Page images

phics were perfectly understood: for many of the characters neither resemble the corresponding hieroglyphics, nor are capable of being satisfactorily resolved into an alphabet of any kind : in short the two characters might be supposed to belong to different languages; for they do not seem to agree even in their manner of forming compound from simple terms.]

I am extremely obliged by your kindness in sending me copies of several little pamphlets relating to Oriental literature, which afford a very favourable prospect of the future progress of your countrymen in these studies. I trust that I shall hereafter be able to give you more ample details of my investigations respecting the antiquities of Egypt; but I am not likely for the present, and perhaps not for some years, to have sufficient leisure for the pursuit; and it would even be a waste of time to attempt much more than I have done, without being in possession of a more perfect copy of the Inscription: the first step is however firmly established, and you know how much greater the labour, as well as the chance of error, must have been in such a step, than in all those which are to follow.*

A. B. C. D.





(Continued from No. V. p. 89.)

III. Of the Actors.

WE have before observed, that the singer of the chorus was originally the only performer, (p. 73.) and that Thespis first added an actor, who relieved the singer by relating and gesticulating some mythological story. Eschylus added a second actor, who kept up a dialogue with the other performer, the singer introducing the Bacchic song between the different portions of their performance. And therefore he is justly considered as the father of tragedy. Afterwards Sophocles added a third actor; an improvement, the credit of which is said to be due to Eschylus by the author of that poet's life; but Dicæarchus, who was well versed in the

On the Dramatic Representations of the Greeks. 205

history of the drama, attributed it to Sophocles, as we learn from the

same life. And so Diogenes Laertius in Platone. ὥσπερ δὲ τὸ παλαιὸν ἐν (τῇ) τραγῳδίᾳ πρότερον μὲν ὁ χορὸς διεδραμάτισεν, ὕστερον δὲ Θέσπις ἕνα ὑποκριτὴν ἐξεῦρεν, ὑπὲρ τοῦ διαπαύεσθαι τὸν χορὸν, καὶ δεύτερον Αἰσχύλος, τὸν δὲ τρίτον Σοφοκλῆς, καὶ συνεπλήρωσαν τὴν τραγῳδίαν. A better authority still is that of Aristotle, de Poet. c. 10. καὶ τό τε ὑποκριτῶν πλῆθος ἐξ ἑνὸς εἰς δύο πρῶτος Αἰσχύλος ἤγαγε, καὶ τὰ τοῦ χοροῦ ἠλάττωσε, καὶ τὸν λόγον πρωταγωνίστην παρεσκεύασε· τρεῖς δὲ, καὶ σκηνογραφίαν, Σοφοκλῆς. “ Æschylus both increased the number of interlocutors (ὑποκριταὶ)' from one to two, and lessened the choric part of the representation. Sophocles introduced three actors and scene-painting."


In his notes on the foregoing passage, Mr. Tyrwhitt observes that Eschylus certainly introduced three actors into some of his plays, as for instance in the Choephori, v. 665. to v. 716. but he thinks that he borrowed the hint from Sophocles, by whom he was worsted in a tragic contest at least twelve years before his death. There is a passage in the Choephori where the ̓Εξάγγελος, Clytemnestra, Orestes and Pylades appear to have been all on the stage at once---but the Scholiast observes μετεσκεύασται ὁ ̓Εξάγγελος εἰς Πυλάδην, ἵνα μὴ δ λέγωσιν. i. e. the Extra Messenger goes out after v. 886. and returns at v. 900. under the character of Pylades; an artifice by which the tragic poets on more than one occasion supplied the deficiency of actors. The following remark of Mr. Elmsley is transcribed from the Quarterly Review, Vol. VII. p. 449. “ The actors were not only assigned by lot to the several competitors, but the number which each competitor was allowed to employ, was limited to three. See Hesychius v. Νέμεσις ὑποκριτῶν. (rather Νέμησις. See our last No. p. 85.) In consequence of this regulation, when three characters were already on the stage, a fourth could not be introduced without allowing one of the three actors sufficient time to retire

1. The ancient signification of ὑποκρίνεσθαι was to answer. ὑποκριτὴς therefore was the person who answered the chorus, and as he supported a feigned character, ὑποκρίνεσθαι came by degrees to signify acting, personating. See Eustathius, quoted by Tyrwhitt on Aristotle, p. 131. Photius, and Suidas, Υποκρίνεσθαι, τὸ ἀποκρίνεσθαι οἱ παλαιοί. καὶ ὁ ὑποκριτὴς ἐντεῦθεν, ὁ ὑποκρινόμενος τῷ Χορῷ. Cf. Hesych.

and change his dress.-The poet was at liberty to employ as many mutes as he thought proper." An observation to the same effect is made by Mr. Τyrwhitt in his notes on Aristotle, p. 134. who quotes the following passage from Lucian, T. I. p. 479. Kai o αὐτὸς, εἰ τύχοι, μικρὸν ἔμπροσθεν μάλα σεμνῶς τὸ τοῦ Κέκροπος ἢ ̓Ερεχθεὼς σχῆμα μιμησάμενος, μετ ̓ ὀλίγον οἰκέτης προῆλθεν ὑπὸ τοῦ ποιητοῦ κεκελευσμένος.

The actors were called ̓Αγωνισταί. (Hesych. in v.) He who performed the principal part was called Πρωταγωνιστής, the second δευτεραγωνιστής, and the third τριταγωνιστής. Hence πρωταγωνιστεῖν or πρῶτα λέγειν, signifies to be the principal personage in any affair, and τριταγωνιστεῖν or τρίτα λέγειν, to be a subordinate character; as in Latin primas vel tertius agere. Suidas, v. Τριταγωνιστής. Αἰσχίνης ἐν πολλοῖς σκώπτεται ὑπὸ Δημοσθένους ὡς ὑποκριτὴς τραγῳδιῶν. καὶ τριταγωνιστὴν αὐτόν φησιν, ὡς ἀδοκιμώτατον τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, ἐν τρίτῃ τάξει καταριθμῶν.—Τριταγωνιστὴς, ἀπὸ Σοφοκλέους, ὃς πρῶτος ἐχρήσατο τρισὶν ὑποκριταῖς Other passages illustrative of this point may be seen in the notes of Valesius on Harpocratio, p. 292. Our readers will remember the precept of Horace, neu quarta loqui persona labaret. Pollux (IV. 109.) says, that when a fourth actor did say any thing, it was called παραχορήγημα. They seem to have introduced not only living mutes upon the stage, but also figures drest up to represent men; a fact which seems to have escaped the notice of the critics. Hesychius, ̓́Εκσκευα. τὰ παρεπόμενα πρόσωπα ἐπὶ σκηνῆς. These words, which are passed over ἀπλύτοις ποσὶ by all the commentators, I interpret thus. "Εκσκευα. the supernumerary figures introduced upon the stage; which explanation is confirmed by the following passage of Hippocrates, Νόμος p. 19. ed. Basil. ὁμοιότατοι γάρ εἰσιν οἱ τοιοίδε τοῖσι παρεισαγομένοισι προσώποισιν ἐν τῇσι τραγεδίῃσιν. ὡς γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι σχῆμα μὲν, καὶ στολὴν, καὶ πρόσωπον ὑποκριτοῦ ἔχουσιν, ΟΥΚ ΕΙΣΙ ΔΕ ΥΠΟΚΡΙΤΑΙ, οὕτω καὶ οἱ ἰητροὶ, φήμῃ μὲν, πολλοὶ, ἔργῳ δὲ πάγχυ βαιοί. It is probable that most of the guards and attendants who came on with kings and great personages, were figures appropriately drest, of which a sufficient stock would be kept in the lumber-room of the Theatre.

[ocr errors]


Of the Chorus.

The chorus, which was originally performed by one person, an d which was considered as the main business of the representation, by degrees became subordinate to the acting. But in order to gratify the love of spectacle which distinguished the Athenians, succeeding poets increased the number of those who danced and sang, but the chorus was still considered as one actor,' and joined in the dialogue by means of its head, called Kopupaios. By degrees, however, to give spirit and variety to the chorus, it was divided, when necessary, into Яuxópia, each division having its Coryphæus. They performed regular dances, accommodated, it should seem, to the measure of the verses which they sang; a subject which is involved in great difficulty and obscurity, chiefly arising from the imperfect knowledge which we possess of the principles of the Grecian music. They seem to have danced one way while singing the strophe, and another during the antistrophe, and to have stood still, or to have performed the evolution which dancing-masters call a pousser, during the epode. But all this is very uncertain. The way in which the grammarians attempt to explain these motions is too absurd to deserve a serious refutation, although it has been adopted by Vossius. We may briefly observe, that dancing seems not to have conveyed to an Athenian any ludicrous ideas. To us it would be very strange to see a party of venerable old men figuring up and down the stage, and all the while bewailing in passionate exclamations some public calamity.

With regard to the number of the chorus, we may be sure that it did not all at once jump from one to fifteen, or any other fixed number. I have endeavoured to shew, in the Preface to the Persæ of Eschylus, that the common notions on this subject rest on no sufficient authority. If the number of the chorus was ever fixed at fifteen, it was not till the tragic art had arrived at some degree of magnificence and importance. In the Supplices of

1. It should seem, however, from the following passage of Pollux IV. 123. that even before the time of Thespis, more than one person danced in the chorus. Ἐλεὸς ἦν τράπεζα ἀρχαία, ἐφ ̓ ἣν πρὸ Θεσπίδος εἷς τις αναβὰς τοῖς χορευταῖς ἀπεκρίνετο.

2. Aristot. de Poet. 32.

Eschylus, the chorus consists of the Daughters of Danaus. Now these were fifty in number; but I think it very uncertain whether they all made their appearance upon the stage; or if they did, whether the greater number of them were not stuffed figures. It is not unlikely that the story related by Pollux of the chorus's being first reduced to the number of fifteen by Æschylus, took its rise from the expression of Aristotle, before quoted, Αἰσχύλοςτὰ τοῦ χοροῦ ἠλάττωσε, which some critics understood to mean, lessened the number of the chorus.

When the tragic chorus consisted of fifteen, it stood either in three rows of five each, or in five rows of three each. In the former case it was said to be ranged κατὰ στοίχους, in the latter, κατὰ ζυγά. The dividing the chorus into two parts, was called διχορία; each division ἡμιχόριον, and their alternate songs, ἀντιχόρια. Its first entrance upon the stage was called πάροδος, its temporary retreat from the stage, μετανάστασις, and its return ἐπιπάροδος; its final exit, ἄφοδος. These particulars are all taken from Julius Pollux IV. 108. whose account, I am inclined to think, refers to the later ages of the Greek drama. Hesych. Διχοριάζειν. δύο χοροῖς ᾄδειν. The person who assigned to each of the chorus their proper places was called χοροδέκτης, (Suidas in v.) or χοροποιός, Xenoph. Ages. II. 17. Hemsterh. ad Aristoph. Plut. p. 332. It appears that the Coryphæi stood in the centres of their respective divisions. Lexicon Seguier. p. 444. ed. Bekker. ̓Αριστεροστάτης ἐν τῷ κωμικῷ καλεῖται χορῷ, ἐν δὲ τῷ τραγικῷ μέσος ἀριστεροῦ. Κρατῖνος Σεριφίοις. Before the words ἐν τῷ κωμικῷ, we should probably insert ὁ πρωτοστάτης. Hesych. ̓Αριστεροστάτης. ὁ πρωτοστάτης τοῦ χοροῦ. Photius. Τρίτος ἀριστεροῦ. ἐν τοῖς τραγικοῖς χοροῖς τριῶν ὄντων στοίχων καὶ ζυγῶν, ὁ μὲν ἀριστερὸς στοῖχος πρὸς τῷ θεάτρῳ ἦν, ὁ δὲ δεξιὸς πρὸς τῷ προσκηνίῳ. συνέβαινεν οὖν τὸν μέσον τοῦ ἀριστεροῦ στοίχον τὴν ἐντιμοτάτην καὶ τὴν οἷον τοῦ πρωτοστάτου χώραν ἐπέχειν καὶ στάσιν. From which it appears, that the chorus entered the orchestra from the right side of the theatre, and danced across it to the left. The less conspicuous situations in the chorus were called υποκόλπια. Hesych. Υποκόλπιον τοῦ χοροῦ. τῆς στάσεως χώραι αἱ ἄτιμοι, which Xenophon calls χοροῦ ἐπονειδίστους χώρας. Lines were drawn on the floor of the orchestra along which the σToixo were to move. Hesych. Γραμμαὶ. ἐν τῇ ὀρχήστρᾳ ἦσαν, ὡς τὸν χορὸν ἐν στοίχῳ ἴστασθαι.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »