The Kōmos (Ancient Greek : κῶμος; pl. kōmoi) was a ritualistic drunken procession performed by revelers in ancient Greece, whose participants were known as komasts (κωμασταί, kōmastaí). Its precise nature has been difficult to reconstruct from the diverse literary sources and evidence derived from vase painting.
The earliest reference to the komos is in Hesiod's Shield of Herakles , which indicates it took place as part of wedding festivities (line 281). And famously Alcibiades gate-crashes the Symposium while carousing in a komos. However, no one kind of event is associated with the komos: Pindar describes them taking place at the city festivals (Pythian 5.21, 8.20, Olympian 4.9), while Demosthenes mentions them taking place after the pompe and choregoi on the first day of the Greater Dionysia (Speeches 21.10), which may indicate the komos might have been a competitive event.
The komos must be distinguished from the pompe , or ritual procession, and the chorus, both of which were scripted. The komos lacked a chorus leader, script, or rehearsal.In the performance of Greek victory odes (epinikia) at post-Game celebrations for winning athletes, the choral singers often present themselves as komasts, or extend an invitation to join the komos, as if the formal song were a preliminary to spontaneous revelry. Nevertheless some komoi were expressly described as "semnoí" ("modest", "decent"), which implies that standard komoi were anything but.
Demosthenes upbraids the brother-in-law of Aeschines for not wearing a mask during the komos, as was the custom (On the Embassy 19.287),suggesting costume or disguise may have been involved. The playing of music during the komos is also mentioned by Aristophanes (Thesmophoriazusae 104, 988) and Pindar (Olympian 4.9, Pythian 5.22). There are also depictions of torch-lit processions in vase painting, yet it is not always clear from the evidence of vases if they depict symposia, choruses or komoi.
It is now widely thought that komos and κωμῳδία - komoidia "comedy" are etymologically related, the derivation being komos + ᾠδή - o(i)de "song" (from ἀείδω - aeido "sing"). However, in part III of the Poetics, Aristotle records the tradition that the word komoedia derives from the Megaran mime that took place in the villages of Sicily, hence from κώμη - kome (the Dorian word for village). Nevertheless, it remains unclear exactly how the revel-song developed into the Greek Old comedy of the Dionysian festival in the 6th century BC.
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Bacchylides was a Greek lyric poet. Later Greeks included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets which included his uncle Simonides. The elegance and polished style of his lyrics have been noted in Bacchylidean scholarship since at least Longinus. Some scholars, however, have characterized these qualities as superficial charm. He has often been compared unfavourably with his contemporary, Pindar, as "a kind of Boccherini to Pindar's Haydn". However, the differences in their styles do not allow for easy comparison, and translator Robert Fagles has written that "to blame Bacchylides for not being Pindar is as childish a judgement as to condemn ... Marvell for missing the grandeur of Milton". His career coincided with the ascendency of dramatic styles of poetry, as embodied in the works of Aeschylus or Sophocles, and he is in fact considered one of the last poets of major significance within the more ancient tradition of purely lyric poetry. The most notable features of his lyrics are their clarity in expression and simplicity of thought, making them an ideal introduction to the study of Greek lyric poetry in general and to Pindar's verse in particular.
In Greek mythology, Alcyoneus or Alkyoneus was a traditional opponent of the hero Heracles. He was usually considered to be one of the Gigantes (Giants), the offspring of Gaia born from the blood of the castrated Uranus.
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Pindar was an Ancient Greek lyric poet from Thebes. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian wrote, "Of the nine lyric poets, Pindar is by far the greatest, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich exuberance of his language and matter, and his rolling flood of eloquence, characteristics which, as Horace rightly held, make him inimitable." His poems can also, however, seem difficult and even peculiar. The Athenian comic playwright Eupolis once remarked that they "are already reduced to silence by the disinclination of the multitude for elegant learning". Some scholars in the modern age also found his poetry perplexing, at least until the 1896 discovery of some poems by his rival Bacchylides; comparisons of their work showed that many of Pindar's idiosyncrasies are typical of archaic genres rather than of only the poet himself. His poetry, while admired by critics, still challenges the casual reader and his work is largely unread among the general public.
The Pythian Games were one of the four Panhellenic Games of Ancient Greece. They were held in honour of Apollo following the quadrennial chronology of the Olympic Games, at his sanctuary at Delphi. They were held two years after each Olympic Games, and between each Nemean and Isthmian Games. The Pythian Games were founded sometime in the 6th century BC and featured competitions for art and dance. The art and dance competitions pre-dated the athletic portion of the games, and were said to have been started by Apollo after he killed Python and set up the oracle at Delphi.
Hymen, Hymenaios or Hymenaeus, in Hellenistic religion, is a god of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts and song. Related to the god's name, a hymenaios is a genre of Greek lyric poetry sung during the procession of the bride to the groom's house in which the god is addressed, in contrast to the Epithalamium, which is sung at the nuptial threshold. He is one of the winged love gods, Erotes.
The Dionysia was a large festival in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia. The Dionysia actually consisted of two related festivals, the Rural Dionysia and the City Dionysia, which took place in different parts of the year. They were also an essential part of the Dionysian Mysteries.
The Lenaia was an annual Athenian festival with a dramatic competition. It was one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece. The Lenaia took place in Athens in Gamelion, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysus Lenaios. There is also evidence the festival also took place in Delphi.
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to the bawdy satire of burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality, pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.
Black-figure pottery painting, also known as the black-figure style or black-figure ceramic is one of the styles of painting on antique Greek vases. It was especially common between the 7th and 5th centuries BC, although there are specimens dating as late as the 2nd century BC. Stylistically it can be distinguished from the preceding orientalizing period and the subsequent red-figure pottery style.
Ancient Greek comedy was one of the final three principal dramatic forms in the theatre of classical Greece. Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods: Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy. Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes; Middle Comedy is largely lost, i.e. preserved only in relatively short fragments by authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis; and New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander.
Old Comedy (archaia) is the first period of the ancient Greek comedy, according to the canonical division by the Alexandrian grammarians. The most important Old Comic playwright is Aristophanes – whose works, with their daring political commentary and abundance of sexual innuendo, effectively define the genre today.
Douris or Duris was an ancient Athenian red-figure vase-painter and potter active c. 500 to 460 BCE.
The François Vase is a large Attic volute krater decorated in the black-figure style. It stands at 66 cm in height and was inspired by earlier bronze vases. It was used for wine. A milestone in the development of ancient Greek pottery due to the drawing style used as well as the combination of related stories depicted in the numerous friezes, it is dated to circa 570/560 BCE. The Francois Vase was discovered in 1844 in Chiusi where an Etruscan tomb in the necropolis of Fonte Rotella was found located in central Italy. It was named after its discoverer Alessandro François, it is now in the Museo Archeologico at Florence. It remains uncertain whether the krater was used in Greece or in Etruria, and whether the handles were broken and repaired in Greece or in Etruria. Perhaps the François Vase was made for a symposium given by a member of an aristocratic family in Solonian Athens, then broken and, after being carefully repaired, was sent to Etruria, perhaps as an instance of elite-gift exchange. It bears the inscriptions "Ergotimos mepoiesen" and "Kleitias megraphsen", meaning "Ergotimos made me" and "Kleitias painted me". It depicts 270 figures, 121 of which have accompanying inscriptions which is highly unusual for so many to be identified; the scenes depicted represent a number of mythological themes. In 1900 the vase was smashed into 638 pieces by a museum guard by hurling a wooden stool against the protective glass. It was later restored by Pietro Zei in 1902, followed by a second reconstruction in 1973 incorporating previously missing pieces.
The Brygos Painter was an ancient Greek Attic red-figure vase painter of the Late Archaic period. Together with Onesimos, Douris and Makron, he is among the most important cup painters of his time. He was active in the first third of the 5th century BCE, especially in the 480s and 470s BCE. He was a prolific artist to whom over two hundred vases have been attributed, but he is perhaps best known for the Brygos Cup, a red-figure kylix in the Louvre which depicts the "iliupersis" or sack of Troy.
The epinikion or epinicion is a genre of occasional poetry also known in English as a victory ode. In ancient Greece, the epinikion most often took the form of a choral lyric, commissioned for and performed at the celebration of an athletic victory in the Panhellenic Games and sometimes in honor of a victory in war. Major poets in the genre are Simonides, Bacchylides, and Pindar.
The Three Revelers Vase, also known as simply the Revelers Vase, is a Greek vase originating from the Archaic Period. Painted around 510 BCE in the red figure pottery style, the Revelers vase was found in an Etruscan tomb in Vulci, Italy. The painting is attributed to Euthymides. Although the vase is in the amphora shape, its purpose is more decorative than functional. The painting itself shows three nude partygoers and Hector arming on the reverse. The work is remarkable because of the early use of foreshortening as opposed to conventional profile and frontal views. The Revelers Vase currently resides in the Staatliche Antikensammlungen in Münich, Germany.
The Comast Group was a group of Attic vase painters in the black-figure style. The works of its members are dated to between 585 and 570/560 BC. The artists of the Komast Group are seen as the successors of the Gorgon Painter. Its most important representatives were the KX Painter and the slightly later KY Painter. They painted vases shapes that had been newly introduced to Athens or that had not previously been painted. Especially commonly painted by them were '’kothon’’ and lekanis. From Corinth, then still the centre of Greek vase painting, they adopted the Komast cup and the skyphos (known as kotyle. The KY Painter introduced the column krater. Also popular at the time was the kantharos. The group adopted the Corinthian habit of depicting komasts, after which the group is named. It provided the group’s most commonly painted motif. The komast scenes permit Attic artists for the first time to reach the artistic levels of middle-ranking Corinthian vases. While the older KX Painter still mostly painted animals and only the occasional komast scene, the komos became a standard motif for the KY painter and further inferior successors. It is not clear to what extent the painters of the group really cooperated. It is possible that they all worked in the same workshop. The group influenced later Attic vase painters, including the Heidelberg Painter. Works by the Komast Group were not only found in Attica, but appear to have been exported widely. Vases and fragments have been found at many sites, including Naukratis, Rhodes, Central Italy, Taras, and even Corinth.
The Komast cup is a cup shape at the beginning of the development of Attic drinking cups. Komast cups were widespread especially in Ionia and Corinth. Like other vase painters of the time, the Attic painters were under strong influence from Corinthian vase painting.
The Brygos Cup of Würzburg is an Attic red-figure kylix from about 480 BC. It was made by the Brygos potter and painted by the man known as the Brygos Painter. It depicts some of the best-known images of ancient pottery.