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Title: The Greek Dramatic Festivals under the Roman Empire
Authors: Skotheim, Mali Annika
Advisors: Luraghi, Nino
Contributors: Classics Department
Keywords: Cultural History
Greek Drama
Imperial Greek Literature
Roman Drama
Subjects: Classical studies
Theater history
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation is a cultural history of the Greek dramatic festivals under the Roman Empire, primarily from literary and epigraphic sources. I argue against the idea that Greek culture was in decline during the Roman period, demonstrating that dramatic performance culture flourished at this time. New tragedies, comedies, and satyr-plays were composed and performed at Greek festivals through the second century CE, while re-performances of classical drama lasted into the third century CE. Alongside contemporary drama, Greeks continued to stage re-productions of classical tragedy and comedy. This shared cultural and literary knowledge contributed to the construction and perpetuation of Greek identity in the provinces. The first chapter addresses how the imperial framework impacted Greek festival culture. The panhellenic festivals were vastly expanded in number and spatial extent, and standardization increased over time. Chapter 2 examines the dynamic of localism and globalism at the festivals, by focusing on the traveling performers. Pulled away from their hometowns to compete and win victories across the Empire, performers were, in turn, drawn back to their hometowns to be granted civic honors and to collect stipends. Driven by these forces, the professional association of actors and poets, the Technitai of Dionysus, pressured festival organizers and emperors to expand the festival network. Chapter 3 turns to the dynamic of localism and globalism in theater audiences. Theater audiences in the Roman period were heterogeneous, and used the theater as a space to negotiate complex hierarchies. Chapter 4 argues that benefactors invested in festivals in order to create financial and social benefits for themselves and their families. Chapter 5 defines the relationship between old and new, tradition and innovation, at the festivals. The last two chapters take up paratheatrical entertainment, Chapter 6 on the introduction of mime and pantomime to the prize-winning competitions, and Chapter 7 on paratheatrical entertainment as popular culture. Two appendices seek to make the evidence accessible. Appendix 1 provides a site-by-site catalog of the evidence for the Greek dramatic festivals in the Eastern Roman Empire. Appendix 2 collects the known paratheatrical entertainers from antiquity.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Classics

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