- Slides: 10
From Homer to the Festival of Dionysus
Homer Recap The “blind” storyteller Stories filled with vivid imagery and violent descriptions of battle Two major works: The Iliad - Relates the story of the Trojan War. The Odyssey - Follows Odysseus’ long journey home from that war. Took an oral tradition and made it a written one by writing down these stories.
The Festival of Dionysus An expression of ritual and worship to the god Dionysus. Festivals began with a processional (parade), then choral presentations, then play competitions. The largest festival was the City Dionysia held in Athens in the spring.
Who is Dionysus? ● ● ● God of wine and fertility A patron of theatre The mortal Son of Zeus and Semele Two-sided personality: celebration and rage Roman counterpart: Bacchus The cult of Dionysus dates back to 1200 BC
Forms of Worship At festivals, the rituals and worship took the form of raucous song and wild dance. (with some animal sacrifice)
Dithyramb These festivals used a song form called the dithyramb: a hymn sung and danced by a large chorus, to praise Dionysus.
Dithyrambs have been described as wild and chaotic. Plutarch called them “full of passions. ” The lyrics were often improvised and overly ornate. (Plutarch: A Greek historian who lived 46 -120 AD. )
Dithyramb The form of dithyrambs changed as competitions emerged. Each Athenian tribe would send a chorus of 50 men and boys to compete.
Dithyramb The dithyramb started as (a likely drunken) celebration and revelry, which evolved into a more formalized storytelling till it finally became theatre form we know today.
Quiz Time! 1. Name one of Homer’s major works. 2. The largest festival was called the _______ Dionysia. 3. True or false? Dionysus’ mother was a mortal. 4. What’s a dithyramb? 5. True or false? The Festival of Dionysus was a somber affair. BONUS: The dithyramb changed under a competition context. Provide a modern example of something (an activity, event, artistic endeavor, sport) that changed once it was part of a competition. Was this change for the better or for the worse?