School of History, Classics & Archaeology

CANCELLED - 'Athens on stage? Tragedy and politics, theatre and democracy': A workshop with Julian Gallego

This workshop will discuss questions such as, “How political was ancient Greek drama?”, “Was ancient tragedy shaped by democratic politics?”, or “Was political drama an Athenian-only phenomenon?”, which traditionally have been approached assuming a clear link between tragedy and politics or between drama and the development of democracy. In the last thirty years, however, a growing mass of scholarship has questioned these assumptions and introduced a much more nuanced approached to these issues. Questions such as the uniqueness of Athens or whether drama was produced either fundamentally by democracies or by all types of poleis have gained centre stage. Both the political and the social function of ancient drama have been revisited. Recent studies of ancient drama have not neglected its role in the creation of a true civic ideology but have also highlighted how going to the theatre was also a leisure activity, deeply enjoyed by the masses. Acknowledging the importance of the Athenian experience and of great festivals like the Dionysia, and taking into account that the bulk of the surviving material was created by Athenians (though not necessarily in Athens), this workshop aims at analyzing Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus from the perspective of new debates, re-examining the link between ancient drama and politics as well as reassessing the most Athenocentric interpretations of it.

For further information about the workshop, please contact Dr Juan Lewis.

Required reading:

  • Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus.
  • D.M. Carter, The Politics of Greek Tragedy. Exeter: Bristol Phoenix Press, 2007, pp. 64-89 (Chapter 3: “The Political Shape of Tragedy”).
  • P. Burian, “Athenian Tragedy as Democratic Discourse”, in: Why Athens? A Reappraisal of Tragic Politics, D.M. Carter (ed.), Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 95-117.
Mar 24 2020 -

CANCELLED - 'Athens on stage? Tragedy and politics, theatre and democracy': A workshop with Julian Gallego

In addition to the 2020 Charles Gordon Mackay Lecture, Dr Julian Gallego will deliver a workshop.

Martin Hall, New College, Mound Place, Edinburgh EH1 2LX