Page images

contrived as to answer the purpose of a speaking trumpet, and to make the actor's voice sonorous and loud; whence, according to Gabius Bassus,' came the Latin term Persona. The Greek name mpóownov means literally any thing applied to the face. This was the ancient term, but later writers call it a poownelov.' Iu the earlier age of tragedy, the actors smeared their faces either with the lees of wine, as we have before observed, or with a kind of paint called Batpažeiov.3 Different actors invented different masks. Who first introduced them into comedy is unknown.” But Æschylus first used them in tragedy; persona, pallaque repertor honesta Æschylus, says Horace.

The different kinds of vizards are described by Julius Pollux

IV. 133. seqg.o

We come next to the buskins worn by tragic actors, called éußátai, or kółopvou. The Scholiast on Lucian Jov. Frag. p. 13. εμβάτας μεν, τα ξύλα, ά βάλλουσιν υπό τους πόδας οι τραγωδοί, ένα φανώσι μακρότεροι. But Pollux IV. 115. says that the tragic buskins were called κόθορνοι or εμβάδες, and the comic éußárai. The invention of the buskin is attributed to Eschylus και τους υποκρίτας-τω σώματι εξογκώσας, μείζοσί TE TOîs kolópvois Metewpioas.? So Horace, Æschylus— Et docuit magnumque loqui nitique cothurno. Others ascribe it to Sophocles, as Servius relates in his notes on Virgil Ecl. VIII. 10. Sola Sophocleo tua carmina digna cothurno. Hence cothurnus is often put metonymice for tragedia; as in Horace Od. II, 1.12. grande munus Cecropio repetes cothurno. Juv. XV. 29. vulgi scelus, et cunctis graviora cothurnis. The object of their wearing these buskins with thick soles, was to elevate them above the ordinary level of human stature; for the personages of all the Greek dramas were men of the heroic ages, who were thought to bave

1. In Aulus Gellius V. 7.

2. Ulp. (or rather Zosimus Ascalonita, as Mr. Dobree has lately shewn) in Demosth. de Fals. Leg. p. 116. A.

3. Schol. Aristoph. Equit. 520.
4. Athen. XIV. p. 659. B. Tyrwhitt. in Aristot. p. 139
5. Aristot. Poet. § 11.

A work de Personis et Larvis, was published at Rome in 1639, by Agesilaus Marescottus; but it is exceedingly rare; and I have never seen it.

7. Auctor vitæ Æschyli, in edit. Robortelli. VOL. II, No. 6.


been superior in size to their posterity.' The reason commonly assigned is the great size of the Greek theatres, which seems to me a very inadequate one. Lucian” says, ή και, νή Δί, είτις υποδησάμενος κοτόρνους, μικρος αυτός ών, ερίζοι περί μεγέθους τους από ισοπέδου όλα πήχει υπερέχουσιν. I think it doubtful whether the tragic buskin was ever called kódopvos by the more ancient writers, who used this word to denote a sort of sandal worn by women, not made right and left, as sandals usually were, but equally adapted to both feet; whence Theramenes was called • kódopvos, as having attached himself with equal readiness 10 that party which happened to be uppermost.

We are informed by Diomedes in the extract above referred to, that the actors wore garments down to their feet, in order to conceal the device of the buskins. Ister the grammarian informs us that Sophocles invented the white sandals which were worn by the actors and the chorus.“



Of the Theatre. The theatre at Athens was formerly a temporary building, constructed of wooden planks (kpia), in the forum.These having given way during the representation of a play of Pratinas, or of Æschylus, a more substantial theatre was erected in the precincts of the temple of Bacchus, near the Acropolis.?

That portion of the theatre appropriated to the performances, was divided into 1. Eknun', the whole stage; 2. Aoyciov, in Latin pulpitum, that part where the actors stood ;3. 'Opxnotpa,

[ocr errors][merged small]

1. Diomedes. Comm. in Dionys. Thrac. ap. Valckenaer. Animadv. ad Ammon. p. 75. de tragicis ; επιδεικνύμενοι δε των ηρώων ώσανεί τα αυτών πρόσωπα πρωτον μεν επελέγοντο άνδρας τους μείζονας και ευρυβόας: δεύτερον δε βουλόμενοι και τα σώματα δεικνύειν ηρωϊκα, εμβάδας εφόρους και ιμάτια ποδήρη. .

2. pro Imagin. II. p. 485. 3. Suidas v. Kóbopvos. 4. Apud Auctorem Vitæ Sophoclis. 5. Photius v. "Ixpia. 6. Suidas vv. Aloxúdos. Ipativas. See the Preface to the Persa of Æschylus, p. xvi.

7. Hesych. v. 'Evi Anvaim. Ruhnken. Auctar. Emend. in Hesych. v. Alovuora.

8. Phrynich. Ecl. p. 64. ubi vid. Nunnes.

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

a semicircular space before the Aoyeiov, and a little lower than it; on which was the Oven or altar of Bacchus, 4. 'YTOokývlov, or Koviotpa, the floor of which was on a level with the area of the theatre, a space decorated with columns and statues.

The space before the Ekývn, where the actors stood, was also called II pookývlov.' The following passage of Vitruvius will shew the nature of these divisions.

“ Ampliorem habent Orchestram Græci, et scenam recessiorem, minoreque latitudine pulpitum, quod loyelov appellant : ideoque apud eos Tragici et Comici Actores in Scena peragunt: reliqui autem artifices suas per orchestram præstant actiones, ideoque ex eo Scenici et Thymelici Græce separatim nominantur.' See Section I. p. 74.

It appears from a story told by Athenæus XIV. p. 631. F. that the space beneath the stage, whither the actors retired to dress or repose, was called "TOOKÝVLOV.

The wings of the scenes were called Tapao kývia ; and there were three doors on the stage, one in the centre, which represented the door of a palace, or the residence of the chief personage of the drama ; one on the right, through which the second actor retreated ; and a third on the left side, which was appropriated to the tpitaywvlotns, or to represent some deserted house or temple. And in tragedy, according to Pollux, the right hand door is that by which strangers enter, and the left hand door is that of a prison. Before the principal doorway was an altar of Apollo á yuleús. The following passage of Vitruvius (V. 8.) describes the difference of the scenes.

“Genera sunt scenarum tria, unum quod dicitur Tragicum, alterum Comicum, tertium Satyricum. Horum autem ornatus sunt inter se dissimiles, disparique ratione : quod tragicæ deformantur columnis, fastigiis et signis, reliquisque regalibus rebus. Comicæ auteni ædificiorum privatorum et mænianorum habent


1. Suidas v. Exniun.
2. Suidas ibid. Pollur IV. 124.
3. Vitruvius, V. 6.
4. Idem, V. 8.

5. Pollux IV. 124. The author of the Life of Aristophanes tells us, that the chorus of Comedy, when entering, as it were, from the city, came in at the left side, and from the country, at the right.

6. Pollux IV. 123. Eurip. Phæniss. 640.

speciem, perspectusque fenestris dispositos communium ædificiorum rationibus : Satyricæ vero ornantur arboribus, speluncis, montibus, reliquisque agrestibus rebus, in topiarii operis speciem deformatis.”

The device of painting scenes to represent natural objects, is attributed by Aristotle to Sophocles ;' but to Æschylus by the author of his life.” A particular, though rather confused account of the different scenes and machinery may be seen in Pollux IV. 129. (which it is not worth while to transcribe) or in Bulenger's Treatise de Theatris I. 14. It appears that in their devices for effect, they were not at all inferior to the stage machinists of the present day. They had their eiokúkinua, or rolling platform for sea gods, &c. their unxávn or descending machine, on which the deities canje down, their Ocolóyelov, or sky-platform, on which the same heavenly personages talked aloft ; their yépavos or crane, by which the actors, as occasion required, were borne into the air by means of αιωραι or ropes; their χαρώνιοι κλίμακες or Charon's ladder, which led to hell through the trap-doors, and by which the eidwa, or ghosts, came up. They had moreover a Bpovreiov, or artificial thundering machine, consisting of a vessel filled with stones, which was rolled along a sheet of their kepauvoo komeiov, which flashed lightning.

It appears from a passage of Aspasius, in his Commentary on Aristotle (IV. fol. 53. b. ed. Ald.) that there was much less of splendid ornament in comedy than in tragedy; the reason is, that comedy was for a long time very little thought of; dia uri σπουδάζεσθαι εξ αρχής, έλαθεν.3

I have before observed, that we have no direct testimony to inform us how many dramatic pieces were represented in the same day; it may throw some little light upon the question to observe, that it appears from Theophrastus, that the theatres were filled at least four times in the same day.'

copper; and

1. De Poetica, s. 10.
2. In editione Robortelli.
3. Aristot. Poet. §. 11.

4. Charact. 27. και εν τοις θαύμασι (θεάμασι Schneider) τρία ή τέτταρα πλήρωματα υπομένειν, τα άσματα εκμανθάνων. A passage which has grievously perplexed the critics. See Chardon de la Rochette, Mélanges, T. II. p. 174.

I will conclude with the following theatrical anecdote, extracted from a fragment of M. Cornelius Fronto, recently published from a MS. in the Ambrosian Library, by Signor Angelo Maio, T. II. p. 253. Tragicus Æsopus fertur non prius ullam suo induisse capiti personam, antequam diu ex adverso contemplaretur pro personæ vultu gestum sibi capessere ac vocem.” We shall reserve for some future opportunity our remarks on other subjects connected with the history of the drama.

[ocr errors]



In the first volume of this Journal, p. 541. some calculations were entered into, which tended to shew that the number of inhabitants contained in Athens about the fourth century before the Christian era, did not fall short of 100,000. The following observations may perhaps go some way towards deciding this question.

Demosthenes in his speech against the law of Leptines (9.26. p. 37. ed. Wolf. 1789.) has the following remarkable passage.

It will appear, upon consideration, that this Leuco has been our constant benefactor; and that too, in those respects where the city stands most in need of assistance. For you well know, that of all places, we are the most dependent upon foreign supplies of corn. Now the corn which is imported from Pontus equals, or rather exceeds in quantity, all that comes to us from other markets—and the number of medimni which come from Leuco (i. e. from Pontus) amounts to 400,000, as any person may ascertain by inspecting the corn-meter's returns.”

We may therefore estimate the whole annual importation of corn into Attica at 800,000 medimni. Of this, two thirds were, by law, to be carried into the city,' or 533,3334.

Thucydides (IV. 16.) tells us that the daily allowance to the Lacedæmonians blockaded in Sphacteria was two chænices of

1. Aristotle ap. Harpocrat. v. 'Emmentus.

« PreviousContinue »