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Greek and Roman Actors
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  • 61 b/w illus. 2 maps
  • Page extent: 544 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.93 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 792/.028/0938
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: PA3203 .G74 2002
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Acting--History--To 10
    • Theater--Greece--History--To 0
    • Theater--History--To 0
    • Theater--Rome
    • Actors--Greece

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521651400 | ISBN-10: 0521651409)

This collection of twenty essays examines the art, profession and idea of the actor in Greek and Roman antiquity, and has been commissioned and arranged to cast as much interdisciplinary and transhistorical light as possible on these elusive but fascinating ancient professionals. It covers a chronological span from the sixth century BC to Byzantium (and even beyond to the way that ancient actors have influenced the arts from the Renaissance to the twentieth century) and stresses the huge geographical spread of ancient actors. Some essays focus on particular themes, such as the evidence for women actors or the impact of acting on the presentation of suicide in literature; others offer completely new evidence, such as graffiti relating to actors in Asia Minor; others ask new questions, such as what subjective experience can be reconstructed for the ancient actor. There are numerous illustrations and all Greek and Latin passages are translated.

• Surveys a long period and examines a wide range of evidence • Of interest to historians of ancient culture as well as scholars and students concerned with ancient performance traditions and the reception of drama • Completely accessible to readers without Greek or Latin


List of illustrations; List of contributors; Preface; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; Maps; Part I. The Art of the Actor: 1. The singing actors of antiquity Edith Hall; 2. The musicians among the actors Peter Wilson; 3. The use of the body by actors in tragedy and satyr-play Kostas Valakas; 4. Towards a reconstruction of performance style Richard Green; 5. Kallippides on the floor-sweepings: the limits of realism in classical acting and performance styles Eric Csapo; 6. Looking for the actor's art in Aristotle G. M. Sifakis; 7. Acting, action and words in New Comedy Eric Handley; 8. 'Acting down': the ideology of Hellenistic performance Richard Hunter; Part II. The Professional World: 9. Nothing to do with the technītai of Dionysus? Jane L. Lightfoot; 10. Actors and actor-managers at Rome in the time of Plautus and Terence Peter G. McC. Brown; 11. The masks on the propylon of the Sebasteion at Aphrodisias John Jory; 12. Images of performance: new evidence from Ephesus Charlotte Roueché; 13. Female entertainers in late antiquity Ruth Webb; 14. Acting in the Byzantine theatre: evidence and problems Walter Puchner; Part III. The Idea of the Actor: 15. Actor as icon Pat Easterling; 16. Scholars versus actors: text and performance in the Greek tragic scholia Thomas Falkner; 17. Orator and/et actor Elaine Fantham; 18. Acting and self-actualisation in imperial Rome: some death scenes Catharine Edwards; 19. The subjectivity of Greek performance Ismene Lada-Richards; 20. The ancient actor's presence since the Renaissance Edith Hall; Glossary; List of works cited; Index of major ancient passages cited; General index.


'… a well-organized, systematic discussion of the key elements in the evolution of 'classical drama'.' The Times Literary Supplement

'This is a collection of essays of rare coherence and quality … coverage is indeed comprehensive … Anyone interested in any significant aspect of acting in the ancient world will find this volume valuable. The quality of the chapters is uniformly high … The chapters are also superbly arranged, each introducing themes that are developed in those that follow … This volume will be a fundamental resource for all students and scholars whose interests include the ancient theatre; it will also be widely and profitably used by scholars of ancient society and thought, especially for the perspectives it provides on ancient approaches to non-verbal communication, the emotions, and the concept of the self.' Journal of Theatre Research International

'… this volume represents, to date, the most valuable companion to actors and acting in Graeco-Roman antiquity … recommend the volume not only to specialists but also to graduate students and other readers looking for an up-to-date introduction to current scholarship on ancient acting … a volume which will certainly be a standard reference book for years to come.' Journal of Hellenic Studies


Edith Hall, Peter Wilson, Kostas Valakas, Richard Green, Eric Csapo, G. M. Sifakis, Eric Handley, Richard Hunter, Jane L. Lightfoot, Peter G. McC. Brown, John Jory, Charlotte Roueché, Ruth Webb, Walter Puchner, Pat Easterling, Thomas Falkner, Elaine Fantham, Catharine Edwards, Ismene Lada-Richards

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