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Lecture 8

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Classical Studies
CLAS 201
Nicholas Maes

CLAS 201 Lecture 8 NotesReview from Last ClassAthens comes to great power as it spearheads and leads the Delian LeagueoThis is essentially a defense initiativeoIt is created in the wake of Xerxes defeatoIt brings almost 250 city states togetheroLarge amounts of money are going to the treasuryAthens is put in control of this treasuryAfter the need of the league dissolves Persians agree to peace Athens decides to continue the leagueCity states that wish to leave are not allowed to do soThis means that Athens influence is advancing and becoming larger and largerThis begins to stir the suspicion of the Spartans Athens is enjoying remarkable prosperityoIt spends this prosperity on architectural monuments lavish theatrical productions and becomes a center place for philosophical learning Theatre philosophy Peloponnesian war skirmishes that accompany the Peloponnesian war rise of Macedon rise of Alexander and his father Philip II and Hellenism are very important topics to the remainder of the courseTragedy is uniquely GreekoIt is something that the bring to the worlds attentionoActing is the idea of people behaving in a way where they are imitating the personality and mannerisms of people that they are not and doing so in front of an audienceNo other ancient population does this distinctly GreekoGreek tragedy likely originates from extemporization on the dithyrambGreek tragedy take place under the hospices of the god DionysusHe is the god of wine ritual madness theatre and masksoTragedy arose when choruses singing dithyrambs when a man named Thespis separated himself from the chorus and initiated the experiment of forming dialogue between the actor and chorusDithyrambs are prayers and lavish poemlike songs in honour of DionysusThe establishment of the Dionysia is attributed to PisistratusoThis is a very lavish festivaloThe whole city suspends its business for a week and go to a stadiumThey go to a makeshift stadium later became a stone stadium in the thousands and sit to watch public entertainmentThis entertainment is designed for themoIn the case of tragedy for 3 successive days there are 3 playwrights such as Aeschylus Sophocles and Euripedes and each produced 3 tragedies and a comedy called a satyr playEach day was devoted to a specific playwrightThe playwrights were selected in advanceOn the fourth day the comedies are performedoThe plays engages everyones attentionThe tragedies and plays in general are looked upon as an extension of ones own civic identityListening to this entertainment is about your own position in the world as an Athenian citizen being reflected upon youThe issues of your own day or issues more abstract and more important but get to the heart of what it is to be human or Athenian are the ones being reflected back at youThis becomes a good vehicle for explaining something whose dimensions are enormous and involve the Athenians personallyThe plays are viewed by everyone at the same time because the population is relatively smallThe plays are lastingly meaningful and importantoTypically the plays performed at the Dionysia are discarded immediately afterThe plays may only be performed on that one occasionThe power in these plays lies in the fact that they are ephemeralThe stadium that staged the play was capable of holding 1500020000 peopleoThey were built into the hillsideoThe population would sit on the hill and would listen to the performance delivered by the actors and choruses on the bottomoThe chorus occupied an orchestra dancing placeoThe actors are on this raised platform performing in front of a skeneIt is a building that serves as a setting for the play and where the props are keptoThere were two other important pieces of equipmentthe ekkuklema wheeled platform and mechane craneThe ekkuklema was a wheeled platform when Agamemnon is killed his body is brought out on this platformThe wheeled platform was a way of joining the world of imagination behind the doors of the skene with the world of the stageThe mechane was a craneThe crane was at the top of the skene and would sometimes introduce a god at the end of a play he would be swung in top of the building and there he would make some kind of announcement This is where we get the phrase dues ex machinathe god fromthe cranea god who appears and intrudes on the sceneActing and TragedyWhen you look at any traditional Greek tragedy there is a maximum of 3 speaking actorsoThe names given to these actors are protagonist deuteragonist and tritagonist which are the first second and third most important character respectively
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