀμφισσεύς. {vac.} Φάνητι Δεινίου Χίοι. ἔ̣νγυ̣ος̣ Ἀ̣[ρ]||χ̣ύτας Λαμένεο̣ς Ἀ̣μ̣φ̣ι̣σ̣σ̣[εύς].

Archytas is mentioned in an inscription of the Aetolian League, 214–213 bc, as guarantor ἔγγυος of proxenia issued to Gaetas of Chalcis and Phanes of Chios. The name of the latter also appears on a marble plinth in the Athenian theatre (IG II2 3778: Φάνης Δεινίου Χίος); it is therefore possible that this Phanes (TrGF 121) was the victor in a tragedy or dithyramb contest, and as such someone of the same profession as Archytas. Archytas’ son, Xenophanes, was also a guarantor (IG II2 1, 1. 31, 172: Ξενοφάνης Ἀρχύτα Ἀ̣μ[φισσεύς]). The fragment cited by Plutarch most probably originates from a dithyramb, though one cannot rule out the possibility that Archytas also wrote other types of poetry.268 The extant fragment praises the obscure settlement of Makynia in the author’s homeland, Aetolia. Makynia is also mentioned by Stephen of Byzantium (s.v. Μακύνεια). Actually there is no direct testimony attesting him as a tragedy or satyr play author.

Diogenes of Tarsus (TrGF 144) ANCIENT TESTIMONY Str. 14. 5. 15: ἐγένετο καὶ Διογένης τῶν περιπολιζόντων καὶ σχολὰς διατιθεμένων εὐφυῶς· ὁ δὲ Διογένης καὶ ποιήματα ὥσπερ ἀπεφοίβαζε τεθείσης ὑποθέσεως, τραγικὰ ὡς ἐπὶ πολύ· … there was also Diogenes among the philosophers travelling from town to town and delivering good speeches. Diogenes moreover spoke poetry as if inspired by the set subject, particularly tragedies.

From Strabo’s above testimony it transpires that the Epicurean philosopher Diogenes of Tarsus could also improvize tragedies. It seems most likely that he rather only composed fragments of tragedies, though Strabo does not really make it clear. Besides, his comment about Diogenes is merely a ‘side remark’. In the Hellenistic period tragic and comic monodramas (mimes) were popular, and in these a talented poet could easily improvize. When describing a region or town in his books concerning Asia Minor (12–14), Strabo sometimes briefly mentions their most distinguished or

Powell (1925), p. 23, classified this fragment as part of an epic poem. Snell and Kannicht in TrGF (p. 283) as a dithyramb.

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interesting citizens, and this is what he does in this case.269 Unfortunately, the author of Geographica treats the matter of Diogenes’ talents as tragedian too laconically for us to be able to infer any far-reaching theories. Nevertheless it seems justified to assume that his works had never been staged.

Bion (TrGF 204) ANCIENT TESTIMONY D.L. 4, 58 ἔνατος ποιητὴς τραγῳδίας τῶν Ταρσικῶν λεγομένων· … the ninth was a tragic poet, one of the so-called Tarsicans

The above testimony is the only evidence of the existence of a tragedian by the name of Bion. Diogenes Laertius lists him as one of the nine famous people bearing this name. The phrase τῶν Ταρσικῶν λεγομένων is interesting because the adjective Ταρσικός is almost never used as an ethnikon (as that should sound Ταρσεύς), but is instead normally used to describe products from Tarsus, e.g. Ταρσικ(ῶν) ἱστ(ὸς) (IG V, 1, 1115), ἐλλύχνια Ταρσικά (Orib. ecl. medic. 89, 11) or the Tarsian orations of Dio of Prusa (Ταρσικοὶ sc. λόγοι Phot. Bibl. cod. 209 166b). Admittedly, this word is also used by Diogenes Laertius to describe the satyrographer Demetrius (TrGF 206) D.L. 5, 85: τρίτος Ταρσικὸς σατυρογράφος. However, there is no other evidence to assume, as Pappe’s dictionary would have us believe, that Ταρσικοί was ‘Name der einer Klasse tragischer Dichter’270 in reference to a specific group of outstanding writers ‘Tarsicans’. Nevertheless it is probable that in their day these once famous authors were an ‘export product’ of Tarsus, just like textiles or bandages. Diogenes Laertius took his lists of writers bearing the same name from Demetrius of Magnesia (first century bc), which provides us the terminus ante quem, and bearing in mind that Tarsus started being Hellenized at the time of the Seleucids, we can be certain both Bion and Demetrius belonged to the Hellenistic period.

Apollonides (TrGF 152) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA F1 Stob. 4. 22. 3 = Clem. Al. Paed. 3. 12. 84. 1–2 φεῦ φεῦ, γυναῖκες, ὡς ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἄρα οὐ χρυσός, οὐ τυραννίς, οὐ πλούτου χλιδή τοσοῦτον εἶχε διαφόρους τὰς ἡδονάς ὡς ἀνδρὸς ἐσθλοῦ καὶ γυναικὸς εὐσεβοῦς γνώμη δικαία καὶ φρονοῦσα τἄνδικα Strabo in fact frequently makes such digressions regarding famous local inhabitants, e.g. Bithynia (12. 4. 9), Parium and Lampsacus (13. 1. 19), Mytilene (13. 2. 3), Kyme (13. 3. 6), Sardis (13. 4. 9), Miletus (14. 1. 7), Ephesus (14, 1. 25), Nissa (14. 1. 48), Rhodes (14. 2. 13), Knidos (14. 2. 15), Kos (14. 2. 19), Milas (14. 2. 24), Alabanda (14. 2. 26), Seleucia (14. 5. 4). 270 Pappe, s.v. 269

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Oh, oh, women, as among people neither gold, nor power, nor the splendour of wealth has so many different pleasures as a noble man’s and a pious woman’s just verdict and wise rectitude

F2 Stob. 4. 22. 7 γυναικὸς ἀρετὰς ἀξίως ἐπαινέσαι σοφοῦ τινος γένοιτ’ ἂν ἵστορος λόγων To worthily praise a woman’s virtues Would be the task of a wise wordsmith

F3 Philod. Piet. P. 39. 1 Gomp. Κατ’ Ἀπολλων[ί]δη καὶ κατὰ [Ἡσί]οδον καὶ κα[τὰ Στη]σίχορον ἐν [Ὀρεστεία]ι – καὶ παρὰ ---καὶ ὁ Δ[ιόνυσο]ς ὑπὸ Πενθ[έως συ]νδεῖται κατὰ τὸν Εὐριπίδην. … so according to Apollonides and Hesiod and Stesichorus in Oresteia … and in …, and Dionysus was bound by Pentheus, according to Euripides.

F4 Philod. Piet. Crönert (APF 1, 1901, 109,1) Καὶ παρ’ Ἀπολ[λωνίδῃ καὶ Εὐ[ριπίδ]ῃ λέγεται as it is said in Apollonides and Euripides: [in reference to women seduced by Zeus in the form of animals or golden rain]

We have no information about the tragedian Apollonides. His name only appears in Stobaeus, who cites fragments from his plays, and Philodemus, who mentions his name twice. An attempt to identify him with the tragic synagonist Apollonides, son of Ardon, who appears in an inscription from Egyptian Ptolemais (OGIS 51) is very risky. We can only accept that the Apollonides we are interested in was older than Philodemus (c. 110–39 bc). Fragments 1 and 2, which come from Stobaeus’ Anthology, are of a gnomic nature and therefore virtually useless in trying to define the general drama plot or plots from which they may have originated. On account of the fact that they are in the same sub-chapter, both concern the virtues of women. Fragment 3 is from a treatise by Philodemus and, due to extensive damage to the text, we can only be certain that the author of De Pietate knew of works by Apollonides. Fragment 4 originates from the same treatise and provides us with somewhat more information because it is in context. The preceding sentence concerns the women who had been seduced by Zeus in his various guises: Leda as a swan, Europa as a bull, Lamia as a hoopoe and Danae in the form of golden rain.271 Philodemus states that he obtained this information from Crönert (1901), 109.

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Apollonides and Euripides. Unfortunately, he does not specify which of these myths were described by Apollonides, and what is even worse from our point of view, the name Apollonides is in this sentence a restoration. Therefore we cannot be really sure if the second testimony by Philodemus really concerns this particular tragic writer.

Zenodotus (TrGF 215) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Teos 80 (Kat.23 — LW 93) [ἐ]πὶ ἱερέως Δημητρίου, ἀγωνοθέτου δὲ καὶ ἱε[ρέως —,] [οἵδε ἐνίκησαν ἐν τῶι ἀγῶνι] τῶι τεθέντι Ἀττάλ[ωι.] […] Σατύρ[ω]ν, Ζ[ηνό]δ[οτος,]

T2 The Pride of Halicarnassus (editio princeps: S. Isager, ZPE 123 (1998) 1–23, v. 50 v.. 50 Ζηνόδοτον τραγικῶν ἲδριν ἒτευξ’ ἐπέων (Halicarnassus) created Zenodotos, skilful in tragic verses272

F1 Stob. 3.2.10 Ζηνοδότου Κηρύσσεται †ἀεὶ ἡ ἀρετή· κακὸς δ’ ἀνήρ Σιγηλὸν ἔσχε ζῶν τε καὶ θανὼν βίον. Virtue is always proclaimed: whereas a bad person’s life and death are shrouded in silence.

This two-verse fragment was written by an unknown author called Zenodotus and is found in Stobaeus’ Anthology. It seems highly probable that this author is none other than the playwright Zenodotus, whose name appears on two Hellenistic inscriptions: the famous Pride of Halicarnassus poem inscription mentions a poet from that city called Zenodotus, whereas Snell and Kannicht identify him with an author mentioned in another inscription, although there only a couple of letters from his name have been preserved (Z… Δ…).273 This author is reported to have written satyr plays and won contests at Teos during the reign of Attalus. The editors believe this king to be Attalus II Philadelphus, who ruled 159–138 bc. The message of the fragment cited by Stobaeus is unfortunately too universal to tell us anything more about the play it originated from. The Pride of Halicarnassus praises Zenodotus as being experienced in tragic verses and mentions him along with other tragic and comic writers Theaetetos, Dionysios and Phanostratos, which leaves us in no doubt that he was a tragic poet of the Hellenistic times. Trans. Lloyd-Jones (1999a), p. 3 TrGF, note to 215.

272 273

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Artavasdes (TrGF 165) ANCIENT TESTIMONY Plu. Crass. 33.2 ὁ δ’ ᾿Αρταβάζης καὶ τραγῳδίας ἐποίει καὶ λόγους ἔγραφε καὶ ἱστορίας, ὧν ἔνιαι διασῴζονται. Artavasdes created tragedies, speeches and historical works, some of which have survived.

The proper name of this ‘tragedian’ was Artavasdes II.274 A son of Tigranes II the Great and Cleopatra of Pontus, he was an Artaxiad dynasty king who ruled Armenia in the years 56–34 bc. He was murdered in 31 bc, during preparations for the Battle of Actium, on the orders of Antony and Cleopatra, who were holding him captive (Str. 11.14.15). Conducting a policy of marital connections with local dynasties, his daughter was betrothed to the son of Deiotarus, the king of Galatia (Cic. Att. V 21, 2). His sister, in turn, he gave away in marriage to the son of King Orodes II of Parthia. This was because in 53 bc Artavasdes had initially supported Crassus, but when the Parthians attacked his land, he sought to make peace with their king, which was to be sealed with this dynastic marriage. According to Plutarch (Crass. 33), the wedding involved numerous banquets at which Hellenic plays were performed (καὶ πολλὰ παρεισήγετο τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς ῾Ελλάδος ἀκουσμάτων), for the two Eastern rulers were lovers of Greek culture. Orodes spoke Greek and knew Greek literature, whereas Artavasdes even wrote literary works in Greek, including tragedies. During one such banquet: When Crassus’ head was brought to the door, the tables had already been cleared away, and a tragic actor called Jason of Tralles, recited from Euripides’ Bacchae the words of Agave. During the applause, Sillaces stood at the banqueting hall threshold, bowed and then cast Crassus’ head into the centre. The Parthians responded with raucous cries of joy. Through servants the king invited Sillaces to the table, while Jason handed his Pentheus costume to another actor, grabbed Crassus’ head and in elation sang the frenzied Agave’s phrase: Agave: We bring from the mountains under this roof Freshly slain booty, A wonderful prey. This provoked general delight. But before the next exchange between the chorus and Agave. Chorus: who slew him? Agave: The deed is mine. Exathres, who was at the banquet, leapt to his feet and grabbed the head, feeling it, was more befitting for him than for Jason to utter these words. The king was Artavazdah, a name recorded as Ἀρταβάζης (Plu. Crass. 33); Ἀρταουάσδης, Artavasdes (Mon. Ancyranum; Plu. Ant. 37.3), Ἀρτάβαζος (Plu. Comp. Dem. Ant. 5. 2). If we reject the historicity of an earlier Artavasdes II, who is only mentioned by the Armenian historian Sebeos (10.17), then the said royal tragedian would have actually been Artavasdes II, see: Justi (1895), p. 38, and Lang (1983), p. 513.

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thus pleased and awarded him as custom dictated, while to Jason he gave a single talent.275

Armenian historiography gives a very critical appraisal of Artavasdes’ reign: ‘Artavasdes, however, failed to achieve any manly or courageous deeds. Given to gluttony and drunkenness, he roamed marshes, reed thickets and rocky places, chasing donkeys and wild pigs. Averse to wise and daring ventures as well as concern for good fame, a real lackey and slave to his stomach, all he did was propagate squalor. Exposed to reproach from his own army for idleness and unbelievable self-indulgence, and above all for allowing Antony to wrest from him Mesopotamia, in a fit of rage, he ordered to muster tens of thousands of troops from Atrapatakan and among the inhabitants of the Caucasus, as well as among Albanians and Iberians. Having dispatched his armies, he descends on Mesopotamia and flushes out the Roman detachments’. (Mos. Khor. II 22).276

This success drove Antony to such a fury that he set out to Armenia and took Artavasdes captive (Mos. Khor. II 23). More probably, Artavasdes was tricked into being taken captive, lured by the promise of having a subsequent daughter of his betrothed to the son of Antony and Cleopatra, after the triumvir’s Median expedition had failed (Liv. Per. CXXXI). According to Velleius Paterculus, he was bound in shackles of gold (2, 82, 3) and executed in Alexandria, his head sent to the king of Media Atropatene, whose name was also Artavasdes, with the request of supporting Antony’s cause.277 This gesture was no doubt made in reference to what had been done to the head of Crassus. Plutarch would have also indubitably considered this justice – justice which, moreover, reached the other ‘choregoi’ of the spectacle with the Roman’s head, namely Orodes and Surena (Crass. 33, 8–9). Plutarch’s ἔνιαι (fem. plur.) in all certainty refers to the historical writings of the king of Armenia, though it would also have suited tragedies, to the extent that one cannot rule out a literary legacy of Artavasdes’ tragedies that was still known in Plutarch’s day. Today nothing is known about such tragedies, and we may only assume that greater importance was attached even then to Artavasdes the person, the prisoner of Antony and the spectator of a memorable performance of The Bacchae. Nevertheless, the fact The original is as follows: ὁ δ’ ᾿Ιάσων τὰ μὲν τοῦ Πενθέως σκευοποιήματα παρέδωκέ τινι τῶν χορευτῶν, τῆς δὲ τοῦ Κράσσου κεφαλῆς λαβόμενος καὶ ἀναβακχεύσας ἐπέραινεν ἐκεῖνα τὰ μέλη μετ’ ἐνθουσιασμοῦ καὶ ᾠδῆς (Eur. Bacch. 1169–1171) φέρομεν ἐξ ὄρεος ἕλικα νεότομον ἐπὶ μέλαθρα, μακάριον θήραμα. καὶ ταῦτα μὲν πάντας ἔτερπεν· ᾀδομένων δὲ τῶν ἑξῆς ἀμοιβαίων πρὸς τὸν χορόν τίς ἐφόνευσεν; ἐμὸν τὸ γέρας, Here one can clearly see that the words of Euripides (1179–80: Χο. τίς ἁ βαλοῦσα; Αγ. πρῶτον ἐμὸν τὸ γέρας· || μάκαιρ’ ᾿Αγαυὴ κληιζόμεθ’ ἐν θιάσοις) were changed to fit the context of the specific situation. 276 Translation after Emin (1893). 277 See Chaumont (1976), pp. 72–3; Bivar (1983), pp. 58–66. 275

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that an Armenian ruler actually composed tragedies in the Greek language is in itself very interesting. We should also note that the said rendition of The Bacchae included a chorus engaged in dialogue with Agave and that apart from the actor Jason, who performed throughout the play, there was another actor to whom he handed his Pentheus costume. This was therefore a proper performance of the tragedy, with a full cast, and only the royal palace venue was different to that of a normal theatre. Finally we have evidence that Artavasdes had at his disposal Greek actors and thus the means to stage his own plays.

C. Asinius Pollio (TrGF 178) ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Verg. Ecl. 8. 9 en erit ut liceat totum mihi ferre per orbem sola Sophocleo tua carmina digna coturno? Will there come [a day] when I am able to extol to the whole world Your songs, worthy of Sophocles’ cothurn?

T2 Serv. ad Verg. Ecl. 8. 9 ac si diceret: quamquam inpar sit ingenium meum laudibus tuis; nam tuae laudes merentur exprimi Sophocleo tantum cothurno. Sophocles autem tragoediographus fuit altisonus. alii ideo hoc de Pollione dictum volunt, quod et ipse utriusque linguae tragoediarum scriptor fuit. as if he were saying: although my skill is unequal to the task of praising you, since your glory deserves to be expressed by none other than Sophocles’ cothurn. For Sophocles was a majestic tragedian. Others want this sentence to refer to Pollio, because he too was the author of tragedies in both languages.

Gaius Asinius Pollio was an important figure in Roman history. He belonged to the famous plebeian Asinia family and lived in the years 76–4 bc. During the civil war he sided with Julius Caesar, whereas in 43 bc he fought on Antony’s side. As politician and statesman he distinguished himself by, among other things, forging an alliance between Mark Antony and Octavian Augustus. After the Parthian war, however, he withdrew from public life to devote himself entirely to literature. He founded the first public library in Rome and was also a famous patron and friend of artists. Pollio himself delivered orations in the Attic style and was moreover a historian. Only fragments of his History of the Civil Wars, which he began to write after the battle of Actium, have survived to this day. The above-cited testimony informs us that he was also known as the author of tragedies written in Latin and Greek. Unfortunately, only small fragments of his literary work have survived, and none of these originate from a play written for the stage.



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Nicolaus of Damascus ANCIENT TESTIMONIA T1 Suda s.v. Νικόλαος,> Δαμασκηνός (…) ὥστε πρὶν γενειᾶν, εὐδόκιμος εἶναι ἐν τῇ πατρίδι καὶ τῶν ἡλίκων διαφέρειν· γραμματικῆς τε γὰρ οὐδενὸς χεῖρον ἐπεμεμέλητο καὶ δι’ αὐτὴν ποιητικῆς πάσης, αὐτός τε τραγῳδίας ἐποίει καὶ κωμῳδίας εὐδοκίμους· Nicolaus of Damascus (…) so that before he got a beard he was famous in his homeland and stood out among his peers; for he studied grammar better than anyone and because of this also the whole corpus of poetry, and he himself wrote famous comedies and tragedies.

T2 Eust. Commentarium in Dionysii Periegetae orbis descriptionem 976.52-3: καθὰ καὶ ὁ γράψας τὸ δρᾶμα τῆς Σωσάννης, οἶμαι ὁ Δαμασκηνός, ὡς ἐκ τῆς ἐπιγραφῆς φαίνεται The same thing is said by the writer of the drama Susanna,  I think it was Damaskenos, as shown in the ascription.

Similarly to another man of letters, Callimachus, Nicolaus of Damascus is recognized as the author of tragedies solely on the basis of an entry in the Suda. Nicolaus, the son of Antipater, the renowned and influential Greek governor of Coele-Syria, is chiefly famous for his 144-volume Universal History as well as diverse writings on philosophical, ethnographic and biographical themes. He was a highly educated man of many talents. Most of his life he spent at the court of Herod the Great, whom he also accompanied on many political missions. Many rulers valued him and he must have possessed considerable political insight and tact to win over not only Herod the Great, but also Agrippa, Mark Antony, Cleopatra and Octavian Augustus. Most of the information on his life and work comes from his autobiography, which he most probably wrote towards the end of his life. Large fragments of this autobiography were transcribed by the Excerpta copyists of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, as well as by the author of the Suda. Naturally, the appraisal of one’s own creativity in an autobiography is not usually a trustworthy historical source. Indeed, in the book the author is generally very positive about his own achievements, which to some extent is understandable in the case of an aged philosopher and teacher who had since youth played an active part in the court politics of Hellenistic rulers. Nevertheless, the only sentence he devotes to his writing of tragedies does actually seem very believable. According to his own account, he wrote both tragedies and comedies. The Greek adjective eudokimos, in accordance with the grammatical structure of the sentence, applies to both the tragedies and comedies. Nicolaus must have written these at the start of his literary career. This transpires from the autobiographical description of his education: he stood out among his peers and became famous before he had even grown a beard, i.e. already in his early youth. This was all thanks to his study

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of grammar, and therefore also poetry, which included comedy and tragedy. Only later (ὕστερον) did he take up other fields of study: rhetoric, music, mathematics and philosophy. Sinko points to the exceptional sense of tragedy and drama in his History and Life of Augustus.278 Indeed, his ability to dramatize a tale by selecting particularly spectacular moments in history, as well as the narrative style, reminiscent of a messenger’s report in a tragedy, can be noticed in fragments where he describes the burning of Croesus or Caesar’s famous rejection of the diadem during the Lupercalia, as well as the later murder of Caesar. Unfortunately, although these examples of his prose writing do reveal a dramatic bent, we have no other information on the tragedies that he might have written. The only extant testimony attesting to him as the author of a drama about the Biblical Susanna is a sentence from the commentary to the work of Dionysius Periegetes. Although it is almost certain that Nicolaus was writing tragedies and comedies in his early years, the Susanna play was most probably written during his stay at the court of Herod the Great. As the plot of the play was based on the story from the Book of Daniel it will be discussed in detail in the next chapter.

Aeschylus of Alexandria (TrGF 179) ANCIENT TESTIMONY T1 Ath. 13. 599 E τίς δ’ ἔστ’ ἀνάγκη δυστυχεῖν ἐν πλείοσιν, ἐξὸν σιωπᾶν κἀν σκότῳ κρύπτειν τάδε; Αἰσχύλος ἔφη ὁ ᾿Αλεξανδρεὺς ἐν ᾿Αμφιτρύωνι. οὗτος δέ ἐστιν Αἰσχύλος ὁ καὶ τὰ Μεσσηνιακὰ ἔπη συνθείς, ἀνὴρ εὐπαίδευτος. What is the need to despair among many, When one could have concealed it in silence. States Aeschylus of Alexandria in Amphitryon. The same Aeschylus who wrote the epic Messeniaca, a very learned man.

The above fragment is the only extant source regarding the tragic writing of Aeschylus of Alexandria.279 Athenaeus states that apart from Amphitryon, Aeschylus of Alexandria also wrote the epic poem Messeniaca. He adds that this was a learned man. Here we are forced to concede that we cannot ascertain whether Amphitryon was a tragedy or a satyr drama, and the two-line fragment is too short to be of any use in answering this question. It is maybe interesting that a play entitled Amphitryon was also written by Sophocles and thus Aeschylus of Alexandria may have been emulating this classical drama.

Sinko (1948), 122 See Crusius (1893), pp. 1084–5, He may be also the author of a work on proverbs (Περὶ παροιμιῶν) quoted by Zenobius the Sophist (5.85) in the section on sardonic laughter, see Schmitz (1867), p. 44.

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Other tragedians mentioned in inscriptions Athens Astydamas (TrGF 96) A tragic author by the name of Astydamas, which was also the name of two other tragedians who lived in the fourth century bc (TrGF 59 and TrGF 60), appears on an inscription from 278–277 bc, preserved in two copies, one in Delphi and the other in Athens (FD III 2 68, 61–93 and IG II2 1132, respectively): δόγμα ἀρχαῖον Ἀμφικτιό||νων. ἐπὶ Ἱέρωνος ἄρχοντος ἐν Δελφοῖς, πυλαίας ἐαρινᾶς,|| ἱερομναμονούντων Θεσσαλῶν Ἱπποδάμα, Λέοντος, Αἰ||τωλῶν Λυκέα, Δωριμάχου, Βοιωτῶν Ἀσώπωνος, Διονυσί||δου, Φωκέων Εὐφρέα, Χαρέα· vacat? ἔδοξεν τοῖς Ἀμφικτί||οσιν καὶ τοῖς ἱερομνάμοσιν καὶ τοῖς ἀγορατροῖς, ὅπω[ς] || ἦι εἰς πάντα χρόνον ἀσυλία καὶ ἀτέλεια τοῖς τεχνί||ταις τοῖς ἐν Ἀθήναις […] πρέσσβει[ς· Ἀστυδάμας] || [π]οιητὴς τραγωιδιῶν, Νεοπτόλεμος [τραγωιδός].

From this inscription we learn that Astydamas was appointed to the honorary post of the deputy sent to Delphi to be informed of the decision to grant Athenian technitai ἀσυλία καὶ ἀτέλεια (inviolability and immunity) in the Amphictyony. He was a writer of tragedies and it seems it was for achievements in this field he that earned himself the above distinction. He must have also held an important position in the technitai guild. Unfortunately nothing else is known about him.

Phanostratus of Halicarnassus (TrGF 94) Phanostratus, the son of Heraclides, came from Halicarnassus (IG II2 2794 Φανόστρατον Ἡρακλείδου || ὁ δῆμος ὁ Ἁλικαρνασσέων || ἀνέθηκεν) and lived at the turn of the third century bc. He was the author of tragedies who before 306 bc had even won a competition in Athens (perhaps during the Lenaia – IG II2 3073 ὁ δῆμος ἐ[χορήγει ἐπ’ Ἀναξι]κράτους ἄρχοντος. || ἀγωνοθέ[της Ξενοκλῆς Ξ]είνιδος Σφήττιος. || ποιητὴς τραγωιδοῖς ἐνίκα [Φανόστρατο]ς Ἡρακλείδου Ἁλικαρνασσεύς). In recognition of his achievements he was granted a proxenia in Delos (IG XI 4, 528 [ἔδο]ξε[ν τῆι βουλῆι καὶ τῶι] || [δήμ]ωι· Ἀχ[αιὸς Φανοδίκου?] || [εἶπε]ν· ἐπειδὴ [Φανόστρατος] || [Ἡρα]κλείδου Ἁ[λικαρνασσεὺς] || [ἀνὴρ] ἀγαθός ἐ[στι περὶ τὸ ἱερ]||ὸν καὶ τὸν δῆμ[ον τὸν Δηλί]||[ω]ν· δεδόχθαι [τῶι δήμωι· εἶναι Φ]||ανόστρατον πρόξενον [Δηλίων…). Not a single fragment of his work has survived, nor is there any mention of it in ancient literature. Nevertheless evidence of numerous literary successes is testified not only in inscription IG II2 2794 and on a statue plinth found in Athens, but also in the fact that his name appears on the list of outstanding sons of Halicarnassus in the inscription Pride of Halicarnassus. δμῶα Διωνύσου Φανόστρατον ἔσχεν ἀοιδόν Κεκροπιδῶν ἱεροῖς ἁβρὸν ἐνὶ στεφάνοις, (v. 51)

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Phanostratos, a poet delighting in the sacred garlands of the sons of Kekrops 280

The fact that this inscription was created some 150 years after Phanostratus’ presumed lifetime is evidence that his work must have been hugely popular among his compatriots for at least a few generations. The author of Pride of Halicarnassus rather curiously describes Phanostratus as Κεκροπιδῶν ἱεροῖς ἁβρὸν ἐνὶ στεφάνοις. This was most probably simply a metonymic way to describe tragic drama, which after all had originated from Attica. However, it may also have been used to emphasize the fact that Phanostratus had indeed been successful in Athens, the most important place in the development of this genre.

[An]tiphilus (TrGF 95) A fragment of this name appears on a partially preserved inscription from the beginning of the third century bc stating the winner of a tragic agon: IG II2 3076 [ποιητὴς τραγωιδοῖς ἐνίκα Ἀν]τίφιλος Α — — — — — —). As we can see, even the first two letters of the name had to be reconstructed, and this name is not associated with any other known author of that period.

Phrynichus II (TrGF 212) Suda s.v. Φρύνιχος, Μελανθᾶ, ᾿Αθηναῖος, τραγικός. ἔστι δὲ τῶν δραμάτων αὐτοῦ καὶ τάδε· ᾿Ανδρομέδα, ᾿Ηριγόνη. ἐποίησε καὶ Πυρρίχας. Phrynichus, the son of Melanthios, an Athenian and a tragedian. His dramatic works include: Andromeda and Erigone. He also wrote [the play] Pyrrichai.

The only testimony referring to this author of an unknown epoch is found in the Suda. However, appearing on a 278 bc list of tragic poet agon victors (IG II2 2325) are the initial letters of a name Φρ … (see TrGF 108), which could be part of the name Phrynichus. If this is indeed the Phrynichus mentioned in the testimony, then he would have won a competition during the Dionysia before 278 bc. The Suda mentions two of his tragic plays: Andromeda and Erigone. The work Pyrrichai must have therefore belonged to a different literary genre.

Xenocrates (TrGF 122) The name of the poet Xenocrates of the Kydantidai deme appears on a third-century honorific inscription (IG II2 3211). There the Athenian technitai association (τὸ κοινὸν τῶν τεχνιτῶν) crown him with a wreath (corona hederacea) and the following words: [Ξενοκράτην || Κυδαν||τίδην || ποιητὴν || τραγωι||διῶν]. On the 278 bc list of Trans. Lloyd-Jones (1999a), p. 3.

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poets who had won tragic agones (IG II2 2325) appears the initial Ξ (see TrGF 111), which could be the first letter of the name Xenocrates. If these two persons are the same, then our Xenocrates would have won an agon before 278 bc.

Menelaus of Piraeus (?), son of Ariston (TrGF 137) Menelaus, the son of Ariston, most probably came from Piraeus and as a tragic poet was awarded many distinctions. He is listed as one of those laying offerings during the Ptolemaia (Rhomaia) before 148–147 bc (IG II2 2 1938, 1–4, 46: ἐπὶ Λυσιάδου ἄρχοντος οἵδε ἱεροποίησαν|| Ῥωμαῖα || Χρύσιππος ἐξ Οἴου Σμικυθίων Ἀναγυράσιος || Πτολεμαῖα […]Μενέλαος Πειραιεύς).

He was a deputy of the technitai association in Athens and in that capacity he was named in the honorary decree for the king Ariarathes V of Cappadocia (163–139 bc) and queen Nysa: IG II2 1 1330, 66-72 [πρέσβεις εἱ[ρέθησαν]· || Μενέλαος ποιητὴς τραγικός, Θεόδοτος κιθ[αρωιδός — — — — — — — —] vacat spatium unius versus ἔδοξεν τοῖς περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τε[χνίταις]· || ἐπειδὴ βασίλισσα Νῦσα βασιλέως [— — — — — — — —, γυνὴ δὲ βασι]||λέως Ἀριαράθου, εὔνους ὑπάρχει τ[ῶι δήμωι τῶι Ἀθηναίων καὶ τῶι κοι]||νῶι τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνιτ[ῶν — — — — — — — — — — —] || [π]ρεσβευταὶ οἵ τε παρὰ τοῦ δήμου ἀ[πεσταλμένοι τοῦ Ἀθηναίων καὶ τῆς συνόδου] || τῶν τεχνιτῶν ἀπομαρτυροῦσ[ι]ν ΗΙ — — — — — — — — — — — — —].

Around the year 127 bc the Athenian technitai delegated him as their theoros to Delphi (FD III 2, 47, 8: καὶ ἐξαπέστειλε ἀρχιθέ[ωρ]ο[ν] || μὲν Ἡρακλείδην Γλαυκίου, θεωροὺς δὲ […] Μενέλαον Ἀρίστωνος). His career is evidence of the high social standing a tragic poet could enjoy in that period. No fragments of his literature have survived to this day.

Aristomenes, son of Aristomenes, Athenian (TrGF 145) Aristomenes was an author of tragedies and satyr dramas whose name appears several times on the inscription SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2:48, dating from before 97 bc: Ἀριστομένην {Ἀριστομ[έν]ην} Ἀριστομένεος τρ[αγικὸν] ποητάν, Ἀγαθοκλῆν Σωκράτους κ[ωμῳδόν], || Ἀρίστωνα Μενελάου [τραγι]κὸν ποητάν,].

From it we learn only that he was the son of Aristomenes and came from Athens. Obviously, he was also a member of the technitai association in Attica as his name appears on the association’s honorific inscription from the Athenian Treasury in Delphi. Nothing else is known regarding his works.

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Ariston, son of Menelaus, Athenian (TrGF 146) Ariston, whose name, like that of the previous author, is known only from the inscription SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2.48, dating from before 97 bc, was most probably the son of another tragic poet, Menelaus (TrGF 137), as the poet Menelaus had a father who was also called Ariston. From the inscription we know that he wrote both tragedies and satyr dramas, but we have no other information regarding his work. Perhaps this Ariston was the same as the one Diogenes Laertius cites (7, 164) after Demetrius of Magnesia, the biographer of poets with the same names: [᾿Αρίστων […] τέταρτος ποιητὴς τραγῳδίας]. It cannot be ruled out that as a young boy he took part in the Athenian Pythiad to Delphi, since on the 138 bc inscription we have the end of a first name and a patronymic which could be attributed to him: SIG3 696B+FD III 2,11,1: [ἐ]πὶ Τιμοκρ[ίτ]ου ἄρχοντος ἐν Δ[ελφοῖς], Ἀθήνησι [δὲ Τιμάρχου, οἵ]||[δ]ε ἀπεστά[λησ]αν ὑπὸ τοῦ δήμου τ[οῦ Ἀθ]ηναίων πυ[θ]αϊσ[τ]αὶ [παῖ]||[δ]ες, συν[πέμψ]αντες τὴν Πυθαΐδ[α· […]— — —ων Μενελάου.

Diogenes, son of Diogenes (TrGF 148) Diogenes, the son of Diogenes, is yet another author known only from the honorific inscription of the Athenian technitai association found in the Athenian Treasury at Delphi (SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2.48). Unlike the two other authors mentioned in this inscription, he wrote satyr dramas only.

Dionysius, son of Cephisodorus, Athenian (TrGF 149) Dionysius of Athens, the son of Cephisodorus, wrote satyr dramas. His name appears only on one inscription, namely the above mentioned SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2.48) honorific inscription of Athenian technitai at Delphi. Nothing else is known about this writer of satyr dramas.

Antiochus, son of Antiochus, Athenian (TrGF 150) Antiochus of Athens, the son of Antiochus, was one of the tragedians mentioned on the honorific inscription SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2.48) of Athenian technitai at Delphi. Apart from this testimony, there is no other information on his subject.

Apollonius, son of Callistratus, Athenian (TrGF 151) Like the previous author, Apollonius, the son of Callistratus is known on the basis of only one inscription (SIG3 711L=BE 1940.60=FD III 2.48). He wrote only tragedies. There is no other information on his life and work. We can only say that he came from Athens and was a member of that city’s technitai association.



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Silenus (TrGF 153) All that is known about Silenus is found in a catalogue of tragedies from Piraeus, c. 100 bc, which also includes the beginning of the title of one of his plays: IG II2 2363 [A 17-18], — — — — — ς· Σιληνοῦ Χρυ||[σ — — — ].

There is no other information regarding this tragedian. All that can be said about the extant play title fragment, [Χρυ[σ …], is that it was most probably a tragedy. On account of the dating of the inscription, we know that Silenus must have lived at the turn of the first century bc.

[…]enodorus (TrGF 154) The same catalogue contains a fragment of the name of another tragedian: IG II2 2363 [A 18]; [–— — — η]νοδώρου Φοῖνιξ. The initial letters of the name are very difficult to identify since its known ending, … νοδώρος, could belong to a large number of Greek names. The most popular of these would be: Zenodorus, Athenodorus and Menodorus. The author whose name fragment and complete play title appear on the same inscription as the tragedian Silenus must have also lived at the turn of the first century bc. The cited title of his play is Phoenix.

Thrasycles, son of Archicles, Athenian (TrGF 177) Preserved from the very end of the Hellenistic epoch (c. 26–25 or 22–21 bc), a Delphic inscription bestows on the honorary Athenian hieromnemon, Thrasycles, son of Archicles, a proxenos SIG3 772=SGDI 2729=FD III 2:67.I: ἄρχον[τος ἐ]ν Ἀθ[ήν]αις Ἀρχιτίμ[ου, τῶι] ἱερομνήμονι Θρασυκλ[ε]ῖ Ἀρχικλέους Ἀθηναίωι Λακιάδηι. ἐπειδὴ Θρασυκλῆς Ἀρχικλέος Ἀθηναῖος || [ὁ ἱερομνήμων, ἐπιδα]μήσας ἐν τὰν πόλιν ἁμῶν, τάς [τε] θυσίας τὰς ὑπὲρ τοῦ δάμου τοῦ Ἀθαναίων ἔθυσε κὰτ τὰ πάτρια, τάν τε παρεπι||[δαμίαν ἐποιή]σατο καλὰν καὶ εὐσχήμονα, τοῦ τε ἀγῶ[νος] τῶν Πυθίων συντελειμένου, ἔκρινεν εὐσεβῶς καὶ δικαίως, εὐνόως τε τυγχάνει || [διακεί]μενος τὰ ποτὶ τὰν πόλιν ἁμῶν, ἀγωνισάμεν[ός τ]ε ἐν τᾷ ἰδίᾳ πατρίδι τραγῳδίᾳ καινῇ, καὶ νικάσας, ἐστεφάνωσε τὸν δᾶμον ἁ||[μ]ῶν· ἀγαθᾶι τύχαι· δεδόχθαι τᾶι πόλει τῶν Δε[λφῶ]ν ἐπαινέσαι Θρασυκλῆν Ἀρχικλέος Ἀθηναῖον τὸν ἱερομνάμονα, καὶ δεδόσθαι αὐ||τῷ, παρὰ τᾶς πόλιος, αὐτῷ καὶ ἐκγόνοις, προξενίαν, [πρ]ομαντείαν, προδικίαν, ἀσυλίαν, ἀτέλειαν, γᾶς καὶ οἰκίας ἔνκτησιν,|| προεδρίαν ἐμ πᾶσιν τοῖς ἀγώνοις οἷς ἁ πόλις τίθ[ητ]ιν, καὶ τἄλλα τίμια ὅσα καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις προξένοις καὶ εὐερταις ὑπάρχει, || ἀναγράψαι δὲ τόδε τὸ ψάφισμα ἐν τῶι ἱερῷ τοῦ Ἀπ[ό]λλωνος τοῦ Πυθίου. ἄρχοντος Ἀντιγένους τοῦ Ἀρχία, μηνὸς Ἡρακλείου, [βου]||[λευόν]των Φιλλέα τοῦ Δαμένεος, Ἀθανίωνος τοῦ Κλ[εοξ]ενίδα.

From this inscription it transpires that Thrasycles was more than once in Delphi, where he held the religious post of hieromnemon, and was known in Athens as the author of tragedies. From the phrase ἀγωνισάμεν[ός τ]ε ἐν τᾷ ἰδίᾳ πατρίδι τραγῳδίᾳ

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καινῇ we learn that he successfully competed in competitions concerning new tragic plays. We have no other detailed information on his life and work.

Argos Sostratus of Chalcis (TrGF 161) A list of artists attending the Heraia in Argos from the first century bc (c. 100 bc or sometime between 90 and 80 bc) mentions a tragic poet called Sostratus of Chalcis, the son of Athenion (G. Vollgraff, Mnemosyne 47(1919) p. 252, 25=BCH 107,1983.376– 383=SEG Pel 33:290 b 31–32) τραγωιδῶν ποιητὴς Σώστρατος Ἀθηνίωνος Χαλκιδεύς). He belonged to the technitai association in Athens. Apart from this reference on the list, nothing else is known about this poet.281

Oropos From Boeotian Oropos we have extant lists of winners of various agones, including dramatic agones. The inscriptions are from the first century bc (sometime after 87 bc). IG VII 420.1–4. 23–4. 29–0: ἄρχοντος Φιλιστίδου, ἱερέως δὲ τοῦ Ἀμφια||ράου Ἑρμαιώνδου, ἀγωνοθετοῦντος τὰ Ἀμφι[α]||ρᾷα καὶ Ῥω{ι}μαῖα Εὐβιότου τοῦ Δημογέν[ου],|| οἵδε ἐνίκων· ποιητὴς σατύρων || Φιλοξενίδης Φιλίππου Ὠρώπιος […] τραγωιδίας καινῆς ποιητής || Πρώταρχος Ἀντιμένους Θηβαῖος IG VII 416,1–2. 21–4. 27–8 [ἄρχοντος — — — — — —, ἱερέως] δὲ τοῦ Ἀμφιαράου Ἀλεξιδήμου τοῦ [Θεοδώρου, ἀγωνοθετοῦντος] || [τῶν Ἀμφιαρᾴων καὶ Ῥωμαίων Ἀλ]εξιδήμου τοῦ Δημοφῶντος, [οἵδε ἐνίκων]· […] ποιητὴς σατύρων || Ἡρακλίδης Ἡρακλείδου Ἀθηναῖος τραγῳδός || Ἐπίνικος Ἀλεξάνδρου Ἀθηναῖος […] ποιητὴς τραγῳδίας || Ἑρμοκράτης Ἀλεξάνδρου Μιλήσιος IG VII 419.1–6. 25–8 ἄρχοντος ἐν Ὠρωπῷ Λυσιμένου || τοῦ Φιλίππου, ἱερέως δὲ τοῦ || Ἀμφιαράου Εὐκράτου τοῦ || Φίλωνος, ἀγωνοθετοῦντος || τῶν Ἀμφιαρᾴων καὶ Ῥωμαίων || Εὐφάνου τοῦ Ζωΐλου, οἵδε ἐνίκων· σατύρων ποιητής || Κάλλιππος Κάλλωνος Θηβαῖος ποιητὴ{τη}ς τραγῳδιῶν || Λυσίστρατος Μνασέου Χαλκιδεύς

See Sifakis (1967), p. 143; as well as IArgiv., and G. Vollgraff., Mnemosyne 47 (1919), p. 254.

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Heraclides, son of Heraclides, Athenian (TrGF 166) Heraclides, son of Heraclides, mentioned in the inscription (IG VII 416), came from Athens and was the author of satyr dramas. At the start of the first century bc he won victories at the Amphiaraia and Rhomaia in Oropos. His name appears only on this inscription.

Hermocrates, son of Alexander, Miletean (TrGF 167) The same inscription (IG VII 416) bears information concerning Hermocrates of Miletus, the son of Alexander. Hermocrates wrote tragedies and won competitions at the same festivals as Heraclides. And, as in Heraclides’ case, there is no other information regarding this author.

Callippus, son of Callonus, Theban (TrGF 168) Some time after 87 bc, also during the Amphiaraia and Rhomaia festivals in Oropos, Callippus the son of Callonus, from Thebes presented his own satyr dramas. All this information, as well as the fact that his play won a competition, is recorded in the inscription (IG VII 419). Nothing else is known about this author.

Lysistratus, son of Mnaseus, from Chalcis (TrGF 169) During the same competition in which Callippus was awarded for his satyr play (i.e. some time after 87 bc) Lysistratus of Chalcis, the son of Mnaseus, won a prize for his tragedy. On the inscription (IG VII 419) his name appears immediately below that of the author of satyr plays. As in the case of all the other above-listed authors, nothing else is known about Lysistratus.

Philoxenides, son of Philip, from Oropos (TrGF 170) Philoxenides of Oropos, the son of Philip, was yet another author of satyr plays to win an award at the Amphiaraia and Rhomaia in Oropos, the town he actually represented. Apart from the inscription (IG VII 420), no other ancient source mentions him.

Protarchus, son of Antimenus, Theban (TrGF 171) The same inscription (IG VII 420) mentions another author who won an award for a tragedy, namely Protarchus of Thebes, the son of Antimenus. The phrase [τραγωιδίας καινῆς ποιητής] leaves us in no doubt that he was the author of a new tragedy, and that for this tragedy he won a prize at the Amphiaraia and Rhomaia.

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Aminias, son of Democleus, Theban (TrGF 164) Aminias of Thebes, the son of Democleus, was a universally talented writer. The Oropos inscription (created some time after 87 bc) which lists the victors at the Amphiaraia states that he had won agones in two literary competitions: IG VII 419,13–16 ἐνκωμίῳ ἐπικῷ || Ἀμινίας Δημοκλέους Θηβαῖος || ἐπῶν ποιητάς || Ἀμινίας Δημοκλέους Θηβαῖος.

On a different inscription from Orchomenus (start of the first century bc) we can read that he had won agones at the Charitesia: IG VII 3197.1–2. 9–10. 24–25 οἵδε ἐνίκων τὸν ἀγῶνα τῶν Χαρι||τησίων· […] ποητὴς ἐπῶν || Ἀμινίας Δημοκλέους Θηβαῖος […] ποητὴς σατύρων || Ἀμινίας Δημοκλέους Θηβαῖος

On the basis of this we know that one of his areas of activity was writing satyr plays. Apart from what these two inscriptions tell us, we have no further information regarding this author.

Tanagra Similarly to Oropos, lists of Sarapeia festival winners have survived from another Boeotian town, Tanagra. These are two inscriptions from the first century bc: one dated to the years 100–70 bc and the other to some time after 87 bc. 1. IG VII 540.1–2. 11–12 [Γλ]αύκου τοῦ Βουκάττου οἵδε ἐνίκων τὸν ἀγῶνα τ[ῶν] || Σαραπιείων· […] [σ]ατύρων ποιητής· Ἀλέξανδρος Γλαύκου Ταναγραῖος τραγῳδιῶν ποιητής· Ἀσκληπιάδης Ἱκεσίου Θηβαῖος IG VII 540 + SEG 19, 335; 25, 501 Αλεξάνδρ[ωι σα]τύρων ποιητῆι στέφανον, ἀπὸ χρυσῶν γ’κκαὶ τετραβώλου ἡμιωβελίου· καὶ Ἀθηνί [αι ( vel – ωνι)] Νικάρχοι Ἀνθηδονιωνι δευτερεῖον ἀττικοῦ μ´. Ἀσκληπιάδηι τραγωιδιῶν ποιητῆι στέφανον, ἀπὸ χρυσῶν δ´· καὶ Ποπλίῳ Ποπλίου Ῥωμαίῳ δευτερεῖον ἀττικοῦ [μ´]. Ασκληπιάδηι τραγῳδιῶν ποιητῆι τὸν ἐπινίκιον στέφανον, ἀπὸ χρυσῶν ε´ καὶ ἡμίχους, καὶ ὀβολοῦ ἡμιωβελίου 2. IG VII 543.1–6 Εἴρανος Φρυνίδου || Ταναγραῖος [τρ]α̣γῳδούς· || Εἴρανος Φρυ[νί]δου || Ταναγραῖος ποιητά[ς]· || Δωρόθεος [Πυθί]ππου || Χαλκιδε[ύς τοῦ ἐπι]νικίου·



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Alexander, son of Glaucus, Tanagrian (TrGF 159) The aforementioned IG VII 540 inscription informs us of Alexander, the son of Glaucus, who was the author of satyr plays and winner of the golden wreath at the Sarapeia of Tanagra, his home town. We have no further information regarding this playwright.

Asclepiades II, son of Hicesius, of Athens (TrGF 140) Inscription IG VII 540 mentions Asclepiades, son of Hicesius of Thebes, the author of a tragedy and an epinikion (for which he was awarded two golden wreaths at the Sarapeia). His name also appears on other epigraphic documents. In the latter cases he is described as an Athenian, which could cast doubt on the opinion of Snell and Kannicht that this was the same author. Nevertheless, this view is supported by the fact that distinguished individuals were sometimes citizens of more than one polis. Artefacts from Delphi recording him as a hieromnemon include a honorific inscription dated c. 125 bc (IG II2 1134, FD III 2, 69,1.3.23–4: [ἄρχοντος ἐν Δελφοῖ]ς Εὐκλείδου το[ῦ Κα]λλείδο[υ, πυλαίας μεθοπ]ωρινῆς […] παρὰ δὲ Ἀθηναίων Ἀσκληπιάδου τοῦ Ἱκεσίου, […][ψήφισμά τε κ]αὶ πρεσβευτάς. [τόν] τε ἱερέα τ[οῦ Δ]ιονύσου Ἀσκληπιάδην Ἱκεσίου τραγικὸν ποιητήν, καὶ μετ’ αὐτοῦ Πολ[ύ]|[στρατον Ἀλεξί]ωνος ἐπῶν ποιη[τήν, κ]αὶ Θρ[ασυμή]δην Δημοσθένους ἐπῶν ποιητήν), and a catalogue of priests from before 117 bc (SIG3 826 B II 2=FD III 4, 277 Ἀθηναίων· Ἀσκληπιάδης] || Ἱκεσίου Ἀ̣[θηναῖ]ος ἱερομ[νήμων). He is mentioned as a Dionysian priest in an Attic inscription from 100–99 bc, and in another inscription as a deputy to Delphi, IG II2 2336, 122: [ἱερ]εὺς Διο[νύσου] || Ἀσκληπιά[δης Ἁλαιε]ὺς. Equally interesting evidence is found on an Athenian silver tetradrachm from 135–134 bc bearing the names Ἱκέσιος and Ἀσκληπιάδης, i.e. the tragedian and his father. The above inscriptions are proof of Asclepiades’ political importance, while the only trace of his literary success is a catalogue of tragedies originally found in Piraeus: IG II2 2363 [νος — — —] Ἀσκληπιάδου || — — — — — ς·

Dorotheus of Chalcis (TrGF 160) There is some uncertainty as to whether Dorotheus, the son of Pythippos, was a tragic poet. In this respect inscription IG VII 543 is quite difficult to interpret. However, there can be no doubt that he was a victor at the Sarapeia, and perhaps he was also the brother of another playwright, Gorgippus of Chalcis.

Atheni[as] of Anthedon (TrGF 162) Atheni[as] of Anthedon, the son of Nicarchus, is mentioned in inscription IG VII 540+ SEG 19, 335; 25, 501 as winning a financial reward for coming second in a satyr play agon. Unfortunately, we have no other information regarding this author and his work.

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Publius the Roman (TrGF 163) The above-mentioned IG VII 540+ SEG 19, 335; 25, 501 inscription also mentions Publius, the son of Publius, called the Roman, as the author of a tragedy that came second in a competition and for which also he was awarded money. There is no other information regarding Publius, but it is interesting that in Hellenistic times a Roman citizen, probably a native of Italy, should write tragedies in the Greek language and, as the inscription states, that such tragedies should even be popular enough to succeed in competitions.

Akraiphia A similar inscription from first century bc Akraiphia in Boeotia also lists the winners of tragedy and satyr play competitions. IG VII 2727.1–6. 20–1, 25–6 Ἀντίου ἄρχοντος, ἀγνοθετοῦν[τος] || Ποπλίου Κορνηλίου τοῦ Ποπλίου υἱοῦ [Ῥω]||μαίου τῶν τριετήρων Σωτηρίων πρῶ[τον] || ἀπὸ τοῦ πολέμου, ἱερατεύοντος δὲ το[ῦ Δι]||ὸς τοῦ Σωτῆρος Θεομνήστου τοῦ Παρα||μόνου, οἵδε ἐνίκων· […] π[οιη]τὴ[ς σατύ]ρων || Γόργιππος Πυ[θίππ]ου Χαλκιδεύς […] ποιητὴς τραγῳδιῶν || Διογένης Θεοδότου Θηβαῖος

Gorgippus of Chalcis (TrGF 175) Gorgippus of Chalcis, the son of Pythippos, was the author of a satyr play and a winner at the Soteria in Akraiphia. His name is only known from the above-cited inscription. Gorgippus’ patronymic suggests that he could be the brother of Dorotheus of Chalcis.

Diogenes of Thebes, son of Theodotus (TrGF 176) Diogenes of Thebes, son of Theodotus, was the author of tragedies. Like the aforementioned Gorgippus of Chalcis, he was victorious during the same Soteria, and his name is mentioned in the inscription immediately below that of the satyr play author. There is no other information regarding Diogenes of Thebes.

Thebes […]kles (?) of Thebes, son of Athenodorus (?) On the inscription found in 2003 in Boeotian Thebes, we can read the partially preserved name of a hitherto unknown poet of satyr plays.282 The editio princeps of the inscription (D. Knoepfler, ‘Les Rômaia de Thèbes : un nouveau concours musical (et athlétique) en Béotie’, CRAI (2004), pp. 1241–79) records his name as […]κλης [Ἀ] For obvious reasons not mentioned in Snell’s edition of TrGF.

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θ[ηνο?]δώρου Θηβαῖος (l. 20), ποιητὴς σατύρων (l.19). We do not know anything about this author except the fact that he was active circa the beginning of the first century bc and won the contest of satyr play during the Rhomaia at Thebes.283

Magnesia on the Maeander Theodorus, son of Dionysius (TrGF 134) D.L. 2, 104: (Θεόδωροι δὲ γεγόνασιν εἴκοσι·) εἰκοστὸς ποιητὴς τραγῳδίας. (there were twenty by the name of Theodorus) the twentieth was a tragic poet.

The above-cited tragic poet may be identified as Theodorus, the son of Dionysius, known from an inscription found in Magnesia on the Maeander and dated sometime between 150 and 100 bc. (IMagn 88a=Magn. Caria 145, 2. 1, 3–4. 3, 3–5) στεφανηφοροῦντος Ἀπολλοδώρου ἀγωνοθετούντων Εὐανδρίδου τοῦ Εὐανδρίδου, Μανδροδώρου || τοῦ Κλεαίνου, Ἀπολλοδώρου τοῦ Λεοντέως οἵδε ἐνίκων τὸν ἀγῶνα τῶν Ῥωμαίων ποιηταὶ καινῶν δραμάτων· || τραγωιδιῶν· || Θεόδωρος Διονυσίου δράματι Ἐρμιόνηι […] σατύρων· || Θεόδωρος Διονυσίου || δράματι Θύτηι

This was the author of both tragedies and satyr plays. During the Rhomaia in his hometown he won awards for his tragedy Hermione, as well as for a satyr play entitled Thytes. His double victory during the same festival as well as being mentioned by Diogenes indicates that this was a well-known tragedian. Unfortunately, we have no more information regarding this author. *** IMagn 88b=Magn. Caria 146.1–3. 1, 4–5. 3, 4–5 στεφανηφοροῦντος vacat Σωκράτου ἀγωνοθετούντων Διαγόρου τοῦ Δημητρίου,|| Διονυσάρχου τοῦ Λάμπωνος, Γεροντίδου τοῦ Γεροντίδου οἵδε ἐνίκων τὸν ἀγῶνα || τῶν Ῥωμαίων ποιηταὶ καινῶν δραμάτων· || τραγῳδιῶν· Γλαύκων Γλαύκωνος || Ἐφέσιος, […] σατύρων· || Πολέμων Νέωνος.

Glaucon, son of Glaucon, of Ephesus (TrGF 135) Glaucon was the author of a tragedy presented and awarded in Magnesia during the Rhomaia, sometime after the agones mentioned in inscription IMagn=Magn Caria 145, which are dated to have occurred after 150 bc. Apart from this inscription, there is no mention of such an author in any epigraph or other item of literature.

See p. 269f. of this book.

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Polemon (TrGF 136) Polemon was the author of a satyr play that won a prize during the same Rhomaia at Magnesia in which Glaucon was awarded. Similar to Glaucon’s case, no other information is available about this author.

Polemaius, son of Diodorus, of Ephesus (TrGF 155) IMagn 88c=Magn. Caria 147.1–5 Δημητρίου. vacat στεφανηφοροῦντος Ἀττάλου ἀγωνοθετούντ[ων] || Κλεαίνου τοῦ Κλεαίνου οἵδε ἐνίκων ἐν τῶ̣ ἀγῶνι || τραγωιδιῶν· || Πολεμαῖος Διοδώρου Ἐφέσιος || δράματι Κλυταιμήστρᾳ IMagn 88d=Magn. Caria 148.1–2. 2,3–5 Εὐκλείους τοῦ Ἀριστοκράτους, Εὐανδρίδου τοῦ Εὐανδρίδου || [τῶν] Ῥωμαίων ποιηταί· σατύρων· || Πολεμαῖος Διοδώρου Ἐφέσιος || δράματι vacat Αἴαντι.

Polemaius of Ephesus, the son of Diodorus, was the author of both tragedies and satyr plays. During successive Rhomaia held in Magnesia he was awarded for his tragedy Clytemnestra as well as for his satyr play Aias. He was the second playwright, after Theodorus, to win prizes in both categories during the Rhomaia.

Harmodius, son of Asclepiades, of Tarsus (TrGF 156) IMagn 88c=Magn. Caria 149. 1–6 [ἀγωνοθ]ετούντων δὲ Ῥωμαῖα || [.c.6.. τ]οῦ Ὀνήσονος οἵδε ἐνίκων· || σατύρων ποιητὴς || Ἁρμόδιος Ἀσκληπιάδου || Ταρσεὺς δράματι || Πρωτεσιλάῳ.

Harmodius of Tarsus, the son of Asclepiades, was the author of satyr plays. During the Rhomaia he was awarded for his satyr play Protesilaus. There is no other information regarding this author.

Theodotus (TrGF 157) IMagn 88g=Magn. Caria 151. 1-4 σατύρω[ν·] || Θεύδο[τος] || δ[ρ]άμα[τ]ι || Παλαμήδῃ.

Another of the authors mentioned in inscriptions to have won a prize during the Rhomaia for a satyr drama was Theodotus. Apart from the fact that he won the prize for a play entitled Palamedes, we have no further information regarding him.



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Ar]istaen[etus (TrGF 158) Appearing on a very fragmentarily preserved inscription listing the winners of Rhomaia are letters on the basis of which the name of Aristaenetus, an unknown tragedian, could be reconstructed (IMagn 88ik=Magn Caria 140-141 [ἀγωνοθετού] ντ[ων —] || [Ῥωμαίων] πο[ιηταὶ —] || [Ἀρ]ισταίν[ετος] || [Πόλ]λιδος

Iasos IIasos 153.1–13=Iasos Caria 73.1: [ἔδο]ξεν τῆι βουλῆι· βασιλεὺς Σωσιφάνης Σωφάνους εἶπε[ν·] || [ἐπ]ειδὴ Δύμας ποητὴς τραγωιδιῶν ἀεί τι λέγων καὶ γράφων || [κ]α̣ὶ πράττων ἀγαθὸν διατελεῖ ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἱεροῦ καὶ τῆς πόλε[ως] || [κ]αὶ τῶν πολιτῶν, ἡ δὲ βουλὴ προβεβούλευκεν αὐτῶι περὶ ἐ[παίνου] || καὶ στεφάνου καὶ πολιτείας· ἀγαθῆι τύχηι· δεδόχθα[ι τῶι] || δήμωι· ἐπαινέσαι Δύμαντα ἐπὶ τῆι πρὸς τὴν πόλιν εὐνοίαι καὶ στεφα[νῶ]||σαι χρυσῶι στεφ[ά]νωι Διονυσίων τῶι ἀγῶνι τὴν ἀνάρρησιν ποιουμένου[ς·] || ὁ δῆμος στεφανοῖ Δύμαντα Ἀντιπάτρου Ἰασέα χρυσῶι στεφάνωι εὐσ[ε]||βείας ἕνεκεν τῆς εἰς τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ εὐνοίας τῆς εἰς τὸν δῆ[μον·] || τῆς δὲ ἀναρρήσεως ἐπιμεληθῆναι τοὺς προέδρους καὶ τὸν ἀγω||[νο]θέτην· εἶναι δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ πολίτην μετέχοντα πάντων ὧν καὶ [οἱ] || [ἄ]λλοι πολῖται μετέχουσιν· ἀναγράψαι δὲ τὸ ψήφισμα εἰς τὸ ἱερὸ[ν] || [τ]ῆς Ἀθηνᾶς. IIasos 153.14–36=Iasos Caria 74.14: [ἔ]δοξεν τῆι βουλῆι· βασιλεὺς Θεοτέλης Ἀριφάντου εἶπεν· ἐπε[ιδὴ] || Δύμας ποητὴς τραγωιδιῶν τά τε πρὸς θεοὺς εὐσεβῶς δια[γό]||μενος καὶ τὰ πρὸς [τ]ὴμ πόλιν οἰκείως καὶ φιλανθρώπως ἀεί τι λ[έγων] || καὶ γράφων καὶ πράττων ἀγαθὸν διατελεῖ περὶ τῆς νήσου, διὰ [παν]||[τ]ός τε ἀπόδειξιν ἐποιήσατο τῆς αὑτοῦ φύσεως καὶ πραγματείαν σ[υνέ]||ταξεν ἐν δράματι τῶν Δαρδάνου πράξεων τὰς μεγίστας μνημοσ[ύνας,] || ἡ δὲ βουλὴ προβεβ[ο]ύλευκεν αὐτῶι περὶ ἐπαίνου καὶ στεφάνου· [ὅπως] || οὖγ καὶ ὁ δῆμος φαίνηται τοὺς εὐεργετοῦντας αὑτὸν τιμῶν ἀξίω[ς] || διὰ παντός· ἀγαθῆι τύχηι· ἐψηφίσθαι τῶι δήμωι· ἐπαινέσαι Δύμα[ντα] || ἐπὶ τῆι πρὸς τὴμ πόλιν εὐνοίαι καὶ στεφανῶσαι αὐτὸν χρυσῶι στε[φάνωι] || Διονυσίων τῶι ἀγῶνι τὴν ἀνάρρησιν ποιουμένους· ὁ δῆμος στεφα[νοῖ] || Δύμαντα Ἀντιπάτ[ρ]ου χρυσῶι στεφάνωι ἀρετῆς ἕνεκεγ καὶ εὐν[οίας] || τῆς εἰς αὑτόν· τῆ[ς] δὲ ἀναρρήσεως ἐπιμεληθῆναι τοὺς προέδ[ρους] || [κ]αὶ τὸν ἀγωνοθέτην· εἶναι δὲ αὐτῶι καὶ ἄλλο ἀγαθὸν εὑρέσθαι ὅτ[ι ἂν] || [β]ούληται παρὰ τοῦ δήμου· ἀναγράψαι δὲ τὸ ψήφισμα τὸμ βασιλέα [εἰς τὸ] || [ἱε]ρὸν τῆς Ἀθηνᾶς· ἵν[α δ]ὲ φανερὸν ἦι καὶ Ἰασεῦσιν ὅτι ὁ δῆμος τιμᾶ[ι τοὺς] || [κα]λοὺς καὶ ἀγαθοὺς ἄνδρας ἀξίως τῆς αὐτῶν ἀρετῆς, δοῦν[αι τόδε] || [τὸ] ψήφισμα τὸμ βασιλέα τοῖς πρώτοις παραγενομένοις θεωροῖς ἐ[ξ Ἰασοῦ] || [καὶ] τὸ γραφὲν ἐπὶ Σωσιφάνους ἀνενεγ̣κεῖν τῆι βουλῆι καὶ τῶι δήμ[ωι τῶι] || [Ἰα]σέων, καὶ παρακε[κ]λῆσθαι Ἰασε̣[ῖ]ς ἐπιμεληθῆναι φιλοτίμως ἵνα [τὰ] || [ψ]ηφίσματα ἔν τινι τῶν ἱερῶν ἀναγ[ρ]αφῆι καὶ οἱ στέφανοι ἀν[ακη]||[ρυχ]θῶσιν ἐν Διο[νυ]σίοις εἰδότας δι[ό]τι ποιήσαντες τὰ ἠξι[ωμένα] || [χα]ριοῦνται τῶι δ[ήμ]ωι.

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Dymas of Iasos, son of Antipater (TrGF 130) The author of a tragedy from the second century bc was awarded a golden crown and citizenship of Samothrace. The first decree informs us that he received these prizes for piety to the gods and benevolence towards the people. (εὐσ[ε]||βείας ἕνεκεν τῆς εἰς τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ εὐνοίας τῆς εἰς τὸν δῆ[μον·]). The golden wreath was given to him during the local Dionysia and the decree was to be inscribed on the temple of Athena. The second inscription is much more detailed. He was awarded a second golden crown because he continued to be pious and benevolent and moreover he had written a drama entitled Dardanus. The play is defined as the greatest memorial (ἡ μεγίστη μνημοσύνη) for the island. According to Diodorus Siculus (5.48.3), the hero Dardanus was the first to travel to Asia and he started his journey from Samothrace. He was the son of Zeus and Electra, one of the Pleiades. Dardanus founded two cities: Dardanus and Troy, where he was the founder of the royal family. The tragedy was certainly a tribute to Samothrace and its local hero. J. L. Lightfoot, moreover, believes that the play also concerned the Cabiri (in that Dardanus’ brother, Iasion, was associated with these local deities).284 Recently Rutherford analysed the inscriptions in detail, presenting them in the context of other honorific decrees of so-called poeti vaganti.285 He puts forward a hypothesis about Dymas’ drama being a tribute also to Rome. Indeed Dardanus brought from Samothrace to Troy sacred items, which after the sack of the city were taken by Aeneas to Italy (Penates of Rome), so it would not be very difficult to present in this drama a connection between these three cities: Samothrace–Troy–Rome. Rutherford raises the question of whether or not Dymas’ tragedies were actually performed. We know of Dymas exclusively from the two above honorific inscriptions, which were procured by Samothracians and installed in a theatre entrance at the playwright’s home town of Iasos. We cannot really say anything about his other plays, but the reasonable hypothesis seems to be that at least Dardanus was staged at the theatre near the sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace. Each of these honorific decrees was to be read also during the Dionysia and the inscription was installed at the theatre in Carian Iasos. It is though quite possible that he was also staging his productions there.

Lysimachus of Teos (TrGF 132) IIasos 152=Iasos Caria 65.1=2. 35. 36 γνώμη τοῦ κοινοῦ τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυ[σον τεχ]νιτῶν [τῶ]ν ἐν Ἰωνίαι [κ]α[ὶ] Ἑλλησ||πόντωι καὶ τῶν περὶ τὸν καθηγημόνα Δι[όνυ]σον· […]πρεσβευταὶ εἱρέθησαν […] || Λυσίμαχος ποιητὴς τραγῳδιῶν,

Thanks to the above inscription, Lysimachus of Teos is known as a tragic poet and one of the superiors of the Dionysian technitai association of Ionia and the Hellespont. The inscription is dated c. 151 bc, which would be more or less when he was active. There are no other details regarding this poet. Lightfoot (2002), p. 218. Rutherford (2007), pp. 279–93 (with the English translation of the decrees).

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Koroneia Zotion, son of Zotion, of Ephesus (TrGF 133) Zotion was the author of tragedies and satyr plays, for which he was honoured by the Koroneians with an inscription dated to the mid-second century (ICoroneae ed. N. G. Papadakis (1927), 207–22)286: Ζ]ωτίων Ζωτίωνος Ἐφέσιος, τραγαϝω̣διά||[ων ποειτὰς κὴ σατο]ύρων). This is the only extant evidence of this author’s existence and therefore nothing else is known about his life and work.

Delos Dionysius, son of Demetrius, Athenian (TrGF 141) Dionysius, son of Demetrius, an Athenian of the Anaphlystus deme, is mentioned in three Delian inscriptions, all dated between 112 and 110 bc. ID 1531.1 βασιλεὺς Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, ὁ πρεσβύτατος ὑὸς || βασιλέως Πτοεμαίου τοῦ δευτέρου Εὐεργέτου || Ἀπόλλωνι καὶ τῶι δήμωι τῶι Ἀθηναίων || καὶ τοῖς νέοις,|| ἐπὶ ἐπιμελητοῦ τῆς νήσου Διονυσίου τοῦ Δημητρίου Ἀναφλυστίου ID 2125.4-7 ἐπὶ ἱερέως || Δημητρίου τοῦ Δημητρίου Ἀναφλυστίου, ἐπι||μελητοῦ δὲ τῆς νήσου Διονυσίου τοῦ Δημητρίου || Ἀναφλυστίου. ID 1959.1 Διονύσιος Δημητρίου Ἀθηναῖος νικήσας || τοὺς ποητὰς τῶν τραγωιδιῶν καὶ σατύ||ρων v ἱερεὺς Ἀπόλλωνος καὶ ἐπιμελη||τὴς Δήλου γενόμενος, v Διονύσωι || καὶ Μούσαις v χαριστήριον.

He was the author of tragedies and satyr plays. However, he was best remembered as an important member of the technitai association. He was a priest of Apollo as well as an epimeletes of Delos.

Samos A mid-second century bc inscription from Samos lists the winners of that city’s Heraia (JHS 7, 1886, 148–53=Samos Ionia 170. 1–3, 9–10): ἐπὶ Ἀντιπάτρου· ἀγωνοθετούντων Ἑρμίππου τοῦ Μ̣ο̣σ̣χ̣ί̣ω̣[νος,] Ἀριστείδου τοῦ Ἀπολλοδότου,|| Νικολάου τοῦ [․․c.8․․․]δου· γυμνασιαρχοῦντος Σωσιστράτου τοῦ Σωσ[ιστρά]του τοῦ νεωτέρου· ἐνίκων οἵδε· […]τοὺς ποιητὰς [τῶ]ν καινῶν σατύρων· Ἀρχένομος Ἑρμία Ῥόδιος· τοὺς ποιητὰς || τῶν καινῶν τραγ[ῳ]δ[ιῶν] Σωσ[ίσ]τρατ[ος Σωσιστράτου· Recently with commentary Schachter and Slater (2007).

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Sosistratus, son of Sosistratus, of Samos (TrGF 142) According to the above-cited inscription, Sosistratus of Samos, the son of Sosistratus, was awarded in the second century bc for presenting a new tragedy at the Heraia in Argos. This is the only extant information concerning this author.

Archenomus (TrGF 143) Archenomus, the son of Hermias, was a winner at Heraia held in the second century bc. He came from the island of Rhodes and was awarded for presenting a new satyr play. We have no other information regarding this person.

Thespiae Pharadas, son of Timon, of Athens (TrGF 173) From the start of the first century bc we have a list of the victors of agones held during the Musaea at the city of Thespiae in Boeotia (IG VII 1760. 1–8. 27–8): Ξένωνος ἄρχοντος, ἀγωνοθετοῦντος τὸ || δεύτερον Κλεαινέτου τοῦ Δασύου, ἐπὶ ἱερέ||ως τῶν Μουσῶν Πολυκρατίδου τοῦ Φαείνου, ἀ||πὸ δὲ τῶν τεχνιτῶν || Ἀργείου, γραμματεύοντος Ἀμφικλεί[δου] || τοῦ Κλεαινέτου, πυρφοροῦντος Κλ[εαινέ]||του τοῦ Δασύου, οἱ νικήσαντες τὰ Μ[ουσεῖα] || οἵδε·

The above inscription informs us that some time after 85 bc the author Pharadas of Athens, son of Timon, won an award for his satyr play. The inscription provides no other information regarding this author.

[Ari]stocrates (TrGF 174) IG VII 1761. 1: [Ἀλέξ]ανδρος Μην[— — — — — —] || [ἀπὸ Μαι]άνδρου ||             ποιητὴς καιν[ῆς τραγῳδίας] || [Ἀρι]στοκράτης Ἀγ[— — — — — —]

The only certain information regarding this author is that he was awarded a prize during the Musaea held at Thespiae (after 85 bc) for presenting a new tragedy. The first three letters of his name had to be reconstructed, whereas only the first two, Ἀγ[, of his patronymic have survived. For this reason it is difficult to associate this author with any better-known writer.

Teos Cleitus of Teos, son of Callisthenes (TrGF 129) All the information we have concerning Cleitus of Teos, son of Callisthenes, comes from a laconic tomb inscription, most probably dating back to the second century



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bc (CIG II 3105=LW 117=Teos Ionia 168.a.1 Κλεῖτε Καλλισθένους,|| τραγῳδιῶν ποιητά, || χρηστὲ χαῖρε), which describes him as a ‘tragic poet’. This is the only place where his name is recorded. Snell and Kannicht believe that Pythagoras and Cleitus, known from a 201 or 204–203 bc inscription (SIG3  563=IG IX2, 1 1:192.1) to have been deputies from Teos to the Aetolians, were the sons of this poet (καθὼς καὶ τοῖς Διονυσιακοῖς τεχνίταις ὁ νόμος τῶν || Αἰτωλῶν κελεύει).

Ptolemais From this city originates an inscription of the technitai association of Dionysus and the Divine Siblings dated to some time between 270 and 246 bc (OGIS 1. 51=Milne, Cairo Egypt 18, 9284. 1–2. 31–33=Bernand 1992, 6 II) in honour of Lysimachus Sostrateus, son of Ptolemy: ἔδοξεν τεχνίταις τοῖς περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον καὶ || θεοὺς Ἀδελφούς· […] τραγῳδιῶν ποιηταί, || Φαίνιππος, || Διόγνητος·

Phaenippus (TrGF 114) and Diognetus (TrGF 115) The inscription names two otherwise unknown tragedians: Phaenippus and Diognetus. Mentioned further (56–9) are συναγωνισταὶ τραγικοί, || Ἀπολλωνίδης Ἄρχωνος, (Ἀρδῶνος according to Milne), Κλεῖτος, || [Π]τολεμαῖος, || Ζώπυρος ([Σά]τ̣υρος according to Milne). The first of these may be identified as Apollonides (TrGF 152), Cleitus may be identified as a poet of the same name (TrGF 129), but the Ptolemy in the inscription is certainly not Ptolemy IV Philopator (TrGF 119). The name of the last of the artists mentioned in the inscription is illegible to the extent that it is impossible to determine whether or not it can be identified as the otherwise unknown Zopyrus (TrGF 216), whose two verses dedicated to Aphrodite have been preserved by Stobaeus (4, 20a, 8): Μηδεὶς ἄπειρος τῶν ἐμῶν εἴη φίλων ἔρωτος, εὐτυχῶν δὲ τὸν θεὸν λάβοι. May none of my friends be untried in Love and happily possess the god [Eros].

Miletus Euandridas (TrGF 116) Euandridas, the son of Hestiaeus, was a tragic poet according to his tomb inscription, dating from around 200 bc: RA 1874, 113–14, 5–12=Mil Ionia 463.I τὸν Ἑστιαίου τῆς τραγῳδίας γραφῆ || Εὐανδρίδαν κέκρυφ’ ὁ τυμβίτας πέτρος || ζήσαντα πρὸς πάντ’ εὐσεβῶς ἀνὰ πτόλιν || ἔτων ἀριθμὸν ὀγδοήκοντ’ ἀρτίων. He belonged to a well-known Milesian family, and had died at the age of 80. We have no information regarding his work.

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Cyprus Dionysius the Cypriot (TrGF 138) SEG 6 813=SEG Cyprus 13: 586.pl [Θεόδωρον, τῶν πρώτων φίλω]ν, τὸν [υἱὸν τὸν Σελεύκου τοῦ συγγενοῦς] || [τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ στρατηγ]οῦ καὶ ναυάρ[χου καὶ ἀρχιερέως τῆς νήσου], || [τὸ κοινὸν τῶν ἐν τῶι κ]ατὰ Πάφον γραμματεω π̣ερ[ὶ τὸν Διόνυσον] || [καὶ θεοὺς Ἐπιφανεῖς(?) τεχ]νιτν, εὐεργεσίας ἕνεκεν τῆς εἰ[ς ἑαυτό]· || [— (annus, mensis, dies) — —], ἀρχόντων Κρίτωνος κιθαρωι[δοῦ], || [τοῦ δεῖνος ποιητοῦ σατύ]ρων, Διονυσίου ποιητοῦ τραγῳ||[διῶν, οἰκονομοῦντος(?) τοῦ δεῖνος] συναγωνιστοῦ τραγικοῦ, γραμ||[ματεύοντος τοῦ δεῖνος ποιητοῦ κωμ] ῳ̣διῶν.

This inscription of the Dionysus of Paphos technitai association, dated to the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes II (144–131 bc) and described as ([τὸ κοινὸν τῶν ἐν τῶι κ]ατὰ Πάφον γραμματεω π̣ερ[ὶ τὸν Διόνυσον] || [καὶ θεοὺς Ἐπιφανεῖς(?) τεχ]νιτν,), mentions the tragic author Dionysius as one of the organization’s leaders. Nothing else is known about him.

Kaunos Polyxenus (TrGF 143A) JHS 73, 1953, 31-32, no. 13=Kaun Caria 19. 1 Πολύξενος Φιλάγρου || νικήσας τοὺς ποιητὰς || τῶν τραγῳδιῶν δὶς || ἐν τοῖς τιθεμένοις ὑπὸ || τοῦ δήμου Λητοῖ καὶ Ῥώμηι || πενταετηρικοῖς ἀγῶσιν· || Κλέαρχος Κλεάρχου Καύνιος ἐποίησεν.

This honorific inscription originates from second century bc Kaunos and was procured by someone called Klearchos as tribute to Polyxenus, son of Philagrus, who had twice won tragic agones during games in honour of Leto and Roma, organized by the citizens of Kaunos every five years.

Fragmenta adespota Gyges (TrGF 2 adespota F 664) ΧΟΡΟΣ (ΓΥΝΑΙΚΩΝ?) ἡ σκηνὴ τοῦ δράματος ὑπόκειται ἐν Σάρδεσιν] desunt 2 incertum quot vss. [ ]..[ ].[ ] [ ].υγα..[ca. 7 ll. ]. [ ]..[.]υσμ….(.)η̣ [ ]μ̣α γῆς



Tragedians and Tragedies [ ].ιρου σ̣τ̣εφ[ [ ]ι̣ς̣ ἐγχωρίοις [ ]. προσκυνῶ [ ]θ̣εσθαι τάδε(.) [ ]. ἀμηχανῶ [ ].α καὶ πρὸ τοῦ [ ]ν̣ λέξω τὸ πᾶν [ ].ε γίγνεται [ ] π̣ροέδραμεν [ ]ι̣δωμοι λόγου [ ] ξ̣υνήλικας quot vss. desint incertum Γύ[γην γὰρ ὡ]ς̣ ἐ̣σ̣εῖδον, [ο]ὐκ εἴκασμά τι, ἔδε̣[ισα] μὴ φό̣νο̣υ τις ἔνδον ἦ λ̣ό̣χ̣[ο]ς̣, ὁπ̣[οῖα] τἀπίχειρα ταῖς τυραννίσιν· ἐ̣[πε]ὶ δ’ ἔτ’ ἐγρήσσοντα Κανδαύλην ὁρῶ, τὸ δρασθὲν ἔγνων κα[ὶ] τίς ὁ δράσας ἀνήρ· ὡς δ’ ἀξυνήμων, καρδί[ας] κυκωμένης, καθεῖρξα σῖ[γα]…[…] αἰσχύν̣[ης] βοήν· ἐν δεμνίω[ι δὲ φρον]τ̣ίσιν στρωφωμένη νὺξ ἦν ἀτέρ[μων ἐξ] ἀυπνία̣ς̣ ἐ̣μ̣οί· ἐπεὶ δ’ ἀνῆλ[θε παμ]φ̣αὴς ῾Εωσφόρος τῆς πρωτοφεγ[γοῦς ἡ]μέρας πρ[ο]άγγελος, τὸν μὲν λέχους ἤγε̣ι̣ρ̣[α] κἀξεπεμψάμην λαοῖς θεμιστεύσοντα· μῦθος ἦν ἐμοί πειθοῦς ἑτοιμο[…]τ̣ο[.]οσ.[…]…..(.)[ εὕδειν ἄνακτα παν[νυχ Γύγην δ' ἐμοὶ κλητῆρ.[ quot vss. desint incertum .ρ̣.[ τί δη[ ἀλλ’ ε̣[ νε[ ωχ̣[ χρυς̣[ ε[ δρασα.[ (ΓΥ.) [.]ι̣μ̣ε̣ ..[ η…φ̣.[ θέλω δε̣φ̣[ ἐμαῖς ανω̣[ (ΒΑ.) λέγοις ἂν ω̣[ (ΓΥ.) .υδωντι.ς …

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desunt 2 incertum quot vss. When I saw Gyges, not just a likeness, I was terrified of a palace plot to kill [the king], such a price is paid for tyranny. But since I saw that Candaules was not yet asleep, I realized what had happened and whose was the deed. As if unaware of anything, though my heart was in turmoil, in silence, I restrained a cry of shame. Tossing on my bed, thinking, the night was for me interminable restlessness. When radiant dawn arrived, the courier of the day’s first glimmer, I woke him and from the bedchamber sent him, to judge the people’s affairs – I had a plan worthy of consideration, which would not allow the king to sleep the entire [night … [to] Gyges’ herald …

The Gyges tragedy, or rather 16 of its verses and another dozen or so very disjointed and badly damaged ones, constitute one of the few examples of Hellenistic drama to have survived on papyrus. Since their discovery and publication, these fragments have become the subject of countless studies and philological discussions. The extreme differences of opinion regarding this tragedy bear testimony not only as to how much it deviates from the classical model, but also as to how little we know about Hellenistic drama in general. There has been no agreement as to its dating or genre, let alone as to who the play’s author was. The papyrus was published for the first time in 1950 by E. Lobel,287 and eight months later in volume XXIII (No. 2382) of Oxyrhynchus Papyri. The papyrus itself is dated by the publisher to 200 bc. Originally, however, the scroll only served to register accounts, and only later were the accounts erased and the papyrus re-used. The result is the overlapping of old and new letters, which makes the text difficult to read. The papyrus is undoubtedly in a bad state, above all because both sides and much of the bottom of the sheet are missing. Thus only some of the words in columns I and III remain. It is the start of the middle column that has been relatively well preserved, and here we can read the 16 lines written in iambic trimeter. The subject of the tragedy is obviously the Lydian palace coup. The story was wellknown to Greeks from Herodotus’ Histories (I, 9–14) as well as Archilochus’ poem. We learn the details of the described episode in Book I of The Histories. The Heraclids had resided on the throne of Lydia for 22 generations, the first of this dynasty being Alcaeus, the son of Heracles, and the last being Candaules, who was assassinated by Gyges. Herodotus describes the palace coup as follows. Candaules was besotted with his wife, believing her to be the most beautiful woman on Earth, and he wanted others in his kingdom to think the same. Suspecting that his bodyguard and trusted servant, Lobel (1950), p. 209.

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by the name of Gyges, was not really convinced, he suggested that he should secretly observe his wife naked. Gyges did not want to commit such a shameful offence against his queen, and was more than willing to believe in her exceptional beauty without visual evidence. But Candaules was insistent and devised a plan to hide his servant in the royal bedchamber, behind an open door, so that Gyges would have a good view of the king’s wife undressing as well as a nearby exit through which he could retreat when she turned her back to the doorway to retire to bed. Unable to disobey the king, Gyges agreed to go along with this plan and that same night Candaules hid him in the royal bedroom. Initially everything went as the ruler had intended, but as Gyges was leaving the room, the queen noticed him and realized that the instigator was her husband. Maintaining her composure, though deeply humiliated by the situation and her husband’s betrayal, she pretended that nothing had happened, while at the same time secretly thirsting for revenge. In the morning the queen summoned Gyges and presented to him two courses of action: either she would have him killed or he would kill the king and take her as his wife. The servant did not wish to die, so, after some initial hesitation, he agreed to kill the king and enquired how it was to be done. Inspired by her own sense of justice, the queen declared that the shameful act committed against her should now be committed against the culprit. Guarded by the queen’s trusted attendants, Gyges received from her a dagger and was once again forced to hide in the royal bedchamber. When Candaules was asleep, Gyges used this dagger to kill him. Next he married the queen and became the new ruler of Lydia. Candaules’ former subjects, however, would not accept his usurpation of power peacefully. Fearing civil war, Gyges felt compelled to have his power confirmed by the Delphic Oracle. Pythia acknowledged Gyges’ right to the throne, but she also issued a warning that justice would eventually reach his new dynasty in the fifth generation and fate would avenge the Heraclids. In brief, that is how Herodotus recounts the tale. On closer examination of the tragedy’s extant verses, apart from the many similarities to Herodotus’ version, we may also notice that the drama describes the event in greater detail and offers deeper psychological insight. At first the queen just spots a figure (εἴκασμά τι) and only in the next instance recognizes it to be Gyges, while at the same time noticing that her husband is still awake. Fully realizing what has happened, she manages to restrain herself from crying out and pretends to have seen nothing. Here Herodotus laconically states that the queen silently resolved to seek her revenge, while the author of the drama describes the queen’s restless night of brooding and how she subsequently treats the king. Pretending to be a caring wife, at dawn she wakes her husband and sends him out of the bedchamber to tend to his subjects’ affairs. She has already worked out her plan of revenge and sends out a herald to summon Gyges. Unfortunately, this is where the papyrus text runs out. We may assume that the scene is set in front of the royal palace in Sardis, the capital of Lydia. The performing characters would have undoubtedly included: Gyges, the queen of Lydia (Nysa), Candaules and perhaps a herald. There is a lot of evidence to suggest the presence of a chorus. Scholars have attempted to reconstruct the rest of the tragedy in various ways. I. Th. Kakridis is of the opinion that the prologue was recited by Candaules as he left

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the palace in the early morning.288 Next, in the parodos, the chorus would have sung a song, perhaps in honour of Heracles as the founder of the dynasty. On finishing this song, the chorus would have bowed before the approaching queen, as this appears to be expressed at the end of verse 9, where we read προσκυνῶ. Then Nysa began her soliloquy, parts of which are the 16 extant verses. Cantarella, however, believes that the queen’s monologue is a typical informative prologue.289 Whichever way it was, we can be certain that the extant monologue fragment is that of Candaules’ wife and comes from the first parts of the play. Moreover, the monologue is undoubtedly delivered in the presence of the chorus, to whom Nysa explains what happened in the night and why she has sent for Gyges. Therefore we should next consider the time of day when all this is said. And here it seems most likely that this scene takes place in the morning. According Aristotle’s recommendations, a play should end at night, i.e. when Candaules retires to bed and is murdered inside the palace by Gyges. We may assume that the tragedy plot would chiefly concern Gyges’ dilemma, indecision and subsequent planning of the murder. A. Lesky argues that this play must have contravened conventional unity of time, action and place because of the way in which Herodotus described events: one night Gyges observed the queen undress, then spent the entire day under guard and only the next night murdered Candaules.290 Yet such breaking of dramatic conventions does not seem necessary. The previous night’s events are recounted by the queen at dawn, while the king’s murder is committed that same evening. This would have been the play’s final act, presumably followed only by the chorus foretelling that the family of the murderer, i.e. the Mermnads, would eventually be punished for their deeds. A somewhat different start to the tragedy is presented by F. Stiebitz.291 On the basis of a few words that can be discerned in column I, he argues that the initial speech is delivered by the queen, who at dawn leaves the palace to bow and lay offerings to the local gods. In her dire situation, she decides to tell the chorus of her coevals (ξ̣υνήλικας) everything that has happened. The most original, but at the same least well-founded, interpretation has been presented by H. Lloyd-Jones, who claims that the fragment is part of an iambic poem by Archilochus.292 We know from Herodotus that such a poem existed, but this historian offers us no details regarding its subject. Its fragment cited by Plutarch (de Tranq. 10, 450 b–c) contains nothing that could be associated with the above presented fragment of the play about Gyges. However, we do have irrefutable evidence that papyrus text POxy 2382 is part of a play on account of the fact that the speakers change. Proof of this is found in the characteristic hyphens appearing in verses 42, 45 and 46 of column III. An important issue at the start of investigation into the papyrus script was its dating. In view of the vocabulary and phraseology, which have an obviously archaic

Kakridis (1951), p. 11. Cantarella (1952), p. 11. 290 Lesky (1953), p. 3; Lesky (1963), p. 797. 291 Stiebitz (1957), p. 145. 292 Lloyd-Jones (1952–3). 288 289



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character, E. Lobel believed that this play was also from that period.293 We cannot assume this to be the work of that first great tragedian for there is no evidence of Aeschylus ever dealing with this particular subject. E. Lobel therefore attributed it to Phrynichus.294 D. L. Page was also of the opinion that the Gyges tragedy originated from the fifth century bc and even preceded Herodotus.295 Page notes that the high level of drama in Herodotus’ account could easily be explained if we assume that he had been inspired by a stage play, as in other parts of The Histories he clearly shows knowledge of Phrynichus’ Sack of Miletus and Aeschylus’ Persians. A different possibility was proposed by A. E. Raubitschek, who believed that Herodotus’ account was based on a contemporary tragedy and for that reason perhaps one written by Ion of Chios.296 K. Latte was the first to posit that the play from which the papyrus fragment originates was written after Herodotus’ Histories.297 In an article by E. Bieckel we find the exceptionally valid point that Herodotus does not name the queen, and therefore probably did not know it, whereas it would have had to appear in the play.298 Today there is relatively general agreement that the play originates from the Hellenistic period.299 Many features of the extant text suggest this. An important type of evidence for the later dating of this text fragment is its metre and prosody. In her analysis of the text, I. Zawadzka notes that, apart from there being no iambic trimeter resolutions, it also lacks the so-called correptio Attica, i.e. putting a short vowel before the muta cum liquida to give a short syllable.300 Such metric devices are commonly found in the plays of the three great tragedians and generally in tragedies of the classical period. The nearest K. Latte could find to the papyrus text’s treatment of iambic trimeter were fragments of plays by Moschion and Sositheus, authors who in the main neglected the correptio Attica. Interestingly enough, the closest resemblance in terms of metre, prosody and phraseology is found in the extant fragment of Lycophron’s play, Alexandra. Here there are no iambic substitutions, and instead there are long passages of text with long vowels appearing before a muta cum liquida. Many of the expressions used in Alexandra are derived from Aeschylus, some exceptionally rare, some used in epic poetry and some even borrowed from Herodotus.301 On this basis M. Gigante has posited that the author of the Gyges play was indeed Lycophron. While such an assumption is certainly attractive to those studying the Hellenistic period, there is, unfortunately, not enough evidence to support it.302 Zawadzka has rightly pointed out that the text’s metre and vocabulary are

The convergence with the vocabulary and phraseology of Aeschylus, Herodotus and Sophocles, as shown by Lobel, appears in this instance to be a deliberate imitation and intended archaization on the part of the author. 294 Lobel (1950), p. 209. 295 Page (1951), pp. 1–46. 296 Raubitschek (1955), pp. 48–50; Raubitschek (1957), pp. 139–40. 297 Latte (1950), p. 136. 298 Bieckel (1957), p. 143; see also Travis 2000. 299 The chief proponents of this view have been K. Latte and P. Maas. 300 Zawadzka (1966). 301 For a detailed description of Lycophron’s vocabulary, see Konze (1870) and Holzinger (1895). 302 Gigante (1952). This theory was rejected by Cazzaniga in 1953, to which Gigante responded to uphold his theory in 1955. 293

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actually very typical for the entire Hellenistic epoch, including all the Pleiad members as well as any other author from that period. The theme undertaken by the anonymous author deserves particular attention. This is a historical drama concerning events that occurred in Lydia at the start of the seventh century bc.303 Of course, historical themes were also not uncommon in Classical drama, but, as Cantarella rightly notes, at the time such themes had to be in some way connected with the Greek world, as was the case with Aeschylus’ Persians or Phrynichus’ Capture of Miletus.304 In the tale about the fate of Candaules there would be no room for allusions regarding Greece. But the matter looked different in Hellenistic times, for by then interest in the East was incomparably greater than in the fifth century. A tragedy concerning a dramatic episode in an Eastern dynasty’s history would very much appeal to a Hellenistic audience, all the more so if it revealed some Eastern opulence and local colour. I. Th. Kakridis believes that in this respect the anonymous tragedy probably resembled the lost Adonis play by Ptolemy IV. Even though the Adonis story was also certainly set in the East, it is difficult to comment on this suggestion since the Lagid monarch’s tragedy has disappeared. In my opinion, we should take a closer look at similarities between the Gyges tragedy and Moschion’s Men of Pherae. It is safe to assume that in both dramas leading roles were played by royal women justly wreaking vengeance on a tyrant. In both plays, too, the actual assassins hide in the tyrant’s bedchamber. Naturally, we may at the same time see similarities between these two heroines and Aeschylus’ Clytemnestra, but then again there is a fundamental difference in the highlighted moral aspect of the act of murder. This, incidentally, touches upon a question raised by Cantarella: Classical tragedy always concerned mythical or heroic plots, whereas the Gyges plot is in a sense ‘bourgeois’, in that it concerned mundane family problems.305 Cantarella goes on to stress that here we are dealing with man as he is, someone whose downfall results from his being blinded by his wife’s sheer beauty and not on account of some dispute among the gods or nemesis for a dynastic crime. If the Gyges play indeed mentioned the oracle and punishment for the shedding of royal blood, it would have done so in its final part. I. Th. Kakridis notes that in this respect, the drama resembles to a certain extent a Euripidean tragedy, for there oracles play a significant role in almost every drama.306 Another way in which Gyges resembles a work by Euripides is in its psychological treatment of the female character. The intensity with which Nysa relates her humiliation and night-time restlessness is reminiscent of Euripides’ great portrayals of women. After all, this was the favourite ‘Classical poet’ of the Hellenistic period, so the similarity is hardly surprising. Moreover, Herodotus was another classical author who was particularly popular in Hellenistic times, to the extent that his Histories were actually performed on stage.307 Athenaeus writes that Herodotus was recited in the Great Theatre in Alexandria by the actor Hegesias. No doubt, this would have been a It should be noted that Martin (1952) disagrees with this view, believing the theme to be mythical rather than historical. 304 Cantarella (1952), p. 8. 305 Cantarella (1952), p. 12. 306 Kakridis (1951), p. 12. 307 Ath. 14, 620 D. Also see article by Andria and Delcroix (1997). 303



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fragment from The Histories adapted into a monodrama. The fact that such literature was performed on stage tells us something about theatrical tastes in the Alexandrian period. Fragments of literature can frequently be dated by tracking any references to them by other ancient authors. We know that Achilles Tatius mentions Candaules’ wife among the women who could kill out of love but equally well out of hatred.308 The fact that he includes her among epic heroines and does not mention her name clearly means that in this case he was not basing his knowledge on the stage play. The story of Candaules, Gyges and Nysa is also related by Nicolaus of Damascus (FGrH 90 F 47), who bases it on a version by Xanthus of Lydia. Moreover, Plutarch recounts the tale in his Quaestiones Graecae, but here too there is no evidence that he based his information on the Gyges drama. However, among the most interesting methods of deducing evidence is using the argumentum ex silentio. One of the arguments Cantarella uses to prove the play fragment’s Hellenistic provenance is Aristotle’s silence on the subject, for he was someone who would have almost certainly mentioned a stage adaptation of a story by Herodotus.309 Of course, this argument is based solely on Cantarella’s subjective intuition and therefore cannot be treated as irrefutable evidence as to when the play was written.

Neoptolemus (TrGF 2 adespota F 680a and b) F1 TrGF 2 adespota F 680 a ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ φα̣ιω· κτύπ̣ο̣ς ἀγ̣ρ̣ [ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ] ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ].ερο̣ν[.].ο̣.υχον ν̣έφος ελ.[ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ]έ̣πεται φθιμένων φαντ[ά]σματ̣[ˬ ̱ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ …].ιον ὑπ[ὸ] τροχὸν Ἰξίω[ν ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˪ ̱]ν̣ ἐπὶ πο[τ]α̣μὸν Τάν̣[τ]α̣λ̣[ο]σ̣ [ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱( ̱) ].σται φάσγανα κα̣τὰ̣ γ̣ῆ̣σ̣ ἔβαλον Φ̣ρ̣ύ̣γιαι τ̣α |[(ˬ)ˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ ˈ σύ]μ̣μαχοσ̣ ἔμολεν· θάρσει, τλήμων Δη̣ϊδάμεια | ? ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱]η̣μων· ἀνέβη δ’ ἐπὶ φέγγος Ἀχιλλεύς· Ach. Tat. 1, 8. Cantarella (1952), p. 14.

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καὶ γὰρ δειλαὶ Τρῳ|[άδες ἔφυγον φάσγ]α̣να γυ̣μ̣νὰ πˈρολιποῦσαι· κἀμὲ γλυκερὰ β̣αίνε̣ι̣ φ̣ω̣νὴ | [ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱].· ἦχον δὲ σαφῶς ἐπιγι̣[(γ)νώσκ]ω καὶ̣ π̣ᾶσα |[ˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱]ς, δεσπότι̣, κατέδ[υ …..]..[..].σ̣τη|(ˬˬ) ̱ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱]ιακ̣[.]ν σὺν ἐμοὶ [……(.)]..[ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ Π]ύρροσ̣ πελας.[ˈ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱| ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱]ην ἀόρατον· αὐτὸς τυχὸν ἂ[ν] κα|[ˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱ˬˬ ̱]ο̣ϊδα

F2 TrGF 2 adespota F 680b ὦ Λῆμνε καὶ̣ κ̣ρα|[–ˬ–×–ˬ– ×–ˬ– Ἥφαι]σ̣τος, ἀναμείξας δ’ ὁμοῦ αδα|[ˬ–×–ˬ–×–] τ̣έχνην καὶ πάντ̣α̣ τὰ στοιχεῖα |[–×–ˬ– ×–ˬ–×ˬ] ἀ̣όρατ’ ἠργάζετο· ὅδ' ἔστ’ Ἀχιλ|[λε–ˬ–×–ˬ– ×–ˬ–] Ζεύς, ο[…(.)].ήθησαν θεο̣ί̣

The above cited papyrus text was first published in 1955 by S. Eitrem, L. Amundsen and R. P. Winnington-Ingram310 as part of the papyrus collection of the Oslo University Library – inventory number 1413. Its origin is unknown because it was acquired as part of Professor C. Schmidt’s private collection. Despite certain problems with the dating, S. Eitrem and L. Amundsen have described the text’s character as typical for the second century ad. The papyrus is in a very bad state, comprising one larger piece, which is riddled with gaping holes, and several smaller fragments with regular edges that do not match. The roll was of low-quality, dark papyrus, which, influenced by external factors, became additionally discoloured in places. The text comprises verses of literature as well as musical notation. Two types of ink were used: a black ink to write the strophes and one in a lighter shade of grey for the musical notation. The large spaces left between the strophes and the musical notes indicates that the text must have been written first, with gaps left for the music or ‘score’ to be added later.311 The publishers are not sure if the two transcriptions were made by the same person in view of the slight differences that may be observed in the angle of inclination and Eitrem, Amundsen and Winnington-Ingram (1955), next edition: TrGF 2 F 680. With regard to the melody, also see: Pappalardo (1959), Winnington-Ingram (1958), p. 8, and Pöhlmann and West (2001), pp. 124ff.

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character of letters. However, these differences are too small to rule out the possibility that both the music and the words were entered by the same writer. Neither side of the papyrus sheet is complete, and much of its top and bottom are also badly damaged, so it is difficult say how much of the text is missing or what the original number and height of the columns was. The publishers have divided the text into two parts, which are called here F1 and F2. The division is on account of the differences in metre: F1 was written in anapaestic dimeter, whereas F2 in iambic trimeter. The fragments have been identified as originating from a Hellenistic tragedy. Verses 1–12 in the first fragment present a scene from Hades: we hear rumbling (κτύπ̣ο̣ς), and witness the appearance of an ominous cloud (ν̣έφος) as well as spectres of the dead (φθιμένων φαντ[ά]σματ̣). Visible among them is Ixion, stretched out on his wheel, and perhaps also Tantalus (Τάν̣[τ]α̣λ̣[ο]σ̣).312 Verse 14 may be translated as: ‘the Phrygian women cast swords to the ground’. Then an ally arrived (σύ]μ̣μαχοσ̣ ἔμολεν), who may in the next verse be identified as Achilles. The next line describes the cowardly flight of the Trojan women, leaving behind their naked swords. A voice is heard which to the narrator sounds sweet (v. 21). In the rest of F1 we can only make out individual phrases, of which the most significant are most probably an expression: Lady (v. 25), Pyrrhus (v. 30) and ‘unseen’ (v. 32). Fragment 1 may be interpreted as follows. This is without doubt a rhesis angelike by one the characters in the play, who relates extraordinary events: for some unknown reason, amid this earth’s din and darkness, come into view apparitions of the dead. This terrifies armed Trojan women, who, on seeing Achilles, abandon their weapons and flee. Achilles then speaks, either about his own son, Neoptolemus, or perhaps directly to him. The rhesis is addressed to Deidamia, as is made quite clear in verse 16, where the narrator says, ‘Have courage, miserable Deidamia’, and then in verse 25 he calls her ‘lady’. The publishers established that the drama plot must have been set on the island of Skyros, as that was the only place where Achilles’ widow could have lived. The identity of the actual speaker is still uncertain, though there is much to indicate that it could have been Phoenix. This character plays an important role in Sophocles’ Scyrians and was present on the island at the time of Achilles’ death. Eitrem and Amundsen also found an explanation for the term of reference ‘lady’, supposedly used by Phoenix, for as Peleus’ squire (Il. 23, 360) he had certain bonds of allegiance to the family of Deidamia’s husband. None of the known versions of the Achilles and Neoptolemus myth corresponds to the elements presented in this play. It undoubtedly concerns the appearance of the Trojan war hero after his death, but the circumstances of this epiphany are utterly different from those related by other ancient authors. According to the Little Iliad, Achilles’ ghost appeared to his son after his arrival at Troy, while in another lost epic, Nostoi, the ghost of the deceased hero comes to Agamemnon to warn him before his return home. Other versions concern the sacrifice of Polyxena. According to one, Achilles appears to Neoptolemus in a dream and tells him to offer Priam’s daughter as a human sacrifice.313 However, the most popular version, made so thanks to the See Eitrem, Amundsen and Winnington-Ingram (1955), p. 11. Q.S. 14, 179–222, Σ E. Hec. 40.

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tragedians, is the tale of Achilles appearing over his grave when the Achaeans are about to leave Ilion. The apparition is clad in gold armour and demands the death of Polyxena. This version, with minor modifications, is adopted by Sophocles in Polyxena and Euripides in Hecuba, on which in turn Seneca based his Trojan Women. Yet none of these versions mentions Trojan women bearing arms. And, indeed, the presence of the swords in our fragment is difficult to explain. The publishers have associated it with a theme from Euripides’ Hecuba, in which with the aid of her female servants the old queen wreaks bloody revenge on Polymestor and his sons. They suggest that in papyrus fragment 1413 Hecuba also wants to murder Neoptolemus for the wrongs committed against her family. This is a far-reaching though not entirely implausible alternative to the more commonly known myth. But there is no evidence to support the existence of such an episode. To me it seems equally probable for the Trojan women to take up arms to defend Polyxena, or alternatively to avenge her death. The appearance of Achilles at such a moment to demand the sacrifice of Polyxena or protect those who have already sacrificed her, including his son, would be much more in keeping with the known mythical versions. Ph. J. Kakridis has suggested a different explanation: according to a lesser known version of the myth, Achilles was killed on the battlefield by Penthesilea, but Thetis appealed to Zeus for him to be resurrected to in turn kill his Amazonian slayer.314 Nevertheless, here it is difficult to explain why the Amazons should be called Trojan or Phrygian women. Basically we do not know the play’s main plot, for the rhesis is only one of its elements. The publishers of the papyrus find are right to point out that only two events in Deidamia’s life are suitable for a tragedy: Achilles’ death and when Neoptolemus set out for Troy, both of which occur before Achilles’ epiphany. So who is the protagonist in this play? Perhaps the lonely Deidamia awaiting news of her son, like Penelope awaited news of her husband. However, it could also be the case that this play breaks the unity of time principle and concerns the departure of Pyrrhus’ son. Fragment 2, although preserved in a far worse condition, may prove useful here as it adds certain new elements to the plot. The text is in a different metre, which indicates that it must belong to a different part of the play. The publishers, however, were uncertain whether this was indeed the same play as in fragment 1. Fragment 2 begins with an apostrophe to the island of Lemnos. Eitrem and Amundsen rightly point out that this was a typical device used in the prologue or alternatively a means of introducing a new character. Either way the story must have been set on the island of Lemnos, and thus it would be difficult to associate fragment 2 with fragment 1, which is set on Skyros. There is also no way we can associate Deidamia with Lemnos. The only link between the two islands is Neoptolemus. He came with Odysseus to the island of Hephaestion to take Philoctetes’ famous bow, without which the Trojan war could not be won. These events were confirmed in Sophocles’ Philoctetes, and also perhaps in the plays of Aeschylus and Euripides with the same title. According to the publishers, fragment 2 first praises the land of Lemnos, where Hephaestion performs his famous craft, and next Neoptolemus as the son of Achilles. They also believe that in this fragment Neoptolemus is presented to Kakridis (1964), pp. 5 ff.

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somebody, perhaps Philoctetes. Here we should add that both an apostrophe to the land as well as the introduction of a character very much suggest that this is a prologue. The lack of connections between the fragments in terms of metre and contents, indicating origins from the same play, has led Eitrem and Amundsen to conclude that they actually belong to different plays. The brevity of the extant texts suggests that they were excerpts from two separate tragedies concerning Neoptolemus adapted for solo performances, i.e. converted into monodramas of sorts. Such practice was common among Hellenistic artists, and also in the later period. According to its publishers, the extant papyrus had belonged to a technites who added the music in between the texts. Even if this is true, it is quite plain we are dealing here with two examples of Hellenistic tragedy. The publishers say this is evident from not only the vocabulary and prosody, but also in the way certain themes are linked together, the dramatic description of the ghosts from Hades and above all the similarities to the tragedies of Seneca. Likewise, using a particularly obscure version of a myth is a typically Hellenistic trait. We should also note that these are two plays concerning the same main character: Neoptolemus. We do not know how much text is missing from the two fragments, but it cannot be all that considerable. On account of their different locations, it is highly unlikely that they originate from the same play – the lack of unity of time and place is simply too great. The publishers nevertheless suggest that both fragments were performed by the same artist. It is possible that they were indeed written for one actor, not so much to perform in a monodrama as in two plays, i.e. a dilogy, or perhaps even a trilogy. This actor clearly specialized in delivering rheseis and if this was a dilogy, he could have played the part of Philoctetes in one play and Odysseus in the other, in both cases he would have to present the two above rheseis on stage. We may have in fact a copy of the actor’s copy of the text with the musical notation, which was helpful to practice the art of acting before staging.

Atlas (TrGF 2 adespota F 655) PBodm XXVIII {(ΑΤΛΑΣ)} μόχθων· ἐπ’ ἄτην δευτέρα̣[ν {(ΗΡΑΚΛΗΣ)} εἶτ’ οὐκ ἐπαιδῆι τὴν μεθ’ ὁρκ̣[ίων φάτιν αἴρων παλαιόν τ’ ἀφθίτων [ {(ΑΤ.)} μήλ̣ων ἐπώμνυν δεῦρ[(ο) ἰδού̣, φέρου τόνδ’· ἄλλο δ’ οὐ̣[ ὅρκοι διεῖπαν· οὔτε τόνδ[ νώτωι βαρύν μοι μόχθον [..].[.].[ διηπάτημαι· τἆλλα δ’ εὐγενεῖ δόλ[ωι κλέπτων ἐπ’ ἄλλην πημάτων ἵξηι̣ .[ μαρτύρομαι δὲ τὴν κατ’ οὐρανὸν Θέμιν

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ὁθούν[ε]χ’ εὑρὼν οὐ δίκαιον Ἡρακλεῖ Ἄτλαντα̣, κεἰ πέφυκεν ἀφθίτων ἄπο̣, μέτειμ[ι·] κ̣εἰ γὰρ θνητά μοι τὰ μητρό̣[θεν, Δίων γ’ ἂ̣[ν] ε̣ἶ̣μεν ἄξιοι γεννητόρων. {(ΑΤ.)} ἄλλων [τὸ] ταρβεῖν, οὐκ ἐμόν· ῥώμηι τε γ̣[άρ πρῶτόν με μήτηρ Γαῖα Τιτάνων τεκ̣[εῖν αὐχεῖ Κρόνου θ’ ὅμαιμον, ὧι ποτ’ εἴχομ̣[εν _κοινὴν Ὀλύμπου τὴν ἄνω μοναρχίαν. {(ΗΡ.)} ἥ τοι πάρ[ε]δρον θν δρόμον κεκτ̣η̣μένη Δίκη̣ δέδο̣ρκεν ὀξύ, κἂν ἀπῆι μακ[ράν· κα]ὶ̣ δὴ τό[δ’] ἂ̣ν πρ̣ά̣ξαιμεν· ἢ π[ύ]γ̣αργο[ν ..(.)].[.]ναπ[.]λλων κοιράνων ὁρμωμε[ν ..]. τἀπὶ Φ[λ]έγραι γηγενῶν φρονήμ[ατα ….].λ[….]η· καὶ τὸν ἐγγελ̣ῶ̣ν̣τ’ ἐ[μοί [         έ]λθοιμ’· εἶτα δαιμ[ον [         ]ηρ λέλογχε· τ̣.[ [          ]οῖδ’ ἔχων ευν[ [          ]οὔτοι τουν̣δ̣[ [           ]αινουμ.[ [            ].ανευγε.[ και̣[…]μ̣[..]νορ.[ ὅπου γὰρ ὧδεχ[ πέποιθεν ἀλκ[..].[ θυμὸν καθημ[…]χθ[ ἐγὼ δὲ μοιρῶν [.]ν..[ ο̣ὕτω γε γραμμα̣[.]ων̣[ ἀρωγὸν εὕρω κ..τιδ[ φρούρημ’ [Ὀλ]ύμπ̣ου τη[ παῦλάν τιν’ ἥξειν π[ ἀλλ’ εἶα· μήλων ἐξοχ[ δώρημα θνητῶν οὐκ[ φυγὴν δὲ μόχθων ων̣[ παίδων γὰρ οἶμαι π.[ {ΗΡ.} ὦ δαῖμον, εἰ χρὴ τὴν [ τάξιν μ’ Ὀλυμπο̣[ {ΑΤ.} οὕτω πατρώιων ἐλπ[ νεύων ἐπ’ ἄτην μᾶλ[λον {ΗΡ.} ὦ δεινὰ τολμῶν̣ .δ..[ ξένων τ’ ἐπόπτην ου[ {(ΑΤ.)} μὴ κάμνε μόχθον̣ κα[ παλαιόν, ἐξ οὗ τήνδεκ.[ {(ΗΡ.)} ἀλλ’ εἰ τόδ’ Ἥραι τερπνὸ̣[ν π̣α̣ρ’ οὐδὲν οὕτω τἀμὰ [ ἐκεῖ]νο δ’ ἡμῖν̣ λ[υ]πρ̣[ὸν … τ]όλμαν ἔργω[ν] τ̣ῶ̣[ν



Tragedians and Tragedies …]δε κάμνων [ο]υ πυ[ … ]μ̣ηι· πάρεργον τ̣ο̣ῦ̣[το …].τα· ἔρημοι δ[ …]νδ’ ἀρωγὸν̣ το..[ τὸ]ν οὐ δίκαιον ο̣.[ [      ] [      ] [      ]αν [      ].ι [      ] [     ] [  ]υ [ ]. [ ].ι̣δων [  ]άφει· []..ε [ ]ν [   ]όνων [  ].. [] [ ]..α [      ] [ ]. [ ]τ̣οδε [  ]ραι· [  ]ρ̣ιν [ ]. [] [] [ ]ου [] [] [ ]· [   ] [   ] desunt 25 vel 55 versus τ.[ desunt 4 versus

Translation of verses 1–25 … toils, for another madness

Heracles Are you not ashamed? Among the promises … ancient … immortals?

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Atlas Apples I promised here [to bring?] Here they are, take them, other [things?] I did not [promise?] I have kept my promise, this not … A great weight on my back does not…

Heracles I have been deceived. The rest by noble ploy stealing for another’s [type of?] downfall [… I take heavenly Themis as my witness, to see that Atlas has not been honest with Heracles, though immortal by birth, I shall chase him, though mortal after my mother, Zeus is my rightful father.

Atlas Terrify others, not me, for … Mother Earth is proud to have borne me first among the Titans, kin of Kronos, with whom on Mount Olympus we ruled.

Heracles Dike, who chose to help the gods, glanced fiercely, though she resides far away and this we would do or the white tail…

In 1976 E. G. Turner published a papyrus text from the collection of Martin Bodmer that included the fragment of a play concerning Heracles and Atlas.315 This piece is traditionally called Atlas. The fragment is relatively well preserved, though what damage there is suggests that it may have been used as a filling to the leather cover of a later codex. The roll is of good quality light papyrus. The handwriting is very even, neat, clear and legible. The width of the letters and the spaces between the lines is also even. The papyrus is dated to the second century ad. It comprises two larger fragments, joined together by the original publisher, and several smaller fragments that bear only parts of phrases. Horizontal lines on the left side of the text columns mark the places where the speaker changes. Written in very small letters, one may also read notes concerning the stage. This is irrefutable evidence that the whole text was written for the stage! Moreover, all the publishers agree that the parts of Atlas and Heracles suggest it to be a satyr play.316 The play concerns the eleventh labour of Heracles. According to Pherecydes’ version of this myth, King Eurystheus ordered Heracles to steal golden apples from Turner (1976), pp. 1–23. Subsequent publications: TrGF 2, 231–5; Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), pp. 624–31; Gauly (1991), pp. 256–61. Also see West (1976).

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the garden of Hesperides.317 The hero knew from Prometheus that this task could only be performed by Atlas, so he set out to ask for the Titan’s help. Resting the heavens on Heracles’ shoulders, Atlas went to take three of these famous fruits. On returning, however, the Titan decided not to give Heracles the apples and instead intended to hand them to Eurystheus himself, leaving the son of Zeus holding up the heavens. Following Prometheus’ advice, Heracles pretends to agree to this arrangement and only asks for pillows to be placed on his shoulders so that he could more easily bear the incredible burden. Not suspecting any tricks, Atlas placed the apples on the ground to hold up the heavens for a while. It was then that Heracles grabbed the apples, bid Atlas farewell and returned to King Eurystheus in Mycenae. The extant fragment presents the scene of Atlas returning from the garden with the apples. From the text it transpires that before setting out to the garden of Hesperides, Atlas and Heracles had agreed that the latter would hold up the sky while the Titan fetched the apples. Atlas keeps his promise and hands the hero the apples, saying: ‘Here they are, take them’ (ἰδού̣, φέρου τόνδ’). Of course Heracles, with his hands holding up the heavens, cannot take the apples. And indeed the agreement did not actually stipulate that Atlas should resume holding up the heavens, something that from Heracles’ point of view had seemed obvious. Thus the agreement is fulfilled, the promise kept, but Heracles feels deceived. He calls on Themis, and if she fails to avenge the broken promise, he himself intends to punish the Titan. Yet Atlas shows no fear of Zeus’ mortal son, himself being of the oldest generation of gods and former co-ruler with Kronos on Mount Olympus. The rest of the dialogue is unclear as only the first halves of the verses have survived. The agon is continued in the same tone. We do not know how Heracles goes about solving this impasse: whether he manages to put Atlas off his guard and trick the trickster, or whether he is brought out of his predicament thanks to the help of a third person, someone much brighter than he, the brawny simpleton. In Pherecydes’ version this third person was Prometheus. One cannot rule out that in the extant play this role is played by Silenus. The play’s personae are without doubt Heracles and Atlas. There is no verification of the presence of satyrs, but the nature of the play strongly suggests it. That such plays existed in the Classical period is confirmed by a so-called Morretti-Krater, a vessel made in Apulia c. 390–380.318 This vase depicts Heracles holding up the heavens and two satyrs dancing around him. One holds the hero’s bow and quiver, while the other his mace. Of course there is no direct connection between this vase and our play as the former represents something like a Doric farce or Sicilian phlyakes, yet the presence of Heracles and satyrs is very important in that these plays drew inspiration from Greek satyr plays. Our play is without doubt set in the West, where the earth and the sky meet. The dating of the play remains uncertain, but the publishers have no doubt that it is from the Classical period. A play bearing the same title is probably confirmed in an Athenian inscription recording the victory of dramatic actors in the year 255–254, Pherecyd. (FGrH 3 F 17 ap. Apollod. 2, 5, 11). ‘Morretti-Krater’, Milan, Museo Civico Archeologico AO. 9.284, photograph (Tafel 30) and description: T. Günther, R. Krumeich in Krumeich, Pechstein and Seidensticker (1999), p. 630.

317 318

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during the rule of the archon Alcibiades (SEG 26.208). However, the inscription describes the plays as [σατύροι]ς παλαιοῖς, therefore they were presumably renewed performances of older dramas.319 Moreover, we cannot be certain that this inscription has any connection with the papyrus text. Looking at this text’s metre we notice the complete absence of metric resolutions, as well as the caesura being consistently placed after the fifth foot. Such consistency is indicative of the Hellenistic era. A feature that distinguishes the papyrus text from other extant ancient dramas is the absence of the letter sigma. Though already known in the Classical period, the application of such lipogrammatic tricks is not found in any extant play of that period. One has to concede that such subtle games with the alphabet are primarily typical of the Hellenistic era and, especially on the stage, showing off this type of literary virtuosity would only seem normal in early Hellenistic theatre. We know of an author who did ‘play such games’ with text, namely Lasus of Hermione, who was active in the fourth century bc. Yet he cannot be the author of the papyrus text. Such literary games were also played in later times, as we learn from Athenaeus (10.448d). In the Roman Empire period, Nestor of Laranda lipogrammatically rewrote Homer’s Iliad, and Tryphiodorus did the same with Homer’s Odyssey. E. G. Turner sees two ways in which the papyrus drama could have come about: either it was originally written without the sigma letter, or alternatively it was an adaptation of a play originally written with the sigma letter.320 The publisher favours the latter possibility, believing the original to have been written by one of the three great tragedians. Of course, there is no evidence of Aeschylus, Sophocles or Euripides ever having written a play entitled Atlas (or about this myth). Turner, however, reminds us that not all their play titles have survived to this day (and, moreover, the play would not necessarily have had the title Atlas). Whichever way we look at it, taking a stance on this issue is merely a matter of conjecture. One cannot rule out that an original satyr play was written in Hellenistic times already with the sigma letter deliberately left out. Here one should add that the text does include the letter ξ (x), which means that the absence of sigma would not have been entirely audible to an audience. This suggests that the text was intended for reading only and perhaps also that it was indeed the lipogrammatical adaptation of an earlier drama. This is impossible to prove because there is no other evidence of such practice. Maybe it was a satyr play in which the author plays a game with the audience to show off his great literary virtuosity. This would naturally have required the recipients to be very well read and therefore the play would have been for a very select circle.321 However, we cannot rule out that in those times people were more attuned to hear the sigma sound or rather its lack, and this would include a theatre audience if it were forewarned. Perhaps scholars have underestimated how sensitive the ancient Greeks were to the spoken word. Even in Hellenistic times this was still mainly an oral culture, which could mean that people heard much more than would seem possible today. The fact remains that here we are dealing with a literary device

See Turner (1976), p. 18. Turner (1976), p. 21. 321 Also see Gallo (1991), pp. 167–8. 319 320



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used in a play that is to be found nowhere else and therefore constitutes a curiosity of sorts in the history of drama.

Cassandra (TrGF 2 adespota F 649) F1 P. Oxy. 2746 ΠΡΙΑΜΟΣ Θάρσησον, ὧ παῖ· μὴ κάμῃς· στῆσον πόδα, Καὶ σαῖσι β[ο]υλαῖς προσδέχου τὰ κρείσσ[ονα· ᾠδή ΚΑΣΣΑΝΔΡΑ Βέβληκε δεινόν κάμακα Πρ. Τίς, τέκνον; φράσον· ΧΟΡΟΣ ὁ Πηλιώτης [ ΚΑ. ἀλλ’ ἠστόχησε · ΧΟ εἶπας ὡς ἔχει ΚΑ. Ἕκτωρ †δεδεμλει† · ΧΟ· δυστυχὴς ἀγω[ν ΚΑ. ἴσως ἐδυστύχησεν ᾠδή Κοινὰ μέχρι νῦν νικῶμεν [ ΔΗΙΦΟΒΟΣ Τίς ἦχ[ο]ς ἡμᾶς ἐκ δόμων ἀνέκλαγε [ ᾠδή ΚΑ.] ἔα ἔα· τί λεύσω [ ΔΗ. Αἰνίγ[ματό]ς μοι μείζον’ ἐφθέγξω λόγο[ν ᾠδή ΚΑ. ] .[]… πρὸ πύργων οὐκ[.]σε.[ ΔΗ. Μέμηνα[ς] αὐτὴ καὶ παρεπλάγχθης φρένα[ ᾠδή ΚΑ.] οὐ παρεκέ [λ]ευες [ [ ]πατ…τ..ατο [ca 9 ll.].[ [ ] ὃς νῦ[ν] .ε….ρο.ιος [ ᾠδή ΚΑ ] νε[ώ]τερόν μοι τ[ ἀκού[σ]α[τ’] ἄ[κ]ραν γῆρυν [ [ ] ἀκού[σ]αθ’· Ἔκτωρ ἐξόλωλ[.].[ ᾠδή ΚΑ.] [].[] ἄχλυς πόθεν με[ [ ] ὄλωλ[..]…αι καὶ φάος Τιτα[ν [ ]…[.]..[.].δ. νῦν τὸ κλεινὸ[ν Ἴλιον [ ] τῆς σῆς ἔρη[μ]ον χειρὸς Ἑλλή[νων [ ] βαλεῖ πρός οὗδας [ .]υν.[.].[.]τυχης ἐγώ [ ]λλ.[..]..αγῥ.[. σ]κῆπτρ

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ᾠδή ΚΑ. ] ….[ca.9ll.]τυ[ P[RIAM]: Courage child, do not tire, stand on your feet And in your wisdom, accept what is stronger. (Song) C[ASSANDRA]: He threw a terrible spear. P. Who, child? Speak! CH[ORUS]: Peliotes? C. But he missed. CH: You have said how it is. C. Hector … CH: forlorn effort? C. equally forlorn. (Song) C. So far victory hangs in the balance. D[EIPHOBUS]: What sound summoned us from home? (Song) C: Oh, oh, what do I see! D. Your words to me are more than a puzzle. (Song) C. … by the towers. D. You’ve driven yourself mad and lost your mind.

The above fragment of a tragedy written on papyrus was first published in 1968 by R. A. Coles, and edited POxy XXXVI (1970), No. 2746.322 The papyrus text, dated by the publisher to the first century AD, comprises 35 lines from a play by an anonymous author. The right edge of the text column is badly damaged, as is the bottom of the sheet, and for these reasons the translation is limited to 17 verses. The extant text is an exchange of words between Priam, Cassandra, Deiphobus and the Chorus. Their topic is the famous duel between Hector and Achilles as described in Homer’s Iliad (book XXII). There are a number of problems that make the text difficult to interpret. Where is the meeting taking place? Is the duel one of Cassandra’s prophecies or her running commentary as an eyewitness, or is it a vision of ongoing events that neither Priam nor the Chorus can see? If Cassandra is relating to her father the events as they really unfold, it would mean that the play is set in the Trojan palace courtyard and Cassandra is observing the duel from the city walls. In other words this would be a sort of reference to the teichoscopy.323 The king is clearly unable to come up and observe what is happening on the Ilium fields, perhaps on account of his advanced age. This, however, seems unlikely as the Chorus is also clearly unable to see what is going on. Bearing in mind the Chorus’ curiosity to know, why does it rely on what a witness reports?324 Priam’s words Θάρσησον, ὧ παῖ· μὴ κάμῃς· στῆσον πόδα, ||Καὶ σαῖσι β[ο]υλαῖς προσδέχου τὰ κρείσσ[ονα indicate that Cassandra is in a trance, that a deity has given her visions and taken control of her body. Her father tells her to be Coles (1968). The above text and translation is based on TrGF 2, frg. 649. Teichoscopy is present in drama, see E. Ph. 88ff. 324 R. A. Coles assumes that, like Cassandra, the chorus could see what was happening, whereas Priam was depicted in the play as a blind old man. This interpretation is contradicted by the fact that the chorus is also asking questions about the dual. 322 323



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brave, strong and bear the mighty prophetic power.325 The princess sees the duel either as it happens or some time before it happens. If it is the first case, the play must be set somewhere within the palace. Cassandra relates what she sees in characteristically disjointed sentences. The meaning of her words is not always clear. In response to the precise questions of the chorus regarding the duel, she replies: ἴσως ἐδυστύχησεν. Therefore it seems most probable that Cassandra is prophesying what will happen in the near future. This would also explain Deiphobus’ surprise when he arrives on the scene. In my opinion the play is set in the palace courtyard as this is suggested in Deiphobus’ statement: Τίς ἦχ[ο]ς ἡμᾶς ἐκ δόμων ἀνέκλαγε. Priam and the chorus appear perhaps shortly after Hector announces his decision to fight Achilles. The king, fearful of the outcome of this clash, encourages his daughter to prophesy. Cassandra sees everything vividly and experiences the events as if they were really happening. Priam and the chorus want to learn the details but are interrupted by the sudden arrival of Deiphobus, who rushes out of the palace, alerted by Cassandra’s cries. That Cassandra experiences visions of events before they occur is testified to by the words she exchanges with her warrior brother. She sees Deiphobus by the towers and is therefore startled by his sudden appearance in the palace courtyard – arriving not from the battlefield but from inside the palace. Deiphobus’ final statement that the girl has lost her mind (v. 17) confirms that Cassandra is in a prophetic frenzy. Here B. Gentili sees a connection with the story in the Iliad.326 In the epic Athena appears on the battlefield disguised as Deiphobus. Hector is surprised to see his brother and, after throwing his spear at Achilles and missing, asks Deiphobus to hand him another weapon. This is when the goddess disappears and Hector is left to face his enemy alone. Thus in the tragedy fragment Cassandra is greatly surprised when, having seen both brothers on the battlefield, Deiphobus suddenly appears on the stage, and what is more, does so emerging from inside the palace. The structure of the extant drama fragment is very interesting. The text includes annotations representing song; the word ᾠδή appears at least seven times. It is uncertain who would have performed these interludes. R. A. Coles rules out linking these annotations with sung chorus pieces χοροῦ μέλος, which were a typical feature in the fourth century bc, or with instrumental inserts.327 In his opinion, the songs were most probably sung by Cassandra herself. Perhaps they were improvised by the actor so as to give the impression of Cassandra having visions. One cannot imagine such an interlude to be a choral embolima as after only two lines of dialogue such protracted singing would quite disrupt the storyline. Dating the text is difficult, but we can be certain it is not from the Classical period. On account of the theme being similar to Astydamas’ Hector it could be a fragment from this very play. However, the information that we have concerning Astydamas (TrGF 96, here p. 161) tragedy does not confirm this. R. A. Coles rejects the notion of

One cannot accept the publisher’s interpretation that the first two verses are actually spoken to Hector, for Priam cannot see his son and the words can only be directed to someone who is present on the stage. Also see Gentili (1979), p. 68. 326 Gentili (1979), p. 68. 327 Coles (1968), pp. 115–16. 325

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connecting the two plays.328 Therefore the suggestion of Snell and Kannicht of entitling the fragment Hector might be misleading, and in order to avoid confusion here I have decided to call it Cassandra. This tragedy seems most likely to have been written in the Hellenistic period.329 The first clue is in the vocabulary. R. A. Coles points to μέχρι νῦν, which is the taken from the prose, ἦχος which is very typical in Hellenistic poetry and θάρσησον which elsewhere is only found in Ezekiel’s Exagoge, from that same period.330 B. Gentili adds that while ἀστοχέω, ἦχος are prosaic words, they are also used by Menander (Sicyon. 199 Sandb.) and, probably, in Hellenistic poetry. Of course, most surprising of all is using ὁ Πηλιώτης to describe Achilles. R. A. Coles has explained that the origins of this word are associated with the hero’s spear, which was made from an ash tree on Mount Pelion.331 Thus using this word in the context of the duel seems justified. Nonetheless it should be stressed that this is a hapax legomenon. The chorus uses it in reference to Achilles when it asks Cassandra which of the heroes threw the spear. Moreover, we should note that such peculiar phrasing adds to the extraordinary strangeness of the scene: the prophetess uses mysterious words to answer cryptic questions asked by the chorus. B. Gentili also notes in some of Cassandra’s statements an enigmatic lack of subjects or objects (vv. 4, 6, 7 and 19) which cannot be explained by the poor state of the extant papyrus text.332 All these very curious elements amount to a stylistic whole. The text is deliberately obscure and replete with various ambiguities so as to emphasize its visionary character. The theme in this tragedy corresponds very well with the dramatic interests of Hellenistic authors. Among the titles known to us, there are a few with which it can be associated (e.g. The Sack [of Troy] by Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas TrGF 127, here page 148). But of course, when we consider how many plays were written in this period, any attempt to find connections is purely hypothetical.

Coles (1968), p. 112. Catenacci (2002), pp. 95–104; Fantuzzi and Hunter (2002), p. 514. 330 It also appears in LXX Ju. 11, 1. 331 See Hom. Il. XVI, 143; XXII, 133 Πηλιάδα μελίην 332 Gentili (1979), p. 69. 328 329

3

Hellenistic Tragedy with Biblical Themes

Without doubt one of the distinctive features of the Hellenistic period is the fact that people of diverse ethnic backgrounds engaged in Greek-language literature. The Hellenization of the non-Greek subjects of Greek dynasties was admittedly a longdrawn-out process which varied, depending on local conditions, but the intellectual elite were invariably influenced by Greek culture throughout this period. Hence some writers did attempt to present the history and traditions of their own nation in Greek so as to make them known to the outside world and show that they too had an ancient lineage. Examples of such works include: Berossus’ Babyloniaca, Manetho’s Aegyptiaca, Joseph Flavius’ Iudaice Archaiologia and the works of Quintus Fabius Pictor. Such historical works were, nevertheless, chiefly intended for an educated and discerning readership, which naturally accounted for only a narrow section of society. Drama, on the other hand, was in ancient times the very best means of reaching the general public. This was par excellence a Greek form of literature and therefore also one the Greeks naturally felt close to. Moreover, drama uses non-verbal communication, which not only makes the plot easier to follow, but also helps viewers to identify with the protagonists. Then again, Hellenistic drama, and especially tragedy and satyr plays, frequently searched for quite new, never before staged themes. Stories set in the Near East were exotic, they aroused curiosity and above all they satisfied a fascination with Eastern opulence. They were the ideal topics of new plays, such as the Adonis tragedies or the anonymously authored play Gyges. It is therefore hardly surprising that eventually a Jewish theme was also adapted for the high stage of Hellenistic theatre. For decades scholars have been researching all the shades and hues of Hellenization among the Jews both within Judea as well as throughout the Mediterranean Basin.1 The diversity of views held by contemporary Jews in the face of the gradual Hellenization of everyday life is also reflected in their literature, much of which has survived to this day.2 Here we should note that the Hellenization For example, one may mention several fundamental works on the subject: Hengel (1969), (1989); Sanders and Baumgarten (1981); Feldman (1993); Collins and Sterling (2001); Frankemölle (2006). 2 For an overview of Jewish-Alexandrian literature, see Fraser (1972), pp. 687–716, and Lichtenberger and Oegema (2002). 1

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process obviously had a different and much more intensive course in the diaspora than in Judea itself.3 Hence it was the former group of Jews, particularly those living in Alexandria, who had the greatest influence on developing Greco-Jewish cultural exchanges. Naturally a major role in this process was played by the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek, i.e. the Septuagint, during the reign of Ptolemy II. Not only the intellectual elite, but also ordinary Jews succumbed to Hellenization, as is testified, for example, in papyri texts.4 However, vibrant Jewish intellectual circles also had a cultural influence on their Greek and Grecophone neighbours. It is on the interest of such people that the authors of Jewish- themed plays must have counted. The sources mention only two authors who wrote plays with biblical themes. The first of these is Ezekiel, the author of the fragmentarily preserved tragedy The Exagoge. The other is mentioned by Eustathius of Thessalonica in his commentary on the work of Dionysius Periegetes as Damaskenos, Nicolaus of Damascus, the author of a play about Susanna.5 Nevertheless, one cannot rule out that in the Hellenistic period there were more such authors, as other extant play fragments also suggest Jewish provenance. The popularity of plays with biblical themes in Jewish communities may be testified by an anecdote found in the Letter of Aristeas (136), according to which Theodectes, a tragic poet, was punished with a cataract when he ventured to write a play with a biblical plot. This tale might have been an echo of a dispute within the Jewish diaspora concerning the fit and proper way of passing on the Torah and biblical tradition in the Hellenistic period. Scholars have even believed that Ezekiel actually conceals himself behind the name Theodectes, and that divine punishment was inflicted on him for his stage representation of scenes from the Bible.6 It is difficult to establish whether this is an allusion to an actual writer, or rather a more general criticism. It is obvious that Theodectes was guilty of some type of grave offence against God; however, analysis of the text does not allow us to identify exactly what the author had in mind.7 Theodectes’ error lies in the phrase parapherein pros drama, which here obviously denotes stage adaptation; but parapherein alone means ‘to paraphrase’. In the Letter of Aristeas one of the main problems is establishing the canonicity of the Septuagint. After a public reading of the translation, the Jews decide to curse anyone who wanted to change anything in this text (311). Therefore it is possible that the precise changes introduced to the text of the Bible, which are inevitable in the process of staging, would have been the chief ‘sin’ of the tragic writer. Another obvious transgression against divine law was the very idea of staging Biblical scenes, which defied the ban on showing God. Generations of scholars have also debated how the For more on the Jewish diaspora in Hellenistic societies, see for example: Tcherikover (1959); Collins (1986); Bickermann (1988); Davies and Finkelstein (1989); Barclay (1996); Borgen (1996); Benbassa and Attias (2004). With regard to Egypt, in particular see Mélèze-Modrzejewski (1997). 4 See Prolegomena to Tcherikover and Fuks (1957). 5 For more on Nicolaus of Damascus, see pp. 159ff. 6 Cf. Trencsényi-Waldapfel (1952). 7 Klęczar (2006), p. 13, rightly compares this legend with the Greek story about the blinding of Stesichorus by the deified Helen of Troy as punishment for writing a poem about her. The poet got his sight back only after composing the Palinode (preserved in fragments), in which he made the point of stating that Helen had never been at Troy, and that Paris had seduced only her ghost. 3



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production of The Exagoge managed to deal with this ban on showing Biblical scenes, since it showed God speaking to Moses in the guise of a Burning Bush8. The staging of Biblical episodes in an explicit manner might be interpreted as disobedience of the second Commandment. However, this does not mean that Jews did not attend theatrical performances. On the contrary, various forms of ancient testimony, both literary and archaeological, certify the existence of theatres in Palestine itself, of which the most famous surviving today is the stone building in Caesarea Maritima9. There also exist inscriptions that testify to the constant presence of Jews at theatrical spectacles in such areas as Miletus, Berenike and Iasos10. Joseph Flavius (Vit.16) knew the mimologos (an actor and author of mimes) Aliturus in Rome, who was of Jewish extraction; and Martial (Ep. 8.82) mentions a less well-known Jewish actor. In addition there is also a group of inscriptions that proves that in the Roman era in particular Jews did not avoid artistic occupations connected with the stage11. Of course, while one can assume that some of these people did actually leave the Jewish religion, it does not necessarily follow that all Jews who took part in the spectacles were not Jewish. In this era the theatre was an important part of cultural assimilation, which did not in any sense have to signify a renunciation of the Jewish faith. For example, Philon of Alexandria frequented the theatre, as we can tell from his own writings12. While an explicit aversion to point-blank prohibition of participation in theatrical performances is found in rabbinic literature, there it clearly refers to pagan performances. Because the preserved version of the Jerusalem Talmud is dated to the fourth century ad, the negative attitude to theatrical performances must have been fundamentally due to reasons similar to those clearly cited by Christian theologists. The major stage genres in the late imperial era were mime and farce, whose popularity was without doubt increased by banal plots and obscenity. In addition, gladiator battles and public executions, in which death onstage was a real event, belonged in a certain sense to the world of theatrical spectacle. We ought also not to forget that the Orthodox Jewish milieux which were taking shape at the time had to express their opposition to religious Jews’ participation in the performances, since these were part of pagan festival celebrations, and were in themselves dedications to the gods. From the point of view of religious Jews, who were conscious of the fact that as a result of watching spectacles of this type they might themselves succumb to committing illegal acts, such as murder, adultery or idolatry, even watching them onstage was in itself a sin. However, an aversion to theatre in the Jewish milieu grew See the discussion below. It appears that Ezekiel himself feared reproach for showing God onstage; hence also the words spoken to Moses from the Burning Bush: 101–3: ἰδεῖν γὰρ ὄψιν τὴν ἐμὴν ἀμήχανον /θνητὸν γεγῶτα, τῶν λόγων δ’ ἔξεστί σοι /ἐμῶν ἀκούειν, τῶν ἕκατ’ ἐλήλυθα. 9 Joseph Flavius lists three theatres that were built by Herod the Great: at Jerusalem (AJ 15, 268), in Jericho (AJ 17.161) and of course at Caesarea (BJ 1.415). On the subject of the theatres in Palestine in the imperial era, see Segal (1987) and (1995). 10 The oldest, as it dates from the second century bc, inscription is from Iasos (CIJ II 749). Others concerning Berenice (SEG 16. 391) and Miletus (CIJ II 748) come from early Roman period. 11 See Lanfranchi (2006), p. 43. 12 De ebrietate 177, Quod omnis probus liber sit 141 (about listening to an aulos player). 8

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in particular from the mid-second century bc. It appears that in Palestine itself the lack of sanction for Greek theatre was an obvious consequence of the Wars of the Maccabees and indicative of a growing hostility to anything Hellenic13. Hence even Joseph Flavius two centuries later noted, in very balanced words, that stage performances were alien to Jewish tradition, writing the following words about Herod (AJ 15.268): καὶ θέατρον ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ᾠκοδόμησεν, αὖθίς τ᾽ ἐν τῷ πεδίῳ μέγιστον ἀμφιθέατρον, περίοπτα μὲν ἄμφω τῇ πολυτελείᾳ, τοῦ δὲ κατὰ τοὺς Ἰουδαίους ἔθους ἀλλότρια· χρῆσίς τε γὰρ αὐτῶν καὶ θεαμάτων τοιούτων ἐπίδειξις οὐ παραδίδοται. And he built a theatre in Jerusalem, and then on the plain a great amphitheatre, visible from all sides and built at a great cost, which was alien to Jewish custom, for we have neither such practices nor performances of this type delivered down to us.

From this fragment it is evident that Joseph Flavius did not know about these attempts by Ezekiel to stage Biblical stories. Throughout all his work he never even mentions him. We might suppose that Joseph Flavius was not aware that three centuries earlier the dramatist had modelled his writings on the pattern of Greek tragedy when retelling Biblical legends. The next unsuccessful attempt at the inoculation of the theatre, this time in Palestine, was made by Herod the Great and, as shown by the long silence of the sources, this attempt ended in failure. It appears that Nicholaus of Damascus’ drama about Susanna was the last stage work concerning Biblical themes written in antiquity. The fact that the fragments of Biblical dramas are preserved exclusively in Christian writings, and that this was hardly thanks only to their transcription from a pagan writer, Alexander Polyhistor, testifies strongly to the point that Jews of later eras did not demonstrate any interest in using the theatre as propaganda for their religion and traditions.

Ezekiel TrGF 128 Exagoge T1 to F1 Clem. Al. Strom. 1.23. 155, 1–5: Περὶ δὲ τῆς ἀνατροφῆς τοῦ Μωυσέως συνᾴσεται ἡμῖν καὶ ὁ Ἐζεκίηλος ὁ τῶν Ἰουδαϊκῶν τραγῳδιῶν ποιητὴς ἐν τῷ ἐπιγραφομένῳ δράματι «Ἐξαγωγή» γράφων ὧδε ἐκ προσώπου Μωυσέως· F1 And about the education of Moses also Ezekiel, the poet of Jewish tragedies in the drama entitled The Exagoge agrees with us, writing in the role of Moses: F1

Cf. Mch 2,4, where we find an evaluation of both the behaviour of the high priest Jason and the gradual Hellenization of life.

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Hellenistic Tragedy with Biblical Themes

203

Eus. PE. 9.28. 1–2: Περὶ δὲ τοῦ τὸν Μώϋσον ἐκτεθῆναι ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς εἰς τὸ ἕλος καὶ ὑπὸ τῆς τοῦ βασιλέως θυγατρὸς ἀναιρεθῆναι καὶ τραφῆναι ἱστορεῖ καὶ Ἐζεκιῆλος ὁ τῶν τραγῳδιῶν ποιητής, ἄνωθεν ἀναλαβὼν τὴν ἱστορίαν ἀπὸ τῶν σὺν Ἰακὼβ παραγενομένων εἰς Αἴγυπτον πρὸς Ἰωσήφ. λέγει δὲ οὕτως, τὸν Μώϋσον παρεισάγων λέγοντα· And the tragic poet Ezekiel relates how Moses was exposed on the marshy ground by his mother and brought up by the king’s daughter. He begins the story further back in time, starting with those who came into Egypt with Jacob to meet Joseph. Thus he introduces Moses relating these things, who says: F1.

F1 {ΜΩΣΗΣ·} ἀφ’ οὗ δ’ Ἰακὼβ γῆν λιπὼν Χαναναίαν κατῆλθ᾽ ἔχων Αἴγυπτον ἑπτάκις δέκα ψυχὰς σὺν αὑτῷ καὶ ἐπεγέννησεν πολύν λαὸν κακῶς πράσσοντα καὶ τεθλιμμένον, ἐσάχρι τούτων τῶν χρόνων κακούμενον κακῶν ὑπ᾽ ἀνδρῶν καὶ δυναστείας χερός. ἰδὼν γὰρ ἡμῶν γένναν ἅλις ηὐξημένην δόλον καθ᾽ ἡμῶν πολὺν ἐμηχανήσατο βασιλεὺς Φαραώ, τοὺς μὲν ἐν πλινθεύμασιν οἰκοδομίαις τε βαρέσιν αἰκίζων βροτούς πόλεις τ᾽ ἐπύργου σφῶν ἕκατι δυσμόρων. ἔπειτα κηρύσσει μὲν Ἑβραίων γένει τἀρσενικὰ ῥίπτειν ποταμὸν ἐς βαθύρροον. ἐνταῦθα μήτηρ ἡ τεκοῦσ᾽ ἔκρυπτέ με τρεῖς μῆνας, ὡς ἔφασκεν. οὐ λαθοῦσα δέ ὑπεξέθηκε, κόσμον ἀμφιθεῖσά μοι, παρ᾽ ἄκρα ποταμοῦ λάσιον εἰς ἕλος δασύ· Μαριὰμ δ᾽ ἀδελφή μου κατώπτευεν πέλας. κἄπειτα θυγάτηρ βασιλέως ἅβραις ὁμοῦ κατῆλθε λουτροῖς χρῶτα φαιδρῦναι νέον· ἰδοῦσα δ᾽ εὐθὺς καὶ λαβοῦσ᾽ ἀνείλετο, ἔγνω δ᾽ Ἑβραῖον ὄντα· καὶ λέγει τάδε Μαριὰμ ἀδελφὴ προσδραμοῦσα βασιλίδι· ’θέλεις τροφόν σοι παιδὶ τῷδ’ εὕρω ταχύ ἐκ τῶν Ἑβραίων;’ ἡ δ᾽ ἐπέσπευσεν κόρην. μολοῦσα δ᾽ εἶπε μητρὶ καὶ παρῆν ταχύ αὐτή τε μήτηρ καὶ ἔλαβέν μ᾽ ἐς ἀγκάλας. εἶπεν δὲ θυγάτηρ βασιλέως· ‘τοῦτον, γύναι, τρόφευε, κἀγὼ μισθὸν ἀποδώσω σέθεν.’ ὄνομα δὲ Μωσῆν ὠνόμαζε, τοῦ χάριν ὑγρᾶς ἀνεῖλε ποταμίας ἀπ᾽ ᾐόνος.

5

10

15

20

25

30

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Moses: Since the time when Jacob left Canaan And came to Egypt with seventy souls, He fathered a great nation that has been Persecuted and suffered much evil, And to this day is oppressed by wicked men and the tyrant’s hand. The Pharaoh king, seeing our population greatly increase, Craftily devised against us various plans. He forced us to produce bricks and He tortured us with hard labour in the construction of houses. Through our suffering he fortified cities. Next he ordered for all Hebrew male children To be thrown into the deep river. When I was born, my mother hid me For three months – so she said. And when she could No longer avoid being found out, she left me, Wrapped in a swaddling cloth, on the river’s thickly overgrown bank. Miriam, my sister, observed me from afar. Then the royal daughter came with her maidservants, To bathe her young body, She saw me and immediately picked me up. She realized I was a Hebrew. In that instant My sister Miriam ran up to her and said: ‘If you so wish, I can quickly find a nursemaid for this child From among the Hebrew women.’ So she immediately sent the girl To run and fetch my mother. My mother soon arrived and took me in her arms. The princess then said: ‘Feed him, woman, And I shall reward you.’ She named me Moses Because she had taken me from the watery river bank.

T1 to F2 Eus. PE. 9. 28. 3 τούτοις μεθ’ ἕτερα ἐπιλέγει καὶ περὶ τούτων ὁ Ἐζεκιῆλος ἐν τῇ τραγῳδίᾳ, τὸν Μωυσῆν παρεισάγων λέγοντα· To this Ezekiel adds more later on in the tragedy, introducing Moses as speaking:

F2 Eus. PE. 9. 28. 3 ἐπεὶ δὲ καιρὸς νηπίων παρῆλθέ μοι, ἦγέν με μήτηρ βασιλίδος πρὸς δώματα, ἅπαντα μυθεύσασα καὶ λέξασά μοι γένος πατρῷον καὶ θεοῦ δωρήματα. ἕως μὲν οὖν τὸν παιδὸς εἴχομεν χρόνον,

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Hellenistic Tragedy with Biblical Themes τροφαῖσι βασιλικαῖσι καὶ παιδεύμασιν ἅπανθ᾽ ὑπισχνεῖθ᾽, ὡς ἀπὸ σπλάγχνων ἑῶν· ἐπεὶ δὲ πλήρης †κόλπος ἡμερῶν παρῆν, ἐξῆλθον οἴκων βασιλικῶν (πρὸς ἔργα γάρ θυμός μ᾽ ἄνωγε καὶ τέχνασμα βασιλέως). ὁρῶ δὲ πρῶτον ἄνδρας ἐν χειρῶν νόμῳ, τὸν μὲν γένος Ἑβραῖον, ὃν δ᾽ Αἰγύπτιον. ἰδὼν δ᾽ ἐρήμους καὶ παρόντα μηδένα ἐρρυσάμην ἀδελφόν, ὃν δ᾽ ἔκτειν᾽ ἐγώ, ἔκρυψα δ᾽ ἄμμῳ τοῦτον, ὥστε μὴ εἰσιδεῖν ἕτερόν τιν᾽ ἡμᾶς κἀπογυμνῶσαι φόνον. τῇ παύριον δὲ πάλιν ἰδὼν ἄνδρας δύο, μάλιστα δ᾽ αὐτοὺς συγγενεῖς, πατουμένους λέγω· ‘τί τύπτεις ἀσθενέστερον σέθεν;’ ὁ δ᾽ εἶπεν· ‘ἡμῖν τίς σ᾽ ἀπέστειλεν κριτήν ἢ πιστάτην ἐνταῦθα; μὴ κτενεῖς σύ με, ὥσπερ τὸν ἐχθὲς ἄνδρα;’ καὶ δείσας ἐγώ ἔλεξα· ‘πῶς ἐγένετο συμφανὲς τόδε;’ καὶ πάντα βασιλεῖ ταῦτ᾽ ἀπήγγειλεν ταχύ· ζητεῖ δὲ Φαραὼ τὴν ἐμὴν ψυχὴν λαβεῖν· ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἀκούσας ἐκποδὼν μεθίσταμαι καὶ νῦν πλανῶμαι γῆν ἐπ᾽ ἀλλοτέρμονα. When my infancy had passed, My mother took me to the princess’ palace. Earlier she had explained everything to me, telling me About my lineage and God’s gifts. As a child I was given a Royal upbringing and education, And the princess ensured that I had everything, As if I were her own son. But when I came of age, I left the royal palace, for my heart Rebelled against the king’s deeds and deceit. First, I saw two men fighting: One was a Hebrew and the other an Egyptian. Seeing that we were alone and no one else was nearby, I saved my kinsman and killed the other. I hid his body in the sand, so that No one would see and discover the killing. The next day I again saw two men fighting, And these were certainly compatriots. When passing I said: Why are you beating a weaker man? And he replied: ‘Who made you our judge,

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Or maybe our leader? Will you also kill me, Like you killed that other man? Terrified, I asked: ‘How was it disclosed?’ For he had soon told the king everything and Now the Pharaoh has put on a search to have me killed. Having heard this, I have fled the country And now I wander in a foreign land.

T1 to F3 Eus. PE. 9.28.4 εἶτα περὶ τῶν τοῦ Ῥαγουὴλ θυγατέρων οὕτως ἐπιβάλλει· Next, regarding Raguel’s daughters, [he] reports as follows:

F3 ὁρῶ δὲ ταύτας ἑπτὰ παρθένους τινάς. I see some seven girls approach.

T1 to F4 Eus. PE. 9.28.4 ἐρωτήσαντός τε αὐτὰς τίνες εἴησαν αἱ παρθένοι, φησὶν ἡ Σεπφώρα· When Moses asked who these girls were, Sepphora says:

F4 Eus. PE. 9.28.4 {ΣΕΠΦΩΡΑ·} Λιβύη μὲν ἡ γῆ πᾶσα κλῄζεται, ξένε, οἰκοῦσι δ᾽ αὐτὴν φῦλα παντοίων γενῶν, Αἰθίοπες ἄνδρες μέλανες· ἄρχων δ᾽ ἐστὶ γῆς εἷς καὶ τύραννος καὶ στρατηλάτης μόνος. ἄρχει δὲ πόλεως τῆσδε καὶ κρίνει βροτούς ἱερεύς, ὅς ἐστ᾽ ἐμοῦ τε καὶ τούτων πατήρ.

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Sepphora: This entire land is called Libya, stranger, And various tribes live here, Ethiopians, black men. One man is ruler and general of this land. This priest rules the state and judges mortals, he is my father and also theirs.

T1 to F5 Eus. PE. 9.28.4 εἶτα περὶ τοῦ ποτισμοῦ τῶν θρεμμάτων διελθὼν περὶ τοῦ Σεπφώρας ἐπιβάλλει γάμου, δι’ ἀμοιβαίων παρεισάγων τόν τε Χοὺμ καὶ τὴν Σεπφώραν λέγοντας·



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Next, after he (Ezekiel) tells about the watering of animals, he moves on to the marriage of Sepphora, leads on to the scene Chum and Sepphora, who speak alternately:

F5 {ΧΟΥΣ·} ὅμως κατειπεῖν χρή σε, Σεπφώρα, τάδε. {ΣΕΠΦ.·} ξένῳ πατήρ με τῷδ’ ἔδωκεν εὐνέτιν. Chum: But you have to say it, Sepphora. Sephora: My father gave me away as a wife to this stranger.

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T1 to F6 Eus. PE. 9.29. 4-5 “Λέγει δὲ περὶ τούτων καὶ Ἐζεκιῆλος ἐν τῇ Ἐξαγωγῇ, προσπαρειληφὼς τὸν ὄνειρον τὸν ὑπὸ Μωσέως μὲν ἑωραμένον, ὑπὸ δὲ πενθεροῦ διακεκριμένον. λέγει δὲ αὐτὸς ὁ Μωσῆς δι’ ἀμοιβαίων πρὸς τὸν πενθερὸν οὕτως πως· Also Ezekiel speaks of it in The Exagoge, adding a dream envisioned by Moses, and explained by his father-in-law. In conversation with his father-in-law, Moses himself utters the following words:

F6 {ΜΩΣΗΣ·} ἔξ’ ὄρους κατ’ ἄκρα Σινου θρόνον μέγαν τιν᾽ εἶναι μέχρι ‹ς οὐρανοῦ πτύχας, ἐν τῷ καθῆσθαι φῶτα γενναῖόν τινα διάδημ᾽ ἔχοντα καὶ μέγα σκῆπτρον χερί εὐωνύμῳ μάλιστα. δεξιᾷ δέ μοι ἔνευσε, κἀγὼ πρόσθεν ἐστάθην θρόνου. σκῆπτρον δέ μοι πάρδωκε καὶ εἰς θρόνον μέγαν εἶπεν καθῆσθαι· βασιλικὸν δ᾽ ἔδωκέ μοι διάδημα καὶ αὐτὸς ἐκ θρόνων χωρίζεται. ἐγὼ δ᾽ ἐσεῖδον γῆν ἅπασαν ἔγκυκλον καὶ ἔνερθε γαίας καὶ ἐξύπερθεν οὐρανοῦ, καί μοί τι πλῆθος ἀστέρων πρὸς γούνατα ἔπιπτ᾽, ἐγὼ δὲ πάντας ἠριθμησάμην, κἀμοῦ παρῆγεν ὡς παρεμβολὴ βροτῶν. εἶτ᾽ ἐμφοβηθεὶς ἐξανίσταμ᾽ ἐξ ὕπνου. It seemed to me I could see on the top of Mount Sinai Moses: A great throne that reached the folds of heaven, And a noble man was sitting on it. Wearing a diadem and with a large sceptre in his left hand. With his right hand he beckoned me, and so I stood before the throne. He gave me the sceptre and told me to sit On the great throne. He also gave me the royal

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Diadem and then retreated from the throne. I saw the circumference of the earth around me And what was beneath the earth, and beyond the sky A multitude of stars fell before my feet, And I counted them all As they passed me like an army of men. It was then that, overcome with fear, I awoke.

T1 to F7 Eus. PE. 9.29.6 ὁ δὲ πενθερὸς αὐτοῦ τὸν ὄνειρον ἐπικρίνει οὕτως· His father-in-law explains the dream as follows:

F7 ὦ ξένε, καλόν σοι τοῦτ’ ἐσήμηνε θεός· ζῴην δ᾽, ὅταν σοι ταῦτα συμβαίῃ ποτέ. ἆρά γε μέγαν τιν᾽ ἐξαναστήσεις θρόνου καὶ αὐτὸς βραβεύσεις καὶ καθηγήσῃ βροτῶν; τὸ δ᾽ εἰσθεᾶσθαι γῆν ὅλην τ᾽ οἰκουμένην καὶ τὰ ὑπένερθε καὶ ὑπὲρ οὐρανὸν θεοῦ· ὄψει τά τ᾽ ὄντα τά τε πρὸ τοῦ τά θ᾽ ὕστερον.

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Raguel: Stranger, God has shown you a beautiful thing May I live to see it fulfilled for you. Then you will ascend to the great throne And you yourself will judge and lead mortals. The vision of the the entire inhabited earth, What is beneath and what is above God’s heavens Means that you will see what is, what has been and what is yet to happen.

T1 to F8 Eus. PE. 9.29.7 περὶ δὲ τῆς καιομένης βάτου καὶ τῆς ἀποστολῆς αὐτοῦ τῆς πρὸς Φαραὼ πάλιν παρεισάγει δι’ ἀμοιβαίων τὸν Μωσῆν τῷ θεῷ διαλεγόμενον. φησὶ δὲ ὁ Μωσῆς· Speaking of the burning bush and (Moses) being sent to the Pharaoh, Ezekiel again brings Moses onto the stage to engage in a dialogue with God. Moses speaks:

F8 {ΜΩΣ.} ἔα· τί μοι σημεῖον ἐκ βάτου τόδε, τεράστιόν τε καὶ βροτοῖς ἀπιστία; ἄφνω βάτος μὲν καίεται πολλῷ πυρί, αὐτοῦ δὲ χλωρὸν πᾶν μένει τὸ βλαστάνον. τί δή; προελθὼν ὄψομαι τεράστιον μέγιστον· οὐ γὰρ πίστιν ἀνθρώποις φέρει.

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Moses: Oh, what is the portent of this bush Miraculous and incomprehensible to mortals. Suddenly the bush bursts into colossal flames Yet all its leaves remain green. What is this? I shall approach and take a closer look At this great miracle, for it is hard to believe.

T1 to F9 Eus. PE. 9.29.8 εἶτα ὁ θεὸς αὐτῷ προσομιλεῖ· Then God spoke to him: F9

F9 {ΘΕΟΣ·} ἐπίσχες, ὦ φέριστε, μὴ προσεγγίσῃς, Μωσῆ, πρὶν ἢ τῶν σῶν ποδῶν λῦσαι δέσιν· ἁγία γὰρ ἧς σὺ γῆς ἐφέστηκας πέλει, ὁ δ᾽ ἐκ βάτου σοι θεῖος ἐκλάμπει λόγος. θάρσησον, ὦ παῖ, καὶ λόγων ἄκου᾽ ἐμῶν· ἰδεῖν γὰρ ὄψιν τὴν ἐμὴν ἀμήχανον θνητὸν γεγῶτα, τῶν λόγων δ᾽ ἔξεστί σοι ἐμῶν ἀκούειν, τῶν ἕκατ᾽ ἐλήλυθα. ἐγὼ θεὸς σῶν, ὧν λέγεις, γεννητόρων, Ἀβραάμ τε καὶ Ἰσαὰκ καὶ Ἰακώβου τρίτου. μνησθεὶς δ᾽ ἐκείνων καὶ ἔτ᾽ ἐμῶν δωρημάτων πάρειμι σῶσαι λαὸν Ἑβραίων ἐμόν, ἰδὼν κάκωσιν καὶ πόνον δούλων ἐμῶν. ἀλλ᾽ ἕρπε καὶ σήμαινε τοῖς ἐμοῖς λόγοις πρῶτον μὲν αὐτοῖς πᾶσιν Ἑβραίοις ὁμοῦ, ἔπειτα βασιλεῖ τὰ ὑπ᾽ ἐμοῦ τεταγμένα, ὅπως σὺ λαὸν τὸν ἐμὸν ἐξάγοις χθονός. God: Halt, brave man, do not approach, Moses, until you have taken off the shoes on your feet, For this is sacred ground on which you stand. The word of God has shone for you from this bush. Courage, child, and listen to my words. You cannot see me because you are a mortal, but you may listen to my words, on account of which I have come here. I am the God of your forebears, whom you call Abraham, Isaac and the third of these Jacob. Because I remember them and my gifts, I have come here to save my people, the Hebrews, For I have seen the misery and toil of my servants. Now go and announce my words

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First to all the gathered Hebrews And later tell the king what I have instructed, So that this way you may lead my people out of this land.

T1 to F10 Eus. PE. 9. 29. 9 εἶτα ὑποβάς τινα ἀμοιβαῖα αὐτὸς ὁ Μωσῆς λέγει· Soon afterwards Moses speaks: F10

F10 ’Οὐκ εὔλογος πέφυκα, γλῶσσα δ’ ἐστί μοι δύσφραστος, ἰσχνόφωνος, ὥστε μὴ λόγους ἐμοὺς γενέσθαι βασιλέως ἐναντίον.’ I am not persuasive, I speak with difficulty and my voice is weak so I am not able to speak before the king.

T1 to F11 Eus. PE. 9.29.10 εἶτα πρὸς ταῦτα ὁ θεὸς αὐτῷ ἀποκρίνεται· Then God replied to him: F11

F11 {ΘΕΟΣ·} Ἀάρωνα πέμψω σὸν κασίγνητον ταχύ, ᾧ πάντα λέξεις τἀξ ἐμοῦ λελεγμένα, καὶ αὐτὸς λαλήσει βασιλέως ἐναντίον, σὺ μὲν πρὸς ἡμᾶς, ὁ δὲ λαβὼν σέθεν πάρα. God: I will soon send Aaron, your brother, you will tell him everything I told you. And he will speak before the king. You shall speak with me, and he shall receive my words from you.

T1 to F12 Eus. PE. 9.29.11 περὶ δὲ τῆς ῥάβδου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τεράτων οὕτω δι’ ἀμοιβαίων εἴρηκε· With regard to the rod and other miracles, in a dialogue he (Ezekiel) said: F12

F12 τί δ’ ἐν χεροῖν σοῖν τοῦτ’ ἔχεις; λέξον τάχος. ῥάβδον τετραπόδων καὶ βροτῶν κολάστριαν. ῥῖψον πρὸς οὖδας καὶ ἀποχώρησον ταχύ. δράκων γὰρ ἔσται φοβερός, ὥστε θαυμάσαι.



Hellenistic Tragedy with Biblical Themes ἰδοὺ βέβληται· δέσποθ’, ἵλεως γενοῦ· ὡς φοβερός, ὡς πέλωρος· οἴκτειρον σύ με· πέφρικ᾽ ἰδών, μέλη δὲ σώματος τρέμει. μηδὲν φοβηθῇς, χεῖρα δ’ ἐκτείνας λαβέ οὐράν, πάλιν δὲ ῥάβδος ἔσσεθ᾽ ὥσπερ ἦν. ἔνθες δὲ χεῖρ᾽ εἰς κόλπον ἐξένεγκέ τε. ἰδοὺ τὸ ταχθέν, γέγονεν ὡσπερεὶ χιών. ἔνθες πάλιν δ’ εἰς κόλπον, ἔσται δ’ ὥσπερ ἦν.

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God: What are you holding in your hands? Tell me quickly! Moses: A staff to chastise people and four legged animals. God: Throw it to the ground and hastily retreat, For it shall turn into a fearsome snake at which you will marvel. Moses: Look, I have cast it down. Lord, have mercy on me! How dreadful, how terrifying, take pity on me. I shudder at the very sight and the limbs of my body shake. God: Fear not! Reach out your hand and grab it By the tail, then it will turn again into a staff. Now put your hand into your bosom and withdraw it. Moses: I have done as you have said: it has become like snow. God: Put your hand inside once more and it will be as it was before.

T1 to F13 Eus. PE. 9.29.12 “Ταῦτα δέ φησιν οὕτως καὶ Ἐζεκιῆλος ἐν τῇ Ἐξαγωγῇ λέγων, περὶ μὲν τῶν σημείων τὸν θεὸν παρεισάγων λέγοντα οὕτως· And Ezekiel tells of these things in his Exagoge, introducing God, who speaks about the signs as follows: F13

F13 {ΘΕΟΣ·} ἐν τῇδε ῥάβδῳ πάντα ποιήσεις κακά· πρῶτον μὲν αἷμα ποτάμιον ῥυήσεται πηγαί τε πᾶσαι καὶ ὑδάτων συστήματα· βατράχων τε πλῆθος καὶ σκνῖπας ἐμβαλῶ χθονί. ἔπειτα τέφραν οἷς καμιναίαν πάσω, ἀναβρυήσει δ᾽ ἐν βροτοῖς ἕλκη πικρά. κυνόμυια δ᾽ ἥξει καὶ βροτοὺς Αἰγυπτίων πολλοὺς κακώσει. μετὰ δὲ ταῦτ᾽ ἔσται πάλιν λοιμός, θανοῦνται δ᾽ οἷς ἔνεστι καρδία 140 σκληρά. πικράνω δ᾽ οὐρανόν· χάλαζα νῦν σὺν πυρὶ πεσεῖται καὶ νεκροὺς θήσει βροτούς. καρποί τ᾽ ὀλοῦνται τετραπόδων τε σώματα· σκότος τε θήσω τρεῖς ἐφ᾽ ἡμέρας ὅλας ἀκρίδας τε πέμψω, καὶ περισσὰ βρώματα 145

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ἅπαντ᾽ ἀναλώσουσι καὶ καρποῦ χλόην. ἐπὶ πᾶσι τούτοις τέκν᾽ ἀποκτενῶ βροτῶν πρωτόγονα. παύσω δ᾽ ὕβριν ἀνθρώπων κακῶν. Φαραὼ δὲ βασιλεὺς πείσετ᾽ οὐδὲν ὧν λέγω, πλὴν τέκνον αὐτοῦ πρωτόγονον ἕξει νεκρόν· καὶ τότε φοβηθεὶς λαὸν ἐκπέμψει ταχύ· πρὸς τοῖσδε λέξεις πᾶσιν Ἑβραίοις ὁμοῦ· ‘ὁ μεὶς ὅδ’ ὑμῖν πρῶτος ἐνιαυτῶν πέλει· ἐν τῷδ᾽ ἀπάξω λαὸν εἰς ἄλλην χθόνα, εἰς ἣν ὑπέστην πατράσιν Ἑβραίων γένους.’ λέξεις δὲ λαῷ παντί, μηνὸς οὗ λέγω διχομηνίᾳ τὸ πάσχα θύσαντας θεῷ τῆς πρόσθε νυκτὸς αἵματι ψαῦσαι θύρας, ὅπως παρέλθῃ σῆμα δεινὸς ἄγγελος. ὑμεῖς δὲ νυκτὸς ὀπτὰ δαίσεσθε κρέα. σπουδῇ δὲ βασιλεὺς ἐκβαλεῖ πρόπαντ᾽ ὄχλον. ὅταν δὲ μέλλητ᾽ ἀποτρέχειν, δώσω χάριν λαῷ, γυνή τε παρὰ γυναικὸς λήψεται σκεύη †κόσμον τε πάνθ᾽, ὃν ἄνθρωπος φέρει, χρυσόν τε καὶ ἄργυρόν τε καὶ στολάς, ἵνα ὧν ἔπραξαν μισθὸν ἀποδῶσιν βροτοῖς. ὅταν δ᾽ ἐς ἴδιον χῶρον εἰσέλθηθ᾽, ὅπως ἀφ᾽ ἧσπερ ἠοῦς ἐφύγετ᾽, Αἰγύπτου δ᾽ ἄπο ἕπτ᾽ ὁδοιποροῦντες ἡμέρας ὁδόν, πάντες τοσαύτας ἡμέρας ἔτος κάτα ἄζυμ᾽ ἔδεσθε καὶ θεῷ λατρεύσετε, τὰ πρωτότευκτα ζῷα θύοντες θεῷ, ὅσ᾽ ἂν τέκωσι παρθένοι πρώτως τέκνα τἀρσενικὰ διανοίγοντα μήτρας μητέρων. God: You shall create much harm with this staff. First, the river, all the springs and reservoirs Will flow with blood. I shall bring a multitude of frogs and insects upon the land. then, I shall release on the Egyptians ashes from a furnace, And painful sores will appear on their mortal bodies. Flies shall descend and cause many Egyptians To suffer. Next in turn pestilence shall come And kill those with hard hearts. I shall anger the heavens: hail and fire Will rain down and lay men dead . Crops and flocks will be destroyed. I shall bring darkness for three whole days And send locusts, which will obliterate Nutritional abundance and the greenery of shoots.

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After all these, I will kill the firstborn children Of mortals and end the arrogance of this wicked people. Yet none of these things will convince the Pharaoh ruler14 Until he sees his own firstborn dead. Then he will be terrified and immediately send the people away. At that time you shall say the following to all the Hebrews; This month is for you the first of the years, For it is this month that I shall lead the people to another land, The one I promised to the Hebrew patriarchs. Tell the entire nation that in this said month, When the moon is full, they are to make a Passover sacrifice to God. The night before, you will daub [your] doors with blood, So that at this sign my dreadful Angel will pass by. At night you shall eat the roasted meat. Then the king will send the people away in haste. When you are ready to leave, I will make the people [of Egypt] Kind [to you], each woman will receive from another woman As many items and adornments as one is able to carry, Silver, gold and garments as due payment for the people. The moment you enter your own land, Because you will have travelled seven days From when you escaped from Egypt, Every year for those seven days You shall eat unleavened bread and worship God, Offering him the firstborn male among [your] animals And those sons whom the women first bore, Those who opened up their mothers’ wombs.

T1 to F14 Eus. PE. 9. 29.13 Καὶ πάλιν περὶ τῆς αὐτῆς ταύτης ἑορτῆς φησὶν ἐπεξεργαζόμενον ἀκριβέστερον εἰρηκέναι· And again about the same festival he says that the person who thoroughly worked on it says:15

F14 ἀνδρῶν Ἑβραίων τοῦδε τοῦ μηνὸς λαβών κατὰ συγγενείας πρόβατα καὶ μόσχους βοῶν ἄμωμα δεκάτῃ· καὶ φυλαχθήτω μέχρι An alternative translation of this verse is: ‘Yet the Pharaoh will suffer none of these things.’ This sentence may have different meanings because it is unclear who the subject is. If the subject of φησὶν is Alexander Polyhistor, then the ἐπεξεργαζόμενον refers to Ezekiel. However, if this is a quotation from Polyhistor, the subject of the φησὶν is Ezekiel and the ἐπεξεργαζόμενον is the one who worked on the law, i.e. God.

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τετρὰς ἐπιλάμψει δεκάδι, καὶ πρὸς ἑσπέραν θύσαντες ὀπτὰ πάντα σὺν τοῖς ἔνδοθεν οὕτως φάγεσθε ταῦτα· περιεζωσμένοι καὶ κοῖλα ποσσὶν ὑποδέδεσθε καὶ χερί βακτηρίαν ἔχοντες. ἐν σπουδῇ τε γάρ βασιλεὺς κελεύσει πάντας ἐκβαλεῖν χθονός· κεκλήσεται δὲ πάσχ᾽, ὅταν θύσητε δέ, δέσμην λαβόντες χερσὶν ὑσσώπου κόμης εἰς αἷμα βάψαι καὶ θιγεῖν σταθμῶν δυοῖν, ὅπως παρέλθῃ θάνατος Ἑβραίων ἄπο. ταύτην δ᾽ ἑορτὴν δεσπότῃ τηρήσετε, ἕφθ᾽ ἡμέρας ἄζυμα· καὶ οὐ βρωθήσεται ζύμη. κακῶν γὰρ τῶνδ᾽ ἀπαλλαγήσεται, καὶ τοῦδε μηνὸς ἔξοδον διδοῖ θεός· ἀρχὴ δὲ μηνῶν καὶ χρόνων οὗτος πέλει.

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On the tenth day of the month let Hebrew men Take for their families calves and unblemished lambs, and look after them until the fourteenth day. Afterwards in the evening you shall sacrifice them, and eat them roasted whole together with their innards. You shall consume it as follows: you will girdle your waists, put on shoes and take hold of your staffs, for the king will immediately order for all of you to be thrown out of the country. All shall be summoned. When you thus make the sacrifice, take hyssop branches, dip them in the blood and touch [with them] both doorjambs, so that death will pass over the Hebrews. This festival you shall hold for the Lord. Seven days on unleavened bread, no sourdough you shall eat. For the people will be liberated from these misfortunes and this month God will at last grant you departure from Egypt. This month shall be the start of months and epochs.

T1 to F15 Eus. PE. 9.29.14 πάλιν μεθ’ ἕτερα ἐπιλέγει· Φησὶ δὲ καὶ Ἐζεκιῆλος ἐν τῷ δράματι τῷ ἐπιγραφομένῳ Ἐξαγωγή, παρεισάγων ἄγγελον λέγοντα τήν τε τῶν Ἑβραίων διάθεσιν καὶ τὴν τῶν Αἰγυπτίων φθορὰν οὕτως· Next he (Alexander Polyhistor) adds: Ezekiel also speaks of it in a play entitled The Exagoge. He introduces a messenger who reports on the situation of the Hebrews and on the annihilation of the Egyptians as follows: F15



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F15 Eus. PE. 9.29.14 {ΑΓΓΕΛ.} ὡς γὰρ σὺν ὄχλῳ τῷδ’ ἀφώρμησεν δόμων βασιλεὺς Φαραὼ μυρίων ὅπλων μέτα ἵππου τε πάσης καὶ ἁρμάτων τετραόρων καὶ προστάταισι καὶ παραστάταις ὁμοῦ, ἦν φρικτὸς ἀνδρῶν ἐκτεταγμένων ὄχλος. πεζοὶ μὲν ἐν μέσοισι καὶ φαλαγγικοί διεκδρομὰς ἔχοντες ἅρμασιν τόπους· ἱππεῖς δ᾽ ἔταξε τοὺς μὲν ἐξ εὐωνύμων, ἐκ δεξιῶν δὲ πάντας Αἰγυπτίου στρατοῦ. τὸν πάντα δ᾽ αὐτῶν ἀριθμὸν ἠρόμην ἐγώ {στρατοῦ}· μυριάδες ἑκατὸν εὐάνδρου λεώ{ς}. ἐπεὶ δ᾽ Ἑβραίων οὑμὸς ἤντησε στρατός, οἱ μὲν παρ᾽ ἀκτὴν πλησίον βεβλημένοι Ἐρυθρᾶς Θαλάσσης ἦσαν ἠθροϊσμένοι· οἱ μὲν τέκνοισι νηπίοις δίδουν βοράν ὁμοῦ τε καὶ δάμαρσιν, ἔμπονοι κόπῳ· κτήνη τε πολλὰ καὶ δόμων ἀποσκευή· αὐτοὶ δ᾽ ἄνοπλοι πάντες εἰς μάχην χέρας ἰδόντες ἡμᾶς ἠλάλαξαν ἔνδακρυν †φωνὴν πρὸς αἰθέρα τ’ ἐστάθησαν† ἀθρόοι, θεὸν πατρῷον. ἦν πολὺς δ᾽ ἀνδρῶν ὄχλος. ἡμᾶς δὲ χάρμα πάντας εἶχεν ἐν μέρει. ἔπειθ᾽ ὑπ᾽ αὐτοὺς θήκαμεν παρεμβολήν (Βεελζεφών τις κλῄζεται πόλις βροτοῖς). ἐπεὶ δὲ Τιτὰν ἥλιος δυσμαῖς προσῆν, ἐπέσχομεν, θέλοντες ὄρθριον μάχην, πεποιθότες λαοῖσι καὶ φρικτοῖς ὅπλοις. ἔπειτα θείων ἄρχεται τεραστίων θαυμάστ᾽ ἰδέσθαι. καί τις ἐξαίφνης μέγας στῦλος νεφώδης ἐστάθη πρὸ γῆς, μέγας, παρεμβολῆς ἡμῶν τε καὶ Ἑβραίων μέσος. κἄπειθ᾽ ὁ κείνων ἡγεμὼν Μωσῆς, λαβών ῥάβδον θεοῦ, τῇ δὴ πρὶν Αἰγύπτῳ κακά σημεῖα καὶ τερατ᾽ ἐξεμήσατο, ἔτυψ᾽ Ἐρυθρᾶς νῶτα καὶ ἔσχισεν μέσον βάθος Θαλάσσης· οἱ δὲ σύμπαντες σθένει ὤρουσαν ὠκεῖς ἁλμυρᾶς δι᾽ ἀτραποῦ. ἡμεῖς δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ αὐτῆς ᾠχόμεσθα συντόμως κατ᾽ ἴχνος αὐτῶν· νυκτὸς εἰσεκύρσαμεν βοηδρομοῦντες· ἁρμάτων δ᾽ ἄφνω τροχοί οὐκ ἐστρέφοντο, δέσμιοι δ᾽ ὣς ἥρμοσαν.

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ἀπ᾽ οὐρανοῦ δὲ φέγγος ὡς πυρὸς μέγα ὤφθη τι ἡμῖν· ὡς μὲν εἰκάζειν, παρῆν αὐτοῖς ἀρωγὸς ὁ θεός. ὡς δ᾽ ἤδη πέραν ἦσαν θαλάσσης, κῦμα δ᾽ ἐρροίβδει μέγα σύνεγγυς ἡμῶν. καί τις ἠλάλαξ᾽ ἰδών· ’φεύγωμεν οἴκοι πρόσθεν Ὑψίστου χέρας· οἷς μὲν γάρ ἐστ᾽ ἀρωγός, ἡμῖν δ᾽ ἀθλίοις ὄλεθρον ἕρδει.’ καὶ συνεκλύσθη πόρος Ἐρυθρᾶς Θαλάσσης καὶ στρατὸν διώλεσε. Egyptian Messenger: When the Pharaoh ruler set out from his palace Accompanied by countless soldiers, All the cavalry and four-horsed chariots, At the front of this army as well as on its flanks There was a multitude of men in battle formation. The infantry in the centre and as well as the phalangites Left room for the chariots to pass through. He deployed the cavalry on the right And the Egyptian army on the left. I enquired as to their total number, And there were countless hundreds of thousands of brave men. When our army reached the Hebrews, Some were lying on the shore of the Red Sea, Others were feeding their small children And wives, exhausted by adversity, Flocks and and household implements around them, But they themselves were without arms to fight. On seeing us they began to weep, shout And raise lamentations to heaven And the God of their fathers. For there was a great crowed in turmoil. Our side erupted with joy. Next we erected a camp opposite them (the people call this place Baal Zephon). And as the titan Helios descended towards the west, We waited, because we wanted to go into battle at dawn, Trusting our numerical superiority and fearsome weapons. Then wonders and divine portents began to occur. Suddenly a giant pillar like a cloud Rose up from the ground, colossal, Between us and the Hebrews. And then their leader Moses Took the staff of God with whose help He had previously sent terrible signs and

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Portents on Egypt. He struck the surface of the Red Sea And divided its depths in half. Then they all Set out at speed through the marine passage. While we rushed in their footsteps Down the same path. With a roar we ran Through the night. Suddenly the chariot wheels Stopped turning as if they had become bound together. Then from the heavens descended a colossal flash, as if of fire. It seemed that their God had come to their aid. When they reached the other side, a great, Thunderous wave bore down on us. On seeing this someone shouted: Let’s run home before the hand of the Supreme One. For he favours the others, and for us unfortunates Is preparing annihilation. Thus the passage was engulfed By the Red Sea and the whole army perished.

T1 to F16 Eus. PE. 9.29.15 Ἐζεκιῆλος ἐν τῇ Ἐξαγωγῇ παρεισάγει τινὰ λέγοντα τῷ Μωσεῖ περὶ μὲν τῶν φοινίκων καὶ τῶν δώδεκα πηγῶν οὕτως· Ezekiel in The Exagoge introduces someone who tells Moses about palm trees and twelve springs as follows: F16

F16 κράτιστε Μωσῆ, πρόσχες, οἷον εὕρομεν τόπον πρὸς αὐτῇ τῇδέ γ᾽ εὐαεῖ νάπῃ. ἔστιν γάρ, ὥς που καὶ σὺ τυγχάνεις ὁρῶν, ἐκεῖ· τόθεν δὲ φέγγος ἐξέλαμψέ νυν κατ᾽ εὐφρόνης σημεῖον ὡς στῦλος πυρός. ἐνταῦθα λειμῶν᾽ εὕρομεν κατάσκιον ὑγράς τε λιβάδας· δαψιλὴς χῶρος βαθύς, πηγὰς ἀφύσσων δώδεκ᾽ ἐκ μιᾶς πέτρας, στελέχη δ᾽ ἐρυμνὰ πολλὰ φοινίκων πέλει ἔγκαρπα, δεκάκις ἑπτά, καὶ περίρρυτος πέφυκε χλοη θρέμμασιν χορτάσματα. Scout: Most mighty Moses, see what a place we have found Beside this valley with crisp air, For it is there where you are looking. Right there! Where the light has appeared In the night as a sign, like a pillar of fire. There we have found a shaded meadow And water springs, a fertile and abundant place. Twelve streams flow from the rocks,

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Many magnificent, fruit bearing palm trees grow, Seventy in all and the greenery is surrounded by fresh Water to nourish the animals.

T1 to F17 Eus. PE. 9.29.16 εἶτα ὑποβὰς περὶ τοῦ φανέντος ὀρνέου διεξέρχεται· And next he describes a bird which appeared: F17

F17 Eus. PE. 9.29.16. ἕτερον δὲ πρὸς τοῖσδ’ εἴδομεν ζῷον ξένον, θαυμαστόν, οἷον οὐδέπω †ὥρακέ τις. διπλοῦν γὰρ ἦν τὸ μῆκος ἀετοῦ σχεδόν, πτεροῖσι ποικίλοισιν ἠδὲ χρώμασι. στῆθος μὲν αὐτοῦ πορφυροῦν ἐφαίνετο, σκέλη δὲ μιλτόχρωτα, καὶ κατ᾽ αὐχένων κροκωτίνοις μαλλοῖσιν εὐτρεπίζετο. κάρα δὲ κοττοῖς ἡμέροις παρεμφερές, καὶ μηλίνῃ μὲν τῇ κόρῃ προσέβλεπε κύκλῳ· κόρη δὲ κόκκος ὣς ἐφαίνετο. φωνὴν δὲ πάντων εἶχεν ἐκπρεπεστάτην. βασιλεὺς δὲ πάντων ὀρνέων ἐφαίνετο, ὡς ἦν νοῆσαι· πάντα γὰρ τὰ πτήν᾽ ὁμοῦ ὄπισθεν αὐτοῦ δειλιῶντ᾽ ἐπέσσυτο, αὐτὸς δὲ πρόσθεν, ταῦρος ὣς γαυρούμενος, ἔβαινε κραιπνὸν βῆμα βαστάζων ποδός. Next, beside it we saw another unknown creature, Extraordinary, unlike anything ever seen before. In size almost twice as large as an eagle, With colourful feathers of many hues His breast seemed purple, While the legs were red, and the neck was Adorned with saffron coloured tresses, His head was slightly similar to that of a cockerel And he gazed through pupils set in gold Irises, while the pupil itself was like a scarlet seed. His voice was the most wonderful among all birds And he seemed to be the king of all birds. Which was confirmed: all followed Him in fear. While he at the front, proud as a bull, Swiftly strode raising his feet high.

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Ezekiel is considered the oldest and most prominent author of Jewish tragedies.16 This doesn’t change the fact that in 1983 Jacobson wrote: ‘Yet, Ezekiel has never been given his due by scholars of Judaism and early Christianity and even less by classicists’. By contrast, now, thanks to the work of scholars such as Jacobson, Holladay and van der Horst, as well as many other authors of monographs and scores of articles, in the past 30 years Ezekiel has not only become the most well-known Hellenistic tragedian, but also perhaps the best researched Hellenistic author in general. Paradoxically, this makes it even more difficult to write about him in this book. The fragments of his play, The Exagoge, are without doubt the longest extant fragments of any Hellenistic tragedy and, if only for this reason, they deserve consideration in any study of drama from this epoch. Yet the sheer quantity of literature on Ezekiel and his play has resulted in an excessive number of theories. It is therefore impossible to outline in brief what has so far been written on this particular subject, and in addition a detailed description would be disproportionate for the purposes of this book. After all, Ezekiel is just one among dozens of known Hellenistic tragedians. Moreover, in terms of the development of this genre he is neither the most important nor, more significantly, in any sense the most representative author. We may even assume that he had no serious influence on either contemporary or later literature. It seems that the only reason why fragments from Ezekiel’s play have been preserved was the personal interest of Alexander Polyhistor.17 Although now lost, Polyhistor’s extensive work is known to us through frequent references and numerous quotations in Eusebius’ Praeparatio Evangelica. Thanks to these excerpts, we know that Polyhistor was particularly interested in Jewish issues and most probably devoted an entire work to this subject. The desire to propagate knowledge regarding the eastern Mediterranean area was undoubtedly associated with Rome’s policy of territorial expansion as well as the ongoing political and military campaigns in which the Republic was engaged. Alexander Polyhistor must have had at his disposal numerous literary and scientific works, including those of Jewish and Samaritan provenance. Among them he found Ezekiel’s historical drama, The first, still interesting, edition: L. M. Philippson, Ezechiel des jüdischen Trauerspeilelers Auszug aus Egypten, und Philo des Aelteren Jerusalem, (Berlin: 1830). And in chronological order: F. Dübner, Christus patiens, Ezechieli et Christianorum poetarum reliquiae dramaticae. Ex codici emendavit et annotatione critica instruxit, in Fragmenta Euripidis (ed. F. G. Wagner; Bibliotheca scriptorum graecorum; Paris: Ambrosiio Firmin Didot, 1846); G. B. Girardi, Di un dramma greco-giudaico nell’età Allessandrina (Venezia: 1902); K. Kuiper, Ad Ezechielem poetam judaeum: Curae secundae, Rivista di Storia Antica 8 (1904), pp. 62–94; W. N. Stearns, Fragments from Graeco-Jewish Writers (Chicago: 1908); J. Wieneke, Ezechielis Iudaei poetae Alexandrini fabulae quae inscribitur Ἐξαγωγή fragmenta, Diss. (Münster: 1931); P. Fornaro, La voce fuori scena. Saggio sull’Exagoge di Ezechiele con testo greco, note e traduzione, (Torino: G. Giappichelli, 1982); H. Jacobson, The Exagoge of Ezekiel (Cambridge: 1983); B. Snell, Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, vol. 1 (editio correctior et addendis aucta curavit R. Kannicht; Göttingen: 1986; No. 128); C. R. Holladay, Poets: The Epic Poets Theodotus and Philo and Ezekiel the Tragedian (vol. 2 of Fragments from Hellenistic Jewish Authors; TT 30; PS 12; Atlanta: 1989); pp. 301–529; P. Lanfranchi, L’Exagoge d’Ezéchiel le Tragique: Introduction, texte, traduction et commentaire (Leiden and Boston: 2006). 17 Alexander Polyhistor (proper name Lucius Cornelius Alexander, 105–40 bc) was a Greek from Miletus enslaved by the Romans during Sulla’s campaign against Mithridates VI. In Rome, he became the tutor of Cornelius Lentulus and was subsequently freed. 16

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which was not only of literary value, but also contained much detailed information regarding the history of Moses as well as certain Jewish customs (e.g. the feast of the Passover). It seems that, apart from The Exagoge, Polyhistor may have also had at his disposal other plays by Ezekiel, for both Eusebius and Clement call him the author of tragedies (that is, of more than one tragedy). Despite the fact that, in the first century bc, Polyhistor managed to acquire a copy of the tragedy The Exagoge, it hardly seems likely that Ezekiel’s plays had a broad audience or that his influence on Greek tragedy as a literary and dramatic form was anything but negligible. Nonetheless, the extant fragments as well as the many controversies that have arisen around the author and his work do deserve closer consideration, be it only limited to the dramatic aspects. As an introduction to this review it should be noted that we owe the 17 extant fragments of The Exagoge to the aforementioned Eusebius of Caesarea (vv. 7–40a and 50b–54). Some of them had previously been copied by Clement of Alexandria in a work entitled Stromata. Fragment 17 (vv. 256–69) is also known from The Commentary on the Hexameron by Pseudo-Eustathius of Antioch, though there the tragedy’s author is said to be anonymous. The name of the author and the title of his play seem to be the least problematic issue here. Ancient testimonia are consistent as to the name, which was not popular in the Hellenistic and Roman times, but is nonetheless confirmed in several inscriptions.18 Several scholars speculate that the name could be a literary pseudonym, but essentially the view shared by most scholars is that Ezekiel was the poet’s real name.19 Most important from the point of view of the development of the genre is to establish when and where Ezekiel the poet was active. It is very probable that he lived and worked in Alexandria, where there existed not only the largest but also the most Hellenized Jewish diaspora. The city where the Septuagint was created seems to be the natural venue for staging a drama based on a Jewish theme. N. Collins has recently presented a very interesting and convincing argument: by analysing the time determinants and calendar used in The Exagoge, she concludes that each day in this tragedy begins at dawn, which was an Alexandrian way of defining time. For this reason she argues that Ezekiel must have come from the Lagid capital.20 Nevertheless, one should also note that other possibilities exist. Kuiper believed the image of Moses in The Exagoge was similar to his portrayal in Samaritan religion, and therefore argued that Ezekiel could have belonged to that community.21 Jacobson has rejected this theory,

For examples of these documents, see Van der Horst (1984), p. 74; Lanfranchi (2006), pp. 7ff. Van der Horst notes that the name could be a literary pseudonym chosen on account of the association of one of the Exagoge fragments (the so-called ‘throne vision’) with the first chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, but he also states that it was probably the man’s name (van der Horst 1984, p. 73). Ezekiel’s vision of being summoned and the celestial chariot became one of the primary elements in the development of Merkabah mysticism. The name Ezekiel is frequently used to denote the authors of pseudo-epigraphic works. See Denis (1970), p. 187; Charlesworth (1981), pp. 109–10. 20 See Collins (1991). In my opinion, one should add that this also unequivocally suggests Ezekiel’s audience was Alexandrian, for whom such determinants of time in drama would have been understandable. 21 Kuiper’s argument was also Ezekiel’s confusion between Libya and Midian (Kuiper 1900, p. 280). 18 19



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considering Kuiper’s evidence to be extremely weak. Van der Horst, on the other hand, does consider it possible that Ezekiel was a Samaritan from Alexandria.22 Insofar as it is almost universally accepted that Ezekiel lived and wrote for an audience in Ptolemaic Alexandria, the question of when he wrote his plays remains open. Most scholars are inclined to date him to the third or second century bc, but there are also theories that he lived towards the end of the first century bc or even that he was a Christian writer. Thus, dating Ezekiel’s life from the third century bc to the early Christian era spans over half a millennium! In my opinion at least, the notion of The Exagoge being a Christian work has been put to rest once and for all by Jacobson,23 and if I may presume to jest: requiescat in pace! Ezekiel was in all certainty a Hellenistic author, but whether he was from the third or the second century bc is not without significance. As has been shown in this book, the third century was an exceptionally active period for Hellenistic drama, when many original works were written and when, after all, the Alexandrian Pleiad was active. By contrast, much less is known about drama in the next century. There are no prominent names from this period, which might suggest that theatres were simply restaging old plays or that the public lost interest in new writers. Kuiper, Wieneke, Snell and Fraser date Ezekiel to the mid-third century bc.24 I shall deal with their arguments and the very idea of dating Ezekiel to this period later in this chapter. However, most literary historians, scholars of Jewish history and of The Exagoge in particular opt for a later period.25 The most convincing arguments are presented by Jacobson, who sees Ezekiel as a dramatist writing in the second century bc. First, he draws our attention to the distinctly anti-Egyptian tone of some of the fragments in The Exagoge, which suggests that it was written at a time of Greek–Egyptian tensions, but when the Jewish diaspora was as yet not experiencing any noticeable pressures or hostilities from the Greeks. This situation changed radically in the first century bc, and therefore The Exagoge must have been written earlier. According to Jacobson, however, the third century would have been too early for the Hellenization of Jews to have been so far advanced as to produce a Greek drama with a biblical theme. Jacobson interestingly points to the fact that the play does not mention Israel and also avoids calling it ‘the land promised by God’, which suggests that such words could have offended the public.26 According to him this would indicate a period when Judea no longer belonged to the Ptolemies, that is, sometime after 200 bc. He claims that this was a time when Jewish literature flourished solely on the basis of various minor pieces of evidence.27 Individually, these facts might not appear to be all that convincing, but taken together they make Jacobson’s theory difficult to refute. More recently, J. Allen Van der Horst (1984), p. 75. Jacobson (2005), p. 77. 24 Kuiper (1900), p. 274f.; Wieneke (1931), p. 121; Snell (1971), p. 171; Fraser (1972), vol. 1, pp. 707f. Lesky (1953), p. 3, does not rule out the third century, though he also accepts the possibility of a later period, as does Ziegler (1967). See also the argument of Dalbert (1954), p. 55. 25 For a full list of names together with biographic details, see Jacobson (1983), pp. 177–8n. 19–3. 26 Jacobson also argues that there is no mention of Jerusalem and the temple, while the Jews are consistently referred to as the Hebraioi and not as Judaioi, which could be associated with the geographical region. 27 Jacobson (1983), pp. 11–13. 22 23

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has presented a new argument for dating The Exagoge to the second century bc by pointing to the fact that Ezekiel describes the looting of Egyptian neighbours in a way that is quite different to the biblical version (Gen. 15.14., Exod. 3.21–2, 11.1–2, 12. 35–6).28 Ezekiel deliberately only mentions Hebrew women in this episode, who took from Egyptian women silver, gold and clothes (as much as they could carry) as due payment. In Allen’s opinion, this is an apologetic presentation of events due to the anti-Semitic mood that followed the Maccabean Revolt. Nevertheless, dating Ezekiel’s work to the second century bc is by no means a foregone conclusion. An important argument for assuming The Exagoge was instead written towards the end of the third century bc may be the long passage describing the appearance of a giant unidentified colourful bird (F17). Already Pseudo-Eustathius in his commentary on the Hexameron associates this description with the mythical phoenix.29 Likewise most modern scholars studying the zoon in The Exagoge believe this creature to be modelled on the phoenix.30 According to Tacitus (Annales, 6.28), the phoenix emerged during the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes (247–221 bc). It is therefore highly probable that Ezekiel was referring to events that were widely discussed among contemporaries and had acquired a symbolic dimension, at the start of a new era. This could have been the symbolic meaning Ezekiel had in mind, suggesting to his Hellenized audience that the Jews being led out of Egypt was also the start of a new era in the history of the Chosen People. Hence it is very likely that The Exagoge was written at a time when in Alexandria there was heightened interest in the phoenix, i.e. during the reign of Ptolemy Euergetes or his successor Ptolemy IV.31 Tacitus states that the phoenix appears once every 1,461 years, and that before the reign of Ptolemy III it appeared during the rule of the pharaoh Amasis. According to Jewish tradition, Amasis was the pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the time of the Exodus. Ezekiel therefore seems to be linking symbolic biblical events with the beliefs of the contemporary world in which he lived. Further support for dating Ezekiel’s play earlier is the fact that Polyhistor intersperses the narration of the play with fragments from Demetrius the Chronographer, who was active towards the end of the third century. 32 Likewise, Allen’s argument on the apologetic presentation of the despoliation of Egypt is not conclusive. Already Manetho presented the plundering departure of the Israelites from Egypt in a very drastic and hostile way.33 Ezekiel’s version may therefore be the first confirmed response to a well-known Egyptian tradition of the Jewish Exodus that involved plunder and the burning of temples, and need not necessarily have been written after the Maccabean Revolt. Allen (2007). Another piece of evidence to suggest that Ezekiel was most probably referring to the phoenix is a fourth-century Coptic text that describes how the phoenix appeared on top of the Temple of On in Heliopolis when Moses was leading the children of Israel out of Egypt: Holladay (1989), p. 520. It is quite possible that The Exagoge was the source of this legend. 30 Wacholder and Bowman are, however, of a different opinion and reject the very notion of associating the bird described in The Exagoge with the Greek phoenix. See Wacholder and Bowman (1985). 31 See Snell (1967), pp. 150f.; Fraser (1972), II, p. 708. 32 See Dalbert (1954), p. 55, who notes that, as well as Ezekiel and Demetrius, Polyhistor also cites Eupolemus and Artapanus, all of whom were active at the turn of the second century bc. 33 See Joseph Flavius contra Apionem 1.228–51. 28 29



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As the title of the play already suggests, The Exagoge is the well-known story of the Jews freeing themselves from slavery and leaving Egypt. Nevertheless, it should be stressed that the title is extremely original if we compare it with other extant tragedies. Today’s titles of ancient plays may have various origins, provided either by the original author or a later ancient scholar using the name of the chief protagonist or the chorus. Sometimes the title is derived from a cataloguing process, i.e. from the incipit of the papyrus scroll on which a play fragment was found. The Exagoge, however, relates not only to the play’s central theme, but also to the biblical Book of Exodus.34 Of course, there remains the question as to whether the title was provided by Ezekiel or whether it was added by a later author who used this play? Even if this is an original title, one nevertheless has conceded that scholars were right to have doubts. There are not many play titles from the Hellenistic period that could be described as similar, perhaps only the Sack (of Troy) by Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas, which maybe also referred to a central theme in the drama. We have 269 verses from The Exagoge written in iambic trimeter. This is not only the longest extant collection of fragments from a Hellenistic tragedy, but also and more importantly, taking into account the average length of surviving ancient Greek plays, probably almost a quarter of the entire text.35 Moreover, we know the story on which this play was based, i.e. the story of the Exodus. This is why it is all the more fascinating that scholars do not agree as to what the play is really about! Their doubts concern not so much the story as the way in which the play relates the sequence of known events and the various modifications introduced by its author. In presenting the plot of The Exagoge most scholars sensibly limit themselves to describing what happens in the individual fragments.36 To recapitulate, these fragments are as follows: F1 (vv. 1–31) Moses’ prologue, in which we learn how the Jews had arrived in Egypt (the story of Joseph), the persecution the Jews experienced in Egypt under the reign of the current pharaoh, as well as the story of Moses’ birth and how as an infant he was found by an Egyptian princess. F2 (vv. 32–58) most probably a continuation of the prologue, in which Moses recounts his adolescence and education at the royal court and also the reasons for his escape from Egypt (the killing of an Egyptian and the threat he received from a feuding fellow Jew). F3 (v. 59) A sentence uttered by Moses to Raguel, in which he states the presence of the latter’s seven daughters. Nevertheless, we should note that the Septuagint calls the book: Ἔξοδος. For more on the fact that both terms were used in Hellenistic literature, see Lanfranchi (2006), p. 7. One cannot rule out that the word Exagoge as a derivative of the verb έξάγειν was used deliberately by Ezekiel to draw attention to God and the chief protagonist, Moses, as those who lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. 35 Holladay (1989), p. 306. 36 In summarizing individual fragments, I am following the example of most scholars, who have done so because it makes the relatively long text of Ezekiel’s play easier to follow. 34

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F4 (vv. 60–5) Sepphora’s statement regarding Libya (the biblical Midian37), her father and sisters. F5 (vv. 66–7) two verses from a dialogue between Chum and Sepphora concerning her marriage to Moses. F6 (vv. 68–82) Moses recounts to Raguel his night-time vision in which God gives him a throne and royal diadem as well the authority to reign over the earth and stars (the so-called ‘throne vision’). F7 (vv. 83–9) Raguel explains to Moses the meaning of the throne vision. F8 (vv. 90–5) Moses’ reaction to the sight of the burning bush. F9 (vv. 96–112) God speaks from the burning bush, introduces Himself and commands the Hebrews to leave Egypt. F10 (vv. 113–15) Moses’ objections concerning his inability to speak in public. F11 (vv. 116–19) God instructs Moses to have Aaron pass the message on to the pharaoh. F12 (vv. 120–32) Dialogue between God and Moses during which the staff turns into a snake. Next Moses’ hand is first affected by leprosy and then miraculously cured. F13 (vv. 132–74) God foretells the plagues that He will afflict on Egypt and tells Moses how to instruct the Hebrews to make thanksgiving sacrifices, protect themselves from the Angel of Death, fulfil the Passover and escape from Egypt. F14 (vv. 175–92) statements made by God or Moses concerning the establishment of the Passover holiday. F15 (vv. 193–242) An Egyptian messenger’s account of the pharaoh’s army, its pursuit of the Jews, the crossing of the Red Sea and how the army was drowned. F16 (vv. 243–53) A Jewish messenger relates the discovery of the land of Elim. F17 An unidentified character in the play describes a wonderful bird (the phoenix).

For more on the peculiar way in which Midian was identified as Libya, see Lanfranchi (2006), pp. 158ff.

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The problem arousing the most serious doubts among scholars with regard to this tragedy is the actual drama aspect. When searching for elements theoretically believed to be appropriate to the dramatic genre, we come to the conclusion that Ezekiel certainly knew Greek tragedies and drama techniques. Indeed, he frequently imitates the classical authors in matters of stage scenery, language and metre. However, Ezekiel also consciously adopts some quite original solutions that have no classical equivalents. The two most extensively discussed issues concerning The Exagoge are whether or not it was divided into five acts and contained a chorus. Unfortunately, little can be concluded from the extant fragments. Trying to prove that Ezekiel’s tragedy was divided into five acts has been a major objective of many scholarly works regarding The Exagoge. The trend or even principle of dividing dramas into five parts is known to us both from Horace’s postulate (Ars Poetica, vv. 189–90) and from the comedies of Menander.38 The division of The Exagoge into five acts could partly solve the greatest and most exceptional question that this play has posed to scholars, namely: the stage realization of time and place (or rather places). For literature knows no other Greek drama where the plot spans such a long period of time and so many places. It is hard to imagine that all the extant fragments were played in the same scene. Scholars agree that the play must have been set in several places. There is no doubt that fragments 1–7 could have taken place in front of Raguel’s house in Midian. These fragments include Moses’ encounter with God in the form of the burning bush in Midian, but also their meeting on Mount Horeb. In turn, fragments 16–17 are set near the Elim Oasis, but an additional location seems to be required in fragment 15, i.e. the rhesis of the Egyptian messenger. Technically, such changes of scenery did not pose a problem for Hellenistic theatre. Revolving periaktoi could easily change the appearances and moods of different scenes.39 Nevertheless, Hellenistic audiences, being used to Classical tragedies (which, as in the case of Euripides, were restaged throughout the period), might have been confused by such scene changes. An additional problem would have been to extend the time span from Moses’ arrival in Midian to the crossing of the Red Sea. This is no mere violation of Aristotle’s unities of time and place; it completely ignores them. Here, however, we should note that Aristotle’s three unities were formulated in the fourth century and had never become a universally accepted, hard and fast principle in the writing of plays. The Classical tragedies, at least those that have survived to this day, did indeed generally comply with this rule, though even in that period there were exceptions, such as Aeschylus’ Eumenides or Sophocles’ Ajax. Nevertheless, the unity of time and place on the stage had many advantages. This begs the question as to why Ezekiel would have wished to adopt such a bold and, in my opinion, unprecedented option. Scholars usually suggest that it resulted from Hellenistic theatre practice, but this is a practice we know virtually nothing about. There is basically no reason why we should assume Hellenistic tragedy universally ignored the principles formulated by theoreticians. To a certain extent the three unities not only greatly facilitate the understanding of a play, but also demonstrate its formal excellence. Ezekiel, however, had another, For more on the division of Hellenistic tragedies into five acts, see page 18 of this book. For associating particular scenes with individual acts, see Holladay (1989), pp. 306f. 39 See Sifakis (1967), p. 135. 38

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overriding objective: to convincingly and as far as possible faithfully relate the story of Moses. Preserving the unity of time and place in this particular case seems impossible. Moreover, the plethora of diverse impressions resulting from the frequently changing locations, scenery and actions could have made up for this lack of convention as far as the audience was concerned. Yet this is not the view of certain scholars who find it hard to accept such a radical departure from known theatrical conventions. T. D. Kohn even suggests that The Exagoge could have been a tragic tetralogy, with the action in each play set in a different place.40 Here, however, we should note that in citing extant fragments from the play, Clement of Alexandria, clearly uses the singular: ‘ἐν τῷ ἐπιγραφομένῳ δράματι «Ἐξαγωγή» (Strom. 1.23.155 = T1 to F1).41 Therefore a more probable and sensible explanation would be that the play was divided into five acts.42 We should nevertheless remember that we do not have the entire play, and only 17 extant fragments can be assumed to have belonged to a five-act play. Lanfranchi is right to point out that the structure of The Exagoge should be analysed by tracing the characters who speak in particular fragments.43 For one cannot assume ‘scenes’ (in the modern sense of the word) to mean the same thing as an ‘act’ in an ancient drama, and nor can such acts be identified on the basis of hypothetical scenery. However, here the problem is that we have at our disposal fragments of only a few people speaking: Moses, Sepphora, Chum, Raguel, God and the Egyptian messenger and a Jewish scout. To make matters worse, only in a few cases are these evidently dialogues. Nor is there any extant fragment that would require three actors, though this cannot be construed as evidence that Ezekiel’s drama was written exclusively for two actors. The extant fragments are a very random selection and until more are discovered, it seems unlikely that we will be able to determine the structure of the play on the basis of verses assumed to allude to particular scenes or changes in the personae loquentes. Another key problem in the structural analysis of The Exagoge is the presence of a chorus. None of the extant fragments confirm or refute the existence of a chorus in the play. All arguments concerning a chorus and its personae may only be more or less plausible theories. One such theory is that the chorus comprised Sepphora’s sisters, whose presence in the Midian scenes is more than justified.44 Kraus45 sees their presence on the stage in verse 59 and Sepphora’s words indeed unequivocally refer to persons that the audience must have seen: ἱερεύς, ὅς ἐστ’ ἐμοῦ τε καὶ τούτων πατήρ. ‘…… This priest, he is my father and also theirs.’ Kohn (2002–3). Most scholars, including Jacobson (2002–3) and Lafranchi (2006), p. 22, decidedly reject the notion of The Exagoge being a tetralogy. Additional proof against this theory is the fact that trilogies and tetralogies stopped being staged in the Hellenistic period. 42 Over the decades only a few scholars have not accepted the theory that The Exagoge comprises five acts. One of the exceptions is Tarrant (1978), p. 220, while Dieterich (1909), p. 1701, believes there were six acts. 43 See table presenting speaking characters and places of action in Lanfranchi (2006), pp. 31f., and the transcription of scenes in Kappelmacher (1924), p. 82. 44 According to the Bible, Sepphora had six sisters. Yet this does not necessarily mean there were that many people in the chorus. See Sifakis (1967), p. 123. 45 Kraus (1968), p. 170. 40 41



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Be that as it may, it is still difficult to ascertain whether they constituted a chorus. The fundamental problem is in justifying their presence in scenes that must have been set in places beyond Midian. Sifakis proposes an original, albeit difficult to accept, theory according to which the audience was basically to ignore the chorus in certain scenes.46 Neither the biblical narrative nor the logic of the drama plot allow for Sepphora’s sisters to be present in scenes set beyond their country. Yet a chorus should be somehow involved in what was happening on the stage and even possess some knowledge of the unfolding events. Sepphora’s sisters only fulfil these conditions in their own country and, other than being Sepphora’s siblings and having knowledge of the sufferings of the Hebrews in Egypt, they are in no way involved in the Exodus of the Jews. Many scholars therefore assume that there must have been at least two choruses. Jacobson reckons that in the Egyptian scenes the chorus comprised Egyptian priests (wizards), a group of wise men modelled on Aeschylus’ Persians.47 Another very sensible suggestion is that the chorus was made up of Jews, but their presence in turn would be difficult to justify in Midian. There is also a theory in which the chorus is actually divided into two half-choruses, one of Egyptians and the other of Jews. None of the above hypotheses can be refuted or conclusively proved. The question of a chorus in The Exagoge is all the more difficult to answer because we do not really know the general role and size of choruses in Hellenistic tragedies. What little information there is on the subject, including clues in extant texts, suggests that choruses did exist in Hellenistic drama. It even seems probable that the chorus was an intrinsic and distinctive feature of this particular genre and therefore must also have played a role in Ezekiel’s tragedy. So Wieneke’s view48 that there was no chorus in this play seems highly unlikely to hold any validity. It is interesting that the chorus parts (which, if they indeed existed, would have been included in the tragedy text scroll and not merely signified as, for example, χορου), did not attract the attention of any of the excerptators. It even seems that Alexander Polyhistor was very consistent in avoiding these fragments and mentions only the verses uttered by the chief protagonists. Even if the chorus parts were not directly associated with the plot, as was the case with New Comedy choruses, then they would have certainly had a universal character and probably praised God’s omnipotence and grace towards the Chosen People. And yet none of the later authors ever cites such statements. It is therefore possible that like other post-Classical choral parts, these abounded in expressive exclamations that were aesthetically incompatible with the later writings of Christian authors. Moreover, one cannot rule out that Alexander Polyhistor had at his disposal only an abridged version of The Exagoge in which the chorus parts were only signified with words such as chorou, as was the case with the comedies of Menander or the anonymously authored play Cassandra. Unfortunately, apart from problems concerning structure, form and the visualization of certain scenes on the stage, problems also concern discerning a sense of tragedy or drama in Ezekiel’s play. What is even worse, there is a difficulty with the Sifakis (1967), p. 135. Jacobson (1983), p. 32. 48 Wieneke (1931), p. 30. 46 47

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very plot and subject of The Exagoge. The tragedy’s chief protagonist commits no fatal error and there is no climax to the story. One cannot deny that scholars have searched for various solutions to these issues. Jacobson argues that Moses’ hamartia occurred when he murdered the Egyptian.49 Tempting as it is, this interpretation seems untenable. Although, as Moses himself states in the prologue, the direct consequence of the action was his need to leave Egypt, none of the extant fragments include any moral appraisals of this particular deed and, more importantly, subsequent events, far from leading to Moses’ downfall, actually liberate the Jews from Egyptian slavery. As Klęczar points out, the tragedy in the character of Moses may be discerned in another episode from the Book of Exodus, namely the events that occurred at Meribah.50 Prior to the miraculous effusion of water from the rock to quench the thirst of the people in the desert, Moses has a moment of doubt and expresses it verbally, for which he is punished by dying before the Israelites enter the Promised Land (Nb. 1–12). Unfortunately, this evidently tragic episode in Moses’ life is found in none of the extant fragments and was most probably never part of the Exagoge plot. A personally tragic dilemma may also be discerned in Moses’ decision to leave the pharaoh’s palace and join the Jewish nation (which in a sense happens the moment he kills the Egyptian). However, the extant text does not show any hesitation on Moses’ side.51 Far from it, the story is related very briefly in the prologue and serves as a mere introduction to the main plot. We can therefore say that Ezekiel does not turn Moses into a typical tragic hero even when the biblical text affords him such an opportunity. Nevertheless, Moses is accompanied by characters who could be seen to have their models or equivalents in Greek tragedy. One of these is Sepphora, who according to Jacobson was modelled on Hypermnestra, one of the Danaids that in Aeschylus’ play refuses to kill her forcibly imposed husband. Jacobson believes that, in Ezekiel’s play, the marriage of Moses with Sepphora was also a very important episode, and that Chum, a character who has no counterpart in the Bible, was Sepphora’s first suitor.52 There can be no doubt that the Egyptian messenger relating the destruction of the pharaoh’s army is a character specially invented for this genre. His account is reminiscent of the description of the defeat of the Persians in Aeschylus’ play.53 There is also an interesting theory concerning the presence of the Egyptian princess. Although her part is not present in any of the extant fragments, she seems to be a natural complement to the female characters in the play. In the prologue, Moses mentions her good deeds in not only saving him from imminent death, but also by bringing him up as her own son. Jacobson (1981a), pp. 175–8, and (1983), p. 196n. 43, suggests there are similarities with the heroes in the tragedies of Sophocles, especially Oedipus. Holladay (1989), p. 426, noting the use of the word φόνος, also sees Moses as a tragic hero. A similar view is held by Robertson (1985), p. 802. 50 Klęczar (2006), p. 95 51 A. Klęczar (2006), p. 98, notes that when Moses hides the Egyptian’s body, in a sense his decision to break with the pharaoh’s court and join the Jewish Nation is suspended and not resolved until the pharaoh learns of his crime. This suggests all the more that Moses’ personal dilemma is not emphasized in this play. The ultimate decision to leave Egypt does not result from Moses’ own will, but is dictated by the need to escape the consequences of his deed. 52 Jacobson (1983), p. 88, additionally supports his interpretation with the theory of Sepphora’s sisters forming the chorus, just like the chorus of the Danaids in Aeschylus’ lost drama. 53 See Jacobson (1983), pp. 136–40. 49



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It seems natural that the Egyptian messenger’s extant speech should be addressed to her.54 If that is so, then the play does indeed have a thoroughly tragic figure, who as a consequence of the plot first loses her adopted son (when Moses leaves the pharaoh’s palace) and next her royal brother.55 The very title of the play, as well as the contents of the extant fragments, de facto seem to indicate that the real chief protagonist of the drama was the Jewish Nation. From this perspective we may observe two climaxes, both recorded in extant fragments. One was the night of the Passover and the leading of the Jews out of Egypt. The second was the crossing of the Red Sea and the miraculous salvation of the Jewish people. Scholars such as Jacobson, Xanthakis-Karamanos and Lanfranchi also point to the epic aspect of The Exagoge.56 Indeed, the mixing of elements of various literary genres is a typically Hellenistic feature. A case in point is Lycophron’s Alexandra, where Greek drama and epic poetry are deliberately combined in a way that forces us to consider the play to be of a previously unknown genre. Perhaps The Exagoge is also an example of an original and unknown (lost?) drama form in which epic poetry predominated. But one can hardly state or even conjecture that The Exagoge was a typically Hellenistic drama, or that it reflected a general literary style. We know too little about Hellenistic drama to be able to say whether Ezekiel’s play was typical of contemporary trends, or conversely went quite against the grain. It is worth noting that despite its historic theme, The Exagoge must have been a tragedy with a happy ending. If we are to recognize the Chosen People as a collective hero, then the structure of the play could be reminiscent of an adventure-type tragedy, such as Euripides’ Helen. Thus the cruel tyrant would be the pharaoh, who torments the enslaved Jews and whose predecessor was a ruler evil enough to have the Jewish infants killed.57 In two of Euripides’ dramas, the tragedy Helen and satyr drama Busiris, Egyptian rulers are cast in a very negative light. Therefore, the pharaoh character in The Exagoge could be an obvious reference to those other pharaohs, or at least it would have evoked such associations with a knowledgeable audience. Ezekiel’s pharaoh, however, finds himself in a situation that can without question be described as tragic. He does not recognize his wrongdoing and is not given the opportunity to remedy his persecution of the Jewish people, but instead is forced to suffer to the end. According to God’s will the pharaoh’s heart is unmoved by the plagues up until the moment his own firstborn son dies, while for his next mistake, the punitive expedition against the fleeing Jews, he and his army pay with their lives. Klęczar (2006), p. 101, sees in her a counterpart of Aeschylus’ Atossa and assumes the Egyptian messenger’s speech to have been made in the pharaoh’s palace. 55 In Greek drama, the tragic consequences of the plot frequently afflict female secondary characters, for example Sophocles’ Jocasta, Ismene or Creon’s wife Eurydice. The Egyptian ruler at the time of the Exodus was the Pharaoh’s successor and the princess’ brother; see note 57. 56 Jacobson (1983), p. 175n. 6; Xanthakis-Karamanos (2001), Lanfranchi (2006), p. 20. 57 According to the Book of Exodus, the Pharaoh whose daughter adopted Moses died during Moses’ stay in Midian and therefore the Egyptian ruler at the time of the Exodus must have been his successor, the princess’ brother. However, on account of the fact that none of the extant fragments mention the first ruler’s death, we cannot rule out that for the purposes of the play Ezekiel merged the characters of the two pharaohs into one. 54

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The Exagoge’s similarities to Classical tragedy and its direct references to it have already been analyzed in detail by many scholars. The reader should nevertheless be reminded of the extent to which Ezekiel models his play on recognized models and thus proves his knowledge of fifth-century tragedy. In a certain sense these associations also prove the dramatic aspect of The Exagoge. Perhaps the most obvious model for The Exagoge is Aeschylus’ aforementioned tragedy The Persians. Both plays have a historic theme and both concern the defeat of a more powerful enemy. Significant evidence indicating that Ezekiel could have used this particular play by Aeschylus as a model is found in the Egyptian messenger’s speech, which scholars have already analysed in detail.58 The messenger begins with a description of the pharaoh’s army, revealing at the same time the weakness of the Israelites, which is a device very similar to the one used in the Persian messenger’s speech. Both messengers are at the same time eyewitnesses and soldiers of the enemy army. Some of the expressions used in The Exagoge are directly modelled on those used by Aeschylus. Likewise the Egyptian delight and certainty of victory is reminiscent of that of the Persians. As mentioned above, Jacobson also convincingly showed the connections between The Exagoge and Aeschylus’ Suppliants. The story of Danaus’ daughters reveals the similarities between the mythical beginnings of the Greek and Jewish nations: the escape from Egypt and the return to the homeland.59 Another important element in The Exagoge is the account of a prophetic dream. Such themes also appear in Classical dramas, such as Atossa’s dream in Aeschylus’ Persians and Clytemnestra’s dream in his Choephori as well as Electra’s dream in Sophocles’ tragedy and Hecuba’s dream in the play by Euripides. There are of course very noticeable differences in the presentation and interpretation of dreams in these Classical Greek plays and the dream in The Exagoge, resulting chiefly from Ezekiel’s adherence to a Jewish tradition.60 Above all in The Exagoge it is a man who has the dream and it requires the learned interpretation of the priest-cum-king Raguel.61 Moreover, Moses’ night vision foretold his good fortune, whereas the dreams in fifth-century plays presaged imminent misfortune. Quite striking also are the deeply mystical images in Moses’ dream, which have no parallels in any Classical play.62 References to the tragedies of Euripides are also evident. Jacobson and XanthakisKaramanos have proved in detail the Euripidean form of the prologue in The Exagoge.63 Both the fact that the play is introduced by the chief protagonist, as are other examples of Moses’ self-presentation, resemble the techniques applied by

Wieneke (1931), pp. 93f.; Jacobson (1983), pp. 136–40. Jacobson (1983), p. 25. For a critique of comparing The Exagoge and Aeschylus’ Suppliants as well as Herodotus’ Histories, see Martin Goldman’s review of Jacobson’s book (JJS 35 [1984], pp. 98ff.). 60 For more on the association of Moses’ dream with the Merkavah tradition, see: van der Horst (1983), as well as Gruenwald (1980), pp. 129f. Jacobson (1981c), pp. 272–93, rejects this interpretation. 61 Xanthakis-Karamanos (2001), p. 231, points to similarities with the biblical dreams of Jacob and Joseph. 62 For a detailed analysis of the mysticism in this dream and its associations with Jewish literature, see Lanfranchi (2006), pp. 171–200. For the subject of Moses’ literary portrait, see Holladay (1976). 63 Jacobson (1983), p. 69; Xanthakis-Karamanos (2001), p. 225. 58 59



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Euripides.64 Even relating the story by citing another protagonist (in verses 24–5 and 28–9) is taken from tragedies such as Ion (28ff.), Ph. (17ff., 39f.), I.T. (16ff.). Besides, to some extent it seems that Ion is the direct model for Ezekiel’s Moses, because both heroes experience fairly similar fates in their childhoods and thus it would be easier for the author to apply the same phrases.65 It seems that the previously frequently raised issue of whether or not The Exagoge was a play intended for the stage has been convincingly resolved. As Lanfranchi has pointed out, the debate arose to some extent out of misunderstandings. One was the assumption that during the Hellenistic era plays were written exclusively to be read. Another was a conviction that some of the scenes in The Exagoge, such as the burning bush or the rod turning into a snake, could not be presented on stage. The first assumption resulted from a misinterpretation of Aristotle’s Rhetoric (1413b), which refers to the reading of plays. The existence of texts from plays which could be privately recited is hardly unusual in the post-Classical period, but the writing of plays only to the read has never been proved. The existence of Lesedramen (closet dramas) is a nineteenth-century concept, stemming from a now almost two-century-long debate on whether tragedies by Seneca the Younger were ever intended for the stage.66 In the Hellenistic period there were of course literary genres inspired by stage works, such as the mimes by Theocritus and by Herodas or Lycophron’s Alexandra, but there is no confirmed tragedy or comedy written exclusively to be read.67. The Exagoge was without doubt written for the stage. Jacobson even points to the vocabulary, especially the abundance of local adverbs and pronouns as evidence that the work was a play to be performed.68 Nor is there any extant fragment of a scene that could not have been performed in a theatre. The supposedly most problematic scene involves the burning bush, speaking with the voice of God. It has been considered implausible on account of it contravening Jewish laws prohibiting the portrayal of God,69 as well as the practical difficulties. Jacobson rightly notes that there are insufficient grounds to assume the play would have been considered blasphemous in Ezekiel’s time.70 Moreover, Lanfranchi shows that in the text Ezekiel stresses that God does not actually appear to Moses (and he notes it himself! vv. 100–2).71 Likewise, the difficulty of showing a burning bush on stage might merely be a problem invented by scholars used to the realistic visualizations of modern theatre. Fire seen on the stage by actors or the chorus was nothing unusual in Classical

The plays are begun by protagonists as in the case of Helen, Andromache, Phoenissae, Bacchae, Orestes and Iphigenia in Tauris. Jacobson (1983), p. 69, notes that the predecessor’s journey is mentioned in the prologue, Xanthakis-Karamanos points to the use of the formula λιπὡν/ἤκω/ ἔρχομαι and shows that even the identification of the hero and presentation of his name at a later stage of the prologue is a typically Euripidean feature. 65 Xanthakis-Karamanos (2001), p. 229. 66 The problem was first formulated by Boissier (1861). 67 This is not a universally accepted view. See Zwierlein (1966); cf. recently Kugelmeier (2007). 68 Jacobson (1981a), pp. 174–5. 69 See Feldman (1960), p. 227, who calls it ‘deviation from orthodoxy’. 70 Jacobson (1983), p. 20. Recently very interesting is the opinion of Davies (2008), who thinks that Exagoge may be seen as a part of the Jewish midrashic tradition (a type of ritual re-enactment of Exodus). 71 Lanfranchi (2006), p. 36. Also see Freyhan (1938), p. 60. 64

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drama.72 Such scenes are present, for instance, in Euripides’ Bacchae, where Kapaneus’ funeral pyre burns, in The Suppliants, where Pentheus’ palace burns, and in The Trojan Women, where the defeated Ilion is consumed by flames. Other ‘difficult’ scenes in The Exagoge, such as the turning of the shepherd’s staff into a snake or Moses’ arm becoming leprotic, are described in such a way that they could easily exist in the theatrical conventions of that period. Moreover, it is quite possible that Hellenistic theatre had the technical possibilities of showing such events on stage. In particular, the effect of changing the rod into a snake would have been possible with an appropriate prop.73 If Ezekiel’s drama was therefore definitely intended for the stage, the next question to ask is where and for whom it could have been performed, if indeed it ever was.74 From our point of view the intended recipient of the text is the key. Here it should be explained that studies on Ezekiel’s play assume that it could have been staged only in places where the Jewish diaspora was influential. This is a very logical assumption as a play with a biblical theme could only really be appreciated by Jews Hellenized to such an extent as not to be offended by the staging of scenes from the Torah, and Greeks (or other Greek-speaking citizens) who knew the Jewish diaspora well enough to be interested in such a subject. Such a public could be found in virtually every major Hellenistic city. Lanfranchi has collected a large amount of evidence regarding Jewish theatre audiences from the second century bc up until the end of the Roman Empire.75 Scholars have frequently considered for whom Ezekiel wrote. This question concerns a virtual intended recipient, for this is the only question that can be asked with regard to the audience of The Exagoge. To a certain extent we may examine the way in which the play is structured, and on this basis assess what the public would have expected, but we have no information on how the play was actually received. Most scholars agree that Ezekiel wrote for both Jews and Greeks, even in such a manner as to make the text understood and interpreted by Greeks and Jews in different ways.76 An example of such an image with a double meaning may be the wonderful bird described in the last extant fragment of Ezekiel’s play. As already stated, this bird bears some of the known characteristics of the phoenix, and that is how a Hellenized audience would have no doubt seen it. Wacholder and Bownam, however, rightly note the similarities between this description of the bird and that of God’s polymorphic messengers, the cherubim, who in Chapter I of the Book of Ezekiel have the features

See Free (1999), p. 153. Convincing suggestions as to how such problems could have been solved on stage are provided by Fountoulakis (1995–6). 74 There can be no doubt that The Exagoge was written with the intention of it being performed on stage, but there is no evidence that such a performance ever took place. 75 Lanfranchi (2006), p. 44ff.; the oldest piece of evidence seems to be a second-century inscription from Iasos (CIJ II, 749) concerning a donation for theatre performances by Niketas, a Hellenized Jew. 76 Brant (2005) recently spoke out decidedly in favour of the theory that The Exagoge was intended exclusively for the Jews. In her opinion, a Greek audience would not have been impressed either by the play’s language or by its theme. Moreover, she believes that The Exagoge would have required knowledge of the Bible story (pp. 132f.). Lanfranchi (2006), pp. 57–63, is of a similar opinion and believes that The Exagoge was not performed in a Greek theatre but in an improvized theatre building in a Jewish quarter. 72 73



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of an eagle.77 These scholars also very perceptively note the symbolic significance of the bird’s colours: purple, red and gold were the colours of a high priest.78 The enigmatic term zoon allows the audience to interpret the creature freely (according to Greek or Jewish tradition). J. Heath in turn sees the bird’s description as being of Greek provenance and referring to a phoenix on account of the ekphrasis and other literary devices typical of the Hellenistic age.79 Despite very clear elements of Jewish mysticism, the play would not have been incomprehensible to a Greek audience. The style, metre and allusions to Classical tragedy may be seen as concessions to such a public. Moreover, if we assume that the play was also written for the benefit of a Greek audience, or rather one that identified itself with Greek culture, then the trouble taken to explain customs that would seem peculiar to non-Jews, especially the Passover feast, would seem more logical. Ezekiel goes out of his way to describe the origins and the course of this festival, most probably to introduce a Jewish tradition to Greeks and make Hellenized Jews more aware of its great importance.80 Kuiper correctly compares The Exagoge with other historical dramas of the Hellenistic period: Lycophron’s Marathonians and Allies as well as Moschion’s Themistocles.81 As in the case of the aforementioned tragedians, for Ezekiel the historicity of the events and the chief protagonist presented in The Exagoge were very important, for they marked the great turning point in the history of his nation. In this respect The Exagoge is very much in keeping with early Hellenistic tragedy. An offshoot of this trend in Rome was the Latin historical tragedies known as fabulae praetextae.82 The earliest examples of this genre were two plays by Gnaeus Naevius, Clastidium and Romulus, both dated to the first decade of the second century bc. One should note that fabulae praetextae flourished somewhat later than historical tragedies in Hellenistic culture. This delay was of course due to the fact that the literary genre of a foreign language and culture was being adopted. Ezekiel wrote in Greek for a Grecophone audience and therefore we may assume that the play belongs to an Alexandrian literary trend of the end of the third century bc. At a very early stage of research one notices that Ezekiel’s play is to some extent intended as propaganda, that is it promotes the view of the Hebrews being a nation with a noble history and ancient roots.83 Its elements, starting with the prologue, where the Jews are presented as an unjustly and cruelly oppressed people, then displaying the greatness of Moses while avoiding episodes in the Bible that could cast the Chosen People in a less than complimentary light, and finally, on the shores of the Read Sea, the confrontation of Jewish humility and dedication to their God with the hubris of the Egyptians, all serve to show the audience, and its non-Jewish members in particular, the magnificent history of the diaspora.

The eagle may also be interpreted as a metaphor relating to God, see Exod. 19.4. See Exod. 28.3–5. 79 Heath (2006). 80 Jacobson (1981a), p. 171, conversely believes that here we are dealing with the oldest Passover Haggadah. 81 Kuiper (1903), p. 162. 82 For more on the association of The Exagoge with fabulae praetextae, see Kappelmacher (1924), p. 86, and Lanfranchi (2006), pp. 69–72. 83 Holladay (1989), p. 303. 77 78

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Other fragments of assumed Jewish tragedies One of the characteristic features of Greek academic and philosophical prose, particularly in the time of the Roman Empire, was frequent quotations and references to authors of earlier epochs. Similarly Christian theological literature is replete with references to ancient poets whose works were considered important intellectual achievements of Greek civilization. The most frequently cited authors of course included Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, but the obligatory list of authors to be cited in rhetorical treatises was exceedingly long. It is therefore hardly surprising that some of the fragments of interest to us also come from such academic, rhetorical or religious treatises. These include many so-called pseudepigrapha, i.e. falsely attributed works. One should note that such texts could either have been deliberately falsified or alternatively incorrectly cited or copied by mistake. When later authors cited excerpts from such dramas (which were by then considered ancient), they did so only to exemplify the problems under discussion, to add weight to their arguments and confirm their erudition. It is therefore hardly surprising that the actual authorship was frequently of secondary importance to the fact that the cited excerpts were the works of renowned poets. These so-called pseudepigrapha include texts whose provenance is difficult to identify, also frequently because they were cited from indirect sources. Discussed below are excerpts from tragedies of Jewish provenance.

Fragment 1 T1 Eus. PE. 13.13.60 Πάλιν αὖ Αἰσχύλος μὲν ὁ τραγῳδοποιὸς τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ θεοῦ παρατιθέμενος οὐκ ὀκνεῖ καὶ ὕψιστον αὐτὸν προσαγορεύειν διὰ τούτων· Earlier Aeschylus, the tragic poet, revealing the might of God, did not fear to call him Supreme with the following words:

F1 (TrGF 2. F 617) χώριζε θνητῶν τὸν θεὸν καὶ μὴ δόκει ὅμοιον αὑτῷ σάρκινον καθεστάναι. οὐκ οἶσθά γ᾽ αὐτόν. ποτὲ μὲν ὡς πῦρ φαίνεται, ἄπλατος ὁρμῇ, ποτὲ δ᾽ ὕδωρ, ποτὲ γνόφος καὶ θηρσὶν αὐτὸς γίνεται παρεμφερής, ἀνέμῳ νεφέλῃ τε καὶ ἀστραπῇ, βροντῇ, βροχῇ. ὑπηρετεῖ δ᾽ αὐτῷ θάλασσα καὶ πέτραι καὶ πᾶσα πηγὴ καὶ ὕδατος συστήματα· τρέμει δ᾽ ὄρη καὶ γαῖα καὶ πελώριος βυθὸς θαλάσσης καὶ ὀρέων ὕψος [ἐπὶ] μέγα, ἐπὰν ἐπιβλέψῃ γοργὸν ὄμμα δεσπότου· πάντα δυνατὴ γὰρ δόξα ὑψίστου θεοῦ.



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Distinguish God from mortals, do not assume that like you He is a corporeal entity. You will not recognize Him, when he appears as fire, An unnaproachable force, once as water and a storm, Now akin to a wild beast, Now as wind, clouds, lightning, thunder or rain. The sea and rocks serve Him, Every stream and lake. The ground, deep seas and lofty mountain peaks tremble at the Master’s fierceeyed glance. All powerful is the glory of the Supreme God.

The above fragment is one of the pseudepigrapha found in Eusebius of Caesarea’s Praeparatio Evangelica, Stromata by Clement of Alexandria (5.14.131) as well as in Pseudo-Justin Martyr in De Monarchia (2–3). Eusebius cites it as an excerpt from a work by Aeschylus. Detailed analysis of the text, however, disqualifies such an attribution. D. F. Sutton has noted that the vocabulary and style are similar to that of Ezekiel’s Exagoge.84 There can be no doubt that the phrase καὶ πᾶσα πηγὴ καὶ ὕδατος συστήματα is a somewhat altered version of verse 134 in The Exagoge. Moreover, the rare word παρεμφερής appears in both tragedies with the same meaning (v. 5. The Exagoge, v. 261).85 These few lines are written in the iambic trimeter, which is in Ezekiel’s style, though the numerous solutions are closer to the metre of Euripides but, then again, in no way resemble the iambic trimeter of Aeschylus or Sophocles. As in the case of the next fragment, this one has also been considered the deliberate forgery of an anonymous Jew. Of course, a far simpler solution would be to attribute this iambic trimeter fragment to Ezekiel, who as we know, modelled his writing on that of Euripides and Aeschylus. One therefore cannot rule out that the secondary source used by the Christian writers (for it is unlikely that any of the above-mentioned authors saw the original text) attributed the excerpt to Aeschylus either by mistake or deliberately on account of his renown, as opposed to the later and much less known Jewish tragedian. The Jewish character of this text does not essentially raise any doubts. The fragment, however, is also interesting because it refers to the incorporeal nature of God. This is an issue that was not raised in Jewish theology and philosophy until the Hellenistic period, and then largely thanks to the writings of Plato. The Torah does not explicitly define the nature of God; such notions were formulated later, for instance on the basis of Deut. 4. 15. Although the concept of the Creator’s incorporeal nature is only for the first time clearly stated in the writings of Philo of Alexandria, it is possible that such notions were being formulated in the Jewish diaspora much earlier. In the Bible God frequently appears as a force of nature: fire, water or wind. The fragment’s final verses resemble those of Psalm 103, 31–2:

Sutton (1987), p. 37. Apart from Ezekiel, the only other author to use this word in tragedy was Isidore the Tragedian (TrGF F1,2).

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ἤτω ἡ δόξα κυρίου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, εὐφρανθήσεται κύριος ἐπὶ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ· ὁ ἐπιβλέπων ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιῶν αὐτὴν τρέμειν, ὁ ἁπτόμενος τῶν ὀρέων καὶ καπνίζονται. May the glory of the Lord endure forever, May the Lord rejoice in his works. He who looks on the earth, and it trembles, Who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

The last verse cited by Eusebius could have been written by Ezekiel or by someone imitating this author. The description of God using the superlative ὔψιστος appears in verse 239 of The Exagoge. As Fountoulakis has noticed, this adjective was frequently used to describe God in synagogues of the Hellenistic period, in the canonical books of the Old Testament and Jewish historical texts from that epoch.86 At the same time we find the expression ὑψίστοs also used in Aeschylus’ Eumenides (v. 28) in reference to Zeus. This final verse has a clearly doxological character, very much in keeping with the Hebrew tradition of praising God, particularly in the Book of Psalms.87 To recapitulate, we may say for certain that the above fragment is part of a drama concerning the Bible and that it was written in the Hellenistic period.

Fragment 2 T1 ad F2 Eus. PE. 13.13, 40.1 Ναὶ μὴν καὶ ἡ τραγῳδία ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων ἀποσπῶσα εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀναβλέπειν διδάσκει. ὁ μὲν γὰρ Σοφοκλῆς, ὥς φησιν Ἑκαταῖος ὁ τὰς ἱστορίας συνταξάμενος ἐν τῷ κατὰ Ἅβραμον καὶ τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους, ἄντικρυς ἐπὶ τῆς σκηνῆς ἐκβοᾷ Tragedy also abandoned the gods and teaches us to look at the sky. Even Sophocles, as Hecataeus, who wrote The Histories, reports, in a work on Abraham and the Egyptians openly called from the stage:

F2 (TrGF 2. F 618) εἷς ταῖς ἀληθείαισιν, εἷς ἐστιν θεός, ὃς οὐρανόν τ᾽ ἔτευξε καὶ γαῖαν μακρὴν πόντου τε χαροπὸν οἶδμα καὶ ἀνέμων βίας. θνητοὶ δὲ πολλοὶ καρδίαν πλανώμενοι ἱδρυσάμεσθα πημάτων παραψυχὴν θεῶν ἀγάλματ’ ἐκ λίθων ἢ χαλκέων ἢ χρυσοτεύκτων ἢ ἐλεφαντίνων τύπους. Fountoulakis (1995–6), p. 89. God is praised in a very similar way in Pss. 18.2; 56.6, 12; 62.3; 103.31; and particularly in Ps. 137.5: ὅτι μεγάλη ἡ δόξα κυρίου, || ὅτι ὑψηλὸς κύριος καὶ τὰ ταπεινὰ ἐφορᾷ.

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θυσίας τε τούτοις καὶ κακὰς πανηγύρεις στέφοντες, οὕτως εὐσεβεῖν νομίζομεν. Verily there is one, only one God, Who created the heavens and the huge earth, Laden waves of the glittering sea and the power of the wind. We, the many mortals, with wayward hearts, To allay our concerns, raise stone and bronze statues of deities, Their likenesses in gold and ivory. And the vile sacrifices and hymns offered up to them we call piety.

The above fragment preserved for us by Clement of Alexandria in Stromata and Eusebius in Praeparatio Evangelica, as well as other Church Fathers, decidedly suggests the author was a Jew. Although attributed in these works to Sophocles, a fairly general consensus among later scholars categorized this fragment as authored by a Pseudo-Sophocles. A. C. Pearson believes that this was a deliberate forgery made by an Alexandrian Jew in order to demonstrate the intellectual greatness of the Jewish people88. In his brilliant article entitled Ezechieliana, D. F. Sutton (1984) correctly notes that like F1, this excerpt could be easily attributed to Ezekiel. Although it is admittedly much more difficult to find such striking linguistic parallels or similarities in metre, there is still a great deal to suggest that this fragment also originates from one of Ezekiel’s tragedies.The tone is distinctly monotheistic and decidedly condemns idolatry. Verse 1 may be compared with Deut. 6.4 κύριος ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν κύριος εἷς ἐστιν· in which God is defined in the Bible as the sole and absolute Lord for the first time. Here one should add that the definition appears in the context of laws set down by God, including the prohibition of worshipping other deities and erecting statues in their honour, and follows on immediately after the extended versions of the Decalogue (Deut. 5.7–10), in which we read οὐκ ἔσονταί σοι θεοὶ ἕτεροι πρὸ προσώπου μου. οὐ ποιήσεις σεαυτῷ εἴδωλον οὐδὲ παντὸς ὁμοίωμα, ὅσα ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἄνω καὶ ὅσα ἐν τῇ γῇ κάτω καὶ ὅσα ἐν τοῖς ὕδασιν ὑποκάτω τῆς γῆς. οὐ προσκυνήσεις αὐτοῖς οὐδὲ μὴ λατρεύσῃς αὐτοῖς, ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι κύριος ὁ θεός σου, θεὸς ζηλωτὴς. In fragment 2 = TrGF2 F618, verses 4–9, the greatness of God, the creator of the earth, is compared with the sinful worship of other deities and the creating of their likenesses. Interestingly, the word agalma appears in the Septuagint only three times, and always in the context of images of gods: 2 Macc. 2.2, as well as in the Isa. 19.3 and 21.9. However, another fragment from the Book of Isaiah appears to be even more appropriate, one where the images of gods are also defined as οἱ πλανώμενοι (Isa. 46.5).89 There can therefore be no doubt that this fragment of text is closely related to Jewish religiosity. An issue that requires explaining is the context in which this fragment was preserved. Clement cited it after Hecataeus of Abdera and his work concerning Abraham and the Egyptians. To start with, we should note that Clement most Cf. Pearson’s comment in Jebb, Headlam and Pearson (1917), p. 174. τίνι με ὡμοιώσατε; ἴδετε τεχνάσασθε, οἱ πλανώμενοι. οἱ συμβαλλόμενοι χρυσίον ἐκ μαρσιππίου καὶ ἀργύριον ἐν ζυγῷ στήσουσιν ἐν σταθμῷ καὶ μισθωσάμενοι χρυσοχόον ἐποίησαν χειροποίητα καὶ κύψαντες προσκυνοῦσιν αὐτοῖς.

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probably did not refer directly to this work but to the text of another author citing the Greek historian. This might have been one of two texts that are now lost: Hecataeus’ own Aegyptiaca or a work entitled On the Jews, which was attributed to him but was more probably written by an anonymous Jewish author. Particularly interesting is the way in which Clement cites the fragment’s statement ὥς φησιν Ἑκαταῖος ὁ τὰς ἱστορίας συνταξάμενος ἐν τῷ κατὰ Ἅβραμον καὶ τοὺς Αἰγυπτίους, which gives the impression that the Christian author did not entirely distinguish the books attributed to Hecataeus. Apart from Clement, no one else ever confirmed that Hecataeus wrote a book on Abraham. There is also no mention of Abraham in Diodorus’ extant fragments regarding Aegyptiaca.90 A separate book regarding Abraham and the Egyptians would, however, be strange, for the patriarch’s only episode in Egypt concerned his short stay during which the pharaoh took Sarah from him, believing her to be his sister rather than wife (Gen. 12.9–20). Why then would Clement make such a mistake? The most likely explanation is that he was not actually citing any work directly attributed to Hecataeus, but a secondary source. This source would have included the fragment written by a Pseudo-Sophocles and stated that it was the work of the great tragedian. If the fragment had originated from Aegyptiaca, the only context in which Hecataeus could have cited part of a tragedy on the existence of the one God and the prohibition of idolatry would be in the following paragraph from Historical Library (40.3.4): ἄγαλμα δὲ θεῶν τὸ σύνολον οὐ κατεσκεύασε διὰ τὸ μὴ νομίζειν ἀνθρωπόμορφον εἶναι τὸν θεόν, ἀλλὰ τὸν περιέχοντα τὴν γῆν οὐρανὸν μόνον εἶναι θεὸν καὶ τῶν ὅλων κύριον. But he (Moses) did not make for them any images of gods, believing that God has no human form, but rather that the heaven which surrounds the earth is in itself the god and ruler of everything.

Although the contents of the above fragment do resemble to some extent the lost tragedy, one cannot assume the Hecataeus ever cited it and the title was only later overlooked by Diodorus. Chronologically it also seems unlikely that Hecataeus could have cited any Jewish tragedy, for Aegyptiaca was written sometime in 302–300 bc.91 It is more plausible that the fragment originates from another work attributed to Hecataeus, i.e. On the Jews. This book was attributed to Hecataeus by Joseph Flavius in Against Apion (I 183–204, II 43), where it served to prove that ancient Greeks appreciated the Jews and their traditions. One should note here that in citing this work, Joseph had no doubt that he was referring to the great authority Hecataeus. Nevertheless, Joseph’s contemporary Herennius Philon did have doubts as to the authenticity of this book.92 It seems that On the Jews was an apologetic treatise concerning Jewish history and traditions by an unknown Hellenistic Jew and Of the part of Diodorus’ Historical Library citing Hecataeus (books 34–35.1) only the Photius extract has survived (cod. 224, 379a–80a). 91 See Bar-Kochva (1996), p. 15. 92 Origen. C. Cels. I.15. 90



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deliberately, perhaps by the author, attributed to Hecataeus. On the basis of much evidence in the texts and comparisons with Pseudo-Aristeas’ letter, Bar-Kochva dates this work to the end of the second century bc.93 Therefore On the Jews must have been written post quem in relation to the fragment. So who could have written it? The contents and style rule out the authorship of Sophocles. Instead, as in the case of fragment 1, the prime ‘suspect’ could be the only Hellenistic Jewish playwright known to us, Ezekiel. If we are indeed dealing with a lost tragedy by Ezekiel, it would be hardly surprising that the author pretending to be Hecataeus did not reveal the real author’s name. In such a case it would have been an anachronism, one easily detected even by readers not particularly familiar with the Jewish playwright’s work. Additionally, we know that the work cited by Joseph Flavius presented Jews in a very favourable light and therefore attributing it to Sophocles would further ennoble Jewish tradition and religion.

Fragment 3 Epiphanius, Haer. 64.29.6 ὦ πᾶσιν ἀρχὴ καὶ πέρας κακῶν ὄφις, σύ τ’ ὦ βαρὺν τίκτουσα θησαυρὸν κακῶν πλάνη τυφλοῦ ποδηγὲ ἀγνοίας βίου, χαίρουσα θρήνοις καὶ στενάγμασι βροτῶν, ὑμεῖς ἀθέσμους εἰς ὕβρεις ὁμοσπόρων τὰς μισαδέλφους ὁπλίσαντες ὠλένας Κάϊν μολῦναι φοινίῳ πρῶτον λύθρῳ ἐπείσατον γῆν καὶ τὸν ἐξ ἀκηράτων πεσεῖν αἰώνων πρωτόπλαστον εἰς χθόνα ὑμεῖς ἐτεκτήνασθε. O serpent, in everything the beginning and end of evil, You who bears the heavy treasure trove of malice, Deceiver, guide to a life of blind ignorance, who delights in the tears and groans of mortals. You have armed to a lawless crime The hands of kinfolk, full of brotherly hatred When you persuaded Cain to be the first to defile the soil with blood, and you plotted for the progenitor of unblemished ages to fall to the ground

The above fragment has survived only as a citation in Panarion by Epiphanius, the bishop of Salamis in Cyprus (c. 320–403). Ever since Ezekiel’s Exagoge was first published by L. M. Philippson in 1830, this fragment has been considered to be one of his writings.94 Despite the fact it is generally assumed to be inauthentic and no Bar-Kochva (1996), pp. 122–42. The first to express this opinion was J. J. Scaliger in the second edition of Thesaurus Temporum Eusebii Pamphilii, (1658), p. 402. Jacobson notes that Scaliger did so: ‘without much thought or

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longer appears in modern publications, it is worthwhile devoting a little attention to this fragment here. Panarion, also known as Adversus Haereses, was a treatise written in the years 375–378 ad, which described and attacked 80 heresies dating from the time of the biblical Adam up to then contemporary times.95 In Greek Panarion simply means ‘chest’, and it was here used metaphorically to mean ‘a chest of medicines’ to treat heresies, which arise as if bitten by a venomous snake (Proem. I 1,2=Haer. 1.155). It is on account of this initial metaphor of the snake personifying evil that the animal frequently appears in the summing up of particular heretical sects. The above fragment, written in iambic trimeter, was cited in a section concerning Origen’s heresy (heresy 46) as a characterization of the devil. Here Epiphanius uses the work of another Christian writer from the turn of the third century ad, Methodius. Like the most recent publishers of Methodius, Jacobson is of the opinion that although it is written in the iambic trimeter, the fragment is in fact part of Methodius’ own poem. Indeed, Methodius is known to have included pieces of his own poetry in other parts of the treatise, but nowhere else does he end his poetry in the middle of a verse. Moreover, if he had managed to write nine fairly neat verses about the deceptive snake, it begs the question why he did not finish the tenth. Breaking off mid-verse would be natural in the dialogue of a play when one character ends a statement but the iambic trimeter is continued when another character starts a new sentence. Admittedly, in Classical tragedies this only occurred with the application of stichomythia, but in comedy such interruptions could occur even in a speech of just several verses. In the case of this fragment we would be dealing with a much later play that was far removed from the Classical models. The omission of the end of the verse could also be due to the possible fact that it included a reference to another protagonist in the play, which would have spoilt the effect of the quotation. However, one cannot agree with scholars who believe the fragment to have been written by Ezekiel. Neither the metre nor the vocabulary indicate this. Jacobson rightly notes linking ὄφις with πλάνη as the embodiment of Satan is a late development and could even have a distinctly Christian context.96 Yet this association is not alien to Jewish tradition in the late Hellenistic and early Roman Empire period. Moreover, the use of the word πρωτόπλαστος in relation to Adam already appears in the Book of Wisdom (7.1 and 10.1). Therefore we cannot be entirely certain whether we are dealing with a somewhat strange poem by Methodius or a fragment from a late Jewish or early Christian tragedy.

consideration and probably not believing that anyone would take it seriously.’ (p. 316). Indeed, in the first edition of his work, Scaliger attributes the fragment to a completely different author, Eleazar, the High Priest of Jerusalem. I personally do not know on what basis this seventeenthcentury scholar made this assumption, but it seems that in the second edition he simply corrected himself. 95 Williams (1987), XVI. 96 See Rev. 12.9; Jacobson (1981b), p. 319.



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A Drama about Susanna ANCIENT TESTIMONIUM Commentarium in Dionysii periegetae orbis descriptionem 976.52–3: καθὰ καὶ ὁ γράψας τὸ δρᾶμα τῆς Σωσάννης, οἶμαι ὁ Δαμασκηνός, ὡς ἐκ τῆς ἐπιγραφῆς φαίνεται.

The next very important confirmation of the writing of tragedies with biblical themes is the aforementioned play about Susanna, cited in Eustathius of Thessalonica Commentarium in Dionysii. It is highly likely that the author Eustathius calls ‘Damascenos’ in his comment to the verse 984 of Dionysius Periegetes was, in fact, Nicolaus of Damascus. This is because it is very difficult to find another tragedian bearing this particular ethnikon. Admittedly Dindorf and Susemihl did believe that the author was not Nicolaus but John of Damascus, but there is no evidence that the latter ever wrote plays.97 However, the Suda clearly states (see page 159f.) that Nicolaus wrote comedies and tragedies, and therefore it is highly probable that he also wrote a play based on the story of Susanna from the Book of Daniel.98 One should also remember that Nicolaus of Damascus must have learned about Hebrew history, culture and above all Hebrew literature during his stay at the court of Herod the Great, and it is conceivable that this was where he could have written a play with a Jewish theme. The story of Susanna is highly dramatic. It certainly could have been presented as a tragedy with a happy ending, as in the case of Euripides’ Alcestis. And despite deviations from a popular theme, which I shall explain later, it is my assumption that the play about Susanna was indeed a tragedy. With just a few alterations, the story we know best, i.e. the Greek version in the Old Testament, is sufficiently succinct to be presented within the unity of time and place boundaries, as recommended by theoreticians. If the elders begin trial proceedings against Susanna that same day, and not on the following day as is stated in the Book of Daniel, then the whole plot could unfold between dawn and dusk. The story is set in Joakim’s garden, where the elders would hear the people, but also where Susanna bathed. The Hebrew woman faces a classically tragic dilemma: whether she submits to the demands of the lecherous elders or whether she openly disobeys them, the consequences are disastrous. The climax of the story is of course the death sentence imposed on the heroine and the intervention of the prophet Daniel. Such a tragedy would include the presentation of a trial, which was Jacoby was also of the opinion that John of Damscus was the author (FGrHist 90 F132). The tale of Susanna is an apocryphal addition to the Book of Daniel, originating most probably from the second century bc. One cannot rule out that the initial version was known in Hebrew and Aramaic, but it is the Greek version that was added to the Book of Daniel and survived until our time. The refined literary form indicates that that this version of the story was originally written in Greek, all the more so because Daniel’s judgment, which is the tale’s climax, is based on a game of words that is only possible in Greek. The first elder testified that he saw Susanna near a mastich (σχῖνος,), and so he is punished by being ripped in two (σχίζω); the second elder testified he saw her near an oak (πρῖνος) and he is punished by being cut in two (κατα-πρίω). That the story of Susanna is a separate tale is also evidenced by its diverse locations in various versions of the Book of Daniel: before Daniel 1 in θ; after Daniel 12 in OG, the Vulgate, and the Syro-Hexaplaric; and after Bel and the Dragon in Papyrus 967. See Di Tommaso (2005), 104 n. 14.

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after all a very popular scene in Greek drama. One should also note that already in the Book of Daniel the scene with the elders passing judgment on Susanna is exceptionally dramatic. This tragedy could have had features that were peculiar to the interests of the age. First, the story takes place in Babylon, which was then perceived as an exotic location. Both the story and all the characters are Jewish. However, this is not a tale about kings or mythical heroes. The only prominent figure is the prophet Daniel, who is, nevertheless, not as popular as other figures in the Old Testament (most probably also known to the Greeks), such as Moses, Abraham or King Solomon. Instead this is a tale of ordinary people, including a virtuous wife and the lecherous elders: characters, in a certain sense, not so much appropriate to a tragedy as to New Comedy! This notion is further supported by the fact that the story concerns a wealthy citizen whose wife is accused of adultery; in other words, a very typical comedy plot. Yet the story of Susanna is in fact most like an early example of another typically Hellenistic genre: Greek romance. It is generally known that this genre stemmed from both types of popular drama, i.e. New Comedy and tragedy. However, it was itself also a source of inspiration for other forms of drama in the late Hellenistic and early Roman Empire periods, as is evidenced by the extant fragments of the Charition mime (POxy 413). It is therefore highly probable that the tragedy by Nicolaus of Damascus is the first known play based on a romantic story. Without doubt the setting of the play is also important. A Jewish story in an ‘urban’ setting appears to be a very novel choice. We should note that Nicolaus of Damascus did not write the first play concerning a biblical theme. This distinction naturally goes to the tragedian Ezekiel. Unlike Ezekiel, however, Nicolaus of Damascus does not present a turning point in Hebrew history, but instead recounts the story of a heroine with whose suffering the theatre audience would be able to identify. Moreover, the stage adaptation of a non-Greek story is very much in keeping with Hellenistic drama, as it always searched for novel and unusual themes.

4

The Staging of Hellenistic Tragedies

Choregia and agonothesia The most visible changes in the Hellenistic theatre were associated with the organization of staging the dramas or, more precisely, with the system of financing the performances. One has to realize that organizing dramatic performances was an extremely expensive affair as it was not limited to the staging of plays, but also involved organizing the whole festival, with its sacrifices to the gods, supplies for the participants, decorations, prizes and financing all other things necessary to ensure the proper celebration of holidays. The old system of choregia was slowly and gradually changing, not only because of economic factors, but also, as will be shown later, because of the new, ambitious political powers hungry for success and recognition. The institution of the choregia, i.e. voluntarily defraying the cost of choruses, was in Athens closely connected with the democratic system. On one hand it gave rich citizens the possibility to gain and establish their own social status, and on the other it played a very important if not crucial role in creating positive social bonds between the wealthy minority and the rest of the citizens. It is stating the obvious that the gradually impoverishing Athenian society during times of constant social and political unrest in the second half of the fourth century bc (and especially after the loss of many eminent citizens in the battle of Cheronea) was struggling to maintain the lavishness of theatrical performances of the Great and Small Dionysia, as well as Lenaia. The competitive character of all performances required considerable financial outlays, and in the very interests of participating parties the expenditures were supposed to satisfy the needs of all of them. But the competition was also taking place on ‘the upper level’ of organizing the theatrical events, among the choregoi themselves. At the end of the fourth century even the wealthy citizens were no longer able to meet social expectations and to keep struggling in this competition. It is probably for this reason that the increasingly poor Athenian society eventually decided to abolish the institution.1 This happened in the years 318–307 bc, under

On the Athenian choregia, see Wilson (2000), on the date of the reform see especially pp. 307ff.

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the government of Demetrius of Phalerum.2 The last inscription to attest the choregia IG II 2 3055 dates to 320–319 bc. Henceforth responsibility for the organization of Dionysiac festivals was entrusted to an appointed official called the agonothetes, while the money now came from the state treasury.3 Wilson rightly traces the origins of Plutarch’s tirade against theatrical expenses to the work of Demetrius, On the Ten Years. I am sure that not only the last sentence, but also the whole argumentation and exemplification of the passage come from this treatise: For if you calculate the costs of organizing the dramas, you will understand that the people spent more upon the Bacchae, Phoenissae, Oedipuses and Antigone, and the miseries of Medea and Electra, than for the wars against barbarians for liberty and the supremacy. Many times the generals led the soldiers to battles, commanding them to make provisions of victuals which did not require cooking. And for Zeus’ sake, the naval commanders indeed sailed away embarking on their ships with only meal, onions and cheese for the sailors. Whereas the choregoi of the choruses, serving them with eels, lettuce, the kernels of garlic, and marrow, feasted them for a long time, teaching them how to sing and live in luxury. And for these soldiers, who were defeated, it was their misfortune to be humiliated and ridiculed, and for the victorious there was neither tripod nor a votive offering for the victory – as Demetrius says – but the last libation poured out for the wasted life and the empty tomb for the house.4

It was rightly pointed out by Wilson that to explain the abolition of choregia Demetrius is using economic arguments – the whole institution leads to the ruin of many families. But this is not all. The most important point seems to be the juxtaposition with the situation of the Athenian army, badly nourished and not highly valued. Since the battle of Cheronea, the Athenians were involved in a number of different kinds of military campaigns and smaller-scale armed conflicts all over the world, and that was the main reason for the financial problems of the polis. Yet, Alexander, Demetrius, as well as Cassander, and all subsequent governors of Athens, needed money as much as they desired success in their royal theatrical propaganda. The agonothesia was an institution to cure both of these maladies – on one hand it curbed the insane financial competition in organizing the festival, and on the other it made the festivals more dependent on the governor. Earlier the capital investment of wealthy citizens in the theatrical process was not directly reimbursed by the city, but it was compensated for by the bestowing of honours and offices as well as of respect. However, a strong and independent group of wealthy and respected citizens was no longer required by the kings in Hellenistic times. That is why inscriptions from this period state the ‘the choregos were the people’. The statement ‘the choregos were the people’ gives the See: Wilson (2000), pp. 270ff.; Csapo and Slater (1995), pp. 156–7; Pickard-Cambridge (1988), pp. 91–3; and Blum (1991), p. 24. For particular analysis of the causes and course of this reform, see Latini (2003). 3 The first recorded (IG II 2 3073) agonothetes was Xenocles of Sphettos in the year 307–306 bc. On the exact course of these changes in Athens in the fourth-century bc and the progression of the chorus to agonothesia, see Summa (2003). 4 Plu. De Gloria Athen. 349A. 2



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illusory picture of a democratic system in which all people are choregoi of the festivals, and not only the few chosen rich citizens. But the process of abolishing choregia was long lasting and complicated. It was shown by P. Wilson that choregia (of course not always in the theatrical context) was practiced in many ancient poleis, and also outside Attica; and it became local tradition. In the Hellenistic world both institutions of financial support for the festivals were practised, and the process of transition from choregia to agonothesia was different in each place.5 The most interesting is that choregia could also have been and was an instrument of royal propaganda. The most striking example is given again by Plutarch in the Life of Alexander. It was already stated that the king was very fond of all kind of festivals and at the same time displayed a talent in using it in the royal propaganda. When he had returned from Egypt into Phoenicia, he honoured the gods with sacrifices and solemn processions, and held contests of dithyrambic choruses and tragedies which were made brilliant, not only by their furnishings, but also by the competitors who exhibited them. For the kings of Cyprus were the choregi, or exhibitors, just like, at Athens, those chosen by lot from the tribes, and they competed against each other with amazing ambition. Most eager of all was the contention between Nicocreon of Salamis and Pasicrates of Soli. For the lot assigned to these exhibitors the most celebrated actors, to Pasicrates Athenodorus, and to Nicocreon Thessalus, in whose success Alexander himself was interested. He did not reveal this interest, however, until, by the votes of the judges, Athenodorus had been proclaimed victor. But then, as it would appear, on leaving the theatre, he said that he approved the decision of the judges, but would gladly have given up a part of his kingdom rather than to have seen Thessalus vanquished. And yet, when Athenodorus, who had been fined by the Athenians for not keeping his engagement in the dramatic contest of their Dionysiac festival, asked the king to write a letter to them on his behalf, although he would not do this, he sent them the amount of the fine from his own purse. Furthermore, when Lycon of Scarpheia, who was acting successfully before Alexander, inserted into the comedy a verse containing a request for ten talents, Alexander laughed and gave them to him.6

The passage by Plutarch is altogether very interesting. It shows not only this extraordinary choregia, but also presents the Hellenistic manner of competition between actors. Last but not least, it proves both the generosity of the king and the huge financial expectations of the performers. To return to the problem of choregia in this passage, it is striking that in the middle of the military campaign Alexander organized dramatic festivals following the patterns of the Athenian Dionysia. However, he did it in a very extravagant way. He let the kings of Cyprus pay the expenses as they became choregoi of the festival, and let them compete with each other. This strange choregic experiment allowed Alexander to charge the kings for the festival and to show his own strange ‘philathenian’ attitude at the same time. In this, Alexander went as far For the choregia outside Attica, see Wilson (2000), pp. 279–302. Plu. Alex. 29, 1–6. trans B. Perrin in Plutarch, The Parallel Lives, Loeb vol. 7 (Harvard: 1919).

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as to lure into his own performances the best Athenian artists (so at the same time he was organizing ‘Athenian’ festivals and procuring the Athenians’ best performers). Choregia thus might have been an instrument of collecting money for the new rulers of the world. Indeed, this institution was used by Philoxenus, a marshal of Alexander and satrap of Caria, who in order to get money appointed the wealthiest Carians to be choregoi of the Dionysia he was planning to organize. The citizens of Caria were not familiar with the choregia but were fully aware of the costs of these types of festivals, and prudently decided to pay him an exorbitant tribute and not to expose themselves to incalculable costs.7 Both agonothesia and choregia might have been used for the personal purposes of both kings and wealthy citizens.8 The post of agonothetes appeared not only in Athens (where there had previously already been the post of choregos), but also in other poleis that organized theatrical events. Hellenistic rulers and members of their families often undertook agonothesia of different kinds of festivals and financed the events (by covering the entire or partial costs), or could appoint an agonothetes and so benefit from the glory that came with organizing festivals.9 Thus the staging of plays became a basic tool of both royal and state propaganda. Mouseia in Thespiae can serve as a good example of such practice. It was at least one festival financed by Ptolemy IV and his wife Arsinoe III, who funded prizes in the agones.10

Old and new tragedies A significant aspect of post-Euripidean theatre was the matter of staging so-called old and new tragedies. On many inscriptions we can find the phrase τραγῳδία παλαιὰ and τραγῳδία καινὴ. The first marks the revival of Classical tragedy, whereas the second marks the performance of a new play written by a contemporary poet. An important turning point in the development of the post-Classical theatrical repertoire came in 386 bc, when the first old play was revived during the Great Dionysia in Athens.11 The inscription (IG II 2 2318 l 8. 201) concerning this event reads as follows: ἐπι Θεοδότοι παλαιὸν δρᾶμα πρῶτο[ν] παρεδίδαξαν οἱ τραγ[ωιδοί] (During the times of Theodotos

Ps-Aristotle, Oeconimicus 1351b 36–152a8. The Dionysia were clearly only an excuse to extort money. 8 See the case of the monument of Glaukon, son of Etheocles (IG II 2, 3079): Wilson (2000), pp. 275f. 9 The best attested are Athenian Panathenaia, which were financially supported by Attalids, Seleucids and Lagids dynasties: see Tracy and Habicht (1991), pp. 188ff. But there are other records attesting the financing of other festivals and, what is of no less importance, building, rebuilding or decorating the theatres: see Bringmann, Ameling, Schmidt-Dounas and Steuben (1995), bd. 2, no. 56, 93, 376, 400, 403, 407, 420. 10 Ptolemy IV Philopator’s gift to the Muses was 25,000 drachmas. See: Roesch (1965), p. 221; Bringmann, Ameling, Schmidt-Dounas and Steuben (1995), p. 136. 11 Easterling (2001), p. 213, writes that it was a year in which a contest in revived old plays was instituted at the City Dionysia, but Nervegna (2007), p. 15, is right in pointing out that it was only an additional (παρεδίδαξαν) performance; see: Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 124; Wilson (2000), p. 23. Of course, dramatic contests involving the revived plays also took place on different occasions after this point (Philostr. VA 6.11)., Quint. Inst. 10.1.66. 7



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for the first time an old play was additionally restaged).12 Responsibility for how the play was restaged rested on the actors.13 Henceforth the number of restaged old tragedies at all dramatic events increased. The Didascaliai attest the restaging of three of Euripides’ plays during the Great Dionysia in 342–340 bc. The year of 340–339 was also witness to the first restaging of an old comedy. Restaged in the Hellenistic period were not only the plays of Sophocles and Euripides, but also those of fourth-century bc authors such as Astydamas or Theodectes. Unfortunately, inscriptions bearing the titles and authors of restaged plays are relatively rare. In the case of restaged old tragedies, it was regular practice in the Hellenistic period for actors and tragedy ‘directors’ to engage in competitions. Contests for old tragedies are attested in the epigraphic record since the middle of the third century bc.14 They regularly took place during festivals, e.g. in Tanagra (the Serapieia), at Oropos (the Amphiaraia/Rhomaia) and Samos (The Heraia).15 How these old tragedies were restaged is an issue frequently discussed by scholars. Naturally, the script had to be adapted to the new conditions, i.e. the raised stage and the smaller chorus or the lack of chorus. Epigraphic sources very often mention only a tragodos (τραγῳδός), i.e. an actor of tragedy.16 Whether actors called tragodoi individually performed excerpts from tragedies or are attested in the inscription only as ‘directors’ of a restaged play (and in fact they performed in duets or with other co-actors) is not certain. Several inscriptions mention tragodoi and komodoi along with troupes of three and six actors. It is possible that tragodoi staged the old plays with synagonistai but that only they took part in the dramatic contest. It is also possible that in some cases the actor was engaged to perform excerpts or soloparts from tragedies. Gentili presented a corpus of dramatic excerpts set to music, which could be an echo of a repertoire of stage artists.17 It seems that, depending on financial and spatial possibilities, old tragedies were staged in two ways: either with full stage scenery and chorus, or alternatively as a monodrama in which the leading In Classical times, of course, plays were also sporadically restaged, e.g. the dramas of Aeschylus; see Vita Aeschyli 12. A closer look at the terminology concerning stage artists reveals the level of specialization in this profession, with particular types of actors performing in particular types of plays. This implies that there were significant differences between types of acting. The exact terminology has not yet been entirely ascertained. For the meanings of terms concerning actors, see O’Connor (1966), pp. 1–5, and Chiron-Bistagne (1976), pp. 15–17. A detailed list of actors from the Hellenistic period is found in Stephanis (1988). 14 Cf. Nervegna (2007), p. 18 esp. n. 27. On contests involving old and new tragedies during the Dionysia in Athens, see Peppas-Delmousou (1984); Perrin (1997), pp. 205f.; Ceccarelli (2010), pp. 113f. 15 See pages 269ff. of this book. 16 During the Roman Empire, tragodos meant soloist and therefore we may assume that already in the Hellenistic period tragic soloists performed alone on a stage or artists staged old tragedies in a duet. Normal presentations of tragedies, however, still required three actors. It should be added that unlike the main actor in new tragedies, who collaborated with the play’s author, the tragodos was himself responsible for directing plays. Therefore the range of responsibilities and artistic skills required of these two types of actor differed quite considerably. Nonetheless, there are cases when the same actor is mentioned in an inscription once as a tragodos and elsewhere as a hypocrites though such instances are rare: see O’Connor (1966), p. 13. 17 Gentili (1979): PSorb 2252, PHamb 118 a–b, 119, PStrassb W.G. 304-307, PLeiden 510, PBerlin 9772, PRoss-Georg 1.9, PSI XV ineditus, POxy 409+2655, POxy 2458. However, recently Nervegna (2007), pp. 25ff. convincingly argued that none of these papyruses can without doubt be recognized as a dramatic script. 12

13

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role was played by the said tragodos. An excellent example of an actor and, surprisingly, also a boxer who specialized in the plays of Euripides, is a now anonymous artist from the Tegean inscription SIG 3 1080.18 He won in the Great Dionysia at Athens with the Orestes of Euripides, the Soteria at Delphi with the Heracles of Euripides and the Antaios of Archestratus, the Heraia in Argos also with Heracles and Archelaus of Euripides and again the Naia at Dodona with Euripides’ Archelaus and Achilles of Chaeremon. All together he won in 88 scenic events in different cities. He was not only a first-class actor, but his career also shows how a professional artist successfully competed during different festivals and contests with the same repertoire. Only one piece of evidence attests to the rewards for winning tragodos. It is an inscription from Tanagra IG VII 540+ SEG XIX 335.19 The first prize for the tragodos is a golden crown worth five-and-a-half gold Attic staters and one-and-a-half obols, and the second prize is 50 silver drachmas. On the same inscription the actor of a new tragedy receives only a crown worth three gold Attic staters and four obols, and the poet of tragedies Asclepiades a crown worth four-and-a-half gold Attic staters. The second prize for the author was also 50 silver drachmas. This evidence, although unique, proves that the revivals of the old plays and the performers were appreciated. The term τραγῳδία καινὴ (new tragedy) refers to contemporary plays. Those Hellenistic authors who are recorded in inscriptions have been named in this book. Their plays were naturally written for the new stage. Inscriptions listing the winners of contests mention the authors of plays as well as the main actors. Rarely, they also attest the presence of the chorus. Therefore, as far as new tragedies are concerned, there were contests both between the playwrights and between the actors.20 At the start of the third century bc a new, professional meaning was also given to the word ὑποκριτής. Apart from the general meaning for actor, it was also used to specifically mean the protagonists of new plays. Actors performing in new plays together with a hypokrites were called συναγωνισταί, and we know that choruses also took part in these plays. These were therefore, from the formal point of view, normal performances of tragedies. One should also add that in Hellenistic times the term synagonistai was reserved for a specific group of actors. Its members were ‘auxiliary’ artists, who did not compete to win victories, as only the chief actor, i.e. the hypokrites, had this right.21 We do not in fact know if the plays were especially ordered by the organizers of the festivals or acquired in some other way. Maybe the authors proposed the plays Nachtergael (1977), pp. 483–4, 440ff.; Csapo and Slater (1995), p. 200. Calvet and Roesch (1966), pp. 297–332; Mette (1977), p. 53; Csapo and Slater, pp. 193ff. (the English translation of the inscription). See also Slater (1991); Slater (1993), pp. 189–191; and p. 168 of this book. 20 Thus inscription IG VII 420 from Oropos presents the winners of such a competition in typical order:    ποιητὴς σατύρων || Φιλοξενίδης Φιλίππου Ὠρώπιος    τραγωιδίας παλαιᾶς ὑποκριτής || Φιλοκράτης Θεοφάντου Θηβαῖος    κωμωιδίας παλαιᾶς ὑποκριτής || Ζωΐλος Ζωΐλου Συρακόσιος    τραγωιδίας καινῆς ποιητής || Πρώταρχος Ἀντιμένους Θηβαῖος    ὑποκριτής || Φιλοκράτης Θεοφάντου Θηβαῖος    κωμωιδίας καινῆς ποιητής || Χιόννης Διογειτώνδου Θηβαῖος    ὑποκριτής || Πολύξενος Ἀνδρύτα Ὀπούντιος 21 Aneziri (1997), p. 60. 18 19



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Figure 6.  Scene from a tragedy (from the House of the Comedians, Delos), most probably a Hellenistic revival of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. Archaeological Museum of Delos. ©Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports/21st Ephorate of Antiquities/Delos Museum long before each festival and the agonothetes selected the competing titles. It is also interesting how the famous Pleiad members and other men of letters proposed their dramas for staging in the now professional world of theatre. Unfortunately, we do not know the exact differences between staging ‘old’ and ‘new’ tragedies. Likewise, we do not know the appraisal criteria that decided which restaged or which new play won a competition. The performance at these same dramatic festivals of old and new plays in the forms of agones or other contests testifies not only to the high demand for tragic spectacles, but also to the need to see the Classical repertoire performed equally with new offerings. During these types of holidays the writers of new plays had of course to compete with the great masters of the theatre, but mainly Euripides (obviously not in the same agones, but on a more general level). Such an opposition could only bear a positive influence on the quality of a new play. In this context we should also remember that thanks to the regular revival of plays the audience was extremely well-versed in artistic practice. The different forms of staging for both types of drama meant that there was sufficient variety, so that the relatively large number of tragedies (both old and new) put on during the same festival did not weary the audience.

The theatre building The most obvious and widely recognized change to the theatre in the Hellenistic period is the architecture of the theatre building. The alterations have brought about

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significant changes to the practice of the performance itself. We should at least give some account of the architectural improvements to help us present the background of the changes in dramatic staging in the period. Throughout its existence, the theatre building underwent modifications in order to better fit the surrounding architecture and to enhance the reception of the plays. Obviously, all these changes were not concurrent; it was rather a process that had begun in the fourth century and upon which individual cities embarked one after another. One can say that each Hellenistic theatre was unique, and one can observe a general tendency rather than a schema that was enforced. Many theatres built in the fifth century were being modified at the time, having kept their original shape. An example of this is the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens.22 Just at the beginning of the Hellenistic period, c. 325, the theatre was almost completely rebuilt under the auspices of the Athenian statesman Lycurgus. It was monumentally refurbished in stone and the capacity was enlarged to 17,000 people. The orchestra was semi-circular and the cavea was divided into two maeniana by a diazoma, whereas the maeniana were split radially into 13 cunei. The Hellenistic skene of Dionysian theatre was a two-storeyed structure; a row of pillars along the interior wall provided support for the upper floor. The skene was probably two-aisled in both storeys. The stage-building had two paraskenia (projecting wings at both ends) and the aisle of the stagehouse formed the proskenion. The roof of the building was at least partially flat to stage the scenes of teichoscopy, if necessary. The geranos was probably attached to the wall of the skene to present the deus ex machina. The theatre was rebuilt several times during the Hellenistic period. The ‘purely’ Hellenistic architecture of theatres is only evident in the ones built after the end of the fourth century bc, but even here there is a great individual variety. The most essential change from the perspective of the staging practice is the introduction of the two-storey stage. The technical solutions embedded in the buildings would differ from city to city. The creation and the shape of the building are associated by Bieber with the regions of Asia Minor or Egypt.23 At the time, it was commonplace to build houses with the top floor retracted in a way for the roof of the first floor to be the terrace, while the ground floor was also columnated. This is the exact shape of the stage building. The introduction of such architecture must have been initiated and made commonplace in the countries of Diadochi, and quite probably, as Bieber claims, the example of this could be the theatre in Alexandria or Antioch. However, the buildings did not survive. An excellent example of a small theatre yet one that was certainly inspired by the architecture of the metropolis is the Priene theatre. Today we can still admire the stone parts of its proskenion. In general, all the stage The architecture of the building has been discussed at length in many studies, e.g.: Bethe (1896); Dörpfeld and Reisch (1896), pp. 1–96; Puchstein (1901), pp. 131–9; Fiechter (1914), pp. 9–15; Bieber (1920), pp. 6ff., 26–51; Schleif (1937); von Gerkan (1941), pp. 163–77; Pickard-Cambridge (1946); Wurster (1979), pp. 58–76; Knell (1980), pp. 212–19; Lauter (1986), pp. 168ff.; Wurster (1993), pp. 20–42; Pöhlmann (1995), pp. 155–64; Lohmann (1998), pp. 191ff.; Gogos (1998); Pappalardo (2007), p. 36f.; Gogos (2008); Seidensticker (2010), pp. 22ff. Especially on the rebuilding of skene: Winter (1983), pp. 38–47; Townsend (1986), pp. 421–38; Knell (2000), pp. 126–47. 23 Bieber (1961), p. 112. 22



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buildings of the Hellenistic period required the following: proskenion, skene, logeion and episkenion. The proskenion or the frontage of the ground floor was divided by pilasters, and the spaces between them were filled up by wooden planks called pinakes adorned with a painted decoration. The pinakes could easily be replaced. In relation to an inscription from Delos that lists the expenditures relating to the renovation of the theatre building and referring to a painter of pinakes receiving only three drachmas and one obol for his work, Haigh claims that the stage scenery was of little artistic value, and presented simplistic paintings, quite probably imitating a door.24 The roof of the proskenion was called the logeion, and it was on the logeion that the actors of the time staged their dramatic acts. The background for their play was the episkenion, that is the frontage of the second floor, called the skene. On the logeion there were also large, ornate thyromata. Their number varied from three (as in Priene) to seven (the theatre in Ephesus). Nevertheless, their number had to be odd, as in the middle there were the main doors. The models of the theatre differed. In the fourth century, one used to build theatres with paraskenia that consisted of two outreaching fragments of the first floor. Such architecture can be found in the Piraeus’ theatre, which dates from the second century bc. Yet another structure is presented by attaching the ramps that lead to the logeion, so that the actors coming from both sides could appear on stage. An example of this is located in Epidaurus. There is also a hypothesis that stairs were attached to the logeion from the side of the orchestra to ease communication. With time, one would also build a skene as an open, roof-sheltered and columnated space, with side elements reaching out. This created a kind of doubled space – the terrace and the interior of a house. The space between the columns could be screened off with curtains, or shown if the space of the logeion needed enlargement. The entrances to the logeion were situated at the sides of the outreaching part of the skene and at its central point (as in the case of the theatre at Oropos). It has to be emphasized that in all Hellenistic theatres it was mostly the front building entrances that were used, that is the thyromata. The architectural rules for the building of theatres were laid by Vitruvius on the basis of Greek treatises on architecture at the end of the Hellenistic period. They are rules, abiding by which will give the constructor emendatas theatrorum perfectiones. Namely, the building should be situated in a place with a healthy climate, secluded from the burning afternoon sun. We can see that the Greeks took advantage of mountain hills and the natural imparities of the ground. Both the comfort of accessibility for the audience and the acoustics of the structure were taken into consideration. We read (Vitr. 5.3.4): praecinctiones ad altitudines theatrorum pro rata parte faciendae videntur, neque altiores quam quanta praecinctionis itineris sit latitudo. si enim excelsiores fuerint, repellent et eicient e superiore parte vocem nec patientur in sedibus suis, quae supra praecinctiones, verborum casus certa significatione ad aures pervenire. Haigh (1968), p. 123. The renovation took place in 282 bc, and the decorator of the logeion stage was paid two hundred drachmas. Conf. Bieber (1961), p. 124.

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The curved level gangways, it seems, should be made proportionately to the height of the theatre; and each of them not higher at the back, than is the breadth of passage of the gangway. For if they are taller, they will check and throw out the voice into the upper part of the theatre. Neither will they allow the endings of words to come with a clear significance to the ears of the people in their seats above the gangways.25

To enhance the acoustics and strengthen the actors’ voices, Vitruvius suggested using a system of copper vessels fine-tuned and placed according to the musical rules among the rows of the theatron. He also mentions that such practices were introduced on the Greek part of the Italian peninsula, and this type of vessel was taken from Corinth by Lucius Mummius after he destroyed the theatre there. Instead of copper ones, the Greeks sometimes used clay equivalents which gave the same effect. The acoustics of the Hellenistic theatre were perfect, which helped the actors to a large extent. The skilled artist could use the additional sound exposure to achieve better effects, which now it is hard to imagine without the omnipresent microphones. The only place that can today recreate the sound experience of the ancient audience is Epidaurus. The famous theatre, even though bare – with no stage buildings or other architectural elements – presents outstanding acoustic characteristics. The perfect spot from which one can hear a match lit even in the back row is the middle of the orchestra. It seems not to have been solely for the comfort of the instrumental and vocal soloists performing in the place. The downsizing of the chorus could have been compensated for in that way, as its members, even in a smaller number, could make their presence well noted in the staging of tragedy. Here we touch on the popular issue of communication between the chorus and the actors on the high stage. In the Hellenistic theatre, the logeion was situated at around three and a half metres from the chorus. According to many researchers, the distance between the orchestra and the actors was too big to conduct a dialogue easily.26 Taking into consideration the perfect acoustics of the Hellenistic period, which were supported by the special sound extension, one can conclude that the parts sung by the chorus were clealry heard by the actors on the logeion and there were no communication issues. What is more, most of the tragedies are set in the courtyard of a palace, located higher than the city, while the chorus is representative of the common folk, who should be distanced from the tragic heroes in a symbolical sense of social status, as this was the new Hellenistic social order. Another Greek element of the stage mentioned by Vitruvius is its decoration. The fragment should be cited in full (De Arch. 5.6.8): Ipsae autem scaenae suas habent rationes explicitas ita, uti mediae valvae ornatus habeant aulae regiae, dextra ac sinistra hospitalia, secundum autem spatia ad ornatus comparata, quae loca Graeci περιακτους dicunt ab eo, quod machinae sunt in his locis versatiles trigonoe habentes singulares species ornationis, quae, cum aut fabularum mutationes sunt futurae seu deorum adventus, cum tonitribus Vitruvius, On Architecture (trans. F. Granger, London: 1954), 2nd edn, p. 265. Conf. Haigh (1968), p. 129.

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repentinis [ea] versentur mutentque speciem ornationis in frontes. secundum ea loca versurae sunt procurrentes, quae efficiunt una a foro, altera a peregre aditus in scaenam. The scenery itself is so arranged that the middle doors are figured like a royal palace, the doors on the right and left are for strangers. Next on either side are the spaces prepared for scenery. These are called periactoi in Greek (revolving wings) from the three-sided machines which turn having on their three sides as many kinds of subject. When there are to be changes in the play or when the gods appear with sudden thunders, they are to turn and change the kind of subject presented to the audience. Next to these the angles of the walls run out which contain the entrances to the stage, one from the public square and the other from the country.27

The above text includes two elements pertinent to the theatrical practice. The first one relates to the words: ‘quae loca Graeci περιακτους dicunt abeo, quod machinae sunt in his locis versatiles trigonoe habentes singulares species ornationis, quae, cum aut fabularum mutationes sunt futurae seu deorum adventus, cum tonitribus repentinis [ea] versentur mutentque speciem ornationis in frontes’. Does this mean that all the plays had a change of stage decoration? Did the action require that? Vitruvius’ On Architecture clearly points this out. And despite the fact that the remaining lines, owing to their fragmentary nature, do not confirm the hypothesis, such theatrical practice seems very probable. In a sense, evidence of that is also provided by Ezekiel’s The Exagoge, where one can see the stage scenery changing five times. It is highly likely that during the Classical period such practices also took place in tragedy, but it is difficult to conceive how they could have happened. Thanks to Vitruvius we know that the technical means for that existed at the end of the Hellenistic period. The squeaking that must have been audible when turning the periaktoi would most probably be covered with some other loud sound, such as thumps. The second important element of the Vitruvius text refers to the types of stage scenery. In this book we will only consider the ones relating to tragedy and the satyr play. One could imagine that the Hellenistic theatre must have been schematic if the stage scenery was so simple for each type of play. However, we should take into consideration the possibilities that are given by the usage of the elements enumerated by Vitruvius to understand the variety of settings an artist can achieve with them. Tragedy on its own requires a specific choreography, and so does the satyr play and comedy. What solutions were chosen by the painters is best shown in the Second Style of Pompeian painting dating back to the times of great fascination with the theatre. The widely replicated cubiculum frescos of Publius Synistor’s villa in Boscoreale portray the three types of stage scenery, adapted as wall ornaments (Figure 7).28 One can clearly discern something in the shape of a temple front or a Hellenistic palace. Thanks to the three-dimensional effect we get the feeling of looking into the interior of the building. There is an illusion of a space behind the columnated front. A similar Vitruvius, On Architecture (trans. F. Granger, London: 1954), 2nd edn, p. 289. Account in Bieber (1961), pp. 124–5.

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image is created for the portrayal of a satyr play decoration. In the background one can see a gazebo overgrown with vines, and in the foreground there is a bench and a little rock decorated with ivy. These look like realistic images, but in fact they are creating illusionistic effects of theatrical stage scenery. The painter is playing with theatrical convention and subtly points to it by also sketching the columns of the stage building, which add frames to the individual pictures. In the Fourth Style of Pompeian painting we encounter the stage decoration for a tragedy in a Herculaneum villa (Figure 8). Here the abundance of motifs and ornamental details perfectly presents the taste of the people in the late Hellenistic period. The theatrical character of the painting is expressed not only by the tragic mask in the middle of the play, but also by the hanging green drapes, which break the realistic illusion of the palace building. We should also pay attention to the colours of the frescos, as they are undoubtedly related to the real stage scenery. The dominant colours are vivid red, green and gold. Even if we cannot fully grasp the literary substance of Hellenistic theatre, we can imagine the scenery in which the action took place. An anecdote handed down by Vitruvius (7, 5, 5) confirms the imagination and unbounded fantasy of the creators of stage scenery: the painter Apaturius of Alabanda created paintings for the small theatre in Tralles, whose description reminds us of the Pompeii frescos – there were columns, statues and rotundas, as well as centaurs carrying architraves and cornices with gargoyles in the shape of lion’s heads. Additionally, he also painted the second floor, which had little vestibules, rotundas and the frontages of buildings. The citizens loved the paintings, but the mathematician Licymnius reminded them about good taste and pointed out the illogical elements of the presentation – the roofs with slates were the terrace of the second floor. The artist had to take down the paintings and correct them according to architectural reality. It has to be stressed that during the Hellenistic period a large number of theatrical buildings was created. In every major city that had not had a theatre before, one was built after 300 bc. The summary given at the end of the book estimates that about 170 theatres appeared within only three centuries. The exact number is not clear as we only can count the ones whose remnants survived or which were mentioned in textual evidence, whether that is in inscriptions or in literature. Most of them were built between 300 and 260 bc, which may reflect the prosperity of the time and the relative stability of the cities. The role of a theatre in an ancient city was succinctly described by Sonnabend: Das Theater war ein fester Bestandteil antiker Städte, als Zeichen füt Urbanität und Zivilisation, aber auch als eine Prestige-Angelegenheit. Je gröβer die Städte waren, desto gröβer war auch die Zahl der Th. und desto üppiger ihre Ausstattung.29

Based on the index of the Hellenistic theatres, one should see that there were cases of cities with two theatrical buildings. Most often they could hold up to 12,000 people, but there were also theatra with capacity of 5,000–6,000 as well as ones that could hold Sonnabend (1999), p. 549: ‘The theatre was a constant constituent of an ancient city and a signal of great urbanization and civilization, as well as a prestigious endeavor. The bigger the city, the more theaters they had and more affluently equipped’.

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Figure 7.  A wall fresco depicting the scenery of a satyr play and tragedy. Frescoes from the Villa of P. Fannius Synistor, Boscoreale. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Rogers Fund, 1903 (03.14.13a–g). Image © The Metropolitan Museum of Art. over 20,000 people. The audience of a tragedy could then be very impressive, much larger than in the theatre of the Classical period. The theatre building, however, served a purpose more than just entertainment. It was most often the case that it also had a political and social function. Owing to its large volume it was also used as an ecclesiasterion. Spontaneous gatherings of the citizens would take place there. An example of this is events that took place in Sicyon after it became independent of Macedonian supremacy in 251–250 bc and in Corinth in 243 bc.30 The citizens of the city would Chaniotis (1997), p. 224.

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Figure 8.  A wall fresco depicting the scenery of a tragedy from Herculaneum. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.



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also host their heralds and their victorious chiefs in theatres. This had an undoubted effect on the political and theatrical world permeating one another, and must have influenced the contents of tragedy.

Costumes One of the basic and, luckily for us, most plausible changes in the staging of tragedies in the Hellenistic period were the modifications of the actors’ costumes. It is common knowledge that the buskin shoes and the mask were introduced fairly late into theatrical practice. It is difficult to say whether that was related to the transfer of action to the high stage or to some independent innovation. Both these elements greatly affected the ‘image’ of the tragedy, mostly by taking away the sense of visual realism, if one can speak of such in the case of Classical performances. In a sense, the fifth century masks were closer to the reality of the human face than the ‘high forehead’ Hellenistic ones. These changes deserve a closer look as they give a insight into Hellenistic stage practice. The shape of the Classical mask could only be reconstructed on the basis of the iconographic remnants. There are no real theatrical props of this kind surviving to this day. It is the same with the Hellenistic masks. Thanks to the decorative richness and variety of Pompeian paintings, to the popularity of a mask as an ornamental element and to the large number of the terracotta votive artifacts of the shape, we now possess a large body of iconographic material.31 We are not sure about the first usage of the high mask, known as an onkos. It must have happened around the third century bc, and undoubtedly it was already a Hellenistic modification. Webster relates it to the changes introduced by Lycurgus in the third decade of the fourth century bc when the Dionysus theatre in Athens was being rebuilt, but there is no evidence of that.32 Actually, one cannot state whether this type of mask was first used in Athens or was imported from other parts of Greece. Pickard-Cambridge has already stressed that the evidence coming from Attica is not as strong as we would wish.33 The Roman reproduction of a Greek statue, located in the Vatican Museum, quite probably portrays Aeschylus and a high-foreheaded terracotta mask in his hand. The original artifact is dated at 325–300 bc, and has a damaged upper part, but must have once have had a characteristic onkos. There exist, however, many later terracotta artefacts in the shape of masks, and also a large number of their representations on mosaics and frescoes. One of these, coming from Herculaneum, shows a tragic actor shortly after having taken off the mask, while his hair is still messy and sweaty. His servant has just put down the mask and knelt gently next to it (hence the name of the fresco, The Adoration of the Mask). In the tragic poet’s representation (Figure 9) a slave brings and presents a female tragic mask with a high onkos and long hair which looks very natural (perhaps real The plentitude of such remnants together with the frequency of occurrence in the Mediterranean is confirmed by Green (1996), pp. 105–41. Webster (1956), p. 43. 33 Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 189. 31

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Figure 9.  A tragic actor after his appearance. A servant takes off his mask. At the back is possibly the second actor taking off his costume (the hair of both actors is sweaty due to wearing the masks). Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

hair was actually used to make the masks). Somewhat to one side, the back of the mask is also visible, and this shows how it was placed on the head. After the mask was put on, its rear part covered the whole skull but equally left a gap between it and the mask. This gap must have been filled up with something in order to balance it out with the large front part of the mask. This is perhaps seen better in the example of the woman with a child in Figure 10. The opening for the mouth is just big enough for the singer’s voice – his lips being near to the opening – to come out without difficulty. The eyes are drawn very clearly. The representation suggests that the actor looked through openings which on the mask were essentially drawn-on eyes.



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Figure 10.  A scene from a tragedy. Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali-Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

Another issue is the reason behind introducing the onkos. If we assume Bulle’s hypothesis that it happened due to the transfer of performance to the high stage,34 it would mean that there was a need to better present the characters of the play. It can be stated that the distance between the stage and the audience was a hindrance in the Bulle (1930), p. 19.

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Hellenistic period. However, it only concerned the lower rows of the theatron, if one can at all claim that the introduction of the high stage increased the distance between the actor and the spectator. It was rather the angle that changed, and perhaps even for the better. Pickard-Cambridge does not relate the onkos mask to the introduction of the high stage, and accuses Bulle of chronological inaccuracies.35 Perhaps, however, we should interpret the appearance of the onkos as surely a means of improving the play’s reception. First, in reality the audience sitting in the first rows of the theatre could have had a seemingly worse angle of view on to the stage. And these people were traditionally the most privileged members of the town (or distinguished guests).36 However, after the introduction of the onkos, the shape from the high mask could in fact have had completely adequate proportions in terms of the optical illusion (the illusion of perspective), which shortens the most distinct subjects. The later introduction of the cothurn also improves the ease of viewing for the spectators in the furthest rows. So both these changes are rooted in the aspiration to improve the viewing quality. For the onkos, as we shall see shortly, the hairstyle is also important, since it is thanks to this that the spectators adjust to what type of figure is playing the part, even before that figure first speaks onstage. We can learn a lot about the appearance of masks from Pollux’ Onomastikon.37 Despite various attempts at attaching the information provided by the lexicographer to the stage practice of the fifth century, he in fact relates the reality of the Hellenistic period. All the masks indexed and characterized by Pollux are the props belonging to the beginning of the third century bc.38 In my opinion, even the masks that the lexicographer had assigned to the plays of Euripides and Sophocles are props used in the Hellenistic revivals of those works. The standardization of the masks confirms the fact that they were made not for a single performance, but were used as a characteristic prop for a particular character in the play. While in the Classical period the masks were produced on the individual demand of authors, in the latter period we encounter a kind of mass production. The number of performances and the professionalization of the craft had led to the usage of formalized presentation of heroes. Pollux speaks of such a theatrical reality when he lists the 28 types of tragic masks. To imagine a Hellenistic performance it is best to get to know the individual characters, as the characters will often shed some light on the popular figures of Hellenistic tragedy. Pollux lists six masks of older men. The first one presents the oldest male tragedy figure. The lexicographer describes him as ξυρίας ἀνήρ. The mask has white hair placed on the onkos, the beard is shaved and the cheeks are lean. It is appropriate for noble old figures in the dramas. The next one is λευκὸς ἀνὴρ, characterized by grey curly hair around his head. The beard is also grey and most probably spiky,39 the eyebrows are droopy and the skin colour is whitish. The third type is σπαρτοπόλιος, Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 196. In all poleis there existed a custom for honouring its members through bestowing on them the privilege of prohedria, i.e. permission to sit in the first rows of the theatre. 37 Poll. 4. 133–142. 38 Conf. Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 193. 39 The meaning of the word πεπηγός is unclear in this context.

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with dark hair and a slightly grey, pale complexion. The fourth type is μέλας ἀνήρ, with black curly hair and beard and a fierce expression. The onkos of this mask is high, while ξανθὸς ἀνήρ is curly blond with a healthy look. The onkos is smaller. The last mask is a subtype of the previous one and is called ξανθότερος ἀνήρ. It resembles the latter, but has a paler complexion indicating a disease. There are eight masks for the youth πάγχρηστος is the first one. Out of all the youth masks this one represents the oldest person. It does not have a beard, its complexion is spotless and tanned, with hair dark and thick. The second type οὖλος is blond with hair on a high onkos which is, as the name says, fleecy. Its eyebrows are raised and the expression is serious. The next mask is πάρουλος; it is similar to the previous one, but represents a younger person. The ἁπαλός type is blond with curls, a bright complexion and cheerful expression. Pollux claims the mask was used to represent a favourable deity. The next one is described as πιναρός and has two subtypes. The first one has a swollen face and long, light hair. Its look is sloppy and sulky. The second one is like the latter but looks younger and thinner. The seventh mask is ὠχρός; it has a chubby and pale face, its hair surrounds the head and has the look of a sick man. The mask is used for a ghost or a wounded person. The last youth is πάρωχρος who is also pale, but with sickness or infatuation. The male servants have a separate mask category. Pollux mentions three types of these. The first one, διφθερίας, has no onkos but wears a special leather hat.40 Its hair is grey and short and the beard, also grey, is clearly visible. The nose is spiky with a high forehead, and the eyes express sadness. The second type is σφηνοπώγων and as the name suggests it has a wedge-shaped or peaked beard. It is younger than the previous one, in its best years. It has a wide and high onkos with light hair, and the chin has a crevice. The face is red. The lexicographer notes that it is a face of a messenger. The third and the last servant, ἀνάσιλλος, has no beard, short blond hair creates the onkos and his face is red. It also represents messengers. Pollux starts enumerating the female masks with one called πολιὰ κατάκομος. It is a mask with long grey hair representing an elderly noble woman. Her onkos is of middle height, the complexion slightly pale (before the mask was known as παράχρωμος). The second figure is γρᾴδιον ἐλεύθερον – a free old lady whose complexion is yellowish, the onkos is small, and her hair reaches the arms. She is not yet entirely grey. The face expresses pain. The third mask represents an older servant γρᾴδιον οἰκετικόν who instead of an onkos wears a sheep leather hat and whose skin is wrinkled. The next mask is οἰκετικὸν μεσόκουρον with a short onkos, pale complexion and almost grey hair. The next one, διφθερῖτις, is younger and has no onkos. The sixth one, κατάκομος ὠχρά, has long black hair, is pale and has sad eyes. The seventh mask, that is μεσόκουρος ὠχρά, is like the previous one but has shorter hair. The following mask, μεσόκουρος πρόσφατος, is not so pale. The eighth female mask represents κούριμος παρθένος; it has short parted hair placed around the onkos. Its complexion is slightly paler. The mask has a subtype whose hair is not parted but circles the head

The figure in a tragedy is dressed in a leather gabardine, hence the name, similar also to its female counterpart.

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in curls, and whose face looks very unhappy. The last and youngest mask is that of a girl – κόρη – and is characterized by a girly look. Pollux attributes it to Danae. The lexicographer is indexing the masks according to the age of the figures and some particular characteristics. An important factor taken into consideration is the hair, its colour and length (in the case of men, also the beard). It is the hair that was most noticeable for the audience. Nevertheless, the onkos is also essential. Its height seems to be related to the nobility of the figure, and the servants – both male (διφθερίας) and female (διφθερῖτις) – do not have it at all. Most probably, figures wearing the onkos were distinguished as noble, with the view of making the tragedy figures more eminent so that the audience could clearly distinguish their everyday mundane lives from what happened on stage, which was a presentation of ancient times and characters. However, the presence of the onkos in the masks confirms their Hellenistic provenance. The Hellenistic origin is even better grounded if we take into consideration the catalogue of the so-called special or individual masks. Pollux names popular tragic masks that fulfil the recommendations of peculiar traits of figures. And so the Acteon mask has horns, the Phineus one is blind, Thamysis’ irises are shiny, the Argos one has many eyes, Euippe’s reminds us of a horse, Tyro’s cheeks are livid from the smacks he got from his step-mother Sidero. The mask of Achilles in despair over the loss of Patroclus has no hair. There are special masks for Amymone, Gorgo, Dike, Thanatos, Erinyes, Centaurus, Giant and Titan. There is also a special mask for Priam. The Rivers and the Mountains have special masks, and so do such deities as the Muses, Horae, Nymphs and Pleiades. Nevertheless, the most interesting are the masks of personifications of concepts such as: Λύσσα (Rage), Οἶστρος (Insane Passion), Ὕβρις (Pride), Πόλις (City), Πειθώ (Persuasion), Ἀπάτη (Deceit), Μέθη (Drunkenness), Ὄκνος (Hesitation) and Φθόνος (Envy). These concepts were only deified in the Hellenistic period and their presence on stage is a characteristic of the times. These would probably have uttered the prologues of the plays. A special mask was created also for the river Indus, another figure popularized only after Alexander’s conquest. It is also an indisputable piece of evidence of the age of Pollux’s masks. As we can see in Hellenistic theatre, tragic masks were to some extent codified and standardized. It is especially important because of the mass production of the time. We can imagine that the technitai were forced to travel with the necessary equipment and so standard masks could have been used in different plays. It was also probably much easier for local craftsmen to manufacture them for the big festivals, when a large number of masks were commissioned. For the costumes of the tragic actor in the Hellenistic period we have no evidence apart from the ones presented on the frescoes in Pompeii and Herculaneum. The costumes and mosaics described by Pollux might also come from Hellenistic times. Both the sources say they were white or blue shuffling robes. Actors are often presented wearing a robe with long sleeves, tightened up with a belt above the waist. Similar costumes are worn by two figures in Figure 10. The people portrayed wear blue longsleeved robes as well as long white coats. On their feet there are buskins, and their faces are covered with masks with onkos which tells us they were in fact Hellenistic actors. The actor from Figure 9 is wearing a long robe with white sleeves. Above the waist he also has a brown sash and the purple piece of material on his lap must be his



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coat – part of a royal costume. This body of archaeological material indicates that these were the components of tragic actors’ costumes. According to Pollux, tragic costumes for male characters are: a colourful chiton called ποικίλον and mantles: ξυστίς (long robe), βατραχίς (frog-green robe), χλανίς (elegant chlaina), gilded chlamys, στατός (a chiton hanging in straight plaits), φοινικίς (scarlet robe). Pollux names three types of headgear: tiara, veil (καλύπτρα) and mitra. Next, quoting an unknown lexicon, he names special garments of different personae of tragedies. Ἀγρηνόν was a woollen shawl of a seer like Teiresias, κόλπωμα was a mantle worn by royalty (Agamemnon, Atreus) over the poikilion, ἐφαπτίς was a purple or scarlet binding on the hands of warriors and hunters. A special costume of Dionysus was a saffron chimation, special girdle – μασχαλιστῆρ and of course a thyrsus. Characters in difficult situations and fugitives could have been recognized by the colour of their cloths: dirty white, grey and black (additionally Telephus and Philoctetes were dressed in rugs). Parts of the tragic male costume were also: a fawn skin, swords, sceptres, spears, bows, quivers, messenger’s equipment, clubs, lion skins and armour. Unfortunately, female costume is not presented in great detail by Pollux. A standard costume for a queen was a purple συρτός (a dress with train) and παράπηχυ (a white garment with a purple border on each side). If the woman is in distress, the syrtos is black and the mantle blue-grey or yellowish. The costumes of the satyr play were, according to Pollux (or rather his source), very simple. The basic costumes were skins of fawns and goats, and woven covers imitating leopard skin. A special dress was the Dionysiac θήραιον,41 a chlaina decorated with flowers and a scarlet chimation. A well-known costume of Silenus, represented often on vases and other types of ancient images, is a shaggy chiton (χιτὼν δασύς). An important innovation to the costume was the buskin. A figure on a high sole was represented for the first time on a relief of The Apotheosis of Homer by Archelaus of Priene (BM 2191), which dates back to the half of the second century bc. The form in the tragic costume represents Tragedy, through which the costume here takes on a symbolic meaning. This means that the precise elements of the costume had to be exactly grounded in the consciousness of its reception and universally comprehensible. The reason behind introducing the buskin was to elevate the actor, most probably to make the character played by him noticeable on the stage, quite possibly also to balance the onkos. One can conclude that in time tragedy figures were being elongated, and when the so-called lambdoidal onkos, as Pollux names it, lengthened the face, the whole posture had to be made taller to look more natural. Thanks to this, the figures became more visible, and also attained ‘heroic’ proportions. The process continued until the Roman Empire, leading to monstrous and grotesque figures of the actors, as was comically described by Lucian (Salt. 27). To return to the Hellenistic period, one should ponder on what changes were brought by the introduction of the buskin. Pickard-Cambridge is undoubtedly right in claiming that it slowed down the actors’ movements. The movement impediment, even with a light material buskin, seems more than obvious. Moreover the actor was clad in a long robe whose aim was The term proves some connection with the island of Thera; either it was invented there or used during Dionysiac rituals. See LSJ.

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to disguise the unnatural look of the shoe. It is highly likely that, taking into consideration the fact that the whole costume was quite uncomfortable, the plays became more static, definitely with few drastic movements and certainly no running.

Aspects of Hellenistic tragedy beyond the stage Dramatic festivals of the Hellenistic period Changes in the staging of plays are also testified by the number and subjects of holidays, during which dramas were performed. The origins of drama are of course connected with the god Dionysus and celebrations in his honour. The three great Attic ‘theatre’ festivals, the Great Dionysia, the Small Dionysia and the Lenaia, were inextricably associated with Bacchus. As we know, for many years there have been heated debates on the exact nature of this association, especially regarding the origins of the individual genres as well as the themes of plays, but there does not seem to be any doubt that in the Classical period drama agones were always held in honour of Dionysus.42 Hellenistic drama, however, seems to have radically transformed its original sacred character. Theatre became a form of mass entertainment. Virtually every larger town had a theatre and now most state and religious festivals involved the performance of dramas. We may assume that in towns with their own theatres various religious festivals were an occasion to stage plays. In many instances tragic contests began to be organized on traditional local holidays for gymnastics or music competitions. All that we know about the nature and agenda of such festivals comes from inscriptions and as a historical source these do not represent all cities equally well. As a result of this epigraphic disproportion, we can only present a few of the very many Hellenistic theatre festivals. The disproportion of historical sources to what had then existed is apparent when we compare how much evidence there is of dramatic events in Oropos or Orchomenus with the complete lack of evidence regarding Ptolemaic Alexandria or the paltry knowledge we have regarding plays performed in the great theatres of Miletus or Ephesus. This could give the false impression that theatrical entertainment was much more popular among the inhabitants of small Boeotian towns than among the citizens of great metropolises. Therefore in this respect we treat epigraphic evidence with particular caution. Many inscriptions also refer to festivals organized on Aegean islands, though the honorific documents usually report on or refer to the organization and the technitai associations.43 From time to time we can glean something from these on the subject of the plays performed, and/or their authors. In this book, only a few of these festivals are represented – those for which we have extant the names of the poets who triumphed in the dramatic festivals. The book has sought chiefly to bring the context in which these poets staged their plays In other Greek poleis the relationship between drama and Dionysus is not so obvious; see the instance of Cyrene in Ceccarelli and Milanezi 2007. The same relationship in Athens itself is a contentious question (Scullion 2002). 43 On the subject of dramatic festivals on the Aegean islands, and for a list of these, see Le Guen (2001b). 42



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closer. There is no way of demonstrating here all the festivals of this type in the Greekspeaking world throughout the Hellenistic era. It is worthwhile to note as an example that individual inscriptions, dated to different periods, certify the performance of tragedies during the local Dionysia festivals in many towns and islands: in Hephaistia (on Lemnos), Peparethos, Thasos, Aigialos (on Amorgos), Andros, Antiparos, Ios, Keos, Paros, Siphnos, Syros, Tenos, Kos, Samos, in many regions of Rhodes and Euboea and elsewhere. And we have to remember that the plays were put on not only during the Dionysia, but also during many different holidays dedicated to various gods. These holidays cannot in any simple way be put together or compared, not only because the epigraphic material is insufficient, but also because these holidays had a varying character and frequency, and the contests put on had an equally varying status. Nonetheless, we have to remember that most of this information concerns provincial festivals whose showiness and solemnity would have been several times if not inordinately less grand than those of affluent Hellenistic cities. Fortunately, festivals in Athens, the cradle of Greek drama, are relatively well documented, but evidence regarding other major cities is very patchy. One of the aims here is to show the multitude and diversity of Hellenistic festivals and for this purpose it is sufficient to examine the festivals mentioned in inscriptions concerning the victories of tragic poets and actors.

Athens Lenaia The nature and origins of this festival have already been described many times, as have the other two Attic festivals associated with the theatre and dedicated to Dionysus, the Rural and City Dionysia. Evidence concerning the particular parts of these festivals has been collected and commented on by A. Pickard-Cambridge.44 Let us therefore only look at this festival in Hellenistic times. Information regarding the Lenaia is generally sparse and particularly so with regard to post-Classical times. We can be certain that the typically internal character remained the same, for the winter season and frequent storms prevented the arrival of external participants just as they had done in the fifth century. Epigraphic evidence confirms that the festival was continued after the post of choregos had been abolished. From 306 bc we have the so-called Xenocles monument, which mentions the victorious tragic poet Phanostratus and the victorious actor Hieromnemon.45 Lists of tragic poets continue up to 320 bc, whereas those of actors continue up to the end of the third century bc.46 No doubt the staging of plays in this genre lasted much longer, perhaps as long as the staging of comedies, which we know to have continued up to at least the first half of the second century bc.

Pickard-Cambridge (1988), pp. 25ff. IG II2 3073, the fact that the tragedy was preceded by a comedy proves that the festival in question was the Lenaia, not the Dionysia. On the monument and its ascription to Androcles, the brother of Xenocles see Lambert (2003). 46 IG II2 2325. 44 45

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Rural Dionysia As in the case of the Lenaia, there is limited evidence regarding this festival in the Hellenistic period. In all the Attic demes from which we have evidence, the festival was held in the winter month Poseideon, but, as A. Pickard-Cambridge rightly points out, not all of them included the staging of plays,47 which is hardly surprising on account of the frequently rainy winter weather. The most important Small Dionysia were held in Piraeus. From 320–319 bc we still have the instruction of Euegorus48 to clean the streets through which the procession was to pass, and from 307–306 bc an inscription informing us of the allocation of special seats for ambassadors from Colophon.49 In Eleusis we have recorded evidence of tragedies being performed in the mid-fourth century bc,50 as well as agones and pompai being held in 165–164 bc.51 With regard to the remaining demes, even if historical sources confirm the performance of comedies, there is no extant evidence of tragedies also being staged.

Great Dionysia During the Hellenistic period this was the most important festival – as it had been before – concerning the performance of drama in the entire Greek-speaking world. On account of its long and splendid tradition, as well as its significance in the history of theatre, staging a play during the Great Dionysia in Athens was considered very prestigious. The organization of this festival had undergone major changes since the Classical period. Under Demetrius of Phalerum (probably c. 316–315 bc) the office of choregos was abolished and the organizing of plays was henceforth entrusted to a new official called the agonothetes.52 We do not know how many tragedies and satyr plays were staged or competed in contests in particular years. Epigraphic sources very rarely mention the names of victorious authors.53 This annual festival was held throughout the Hellenistic period.

Delphi Delphic Soteria This festival was established to commemorate the saving of the Delphic Oracle from the Gallic invasion in 278 bc. The Delphic Amphictyonic Council instituted the festival to be held annually during the autumn equinox.54 The celebrations were naturally devoted to Apollo, the chief deity of the famous oracle and the great sanctuary. Inscriptions from this period inform us of dramatic and musical agones, which are dated with the names of the archon of Delphi, the hieromnemon to the Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 45. Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 47. 49 IG II2 1672.106. 50 IG II2 1186. 51 IG II2 946. 52 Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 92. See pp. 245ff. 53 Those victories that were recorded in the Hellenistic period are noted under the names of the authors in the section concerning tragedians mentioned in inscriptions. 54 Beloch (1927), p. 492. 47 48



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Amphictyonic Council and the priest of Dionysus (the head of the technitai). Much has been already written on the Delphic Soteria, including the exhaustive studies of G. M. Sifakis and G. Nachtergael.55 The programme of this festival may be reconstructed on the basis of inscriptions. Taking part in the musical contests of the Amphictyonic Soteria were rhapsodists, citharists and citharodes (who sang to the accompaniment of the cithara) and prosodists (prosodic poets). Dithyrambs were presented by two types of chorus, male and boy, each with their own flautist and didaskalos. Troupes of actors competed in the dramatic contests. Comedies were played by two or three groups of three actors, each with their own didaskalos, but according to the inscriptions, sharing between them only one comic chorus. This was, of course, on account of the universality of comic chorus songs regardless of any particular comedy plot. Tragedies were performed by three (sometimes only two) groups of three actors, a didaskalos and an aulos-player. Inscriptions, however, fail to mention any tragic choruses. Nevertheless, tragic performances were most probably ‘served’ by dithyrambic choreuts.56 After control of the sanctuary was taken over by the Aetolian League in the mid-third century bc, celebrations there were expanded to include gymnastic agones and the whole event was raised to the status of pan-Hellenic competitions.57 Thus they started being organized every four years, and during the celebrations not only Apollo was worshipped, but also Zeus Soter. Although the festival was organized on a greater scale than the Amphictyonic one, we cannot say much about the dramatic contest as the inscriptions from this time provide less information about the performing artists. The inscriptions attest only to the presence of tragic and comic actors and do not mention the whole troupes. It is probable that the Delphic sanctuary did not entirely abandon the original Amphictyonic festival, but instead merely gave it a somewhat lower status and transferred it to the winter time, i.e. henceforth there were Great Soteria festivals every four years and Winter Soteria held in the two intervening years.58 We can assume that during the Winter Soteria only musical and dramatic contests were held.59 The inscription attesting the Winter Soteria is a decree of the Isthmian-Nemean technitai guild appointing artists for the Delphic festival. There is no mention of any tragic performers, neither actors nor any other artists. None of the inscriptions concerning Delphic Soteria (both Amphictyonic and Aetolian and Winter) mentions tragic or satyr play contests. The victors’ lists do not include competitions between poets. Although the inscriptions are interesting, as they provide valuable evidence of dramatic practice, they are of no help in determining the plays staged during the festival. The presence of tragic actors (tragodoi) implies the staging of old tragedies during the Amphictyonic Soteria. Sifakis suggested that new Sifakis (1967), pp. 62–85; Nachtergael (1976), pp. 62–78; Nachtergael (1977). See also: Flacelière (1928), pp. 256–91; Robert (1930); Segre (1931), pp. 241–60; Roussel (1924), pp. 97–111; Kolbe (1940), pp. 54–63; Bousquet (1957), pp. 485–95; Elwyn (1990), pp. 177–80. 56 Sifakis (1967), p. 72. 57 Sifakis (1967), p. 64. 58 Flacelière (1928), p. 270f.; Sifakis (1967), p. 70. 59 For the unique inscription concerning the so-called Winter Soteria dated c. 145–125, see Le Guen (2001a I), pp. 173ff. 55

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dramas were also staged, which can be indicated by the presence of didaskaloi on the lists.60

Delphic Pythais Another festival well recorded in epigraphy as including drama competitions was the Pythais.61 These celebrations were a specific Athenian theoria in honour of Apollo Pythios. The offerings made to the Pythian Apollo included a hecatomb and spring vegetables, as this was a late spring festival (held in the Athenian month of Thargelion). The Pythais celebrations were not held regularly.62 In a sense the deity himself decided when the theoria would take place. On three selected days of three successive months, priests called the Pythiastai would seek signs given by Zeus: lightings over the ridge of Mount Parnes, Harma.63 However, it seems that not only heavenly signs, but also the political situation made this festival so rare.64 For the Athenians it was an extremely important event for both political and religious reasons, because, indeed, to have influence on Delphi, with its most important Greek oracle, was a key element of Athenian policy. During this festival the procession was always headed by nine Athenian archontes, followed by other notables and civic representatives, ephebes, people carrying offerings, riders and, in the last two Pythais, the technitai. Procession participants included the tragodoi and Chorodidaskaloi tragikoi, and their presence was evidence that plays of this genre were performed during the celebrations. In addition, in the list of the fourth Pythais tragic and satyr play poets are also named: Aristomenes, son of Aristomenes; Ariston, son of Menelaus.65

Festivals in Boeotia Amphiaraia/Rhomaia in Oropos In the Temple of the seer Amphiaraus, the great prophetic sanctuary of Boeotia, celebrations were held in honour of the son of Oecles and Hypermnestra, the one who was Zeus’ favourite.66 In the fourth century bc the festival was known as Ἀμφιαράια τὰ μεγάλα (the Great Amphiaraia), celebrated every four years.67 This pentaeteric holiday is well attested by a series of inscriptions dated to the post-Sullan period. It is almost Sifakis (1967), p. 84. This festival should not be confused with Pythian Games, which were organized once every four years. 62 Sifakis (1967), p. 86. 63 On the festival, see: Boëthius (1918) (still interesting); Colin (1905); Sifakis (1967), pp. 86ff.; O’Connor (1966), pp. 29ff.; Tracy 1975; Le Guen (2001a I), p. 88ff.; Aneziri (2003), pp. 140f., 225f. 64 Sifakis (1967), p. 87, believes that it was both Athenian dependence on Macedonia in the third century bc as well as the Mithridatic wars that stopped offerings being made to the deity at the appropriate time. 65 On other poets and artists taking part in Pythais (and Soteria), see Bouvier (1985). 66 Bethe (1894), pp. 1893–7. For most recent discussion on the festival see Larmour (1999), p. 171; Agelidis (2009), p. 24. 67 Attested by IG VII 4253 v. 13 (332–1 bc) and IG VII 414 (probably between 366 and 338 bc). For the celebration of other festivals (either annual or biennial, with only gymnastic and equestrian agones) in Aphiaraion, see Gossage (1975), p. 119. 60 61



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certain that after Sulla’s victory in the First Mithridatic War the festival was renamed and served as a celebration ὑπὲρ τῆς νίκης καὶ τῆς ἡγεμονίας τοῦ δήμου τοῦ Ῥωμαίων (over the victory and hegemony of Roman people: IG VII 413). Sulla’s financial provisions to Amphiaraia obviously served Roman propaganda.68 During the festival, dramas would be staged in a theatre specially built for pilgrims. The building dates to the fourth century but it was rebuilt several times during the Hellenistic period.69 The course of events during the festival is known from several inscriptions dated after 86–85 bc (IG VII 416, 417, 418, 419 and 420).70 The lists of winners bear the names of authors of satyr plays, tragedy, comedy and actors, but also of poets of epinikion. The dramatic agones were held in different categories; especially interesting is IG VII 420, where we read that e.g. Philoxenides of Oropos won in a satyr play, Protarchus from Thebes won in a new tragedy, Chionnes from Thebes in a new comedy, and actor Philocrates from Thebes won in presenting both old and new tragedies. Other poets of tragedy known from these inscriptions are: Hermocrates of Miletus, Lysistratus of Chalcis and Philoxenides of Oropos. Worth mentioning also is a puzzling regularity – the winners come usually from the same city. On IG VII 416 most of the winners are Athenians, on IG VII 419 and IG VII 420 all except three artists are Thebans. This indicates, of course, the guilds of technitai that had been invited to co-organize the festival in the subsequent years.

Rhomaia in Thebes The first testimonium of this festival was found in Boeotian Thebes in 2003 and the document was published the following year (editio princeps: Knoepfler [2004]). The inscription presents the first 20 lines of a list of victors at the Rhomaia in Thebes. The list includes the names of a winning trumpeter, herald, epic poet, rhapsodos, auletes, kitharistes, kitharodos and poet of satyr plays. We can be sure that in the lost part of the inscription the winners of other drama contests were also listed. Usually on the winners lists of Boeotian festivals (see the above-mentioned inscription from Rhomaia in Oropos or Serapieia in Tanagra), the winning author of a satyr play is mentioned as the first of the dramatic contestants. He is followed by the author of a new tragedy, tragodos, actors and the authors of comedy and actors of comedy. I see no reason why the list from the Theban Rhomaia should be any different, although of course the sequence of the winners could be slightly different. According to the inscription, almost all the artists taking part (or more precisely winning) during the Rhomaia were Thebans, except for the trumpeter (σαλπικτής) Polemon, son of Polemarchus, who was a citizen of Delphi. The terminus post quem for the inscription was determined by the editor for 146 bc and the last festival took place before 86 bc.71 The festival for the goddess Roma was held under the auspices of the agonothetes Isthmenius, son of Ismenokes. It is not the only festival attested in Thebes; an See Larsen (1938), p. 365 n. 13 on contributions for other festivals in Boeotia. On the theatre cf. Fiechter (1930); Götte (1995), pp. 253–60; Taf. 49–51. 70 See Mette (1977), pp. 56–8 (C4 Oropos). If Gossage’s (1975) chronology is correct, then the inscriptions cover circa 20 years (80–60 bc) of five consecutive festivals. 71 See Knoepfler (2004), pp. 1262ff.; the editor is of the opinion that IG VII 2448 (c. 110–100) also concerns the same festival. 68 69

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inscription also presents Heracleia in honour of Heracles and Agrionia (a festival in honour of Dionysus Kadmeios). As to Heracleia, no evidence so far attests a presence of tragic or satyr play spectacles during the festival.72

Agrionia of Thebes Agrionia was a biennial festival in honour of Dionysus Kadmeios at Thebes.73 Although many ancient testimonies attest a festival of the Agrionia in Thebes, we cannot really reconstruct the course of events. Nevertheless an interesting inscription pertaining to the Agrionia proves that dramatic performances, including tragedy, were part of it.74 The inscription is damaged and the decrees are preserved on several blocks of stone. It can probably be dated to 228 bc and therefore is a relatively early piece of epigraphic evidence of the Hellenistic festival. Decree C presents the punishment, i.e. deprivation of personal security (asphaleia), for the artists, who were detailed by the Isthmian-Nemean guile and did not perform: αἴ τις κα τῶν αὐλητᾶν ἢ τῶν χορευτᾶν ἢ τῶν τραγωιδῶν ἢ τῶν κω[μωιδῶν τῶν νε]μηθέντων εἰς τὰς τριετηρίδας ὑμὸ τῶν τεχνιτᾶν μὴ ἀγωνίζηται (…) ἀλλὰ ὑγιαίνων λίπη[ι τὸν] ἀγωνα μὴ εἶμεν αὐτῶι ἀσφάλειαν. It is interesting that only tragodoi, komodoi and the choreuts are named. It proves that at least old tragedies and old comedies were staged. But at the same time the presence of the chorus may indicate that new plays were staged as well. Staging of old and new plays was impossible when the main actor (tragodos and komodos) was absent. There was no punishment for the authors of new plays, as their presence was not really necessary and there is no evidence that they have been officially detailed by the guild. Staging of new plays required the presence of aulos-players and chorusmen, and these were named in the inscription.

Charitesia in Orchomenos Charitesia were celebrations in honour of the Charites (Graces), during which musical and dramatic competitions were held.75 Thanks to this festival, Orchomenus acquired Pan-Hellenic fame, though in the Hellenistic period it was not considered such an important town. Its theatre was not the largest, but it was built at the turn of the third century bc, and therefore at the start of the Hellenistic period. This was of course on account of the great popularity of the Charitesia. There is an extant list of agon winners from the start of the first century bc that includes the names of tragic poets, such as Aminias of Thebes and Sophocles III (IG VII 3197). Technitai from distant regions were invited to make the festival more splendid. According to the winners’ list, the artists came from Athens, Argos, Thebes, Kyme, Rhodos and other cities. Cf.: P. Roesch (1975); Schachter (1986), pp. 25–30. Agrionia in Thebes should not be confused with the women’s festival in Orchomenos in honour of Dionysus Argionios. For the Theban festival, see: Robert (1977), esp. pp. 195–210; Robert (1935), pp. 193–8. Because of a spelling error in Hesychius, the festival was in the past also called Agriania (see: Sifakis (1967), pp. 140f.; Nachtergael (1977), pp. 381, 495). Cf. also Le Guen (2001a I), p. 238 n. 697. 74 For the editions of the inscription see Le Guen (2001a I), pp. 134ff. 75 Kern (1899), p. 2167. For the extensive study of Charitesia, see: Schachter (1981), pp. 140–4; Knoepfler (2004), pp. 1248ff. 72 73



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The inscription mentions poets of tragedy, comedy and satyr plays, as well as actors and musicians. As proved by J. Buckler, the festival was held under the presidency of agonothetes76 in the aforementioned theatre.

Serapieia in Tanagra One of the characteristic features of Hellenism was religious syncretism and the absorption of foreign, particularly Eastern and Egyptian cults. The most popular ‘imported’ deities were Serapis and Isis, who were worshipped in all the poleis of the period, but especially in those politically associated with the Ptolemaic dynasty. The festival in honour of the Egyptian deities in Tanagra included musical and dramatic competitions.77 The popularity of the Tanagra Serapieia was very considerable, and for the years 170–100 bc we have extant inscriptions naming victorious artists. The inscription IG VII 540+ SEG XIX 335 is an almost complete list of victors and what is even more important is that it is appended with agonothetic accounts of expenditures.78 This is a unique testimonium on the organization of the festival. First we learn that agonistic competitions were held at different kinds of dramatic events: satyr plays, new and old tragedies, and new and old comedies, and as usual both poets and actors were awarded. The additional account of Glaucus, son of Boukattes, the agonothetes of the festival informs us how much money had been spent on the prizes and organizational expenses. The winner in the satyr play, Alexander, son of Glaucus from Tanagra, received a crown worth three gold Attic staters and four hemiobols; and the second reward holder Athe(nion), son of (N)icarchus of Anthedon, received 40 Attic silver drachmas. The winning poet of tragedy, Asclepiades II, son of Hicesius, won a crown worth four-and-a-half gold Attic staters; and the second prize for Publius the Roman was 50 Attic silver drachmas. The poet of comedy, Poses, son of Ariston of Athens, received exactly the same prize as the poet of tragedy. Actors of tragedy and comedy were also equally rewarded with a crown worth three gold Attic staters and four hemiobols, whereas for the staging of old tragedy Silanus from Thebes received a crown worth more than five gold Attic staters, and for the second place in this competition, Praxiteles from Athens received 50 silver drachmas. The prizes for staging old comedy were smaller: the winner Hipparchus from Thebes received a crown worth four-and-a-half gold Attic staters; and the second price for Demetrius from Athens was only 40 silver drachmas. The inner logic of this account shows that for an unknown reason the poet of satyr drama received the cheapest crown, whereas new tragedy and new comedy were rewarded equally. Surprisingly, the high prize was for staging old tragedy and old comedy (though comparatively the latter is slightly smaller).79 Unfortunately the document has a very unique character and we are not able to compare these rewards with any other festival, and therefore it remains unknown if such a differentiation was a regular practice during dramatic agones. Buckler (1984). For more on the Serapieia festival in Hellenistic times, see Nilsson (1920), p. 2393. 78 Calvet and Roesch (1966); Mette (1977), p. 53; Csapo and Slater (1995), pp. 193ff. (the English translation of the inscription). See also Slater (1991), and Slater (1993), pp. 189–91 (1995). 79 Cf. Lightfoot (2002), pp. 213ff. 76 77

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The same document attests the presence of tragic and satyr play choruses, as well as comic choruses. It also mentions the payments for the chorodidaskalus of new and old tragedies and satyr plays (50 silver drachmas), and the musical setting, i.e. aulosplayers, received 28 drachmas for tragedies and 12 for comedies. Worth mentioning also are family connections, which obviously played a significant role in organizing the festival. The agonothetes Glaucus, son of Boukattes, received the money for organizing the festival from the office held by his brother, Caphisius, and two known victors of the festival were sons of the agonothetes: the rhapsode Boukattes and the aforementioned satyr play poet Alexander. Most of the money was obtained from the office of Caphisius, but the agonothetes admits that some of the expenses were covered from his own resources (including the feasts for the participants, judges, choruses and victors).

Peloponnese Heraia in Argos Drama performances were also associated with the Heraia, that is the festival in honour of the goddess Hera, in Argos.80 The festival probably took place in the month Panamos, i.e. between June and July, maybe at the summer solstice.81 Two interesting literary testimonia attest that the Heraia was used in political propaganda since the early Hellenistic times. According to Plutarch (Plu. Dem. 25.), none other than Demetrius Poliorcetes was the chief organizer of the festival in 303 bc. During this festival he married Deidamia, the daughter of Aeacides, king of the Molossians, and the sister of Pyrrhus. The wedding ceremony was probably to be linked with the Heraia as the festival was held to commemorate the marriage of Hera and Zeus. Livy attests that Philip V, the king of Macedon, had been the agonothetes of Heraia and the Nemean Games during his campaign against Attalos I.82 Livy adds that it was conferred upon him by the vote of the people, because the kings of Macedonians claim that they sprang from that city (suffragiis populi ad eum delata quia se Macedonum reges ex ea civitate oriundos referent), which obviously indicates royal propaganda. We do not know much about the dramatic performances during the festival, but one inscription gives us a list of artists, who gathered there for the celebration (Vollgraff, Mnemosyne 47 (1919), pp. 253–5). Except for the aforementioned tragic poet Sostratus of Chalcis,83 the inscription enumerates 6 komikoi synagonistai, 13 tragikoi chorodidaskaloi, 1 tragodos, 1 kitharodos, 5 comic actors and 5 singers. The artists came from different parts of Greece, mostly from Argos (7), Thebes (7) and Athens, but also from Sikyon, Elis, Hermione, Sparta, Megara, Tanagra, Taras Phigeleia, Kyparissia, Aigeria, Pheneos and Teos.84 Another inscription (SIG3 1080) mentions a tragic actor who twice during the Heraia was awarded an ivy crown for staging old tragedies of 82 83 84 80 81

For more on this festival, see Stengel (1913), pp. 413–18. On the course of festival events during Heraia, see Pötscher (1996–7); Leisentritt (2009), pp. 16ff. Liv. 27.30.9. See pp. 166 of this book. Sifakis (1967), p. 144.



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Euripides: Heracles and Archelaus.85 Therefore we can be sure that during the Heraia in Argos both new and old tragedies were staged. It is worth mentioning that the theatre in Argos was in the Hellenistic period one of the largest constructions of this type.86 The theatre had 90 steps and the capacity of up to 20,000 spectators.

Heraia at Samos We do not know much about the festival of Heraia in Samos.87 The only epigraphic evidence is a mid-second century bc inscription from Samos, which lists the winners of the Heraia (P. Gardner, JHS 7 (1886), pp. 148–53 = Samos Ionia 170. 1–3, 9–10). The festival was organized under the auspices of three agonothets and a gymnasiarch. The list enumerates the poet of a new tragedy Sosistratus, son of Sosistratus88 and a tragic actor, who was performing in both new and old tragedies, named Demetrius, son of Nicaius from Miletus (vv. 4, 9). Archenomus, son of Hermias won with a new satyr play, and Ariston from Athens with a new comedy. In other words, the inscription proves that during the Heraia at Samos all the main dramatic genres were staged.

Festivals in honour of rulers In the Hellenistic period, with the increased significance of rulers’ cults and an increased awareness of the importance of propaganda, dynasts began organizing their own holidays with dramatic performances or graciously allowed free poleis to do so in their honour. It is difficult to describe all the events of this sort, especially as some had only an episodic character. A proper examination would require a separate monograph. There exists abundant epigraphic material concerning the festivals of the Antigoneia, Demetrieia and Ptolemaia on Delos which may serve as an excellent example of this sort of practice in the Hellenistic world.89 The Antigoneia festival was established by the League of the Islanders following their Greek ‘liberation’ by Antigonus the One-eyed in 314 bc.90 A few years later, perhaps in 306 bc, Demetrius was honoured in the same way. From a decree on inscription IG XI 1036 we learn that the two festivals were to be held in alternate years. The festival programme included musical and dramatic contests, though there is little detailed evidence regarding the latter; in fact we can only suppose that the agon mentioned in the inscription was also a dramatic one.91 With Demetrius’ fall and hegemony being taken over by the Lagids, Delos changed the name of the festival to the Ptolemaia. Sometime around 285 bc the League started worshipping their new ruler as a god, and it was probably then that he The actor was also an athlete: see Herzog (1901); See also p.248 n.18 For the description of the theatre, see: Vollgraff (1951), p. 199; Tomlinson (1972), pp. 18ff.; Moretti (1993). At the excavation area of the theatre, several theatrical terracotta pieces have been found, including masks and grotesque representations of actors; see Guggisberg (1988), pp. 213ff. 87 See Dunst (1967). Scholars have been interested mostly in the race with torches, which was one of the main attractions during the Samian Heraia. 88 See p. 176 of this book. 89 Sifakis (1967), pp. 15ff. 90 The exact date is disputed; see Wehrli (1968), pp. 116ff., who is of the opinion that the festival was established around 307; and the discussion in Buraselis (1982), pp. 63 ff. 91 It is logical to assume that the programme of the festival was similar to the Ptolemaia, which succeeded it; see Sifakis (1967), p. 17. 85

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was also offered the Ptolemaia. The new festival was held annually,92 no doubt until Ptolemy Philadelphus’ maritime defeat at nearby Kos.93 A tragic contest was no doubt a part of this festival, as IG XI 1043 attests the fact as follows (l.13–16) ἀνακηρῦξαι δὲ τὸν στέφανον Πτολεμαίων τῶι ἀγῶνι τῶι πρώτωι, ὅταν οἱ τραγωιδοὶ ἀγωνίζωνται. Of course, the festival was initially held in honour of Ptolemy I Soter, but according to IG XI 1038 (dated circa 279–274 bc), the cult of Ptolemy II was also included. The festival on Delos should not be confused with other known Ptolemaia in Egypt and in Athens. The first Ptolemaia were established c. 282 bc in Alexandria after the death of Ptolemy I, and the festival was an important element of the royal cult of the ruler. From 279 bc, the Ptolemaia were celebrated every four years as an isolympic festival. Although in the artistic and sports worlds the Ptolemaia acquired a Pan-Hellenic status, we do not know if drama performances were part of it.94 Even if we assume that the famous Pompe of Ptolemy II was a part of the festival, the description of Callisthenes is of no help as it presents only the artists taking part in the procession, not performing (among them, of course, the Pleiad member Philiscus).95 The Ptolemaia in Athens are not so well attested. We know that they were established by Athenians in honour of Ptolemy III in 224–223 bc.96 Another festival instituted by the Athenians to honour the rulers is described in the inscription IG II 2 1330.97 It is an honorary decree for the king Ariarathes V of Cappadocia and queen Nysa, dated before 130 bc. The Athenian technitai guild established a yearly festival and sacrifices in honour of the royal couple and their children for their piety and generosity towards the guild. During the festival a musical agon and performances staged by παλαιοὶ τραγῳδοὶ, παλαιοὶ κωμῳδοὶ, καινοὶ τραγῳδοὶ and καινοὶ κωμῳδοὶ. Dramatic performances in the Hellenistic period were associated with a vast number of festivals. To the ones mentioned above, which are all attested in inscriptions, we should add the Homoloia at Orchomenus, the Rhomaia at Magnesia and the Mouseia at Thespiae. With the exception of the traditional Athenian celebrations, none of these festivals had anything to do with Dionysus except for the substratum of the dramatic performances. Of course every play was in a certain way still associated with Dionysus, for in the orchestra there was still an altar on which offerings to him were laid, and performing artists belonged to religious-professional unions of so-called technitai of Dionysus. However, the sheer number and diversity of festivals in which tragedies were performed bear testimony to their popularity and ubiquitous presence in the lives of Hellenistic poleis. The multitude of occasions at which tragedies were staged, as well as the desire to organize so many religious and state festivals with dramatic performances, clearly reveal the great prestige that was actually bestowed on tragic drama. Though Tarn (1910), p. 214, suggested it was a trieteries. The battle at Kos most probably took place in the spring of 255 bc. The most interesting evidence on the Ptolemaia is the famous decree in honour Kallias of Sphettos. See Shear (1978), pp. 33ff.; and SEG 38, 60 on the Athenian theoria for the festival. 95 See discussion in Rice (1980), pp. 182ff. 96 On the Athenian Ptolemaia, see: Pelekidis (1962), pp. 229f., who is of the opinion that the festival was held in the first year of the Olympiad; Kennel (1999), pp. 256f.; Habicht (1992), pp. 74f., 83f. 97 Cf. Le Guen (2001a, I), pp. 67–74.

92 93

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Technitai associations Many of the changes that tragedy and satyr drama underwent in the Hellenistic period resulted from the gradual professionalization of the theatre. In contrast to Classical times, when chorus members were Athenian citizens for whom this was a form of religious and state instruction, in other words an integral part of their civic education, in Hellenistic theatre there was no longer any room for amateur artists. This was a natural consequence of the rising costs of staging a play, the shrinking financial possibilities of the poleis and both economic and social changes in the Greek society. But above all it was the great popularity of plays beyond Athens, where the lack of democratic and theatrical traditions naturally created the demand for professional actors. The process of these changes had already begun in the fourth century bc, but it was only in the Hellenistic period that we can speak of full professionalization, the high specialization of performing artists, and also the creation of guilds whose activities with time changed the appearance and purpose of theatres. In Hellenistic times the best known aspect of artistic activity in the broader sense was the creation of stage artists’ associations. The technitai associations have been the subject of excellent analysis by B. Le Guen and most recently by S. Aneziri, and in addition all the artists have been presented in the monumental prosopography by I. E. Stephanis. It seems therefore appropriate to discuss them here very briefly and only in those aspects that have direct influence on the development of staging the tragedies and the professional life of tragedians. The actor’s profession appears to have started being institutionalized at the turn of the third century bc. The first recorded evidence is an inscription from 294–288 bc, which was an Euboean decree concerning the employment of artists.98 The associations originated from more or less formal actors’ groups that had already existed in the preceding century. Strong personal relationships and professional interdependences between individual artists as well as natural hierarchies within groups, as is evidenced by the election of the descendants of the famous fourth-century actors Astydamas and Neoptolemus to represent the first Athenian association, led to the unification of this social group. These Hellenistic organizations appear in epigraphic and literary sources under two names: synodos (ἡ σύνοδος) and koinon (τὸ κοινὸν).99 There is most probably a difference in meaning between the two names, suggesting the somewhat more important role of the synodos.100 Thanks to numerous inscriptions, one may to a larger or lesser extent trace the history and development of the associations in the Greekspeaking world. The most energetic associations were the Athenian, Isthmian-Nemean and IonianHellespont technitai guilds. An important role was also played by the artists’ association in Pergamom, whose protectors were the Attalids, as well as the Egyptian association, whose priest in his time was the Pleiad member Philiscus. IG XII 9 207, IG XII, Suppl., p. 178; Wilhelm (1951), pp. 79–83. See Poland (1934). 100 See Aneziri (2003), pp. 23–5. 98 99

276

Hellenistic Tragedy

The Athenian association appears on inscriptions as ἡ σύνοδος or τὸ κοινὸν τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνιτῶν τῶν ἐν Ἀθήναις. It was presumably founded at a time when great changes were introduced to the theatre and the organization of festivals, i.e. at the time of Lycurgus (338–325 bc), or perhaps that of Demetrius of Phalerum. Aneziri notes that it is very difficult to determine an exact date and at most, on the basis of decree A5a, we can say that the terminus ante quem was 279–278 or 278–277.101 The technitai were not only involved in organizing typically theatrical festivals such as the Dionysia and Lenaia in Athens, but also the mystery cults of Demeter and Kore in Eleusis.102 The other very important technitai association was the Isthmian-Nemean koinon: τὸ κοινὸν τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνιτῶν τῶν ἐξ Ἰσθμοῦ καὶ Νεμέας. Unlike the Athenian organization, it comprised a large number of smaller branches, as a result of which its internal structure and relations with the cities were somewhat different. Its very name did not actually refer to a place but to two important Pan-Hellenic Games: the Nemean and the Isthmian. This koinon probably already existed in the first half of the third century bc, but establishing a more precise date seems virtually impossible.103 Branches of the Isthmian-Nemean association were found in the cities of the Peloponnese, Boeotia, Euboea and Macedonia. Naturally they were based in the most important cities of these regions. Argos and Corinth must have played a particular role on account of the fact that they were responsible for organizing the association’s two most important games (the Nemean and Isthmian games), but other cities in the Peloponnese, including Sicyon, Elis and Messene, also served as important bases. In Boeotia, the branches had bases in Thebes and Thespiae. The Mouseia festival in the latter was particularly important as the Muses even appeared in the technitai name τῶν συντελούντων εἰς Ἑλικῶνα.104 A similar reference to the cult of the Muses is found in another technitai name: τὸ κοινὸν τῶν περὶ Διὸνυσου τεχνιτῶν τῶν εἰς Ἰσθμὸν καὶ Νεμέαν καὶ Πιερίαν συντελεύτων.105 It is in fact thanks to the activities of the technitai at various festivals, and particularly those in Boeotia, that we have a large number of the extant inscriptions bearing the names of tragedians. From such epigraphic sources we know that, together with the cities’ technitai associations, these were major organizers of events such as the Mouseia in Thespiae and the Dionysia in Thebes.106 It is not without significance that all the cities where the Isthmian-Nemean technitai were based also had their own theatres, and, interestingly, all these theatres were either built or appreciably rebuilt in the Hellenistic period.107 One might assume that their construction or conversion was thanks to this active organization. The Isthmian-Nemean association was territorially very extensive and this exposed it to the continual conflicts between the cities, which over the decades had different political relationships with the Diadochi and were later also increasingly threatened by Aneziri (2003), p. 28; it is important to stress that, according to this inscription, the guild was already fully organized. 102 See Aneziri (2003), pp. 33ff., and see especially the section on the state activities of the koinon. 103 On the termini see Aneziri (2003), pp. 27ff. 104 See: Pickard-Cambridge (1988), p. 285; Roesch (1982), pp. 444f.; Aneziri (2003), p. 57. 105 Aneziri (2003), p. 57, argues that the base of this association was not the city of Pieris but Dion in Macedonia. Also see Papazoglou (1988), p. 111. 106 Comp. detailed analysis of Aneziri (2003), pp. 65ff. 107 Comp. Appendix. 101



The Staging of Hellenistic Tragedies

277

Rome. Despite this, epigraphic evidence shows that the various branches maintained contact with one another and remained united.108 This should not be surprising, as one of a technitai association’s overriding goals was to secure for its members better work conditions and a permanent presence at theatrical and musical events. The conflict between the Athenian and Isthmian-Nemean associations, however, was quite another matter. On account of its extensive network, the Isthmian-Nemean association surrounded Attica and therefore posed a natural threat to Athenian artists. However, it was only in the mid-second century bc, after the Romans had taken the Peloponnese, and on the other side the Athenian association had started revealing its expansionistic ambitions, that this conflict became open. There is very little information regarding the causes and course of this conflict but most of what we do know comes from the inscription senatus consultum on the conflict between the Athenian Synodos and Isthmian Koinon,109 according to which the Romans forced both associations to cooperate in organizing agones on the territory of the Isthmian-Nemean association. This must have naturally led to disputes over money as well as the division of competencies and privileges.110 In this book we are only interested in the fact that there is epigraphic evidence of an open conflict of interests between large technitai associations, which is strong proof that there was a lot of competition between the associations. In Asia Minor there was a technitai association called τὸ κοινὸν τῶν περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον τεχνιτῶν τῶν ἐπ’ Ἰονίας καὶ Ἐλλεσπόντου καὶ τῶν περὶ τὸν Καθηγημόνα Διόνυσον. It was created after the merger of two organizations that had existed since the second half of the third century. One was the Ionian and Hellespont association and the other comprised technitai from Pergamum, who were closely associated with the Attalid court. The representatives of this Asia Minor association were active during the agones of Iasos, thanks to which we know the name of Lysimachus of Teos. Indeed, Teos was also the first known base of the Ionian and Hellespont koinon. However, an unfavourable attitude on the part of the city authorities meant that the koinon had to temporarily move to Ephesus before settling in the relatively small city of Lebedus on the Aegean coast.111 The Ionian and Hellespont association is an excellent example of how such organizations collaborated with Hellenistic dynasties. At a time when Teos was under the rule of the Seleucids, the technitai participated in the cult of Antiochus III and his wife Laodice. From this period we have inscriptions stating that royal grace was bestowed on the city as well as the technitai, and that there was even a letter from the queen to the artists.112 This was also a time when the court of the Attalids was closely connected with the τῶν περὶ τὸν Καθηγημόνα Διὸνυσον technitai in Pergamum.113 These must have played an important role not only in the cult, but Aneziri (2003), p. 69. Klaffenbach (1914), pp. 29ff; Sherk (1969), no. 15; Johnson (1961), pp. 48–49n. 49 (with English translation), Aneziri (2003), p. 372 C2. 110 For more information on this conflict, see Aneziri (2003), pp. 306ff. 111 On festivals in honour of Dionysus and agones in Lebedus, see Strabo 14. 1.29. 112 Conf. Aneziri (2003), p. 104 n. 469. 113 For information on the founding of the technitai association in Pergamum as a reaction to a collaboration between Teos technitai and the Seleucids, see Aneziri (2003), p. 106. On the great role played by drama in the dynastic propaganda of the Attalids, especially in the times of Attalus and Eumenes, see Nicolucci (2003). 108 109

278

Hellenistic Tragedy

also in royal propaganda after 133 bc, when according to the testament of Attalus III Pergamum officially became the property of Rome, and for some time they had to detach themselves from the Ionian and Hellespont association.114 The Egyptian technitai koinon was also very much dependent on a ruling family. As its name implies, the Egyptian association was dedicated to the deified members of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Unfortunately theatre in Hellenistic Alexandria is known to us almost exclusively from literary sources. One of the great obstacles to the analysis of the possibilities of theatrical production, the procedures, how frequently performances were given and, perhaps most significantly of all, the artists who performed there is the fact that to this day the remains of the so-called Great Theatre have not been found. Hence we have no inscriptions from the cultural capital of the Hellenistic world. All that is known of technitai associations in Egypt comes from two contemporary decrees, OGIS 50 and 51 from Ptolemais Hermiou, in which they are simply called τεχνίται οἱ περὶ τὸν Διόνυσον καὶ Θεοὺς Ἀδελφοὺς. These decrees were most probably written during the reign of Ptolemy III, while the name suggests that the cult concerned not only the theatre god, but also the divine siblings, i.e. Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II. It was under the rule of Ptolemy II that the high priest of the technitai in Alexandria was the tragedian and Pleiad member Philiscus, while the famous Pompe in which he took part was the terminus ante quem of the founding of the artists’ association.115 It seems obvious that if the association’s name refers to court propaganda, then the technitai must have also been actively engaged in it. It also seems highly probable that like other cultural institutions (the Library and Museum) technitai associations were initiated by the king for the propagation of Greek culture in Egypt.116 Such associations above all served to ensure the best working conditions for artists, both in terms of personal security as well as in terms of pay and employment possibilities. The associations were of course primarily religious organizations dedicated to Dionysus, and were originally headed by an artist who was also a priest of this god. As in the case of other religious organizations, technitai associations had both a priestly and a secular hierarchy.117 The names of various offices and prerogatives differed, depending on the particular association and period. The chief priest also had considerable prestige in Hellenistic societies, as is testified in the case of Philiscus, who occupied a privileged position during the Ptolemaic Pompe, and also in the case of the head of the Athenian technitai association, priest of Dionysus and tragedian Asclepiades II, whose many privileges even included being made the Athenian hieromnemon at Delphi.118 The priestly offices of the technitai mentioned in inscriptions are naturally those of ἱερεύς, ἱεροπόλος and ἀρητήρ. During the Mouseia they had Ohlemutz (1940), p. 98; Hansen (1971), p. 460; Robert (1984), p. 495. Aneziri (2003), p. 111, suggests that this happened either during the reign of Ptolemy I or in the first years of the reign of Ptolemy II. 116 Aneziri notes that a very close connection between the Ptolemaic dynasty and the technitai association was apparent in Cyprus, particularly during the reign of Ptolemy IX, for when he broke with Alexandria the Cyprus, the technitai similarly broke away from the mainland association: see Aneziri (1994), pp. 187f.; Aneziri (2003), pp. 119f. 117 Comp. Ziebarth (1896) pp. 4f.; Poland (1909), pp. 5f., 339ff. 118 See p. 169 of this book. 114 115



The Staging of Hellenistic Tragedies

279

special pyrophoroi, which suggests they were somehow responsible for illumination at mystery or night-time festivals.119 In Attica in turn they are recorded as forming a collegial office of hierologoi. Technitai associations also needed officials dealing specifically with financial and organizational matters. In this respect the highest official was the epimeletes, who was generally in charge of not only the finances, but also in many cases the organization of various types of festivals.120 The fact that such associations were religious and above the state helped members considerably in acquiring special privileges. Rulers and political federations, such as the Amphictyony of Delphi, granted them all sorts of rights, such as immunity in times of war and peace, exemption from military service, personal immunity and protection of personal property in the poleis where they were employed. The associations included technitai of various branches: dramatic, lyrical and epic poets, actors, didaskaloi and chorus members, musicians and rhapsodists. By knowing the ranks of particular offices we are able to assess the prestige enjoyed by tragedians in technitai associations. Aneziri has collected all the posts held by particular artists.121 From thus gathered information we know that tragic poets, more frequently than other artists, received the posts of presbyter and theoros. Both Aristomenes and Ariston were theoroi, whereas the post of official representatives/deputies (presbyters) was held by Menelaus, Astydamas, Asclepiades and Lysimachus.122 Such posts were also held by other artists associated with tragedies (τραγῳδοί, τραγικοί συναγωνισταί, τραγικοί ὑποδιδάσκαλοι), while there are far fewer cases of representatives of other theatrical and literary genres. Perhaps this is only on account of the particular inscriptions that happened to survive and is thus not a proper reflection of the general status of tragedians, in the same way as the high offices held by Philiscus and Asclepiades II may have been exceptions to the rule. However, it is even more possible that artists associated with tragedies were deliberately given such representative offices in recognition of such a serious and noble dramatic form. Another important issue is the extent to which technitai associations influenced the professional lives of tragedians. Extant inscriptions naturally only tell us about poets who were either actual members or had participated in festivals organized by such associations. However, we know virtually nothing about famous tragedians being involved in the technitai organizations. With the notable exception of Pleiad member Philiscus, there is no evidence of any other distinguished tragic poet being a member. This may of course be due to the fact that there is little correlation between epigraphic and literary sources, but it may also reflect another significant problem. Tragedies were written not only by professional tragedians, but also by a broad circle of intellectuals (e.g. Alexander Aetolus, Callimachus or Nicolaus of Damascus). A lack of information prohibits us from establishing how and on whose initiative particular tragedies were staged. We do not know how tragedies were commissioned or, conversely, how authors See: Geisau (1963); Aneziri (2003), p. 137. For a detailed description of the offices and the inscriptions providing this information, see Aneziri (2003), pp. 138ff. 121 Aneziri (2003), p. 423 Table 2. 122 I do not include the famous author Thymoteles, son of Philoctetes (TrGF Thymoteles?), as he was most probably a writer of comedies. See Sifakis (1967), p. 93. 119 120

280

Hellenistic Tragedy

offered up their tragedies to be staged. With time the technitai associations must have inevitably to some extent monopolized the production of plays, but it is impossible for us to trace this process. Aneziri, on the other hand, argues that in the Hellenistic period the organization of various festivals to a large extent forced the technitai to be mobile, i.e. agones required the participation of an appropriate number of artists.123 If for some reason, such as political or military conflict, artists were unable to arrive, festivals had to take on a more modest form or simply be cancelled. Therefore the existence of an association was not only of benefit to artists, but also to entire communities. We realize how immensely important artists’ associations were in ensuring security and good employment conditions for tragic poets and actors when we consider how much they travelled. In the uncertain times of armed conflicts and marauding pirates they were able to travel freely. Moreover, we should remember that as professionals they had to earn their livings by constantly performing in plays and being present at as many events as possible. The mobility of artists is evident in epigraphs concerning festivals. This mobility considerably helped the spread of dramatic ideas, new plays and the performance of the same tragedies in various cities. I also believe that the great competition between artists seeking employment, the awards, the prestige and naturally the fame all must have contributed to raising performance standards.

See Aneziri (2009), p. 225, where an interesting document is discussed concerning the ambassadors of Histiaia, Eretria, Chalcis and Karystos who request the technitai in Chalcis for a certain number of artists to take part in Dionysia and Demetrieia of their cities (IG XII 9, 207 add. P. 176, IG XII Suppl. p. 178). Comp. also Le Guen (2001a I), n. 1.

123

Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres Place

Region

Century bc

Orchestra – Cavea – Audience diameter (m) diameter (m) Capacity

Comments

Hellas near Zeus sanctuary

Aigeira

Achaea

280–250

14.4

55

10,000 (?)

Argos

Peloponneses

first quarter, third century

14.5

77

20,000

Chaeronea

Boeotia

Hellenistic period

on the ruins of an archaic theatre

Cleitoria [Katoklitonia]

Achaea

Hellenistic period

today just unevenness of ground

Corinth

third century

23.4

proscenium 2.5m, stage building width 22m, stage width 10.03m

Delphi

end of third century (completed c. 160)

18.5

Elis

c. 300

Epidaurus 1

start of third century

Epidaurus 2

end of fourth century

1

Leontium

Achaea

11,000

52.5 near Dionysus sanctuary

92 19.5

119

12,000 on the western 5,000–6,000 slope of the acropolis

end of fourth century

buried by the excavators

Mantinea

after 222

Megapolis

Arcadia

Hellenistic period (on older 30 theatre from 370)

21.7

Messena 1

Messenia

Hellenistic period

Messena 1

Messenia

Hellenistic period

67 129.5

17,000–21,000 excavation underway

9.7

stage building, near Asclepius sanctuary

On the basis of: Rossetto and Pisani-Sartorio 1996. All the dates are bc. Modern place names given in square brackets.

1

282

Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

Mycenae

Argolida

Hellenistic period

Nea Pleuron [Kato Retsina]

Aetolia

third century

10.7

third century

21

Oeniadae [Katochi] Acarnania

removed by H. Schliemann, remains of cavea near grave of Clytemnestra

Orchomenus

Boeotia

third century

Oropos

Boeotia

reconstructed in third and second 11 centuries

Phlius

Peloponnese

end of fourth century

Piraeus [Zea Harbour]

Athens

after 150

27 proscenium and stage building from second century

16

23.5

66.5

Sicyon

first half of third 24 century

(large)

Sparta 1

Hellenistic period

142

Sparta 2

second century 22

Stratus

end of fourth century

Acarnania

Tanagra

Boeotia

third century

Tegea

Arcadia

Hellenistic period

Thebes

Boeotia

200–125

Boeotia

Hellenistic period?

Thespiae 1

Boeotia

after third century

Troezen [Trizina]

Argolida

Hellenistic period

54

buried by Greek Archaeological Society in nineteenth century, no data 80 27

Thespiae 2

Typaneae [Vresto] Arcadia [Kastro Platianas]

25

Macedonia

lack of permanent one

on the slope of the Helicon, proscenium width 19m, stage building width 22m Paus. 11, 31,1; dedicated to the Muses

after 245

34.5

end of fourth century

cavea funded by Antiochus Epiphanes c. 174 bc [Liv. 41.20.6]

61.5

Macedonia and Epirus Aigai

modelled on the Theatre of Dionysus

28.44



Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

283

Ambracia [Arta]

Epirus

early third century

Amotropos

Epirus

between 275 and 167

Amphipolis

Macedonia

Apollonia

Epirus

mid third century

35

Buthrotum

Epirus

third century

small

34

Byllis 1

Epirus

between 275 and 167

Byllis 2

Epirus

mid third century

22

80.5

7,000

Cassope 1 [Kamarina]

Epirus

third century

18

81

6,000

Cassope 2

Epirus

third century

16.3

46

2,000–2,500

Demetrias [Volos] Macedonia

early third century

24

83

6,000

Dion

c. 200

26

297–272

23

Macedonia

Dodona [Elimokastro]

6,7 Unexcavated not found, Livius 45. 32,8–33,5

Epirus

275–167

Gitani [Goumani] Epirus

230–167

[Klimatia]

between 275 and 14 167

Epirus

8,000

proscenium 2.5, near sanctuary of Dionysus

Larissa 1

Macedonia

end of third century

Larissa 2

Macedonia

end of first century

26.7

(large)

Nikaia [Klos]

Epirus

third century

10.5

63

between 275 and 167

Phoenice (Finiq, Albania)

between 275 and 167

Epirus

near sanctuary of Zeus

129 65

Orraon (Horreum) Epirus [Ammotopos]

reconstructed in second century AD

4,000–5,000

built over in nineteenth century, excavation impossible

(large)

800

stage building width 10m unexcavated

recorded in inscriptions

Troezen [Tyrranos] Macedonia

second century?

Chersonesus Taurica (Crimea)

third/second century

23

Krenides (Philippi) Thrace

after 356

21.6

Mesembria [Nesebar]

Thrace

third century

Olbia

Scythia

third century

Philippopolis

Thrace

end of fourth century

Thrace and Pontus Crimea

2,000 epigraphic records only

Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

284

Aegean Islands Aegiali

Amorgos

Andros Aptera

Crete

third century

recorded in inscriptions

third century

recorded in inscriptions

Hellenistic

Chios

Hellenistic

Delos 1

completed in 246

Eresos

18

55 recorded in inscriptions

21.16

64

5,500

stage building width 15.35m recorded in inscriptions

Lesbos

Hellenistic

Eretria

Euboea

end of fourth century (recon22 structed after 198)

Halasarna [Kardamena]

Kos

Hellenistic period

Hephaestia

Lemnos

c. 300

Ialysos

Rhodes

Early Hellenistic 15,5

Ios

Ios

before third century

IG XII 5, 1010

Julis

Keos [Kea]

third century

recorded in inscriptions

third century

epigraphically recorded as near Apollo sanctuary recorded in inscriptions and in literature (Ath. 10 456 F)

Kalymnos

cavea from 23 bc near Apollo sanctuary

11,8

Karthaia [Poles]

Keos [Kea]

third century

Lindos

Rhodes

after third century

14.5

Hellenistic period

27

Melos

90

53

Methymna

Lesbos

Hellenistic period

discovered during construction and buried.

Myrhina

Lemnos

Hellenistic

recorded in inscriptions

Lesbos

Hellenistic period

Theatre of Pompey in Rome modelled on it (Plu. Pomp. 42,4)

Mytilene

Oliaros [Antiparos] Cyclades

second century

Paros

second half of third century

Rhodes Samothrace

24.2

107

Inscription 50 not found, D.S. 31.36

Rhodes Cavea c. 200

destroyed in 1930s



Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

285 inscription re. tragic agons during Dionysia IG XII 5, 798

Siphnos

Tenos

Cyclades

tragic agon IG XII 5, 798

Hellenistic period

Thasos

third century

Thera [Santorini]

mid-second century

74 9.58

Thosos

third century

15,5

1,500 near Apollo Erethymios sanctuary

Ionian Islands Leukas

Leukada

Hellenistic period

Alinda

Lycia

second century

Excavations at start of twentieth century, unpublished Asia Minor 64.5

Amos [Hisarbumu] Lycia

27.6

Antiphellus

Lycia

Hellenistic period

Aphrodisias

Troas

after 37

Apollonia

Lycia

Hellenistic period

Arykanda

Lycia

second century

Axos Balbura

Lycia

Bargylia [Varvil] Cadianda [Kadyanda]

50 25 28 very well preserved

Hellenistic period

67.5

second century

35.5 no excavations done

second century second century 15

47

Cedreae

Lycia

second century

(small)

Colossae

Lycia

Hellenistic period

Cyaneae

Lycia

third/second century

14.5

50

Ephesus

late Hellenism

24.66

140

Euromus [Ayakli]

second half of third century

Halicarnassus

second century

Heraclea under Latmos

third century

land depression, not excavated

large, no excavations 49 washed away by water after earthquake, now only first row remains

Hierapolis

c. second century

Iasos [Asinkalesi] Lycia

second century

61

Idebessos

Hellenistic period

30

Lycia

24,000

600–700

Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

286

before mid-second century

50

Kaunos [Dalyan]

second/first century

72.5

Kibyra

100

81

Knidos 1

Late Hellenism

Bigger then ‘Knidos 2’

removed in nineteenth century

Knidos 2

second century 19.5

58.5

near the harbour

Kyme

Hellenistic period

Laodicea on the Lycus [Eski Hisar]

Hellenistic period

116

Laodicea 2

Hellenistic period

(large)

Lebedos

Hellenistic period

not found, but recorded: Strabo 14 1,29, 643

c. 100

74

near the sanctuary of Apollo, Artemis and Leto

Magnesia on the Meander 1

second century 21.6

71

Magnesia on the Meander 2

late Hellenistic period

Miletus

c. 300

Mylasa

Hellenistic period

Notion

second century

Oenoanda

Lycia

Hellenistic period

Patara

Lycia

Hellenistic period

Pinara

Lycia

second century 14.5

54.5

300

56.5

Kastabos

Letoon

Cilicia

Lycia

Priene

22

larger than ‘Magnesia on the Menander 1’ 27.3

73

64 19

55 84

19

Bithynia and Pontus

first century

74 (perhaps 96)

Rhodiapolis

Lycia and Pamphylia

late Hellenistic period

41.5

Sillyon [Asar Köy]

Hellenistic period

60

Stratonicea [Eskihisar]

late Hellenistic period

Termessos

Lycia

second century 25

65

Tlos [Düver]

Lycia

first century

56

first century

5,300 unpublished excavations

Prousias ad Hypium

Tralles

called the smaller theatre

25

148

5,000

collapsed in 1969

4,200 rebuild in Roman Times



Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

Troy

Xanthos

Lycia

287

c. 300

so-called Theater A, not to be confused with Roman Odeon or small theatre called ‘C’

Hellenistic period

beneath Roman one Cyprus

Kourion [Episkopi] Cyprus

second century 17.2

62

Nea Paphos

start of third century

88

Cyprus

24 The East

Alexandria Oxiane Bactria [Ai Khanoum]

c. 200

30.3

84.5 (height 17)

Babylon

Babylonia

c. 323

21.8

70

Ecbatana

Media

one-third preserved Plut. Alex. 72

Seleucia on the Tigris

Babylonia

Hellenistic period

Byblos

Phoenicia

after 218

unpublished excavation

6.5 Syria and Palestine 11.6

48

Egypt and Cyrenaica Alexandria

Egypt

Arsinoe (Crocodilopolis)

Egypt

Cyrene

recorded in literature

third century

third century

16.5

65 recorded in papyrological material

Memphis

Egypt

Panopolis

Egypt

existed in 298

Ptolemais

Cyrenaica

after 246

Ptolemais

Egypt

recorded in papyrological material 30

96

Sicily and Magna Graecia (Italy) Agyrion

Sicily

Hellenistic period

Akrai

Sicily

third century

20

42

Alba Fucens

Sabinum

second/first century

20

77

Cales [Calvi Vecchia]

Campania

end of second century second century 15

Califae

Saminium

[Castelsecco]

Etruria

Corfinium

Paeligni

Gabii

Latium

Helorus Heraclea Minoa

D.S. 16.83.3

70 48

Greco-Roman

45

Greco-Roman

second century 30

50

Greco-Roman

Sicily

fourth/third century

15

43

Sicily

fourth/third century

16.7

33?

12.5

Greco-Roman 1,200

Appendix: Hellenistic Theatres

288

Hippana (Prizzi)

Sicily

Hellenistic period

Ietas (Iaitas) [Monte Lato]

Sicily

200

excavations underway 14.6

68

4,400

on ruins from fourth century

12,000

Greco-Roman

Ionica

Lucania

second century 14.2

47.7

Metapontum

Lucania

third century

17.6

77.7

Morgantina

Sicily

third century

15

57.70

2,000 [5,000?]

Nuceria

Campania

second century 20

[Pietrabbondante] Samnium

second century 11

54

1,000

Pompei

Campania

first half of 10 second century

58

5,000

Region

Bruttium

third century

20

Segesta

Sicily

third century

13.8

64

3,200

Soluntum

Sicily

third century

13.2

46.6

Syracuse

Sicily

second century 24

Sicily

Greco-Roman

on ruins from the Archaic period

138.6

Hellenistic period

Taranto Tauromenium [Taormina]

Greco-Roman

not found, literary sources

third century

109

Teanum Sidicinum Campania [Teano]

second/first century

85

Torricella Peligna

Samnium

second century 17

Tyndaris

Sicily

300

24

10,000 Greco-Roman Greco-Roman

76

7,000

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Index of Hellenistic Tragedians [...]kles? of Thebes 170 [Ari]stocrates 176 ]enodorus 29, 30, 165 Aeantiades (Aeantides) 50, 51, 52, 111–12 Aeschylus of Alexandria 160 Alexander Aetolus x, xii, 11, 15, 23, 29, 30, 50, 51, 52, 53, 65, 75, 89, 90–3, 111, 123, 124, 279 Alexander son of Glaucus 169, 271, 272 Aminias 168, 270 Antiochus of Athens, 164 [An]tiphilus 162 Apollonides 10, 33, 153–5, 177 Apollonius of Athens 164 Ar]istaen[etus 173 Archenomus 176, 273 Archytas 151–2 Aristomenes 163, 268, 279 Ariston, Athenian 164, 268 Artavasdes II, king of Armenia xiii, 7, 41, 156–8 Asclepiades II 169, 248, 271, 278, 279 Asinius Pollio 2, 8, 9, 158 Astydamas III xiii, 161 Atheni[as] of Anthedon 169 Callimachus x, xi, xii, xiii, 14, 16, 17, 51, 76, 88, 91, 97, 124–5, 126, 159, 279 Callippus 47, 48, 167 Cleitus of Teos 176–7 Dinysius of Heraclea (Spintharos) 143–4, 145 Diogenes of Tarsus 152–3 Diogenes of Thebes 170 Diogenes, son of Diogenes 164 Diognetus 177 Dionysiades 15, 50, 51, 52, 53, 110–11 Dionysius the Cypriot 178

Dionysius, son of Cephisodorus 164 Dionysius, son of Demetrius 175 Dorotheus of Chalcis 169, 170 Dymas 28, 31, 173–4 Euandridas 177 Euphantus of Olynthus 145–6 Euphronius 50, 51, 52, 111, 112–13 Ezekiel xiv, 7, 8, 20, 39, 198, 200, 201, 202–33, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240, 241, 242, 243, 253, 255 Glaucon 171, 172 Gorgippus of Chalcis 169, 170 Harmodius 29, 47, 172 Heraclides Ponticus 144–5 Heraclides, son of Heraclides 47, 48, 167 Hermocrates 167, 269 Homerus of Byzantium 28, 30, 31, 50, 51, 52, 53, 63–6, 93, 94,111, 112, 123, 124 Lycophron viii, xii, xiii, 4, 10, 11, 15, 22, 23, 26, 29, 30, 34, 35, 43, 46, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 65, 74–90, 91, 107, 111, 112, 123, 125, 127, 132, 183, 229, 231, 233 Lysimachus of Teos 174, 277 Lysistratus 167, 269 Melanthios of Rhodes 147–8 Menelaus, son of Ariston 163, 164, 268 Moschion viii, xi, xiii, xvi, 2, 4, 10, 11, 26, 27, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 83, 126–43, 183, 184, 233 Nicolaus of Damascus xiii, 159–60, 185, 200, 241–3, 279 Nicomachus of Alexandria in Troas 28, 29, 30, 31, 35, 61, 148–50, 198, 223

314

Index of Hellenistic Tragedians

Phaenippus 177 Phanostratus of Halicarnassus 161–2, 265 Pharadas 176 Philiscus (Philicus) of Corcyra 4, 27, 31, 50, 51, 52, 53, 66–74, 111, 112, 147, 274, 275, 278, 279 Philoxenides 48, 167, 269 Polemaeus 29, 30, 48, 172 Polemon 172 Protarchus 167, 269 Ptolemy IV Philopator xiii, 31, 73, 113, 146–7, 177, 184, 222, 246 Publius the Roman 8, 9, 170, 271 Python 4, 10, 22, 25, 45, 55, 113–23 Silenus 165 Sophocles III 57, 151

Sosiphanes 29, 30, 32, 34, 35, 50, 51, 52, 53–63, 111, 112, 127 Sosistratus 176, 273 Sositheus 4, 22, 31, 33, 34, 35, 36, 46, 47, 48, 50, 51, 52, 53, 56, 63, 65, 73, 93–110, 111, 123, 127, 183 Sostratus 166, 272 Theaetetus 125–6 Theodorus 29, 30, 47, 48, 171 Theodotus 29, 47, 172 Thrasycles 165–6 Timon of Phlius xiii, xv, 53, 65, 123–4 Xenocrates 162–3 Zotion 31, 175

Index of Historical Figures Aeacides, king of Molossians 272 Aeschylus xi, 13, 15, 23, 24, 29, 30, 33, 36, 46, 51, 52, 57, 58, 85, 89, 110, 121, 130, 135, 140, 183, 184, 188, 194, 225, 227, 228, 229, 230, 234, 235, 236, 247, 257 Agathoclea, sister of Agathocles 146 Agathocles of Egypt 146 Agathon 21, 24, 37, 82 Alcaeus 14 Alcaeus, king of Lydia 180 Alexander I of Epirus 117 Alexander III of Macedon 1, 2, 3, 7, 13, 25, 45, 54, 55, 56, 71, 88, 113–23, 140, 244, 245, 246, 262 Alexander of Pherae 26, 27, 87, 127, 131, 132, 136 Alexander Polyhistor 202, 213, 214, 219, 220, 222, 227 Alexis 59, 71, 119, 120, 127 Aliturus 201 Amasis 223 Anaxandrides 73 Andromachus of Byzantium 51, 63, 64, 65, 112 Antagoras of Rhodes 75, 80, 90 Antigonus III Doson 88 Antigonus II Gonatas 81, 88, 90, 91, 145 Antigonus I Monophthalmus 88, 273 Antigonus of Carystus 79, 80, 82 Antiochus III the Great 277 Antiochus IV Epiphanes 28, 282 Antiphanes 73, 120 Antiphon 59 Apollodorus (Pseudo-Apollodorus) 58, 59 Apollodorus of Athens 147, 148 Apollodorus, tyrant of Cassandreia 26, 83 Apollonides of Nicea 123 Apollonius of Rhodes 35, 51, 52, 59, 60, 111 Aratus 51, 52, 75, 80, 89, 90, 91, 111

Aratus, the comedy writer 73 Archelaus of Priene 263 Archelaus, king of Macedonia 24 Archestratus 248 Archilochus 76, 127, 180, 182 Ariarathes V of Cappadocia 163, 274 Aristarchus 14, 147 Aristocles, theoretician of music 13 Ariston, actor 116 Aristophanes x, xi, xvi, 4, 14, 35, 37, 46, 59, 82, 113, 119, 121, 122, 143, 146 Aristophanes of Byzantium 17, 103, 112 Aristotle xi, xv, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 30, 36, 44, 59, 66, 71, 81, 182, 185, 225, 231, 246 Aristoxenus of Tarentum 144 Arrian (Lucius Flavius) 115, 116 Arsinoe II, wife of Ptolemy Philadelphus 26, 51, 74, 83, 278 Arsinoe III, wife of Ptolemy IV 246 Artapanus 223 Artaxerxes I of Persia 26, 130 Artemis, wife of Mausolus 24 Artemon of Cassandreia 14 Asclepiades of Phlius 80 Asclepiades of Tragilos 13 Astydamas 16, 197, 247 Athenaeus 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 27, 57, 72, 76, 78, 80, 81, 82, 97, 105, 115, 116, 117, 118, 120, 121, 123, 150, 160, 184, 194 Athenodorus, actor 116, 117, 245 Attalus I Soter 279 Attalus II Philadelphus 155 Attalus III 280 Aurelius, Marcus 18 Barsine, wife of Alexander the Great 88 Berenice I, wife of Ptolemy Soter 51 Berenice II, wife of Ptolemy III 51, 146 Berossus 199

316

Index of Historical Figures

Caesar, Gaius Julius 158, 160 Caesius Bassus 72, 73 Callias 59 Callisthenes 76, 274 Callixenus of Rhodes 71 Candaules 180, 182, 184, 185 Carcinus the Younger 16, 30, 82 Carneades 147, 148 Cassander 244 Cephisocles, actor 55, 57 Chaeremon xv, 82, 135, 143 Charicles of Carystus 14 Choeroboscus, Georgius 55, 72, 76, 110, 111, 112 Christodorus 31, 64, 65, 66 Cicero, M. Tullius 14, 138, 148 Cimon 130 Cleanthes 4, 22, 46, 47, 106–7, 123 Clement of Alexandria 10, 143, 220, 226, 235, 237, 238 Cleopatra of Pontus 156 Cleopatra VII 2, 156, 157, 159 Cleopatra, daughter of Philip II 117 Cleophon 30, 37 Constantin Porphyrogenitus 159 Coroebus, archon of Athens 54 Crantor 126 Crassus, Marcus Licinius 41, 156, 157 Cratinus 45 Critias 135 Croesus 160 Curtius Rufus 116 Darius III Codommanus 25 Deidamia, sister of Pyrrhus 272 Deiotarus, king of Galatia 156 Demaratus (Damagetus?) 13 Demetrius of Magnesia 153, 164 Demetrius of Phalerum 76, 127, 244, 266, 276 Demetrius Poliorcetes 26, 28, 83, 272, 273 Demetrius Satyrographer 153 Demetrius the Chronographer 222 Democritus 135 Dicaeogenes 16 Didymus of Alexandria 14 Dio of Prusa 153 Diodorus Siculus 98, 115, 131, 137, 138, 174, 238

Diogenes Laertius 10, 46, 65, 71, 78, 80, 81, 82, 107, 123, 126, 143, 144, 145, 146, 148, 153, 164, 171 Diogenes of Babilon 24 Diogenes of Sinope xv, 30, 71, 82, Diomedes Grammaticus 16, 17 Dionysius Periegetes 160, 200, 241 Dionysius the Elder, tyrant of Syracuse 24, 31, 73, 147 Dionysius, comedy writer 126 Dionysius, theoretician of drama 13 Dionysodorus of Alexandria 14 Dioscorides 22, 47, 97, 94, 95, 104, 110 Doris, wife of Dionysius the Elder 24, Draco of Stratonikeia 14 Duris of Samos 13 Empedocles 76, 135 Epicharm 73 Epicurus (Epicurean) 127, 152 Epiphanius of Salamis 239 Eratosthenes 13, 76, 109 Euegorus 268 Eumenes II 277 Eupolemus 223 Euripides x, xi, xvi, 5, 8, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 23, 24, 27, 29, 30, 33, 36, 41, 44, 45, 46, 51, 52, 57, 59, 61, 62, 76, 82, 84, 85, 89, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 122, 127, 131, 135, 139, 140, 146, 149, 150, 154, 155, 156, 157, 184, 188, 194, 225, 229, 230, 231, 234, 235, 241, 247, 248, 249, 260, 273 Eusebius of Cesarea 219, 220, 235, 236, 237 Eustathius of Thessalonica 200, 241 Euthycles 59 Gaetas of Chalcis 152 Germanicus Caesar 72, 73 Glycera 10, 113, 115, 118 Gnaeus Naevius 8, 233 Gyges of Lydia 26, 181–5 Harpalus 4, 22, 46, 113–23 Hecataeus of Abdera 137, 138, 236, 237, 238, 239 Hegesias, actor 184 Hephaestion 51, 55, 72, 76, 110, 112, 188



Index of Historical Figures

Heracles, son of Alexander the Great 88 Heraclides Lembus 80 Hermesianax 4, 98, 101, 103 Herod the Great 159, 160, 201, 202, 241 Herodas 121, 231 Herodotus 26, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 230 Hero of Alexandria 20, 85 Herennius Philo of Byblos 238 Hesiod 135, 154, 234 Hippo, tyrant of Messana 27 Hippocrates 59, 135 Hipponax 76 Homer 34, 35, 58, 60, 62, 194, 196, 234 Horace 14, 16, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 41, 59, 139, 225 Hyginus 144 Ion of Chios 183 Istrus of Cyrene 14 Jason of Pherae 132 Jason of Tralles 41, 156, 157, 158 Jason, High Priest in Jerusalem 202 John of Damascus 241 Joseph Flavius 199, 201, 202, 223, 238, 239 Livius Andronicus 8 Laodice III 277 Lasus of Hermione 194 Licymnius xv Livy 272 Lucilius the Younger, poet and procurator of Sicyly 42 Lycon, actor 116, 245 Lycophron, brother of Thebe 132 Lycurgus of Athens 15, 250, 257, 276 Lycus of Rhegium 74, 75, 76 Lysanias of Cyrene: 13 Mamercus, tyrant of Catana 27 Manetho