previous next

ὁρᾶν πάρεστιν. The corpse of Eurydicè, and probably also the altar at which she fell (1301), are now shown to the spectators by means of the “ἐκκύκλημα”. The precise mechanism of this contrivance is unknown; but the texts leave no doubt as to its general nature. It was a small stage, with space enough for

three or four persons; and was low enough to admit of an actor stepping off it with ease. It was pushed on through the central stage entrance, and was usually brought sufficiently far forward to allow of actors entering or making their exit behind it. Here, the corpse of Eurydicè is evidently in full view of the house (cp. 1299). Soph. has used the “ἐκκύκλημα” in two other plays: El. 1458 (the corpse of Clytaemnestra, with Orestes and Pylades beside it); and in Ai. 344 (Ajax in his tent among his victims). See Albert Müller, Gr. Bühnenalterthümer, pp. 142 ff. (1886).

Recent explorations in the Dionysiac theatre at Athens have given rise to a theory that there was no permanent raised stage or proscenium before the Roman age. Even if this could be proved, it would still, however, remain certain that some such expedient as the “ἐκκύκλημα” was used in the fifth century. This is proved by the texts of Aesch. , Soph. , and Eur. , as well as by the two scenes of Ar. where the tragic “ἐκκύκλημα” is parodied ( Ar. Ach. 408—479; Thesm. 95—238). Ar. has the words “ἐκκυκλεῖν” and “ἐσκυκλεῖν”. Wecklein thinks that the “ἐκκύκλημα” was employed when a part of the interior of the house was to be disclosed, but the “ἐξώστρα” when merely a single object was to be shown; and that the “ἐξώστρα” was used here (N. Jahrb. 1870, vol. 101, p. 572: Philol. 31. 451). The meaning of “ἐξώστρα” is, however, doubtful.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide References (4 total)
  • Commentary references from this page (4):
    • Sophocles, Ajax, 344
    • Sophocles, Antigone, 1299
    • Sophocles, Electra, 1458
    • Aristophanes, Acharnians, 408
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: