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The Theatrical Cast of AthensInteractions between Ancient Greek Drama and Society$
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Edith Hall

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199298891

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199298891.001.0001

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Drowning Act: The Greeks, Swimming, and Timotheus' Persians

Drowning Act: The Greeks, Swimming, and Timotheus' Persians

(p.255) 9 Drowning Act: The Greeks, Swimming, and Timotheus' Persians
The Theatrical Cast of Athens


Oxford University Press

The presence of flamboyant Asiatics in the Athenian theatre and social imagination gave rise, towards the end of the 5th century, to ever more elaborate types of actorly mimesis. This chapter focuses on a type of performance so close to stage acting that in practice the differences may have been negligible: rendition of an original composition on a sensational theme by a solo singer, to his own citharodic accompaniment. For with the advent of the New Music, which used melody and tonal effect in unprecedentedly mimetic ways, both performances by auletes and citharodic dithyrambs became ever more theatrical. These musicians increasingly used their bodies to imitate the actions being described in the piece, and could even wear appropriate costumes.

Keywords:   Athenian drama, mimesis, stage acting, New Music, musicians, singing actors, aulete, citharodic dithyramb

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