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1 Thespis. A native of Icarius, a village in Attica, to whom the invention of the drama has been ascribed. Before his time there were no performers except the chorus. He led the way to the formation of a dramatic plot and language, by directing a pause in the performance of the chorus, during which he came forward and recited with gesticulation a mythological story. Comp. note Epist. ii. 1. 163. The date is thus given by the Par. Chron. Boeckh.: “Ἀφ᾽ οὖ Θέσπις ὁ ποιητὴς ἐφάνη, πρῶτος ὃς ἑδίδαξε δρᾶμα ἐν ἄστει καὶ ἐτέθη ὁ τράγος ἆθλον ἔτη ΗΗΠΔΔ, ἄρχοντος Ἀθήνησιε … ναίου τοῦ προτέρου.” “Quod ad annum attinet, consistendum sane in Olymp. 61, eiusque tribus prioribus annis.” Boeckh. in Chr.
2 “Vel qui praetextas, vel qui docuere togatas.” Hor. Ars 288 There hath been much difficulty here in settling a very plain point. The question is, whether praetextas means tragedy or a species of comedy. The answer is very clear from Diomedes, whose account is, in short, this: "Togatae is a general term for all sorts of Latin plays adopting the Roman customs and dresses; as Palliatae is for all adopting the Grecian. Of the Togatae, the several species are, 1. Praetexta or praetextata, in which the Roman kings or generals were introduced, and is so called because the praetexta was the distinguishing habit of such persons; 2. Tabernaria, frequently called Togata, though that word, as we have seen, had properly a larger sense. 3. Atellana. 4. Planipedis." He next marks the difference of these several sorts of the Togatae from the similar corresponding ones of the Palliatae, which are these: 1. "Tragoedia, absolutely so styled. 2. Comoedia. 3. Satyri. 4. μῖμος." (These four sorts of the Palliatae were also probably in use at Rome; certainly, at least, the two former.) It appears then from thence, that praetextata was properly the Roman tragedy. But he adds, “"Togata praetextata a tragoedia differt"” and it is also said, "to be only like tragedy, “tragoediae similis”." What is this difference and this likeness? The explanation follows. "Heroes are introduced into tragedy, such as Orestes, Chryses, and the like. In the praetextata, Brutus, Decius, or Marcellus." So then we see when Grecian characters were introduced, it was called simply tragoedia; when Roman, praetextata; yet both, tragedies. The sole difference lay in the persons being foreign or domestic. The correspondence in every other respect was exact. The same is observed of the Roman comedy; when it adopted Greek characters, it was called comoedia; when Roman, togata tabernaria, or togata, simply.
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