Lycurgan Athens and the Making of Classical Tragedy

Lycurgan Athens and the Making of Classical Tragedy

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Through a series of interdisciplinary studies this book argues that the Athenians themselves invented the notion of 'classical' tragedy just a few generations after the city's defeat in the Peloponnesian War. In the third quarter of the fourth century BC, and specifically during the 'Lycurgan Era' (338-322 BC), a number of measures were taken in Athens to affirm to the Greek world that the achievement of tragedy was owed to the unique character of the city. By means of rhetoric, architecture, inscriptions, statues, archives and even legislation, the 'classical' tragedians (Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides) and their plays came to be presented as both the products and vital embodiments of an idealised Athenian past. This study marks the first account of Athens' invention of its own theatrical heritage and sheds new light upon the interaction between the city's literary and political history.
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Product details

  • Electronic book text
  • Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 8 b/w illus. 1 table
  • 1139990896
  • 9781139990899

Table of contents

Introduction: through the Lycurgan looking glass; Part I. Classical Tragedy and the Lycurgan Programme: 1. Civic poetry in Lycurgus' Against Leocrates; 2. Scripts and statues, or a law of Lycurgus' own; 3. Site of change, site of memory: the 'Lycurgan' Theatre of Dionysus; Part II. Reading the Theatrical Heritage: 4. Courtroom drama: Aeschines and Demosthenes; 5. Classical tragedy and its comic lovers; 6. Aristotle and the theatre of Athens; Epilogue: classical tragedy in the age of Macedon.
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Review quote

'Hanink writes in a lucid and engaging style, bringing together the disparate evidential strands, archaeological, epigraphical and literary, into a persuasive synthesis, and handling deftly the balance and interplay between the political and literary aspects of her topic ... the book makes a very valuable, well-rounded, contribution to our understanding of the literary, political and monumental aspects of post-fifth-century tragedy in general and its role in the Lycurgan policy agenda in particular; and the lively, well-crafted and accessible style in which it is written will make it attractive to teachers and students as well as useful to researchers.' Stephen Lambert, Bryn Mawr Classical Review
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About Johanna Hanink

Johanna Hanink is Assistant Professor of Classics and Robert Gale Noyes Assistant Professor of Humanities at Brown University, where she is also a member of the Graduate Field Faculty in the Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies. She works primarily on the intellectual and performance cultures of classical Athens and has published widely on Athenian tragedy and its reception in antiquity.
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