In the time of Pericles, Greek theatre had already been established as a social institution and powerful mechanism for influencing the Greek citizen. The father of Greek theatre, Aeschylus, was himself a participant in the Persian wars, and was an eyewitness to the overthrowing of tyranny and the founding of the new democratic order. The survival of more than 30 complete works by the three great Athenian tragedians – Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides – along with fragments of many other works, is evidence of the importance of theatre in the life of the democratic polis.
By the time these ancient works reached modern times, however, their significance as oral texts/perfomances was reduced, and therefore their collective influence as it would had been experienced during the Dionissias cannot be fully appreciated. It is my intention here to accentuate the texts’ original role to stimulate ‘collective dramatic intercourse’ to produce a reading of the Parthenon sculptures that considers them in the light of their dramatic function.
Reviewing Pericles’ Parthenon and its architectural sculpture within the context of ancient drama illuminates the relationship between the sculptures and Greek theatre which was one of the strongest influences in shaping Athenian social consciousness.
|Keywords:||Parthenon Marbles, Ancient Drama|
Lecturer, School of Architecture & Design, Victoria University of Wellington, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
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