Glossary of Names and Terms
Aeschylus the first of the three great tragedians (career: 498-456); several plays have come down under his name.
Agathon a tragic poet of the 410s and 400s, best known for his appearances in Plato’s Symposium and Aristophanes’ Women at the Thesmophoria.
agon a formally structured contest between two antagonists, found both in tragedy and comedy.
Anapest meter based on the form [» »—]; see the appendix on meter.
archon one of nine Athenian senior officials chosen by lot. The archon eponymous was in charge of the City Dionysia, the archon basileus of the Lenaia.
Aristophanes the best-known and only surviving exponent of Old Comedy (career: 427–ca.385); eleven of his comedies have survived.
Aristotle (385–322), philosopher and student of Plato, author of Poetics, an important early source for Greek drama.
Aulos a double-recorder (often misnamed “flute”), played to accompany the dithyramb and the sung parts of drama.
Choregos lit. “chorus-bringer,” a wealthy Athenian (or metic for the Lenaia) who would sponsor the production of tragedy and comedy.
City Dionysia the major Athenian festival honoring the god Dionysos, held in the month of Elaphebolion (late March).
comedy “revel-song,” introduced at the City Dionysia in 486, divided by the ancients into Old (486–ca.385), Middle (ca.385–ca.320), and New (320–250 BC).
dactyl the grand heroic meter of epic poetry [—» »]; see the appendix on meter.
dithyramb a large-scale choral song performed in honor of Dionysos, said by Aristotle to be the ancestor of tragedy.
eisodos “way in,” one of the two formal entrances on either side of the orchestra.
ekklesia the Athenian assembly, composed of citizen males, which met on the Pnyx Hill.
Ekkyklema “wheel out,” a large wheeled platform that could be rolled through the central door in the skene to display indoor scenes and dramatic tableaux.
episodes the scenes, usually in iambic trimeter, involving the actors (and the chorus).
Eupolis career: 429–411, one of the canonical three poets of Old Comedy, wrote fifteen comedies; only fragments survive.
Euripides the third of the canonical three tragic poets (career: 455–407); nineteen plays have come down to us under his name.
exodos “way out,” the closing scene of a comedy or tragedy.
hypothesis an ancient summary of a Greek play, often containing both a plot-line and the details of production.
iambic meter based on the form [»—]; see the appendix on meter.
kommos a formal song between an actor (or actors) and the chorus.
komodoumenoi real persons made fun of in comedy.
Kratinos career: 545–423, one of the canonical three of Old Comedy, author of about twenty-five comedies, only fragments have survived.
Lenaia ancient Athenian festival of Dionysos, held in the month of Gamelion (January).
Lykourgos Athenian politician responsible for re-building the theater in the 330s. mechane “machine,” a crane-like device that allowed performers to appear in the air or to enter...