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Historical reconstruction of the Dionysostheater in Roman times

Dionysia ( Greek  Διονύσια Dionysia ) was a festival in ancient Greece in honor of the god Dionysus , the god of ecstasy , intoxication , metamorphosis and wine. What began as a religious cult of Thracian origin with parades (see Maenad , Orpheus ), developed in Athens into a festival , the so-called urban Dionysia . From the ritual singing, dancing and sacrificial rites which developed Greek tragedy and comedy in a religious context.

The festival of urban Dionysia was probably first introduced under the Peisistratids or was previously insignificant. Little is known about the exact course of the festival at the time of the tyrant rule. From 534 BC There is evidence of the competitions of tragedy poets at Dionysia. The Athenian polis , which was free of tyrants from 510, continued the festival for self-representation. During this time, the festival, which took place annually in March and April, lasted a total of eight days.


Two days before the Dionysia: Proagon - The poets of tragedies (probably also of comedies) introduced themselves with their actors and choirs as well as the piece they performed. Little is known about this, however.

Eve of Dionysia: Collection of the cult image of Dionysus (a phallos ) from a temple outside the city to its traditional festival place in the theater.

1st festival day: Great procession, festival sacrifice, agon of the dithyrambe choirs (ten male and ten boys' choirs, one from each phyle ). Tributes from the allies of the Attic League were exhibited in the Dionysostheater , the sons of the men who fell in the war received armor and deserving citizens were honored (since 509 BC).

2nd festival day: Komödienagon, five (in times of crisis three) comedies vied for the favor of the judges drawn (since 486 BC).

3rd to 5th Feast day: Tragödienagon, a tetralogy was performed per day , which consisted of three tragedies and a satyr play (since 534 BC, also shortened in times of crisis). On the same day there was also a popular meeting in the theater, where the winners of the Agone were honored.

Other important festivals in honor of Dionysus were the rural Dionysia and the Lenées , which take place in winter , at which a dramatic agon - with a clear accent on the comedy - was given.

Winners lists



See also


  • Marie-Hélène Delavaud-Roux: Les danses dionysiaques en Gréce antique. L'univ. de Provence, Aix-en-Provence 1995, ISBN 2-85399-360-4 .
  • Otto Gilbert : The festival time of the Attic Dionysia. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1872.

Individual evidence

  1. Helaine Smith: Masterpieces of Classic Greek Drama . Greenwood, 2005, ISBN 978-0-313-33268-5 , p. 1.