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date: 26 May 2024

satyric dramalocked

satyric dramalocked

  • Richard Seaford

Extract

In the Classical period it was normal for a satyr-play to be written by each tragedian for performance after his set of three tragedies at the Athenian City *Dionysia. The chorus is composed of satyrs (see next entry), and is closely associated with their father Silenus. One complete satyr-play 709 lines long (Euripides' Cyclops), survives, together with numerous fragments, notably about half of *Sophocles (1)'s Ichneutae (‘Trackers’) preserved on papyrus, and numerous vase-paintings inspired by satyr-plays, notably the Pronomos vase (Beazley, ARV2 1336. 1), which displays the entire cast of a victorious play. The themes were taken from myth (sometimes connected with the theme of the trilogy), and the earthy preoccupations of the satyrs may have had the effect of reducing the dignity of various heroes, as happens to *Odysseus in the Cyclops. Odysseus' speech is, metrically and stylistically, virtually indistinguishable from tragic speech, and even that of the satyrs and Silenus, though lower in tone, remains much closer to tragedy than to comedy. Horace describes tragedy as like a matron who does not descend to uttering trivial verses as she consorts modestly with the impudent satyrs at a festival (Ars p.

Subjects

  • Greek Literature

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