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Greek Theatre

2. Pre-Play Rituals

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we think about the rituals and ceremonies that immediately preceded the performance of the dramatic works themselves – and why they are important. In particular, we focus on: (i) the involvement of all ten Athenian generals these ceremonies; (ii) the procession round the theatre of the huge ‘tribute payments’ sent to Athens by her allies – in front of the very people who had sent them; (iii) the awarding of crowns to state benefactors; (iv) the procession of the ephebic war orphans and the swearing of the ephebic oath; and (v) the contrast between the good order of these rituals and the (violent) disorder depicted in the tragedies and comedies themselves.

Course

In this course, Professor Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge) explores several aspects of Greek tragedy and comedy, focusing in particular on Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Bacchae, and Aristophanes’ Frogs. The first module provides an introduction to Greek tragedy and comedy, focusing in particular on the particular time and place in which these plays were written and performed ¬– fifth-century Athens. In the second module, we think about the rituals and ceremonies that preceded the performance of the dramatic works themselves – and why they are important in how we think about tragedy and comedy. Each of the three modules after that focuses on a single play –Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, Euripides’ Bacchae, and Aristophanes’ Frogs – and we think about some of the play’s key issues and preoccupations. The sixth module provides some concluding thoughts on the genre as a whole.

Lecturer

Simon Goldhill is Professor of Greek Literature and Culture and a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge. His research interests include Greek Tragedy, Greek Culture, Literary Theory, Later Greek Literature, and Reception. His many publications include Reading Greek Tragedy (1986), Love Sex and Tragedy (2004), Victorian Culture and Classical Antiquity (2011), and Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy (2012), the last of which won the 2013 Runciman Award for the best book on a Greek topic, ancient or modern.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Goldhill, S. (2020, September 03). Greek Theatre - Pre-Play Rituals [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/greek-theatre-simon-goldhill/pre-play-rituals

MLA style

Goldhill, Simon. "Greek Theatre – Pre-Play Rituals." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 03 Sep 2020, https://massolit.io/courses/greek-theatre-simon-goldhill/pre-play-rituals