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The Origins of Theater in Ancient Greece and Beyond

The Origins of Theater in Ancient Greece and Beyond
From Ritual to Drama


E. Csapo, M. C. Miller, T. H. Carpenter, T. J. Smith, C. Isler-Kerenyi, J. R. Green, G. Nagy, D. Depew, G. Hedreen, M. Steinhart, B. Kowlazig, K. C. Patton, R. J. Leprohon, G. Zobel, N. H. Petersen, R. Seaford
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  • Date Published: April 2007
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521836821

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About the Authors
  • The Origins of Theater in Ancient Greece and Beyond examines the evidence for the pre-history and origin of drama. The belief that drama developed from religious ritual has been commonplace since the time of Aristotle but there is little agreement on just how this happened. Recently, scholars have even challenged the historical connection between drama and ritual. This volume is the most thorough examination on the origins of Greek drama to date. It brings together seventeen essays by leading scholars in a variety of fields, including classical archaeology, iconography, cultural history, theater history, philosophy, and religion. Though it primarily focuses up on ancient Greece, the volume includes comparative studies of ritual drama from ancient Egypt, Japan, and medieval Europe. Collectively, the essays show how the relationship of drama to ritual is one of the most controversial, complex, and multi-faceted questions of modern times.

    • Features an interdisciplinary approach
    • Richly illustrated with major visual evidence
    • The most thorough examination of the subject to date
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Jane Harrison and the Cambridge Ritualists, early in the twentieth century, fixed firmly in our minds the view that drama developed out of religious ritual. But how did this happen? And is the view unassailable? This important book, consisting of seventeen essays that grew out of a colloquium, is the most thorough and wide-ranging attempt for surprisingly many years to address these and related questions.' Robin Waterfield, Heythrop Journal

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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2007
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521836821
    • length: 462 pages
    • dimensions: 262 x 186 x 29 mm
    • weight: 1.138kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. General introduction E. Csapo and M. C. Miller
    Part I. Komasts and Pre-Dramatic Ritual:
    2. Introduction T. H. Carpenter
    3. The corpus of Komast vases: from identity to exegesis T. J. Smith
    4. Komasts, mythical imaginary and ritual C. Isler-Kerenyi
    5. Let's hear it for the fat man: padded dancers and the prehistory of drama J. R. Green
    6. Discussion T. H. Carpenter
    Part II. Emergence of Drama:
    7. Introduction and discussion G. Nagy
    8. From hymn to tragedy: Aristotle's genealogy of poetic kinds D. Depew
    9. Myths of ritual in Athenian vase-paintings of Silens G. Hedreen
    10. From ritual to narrative M. Steinhart
    11. 'And now all the world shall dance!' (Eur. Bacch. 114): Dionysus' choroi between drama and ritual B. Kowlazig
    Part III. Comparing Other Cultures:
    12. Introduction K. C. Patton
    13. Ritual drama in an ancient Egypt R. J. Leprohon
    14. Ritual and performance, dance and drama in ancient Japan G. Zobel
    15. Representation in European devotional rituals: the question of the origin of medieval drama in medieval liturgy N. H. Petersen
    16. Discussion K. C. Patton
    Part IV. From Ritual to Drama:
    17. From ritual to drama: a concluding statement R. Seaford.

  • Editors

    Eric Csapo, University of Toronto
    Eric Csapo is Professor of Classics at the University of Sydney. He is an expert on the history of the ancient theatre and coauthor of The Context of Ancient Drama. His most recent book is Theories of Mythology.

    Margaret C. Miller, University of Toronto
    Margaret C. Miller is Arthur and Renee George Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney. She specializes in Greek iconography and cultural history. Her book, Athens and Persia in the Fifth Century BC: A Study in Cultural Receptivity, won the Prix Ghirshman of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 2001.


    E. Csapo, M. C. Miller, T. H. Carpenter, T. J. Smith, C. Isler-Kerenyi, J. R. Green, G. Nagy, D. Depew, G. Hedreen, M. Steinhart, B. Kowlazig, K. C. Patton, R. J. Leprohon, G. Zobel, N. H. Petersen, R. Seaford

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