Dionysia

Dionysia

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The Dionysia[p] was a large festival
Athenian festivals
The festival calendar of city-state of classical Athens involved the staging of a large number of festivals each year. These Athenian festivals included:-Athena:...

 in ancient Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 in honor of the god Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

, the central events of which were the theatrical performances of dramatic tragedies
Tragedy
Tragedy is a form of art based on human suffering that offers its audience pleasure. While most cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, tragedy refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of...

 and, from 487 BC, comedies. It was the second-most important festival after the Panathenaia. The Dionysia actually consisted of two related festivals, the Rural Dionysia and the City Dionysia, which took place in different parts of the year. They were also an essential part of the Dionysian Mysteries
Dionysian Mysteries
The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. It also provided some liberation for those marginalized by Greek...

.

Rural Dionysia


The Dionysia was originally a rural
Rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 festival in Eleutherae
Eleutherae
Eleutherae is a city in the northern part of Attica, bordering the territory of Boeotia. One of the best preserved fortresses of the Ancient Greece stands now on the spot of Ancient Eleutherae with walls of very fine masonry that average 2.6m thick. A stretch of wall 206m long containing six...

, Attica
Attica
Attica is a historical region of Greece, containing Athens, the current capital of Greece. The historical region is centered on the Attic peninsula, which projects into the Aegean Sea...

 (Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

: Dionysia ta kat' agrous - Διονύσια τὰ κατ' ἀγρούς), probably celebrating the cultivation of vine
Vine
A vine in the narrowest sense is the grapevine , but more generally it can refer to any plant with a growth habit of trailing or scandent, that is to say climbing, stems or runners...

s. It was probably a very ancient festival, perhaps not originally associated with Dionysus. This "rural Dionysia" was held during the winter, in the month of Poseideon
Attic calendar
The Attic calendar is a hellenic calendar that was in use in ancient Attica, the ancestral territory of the Athenian polis. This article focuses on the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the classical period that produced some of the most significant works of ancient Greek literature. Because of the...

 (roughly corresponding to December). The central event was the pompe (πομπή), the procession, in which phalloi
Phallus
A phallus is an erect penis, a penis-shaped object such as a dildo, or a mimetic image of an erect penis. Any object that symbolically resembles a penis may also be referred to as a phallus; however, such objects are more often referred to as being phallic...

(φαλλοί) were carried by phallophoroi (φαλλοφόροι). Also participating in the pompe were kanephoroi
Kanephoros
The Kanephoros was an honorific office given to unmarried young women in ancient Greece, which involved the privilege of leading the procession to sacrifice at festivals; the highest honour was to lead the pompe at the Panathenaic Festival...

(κανηφόροι - young girls carrying baskets), obeliaphoroi (ὀβελιαφόροι
- who carried long loaves of bread), skaphephoroi (σκαφηφόροι - who carried other offerings), hydriaphoroi (ὑδριαφόροι - who carried jars of water), and askophoroi (ἀσκοφόροι - who carried jars of wine).

After the pompe procession was completed, there were contests of dancing and singing, and choruses
Greek chorus
A Greek chorus is a homogenous, non-individualised group of performers in the plays of classical Greece, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action....

 (led by a choregos
Choregos (ancient Greece)
In the theatre of ancient Greece, chorêgos was an honorary title for a wealthy Athenian citizen who assumed the public duty of financing and paying the expenses of the preparation of the chorus and other aspects of dramatic production that were not covered by the state...

) would perform dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

s. Some festivals may have included dramatic performances, possibly of the tragedies and comedies that had been produced at the City Dionysia the previous year. This was more common in the larger towns, such as Piraeus
Piraeus
Piraeus is a city in the region of Attica, Greece. Piraeus is located within the Athens Urban Area, 12 km southwest from its city center , and lies along the east coast of the Saronic Gulf....

 and Eleusis.

Because the various towns in Attica held their festivals on different days, it was possible for spectators to visit more than one festival per season. It was also an opportunity for Athenian citizens to travel outside the city if they did not have the opportunity to do so during the rest of the year. This also allowed travelling companies of actors to perform in more than one town during the period of the festival.

The comic playwright Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 parodied the Rural Dionysia in his play The Acharnians
The Acharnians
The Acharnians is the third play - and the earliest of the eleven surviving plays - by the great Athenian playwright Aristophanes. It was produced in 425 BCE on behalf of the young dramatist by an associate, Callistratus, and it won first place at the Lenaia festival...

.

Origins


The City Dionysia (Dionysia ta en Astei - Διονύσια τὰ ἐν Ἄστει, also known as the Great Dionysia, Dionysia ta Megala - Διονύσια τὰ Μεγάλα) was the urban part of the festival, possibly established during the tyranny of Pisistratus
Peisistratos (Athens)
Peisistratos was a tyrant of Athens from 546 to 527/8 BC. His legacy lies primarily in his institution of the Panathenaic Festival and the consequent first attempt at producing a definitive version for Homeric epics. Peisistratos' championing of the lower class of Athens, the Hyperakrioi, can be...

 in the 6th century BC. This festival was held about three months after the rural Dionysia, during the month of Elaphebolion
Attic calendar
The Attic calendar is a hellenic calendar that was in use in ancient Attica, the ancestral territory of the Athenian polis. This article focuses on the 5th and 4th centuries BC, the classical period that produced some of the most significant works of ancient Greek literature. Because of the...

 (corresponding to the end of March and the beginning of April), probably to celebrate the end of winter and the harvesting of the year's crops. According to tradition, the festival was established after Eleutherae
Eleutherae
Eleutherae is a city in the northern part of Attica, bordering the territory of Boeotia. One of the best preserved fortresses of the Ancient Greece stands now on the spot of Ancient Eleutherae with walls of very fine masonry that average 2.6m thick. A stretch of wall 206m long containing six...

, a town on the border between Attica and Boeotia
Boeotia
Boeotia, also spelled Beotia and Bœotia , is one of the regional units of Greece. It is part of the region of Central Greece. It was also a region of ancient Greece. Its capital is Livadeia, the second largest city being Thebes.-Geography:...

, had chosen to become part of Attica. The Eleuthereans brought a statue of Dionysus to Athens, which was initially rejected by the Athenians. Dionysus then punished the Athenians with a plague
Plague
-Medicine:* Plague , a specific disease caused by Yersinia pestis. There are three major manifestations:** Bubonic plague** Septicemic plague** Pneumonic plague* An epidemic of infectious disease* A pandemic caused by such a disease...

 affecting the male genitalia, which was cured when the Athenians accepted the cult of Dionysus. This was recalled each year by a procession of citizens carrying phalloi.

The urban festival was a relatively recent invention. This ceremony fell under the auspices of the Archons of Athens, rather than the basileus
Basileus
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. It is perhaps best known in English as a title used by the Byzantine Emperors, but also has a longer history of use for persons of authority and sovereigns in ancient Greece, as well as for the kings of...

, to whom religious festivals were given when the office of archon was created in the 7th century BC.

Pompe and Proagon


The archon prepared for the City Dionysia as soon as he was elected, by choosing two paredroi (πάρεδροι) and ten epimeletai (ἐπιμεληταί) to help organize the festival. On the first day of the festival, the pompe was held, in which citizens, metic
Metic
In ancient Greece, the term metic referred to a resident alien, one who did not have citizen rights in his or her Greek city-state of residence....

s, and representatives from Athenian colonies marched to the Theatre of Dionysus
Theatre of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus is a major open-air theatre and one of the earliest preserved in Athens. It was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus...

 on the southern slope of the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

, carrying the wooden statue of Dionysus Eleutherus, the "leading" or the eisagoge (εἰσαγωγή). As with the Rural Dionysia, they also carried phalloi, made of wood or bronze aloft on poles, and a cart pulled a much larger phallus. Basket-carriers and water and wine-carriers participated in the pompe here as in the Rural Dionysia.

During the height of the Athenian Empire in the mid-5th century BC, various gifts and weapons showcasing Athens' strength were carried as well. Also included in the procession were bulls to be sacrificed in the theatre. The most conspicuous members of the procession were the choregoi (χορηγοί), who were dressed in the most expensive and ornate clothing. After the pompe, the choregoi led their choruses in the dithyrambic competitions. These were extremely competitive, and the best flute players and poets (such as Simonides
Simonides of Ceos
Simonides of Ceos was a Greek lyric poet, born at Ioulis on Kea. The scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria included him in the canonical list of nine lyric poets, along with Bacchylides and Pindar...

 and Pindar
Pindar
Pindar , was an Ancient Greek lyric poet. Of the canonical nine lyric poets of ancient Greece, his work is the best preserved. Quintilian described him as "by far the greatest of the nine lyric poets, in virtue of his inspired magnificence, the beauty of his thoughts and figures, the rich...

) offered their musical and lyrical services. After these competitions, the bulls were sacrificed, and a feast was held for all the citizens of Athens. A second procession, the komos
Komos
The Komos was a ritualistic drunken procession performed by revelers in ancient Greece, whose participants were known as komasts. Its precise nature has been difficult to reconstruct from the diverse literary sources and evidence derived from vase painting....

(κῶμος), occurred afterwards, which was most likely a drunken revelry through the streets.

The next day, the playwrights announced the titles of the plays to be performed, and judges were selected by lot: the "proagon" (προάγων). It is unknown where the proagon originally took place, but after the mid-5th century BC, it was held in the Odeon of Pericles on the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

. The proagon was also used to give praise to notable citizens, or often foreigners, who had served Athens in some beneficial way during the year. During the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

, orphaned children of those who had been killed in battle were also paraded in the Odeon, possibly to honour their fathers. The proagon could be used for other announcements as well; in 406 BC the death of the playwright Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

 was announced there.

Dramatic performances


Following the pompe, the Theatre of Dionysus
Theatre of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus is a major open-air theatre and one of the earliest preserved in Athens. It was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus...

 was purified by the sacrifice of a bull. According to tradition, the first performance of tragedy at the Dionysia was by the playwright and actor Thespis
Thespis
Thespis of Icaria , according to certain Ancient Greek sources and especially Aristotle, was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play...

 (from whom we take the word "thespian
Thespian
Thespian may refer to:* An actor * A citizen of the ancient Greek city of Thespiae* A member of the International Thespian Society, an honor society that promotes excellence in high school theater...

") in 534 BC. His award was reportedly a goat
Goat
The domestic goat is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the Bovidae family and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of...

, a common symbol for Dionysus, and this "prize" possibly suggests the origin of the word "tragedy" (which means "goat-song").

During the fifth century BC, five days of the festival were set aside for performance, though scholars disagree exactly what was presented each day. At least three full days were devoted to tragic plays, and each of three playwrights presented his set of three tragedies and one satyr play
Satyr play
Satyr plays were an ancient Greek form of tragicomedy, similar in spirit to burlesque. They featured choruses of satyrs, were based on Greek mythology, and were rife with mock drunkenness, brazen sexuality , pranks, sight gags, and general merriment.Satyric drama was one of the three varieties of...

 on the successive days. Most of the extant Greek tragedies, including those of Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

, Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

, and Sophocles
Sophocles
Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

, were performed at the Theatre of Dionysus
Theatre of Dionysus
The Theatre of Dionysus is a major open-air theatre and one of the earliest preserved in Athens. It was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus...

. The archons, epimeletai, and judges (agonothetai - ἀγωνοθἐται) watched from the front row.

The other two days of the festival were likely devoted to dithyramb
Dithyramb
The dithyramb was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb." Plato also...

ic contests until 487/6 BC, when comic poets were officially admitted to the agon
Agon
Agon is an ancient Greek word with several meanings:*In one sense, it meant a contest, competition, especially the Olympic Games , or challenge that was held in connection with religious festivals....

s and eligible for their own prizes. Each of five comic writers presented a single play (except during the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

, when only three plays were performed), though it is unknown whether they were performed continuously on one day, or over the course of the five-day festival. Until 449 BC, only dramatic works were awarded prizes in the agon, but after that time, actors also became eligible for recognition. It was considered a great honour to win the comedic prize at the City Dionysia, despite the belief that comedies were of secondary importance. The Lenaia
Lenaia
The Lenaia was an annual festival with a dramatic competition. It was one of the lesser festivals of Athens and Ionia in ancient Greece. The Lenaia took place in Athens in the month of Gamelion, roughly corresponding to January. The festival was in honour of Dionysos Lenaios...

 festival, held earlier in the year, featured comedy more prominently and officially recognized comic performances with prizes in 442 BC.

Impressive tragic output continued without pause though the first three quarters of the fourth century BC, and some scholars consider this time a continuation of the classical period
Classical Greece
Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as...

. Though much of the work of this period is either lost or forgotten, it is considered to owe a great debt to the playwright Euripides
Euripides
Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

. His plays, along with other fifth-century BC writers, were often re-staged during this period. At least one revival was presented each year at City Dionysia. It has been suggested that audiences may have preferred to see well-known plays re-staged, rather than financially support new plays of questionable quality; or alternately, that revivals represented a nostalgia
Nostalgia
The term nostalgia describes a yearning for the past, often in idealized form.The word is a learned formation of a Greek compound, consisting of , meaning "returning home", a Homeric word, and , meaning "pain, ache"...

 for the glory of Athens from before the devastation of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. Nevertheless, plays continued to be written and performed until the 2nd century BC, when new works of both comedy and tragedy seem to have been eliminated. After that point drama continued to be produced, but prizes were award to wealthy producers and famous actors rather than the long-dead playwrights whose work was being performed.

Another procession and celebration was held on the final day, when the judges chose the winners of the tragedy and comedy performances. The winning playwrights were awarded a wreath of ivy
Ivy
Ivy, plural ivies is a genus of 12–15 species of evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plants in the family Araliaceae, native to western, central and southern Europe, Macaronesia, northwestern Africa and across central-southern Asia east to Japan and Taiwan.-Description:On level ground they...

.

Significance


Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

 was often seen as the god of everything uncivilized, of the innate wildness of humanity, which the Athenians had tried to control. The Dionysia was probably a time to let out their inhibitions through highly emotional tragedies or irreverent comedies. During the pompe, there was also an element of role-reversal
Role reversal
In psychodrama, role reversal is a technique where the protagonist is asked, by the psychodrama director, to exchange roles with another person on the psychodrama stage. The former assumes as many of the roles of the other as possible and vice versa...

: lower-class citizens could mock and jeer the upper classes, or women could insult their male relatives. This was known as aischrologia (αἰσχρολογία) or tothasmos (τωθασμός), a concept also found in the Eleusinian Mysteries
Eleusinian Mysteries
The Eleusinian Mysteries were initiation ceremonies held every year for the cult of Demeter and Persephone based at Eleusis in ancient Greece. Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance...

, on the second day of the Thesmophoria
Thesmophoria
Thesmophoria was a festival held in Greek cities, in honor of the goddesses Demeter and her daughter Persephone. The name derives from thesmoi, or laws by which men must work the land. The Thesmophoria were the most widespread festivals and the main expression of the cult of Demeter, aside from the...

, and perhaps during the chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

 procession on the first day of the Anthesteria
Anthesteria
Anthesteria, one of the four Athenian festivals in honour of Dionysus , was held annually for three days, the eleventh to thirteenth of the month of Anthesterion ; it was preceded by the Lenaia...

, another festival of Dionysus.

The plays themselves could highlight ideas that would not normally be spoken or shared in everyday life. Aeschylus
Aeschylus
Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

' play The Persians
The Persians
The Persians is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. First produced in 472 BCE, it is the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre...

, for example, while patriotic to Athens, showed sympathy towards the Persians, which may have been politically unwise under normal circumstances. The parodies
Parody
A parody , in current usage, is an imitative work created to mock, comment on, or trivialise an original work, its subject, author, style, or some other target, by means of humorous, satiric or ironic imitation...

 of Aristophanes
Aristophanes
Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

 mocked the politicians and other celebrities of Athens, even going so far as producing an anti-war play (Lysistrata
Lysistrata
Lysistrata is one of eleven surviving plays written by Aristophanes. Originally performed in classical Athens in 411 BC, it is a comic account of one woman's extraordinary mission to end The Peloponnesian War...

) at the height of the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

. The circumstances of the Dionysia allowed him to get away with criticisms he would not normally be allowed to voice.

Tragedy

  • 484 BC - Aeschylus
    Aeschylus
    Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

  • 472 BC - Aeschylus (The Persians
    The Persians
    The Persians is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. First produced in 472 BCE, it is the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre...

    )
  • 471 BC - Polyphrasmon
  • 468 BC - Sophocles
    Sophocles
    Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived. His first plays were written later than those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides...

     (Triptolemus)
  • 467 BC - Aeschylus (Seven Against Thebes
    Seven Against Thebes
    The Seven against Thebes is the third play in an Oedipus-themed trilogy produced by Aeschylus in 467 BC. The trilogy is sometimes referred to as the Oedipodea. It concerns the battle between an Argive army led by Polynices and the army of Thebes led by Eteocles and his supporters. The trilogy won...

    )
  • 463 BC - Aeschylus (The Suppliants
    The Suppliants (Aeschylus)
    The Suppliants is a play by Aeschylus. It was probably first performed sometime after 470 BC as the first play in a tetralogy, sometimes referred to as the Danaid Tetralogy, which probably included the lost plays The Egyptians , and The Daughters of Danaus , and the satyr play Amymone...

    )
  • 458 BC - Aeschylus (The Oresteia
    The Oresteia
    The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have been performed following the trilogy; it has not survived...

    )
  • 449 BC - Herakleides
  • 442 BC - Sophocles (Antigone)
  • 441 BC - Euripides
    Euripides
    Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

  • 431 BC - Euphorion, son of Aeschylus, Sophocles took 2nd place, Euripides took 3rd with Medea
    Medea (play)
    Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed...

  • 428 BC - Euripides (Hippolytus
    Hippolytus (play)
    Hippolytus is an Ancient Greek tragedy by Euripides, based on the myth of Hippolytus, son of Theseus. The play was first produced for the City Dionysia of Athens in 428 BC and won first prize as part of a trilogy....

    )
  • 427 BC - Philocles
    Philocles
    Philocles was an Athenian tragic poet during the 5th century BCE. He was the nephew of the famous poet Aeschylus, being the son of Aeschylus' sister. He is best known for winning first prize in the competition against Sophocles' Oedipus Rex...

    , nephew of Aeshyclus, Sophocles took 2nd place
  • 416 BC - Agathon
    Agathon
    Agathon was an Athenian tragic poet whose works, up to the present moment, have been lost. He is best known for his appearance in Plato's Symposium, which describes the banquet given to celebrate his obtaining a prize for his first tragedy at the Lenaia in . He is also a prominent character in...

  • 415 BC - Xenocles
    Xenocles
    Xenocles or Zenocles was an Ancient Greek tragedian.There were two Athenian tragic poets of this name, one the grandfather of the other...

  • 409 BC - Sophocles (Philoctetes
    Philoctetes (Sophocles)
    Philoctetes is a play by Sophocles . The play was written during the Peloponnesian War. It was first performed at the Festival of Dionysus in 409 BC, where it won first prize. The story takes place during the Trojan War...

    )
  • 405 BC - Euripides (The Bacchae
    The Bacchae
    The Bacchae is an ancient Greek tragedy by the Athenian playwright Euripides, during his final years in Macedon, at the court of Archelaus I of Macedon. It premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that also included Iphigeneia at Aulis, and which...

    )
  • 372 BC - Astydamas

Comedy

  • 486 BC - Chionides
    Chionides
    Chionides an Athenian comic poet of the 5th century BC, contemporary of Magnes .The Suda says that Chionides existed 8 years before Greco–Persian Wars, that is, 487 BC...

  • 472 BC - Magnes
    Magnes (comic poet)
    Magnes was an Athenian comic poet of the 5th century BC. Magnes and his contemporary Chionides are the earliest comic poets for whom victories are recorded in the literary competition of the Dionysia festival.Titles of his comedies:...

  • 458 BC - Euphonius
  • 450 BC - Crates
  • 446 BC - Callias
  • 437 BC - Pherecrates
    Pherecrates
    Pherecrates, was an Greek poet of Athenian Old Comedy, and a rough contemporary of Cratinus, Crates and Aristophanes. He was victorious at least once at the City Dionysia, first probably in the mid-440s Pherecrates, was an Greek poet of Athenian Old Comedy, and a rough contemporary of Cratinus,...

  • 435 BC - Hermippus
    Hermippus
    Hermippus was the one-eyed Athenian writer of the Old Comedy who flourished during the Peloponnesian War. He was the son of Lysis, and the brother of the comic poet Myrtilus. He was younger than Telecleides and older than Eupolis and Aristophanes. According to the Suda, he wrote forty plays, and...

  • 422 BC - Cantharus
  • 421 BC - Aristophanes
    Aristophanes
    Aristophanes , son of Philippus, of the deme Cydathenaus, was a comic playwright of ancient Athens. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete...

     (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...

     (2nd prize))
  • 414 BC - Ameipsias (The Revellers)
  • 402 BC - Cephisodoros
  • 290 BC - Poseidippus
    Poseidippus of Cassandreia
    Posidippus of Cassandreia , Poseidippos, 316 BC – ca. 250 BC) son of Cyniscus, a Macedonian who lived in Athens, was a celebrated comic poet of the New Comedy. He produced his first play in the third year after Menander had died, . Cooks held an important position in his list of characters...

  • 278 BC - Philemon
    Philemon (poet)
    Philemon ; was an Athenian poet and playwright of the New Comedy. He was born either at Soli in Cilicia or at Syracuse in Sicily but moved to Athens some time before 330 BC, when he is known to have been producing plays....

  • 185 BC - Laines
  • 183 BC - Philemon
  • 154 BC - Chairion

Sources

  • Aristophanes, The Acharnians.
  • Simon Goldhill, "The Great Dionysia and Civic Ideology", in Nothing to Do with Dionysos? Athenian Drama in Its Social Context, eds. John J. Winkler and Froma I. Zeitlin. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-691-06814-3
  • Susan Guettel Cole, "Procession and Celebration at the Dionysia", in Theater and Society in the Classical World, ed. Ruth Scodel. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1993. ISBN 0-472-10281-8
  • Jeffrey M. Hurwit. The Athenian Acropolis: History, Mythology, and Archaeology From the Neolithic Era to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-521-42834-3
  • Sir Arthur Pickard-Cambridge. The Dramatic Festivals of Athens. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953 (2nd ed. 1968). ISBN 0-19-814258-7
  • Robert Parker. Athenian religion: A History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. ISBN 0-19-814979-4
  • Carl A. P. Ruck. IG II 2323: The List of the Victors in Comedies at the Dionysia. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1967.

Further reading

  • Padilla, Mark William (editor), "Rites of Passage in Ancient Greece: Literature, Religion, Society", Bucknell University
    Bucknell University
    Bucknell University is a private liberal arts university located alongside the West Branch Susquehanna River in the rolling countryside of Central Pennsylvania in the town of Lewisburg, 30 miles southeast of Williamsport and 60 miles north of Harrisburg. The university consists of the College of...

    Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8387-5418-X