The Origins of Theater in Ancient Greece and Beyond examines the evidence for the pre-history and origin of drama. The belief that drama developed from religious ritual has been commonplace since the time of Aristotle but there is little agreement on just how this happened. Recently, scholars have even challenged the historical connection between drama and ritual. This volume is the most thorough examination on the origins of Greek drama to date. It brings together seventeen essays by leading scholars in a variety of fields, including classical archaeology, iconography, cultural history, theater history, philosophy, and religion. Though it primarily focuses up on ancient Greece, the volume includes comparative studies of ritual drama from ancient Egypt, Japan, and medieval Europe. Collectively, the essays show how the relationship of drama to ritual is one of the most controversial, complex, and multi-faceted questions of modern times.
Eric Csapo is Professor of Classics at the University of Sydney. He is an expert on the history of the ancient theatre and coauthor of The Context of Ancient Drama. His most recent book is Theories of Mythology. Margaret C. Miller is Arthur and Renee George Professor of Classical Archaeology at the University of Sydney. She specializes in Greek iconography and cultural history. Her book, Athens and Persia in the Fifth Century BC: A Study in Cultural Receptivity, won the Prix Ghirshman of the Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres in 2001.
1. General introduction E. Csapo and M. C. Miller; Part I. Komasts and Pre-Dramatic Ritual: 2. Introduction T. H. Carpenter; 3. The corpus of Komast vases: from identity to exegesis T. J. Smith; 4. Komasts, mythical imaginary and ritual C. Isler-Kerenyi; 5. Let's hear it for the fat man: padded dancers and the prehistory of drama J. R. Green; 6. Discussion T. H. Carpenter; Part II. Emergence of Drama: 7. Introduction and discussion G. Nagy; 8. From hymn to tragedy: Aristotle's genealogy of poetic kinds D. Depew; 9. Myths of ritual in Athenian vase-paintings of Silens G. Hedreen; 10. From ritual to narrative M. Steinhart; 11. 'And now all the world shall dance!' (Eur. Bacch. 114): Dionysus' choroi between drama and ritual B. Kowlazig; Part III. Comparing Other Cultures: 12. Introduction K. C. Patton; 13. Ritual drama in an ancient Egypt R. J. Leprohon; 14. Ritual and performance, dance and drama in ancient Japan G. Zobel; 15. Representation in European devotional rituals: the question of the origin of medieval drama in medieval liturgy N. H. Petersen; 16. Discussion K. C. Patton; Part IV. From Ritual to Drama: 17. From ritual to drama: a concluding statement R. Seaford.