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Headword: *qe/spis
Adler number: theta,282
Translated headword: Thespis
Vetting Status: high
Of Ikarion, a city of Attica.[1] [He was] a tragic poet, 16th after the first writer of tragedies Epigenes of Sicyon, but some [say] the second after Epigenes;[2] others say that he was the first tragedian. At first he performed having rubbed his face with white lead, then he covered [his face] with purslane in his performance,[3] and after that he also introduced the use of masks made solely from linen.[4] He produced his plays in the 61st Olympiad.[5] He is remembered for his plays The [funeral] games of Pelias or [The] Phorbas, The Priests, The Youths, Pentheus.[6]
Greek Original:
*qe/spis, *)ikari/ou, po/lews *)attikh=s, tragiko\s i#2# a)po\ tou= prw/tou genome/nou tragw|diopoiou= *)epige/nous tou= *sikuwni/ou tiqe/menos, w(s de/ tines deu/teros meta\ *)epige/nhn: a)/lloi de\ au)to\n prw=ton tragiko\n gene/sqai fasi/. kai\ prw=ton me\n xri/sas to\ pro/swpon yimuqi/w| e)tragw/|dhsen, ei)=ta a)ndra/xnh| e)ske/pasen e)n tw=| e)pidei/knusqai, kai\ meta\ tau=ta ei)sh/negke kai\ th\n tw=n proswpei/wn xrh=sin e)n mo/nh| o)qo/nh| kataskeua/sas. e)di/dace de\ e)pi\ th=s prw/ths kai\ c# o)lumpia/dos. mnhmoneu/etai de\ tw=n drama/twn au)tou= *)=aqla *peli/ou h)\ *fo/rbas, *(ierei=s, *)hi/+qeoi, *penqeu/s.
R.A.S. Seaford in OCD(4) s.v.; and see also theta 283.
[1] Ikarion (also called Ikaria) was one of the demes of Attica whose pre-classical history and stature led it often -- after as well as before Kleisthenes -- to be termed a "city", polis. For Ikarion as the place where both tragedy and comedy were said to have originated see e.g. Athenaeus, Deipnosophists 2.40A-B [2.11 Kaibel]; and generally D. Whitehead, The Demes of Attica (Princeton 1986) index s.v.
[2] R.A.S. Seaford in OCD(4) s.v. Epigenes(1). (epsilon 2262 is a later Athenian homonym.)
[3] According to Pickard-Cambridge [below] 76 the meaning here is that Thespis hung the strung flowers of the herb purslane over his face as a disguise.
[4] "But what the words 'in linen alone' mean is uncertain; they may mean 'of linen only, not of cork or wood', or 'of linen without paint or colouring', or 'of linen without any stiffening'." Pickard-Cambridge [below] 79.
[5] 536/5-533/2.
[6] See Heraclides 150 Schutrumpf for discussion of the possibility that these plays were forged by Heraclides of Pontus.
A.W. Pickard-Cambridge, Dithyramb, Tragedy and Comedy, 2nd ed. rev. T.B.L. Webster. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1962, pp.69-89
Keywords: biography; botany; chronology; clothing; comedy; epic; geography; history; mythology; poetry; religion; stagecraft; trade and manufacture; tragedy
Translated by: Tony Natoli on 16 April 2001@18:25:09.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (modified translation and note; cosmetics) on 22 April 2001@06:36:27.
David Whitehead (added x-ref; restorative and other cosmetics) on 20 December 2002@03:06:54.
David Mirhady (updated ref.) on 2 September 2008@18:43:02.
David Whitehead (more keywords; tweaking) on 2 January 2013@04:39:22.
David Whitehead on 2 January 2013@04:40:39.
David Whitehead (updated 2 refs) on 5 August 2014@07:09:01.
David Whitehead (expanded a ref) on 15 January 2015@07:42:45.


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