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We have already referred to the statement that the Comedy of the Greeks arose from the Phallic processions, just as their Tragedy did from the Dithyramb‘. Its progress, however, and its successive advances from rudeness to perfection, are involved in so much obscurity, that even Aristotle is unable to tell us any thing about it; but he is willing to concede that it was started in Sicily', or primarily in Megaris'. And this appears very probable, for not only was Susarion, who is generally admitted to have been the earliest comic poet ’, a native of Tripodiscus in Megaris, but continual allusions are made in ancient writers : to the coarse humour of the Megarians and their strong turn for the ludicrous, qualities which they seem to have imparted to their Sicilian colonists.

But whatever may have been the birth-place of Greek Comedy, it is quite certain that it originated in a country festival: it was in fact the celebration of the vintage, when the country people went round from village to village, some in carts ', who uttered all the vile jests and abusive speeches with which the Tragedy of Thespis has been most unjustly saddled; others on foot, who bore aloft the Phallic emblem, and invoked in songs Phales the comrade of Bacchus'. This custom of going round from village to village suggested the derivation of Comedy from κώμη, and Aristotle has been misled by his own learning into an apparent approbation of this, on many accounts, absurd etymology“. One reason which has been advanced in defence of this etymology is extraordinarily ridiculous. We are told' that the word cannot be derived from kopos, because one of the meanings of that word is η μετοίνου ωδή. This would scarcely be an argument if it were the only signification of the word KŪuos: but this is so far from being the case, that it is not even the primary or most usual meaning of the word. Kwuos signifies a revel continued

8 Above, p. 10. Thus we read that Antheas the Lindian κωμωδίας επoίει και άλλα πολλά εν τούτω τω τρόπω των ποιημάτων, ά έξηρχε τοις μετ' αυτού φαλλοφορούσι. (Αthen. p. 445, Β.)

9 Αι μεν ούν της τραγωδίας μεταβάσεις, και δι' ών εγένοντο, ου λελήθασιν. η δε κωμωδία, διά το μη σπουδάζεσθαι εξ αρχής, έλαθε. Και γάρ χορόν κωμωδών όψε ποτε ο άρχων έδωκεν, αλλ' εθελονται ήσαν ήδη δε σχήματά τινα αυτής έχούσης, οι λεγόμενοι αυτής ποιηταί μνημονεύονται τις δε πρόσωπα απέδωκεν, ή λόγους, η πλήθη υποκριτών, και όσα τοιαύτα, ήγνόηται. Τού δε μύθους ποιείν 'Επίχαρμος και Φόρμις ήρξαν το μεν ούν εξαρχής εκ Σικελίας ήλθε. Aristot. Poet. v.

1 Της μέν κωμωδίας οι Μεγαρείς, οι τε ενταύθα, ως επί της παρ' αυτούς δημοκρατίας γενομένης, και οι εκ Σικελίας. Poet. iii. 5.

2 Proleg. Aristoph. Kist. p. xi. την κωμωδίαν ηύρήσθαί φασι υπό Σουσαρίωνος. 3 See Müller's Dorians, iv. 7, § 1.

4 Schol. Lucian. Ζεύς τραγωδός. (vi. p. 388, Lelhmann.) 'Εν τη εορτή των Διονυσίων παρά τους Αθηναίοις επί αμαξών καθήμενοι έσκωπτον αλλήλους και ελοιδορούντο πολλά. See the passages in Creuzer's note on Lydus de Mens. p. 127, ed. Röther.

5 The reader will see these particulars in Aristoph. Acharn. 240, seqq.

Κώμος 8 a after supper. It was a very ancient custom in Greece for young men, after rising from an evening banquet, to ramble about the streets to the sound of the flute or the lyre, and with torches in their hands; such a band of revellers was also called a kwuoç. Thus Æschylus says ', very forcibly, that the Furies, although they had drunk their fill of human blood in the house of the Pelopidæ, and though it was now time that they should

out like a k@uos, nevertheless obstinately stuck to the house, and would not depart from it. Hence the word is used to denote any band or company. In a secondary sense, it signifies a song sung either by a convivial party or at the Bacchic feasts, (not merely in honour of the god, but also to ridicule certain persons) or lastly, by a procession in honour of a victor at the public games. By a still further transition, Kwuos is used for a song in general; and a peculiar flute tune, together with its corresponding dance, was known by this name. It was in the second sense of the word that the Bacchic reveller was called a kwuwdús, namely, a comus-singer, according to the analogy of τραγωδός, ιλαρωδός, &c., in which the first part of the compound refers to the performer, the second to the song, and as Tpayqdía signifies a song of satyrs, so kwuqdía means a song of the comus.



6 ποιούμενοι τα ονόματα σημείον. ούτοι μεν γάρ (Πελοποννήσιοι) κώμας τας περιοικίδας καλείν φασίν, Αθηναίοι δε δήμους. ώς κωμωδούς, ουκ από του κωμάζειν λεχθέντας αλλά το κατά κώμας πλάνη ατιμαζομένους εκ του άστεος. Poet. c. iii.

1 By Schneider (de Orig. Com. p. 5).

8 See Welcker in Jacobs' edition of Philostratus, p. 202. The remarks in the text are an abstract of what he says on the signification of this word. He supposes, however, that Kwjqôós is derived from the secondary sense of the word, in which he agrees with Kanngiesser. (Kom. Bühn. p. 32.) Agamemnon 1161, Wellauer.

Και μην πεπωκώς γ' ως θρασύνεσθαι πλέον
Βροτείον αίμα κώμος εν δόμοις μένει
Δύσπεμπτος έξω συγγόνων 'Εριννύων.



It is clear, from the manner in which the Athenian writers speak of the country Dionysian procession, that it was considered as a comus'; and we think this view of the case is confirmed by the epithet úykwuos, which Dicæopolis applies to Phales as the companion of Bacchus ?.

The Phallic processions from which the old Comedy arose, seem to have been allowed in very early times in all cities; Aristotle tells us that they still continued in many cities even in his time, and the inscriptions quoted above prove that a lyrical comedy had developed itself from them. In the time of the orators, the iCúpallo were still danced in the orchestra at Athens', and we learn from the speech of Demosthenes against Conon, that the riotous and profligate young men who infested the streets delighted to call themselves by names derived from these comic buffooneries. But probably they were always more common in the country, which was their natural abode; and if a modern scholar' is right in concluding from the words of the Scholiast on Aristophanes', that there were two sorts of Phallic processions, the one public, the other private, we cannot believe that the private vintage ceremonies ever found their way into the great towns. Pasquinades of the coarsest kind seem to have formed the principal part of these rural exhibitions', and this was probably the reason why Comedy was established at Athens in the time of Pericles; for the demagogues, wanting to invent some means of attacking their political opponents with safety, could think of no better way of effecting this than by introducing into the city the favourite country sports of the lower orders, and then it was, and not till then, that the performance of

| Thus in an old law quoted by Demosthenes (c. Mid. p. 517), we have o kūjos και οι κωμωδοί. 2 Acharn. 263 : Palñs, éraipe Baxxiov,

Ξύγκωμε. 3 τα φαλλικά & έτι και νύν εν πολλαίς των πόλεων διαμένει νομιζόμενα. Aristot. Poet. c. iv.

* Above, p. 32, sqq.
* Hyperides apud Harpocrat. v. '10vpalloi.

6 They termed themselves ’10úpallo and Autoluxvoor. Demosth. Conon, 194 (1261). Cf. Athen. xiv. p. 622. Lucian, ii. 336.

7 Schneider de Orig. Com. p. 14.

8 Acharn. 243. (p. 775, 1. 32. Dind.) TELJÓÉVTEC OÙv rois nyyedjévouç oi 'A0nναίοι φάλλους ιδία και δημοσία κατασκεύασαν και τούτοις εγέραιρον τον θεόν.

9 Platonius, περί διαφοράς κωμωδιών: Υποθέσεις μεν γαρ της παλαιάς κωμωδίας ήσαν αύται το στρατηγούς επιτιμών, κ. τ. λ.

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Comedies became, like that of Tragedies, a public concern'. When it was formally established as a distinct species of Drama at Athens, the old Comedy was supplied, like Tragedy, with a Chorus, which, though not so numerous or expensively attired as the Tragic, was as carefully trained, and as systematic in its songs and dancez. In effect, it was the same modification of an original comus as that which performed the Epinicia of Pindar. It appears from several passages that the comic actors were originally unprovided with masks, but rubbed their faces over with winelees as a substitute for that disguise'.

The Tragedy and Comedy of the Greeks had, therefore, an entirely different origin. We must in the next place consider what were their distinctive peculiarities, how far they differed intrinsically, and whether any of the remaining Greek Plays cannot be considered as belonging strictly either to Tragedy or Comedy. We shall do this more satisfactorily, if we first set forth the definitions which have been given by Plato and Aristotle. Plato has rather alluded to, than expressed, the distinction between Tragedy and Comedy in their most perfect form, but his slight remarks nevertheless strike at the root of the matter. Comedy, he considers : to be the generic name for all dramatic exhibitions which have a tendency to excite laughter; while Tragedy, in the truest sense of the word, is an imitation of the noblest life, that is, of the actions of gods and heroes. As a definition, however, this account of Tragedy, although excellent as far as it goes, is



xopòv kwuydūv óté Tote TOWkev ò apxwv. Aristotle, above, p. 57, note 9. Gruppe labours under some extraordinary mistake in supposing (Ariadne, p. 123) that Coinedy was not originally connected with religion.

2 Hence a Comedian is called mpuyqôós, “ a lee-singer.” It does not appear that masks were always used even in the time of Aristophanes, who acted the part of Cleon in the 'Iruñs without one. In later times, however, it was considered disreputable to go in any comus without a mask. Demosth. Fals. Leg. p. 433 : TOÙ καταράτου Κυρηβίωνος ος εν ταις πομπαίς άνευ του προσώπου κωμάζει.

3 Legg. vii. p. 817 : όσα μεν ούν περί γέλωτά εστι παίγνια, ά δή κωμωδίαν πάντες λέγομεν μίμησις του καλλίστου και αρίστου βίου και δή φαμεν πάντες γε όντως είναι τραγωδίαν την αληθεστάτην. The κάλλιστος και άριστος Bios signifies the life of a man who is in the highest degree kalokayaós, and this term exactly expresses the persons who figured in the plays of Æschylus and Sophocles ; for, as Dr. Thirlwall remarks, in his beautiful paper On the Irony of Sophocles, “ None but gods or heroes could act any prominent part in the Attic Tragedy.” (Phil. Mus. ii. p. 493.) And this is perhaps the reason why Plato, in another passage (Gorgias, p. 502, a), talks of r oeuvr) kai Daupaorij v oñis tpayωδίας ποίησις.


altogether incomplete. Aristotle's, on the other hand, is quite perfect. He makes the distinction, which Plato leaves to be inferred, between the objects of tragic and comic imitation, and adds to it the constituent characteristic of Tragedy, namely, that it effects by means of pity and terror the purgation of such passions . Aristotle's definition of Tragedy is so full and comprehensive, that it has been adopted even by modern writers as a description of what modern Tragedy ought to be ‘; there is one particular, however, which he has not expressly stated, and which is due rather to the origin of Greek Tragedy than to its essence, we mean the necessity for a previous acquaintance on the part of the audience with the plot of the Tragedy: this it is which most eminently distinguishes the Tragedies of Sophocles from those of Shakspeare, and to this is owing the poetical irony with which the poet and the spectators handled or looked upon the characters in the piece o. Aristotle is supposed by his commentator Eustratius, to allude to this in a passage of the Ethics ?: we are disposed to believe on the contrary, that he is referring to the different effects which events related in a Tragedy, as having taken place prior to the time of the events represented, and those events which are represented by action, produce on the minds of the spectators : for example, the calamities of Edipus, when alluded to in the Edipus at Colonus, do not strike us with so much horror as when they are represented in the Edipus at Thebes.

If, however, all the prominent characters in the true Tragedy were gods or heroes, it follows that the Népgai of Æschylus, and the Μιλήτου άλωσις and Φοίνισσαι of Phrynichus, were not


και η δε κωμωδία εστίν, ώσπερ είπομεν, μίμησις φαυλοτέρων μεν ου μέντοι κατά πάσαν κακίαν, αλλά του αισχρού έστι το γελοίον μόριον. Poet. c. v. έστιν ούν τραγωδία μίμησις πράξεως σπουδαίας και τελείας μέγεθος εχούσης δρώντων και ου δι' απαγγελίας, δι' ελέου και φόβου περαίνουσα την τοιούτων TaOnuátwv kábapoiv. Poet. c. vi. Below, Part II. pp. 8, 9.

3 Hurd's definition (On the Province of the Drama, p. 164) is a mere copy of Aristotle. Schiller, who lias a better right to declare ex cathedra what Tragedy vught to be, than any writer of the last century, thus defines it : “That art which proposes to itself, as its especial object, the pleasure resulting from compassion, is called the Tragic Art in the most comprehensive sense of the word.” Werke in einem Bande, p. 1176.

6 See Dr. Thirlwallis Essay “ On the Irony of Sophocles."

7 i. 11. 8 4 : διαφέρει δε των παθών έκαστον περί ζώντας η τελευτήσαντας συμβαίνειν πολύ μάλλον ή τα παράνομα και δεινά προϋπάρχειν ταϊς τραγρδίαις ή πράττεσθαι.

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