• Polis: Ancient Greek city-state• Key events in Athens during the 5th century: – Emergence of democracy – The Persian Wars (449 – 499 BCE) – The Peloponnesian War (431 – 401 BCE)• The Delian League – An association of city-states lead by Athens
Dionysus• God of theatre, wine, fertility, and ritual madness• Was the son of Zeus, his mother was a mortal woman• Discovered the process of wine-making• Could transform into a lion• Was worshiped at festivals where theatre was performed
Theatre Festivals• Greek theatre was performed at three religious festivals throughout the year.• Dramatists competed for awards in writing, and actors competed for awards in performing.• At the Great Dionysia, three playwrights would present a trilogy of tragedies and a satyr play.• Plays were funded by a wealthy citizen- sponsor.
Greek Theatre at Epidaurus (rebuilt by the Romans)
Greek Actors• Thespis was the first winner of the tragic acting contest in 534 BCE• Each actor played several roles• Masks were used• Costumes were used to show: – Ethnicity – Gender – Social Role• All actors were male
Aeschylus• C. 525 – 455 BCE• Known for introducing the second actor• Often described as “the father of tragedy”• 70 – 80 tragedies are ascribed to him• 7 are intact• His most famous work is The Orestia
Sophocles• C 497 – 406 BCE• Reportedly wrote over 120 plays• 7 survive• His most famous tragedy is Oedipus Rex