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Headword: *para/basis
Adler number: pi,282
Translated headword: parabasis
Vetting Status: high
This [term], parabasis, is the name for what the choral dancers used to say to the spectators. It is the procedure when the poet, having abandoned the regular order of the drama, advises the viewers or says something else outside the plot.[1] It is called parabasis because it is demarcated from the rest of the plot, or because the chorus comes forward [parabai/nei] in its its position. For they [sc. normally] stand in a row looking towards the orchestra; but when they come forward, they stand in order and make their speech looking towards the theatre [i.e. the audience].[2] Then, having completed the so-called parabasis, they turn themselves again to the previous stance. The poets make this evident by indicating the turning and the coming forward. Plato the comic poet in Paidarion [Slave-boy] [says]: "if I wasn't quite forced, o men, to turn hither, I would not have come forward to make this speech". [By this] he denoted both things, the turning and the coming forward.[3]
And the Pisidian [says]: "taking the parabates you sent him out, in a strange feint before the battle, into combat".[4]
Greek Original:
*para/basis: tou=to le/getai para/basis, a(/per e)/legon e)pistre/fontes oi( xoreutai\ pro\s tou\s qewme/nous. e)/sti de\ o( tro/pos, o(/tan katalipw\n ta\ e(ch=s tou= dra/matos o( poihth\s sumbouleu/h| toi=s qewme/nois h)\ a)/llo e)kto\s le/gh| ti th=s u(poqe/sews. *para/basis de\ le/getai, e)peidh\ a)ph/rthtai th=s a)/llhs u(poqe/sews, h)\ e)pei\ parabai/nei o( xoro\s to\n to/pon. e(sta=si me\n ga\r kata\ stoi=xon oi( pro\s th\n o)rxh/stran a)poble/pontes: o(/tan de\ parabw=sin, e)fech=s e(stw=tes kai\ pro\s to\ qe/atron a)poble/pontes to\n lo/gon poiou=ntai. ei)=ta dielqo/ntes th\n kaloume/nhn para/basin e)stre/fonto pa/lin ei)s th\n prote/ran sta/sin. dh=lon de\ poiou=sin au)toi\ oi( poihtai/, to\ stre/fesqai shmai/nontes kai\ to\ parabai/nein. *pla/twn o( kwmiko\s e)n tw=| *paidari/w|: ei) me\n mh\ li/an, a)/ndres, h)nagkazo/mhn stre/yai deu=ro, ou)k a)\n pare/bhn ei)s le/cin toia/nde e)pw=n. a)/mfw shmh/nas, kai\ to\ stre/fesqai kai\ to\ parabai/nein. kai\ *pisi/dhs: to\n paraba/thn sumbalw\n plasmw=| ce/nw| pro\ th=s ma/xhs a)fh=kas ei)s a)ntista/thn.
LSJ s.v. para/basis III; see Kranz, W., “Parabasis”, RE XVIII 3 (1949), pp. 1124-1126.
[1] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Frogs 686.
[2] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Knights 508.
[3] From the scholia to Aristophanes, Peace 733, where Plato fr.99 K.-A. (92 Kock) is quoted.
[4] George of Pisidia, De expeditione Persica 2.284-5 (but read parabalw/n for sumbalw/n and a)ntistadh/n for the present a)ntista/thn). This addendum to the entry has nothing to do with the main body of it but instead illustrates the noun parabates, a light-armed soldier.
Keywords: comedy; definition; dialects, grammar, and etymology; military affairs; poetry; stagecraft
Translated by: Ioannis Doukas on 27 May 2007@19:15:41.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; tweaks and cosmetics) on 28 May 2007@03:55:52.
David Whitehead on 14 August 2013@04:24:15.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 11 November 2014@18:08:34.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 4 January 2015@00:31:44.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 8 May 2021@23:14:26.


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