Texts & Testimonia:
  • Bruno Snell (ed.) Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta Volumen I (Gottingen 1971), II (1977), III (1985), IV (1986).
  • A. W. Pickard-Cambridge, Dithyramb, Tragedy, and Comedy (Oxford 1927)


  • Snell, TrGF I, 61-66. Pickard-Cambridge, 97-121.
  • Marmor Parium gives him a floruit of Olympiad 61 (536-533 B.C.)
  • He is said to have introduced the First Actor (protagonist), and the use of the masks [unlikely, in fact, at least as stated].
Plays: "The Contest of Pelias and Phorbas"


produced from Olympiad 64-70 (523-496 B.C.). 13 victories. 160 plays (??) "Alope"


  • first victory: 511 B.C.
  • Aristophanes praised his lyrics (Birds 748-50), but also says that he doesn't see how people could have stood the drama's artlessness (Frogs 910-11).
  • Plutarch (Symposiac Questions 8. 9.3) says he was innovative in the choral dance.
Plays: "Phoenician Women" (476 B.C.: Themistocles was choregos, possibly. Phrynichus adopted the Second Actor from Aeschylus)
"Pleuronai" (Meleager and the Caledonian Boar hunt)
"Aigptioi", "Danaids"
"Antaios", "Alkestis" (Herakles cycle)
"Sack of Miletos" (recent history, 494 B.C. Play was produced in 493/2, and banned forever from the Athenian stage)
He is said to have been the teacher of Thespis [an impossibility]
He is said to have invented the tetrameter [an absurdity]


  • from Phlius (in the Peloponnesos, near Nemea)
  • 32 Satyr-plays and 18 tragedies
  • He reformed the satyr-play into an artistic entity that was capable of being presented along with tragedies (ca. 515 B.C.?)


  • Suppliant Women is the earliest extant Greek tragedy, shortly after 500 B.C.
  • It has a very small part for a Second Actor (Deuteragonist), and most of the play is the work of the Chorus.

The major tragic festival was the Greater Dionysia (called the 'City Dionysia'), which took place in the Attic month of Elaphabolion, on the 11th, 12th, and 13th (some time in March or April, in the Athenian intercalated lunar calendar). The festival was in honor of Dionysos Eleutheros, whose statue had been brought to the city from the town of Eleutherae, on the side of Mt. Kithairon.
The second tragic festival was the Lenaia, which took place in the month Gamelion (January/February), at least from ca. 432 B.C. onward. The major focus of this festival, however, was the comedy, and thus an author was limited to two tragedies (rather than a trilogy), and the satyr-play (usually the 4th play after a tragic trilogy) was not used at all (as being unnecessary, with the comedies being presented anyway).

© 04/30/2001


January 24, 2010 2:36 PM

John Paul Adams, CSUN

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