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Headword: *fru/nixos
Adler number: phi,762
Translated headword: Phrynichus, Phrynichos, Phrynikhos, Phrunichos
Vetting Status: high
son of Polyphradmon[1] or Minyros, but others [say] Chorokles; Athenian, tragedian,[2] pupil of Thespis, who first introduced tragedy.[3] He won during the 67th Olympiad.[4] This Phrynichus first introduced a feminine mask on the stage[5] and was the inventor of tetrameter.[6] He had a son, Polyphrasmon, who was a tragedian. His nine tragedies are the following: Woman of Pleuron,[7] Egyptians, Aktaeon, Alcestis, Antaeus or Libyans, Just Men or Persians or Synthocians, Daughters of Danaus.[8]
Greek Original:
*fru/nixos, *polufra/dmonos h)\ *minu/rou, oi( de\ *xorokle/ous: *)aqhnai=os, tragiko/s, maqhth\s *qe/spidos tou= prw/tou th\n tragikh\n ei)sene/gkantos. e)ni/ka toi/nun e)pi\ th=s cz# o)lumpia/dos. ou(=tos de\ prw=tos o( *fru/nixos gunaikei=on pro/swpon ei)sh/gagen e)n th=| skhnh=|, kai\ eu(reth\s tou= tetrame/trou e)ge/neto. kai\ pai=da e)/sxe tragiko\n *polufra/smona. tragw|di/ai de\ au)tou= ei)sin e)nne/a au(=tai: *pleurwni/a, *ai)gu/ptioi, *)aktai/wn, *)/alkhstis, *)antai=os h)\ *li/bues, *di/kaioi h)\ *pe/rsai h)\ *su/nqwkoi, *danai/+des.
C6/5 BCE (see further below, n. 4); OCD(4) s.v. Phrynichus(1).
[1] Pausanias (10.31.4) and the scholia to Aristophanes, Birds 750, also give Polyphradmon as the name of Phrynichus' father. A grandson Polyphrasmon (sic) is mentioned later in the entry, and plainly the two names should be textually reconciled, here and elsewhere; but there is no scholarly consensus on the correct version.
[2] Dancing was a prominent part of Phrynichus' dramaturgy. He is said to have boasted (Plutarch, Moralia 732F): 'dancing gave me as many figures as a destructive night / in winter makes waves on a sea'. Athenaeus (Deipnosophists 1.22A [1.39 Kaibel]) claims that 'the old poets', including Phrynichus, were called dancers because they involved their own dramas in the dancing of the chorus and apart from their own interests, taught those who wanted to learn to dance. Phrynichus was admired for the sweetness of his lyrics (scholia to Aristophanes, Birds 750 and to Frogs 910). Aristophanes praised his lyrics (Birds 748-751): 'like a bee / Phrynichus consumed the fruit / of divine song, ever bringing forth / sweet music'. Aristophanes, Wasps 273-316 and Birds 737-752 = 769-784 appear to be based on Phrynichus.
[3] For Thespis see generally theta 282 and theta 283.
[4] 511-508 BCE. A victory in tragedy then places Phrynichus' birth before 530, making him younger than Thespis and an older contemporary of Aeschylus (scholia to Aristophanes, Frogs 910). His last victory came probably in 476 when Themistocles was choregos (Plutarch, Themistocles 5.5). He lived from about 540 to about 470.
[5] 'Feminine mask', that is, a female character. The claim is dubious; and see next note.
[6] Untrue.
[7] Should be plural.
[8] For the fragments of Phrynichus' tragedies see Nauck TGF 720-725. This list omits his most famous plays, (a) Capture of Miletus and (b) Phoenician Women.
(a) Herodotus 6.21.2: 'the Athenians took heavily the capture of Miletus [494 BCE] in a number of ways, and, in particular, they were furious at Phrynichus who composed and produced a play, The Capture of Miletus. He caused the audience to burst into tears. The Athenians fined him a thousand drachmas for causing them to remember their personal sufferings and forbade anyone from producing this play ever again'. See also Strabo 14.1.7(635); Plutarch, Moralia 814B; Aelian, Varia Historia 13.17; scholia to Aristophanes, Wasps 1490.
(b) Phoenician Women perhaps treated Themistocles' victory at Salamis, an inference based on Themistocles' role as choregos for Phrynichus in 476. Plutarch preserves a votive inscription set erected by Themistocles (Themistocles 5.5): 'Themistocles of Phrearrhi was choregos; Phrynichus, teacher of the chorus, and Adeimantus, archon'.
The argumentum to AeschylusPersians preserves the opening line of the Phoenician Women: 'Glaukos [of Rhegium] in his work on the plots of Aeschylus says that Aeschylus almost quotes [parapepoiesthai] Phrynichus' Phoenician Women for his Persians. Phrynichus began his play with 'We here belong to the Persians of old who went' [Tad' esti Person ton palai bebekoton]. In Phoenician Women, a eunuch announces the defeat of Xerxes at the beginning of the play; in Aeschylus, a chorus of old men pronounce the prologue and its first line 'We here belong to the Persians who set out' [Tade men Person ton oikhomenon]'.
Albin Lesky, A History of Greek Literature. Translated by James Willis and Cornis de Heer (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell: 1966), 230-31
Keywords: biography; chronology; definition; history; meter and music; poetry; tragedy
Translated by: Wm. Blake Tyrrell on 1 August 2004@23:21:11.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented and (in one instance) modified notes; augmented keywords; cosmetics) on 2 August 2004@04:25:39.
David Whitehead (tweaking; rasied status) on 18 December 2013@06:49:30.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 7 August 2014@03:59:46.
David Whitehead (expanded a ref) on 15 January 2015@11:10:22.


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