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CHAPTER III.

THE TRAGIC DIALOGUE.-THESPIS.

C'est surtout dans la Tragédie antique, que l'Épopée ressort de partout. Elle monte

sur la scène Grecque sans rien perdre en quelque sorte de ses proportions gigantesques e démesurées. Ce que chantaient les rhapsodes, les acteurs le déclament. Voilà tout.

Victor Hugo.

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In addition to the choruses, which, together with the accompanying lyrical poetry, we have referred to the Dorians, another species of entertainment had existed in Greece from the very earliest times, which we may consider as peculiar to the Ionian race; for it was in the Ionian colonies that it first sprang up. This was the recitation of poems by wandering minstrels, called rhapsodes (cafqdol); a name probably derived from the æsacus', a staff (þáßdos) or branch (épvos) ? of laurel or myrtle, which was the symbol of their office. Seated in some conspicuous situation, and holding this staff in the right hand, the rhapsodes chanted in slow recitativo, and either with or without a musical accompaniment', larger

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' Ηesych. αίσακος. και της δάφνης κλάδος ον κατέχοντες ύμνουν τους θεούς. Plutarch. Sympos. p. 615: "Ηδον ωδήν του θεού-εκάστω μυρσίνης διδομένης ήν "Ασακον, οίμαι διά το άδειν τον δεξάμενον, εκάλουν. Welcker has established most clearly (Ep. Cycl. p. 364) that payyoos is another form of panlovôds = ραβδωδός. Comp. χρυσόρ-ραπ-ις, βραβεύς, and ραπ-ίζεσθαι, as applied to Homer by Ding. Laert. (ix. 1.) 2 Hence they were also called άρνωδοί, i. e. έρνωδοί.

. 3 It is difficult to determine the degree of musical accompaniment which the rhapsedes admitted ; the rhapsode, as such, could hardly have accompanied himself, as one of his hands would be occupied by his rod. We think Wachsmuth is hardly justified in calling (Hellen. Alterth. ii. 2, 389.) Stesandrus, who sang the Homeric battles to the Cithara at Delphi, a rhapsode. (Athen. xiv. p. 638, a.) Terpander was the first who set the Homeric Poems to regular tunes. (See Müller's Dor. iv. 7, $ 11.). On the recitation of the rhapsodists in general, the reader would do well to consult Welcker, Ep. Cycl. p. 338, fol. Grote, Hist. Gr. Vol. II. p. 184, foll.

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or smaller portions of the national epic poetry, which, as is well known, took its rise in the Ionian states; and, in days when readers were few, and books fewer, were well-nigh the sole depositories of the literature of their country.

Their recitations, however, were not long confined to the Epos. All poetry was equally intended for the ear, and nothing was written but in metre: hence the Muses were appropriately called the children of Memory. Now, the Epos

soon succeeded, but not displaced, by the gnomic and didactic poetry of Hesiod, which, as has been justly observed, was an ornamental appendage of the older form of poetry". These poems therefore were recited in the same way as the Epos ', and Hesiod himself was a rhapsode. If the Margites, in its original form, belonged to the Epic period of Greek poetry, it cannot be doubted that this humorous poem was also communicated to the public by means of recitation. The Epos of Homer, with not a little borrowed from the sententious poetry of Hesiod, formed the basis of the Tragic dialogue ; and in the same way the Margites contained within itself the germs of Comedy. The change of metre, which alone rendered the transition to the other forms more simple and easy, is universally attributed to the prolific genius of Archilochus, one of the greatest names in the history of ancient literature. This truly original poet formed the double rhythm of the trochee from the equal rhythm of the dactyl, and used this metre partly in combination with dactyls, and partly in dipodiæ of its own, which were considered as ultimately equivalent to the dactylic number. He soon proved that his new verses were lighter and more varied than the old heroic hexameters, and employed them for nearly equivalent purposes. At the same time, he formed the inverse double rhythm of the iambic from the anapæst, or inverted dactyl, which was the natural measure of the march, and was probably used from very early days in the songs of the processional comus'. Here again he had an admirable vehicle

4 Wachsmuth, Hellen. Alterthumsk. ii. 2, p. 391. 5 Plato, Legg. ii. p. 658.

6 Pausan. ix. 30, 3: καθήται δε και Ησίοδος κιθάρας επί τοις γόνασιν έχων, ουδέν τι οικείον Ησιόδω φόρημα: δηλα γάρ δή και εξ αυτών των επών ότι επί ράβδου δάφνης δεν. Ηesiod could not play on the lyre, x. 7, 2: λέγεται δε και *Ησίοδον απελαθήναι του αγωνίσματος άτε ου κιθαρίζειν ομου τη μου δεδιδαγμένον.

? See Donaldson's Greek Grammar, 647. 651. 650.

for the violent satire, in which he indulged, and which found its best justification in the scurrilities and outrageous personalities that were bandied to and fro at the feasts of Demeter in his native island of Paros', and paved the way for the coarse banter of the old Comedy at Athens. The iambic verse, however, was very soon transferred from personal to general satire, from the invectives of the Margites, and from the fierce lampoons of Archilochus, to the more sweeping censures and more sententious generalities of gnomic and didactic poetry. Simonides of Amorgus, who flourished but a little later than Archilochus", used the iambic metre in the discussion of subjects little differing from those in which Hesiod delighted. For example, his general animadversions on the female sex are almost anticipated by the humorous indignation of the Theogony'. But in other passages he approaches to the sententious gravity of the later tragedians. Thus, his reflections on the uncertainty of human life might be taken for a speech from a lost tragedy, if the dialect were not inconsistent with such a supposition'. And the same remark is still more applicable to some of the trochaics and iambics of Solon, who lived to witness the first beginnings of Tragedy. Now all this iambic and trochaic poetry was written for rhapsodical recitation : for though we must allow (as even the advocates of the Wolfian hypothesis are willing to admit') that the poems of Archilochus were committed to writing, it cannot be denied that the means of multiplying manuscripts in his time must have been exceedingly scanty; and that, if his opportunities of becoming known had been limited to the number of his readers, he could hardly have acquired his great reputation as a poet. We must, therefore, conclude that his poems, and those of Simonides, were promulgated by recitation; and as such of them as were written 1

& Müller, Hist. Litt. Gr. c. xi. § 5. p. 132.

9 Archilochus is first heard of in the year 708 B.C. (Clinton, F. H. i. p. 175,) and Simonides the elder is placed by Suidas 490 years after the Trojan era. (B.C. 693. See Rhein. Mus. for 1835, p. 356.) It is interesting to observe how the poetry of the colonists in Asia Minor seems to have crept across, step by step, to Attica and other parts of old Greece. Homer represents the greatest bard and rhapsode of the Homeric confraternity in Chios ; Hesiod was an Æolian of Cyme; Arion a Lesbian ; and the isles of Paros, Amorgos, and Ceos produced Archilochus and the two Simonides'.

Cf. Hesiod Theog. 591, sqq. Simonides of Amorgus, Fragm. 6, Bergk. The 5th fragment of Simonides, quoted by Clemens Alex. Strom. vi. p. 744 :

Γυναικός ουδέν χρήμανήρ ληίζεται

'Εσθλής άμεινον ουδέ ρίγιον κακής" is merely a repetition in Iambics of what Hesiod had previously written in Hexameters (Op.et D. 700):

Ού μέν γάρ τι γυναικός άνήρ ληίζετάμεινον

Της αγαθής, της δ' αύτε κακής ου ρίγιον άλλο.
Simonid. Fr. 1.

3 Wolf. Proleg. & 17.

1 in iambics would not be sufficiently diversified in tone and rhythm to form a musical entertainment, we may presume that the recitation of their pieces, even if they were monologues, must have been a near approach to theatric declamation.

Fortunately we are not without some evidence for this view of the case. We learn from Clearchus, that " Simonides, the Zacynthian, recited (éppafødel) some of the poems of Archilochus, sitting on an arm-chair in the theatres ;” and this is stated still more distinctly in a quotation from Lysanias which immediately follows: he tells us that “Mnasion, the rhapsode, in the public exhibitions acted some of the iambics of Simonides” (év ταϊς δείξεσι των Σιμωνίδου τινάς ιάμβων υποκρίνεσθαι"). Solon, , too, who lived many years after these two poets, and was also a gnomic poet and a writer of iambics, on one occasion committed to memory some of his own elegiacs, and recited them from the herald's bema. It is exceedingly probable, though we have no evidence of the fact, that the gnomes of Theognis were also recited.

The rhapsodes having many opportunities of practising their art, and being on many occasions welcome and expected guests, their calling became a trade, and probably, like that of the Persian story-tellers, a very profitable one. Consequently their numbers increased, till on great occasions many of them were sure to be present, and different parts were assigned to them, which they recited alternately and with great emulation : by this means the audience were sometimes gratified by the recitation of a whole

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• Athen. xiv. p. 620, C.

5 This word is very often used of the rhapsode. See Wolf. Prolegom. p. xcvi. Heyne, Excursus iii. 2. It is also applied to the recitation of the Ionic prose of Herodotus, which may be considered as a still more modern form of the Epos. Athen. xiv. p. 629, D: 'Ιάσων δ' εν τρίτη περί των 'Αλεξάνδρου ιερών εν 'Αλεξανδρεία φησί εν τω μεγάλη θεάτρω υποκρίνασθαι Ηγησίαν τον κωμωδόν τα Ηροδότου.

6 Plutarch, Solon, viii. 82.

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poem at a single feast'. In the case of an epic poem, like the Iliad, this was at once a near approach to the theatrical dialogue; for if one rhapsode recited the speech of Achilles in the first book of that poem, and another that of Agamemnon, we may be sure they did their parts with all the action of stage-players.

With regard to the old iambic poems we may remark, that they are often addressed in the second person singular. We venture from this to conjecture, and it is only a conjecture, that these fragments were taken from speeches forming parts of moral dialogues, like the mimes of Sophron, from which Plato borrowed the form of his dialogues ®; for on the supposition that they were recited, we have no other way of accounting for the fact.

At all events, it is quite certain, that these old iambic poems were the models which the Athenian tragedians proposed to themselves for their dialogues'. They were written in the same metre, the same moral tone pervaded both, and, in many instances, the dramatists have borrowed not only the ideas but the very words of their predecessors'. The rhapsode was not only

7 Plato, Hipparch. p. 228 : Ιππάρχω, δς .... τα Ομήρου έπη ... ηνάγκασε τους ραψωδούς παναθηναίοις εξ υπολήψεως εφεξής αυτά διϊέναι ώσπερ νύν έτι oúrou Fotovoiv. Compare Diog. Laert. i, 57, and Suidas v. ůroßolń.

* Plato is said to have had Sophron under his pillow when he died. Sophronmiunorum quidem scriptor, sed quem Plato adeo probavit ut suppositos capiti libros ejus cum moreretur habuisse tradatur. Quintil. i. 10, 17. See Spalding's note.

• This is expressly stated by Plutarch, de Musica, tom. x. p. 680 : ēte dè tūv ιαμβείων τό τα μεν λέγεσθαι παρά την κρούσιν, τα δε άδεσθαι 'Αρχίλοχόν φασι καταδείξαι, είθ' ούτω χρήσασθαι τους τραγικούς. Do not the first words apply to a rhythmical recitation by the exarchus, followed by a musical performance by the chorus?

" Whole pages might be filled with the plagiarisms of the Attic tragedians from even the small remains of the gnomic poets. The following are a few of the most striking. Archiloch. p. 30, 1. 1. Liebel :

χρημάτων αελπτον ουδέν έστιν, ουδ' άπώμoτον is repeated by Soph. Antig. 386 :

άναξ, βροτοίσιν ουδέν έσταπώμoτον. Æsch, Eumen. 603 :

τα πλείστ' αμείνον' ευφροσιν δεδεγμένη from Theognis, v. 762. (p. 52, Welcker.)

ώδ' είναι και αμείνον' ευφρονα θυμόν έχοντας. Æsch. Agam. 36 :

τα δ' άλλα σιγώ: βούς επί γλώττης μέγας from Theognis, 651, Welcker :

βους μοι επί γλώσσης κρατερο ποδι λαξ επιβαίνων
ίσχει κωτίλλειν καίπερ επιστάμενον.

[Soph.

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