Traduzione in inglese
Athens as a center of Greek culture: the Greek theater
The 5th century BC it is considered as the period in which a notable artistic and philosophical development took place. Athens was considered the center of Greek culture and in this city classical art was born, which remained pure for a short time until it constituted an important ideal in the Greek world. In the fifth century, the great artists of the time went to Athens which soon became the intellectual center par excellence. In the classical age a peculiar phenomenon of Athens was the tragedy1 theatrical genre born in Ancient Greece and which represented a typically religious ceremony with a strong social function that the poet exercised in the context of the polis. The tragedy was a theatrical performance and created a relationship with the public and with its expectations. This relationship was characterized by the fact of being collective and presupposed a direct exposure of the written text, through the auditory-visual canal, rather than through reading.
The Greek theater involved the entire city and the number of active participants such as costume designers, actors, musicians, instructors, priests and machinists was very high. The tragedy was also a very important political moment. It was of great importance that the organization of the shows was entrusted to the state. The Greeks therefore believed that every artistic manifestation had an educational function to such an extent that the theater established its roots in the political constitution of Athens in the fifth century BC. which takes the name of democracy. Through this political form, all citizens became equal, involved and responsible for the decisions of the city. So the theater was a perfect metaphor for democracy. As in the course of the performance a close interdependence was created between the hero and the choir, also during daily life a very intense relationship was created between the individual and the community as a whole. The Greek theater, during its period of productivity, was a phenomenon exclusively of Athens. The shows took place on the festivities of the Great Dionysias which began in spring and lasted seven days.
The place intended for the public was called theatron, and it was a theater in the shape of a semicircle without a curtain. In the center there was a circular platform called an orchestra where the choir performed its functions. In the ancient theater, the action represented took place outdoors as was the custom in the social life of Mediterranean peoples. The light was always natural, in reference to the various moments of the day, and as far as acoustic problems were concerned, the actors used masks. The dramatic representation was entrusted to the choir and the actors. The choir was expressed by means of song and dance movements, at the head was the corifeo who spoke with the actors. The first representations of tragedies that have come down to us are the work of Thespis in 534 before Christ.
Aeschylus is considered the first of the tragic poets of ancient Greece whose entire works have survived. The actual strength of his dramatic poetry arose from the form, the social situation and the conventions of the theater. Aeschylus was neither an innovator nor a progressivist, since in the creation of his representations of tragic conflicts he was helped by a long tradition that has its origins even before Homer.
Riferimenti bibliografici – bibliographical references
La parola tragedia deriva dal greco tragoidia che secondo un’interpretazione risalente agli alessandrini del III secolo a.C., significherebbe “canto per il sacrificio di un capro”, con riferimento ai componenti del coro (coreuti)
che, almeno in un certo periodo, agivano travestiti da capri. Tratto dall’opera di Peter Levi, Marco Attilio Levi, Giovanni Giorgini, La Storia-la Grecia e il Mondo Ellenico, Novara, Mondadori, 2007, pag. 250.
Descrizione dell’organizzazione del teatro antico viene riportata nell’introduzione proposta nell’opera di Euripide, Medea, trad. di R. Cantarella, Milano, Mondadori, 2015, pp. 7-8.
The word tragedy derives from the Greek tragoidia which, according to an interpretation dating back to the Alexandrians of the third century BC, would mean “song for the sacrifice of a goat”, with reference to the members of the choir (choreutes) who, at least in a certain period, acted disguised as goats. Taken from the work of Peter Levi, Marco Attilio Levi, Giovanni Giorgini, History-Greece and the Hellenic World, Novara, Mondadori, 2007, p. 250. Description of the organization of the ancient theater is given in the introduction proposed in the work of Euripides, Medea, trans. by R. Cantarella, Milan, Mondadori, 2015, pp. 7-8.