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Greek Tragic Fragments with a Black Sea

Wyles, Rosie (2017) Greek Tragic Fragments with a Black Sea. In: Braund, D and Hall, E and Wyles, Rosie, eds. Tragic Theatre in the Black Sea. Cambridge University Press. (Submitted) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:63948)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)


This chapter explores the significance of the Black Sea region within the cultural imagination of Athens by examining the fragments of 5th-century tragedies with Black Sea settings. The fragmentary plays discussed include: Aeschylus’ Argo (or Oarsmen), Oreithyia, Phineus, Prometheus Unbound, Sophocles’ Chryses, Colchian Women, Drummers, Phineus (A and B), Phrixus, Root-cutters, Scythians, and Euripides’ Phrixus (A and B). These fragmentary tragedies, as a set, can offer glimpses of the meaning of the Black Sea setting as a conceptual category and insights into its dramatic potential. The approach of examining the Black Sea as a conceptual category in tragedy is indebted to Froma Zeitlin's seminal study on the significance of Thebes. This approach has been under-exploited in the realm of dramatic fragments. Yet in the case of the material under discussion, it provides fresh insight by revealing that the Black Sea setting allowed engagement in (what we would now term) ‘colonial discourse’. Comparable treatments of the setting in other genres (epic, epinician, and historiography) offer a framework for this analysis and establish the 'colonial' motifs (wonder, danger and appropriation) through which tragedy's ideological exploitation of the region is understood. Furthermore, it is suggested that the inclusion of distinctly Athenian aspects in these fragmentary plays, viewed within this ‘colonial’ context, imply an assertion of cultural domination. In the second part of the discussion, it is argued that insights into the dramatic potential of the Black Sea setting can be gained through assessing these fragments against established ways of thinking about tragedy, as: travel tragedy, katabasis drama, escape tragedy, and 'haunted' (interperformative) plays. Overall the chapter aims to establish tentative parameters for what the tragic Black Sea setting could mean, both ideologically and dramatically, to a 5th-century audience. In the process, it proposes a new approach to dramatic fragments (examining a set, with a shared dramatic setting, through an ideological and dramatic axis), which has the potential to be extended to studies of material relating to other locales.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: fragments, drama, Black sea, Pontic, tragedy, colonial, Athens, 5th-century
Subjects: P Language and Literature
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > Classical and Archaeological Studies
Depositing User: Rosie Wyles
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2017 09:57 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 19:41 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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