Aristotle's work
called “Διδασκαλίαι” was a chronological list of tragedies and comedies produced at Athens, the list being based on official records contemporary in each case with the production. Similar works were afterwards compiled by Callimachus (c. 260 B.C.) and others. The “Διδασκαλίαι” of Aristotle and of Callimachus are known to have been still extant in the second century A. NowD. , we learn from the Greek Argument to the Ajax that ‘in the Didascaliae’ the play was styled simply “ΑΙΑΣ1. This is conclusive as to the original title; since, whether the Didascaliae meant, be Aristotle's, or one of the later works, in any case the ultimate authority for the statement dates from the time when the play was produced. In the extant manuscripts the title is “Αἴας Μαστιγοφόρος” (alluding to the lash which Ajax carries in the first scene); as it is also in the citations by Zenobius (c. 130 A.D. ), Athenaeus, and Clement of Alexandria. On the other hand, the Greek Argument states that Dicaearchus (a pupil of Aristotle) called the play “Αἴαντος Θάνατος”, which he could scarcely have done if the title “Αἴας Μαστιγοφόρος” had already obtained currency. We may infer from these facts that the epithet “Μαστιγοφόρος” was added by some Alexandrian scholar whose authority sufficed to establish it as a permanent part of the title. If the object had been merely, as the author of the Argument suggests, to distinguish the play from the “Αἴας Λοκρός” of Sophocles, “Τελαμώνιος” might have seemed a fitter designation; but doubtless the intention was rather to distinguish it from later dramas on the same subject, such as those of Astydamas, Carcinus and Theodectes.

Scene:—Before the tent of Ajax, at the eastern end of the Greek camp, near Cape Rhoeteum on the northern coast of the Troad. ODYSSEUS is closely examining footprints on the sandy ground. ATHENA is seen in the air (on the “θεολογεῖον”).

According to the rule of the Greek theatre, the side of the scene on the spectator's right represents the home-region,— in this case, that of the Greek camp. To the spectator's left is the region of the open country, stretching east and south from the camp, over the plain of Troy, towards those ‘Mysian highlands’ from which Teucer returns (v. 720). Aristotle speaks of “σκηνογραφία” as an invention distinctive of Sophocles ( Poet. 4: see Smith's Dict. of Ant., new ed., vol. II. p. 816). And the words in v. 4, “ἔνθα τάξιν ἐσχάτην ἔχει”, rather suggest that the Greek camp was somehow indicated here,—perhaps with a glimpse of the Hellespont, and of Cape Rhoeteum. It is not known whether the theatre of the fifth century B.C. had “περίακτοι”,—those triangular prisms on pivots, with scenery painted on each of their three faces, which served as movable side-scenes. A periaktos on the spectator's right could have been used to show the camp. Or, if this resource was not then available, the purpose may have been effected by painted hangings on the back-wall, which, in the fifth century B.C., was probably a temporary structure of wood. With regard to the change of scene after v. 814, see note on 815.

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