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Material Ghosts: Recycled Theatrical Equipment in Fifth-Century Athens

By Al Duncan

What happened to fifth-century theatrical costumes and properties after their initial production? This paper surveys the textual evidence of a market for theatrical materials in fifth-century Athens and sketches out some of the practicalities and ramifications of such an exchange. Specifically, it considers how the theatrical reuse of tragic equipment from past performances—what Marvin Carlson (2001) has labeled “ghosting”— would have constituted a unique form of paratragedy which could claim not only semiotic reference to, but also phenomenological identity with, the parodied model.

Noses in the Orchestra: Sense and Substance in Athenian Satyr Drama

By Anna Uhlig

The satyr dramas of fifth-century Athens share many features with their better-known theatrical counterparts, tragedy and comedy. In the use of costume and stage properties, however, satyr drama exhibits a distinct approach that stems from the form’s most essential attribute: its chorus of half-human, half-equine satyrs.

Electra, Orestes, and the Sibling Hand

By Nancy Worman

For somewhat obvious reasons theorists of tragic effect often privilege spectacle when analyzing what constitutes its complex aesthetics, but it alone cannot account for all of the conflicting sensations generated onstage and induced in the audience. Although an emphasis on other senses may be expected in the plays that center on the blind Oedipus (especially in Oedipus at Colonus), my paper focuses instead on Sophocles' Electra and Euripides' Electra and Orestes.

Objects, Emotions, Words: Orestes and the Empty Urn

By Joshua Billings

The urn in Sophocles’ Electra may be the most affectively fraught object in Greek tragedy, but it is also presents an epistemological question: what truth can objects convey? Electra’s lament over the urn that she believes to contain the ashes of her dead brother – but the audience knows to be empty – confronts viewers, onstage and off, with a troubling conjunction of genuine emotion and acknowledged falsehood.

The Experience of the Other: Dance and Empathy in Ancient Mystery Rites

By Karin Schlapbach

This paper examines the nexus of dance and emotion in ancient mystery rites. It does so by focusing on the apocryphal Acts of John, a little studied text which continues the literary tradition related to the ancient mysteries. This text spells out most clearly the intimate connection between dancing, sensory-emotional experience and cognition. The analysis is complemented with recent neurobiological research on intersubjectivity.

Plato’s Self-Moving Myth: Tracking the migration of Plato’s Myth in late antique text networks

By Sara Rappe

In this paper I investigate the reception of Plato’s Phaedrus, and especially the famous myth of the soul ( Phaedrus 246-249)from the 1st to 6th centuries CE. I analyze the phenomenon of this text’s migration into exegetical or speculative traditions or even languages far removed from the original site of Plato’s dialogue in terms of the theory of textual networking.

Subject Matter

Commentaries: Intersections between ‘Pagan’ and Christian Platonism in Late Antiquity

By Ilaria Ramelli

In the fourth century CE, the extremely learned Didymus of Alexandria, also known as Didymus the Blind, the director of the Didaskaleion of Alexandria, wrote the first commentary – unfortunately lost – on Origen’s masterpiece of Christian Platonism, On First Principles (Περὶ ἀρχῶν), thereby conferring to Origen’s treatise the same status enjoyed by Plato’s dialogues.

The Anonymous Prolegomena to Platonic Philosophy and the Reception of Plato

By Danielle Alexandra Layne

Often used as a supporting text for understanding Neoplatonic hermeneutical
practices, the Anonymous Prolegomena to Platonic Philosophy has received little
attention in its own right. In this short text the anonym offers an enriching portrait of the
life of Plato and Platonic philosophy, arguing for Plato’s mastery over all other schools of
thought while further defending Plato’s artful choice of presenting philosophy in dialogue
form. In doing so, this anonymous author answers many important questions that saddle

Commentary and doctrinal integration: Olympiodorus on self-knowledge in the First Alcibiades

By Albert Joosse

As head of the Platonic school in Alexandria in the middle of the 6th Century AD, Olympiodorus is often viewed as a conserver of ancient learning in an environment which had become less and less congenial to it. Such conservation efforts, however, called for considerable creativity, since the tradition in which Olympiodorus saw himself was not monolithic. The genre of the commentary allows Olympiodorus to strengthen the Platonic tradition by weaving together different voices of his predecessors.