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the Iliad recited at the neighbouring deme of Brauron'. If we add to this, that by introducing into a few passages of the Homeric poems some striking encomiums on his countrymen, he was able to add considerably to his popularity, and that it is always the policy of a tyrant to encourage literature’, we shall fully understand why he gave himself so much trouble about these poems in the days of his power:. Solon also greatly encouraged the rhapsodes, and shares with Pisistratus the honor of arranging the rhapsodies according to their natural and poetical sequence*; we must not forget too, that Solon was one of those writers of gnomic poetry, whom we have considered as the successors of the Epopoists, and from whose writings the Attic Tragedians modelled their dialogue. Now we know that Pisistratus endeavoured, as far as consistent with his own designs, to adopt the constitution of Solon, and always treated his venerable kinsman with deference and respect : may not a wish to reconcile his own plans with the tastes and feelings of the superseded legislator have operated with him as an additional reason for attempting to unite the old Epic element with the rites of the Dionysian religion, which his political connexions compelled him to transfer from the country to the city ? May not such a combination have been suggested by his early recollections of the Brauronia ? did the genius of the Icarian plan the innovation and carry it into effect? or is the name Thespis a mere figment derived from the common epithet of the Homeric minstrel', and im
1. See Nitzsch Indag. per Od. Interpol. præpar. p. 37. Hist. Hom. p. 165. Welcker, Ep. Cycl. p. 393.
2. See the remarks of Machiavelli, at the head of this chapter.
3. Quis doctior iisdem illis temporibus, aut cujus eloquentia litteris instructior fuisse traditur, quam Pisistrati ? qui primus Homeri libros, confusos antea, sic disposuisse dicitur ut nunc habemus. Cicer. de Orat. iii. 34.
Πεισίστρατος έπη τα “Ομήρου διεσπασμένα τε και άλλαχού μνημονευόμενα Opoífeto. Pausan. vii. 26. p. 594.
"Ύστερον Πεισίστρατος συναγαγών απέφηνε την Ιλιάδα και την Οδύσσειαν. Elian. V. H. xiii. 14.
See also Joseph. c. Apion. 1, 2.-Liban. Panegyr. in Julian. t. I. p. 170. Reiske. Suidas v. "Oumpos, and Eustath, p. 5.
4. Comp. Diog. Sol. I. 57, with Ps. Plat. Hipparch. p. 228, B.
του δ' υπερωϊόθεν φρεσί σύνθετο θέσπιν αοιδην
ως άρα του πρόφρων θεός ώπασε θέσπιν αοιδήν.
plying nothing more in its connexion with the history of the Drama, than that it arose from a combination such as have described ? These questions we cannot answer with any degree of certainty, and must leave the decision to the judgment of the reader.
But whatever cause we may assign for the union of the rhapsody with the cyclic chorus, it is quite certain that it did take place in the time of Pisistratus. Now it was not exactly the Homeric rhapsody that was combined with the Dithyramb; that was recited by itself on the proper occasion; that is to say, generally at the Panathenæa: the Homeric metre was not so well suited for dialogue as the lambic which Archilochus had framed from it. Recitations of gnomic verses in this metre were, as we have already seen, common: and what metre could be better adapted than this, which so nearly approached the language of ordinary life, for an interchange of sentiments between the actor and the exarchi of the chorus, or for a narration of the crime and punishment of Pentheus, or the trials of Pelias ? The Thespian rhapsode, then, spoke in lambics, and though Aristotle says that Tragedy was originally extemporaneous, (avtoo xedao TIK) we confess our utter inability to understand how this could be the case in the literal sense of the word. We feel convinced that the speeches of the exarchi were, however short, in verse, and as we have no account of actual improvisation among the ancient Greeks, we must conclude that these speeches of the exarchi were originally off-hand effusions, unconnected with one another, which each of the leaders had composed for himself, and learned off by heart, as Solon did in the case to which we have more than once alluded. At all events the Tragedies of Thespis were not extemporaneous, if there is any truth in what Donatus tells us of their being committed to writing: and this we are much inclined to believe. Bentley's attempt to prove the spuriousness of the lines which are quoted from
See Buttmann's Lexilogus, I. p. 166. It was very common to inrent names for persons from their actions, or for persons to change their own names according to their profession. Thus Helen is called the daughter of Nemesis, Arion the son of Cycleus, and Tisias changed his name into Stesichorus, by which alone he is known at the present day, (see Clinton's F. H. vol. I. p. 5.) so that Thespis may even be an assumed name.
1. Poet. c. iv.
Thespis by Plutarch and Julius Pollux, is very like begging the question. He assumes, (and it is a mere assumption, for there is nothing in the passages which he quotes to prove it) that the plays of Thespis were satyrical and ludicrous, and then, because some lines quoted from Thespis by Plutarch have a serious and moral tone, he concludes that they cannot have been written by him. Similarly, because the play from which Pollux quotes was evidently from its title a Tragedy, he at once denies its genuineness on the same ill-based hypothesis. A good deal might be said in favour of the authenticity of the lines quoted by Clemens Alexandrinus, but the defence of them would involve us in discussions on the Greek alphabet and the antiquity of inscriptions which would be foreign to our present subject. The two other quotations, especially that from Plutarch, have internal evidence in their favour. The latter is pervaded by the same spirit which we see in the gnomic Iambics of Simonides the elder, whom we suppose to have been one of the models which Thespis proposed to himself. The forgeries of Heraclides Ponticus are themselves no slight proof of the originally serious character of the Thespian Drama, for if his contemporaries had really believed that Thespis wrote nothing but ludicrous plays, a scholar of Aristotle would hardly have attempted to impose upon the public with a set of plays, altogether different in style and title from those of the author on whom he wished to pass them off. The fact is, that the choral plays from which the Thespian Drama was formed were satyrical, for the Dithyramb in the improved form which it received from Arion was performed by a chorus of satyrs': and there is little doubt that Thespis may have been a satyric poet before he was a Tragedian, in the more modern sense of the word: but we cannot think with Vico? and other writers, that he or any other dithyrambic poet ever indulged in coarse jokes, low buffooneries, and insulting language; or with Bentley, that “his Tragedies were nothing but droll.” On the contrary, we are convinced that the fact stated by Suidas, that Sophocles wrote “On the chorus” against Thespis and Chærilus, proves that their performances could not have been altogether different from his? Nor can any argument against the Tragic character of Thespis be derived from the lines at the end of the “Wasps” of Aristophanes; for opxeioda is used to signify acting in general. Thus Telestes, Æschylus' actor, is said to have expressed by dancing the character of Eteocles, in the “ Seven against Thebesa.”
1. Suidas, Αρίων-λέγεται-διθύραμβον ασαι-και σατύρους εισενεγκείν έμμετρα léyovras. We are inclined to agree with Schneider, (de Orig. Nag. Gr. p. 56.) that Thespis, in the earlier form of his Drama, sometimes represented the god Bacchus himself _“ haud dubie Bacchum repræsentabat facta ejus imitans voce et corpore.' We add that Bacchus is invoked as fapxos by the chorus of Bacchanalians in Eurip. (Bacch. 141), and it was as the exarchus of the Dithyramb that Thespis was
2. Vico uses very strong language in speaking of the Drama of Thespis and Anfione, as he calls Arion. He says, among other things, "La satira serbó quest" eterna propietà con la qual ella nacque di dir villanie ed ingiurie. (Scienz. Nuova, iii. p. 39.)
With regard to the statement of Suidas, that Phrynichus was the first who introduced women on the stage (apôros guvaikeiov a póowTov eionyayev), which Bentley, perhaps purposely, mistranslates, it is no reason for concluding that Thespis never wrote a tragedy called Alcestis, for it would have been perfectly easy to handle that subject in the Thespian manner, that is, with more narrative than dialogue, without the introduction of Alcestis herself. Indeed we cannot conceive how she could be introduced as talking to the chorus, and there was no other actor for her to talk with.
Of course, there could be no theatrical contests in the days of Thespis’: but the dithyrambic contests seem to have been important enough to induce Pisistratus to build a temple in which the victorious choragi might offer up their tripods“, a practice which the victors with the tragic chorus subsequently adopted.
1. Welcker, Nachtrag, p. 260.
2. Do. 266, 7. Αthen. 1. p. 21. f. και Τέλεσις δε ή Τελέστης, ο ορχηστoδιδάσκαλος πολλα εξεύρηκε σχήματα άκρως ταϊς χερσί τα λεγόμενα δεικνυούσαις..... 'Αριστοκλής γούν φησιν ότι Τελέστης ο Αισχύλου ορχηστης ούτως ήν τεχνίτης ώστε εν τω όρχείσθαι τους Επτά επί Θήβας φανερα ποιήσαι τα πράγματα δι' ορχήσεως.
3. Plutarch Sol. xxix.
4. Πύθιον. ιερόν Απόλλωνος 'Αθηνησιν υπό Πεισιστράτου γεγονός είς και τους τρίποδας ετίθεσαν οι τω κυκλίω χορώ νικήσαντες τα Θαργήλια. Photius. Comp. Thucyd. ii. 15. vi. 54.
ON THE PROPER CLASSIFICATION OF GREEK PLAYS.
ORIGIN OF COMEDY.
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral
comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited. For the laro of writ and the law of liberty these are the only men.
It is generally stated that there were three kinds of Greek Plays, and three only-Tragedy, Comedy, and the Satyrical Drama. It will be our endeavour in the following pages to examine this classification, and to see whether some better one cannot be proposed. With a view to this it will be proper to inquire into the origin of the Comical and Satyrical Dramas, just as we have already investigated the origin of Tragedy, and to consider how far the Satyrical Drama differed from or agreed with either the Tragedy or Comedy of the Greeks.
The word Tragedy — payodia—is derived of course from the words tpáryos and qoń. The former word is a synonym for od Tupos'; the goat-eared attendant of Dionysus is called by the name of the animal which he resembled, just as the shepherd or goatherd was called by the name of the animal which he tended, and whose skin formed his clothing". Tpaymoia is therefore not the song of a goat, because a goat was the prize of it; but a song accompanied by a dance performed by persons in the guise of
1. Ηesych. Τράγους, σατύρους-δια το τράγων ώτα έχειν. Εtym. Magn. oύς εκάλουν τράγους. .
2. The word Tityrus signifies, according to Servius, the leading ram of the flock : according to other authorities it means a goat : and some have even supposed it to be another form of Satyrus. See the passages quoted by Miller Dor. iv. ch. 6. § 10. note().