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New Directions in Ancient Pantomime$
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Edith Hall and Rosie Wyles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199232536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199232536.001.0001

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Virgil on the Popular Stage *

Virgil on the Popular Stage *

(p.185) 8 Virgil on the Popular Stage*
New Directions in Ancient Pantomime

Costas Panayotakis

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at the sources that assert that three sequences from the Aeneid were performed in pantomime—those dealing with Dido, Turnus, and the katabasis to the Underworld (tales dealing with love, death, violence, and vivid spectacle): Macrobius, for example, says that the love story of Dido and Aeneas is kept alive by the incessant gestures and songs of the actors; whilst Augustine suggests that the majority of his readers would be familiar with the episode between Aeneas and Anchises in the Underworld through performances of it in the theatre. Panayotakis argues that Virgil's poetry was important to the development of pantomime and of Latin literary aesthetics. This chapter engages with the issue of pantomime libretti.

Keywords:   pantomime, libretti, Virgil, Aeneid, Dido, Underworld, Augustine, Macrobius

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