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Sunday, July 9, 2017

049 - Theater and the Dionysia

In this episode, we discuss the origins of drama; the Dionysia festivals, both Rural in the month of Poseideon (late December/early January) and City in the month of Elaphebolion (late March/early April), and the Lenaia in the month of Gamelion (late January/early February); the physical space of the theater; and the components of tragedy and comedy

Greek termstheorika (a fund set aside to pay for the Dionysia), tragos (goat), oíde (song), hypokritai (actor), paredroi (officials), epimeletai (curators), eisagoge (the bringing in), pompe (procession)phalloi (symbolic images of penises), phallophoroi (phallus carriers)kanephoroi (basket carriers)obleliaphoroi (long-loafed bread carriers)skaphephoroi (carriers of offerings)hydriaphoroi (water jar carriers)askophori (wine jar carriers), choregoi (sponsors of the choruses), xenismos (ritual reception and entertaining of a guest), komos (drunken revelry), enkomion (song sung at a komos)agonothetai/kritai (judges of the plays), proagon (pre-contest), ikria (wooden bleachers), orchestra (circular area where chorus performed)theatron (viewing place), prohedria (special seats in front rows), choryphaios (chorus leader), skene (low stage or stage building), paraskenia (stage wall, "in place of a skene), episkenion (upper floor, "above the skene"), proskenion (projecting sides, "in front of a skene), pinakes (wooden plaques for decoration), paradoi/eisodoi (spaces between sides of stage and seating area), parados (first song sung by chorus), logeion (raised speaking place on the orchestra), mechane (crane), deus ex machina (Latin "god from a machine"), ekkyklema (a wheeled platform which could be rolled forward through the central door of the skene into the orchestra), kothornoi (special boots), prosopon (masks), epeisodia (episodes), stasima (choral interludes), agon (contest/dispute between the two characters), exodos (the exit of the audience), and katharsis (cleansing effect)

Video/Dionysus and his Theatre
Video/The Greek Chorus Explained (Part 1)
Video/Greek Choruses Explained (Pt2): Who used what chorus?

Recommended Podcast Episodes for Further Listening:
The Heritage Podcast Episode 25 Greek Drama and Aristotle’s Poetics
Words for Granted Episode 26 Tragedy
Words for Granted Episode 27 Comedy
Words for Granted Episode 28 Scene
Literature and History Episode 26 Ancient Greek Theater
Wonders of the World Episode 24 The Theater of Dionysus
Ancient Greece Declassified Ep 06 What is Greek Tragedy?


  1. Minute 28-I now appreciate why they call that AI movie, "Ex Machina" (2015). So clever.

    1. I haven't' seen it, but maybe I should now! Appreciate you listening anyways.