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A Guide to Ancient Greek Drama, 2nd Edition

Ian C. Storey, Arlene Allan

ISBN: 978-1-118-45511-1 November 2013 Wiley-Blackwell 352 Pages


This newly updated second edition features wide-ranging, systematically organized scholarship in a concise introduction to ancient Greek drama, which flourished from the sixth to third century BC.

  • Covers all three genres of ancient Greek drama – tragedy, comedy, and satyr-drama
  • Surveys the extant work of Aeschylus, Sophokles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Menander, and includes entries on ‘lost’ playwrights
  • Examines contextual issues such as the origins of dramatic art forms; the conventions of the festivals and the theater; drama’s relationship with the worship of Dionysos; political dimensions of drama; and how to read and watch Greek drama
  • Includes single-page synopses of every surviving ancient Greek play

Preface to the First Edition xi

Preface to the Second Edition xiii

List of Figures xv

List of Maps and Plans xvi

Abbreviations and Signs xvii

1 Aspects of Ancient Greek Drama 1

Drama 1

The Dramatic Festivals 13

The Theatrical Space 24

The Performance 36

Drama, Dionysos and the Polis 51

2 Greek Tragedy 73

On the Nature of Greek Tragedy 79

Aeschylus 93

Sophokles 110

Euripides 133

The Other Tragedians 153

3 The Satyr-Drama 159

Cyclops 170

4 Greek Comedy 173

Origins 173

Old Comedy (486 – ca. 385) 177

The Generations of Old Comedy 197

Aristophanes 210

Greek Comedy and the Phlyax-vases 219

Middle Comedy 221

Menander and New Comedy 226

5 Approaching Greek Drama 237

Formal Criticism 237

Interdisciplinary Approaches 241

Visual Interpretations 247

Reception Studies 252

6 Play Synopses 256

Aeschylus’ Persians 257

Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes 258

Aeschylus’ Suppliants 259

Aeschylus’ Oresteia 260

Aeschylus’ Agamemnon 261

Aeschylus’ Libation-Bearers (Choephoroe) 262

Aeschylus’ Eumenides (Furies) 263

Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound 264

Sophokles’ Ajax 265

Sophokles’ Antigone 266

Sophokles’ Trachinian Women 267

Sophokles’ Oedipus Tyrannos 268

Sophokles’ Elektra 269

Sophokles’ Philoktetes 270

Sophokles’ Oedipus at Kolonos 271

Euripides’ Alkestis 272

Euripides’ Medea 273

Euripides’ Children of Herakles 274

Euripides’ Hippolytos 275

Euripides’ Andromache 276

Euripides’ Hecuba 277

Euripides’ Suppliant Women 278

Euripides’ Elektra 279

Euripides’ Herakles 280

Euripides’ Trojan Women 281

Euripides’ Iphigeneia among the Taurians 282

Euripides’ Ion 283

Euripides’ Helen 284

Euripides’ Phoenician Women 285

Euripides’ Orestes 286

Euripides’ Iphigeneia at Aulis 287

Euripides’ Bacchae 288

Euripides’ Cyclops 289

[Euripides’] Rhesos 290

Aristophanes’ Acharnians 291

Aristophanes’ Knights 292

Aristophanes’ Wasps 293

Aristophanes’ Peace 294

Aristophanes’ Clouds 295

Aristophanes’ Birds 296

Aristophanes’ Lysistrate 297

Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria 298

Aristophanes’ Frogs 299

Aristophanes’ Assembly-Women 300

Aristophanes’ Wealth 301

Menander’s The Grouch 302

Menander’s Samian Woman 303

A Note on Meter 304

Glossary of Names and Terms 307

Timeline 311

Further Reading 316

Index 324

“Whether the student has a good grasp of the language, or little (even none), they will find this an invaluable source book and study aid. It will help students of classical literature to understand the context and content of ancient Greek drama more thoroughly and more productively.  Although not stated as an aim of the book, it will also help students of related subjects who need some instruction in or background to ancient Greek drama.”  (Reference Reviews, 1 October 2014)