Carcinus (writer)

Carcinus (writer)

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Carcinus was an Ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 tragedian, and was a member of a family including Xenocles
Xenocles or Zenocles was an Ancient Greek tragedian.There were two Athenian tragic poets of this name, one the grandfather of the other...

 (a father or uncle) and his grandfather Carcinus of Agrigentum. He received a prize for only one out of his one hundred and sixty plays, many of them composed at the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse
Dionysius II of Syracuse
Dionysius the Younger or Dionysius II ruled Syracuse, Sicily from 367 BC to 357 BC and again from 346 BC to 344 BC....

. He and his sons were lampooned by Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 at the end of The Wasps
The Wasps
The Wasps is the fourth in chronological order of the eleven surviving plays by Aristophanes, the master of an ancient genre of drama called 'Old Comedy'. It was produced at the Lenaia festival in 422 BC, a time when Athens was enjoying a brief respite from The Peloponnesian War following a one...

and in Peace
Peace (play)
Peace is an Athenian Old Comedy written and produced by the Greek playwright Aristophanes. It won second prize at the City Dionysia where it was staged just a few days before the ratification of the Peace of Nicias , which promised to end the ten year old Peloponnesian War...


All three of those sons became playwrights.

Carcinus is mentioned briefly by Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

. In the Poetics, Chapter 17 (1455a lines 22 to 29), Aristotle discusses the necessity for a playwright to see the composition on the stage, rather than just in print, in order to weed out any inconsistencies. Aristotle points to an unnamed play of Carcinus which had a character, Amphiaraus, exit a temple. For some reason (presumably the events prior), this seemed outrageously inconsistent when viewed on the stage, and the audience "hissed" the actors right off the stage. It seems this particular inconsistency was not easily recognised by merely reading the script.