Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vpsfw Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-17T22:41:58.031Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Tragedy and the Performance of Tragedy in Late Roman Antiquity

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 July 2017

H. A. Kelly*
University of California, Los Angeles


It is a widely held view that by the beginning of the Christian era the staging of full-length dramas had become very rare or had ceased altogether, and that any plays that were written during this time, like the ten 'Senecan’ plays that survive, were probably intended as no more than closet dramas. But the question of whether such plays were ever staged (and hence the question of whether they were intended to be staged or were even stageable) is complicated by the fact that the word ‘tragedy’ was also applied to other forms of dramatic performances: to the ballet of the pantomime artist (tragoedia saltata) and to short concert productions (tragoedia cantata). There was also the citharoedia, a solo performance which consisted of a tragic aria accompanied by the lyre. Finally, the traditional kind of tragedy could be recited rather than staged. Each of these kinds of performances could take place in or out of the theater, with varying degrees of elaboration. When, therefore, an ancient writer speaks of the performance of a tragedy, it is not always clear just what type of production is being alluded to. When, for instance, Dio Cassius says that the Emperor Caligula just before his assassination (A.D. 41) wished to put on a ballet and enact a tragedy (ϰαὶ ὀϱχήσασθαι ϰαὶ τϱαγῳδίαν ὑποϰϱίνασθαι ἠθέλησεν) and announced that the revels would be prolonged three more days for the purpose, what does he mean ? Was there to be only one kind of performance or two? That is, were the pantomimus and his hypocritae to dance and act a single tragedy, or was a story to be rendered first in dance, and then the same or another story acted out in dialogue and song? If the latter supposition is correct, was the tragedy to be a large-scale play or a modified and shortened concert tragedy? We know from Suetonius that the same play could be conceived of as being performed in different ways. He says that on the day before Caligula was killed, the pantomimus Mnester danced the same tragedy that the tragoedus Neoptolemus had acted in the games at which Philip of Macedon was killed. Of course, in judging this matter we must also consider the question of how accurately the conceptions and practices reported by Suetonius (ca. 120) and Dio (ca. 220) correspond to those of Caligula's time.

Copyright © Fordham University Press 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 For convenience' sake I will speak of these plays as by Seneca moralis, even though it is certain that he did not write the Octavia, in which he appears as a character, and though there is no direct evidence to connect him with the other plays. See n. 84 below.Google Scholar

2 Zwierlein, Otto, the editor of the forthcoming Oxford edition of the Senecan plays and the author of Die Rezitationsdramen Senecas (Meisenheim am Glan 1966), is one of the most recent proponents of the thesis that the plays were meant only for recitation and not for staging, and that they were in fact unstageable. Tarrant, R. J., in his edition of the Agamemnon (Cambridge 1976) 7–8, agrees with this view. There are, however, many scholars who take a contrary view or who remain undecided, as is evident from the works cited by Zwierlein on pp. 10–11 and by the criticisms his book has received. See the reviews by Janssen, H. H., Mnemosyne ser. 4, 21 (1968) 326–27; Lefèvre, Eckard, Gnomon 40 (1968) 782–89; and Walker, B., Classical Philology 64 (1969) 183–87. See also Calder, W. M., ‘The Size of the Chorus in Seneca's Agamemnon,’ Classical Philology 70 (1975) 32–35. I wish to thank my colleague Rous, R. H. e for drawing several of these discussions to my attention.Google Scholar

3 Cassius, Dio, Roman History 59.29.6. This whim of Caligula's was the straw that broke the camel's back, according to Dio: some of the emperor's courtiers could not endure the thought of more festivity, and therefore, waiting until he had left the theater and was on his way to see the young Greek nobles summoned to sing a hymn in his honor, they killed him.Google Scholar

4 Suetonius, , De vita Caesarum, Caligula 57.3: ‘Pantomimus Mnester tragoediam saltavit quam olim Neoptolemus tragoedus ludis quibus rex Macedonum Philippus occisus est egerat.’ A mime-play called Laureolus, which dealt with a famous highwayman, was also given on that day, and a show (spectaculum) was being prepared for the night, in which themes or stories (argumenta) of the lower world were to be ‘explicated’ by Egyptians and Ethiopians (57.4).Google Scholar

5 Isidore, , Etymologiae, sive Origenes 18.44, ed. Lindsay, W. M. (Oxford 1911). I will defend this interpretation of Isidore's meaning (an interpretation which in the past has been considered to be nothing more than a medieval misreading of the text) in a larger study on‘ Tragedy in the Middle Ages.’ On Isidore's use of orchestra to mean the stage, cf. n. 36 below.Google Scholar

6 In sections 37–71, he runs through stories in the good dancer's repertoire, which include the whole τϱαγῳδία in the realm of Hades (60). Wüst, Ernst, ‘Pantomimus,’ RE 18.3 (1948) 833–69, esp. 847–50, has compiled a list of pantomime subjects from various sources.Google Scholar

7 See Rotolo, Vincenzo, Il pantomimo: Studi e testi , Quaderni dello Istituto di filologia greca della Università di Palermo 1 (Palermo 1957) 16, 115 (no. 50), and 119 (no. 61), citing epigrams of Crinagoras (first century b.c.) and Leontius Scholasticus (sixth century a.d.) testifying to a single singer. See The Greek Anthology 9.542 and 16.287. Quintilian, , Institutio oratoria 5.3.65, speaks of two pantomimi ‘contending with alternate gestures.’ The Emperor Augustus called one of them the saltator and the other the interpellator .Google Scholar

8 Robert, Louis, ‘Pantomimen im griechischen Orient,’ Hermes 65 (1930) 106–22.Google Scholar

9 Properly the ἐμβάς named in Critic 19 was a felt slipper or shoe rather than the boot of tragedy. The accusative plural form of this passage, ἐμβάδας, could be a misreading of ἐμβάτας (accusative plural of or perhaps ἐμβίς had come to mean ϰόθοϱνος. See Liddell-Scott s.v. ἐμβάς. In one passage of Lucian, The Cock 26, discussed below at n. 64, there are apparently several variants for the tragic boot, of which Weise (1847) chooses ἐμβάς, Jacobitz (1883) ϰόθοϱνος, and Harmon, (Loeb Lucian 2; 1915) But Dio, as we shall see below at n. 31, seems to distinguish the as the boot of the τϱαγῳΔός and the ϰόθοϱνος as that of the ϰιθαϱῳδός. In Latin, , cothurnus was used to refer to the Greek buskin; but crepida, which usually means ‘slipper,’ was the more distinctive term applied to the Roman buskin, which had a thick block like a stilt for a sole. Bieber, Margarete, The History of the Greek and Roman Theater 2 (Princeton 1961) xii, identifies the crepida with the ocribas, that is, the Greek ὀϰϱίβας, which, according to Philostratus, , Life of Apollonius of Tyana 5.9, an actor of tragedy (ὑποϰϱιτὴς τϱαγῳδίας) wore in his tour of Spain (see n. 47 below). Philostratus completed his biography of Apollonius around 220.Google Scholar

10 Isidore, , Etymologiae 18.49: ‘Mimi habebant suum auctorem qui antequam mimum agerent fabulam pronuntiaret. Nam fabulae ita componebantur a poetis ut aptissimae essent motui corporis.’ Lindsay mistakenly emends ‘pronuntiaret’ to the plural ‘pronuntiarent,’ as if the mimes themselves would first pronounce the words and then act them out (actually, of course, the mimes did have speaking roles, but in my opinion Isidore identified the mimus with the silent pantomimus). One variant for ‘antequam mimum’ is ‘hoc quam primum,’ perhaps for ‘hoc quum primum,’ meaning that as soon as' or ‘while’ the mimes acted, the author recited the drama.Google Scholar

11 Isidore's use of the classics is usually second-hand. See Hillgarth, Jocelyn N., ‘The Position of Isidorian Studies: A Critical Review of the Literature since 1935,’ Isidoriana, ed. Manuel, C. y Diaz, Diaz (León 1961) 11–74, esp. 34: ‘Of the great pagan poets Isidore may possibly have made direct use of Ovid, more probably of Vergil, Martial, and Lucretius. It is possible that he had direct access to parts of Cicero and of Sallust, and it is certain that he used Quintilian. Apart from these authors, and even normally then, Isidore's use of the pagan classics is indirect.’ Google Scholar

12 Augustine, , De doctrina Christiana 2.38.97, ed. Green, William M., CSEL 80 (1963) 6162: ‘Illa enim signa quae saltando faciunt histriones, si natura, non instituto et consentione hominum valerent, non primis temporibus saltante pantomimo praeco praenuntiaret populo Carthaginis quid saltator vellet intellegi. Quod adhuc multi meminerunt senes, quorum relatu haec solemus audire. Quod ideo credendum est, quia nunc quoque si quis theatrum talium nugarum imperitus intraverit, nisi ei dicatur ab altero quid illi motus significent, frustra totus intentus est.’ Google Scholar

13 Ibid. 2.4.5 (35): ‘Et quidam motus manuum pleraque significant, et histriones omnium membrorum motibus dant signa quaedam scientibus, et cum oculis quasi fabulantur.’ It is to be noted that in these passages Augustine uses histrio, pantomimus, and saltator synonymously; elsewhere he also uses histrio in its more general sense of ‘any stage-performer.’ Google Scholar

14 See Weismann, Werner, Kirche und Schauspiele: Die Schauspiele im Urteil der lateinischen Kirchenväter unter besonderer Berücksichtigung von Augustin , Cassiciacum 27 (Würzburg 1972) 42.Google Scholar

15 Tertullian, , De idololatria 5.2: ‘histriones vero non manibus solis, sed totis membris victum elaborare.’ Google Scholar

16 See Rotolo (n. 7 above) 4, on the pantomime's dual function as dancer and actor. Nonnus, an Egyptian epic poet of the fourth or fifth century a.d., describes a pantomimic contest between Maron and Silenus, and goes into great detail in recounting their balletic leaps and turns. See his Dionysiaca 19.198–285. Rotolo collects all the extant inscriptions and epigrams dealing with pantomime actors (pp. 87–123). Valuable collections of texts pertinent to the mime and the pantomime have been made by Bonnaria, Mario, Mimorum romanorum fragmenta, Pubblicazioni dell' Istituto di filologia classica 5: vol. 1, Fragmenta (Genoa 1955); vol.2, Fasti mimici et pantomimici (Genoa 1958); revised and abridged in one volume under title of Romani mimi, Poetarum Latinorum reliquiae: Aetas rei publicae 6.2 (Rome 1965). For further patristic texts, see Weismann (n. 14 above) and Jürgens, Heiko, Pompa diaboli: Die lateinischen Kirchenväter und das antike Theater, Tübinger Beiträge zur Altertumswissenschaft 46 (Stuttgart 1972).Google Scholar

17 Apuleius, , Metamorphoses (The Golden Ass) 10.2934. Earlier, in an account of the legend of the marriage of Cupid and Psyche (6.24), an entertainment at the wedding-feast in heaven is described: the Muses sang melodies, Apollo sang to the cithara, Venus danced to the music; the show (scena) was so arranged that the Muses sang the chorus and blew on their flutes while Satyrus and Paniscus spoke to the pipe (‘ad fistulam dicerent’). Marx, F, ‘Annaeus’ 9, RE 1 (1894) 2228, takes this as an example of singing histriones' reciting rather than singing the pantomime libretto.Google Scholar

18 Seneca, , Naturales quaestiones 7.32.3. On female dancers, cf. Dio (n. 36 below). See also Wüst (n. 6 above) 851–52 and Rotolo (n. 7 above). Rotolo thinks that from the second or third century masks were not so rigidly insisted upon, especially on private stages, and that female dancers probably never used them. By the sixth century in Byzantium, they had fallen into disuse altogether (pp. 5–6 n. 3). Seneca indicates that even spoken or sung tragedies were performed in the theaters of his day without masks. See his Epistles 11.7, cited at n. 95 below.Google Scholar

19 Augustine, , Confessions 3.2 (Loeb, ed.). See Weismann, 134–48, where he discusses ‘Augustin und die tragische Katharsis.’ Google Scholar

20 Ovid, , Remedia amoris 755–56.Google Scholar

21 In Confessions 4.1, Augustine tells of his interest in competitive poetry (contentiosa carmina) and the contest of straw crowns (agon coronarum faeneamm); in 4.2, he speaks of his entry into a theatrici carminis certamen, and in 4.3 of his receiving the corona agonistica from the proconsul. In another context (3.6), he tells of his singing Medea volans. See Weismann, 129.Google Scholar

22 According to Vacca, a sixth-century grammarian, in his Vita Lucani , ed. Hosius, Karl, Lucani Bellum civile 3 (Leipzig 1913) 334–36, esp. 336, Lucan wrote fourteen salticae fabulae. Vacca may be drawing on Suetonius; so Reifferscheid, Augustus, ed., Praeter Caesarum libros reliquiae (Leipzig 1860) 76–79. Juvenal, , Satires 7.82–87, says that though Statius succeeded in breaking up the benches (i.e., ‘bringing the house down’) with his public recitation of the Thebaid, he would have gone hungry if he had not sold his virginal (unpublished) Agave to Paris, the pantomime actor.Google Scholar

23 So Weismann 43. Rotolo 10 seems to think on the contrary that they were little more than musical program notes.Google Scholar

24 The texts of most of the pertinent passages have been assembled by Wille, Günther, Masica romana: Die Bedeutung der Musik im Leben der Römer (Amsterdam 1967) 338–50.Google Scholar

25 Tacitus, , Annates 14.15 and 16.4. He is called histrio by Flavus in 15.67, but citharoedi were so termed.Google Scholar

26 Lesky, Albin, ‘Neroniana,’ Annuaire de l'Institut de philologie et d'histoire orientates et slaves 9 (1949) 385407, esp. 397–98. Lesky's essay is reprinted in his Gesammelte Schriften , ed. Kraus, Walther (Bern 1966) 335–51. According to Suetonius, Nero played Canace parturiens, Orestes matricida, Oedipus excaecatus, and Hercules insanus (Nero 21.3); the last play (fabula) that he sang in public was Oedipus exsul (ibid. 46.3). Dio's report is similar, and he adds the roles of Thyestes and Alcmaeon (Roman History 63.9.4), while Juvenal mentions those of Antigone and Melanippe (see n. 33).Google Scholar

27 Tacitus 15.65: ‘Quin et verba Flavi vulgabantur, non referre dedecori si citharoedus demoveretur et tragoedus succederet, quia ut Nero cithara ita Piso tragico ornatu canebat.’ Google Scholar

28 Lesky, 398–99.Google Scholar

29 See Townend, G. B., ‘Suetonius and His Influence,’ Latin Biography, ed. Dorey, T. A. (London 1967) 79111, esp. 96.Google Scholar

30 Dio 61.20.1–2; 62.18.1. Cf. the account of Suetonius, , Nero 38.2: ‘Laetusque flammae ut aiebat pulchritudine, Halosin Ilii in illo scaenico habitu decantavit.’ Google Scholar

31 Dio 63.22.4. See n. 9 above.Google Scholar

32 Juvenal, , Satires 8.22021.Google Scholar

33 Ibid. 8.198: ‘citharoedo principe’; 8.228–29: ‘Longum tu pone Thyestae Syrma vel Antigones vel personam Melanippes.’ Google Scholar

34 See Fränkel, Hermann, Noten zu den Argonautika des Apollonios (Munich 1968) 34.Google Scholar

35 It is cited by Vacca (n. 22 above) as Iliacon, which, of course, could be the Greek neuter, ‘Iλιαϰόν, as in Petronius’ Satyricon. Horace, , Ars poetica 129, speaks of Iliacum carmen, probably referring to the Iliad. But it seems more likely that it is the Greek genitive plural, ‘Iλιαΰῶν, as in Prudentius’ Peristephanon liber. Epics and other poetic works are often named in the genitive alone, with liber or libri understood; for instance, Vacca lists ‘Silvarum X,’ that is, ten books of Silvae, and ‘epistularum ex Campania.’ Lactantius Placidus, the supposed sixth-century commentator on Statius, cites some verses (dactylic hexameters) from Lucan's epic, which he refers to as ‘Lucanus Iliacon,’ and ‘Lucanus in libro qui inscribitur Iliacon.’ See Lactantii Placidi qui dicitur Commentarii in Statii Thebaida et Commentarius in Achilleida , ed. Jahnke, Richard (Leipzig 1898) on Thebaid 3.641 and 6.322; also given by Morel, Willy, Fragmenta poetarum latinorum epicorum et lyricorum praeter Ennium et Lucilium (Stuttgart 1927; repr. 1963) 129.Google Scholar

36 Dio 62.29.1. Cf. Tacitus 16.4: ‘Primo carmen in scaena recitat.’ Dio must be using ὀϱχήστϱα to signify the stage here. Cf. Isidore's usage at n. 5 above. Similarly, in 61.17.3, Dio says that noble men and women danced tragedies, acted comedies, and performed citharedies in the orchestra; and in 63.22.4, he says that Nero performed his citharedies and tragedies ‘in the circle of the theater and in the orchestra.’ According to Suetonius, , Nero 12.1, Nero was accustomed to watch the plays that he organized from the top of the proscenium (‘Hos ludos spectavit e proscaenii fastigio’), which probably refers to a balcony in the stage building. He therefore must have descended from this post to the stage to recite his verses. He would hardly have given his recital below the stage, in the open space in the orchestra before the seats of the senators; this is where he went after the various performances, to receive the prize for Latin oratory and verse: ‘In orchestram senatumque descendit et orationis quidem carminisque latini coronam, de qua honestissimus quisque contenderat, ipsorum consensu concessam sibi recipit’ (ibid. 12.3). Bieber 173 assumes that he used the stairs from the stage to the orchestra for this purpose.Google Scholar

37 Servius commenting on Aeneid 5.370 (describing Dares, , ‘the only contestant who used to fight against Paris’): ‘Sane hic Paris, secundum Troica Neronis, fortissimus fuit, adeo ut in Troiae agonali certamine superaret omnes, ipsum etiam Hectorem, qui cum iratus in eum stringeret gladium, dixit se esse germanum, quod allatis crepundiis probavit, qui habitu rustici adhuc latebat.’ Servius cites the Troica again for Georgics 3.36: ‘Cynthium regem Troiae, quem in Troicis suis Nero commemorat.’ Google Scholar

38 Suetonius, , Nero 10.2, says that Nero did both: ‘Declamavitque saepius publice; recitavit et carmina, non modo domi sed et in theatro.’ He goes on to say that his recitation was received with such universal delight that a thanksgiving was voted, and the recited verses were inscribed in letters of gold and dedicated to Jupiter of the Capitol.Google Scholar

39 See Petronius, , Satyricon 89. Some of Nero's dactylic hexameters survive (Morel 131); one set is described as coming from his ‘first book’ (‘de hoc ait in primo libro Nero’), which may refer to the Troica. Google Scholar

40 Ovid, , Tristia 5.7.25–28:Google Scholar

Carmina quod pleno saltari nostra theatro,Google Scholar

Versibus et plaudi scribis, amice, meis,Google Scholar

Nil equidem feci — tu scis hoc ipse — theatris,Google Scholar

Musa nec in plausus ambitiosa est.Google Scholar

In contrast, Lucan did write his Orpheus, a poem in dactylic hexameters (Morel 128–29), for the theater. See Statius, , Silvae 2.7.58–59. Statius also mentions that Lucan presented his Praise of Nero in the theater. According to Vacca 335, it was part of a competitive recitation in the quinquennial games, which Lucan won (‘Quippe et certamine pentaeterico acto in Pompeii theatro laudibus recitatis in Neronem fuerat coronatus’), thereby angering Nero. Zwierlein (n. 2 above) 158 notes that carmina can refer to tragedy, as for example in Vergil, , Eclogues 8.10: ‘Sola Sophocleo tua carmina digna cothurno.’ He is no doubt right in thinking this to be Tacitus' meaning when he says of Secundus, Pomponius, ‘Is carmina scenae dabat’ (Annales 11.13; a.d. 47). Tacitus also has Curiatius Maternus refer to his tragedies as carmina, as we shall see at n. 86 below. But one cannot say what form Pomponius' tragedy took on the stage. We should also note that poems not designed for the stage could be presented in the theater and need not be acted out or sung, even when performed by actors, but simply recited. Cf. Quintilian, , Institutio oratoria 11.3.4: ‘Documento sunt vel scenici actores, qui et optimis poetarum tantum adiiciunt gratiae ut nos infinite magis eadem illa audita quam lecta delectent; et vilissimis etiam quibusdam impetrant aures, ut, quibus nullus est in bibliothecis locus, sit etiam frequens in theatris.’ By way of contrast, fabulae quae ad scenam componuntur, that is, tragedies and comedies, were not only heard but seen, and the various masks helped to convey the dominant emotions (ibid. 11.3.73–74).Google Scholar

41 Tacitus, , Dialogus de oratoribus 13, ed. and tr. Peterson, William, Library, Loeb (1914): ‘Testes Augusti epistulae, testis ipse populus, qui auditis in theatro Vergilii versibus surrexit universus et forte praesentem spectantemque Vergilium veneratus est sic quasi Augustum’ — that is, ‘This is vouched for by the letters of Augustus, and by the behavior of the citizens themselves, for on hearing Vergil's verses in the theater they rose to their feet as one man and did homage to the poet, who happened to be present as a spectator, just as they would have done to the Emperor himself.’ I have followed Peterson except where he glosses Tacitus' words to mean that the people heard ‘a quotation from Vergil in the course of a theatrical performance’ when Vergil was present ‘at the play.’ This may, of course, be the correct interpretation, but we have no way of telling.Google Scholar

42 Suetonius, , Nero 54: ‘Sub exitu quidem vitae palam voverat, si sibi incolumis status permansisset [that is, if he overcame Vindex], proditurum se partae victoriae ludis etiam hydraulam [organist] et choraulam [flautist] et utricularium [bagpiper], ac novissimo die histrionem saltaturumque Vergilii Turnum.’ Suetonius adds that some say that Nero put the histrio Paris to death because he was a serious rival to him (that is, as a dancer). Grant, Michael, Nero (London 1970) 90, claims that the poet Lucilius congratulated Nero on his performance as a dancer; but the epigram in question, which Grant does not identify, is clearly not addressed to Nero. It can be found in the Greek Anthology 11.254, and is given by Rotolo, , Pantomimo 118 (no. 56).Google Scholar

43 Lucian, , Dance 46. See also Macrobius, , Saturnalia 5.17.5: The story of Dido and Aeneas is constantly celebrated by the gestures and songs of actors (‘histrionum perpetuis et gestibus et cantibus’).Google Scholar

44 Horace, , Ars poetica 129 (see n. 35 above).Google Scholar

45 Placidus, , Glossae S 2 (scena), edd. Pirie, J. W. and Lindsay, W. M., Glossaria latina 4 (Paris 1930; repr. 1965) 34.Google Scholar

46 Suetonius, , Nero 20.2; see Lesky, , ‘Neroniana’ 399400.Google Scholar

47 Philostratus, , Life of Apollonius 4.39. He claimed the right of arresting anyone who neglected to listen to him or pay for the privilege, on a charge of violating the emperor's majesty, and Apollonius found it prudent to give the man a tip. Later in Philostratus' account (5.9: see n. 9 above), a certain ὑποϰϱιτὴς τϱαγῳδίας is described: he also is said to have used Nero's melodies, while demonstrating his arts in Spain; but he had not ventured to compete with Nero in the Grecian contests. Cf. n. 51 below.Google Scholar

48 Ibid. 5.7.Google Scholar

49 Suetonius, , Nero 24.1: ‘In tragico quodam actu, cum elapsum baculum cito resumpsisset, pavidus et metuens ne ob delictum certamine summoveretur, non aliter confirmatus est quam adiurante hypocrita non animadversum id inter exsultationes succlamationesque populi.’ Google Scholar

50 See Lesky 404: Grysar, C. J., who protested against this interpretation in 1855, traced it back to Isaac Casaubon, who published a commentary on Suetonius in 1595. It persists in Lewis and Short's Latin Dictionary s.v. hypocrita; and in the Loeb Suetonius Rolfe, J. C. gives the hypocrita the impossible task of accompanying the tragic actor on the flute as well as making gestures for him.Google Scholar

51 Verus Philostratus (pseudo-Lucian), Nero 9, ed. and tr. Macleod, M. D., Lucian 8 (1967); on the author, see pp. 505507. The phrase that Macleod translates as ‘onto the platform’ (ἐπ' ὀϰϱιβάντων) more likely means ‘upon their buskins.’ See Liddell-Scott s.v. ὀϰϱίβας. The Epirote is also called an actor of tragedy: ὁ τῆς τϱαγῳδίας ὑποϰϱιτής. Earlier, Nero is described as being proud of his songs (ῲδαί) and his ability to sing them to the ϰιθάϱα (2). After resolving to cut a canal through the Isthmus, he advanced from his tent and sang songs (a ὕμνος and an in honor of the sea-gods (3).Google Scholar

52 Lesky, 406407.Google Scholar

53 Lesky, , Hypokrites,’ Studi in onore di Ugo Enrico Paoli (Florence 1956) 469–76, esp. 475, followed by Wilckens, Ulrich, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament s. v. ὑποϰϱίνομαι edd. Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, ed. and tr. Bromiley, Geoffrey W., 8 (1972) 559–71, esp. 559–60.Google Scholar

54 Quintilian. Institutio oratoria 11.3.7, cf. 2.17.12.Google Scholar

55 Ambrose, , De Helia et ieiunio 10.35, ed. Schenkl, Karl, CSEL 32 (1897) 432.2: ‘Ideo dixit hypocritas, eo quod simulatione alienam personam induant, sicut in scena qui tragoedias canunt et pro eorum dictis quorum personas gerunt motus suos excitant, ut aut irascantur aut maereant vel exsultent.’ Google Scholar

56 Augustine, , De sermone Domini in monte 2.2.5, ed. Mutzenbecher, Almut, CCL 35 (1967) 95: ‘Sunt enim hypocritae simulatores, tamquam pronuntiatores personarum alienarum sicut in theatricis fabulis. Non enim qui agit partes Agamemnonis in tragoedia, verbi gratia, sive alicuius alterius ad historiam vel fabulam quae agitur pertinentis, vere ipse est; sed simulat eum, et hypocrita dicitur.’ Ambrose wrote his work ca. 387–91, Augustine ca. 393–96. See Weismann, 184.Google Scholar

57 Dio 63.8.2.Google Scholar

58 Ibid. 63.9.6. There follows the episode of the guard who thought his emperor was in trouble and ran to free him (63.10.2). Suetonius, , Nero 21.3, tells the same story, giving the title of Nero's tragedy as Hercules insanus. Google Scholar

59 Dio 63.22.5, tr. Cary, Ernest, Loeb vol. 8 (1925) 175.Google Scholar

60 See Lesky, , ‘Neroniana’ 407.Google Scholar

61 Weismann, Werner, review of Jürgens' Pompa diaboli, Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 15 (1972) 196–99, esp. 198.Google Scholar

62 Lucian, , Dance 27.Google Scholar

63 See above n. 47.Google Scholar

64 Lucian, , Cock 26. As mentioned in n. 9 above, Harmon reads ἐμβάται for buskins, but other editors have ϰόθοϱνοι or ἐμβάδες.Google Scholar

65 Lucian, , Zeus Rants 1.Google Scholar

66 Suetonius, , Julius 56.7; Augustus 86.2. Suetonius says that Augustus forbade Caesar's Oedipus and other early works, including The Praises of Hercules, to be published. Dio Chrysostom, writing at the turn of the second century, says that he prefers listening to ϰιθαϱῳδοί and ὑποϰϱιταί, for unlike orators they do not perform extemporaneously, but use the words of poets, usually the older poets. Comedies are still presented intact, but only the ‘stronger portions’ of tragedy remain, that is, the iambics, selections of which are given in the theaters; but the lyric parts have fallen away (Discourses 19.4–5).Google Scholar

67 Watling, E. F., Introduction to Seneca: Four Tragedies, and Octavia, Penguin Classics (Harmondsworth 1966) 2122. See also Costa, C. D. N., ‘The Tragedies,’ Seneca , ed. Costa, (London 1974) 96–115, esp. 100–101.Google Scholar

68 Watling 17, 19. I will take up the political objection below, in my conclusion.Google Scholar

69 See Weismann's, review (n. 61 above) 198.Google Scholar

70 See above at n. 40.Google Scholar

71 Fleischer, Ulrich, ‘Zur Zweitausendjahrfeier des Ovid,’ Antike und Abendland 6 (1957) 2759, esp. 44–47, suggests that Ovid intended Tragoedia to stand for a grand style of narrative poetry rather than for the dramatic form. Friedrich Walter Lenz, in his edition of the Amores, Die Liebeselegien, Schriften und Quellen der alten Welt 15 (Berlin 1965) 211–14, finds Fleischer's argument impressive but not entirely convincing, and suggests several possibilities for interpreting Tragoedia as referring to tragedy properly so called: for instance, Ovid may have written Amores 3.1 before or while composing the Medea, and Tragoedia is urging him to get on with it; or he may have written it afterward and she is referring to some plan he had of writing more tragedies; or he may have written it much later, for the second edition of the Amores, and imaginatively put himself back in time to when he was planning the Medea; and so on.Google Scholar

72 Ovid, , Tristia 2.55354: ‘Et dedimus tragicis scriptum regale cothurnis, Quaeque gravis debet verba cothurnus habet.’ Google Scholar

73 Watling 21.Google Scholar

74 Suetonius, , De viris illustribus: De Poetis: Vita Terentii 3.Google Scholar

75 Griesgram, oder Die Geschichte vom Topf: Querolus, sive Aulularia, ed. and tr. Emrich, Willi, Schriften und Quellen der alten Welt 17 (Berlin 1965) 33: ‘Nos fabellis atque mensis hunc librum scripsimus’ (‘Wir haben dieses Buch verfasst zur Unterhaltung deiner Tafelrunde’). Duckworth, George E., The Complete Roman Drama (New York 1942) 2.896, translates: ‘I have written this little work for the discussions at your banquet table.’ The argument of the play, called materia in the Dedication, is termed fabella by the Prologus, who refers to the play as a fabula which he and the other players are going to act (acturi) (p. 35).Google Scholar

76 See Emrich, 2122.Google Scholar

77 For acroamata, see Nepos, Cornelius, De latinis historicis: Atticus 14.1, and Pliny the Younger, , Epistles 6.31.13. In addition to the passages discussed below, Pliny deals with recitations in Epistles 1.15; 2.19; 3.1; 4.7; 5.3; 5.12; 6.17; 6.21. Plutarch, Pliny's contemporary, has one of his characters in a dialogue refer to a recent Roman practice of having slaves memorize Plato's dialogues and deliver them with the gestures and vocal modulation suitable to each of the speakers (Table-Talk 7.8.1 = Moralia 711 b–c). It is not clear from the text whether a different slave would be assigned to each of the parts, or whether the ὑπόϰϱισις would be performed by one person. Further on in the same piece, another dialogist rejects various entertainments as unsuitable for banquets: for example, tragedy, with its elaborate acting out of events (πϱαγμάτων ὑπόϰϱισις) and the Pyladic ballet, which requires many masks or characters (πολυπϱόσωπος). Old Comedy is also rejected, but New Comedy is admitted, and indeed Menander is said to be traditional at banquets (7.8.3 = 711e–712b). Plutarch confirms this last point in the introduction to the fifth book of Table-Talk (673b) and in Aristophanes and Menander (854b).Google Scholar

78 Suetonius, , Vita Terentii 3.Google Scholar

79 Pliny, , Epistles 6.15: he tells of the elegist Passennus Paulus who began one of his works with the words, ‘You bid me, Priscus,’ and a Priscus in his audience shouted, ‘No, I don't!’ Google Scholar

80 Ibid. 7.17. For Pomponius, see n. 40 above and n. 99 below.Google Scholar

81 Ibid. 9.34. See Lesky, , ‘Neroniana’ 405, who rejects any attempt to use Pliny's joke to support an Isidorian interpretation of Neronian tragedy.Google Scholar

82 Tacitus, , Dialogus 2 (see n. 41 above).Google Scholar

83 Tacitus, , Dialogus 3.Google Scholar

84 Tragedies on Roman themes, like Cato, were called praetextae, from the purple-striped togas (the ceremonial dress of the emperors and higher magistrates) worn by the actors. Maternus is a good candidate for the authorship of the only such play still extant, the Octavia. The play deals with Nero's elimination of his wife Octavia in 62, and introduces Seneca moralis as a character. It was traditionally attributed to Seneca himself, in spite of its harsh criticism of the emperor and in spite of its prediction of Nero's death in after-the-fact detail (Nero died in 68, Seneca in 65). Giovanni Boccaccio's conclusion, which he reached around the year 1365, was that Seneca tragicus was another member of the same family, slightly younger than Seneca moralis. See Billanovich, Giuseppe, Petrarcha letterato: Lo scrittoio del Petrarca (Rome 1947) 109–11, and Martellotti, Guido, ‘La questione dei due Seneca, da Petrarca a Benvenuto,’ Italia medioevale e umanistica 15 (1972) 149–69, esp. 152. Martellotti acknowledges the possibility that Boccaccio was right (though not, of course, about his identification of Seneca moralis with his father, Seneca rhetor). See below at n. 98.Google Scholar

85 Tacitus, , Dialogus 910.Google Scholar

86 Ibid. 1113 (see n. 41 above).Google Scholar

87 Ibid. 20.Google Scholar

88 Ibid. 25. In sect. 29, Maternus says that one of the vices of the Romans is their passion for play-acting (histrionalis favor). Costa (n. 67 above) 98–110, in analyzing the rhetorical nature of Seneca's tragedies, shows that the influence of the one medium on the other was reciprocal.Google Scholar

89 Tacitus, , Dialogus 35.Google Scholar

90 Juvenal, , Satires 1.113.Google Scholar

91 See above at n. 11.Google Scholar

92 See n. 22 above.Google Scholar

93 See above at n. 68.Google Scholar

94 Advanced by Bieber, (n. 9 above) 234.Google Scholar

95 Seneca, , Epistles 11.7.Google Scholar

96 See above at n. 18.Google Scholar

97 See Mazzoli, Giancarlo, Seneca e la poesia (Milan 1970) 122–47, esp. 125. For example Seneca says in Epistles 108.6, with disapproval, that one is attracted to the theater for motives of pleasure, for finding delight in listening to speeches, songs, and plays (‘In theatrum voluptatis causa ad delectandas aures oratione, voce, vel fabulis ducimur’).Google Scholar

98 See above, nn. 1 and 84.Google Scholar

99 Quintilian, , Institutio oratoria 8.3.31: ‘Nam memini iuvenis admodum inter Pomponium ac Senecam etiam praefationibus esse tractatum, an gradus eliminat in tragoedia dici oportuisset.’ Google Scholar

100 So Mazzoli 133, agreeing with Berthe Marti and others.Google Scholar

101 Mazzoli 134.Google Scholar

102 See Dingel, Joachim, Seneca und die Dichtung, Bibliothek der klassischen Altertumswissenschaften, new series 51 (Heidelberg 1974) 14 and passim. See also Costa (n. 67 above) 108–109.Google Scholar