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To the same class of amulets as the votive hands must be assigned the terracotta model of a mirror, covered over with numerous objects of magical virtue (No. 109). Several of these are well-known attributes of deities, e.g. the thunderbolt, the trident, the club, the crescent, and the caduceus. The object of these amulets seems to have been to propitiate the deities whose symbols are represented on them.
Dedications.--(52) B.M. Inscr., cxxxix. ; (53) B.M. Inscr., xxxiii.; I.G., II., 656; (54) B.M. Inscr., xxxiv. ; I.G., II., 754; (55) C.I.L., VI., 180; Ellis, Townley Gallery, II., p. 279; (56, 57) B.M. Cat, of Sculpture, I., 811, 812; (58) Excavations in Cyprus, p. 64, fig. 77; (59) C.I.L., VI., 30689; Ellis, Townley Gallery, II., p. 275 ; Ancient Marbles, X., p. 132, pl. liii., 1; (60) Cat. of Sculpt., II., 1311; (61) ibid., 1312; (62) Cat. of Sculpt., I., 799–808; (67) ibid., 798;(68) Cat, of Bronzes, 237; (69) ibid., 261; (71) ibid., 252; (72) ibid., 3208; (74) ibid., 253; (76) ibid., 318; (77) ibid., 888; (78-80) Bonner Jahrb., CVII. (1901), p. 61 ff., pl. vi., vii. ; (81) Cat, of Bronzes, 904 ; (86) Cf. Tod and Wace, Sparta Mus. Cat., p. 228; B.S.A., XII., p. 322 ff.
On votive offerings generally, cf. Rouse, Greek Votive Offerings, passim.
Religious Rites.-(87) B.M. Inscr., i.; (89) Cat. of Vases, II., B 633; (91) Forman Sale Cat., 1899, No. 55, pl. ii.; (92) B.M. Inscr., dclxxviii. ; (93) Cat. of Sculpt., III., 1998.
Superstition and Magic.-(104) Newton, Discoveries at Halicarnassus, Cnidus, and Branchidae, p. 719 ff. On these defixiones generally, see Audollent, Defixionum Tabellae, Paris, 1904; (105) Cat. of Bronzes, 3191-3194 ; cf. Daremberg et Saglio, Dict, des Ant., s.v. Clavus; (107) Cat, of Bronzes, 874-876; cf. Arch.-ep. Mitt., II., p. 44 ff. ; (109) Cat. of Terracottas, E 129; Journ. Hell. Stud., VII., p. 44 ff.
For Greek religion, see Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion ; for Roman, Warde Fowler, The Roman Festivals.
(Table-Case K and Glass Shade before Wall-Cases 96-97.) The antiquities illustrating the ancient drama are placed in one half of Table-Case K, and under the glass shade standing before Wall-Cases 96 and 97.
Greek Drama.- This was in its origin essentially religious, and retained up to the decline of tragedy at the end of the fifth century B.c, the character of a religious ceremony. Thus tragedy gradually developed out of the rude dances in honour of the wine
god Dionysos, which were performed at country vintage festivals. The name tragedy means “goat-song,” and is probably to be associated with the sacrifice of the goat, the enemy of the vines.
The dramatic part of a tragedy was at first confined to a dialogue between a single actor and the leader of the chorus, with long musical interludes, but the number of actors was gradually increased, with the result that more stress was laid on the dramatic action. Aeschylos introduced a second actor, Sophokles a third, and Euripides, the last of the great tragedians, reduced the lyrical element of the play to comparatively insignificant proportions.
Comedy underwent a development not unlike that of tragedy. It also had its origin in the coarse buffoonery common at the rustic festivals which celebrated the vintage. Introduced into Athens from the neighbouring Megara early in the sixth century B.C., it did not receive recognition from the state until the middle of the fifth century. The comedy of the closing years of that century is inseparably connected with the name of Aristophanes, who succeeded so well in combining merciless political satire with exquisite poetry that the writer of a late Greek epigram? could say with truth
“The Graces sought a lasting home to find,
And Aristophanes gave them his mind.” In the fourth century B.C. a great change came over comedy at Athens. The later plays of Aristophanes mark the beginning of the comedy of manners, which took the place of the old political comedy. The master of this new comedy was Menander. Through Roman translations and adaptations of Menander and his fellow poets by Plautus and Terence, comes the comedy of Molière and modern Europe.
The theatre, in which these ancient plays were performed, was of slow development. The grassy slopes of a hill, bordering on a circular dancing-place (orchestra), satisfied the earliest audiences. Later on, a definite place was set apart for theatrical performances, and a wooden structure erected for the actors. It was not until the fourth century that permanent stone seats were laid down in the Theatre of Dionysos at Athens, although performances had been given there for more than a century. Seats
of honour were then reserved in front for officials and the priest of Dionysos in particular. A cast of the chair occupied by this priest is exhibited in the Elgin Room (No. 2709). The inscription on the cast of another chair (No. 2710) in the same room shows that it was set apart for one of the strategi, the most important Athenian magistrates. In front of the auditorium was the circular orchestra, where was placed the altar of Dionysos, and round which the chorus danced and sang. Beyond was the stage, which was probably not raised above the level of the orchestra until a late period in the history of Greek drama. Behind the stage was a permanent background of wood or stone. Scenery was of the simplest kind, but hangings and other decoration could be used to suggest a palace or a temple. The appearance of an ancient Greek theatre is well illustrated by a view of the theatre at Epidauros, built in the fourth century B.c. (fig. 32). The semi-circular auditorium rises in tier after tier of seats, separated into blocks by means of several vertical stairways and one horizontal gangway. In front are the stage buildings, with the circular orchestra before them. It has been calculated that this iheatre would be capable of seating an audience of some fourteen thousand persons on its fifty-five rows of seats, which are constructed with a view to the strictest economy of space, and were not furnished with the luxury of backs.
Roman Drama.—The drama at first met with a determined opposition from Romans of the old school as a new-fangled thing from Greece. The taste of the people, also, was not inclined to favour so cultured an amusement as the drama. The Romans preferred to see a fight between men or beasts rather than to listen to a play, and on one occasion, when listening to a play of Terence, they rushed pell-mell from the theatre, because a rumour arose that a combat of gladiators was going to take place. The prologues which the poets placed before their plays, especially those of Terence, show how difficult the comic poets found it to obtain a fair hearing. “ Please try,” says Terence in the prologue to his Phormio, “to give me a fair hearing; I don't want another experience like that when my actors were driven from the stage by the uproar.” 2
The more important Roman comedies were adapted from the New Comedy of the Greeks. These adaptations are familiar to us
from the surviving plays of Plautus (254–184 B.c.) and Terence (ca. 185–159 B.C.).
A permanent theatre was not erected in Rome till 55 B.C. The Romans were afraid that its erection might be detrimental to the public morals, and, nearly a hundred years before the building of Pompey's theatre (55 B.c.) the Senate had ordered the destruction of a theatre which was being built. Actors had to be content with temporary wooden structures, which were pulled down when the performances were over.
The objects illustrating the ancient drama may now be dealt with. They can conveniently be divided into (a) representations of scenes from plays and (b) figures of actors and masks.
(a) Scenes from Plays.-The vase (No. 110) placed under the glass shade in front of Wall-Cases 96 and 97 is valuable as an illustration of the beginnings of Athenian drama. It is a plate of Athenian fabric of the sixth century B.C., with designs which probably represent the sacrifice made to Athena at the Panathenaic games, and two scenes relating to dramatic contests. The first of these scenes shows a tragic chorus with the goat, which was the prize of victory. The second shows a comic chorus, in which a man seated at the back of a mule-car appears to be making jests at the expense of another man who follows. This “ jesting from a car" became a regular phrase to express ribald joking. None of the men who take part in these contests is distinguished by any peculiarity of costume. Another early vase, however (No. 111), gives a lively picture of two actors dressed up as birds. Before them stands a flute-player. Though this vase is many years earlier in date than the Birds of Aristophanes (414 B.C.), yet it may serve to give us some idea of the appearance of the chorus in that play.
The two large vases under this same glass shade illustrate Greek dramatic performances of a considerably later date. They give us scenes from phlyakes, a class of burlesques which were in vogue in the Greek cities of Southern Italy, especially at Tarentum, at the end of the fourth and the beginning of the third century B.C. They are associated with the name of Rhinthon, a Syracusan, who in a Greek epigram is made to say of himself: “I am but a small nightingale of the Muses, but from my mock-tragedies
Cf. Dem., de Cor., 122 : kaà Boậs öntà val õppnta óvopačov, botep d'E áuátns.