Aeschylus’ Amymone and the mythos of the Satyric Drama

  Nikolaidou-Arampatzi, Smaro. 2023. “Aeschylus’ Amymone and the mythos of the Satyric Drama.” In “Γέρα: Studies in honor of Professor Menelaos Christopoulos,” ed. Athina Papachrysostomou, Andreas P. Antonopoulos, Alexandros-Fotios Mitsis, Fay Papadimitriou, and Panagiota Taktikou, special issue, Classics@ 25.

1. Introduction: Pratinas’ satyrica and the tetralogy-system

The early phase of satyric drama is connected with the works of the tragedian Pratinas of Phleious in the late sixth and the early fifth centuries BCE (Pausanias 2.13.6). According to Suda (π 2230 Adler), Pratinas composed only eighteen tragedies out of a total of fifty plays; his other thirty-two plays were satyrica. [1] He competed against Aeschylus and Choerilus in the 70th Olympiad (499–496 BCE), won only one victory in his career and, in all probability, was not alive in 467 BCE when his son Aristias came second after Aeschylus with the tragedies Perseus, Tantalos, and the Satyr play Palaistai (Wrestlers), composed by his father (TrGF 1 DID C 4). Pratinas’ particular preference for satyric drama may be linked to his concern to keep alive the relationship of the dramatic festivals at Athens with the god Dionysus. [2] Chameleon, a student of Aristotle, notes that tragedy had begun to forget Dionysus (“οὐδὲν πρὸς τὸν Διόνυσον”), perhaps because it tended to displace the original Dionysiac compositions, namely the “σατυρικά” (fr. 37a–c, 38 Wehrli) [3] mentioned by Aristotle in his Poetics (1449a20 διὰ τὸ ἐκ σατυρικοῦ μεταβαλεῖν). [4] Pratinas’ surviving Hyporhema (Athenaeus 14.617b) can be associated with a chorus of Satyrs singing and dancing in honor of their god, Dionysus:

2        ἐμὸς ἐμὸς ὁ Βρόμιος
ἐμὲ δεῖ κελαδεῖν, ἐμὲ δεῖ παταγεῖν
ἀν’ ὄρεα σύμενον μετὰ Ναϊάδων
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
16      κισσόχαιτ’ ἄναξ,
<ἄκου’> ἄκουε τὰν ἐμὰν Δώριον χορείαν.

PMF 708; TrGF 1.4.2–4, 16–17

Although it is not easy to determine the actual purpose of this ode, [5] we would not be wrong to say that it indicates Pratinas’ efforts to highlight the relationship of the dramatic contests with the god Dionysus. [6]

A chorus of Satyrs, the semi-goat and semi-human followers of Dionysus, naturally provided tragic poets with a first-rate occasion to directly evoke the god Dionysus and his cult. [7] Moreover, they might have reverted to the early stage of tragedy, which Aristotle mentions as satyrikon, in search of authentic elements with which to equip their Satyr productions in the official program of the City Dionysia. Our first evidence comes from the tragic contest of 472 BCE, which Aeschylus won with the tragedies Phineus, Persai, Glaukus Potnieus, and the Satyr play Prometheus (TrGF 3 T 55a), although this may not have been the first time the tetralogy-system was established. But Aeschylus’ contribution in formalizing the group of four plays in a way which gave priority to the tragic rather than the satyric genre, must be considered decisive, mainly because of his initiative to introduce the second actor in tragedy, which Aristotle (Poetics 1449a15–18) mentions as a major advancement in drama. Of course, with the establishment of the tetralogy-system, in which the Satyr play was the final production after a tragic trilogy, satyric drama was placed under the heading of tragedy as a secondary dramatic genre. However, the required chorus of Satyrs made the satyric drama a “playful tragedy” (παίζουσα τραγῳδία), [8] that is, the first Attic drama of a cheerful kind; [9] in composing it, tragic poets were forced each time to seek out humorous elements in mythical stories or to invent them if they did not exist.

2. Aeschylus: Towards inventing the targets of Satyrs


Aeschylus’ Satyr play entitled Amymone followed his thematically connected Danaid trilogy, consisting of the tragedies Hiketides (Suppliant Women), Aegyptioi (Egyptians), and Danaides. In this trilogy, he dramatized the legendary reaction of the fifty daughters of the Egyptian king Danaus to a forced marriage with their Egyptian cousins. According to the mythical story, the Danaids, accompanied by their father, took refuge as suppliants in Argos, where the king offered them asylum. When they were later forced to follow their suitors, they killed them on their first wedding-night. However, two Danaids, Hypermestra and Amymone, abstained from murder. Amymone, in particular, had attracted the love of Poseidon, who in return gifted to the people of Argolis a river with her name, that is, Amymonius. The story about Amymone is attested by the later mythographers Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus and shows that they had in mind the plot of a play, possibly the Satyr play concluding Aeschylus’ Danaid tetralogy: [10]

ἐντεῦθεν δὲ ἧκεν (Δαναὸς) εἰς Ἄργος, καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτῷ παραδίδωσι Γελάνωρ ὁ τότε βασιλεύων αὐτὸς δὲ κρατήσας τῆς χώρας ἀφ’ ἑαυτοῦ τοὺς ἐνοικοῦντας Δαναοὺς ὠνόμασε. ἀνύδρου δὲ τῆς χώρας ὑπαρχούσης, ἐπειδὴ καὶ τὰς πηγὰς ἐξήρανε Ποσειδῶν μηνίων Ἰνάχῳ διότι τὴν χώραν Ἥρας ἐμαρτύρησεν εἶναι, τὰς θυγατέρας ὑδρευσομένας ἔπεμψε. μία δὲ αὐτῶν Ἀμυμώνη ζητοῦσα ὕδωρ ίπτει βέλος ἐπὶ ἔλαφον καὶ κοιμωμένου Σατύρου τυγχάνει, κἀκεῖνος περιαναστὰς ἐπεθύμει συγγενέσθαι˙ Ποσειδῶνος δὲ ἐπιφανέντος ὁ Σάτυρος μὲν ἔφυγεν, Ἀμυμώνη δὲ τούτῳ συνευνάζεται, καὶ αὐτῇ Ποσειδῶν τὰς ἐν Λέρνῃ πηγὰς ἐμήνυσεν. [11]
Pseudo-Apollodorus Library 2.1.4
From there (Rhodes) he (Danaos) came to Argos. The king at that time, Gelanor, surrendered his kingdom to Danaos, <who brought the land under his control and called the inhabitants Danaans after himself.> Now, the land was without water because Poseidon, angry at Inachos for testifying that the country belonged to Hera, had dried up even the springs. So Danaos sent his daughters to fetch water. Searching for water, one of them, Amymone, threw a javelin at a deer and hit a sleeping Satyr. Roused, he desired to have sex with her. The Satyr fled when Poseidon showed up, and Amymone slept with Poseidon, who showed her the springs in Lerna. [12]
(2a) Amymone Danai filia dum studiose in silva venatur satyrum iaculo percussit. eam satyrus voluit violare, illa Neptuni fidem imploravit. quo Neptunus cum venisset, satyrum abegit et ipse cum ea concubuit; ex quo conceptu nascitur Nauplius. id in quo loco factum est Neptunus dicitur fuscina percussisse terram et inde aquam profluxisse; qui Lernaeus fons dictus est et Amymonium flumen. [13]
Hyginus Fabula 169
While Amymone daughter of Danaos was keenly tracking her prey in the forest, she struck a Satyr with her spear. The satyr wanted to rape her. She prayed to Neptune for help. When Neptune arrived, he drove the Satyr away and slept with Amymone himself. From this union Nauplius was born. [14]
(2b) Amymone Danai filia missa est a patre aquam petitum ad sacrum faciendum. quae dum quaerit lassitudine obdormiit. quam satyrus violare voluit. illa Neptuni fidem imploravit. quod cum Neptunus fuscinam in satyrum misisset, illa se in petram fixit, satyrum Neptunus fugavit. qui cum quaereret in solitudine (quid faceret add. Rose) a puella, illa se aquatum missam esse dixit a patre. quam Neptunus compressit. pro quo beneficium ei tribuit iussitque eius fuscinam de petra educere. quae cum eduxisset, et tres silani sunt secuti, qui ex Amymones nomine Amymonius fons appellatus est. ex qua compressione natus est Nauplius. hic autem fons Lernaeus est postea appelatus.
Hyginus Fabula 169a
Amymone daughter of Danaus was sent by her father to fetch some water that he needed to perform a sacrifice. While she was searching, she fell asleep out of exhaustion. A Satyr wanted to rape her; she prayed to Neptune for help. When Neptune threw his trident at the Satyr, it planted itself in a rock, and he drove away the Satyr. When he asked the girl what she was doing all by herself in the middle of nowhere, she said that her father had sent her out to look for some water. Neptune slept with her, and in return for this he helped her. He told her to remove the trident from the rock, and when she did, three waterspouts followed. This spring is called Amymonius after her name, and from their union Nauplius was born. This spring was later called Lernaean.

Obviously, Hyginus’ second narrative about Amymone is separate from the one that precedes it, but the ancient list of contents does not feature a relevant entry, while the title Amymone is introduced only once, at the beginning, and refers to both accounts. In his edition of Aeschylus’ fragments Radt considers the second narrative an alternative version of the Amymone story (TrGF 3, Amymone Satyrikē); he numbers the two narratives separately (169 and 169a) and places the second (169a) first, possibly because he regards it as more representative of Aeschylus’ Satyr play of the same name. [15] In fact, the two narratives are identical with respect to the key element of the story, that is, the unexpected encounter of Amymone with a Satyr and the divine intervention of Poseidon who saves Amymone and avails himself of the opportunity to satisfy his amorous interest in her. However, the second account (169a) contains elements of a conversation between Amymone and Poseidon who rebukes her for wandering in the deserted country and running the risk of an attack by the Satyr(s). [16] This conversation may come from an impressive scene in Aeschylus’ Amymone, in which the god appeared before the Danaid in answer to her call for help. Poseidon’s rebuking questions might be explained as stemming from his desire for Amymone, as he argued that the Satyr(s), and not himself, might have emerged victorious. Such questions are incompatible with the grandeur of a god, and so they easily recall the light atmosphere of a Satyr play.

Τhe Amymone accounts by Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus can plausibly be connected with Aeschylus’ Danaid trilogy. In the first tragedy, which survives intact, the Suppliant Women, Danaus arrives with his daughters in Argos and seeks the protection of the native king, Pelasgus, so that the maidens might escape their aggressive pursuers. [17] The conflict culminated in the second tragedy, the Egyptians, with the murder of their Egyptian cousins by the Danaids on the horrible wedding-night. But the final solution was probably given in the third tragedy, the Danaides, with the submission of the daughters of Danaus to physical law and their marital union with inhabitants of Argos. Such a solution would suit the spirit of Aeschylean reconciliation, a brilliant example of which occurs in the final part of the Eumenides, the third tragedy of the surviving “Oresteia” trilogy. Pindar mentions a relevant plot devised by Danaus to give forty-eight of his daughters in marriage:

ἄκουσεν Δαναόν ποτ’ ἐν Ἄργει
οἷον εὗρεν τεσσαράκοντα καὶ ὀκ–
τὼ παρθένοισι πρὶν μέσον ἆμαρ, ἑλεῖν
ὠκύτατον γάμον.

Pindar Pythian 9.112–124
He heard how in Argos Danaos in his day had devised a means to gain a most speedy marriage for his forty-eight unwed daughters before noon. [18]

The omission of two out of a total of fifty Danaids is not accidental. It was known that two Danaids did not engage in the criminal activity of their sisters against their fiancés on the fateful wedding-night: Hypermestra had refused to kill Lyngeus, and Amymone had already attracted the erotic desire of Poseidon, as depicted in a series of vase-paintings dating from the third decade of the fifth century BCE onwards (LIMC I s.v. “Amymone” nr. 17–19). [19] Since Pindar’s Pythian 9 dates to 474 BCE, [20] we may conclude that Amymone and Poseidon were a familiar couple in poetry before the production of Aeschylus’ Danaid trilogy in 463 BCE. But because the Satyrs suddenly appear in vase-paintings depicting the story of Amymone and Poseidon after 460 BCE (LIMC I s.v. “Amymone” nr. 12–16), and the same applies to depictions of Amymone carrying a hydria (LIMC I s.v. “Amymone” nr. 1–2), we can assume, in the absence of other evidence, that Aeschylus invented the encounter of Amymone with the Satyr(s) as a central plot element of the Satyr play concluding his Danaid tetralogy. [21] In the course of time, Aeschylus’ satyric mythos [22] of Amymone was handed down and preserved almost unchanged in the accounts of Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus, in which the Satyr figures prominently.

Aeschylus’ Satyr play Amymone fits into the space and time of his Danaid trilogy. After their arrival in Argos, Danaus may have sent one or more of his daughters to the countryside to fetch water from a spring. According to a mythical tradition, the land of Argolis was rich in springs (Lerna), but Poseidon had dried them after the region passed to the protection of Hera. The sending of Amymone by her father, either alone or with her sisters, to the district of Lerna might be placed between the events of the first and the second tragedy of the trilogy. In the Suppliant Women, the king of Argos orders the Danaids to be led to the altars of the city and to the sanctuaries of the gods (line 501), when he agrees to offer them protection. A celebration of gratitude, therefore, by Danaus, accompanied by the hopeful prayers of his daughters, after the King’s decision and the consent of the citizens of Argos (517–523), would be appropriate for the Satyr play of the tetralogy. Under such a handling, Aeschylus would have recalled in the satyric drama structural items of his preceding Danaid trilogy.
Thus, based on the later mythographers’ accounts, and especially on Hyginus’ second narrative, which seems more theatrical in style, we can proceed to a rough reconstruction of the plot of Aeschylus’ Amymone. The Satyr play would begin with the appearance on stage of Amymone, who would be wandering in the deserted countryside of Argos. Throwing her javelin, she would provoke the Satyr(s) to attack her. [23] What followed would have to do with the appearance of Poseidon. The god, responding to the terrified cries of Amymone, would intervene and expel the Satyr. In the ensuing dialogue, Poseidon may have rebuked the maiden for her recklessness and then led her to his divine bed. The announcement of the god’s water-gifts would have come towards the end of the play. [24]
The conversation between Poseidon and Amymone would involve, in addition to the god’s reproving questions to the girl, some attempt at persuasion. In one of the two extant fragments of the play (fr. 13 σοὶ μὲν γαμεῖσθαι μόρσιμον, γαμεῖν δ’ ἐμοί), [25] Poseidon is probably trying to convince Amymone that she is naturally destined for marriage. [26] The argument is in line with the ideological issue of the trilogy in which the final acceptance of marriage by the Danaids elicits their staunch resistance and the consequent murder of their forty-eight young bridegrooms. The second fragment (fr. 14 κἄγωγε τὰς σὰς βακκάρεις τε καὶ μύρα) shows one’s interest in the sensual perfumes worn by a woman beside him; so, it is better to include it in the encounter of Amymone with the Satyr(s). Despite the humorous features associated with the unbridled eroticism of the Satyr(s), what is being played out is a clash, because Amymone resists his (/their) attack and, terrified, calls to Poseidon for help. In this respect, the scene is reminiscent of the Danaids’ rebellion against the Egyptians in the first tragedy of the trilogy.
The announcement of the water-gifts of Poseidon at the end of the play might have been included in a playful scene, the participants of which would have celebrated the beneficial effects of the adventure of the beautiful Danaid. In such a scene, the most probable participant would be Danaus, the father of Amymone, who would greet with relief the beneficial intervention of Poseidon. This attitude is related to the role of Danaus in the Suppliant Women (605–624), in which he undertakes to guard the sanctuaries of Argos, where, at the order of the King, his daughters would find asylum. The Satyrs, of course, would not be happy to lose Amymone. But they would warmly welcome the gifts of Poseidon, because water would give life again to the meadows of Argos, where they would continue their eternal dances for Dionysus. In the playful scene at the end of Euripides’ Cyclops (esp. 679–690), Odysseus celebrates his victory over Polyphemus, while the Satyr chorus, happy for their own release, mock the blinded Cyclops as he stumbles; [27] the Satyrs rejoice that they will henceforth be free to dance for Dionysus, as is their constant desire.

As one of the most prominent Danaids to arrive with their father at Argos, Amymone probably was one of the twelve members of the chorus in the first tragedy of the trilogy, the Suppliant Women. [28] It is also possible that Amymone had a role in the second tragedy, in which she and her sister, Hypermestra, exonerated themselves from the murder of their Egyptian suitors. Moreover, Poseidon’s love for Amymone was important for the ideological spirit of the third tragedy, in which the Danaids finally conform to their natural destination. The conciliatory atmosphere at the end of the Danaid trilogy is suggested by a fragment probably from the third tragedy. It praises the universality of love (eros) and marriage (gamos) and, in all probability, is related to Aphrodite’s support to Hypermestra on account of her deviation from the murderous attitude of her sisters: [29]

ἐρᾷ μὲν ἁγνὸς οὐρανὸς τρῶσαι χθόνα,
ἔρως δὲ γαῖαν λαμβάνει γάμου τυχεῖν·
ὄμβρος δ’ ἀπ’ εὐνάεντος οὐρανοῦ πεσὼν
ἔκυσε γαῖαν· ἡ δὲ τίκτεται βροτοῖς
μήλων τε βοσκὰς καὶ βίον Δημήτριον
δένδρων τ’ ὀπώραν· ἐκ νοτίζοντος γάμου
τελεῖθ’ ὅσ’ ἔστι· τῶν δ’ ἐγὼ παραίτιος.

TrGF 3 F 44
Pure heaven longs to pierce the ground, and the earth is occupied by the desire for marriage. The rains that then fall from the mating sky impregnate the earth, and the earth brings forth for men flocks of sheep and the grain of Demeter and the fruit of trees. From this raining wedding everything that exists is born and completed; and in all this, I am an accomplice. [30]

It was therefore possible for Poseidon’s legendary love for Amymone to become the plot of the Satyr play that would conclude Aeschylus’ Danaid tetralogy.

As regards the stage presentation, one might think about the exotic appearance of the barbarian Amymone in a lonely landscape of the Greek countryside. [31] The maiden would still recall the members of the Danaid group, who were presented in the three preceding tragedies, either as the main chorus of the first and probably the third play, or as a supplementary chorus in the second. In the Suppliant Women, the King of Argos is surprised by the non-Greek appearance of the foreign women when he first sees them; what he notices is mainly related to their attire: [32]

ποδαπὸν ὅμιλον τόνδ’ ἀνελληνόστολον
πέπλοισι βαρβάροισι κἀμπυκώμασι
χλίοντα προσφωνοῦμεν; οὐ γὰρ Ἀργολὶς
ἐσθὴς γυναικῶν οὐδ’ ἀφ’ Ἑλλάδος τόπων.

Aeschylus Suppliant Women 234–237
What country is this company from that we address, so unGreekly dressed, flaunting foreign robes and foreign headbands? The garb of you women is not Argive, nor from anywhere in Greece. [33]

Later on, when the arrival of the Egyptians is announced, Danaus himself mentions the dark color of their skin (719–720 πρέπουσι δ’ ἄνδρες νήιοι μελαγχίμοις / γυίοισι λευκῶν ἐκ πεπλωμάτων ἰδεῖν, “the men on the ship are clear to see, with their black limbs outside their white clothes”), which would expect to be the same as the color of the skin of his daughters. After all, in the first tragedy, the dark-skinned people dressed in their exotic costumes, are the most numerous; they include the twelve Danaids of the main chorus, accompanied perhaps by an equal number of silent healers, [34] their father Danaus, the(ir) twelve Egyptian suitors (after their arrival), the Herald and the man who accompanied him. Α multitude of exotic people, men and/or women, would also be on stage in the next two tragedies of the trilogy. In the Satyr play, however, Amymone would be the only dark-skinned character in her encounter with the Satyr(s); her strange appearance would surely cause them (/him) great surprise, before her loneliness would make their (/his) erotic desire arise. [35] Among the unusual masks (ἔκσκευα πρόσωπα) mentioned by Pollux (4.142, 1.243.11 Bethe), one with the name of Amymone is mentioned shortly before the mask of “Indos;” furthermore, the use of the perfume vakkaris, mentioned in fr. 14 (κἄγωγε τὰς σὰς βακκάρεις τε καὶ μύρα), was exclusively connected with the beautification of women of the East.

For the composition, therefore, of the Satyr play Amymone, Aeschylus resorted to thematic items and scenic effects from the preceding three tragedies of his Danaid trilogy, especially the first. A crucial condition for this was the thematically coherent trilogy. Naturally, a story which lent itself to a tragic trilogy was not likely to contain frivolous material capable of sustaining the mythos of the satyric drama at the conclusion of the tetralogy-system. Aeschylus thus invented the mythos of the Satyr play of his Danaid tetralogy starting from the legendary love of Poseidon for the Danaid Amymone as an aetiological myth for the river Amymonius in Argolis (Strabo 8.6.8). He then proceeded to construct the plot with elements suitable to the levity of the obligatory Satyr chorus. He invented as a key scene the encounter between Amymone and the Satyrs (or a Satyr), to which he adapted Poseidon’s love for her. That is, Aeschylus singled out elements from his Danaid trilogy and reshaped them in the new, light-hearted atmosphere of the satyric drama. Among the mythical figures, he singled out the Danaid Amymone as a target for the Satyrs when she happened to meet them.

Lykourgos, Sphinx, Proteus, Diktyoulkoi, Prometheus Pyrkaeus

The situation of Amymone in the homonymous Satyr play is probably most typical of the way Aeschylus composed the mythos of his Satyr plays in the dramatic context of his thematically connected tetralogies. In Lykourgos, the Satyr play that concluded his Lykourgeia tetralogy, the satyric mythos seems to re-dramatize the basic premise of the tragic trilogy, the conflict between the Thracian king Lycurgus and Dionysus, by inventing the contrast between wine and beer. In fr. 124 (κἀκ τῶνδ’ ἔπινε βρῦτον ἰσχναίνων χρόνῳ / κἀσεμνοκόμπει τοῦτ’ ἐν ἀνδρείᾳ τιθείς) Dionysus mocks Lycurgus for consuming a weak drink (brytos) that dries him up. Another fragment shows that the Satyrs were imprisoned by Lycurgus, who had covered their mouths with a muzzle, probably forbidding them to drink and sing in honor of Dionysus (fr. 125 καὶ τούσδε κημοὺς στόματος). In the Satyr play Sphinx that concludes the Oedipus tetralogy, the mythos could be placed between the dramatic events of the first tragedy entitled Laios and the second tragedy entitled Oedipus. In the Sphinx, the Satyr chorus would have arrived to take part in solving the Sphinx’s riddle. After their failure to solve it, the Satyrs, with childlike suspense, would observe Oedipus’ similar effort; [36] at the end, they would celebrate his success and then accompany him in his triumphal entry into Thebes. [37]

As regards the Satyr play Proteus, its mythos may have been drawn from the Homeric Odyssey (4.351–586), in particular from Menelaus’ narrative about his adventure on the island of the sea-god Proteus on his return from Troy. [38] The exotic image of the island, along with the legendary physis of Proteus and his transformations, which dominate the Homeric account, would be a very good setting for the Satyrs who would uncouthly serve the primordial sea-god. Thus, in a scene characteristic of the dramatic space of the play, Menelaus and his companions, trapped on the deserted island of Proteus, would wander hungry on the shore. One fragment mentions a very slender fish (fr. 211 καὶ τὸν ἰχθύων γάρον) and another indicates someone trying to devour a dead fish (fr. 210 σιτουμένην δύστηνον ἀθλίαν φάβα / μέσακτα πλευρὰ πρὸς πτύοις πεπληγμένην). Eidothea, Proteus’ daughter, would contribute to Menelaus’ escape by plotting a trick, which would lead to the arrest of Proteus by the Satyrs, most likely after a scene with his spectacular transformations among the seals; [39] in Homer, Eidothea assures Menelaus that only Proteus, who knew the depths of the whole sea, could give him the best advice to reach his homeland safely (Odyssey 4.389–390). Despite its Homeric atmosphere, Aeschylus’ Proteus sits well as the Satyr play of the “Oresteia” tetralogy. The legendary Proteus was connected with Egypt, where Paris brought Helen according to one version of the myth (Herodotus 2.112–120). On the other hand, there is a relation to the tragic theme of the “Oresteia” trilogy, which is connected with the ill fate of the Atreid Agamemnon after his return home from Troy. [40] It is noteworthy that the first tragedy of the trilogy, the Agamemnon, refers to the nostos of Menelaus in a way that leaves unclear the outcome of his homecoming from Troy:

γένοιτο δ’ ὡς ἄριστα· Μενέλεων γὰρ οὖν
πρῶτόν τε καὶ μάλιστα προσδόκα μολεῖν.
εἰ δ’ οὖν τις ἀκτὶς ἡλίου νιν ἱστορεῖ
χλωρόν τε καὶ βλέποντα μηχαναῖς Διός
οὔπω θέλοντος ἐξαναλῶσαι γένος,
ἐλπίς τις αὐτὸν πρὸς δόμους ἥξειν πάλιν.

Aeschylus Agamemnon 674–679
But may all turn out for the best! For Menelaus, indeed; first and foremost expect him to return. At least if some beam of the sun finds him alive and well, by the design of Zeus, who has not yet decided utterly to destroy the race, there is some hope that he will come home again. [41]

The jocular atmosphere of the Satyr play Proteus would lighten Menelaus’ adventure on the island of Proteus and make the prospect of his nostos voyage optimistic, in line with his well-known happy return to Sparta with Helen. [42]

Aeschylus’ Diktyoulkoi (The Net-Haulers) is particularly useful for our purposes, because its extant fragments may include a dialogue between the Satyrs and a character who is their target. This Satyr play, which concluded the Diktys-Polydektes tetralogy (?, Phorkides, Polydektes (?), Diktyoulkoi, TrGF 3 TRI B XIII), deals with Danae’s story, when her father Acrisius shut her and her baby son Perseus in a chest and threw them into sea. Two fishermen are now hauling the chest in their nets with great difficulty, unaware of the nature of their heavy catch (fr. 46a–c). The net-haulers are two characters of the play. The one (A) must be, according to Perseus’ mythical cycle, Diktys, the brother of the king of Serifos Polydektes. The other (B) shows features of satyric behavior and seems to be older than the Satyrs; he might be Silenus or a fisherman assistant to character A. [43] The Satyr chorus would have invaded the stage in order to lend a helping hand. When the chest was hauled onto the beach and then opened, everyone would have been stunned by what they saw inside. The Satyrs would have erupted into frenzied reactions, expressing their lust for the young woman. Danae, of course, would have given an explanation for what had happened, but the Satyrs would have tried to tempt her. In fr. 47a, Danae feels captured in their hands (776–777 λυμανθήσομαι /αἰχ]μάλωτος) and threatens to commit suicide (778 ἀγχόνην ἄρ’ ἅψομαι), if Zeus does not send someone (782 πεμπ’ ἀρωγόν, εἰ δοκεῖ, τινα) to free her from the knodala (rogues) who claim her (773 γενέθλιοι θεοί, 775 τ]οῖσδε κνωδάλοις με δώσετε). The lustful Satyrs, pretending that they discern some erotic hints in Danae’s words, prepare to drag her to a “wedding” (in marching anapaests):

          <ΧΟΡΟΣ> ἀλλ’] εἶα, φίλοι, στείχωμεν, ὅπως
γ]άμον ὁρμαίνωμεν, ἐπεὶ τέλεος
καιρὸς ἄναυδος τάδ’ ἐπαινεῖ.
824    καὶ τήνδ’ [ἐ]σορῶ νύμφην ἤ[δ]η
πάνυ βουλομένην τῆς ἡμετέρας
φιλότητος ἅδην κορέσασθαι.

καὶ θαῦμ’ οὐδέν· πολὺς ἦν αὐτῇ
828    χρόνος ὃν χήρα κατὰ ναῦν ὕφαλος
τείρετο· νῦν δ’ οὖν
ἐ]σορῶσ’ ἥβην τὴν ἡμετέραν
κάλλ]ει γάνυται, νυμφ[ί]ον [ο]ἷον
832    χάρι]σιν λαμπραῖς τῆς Ἀ[φ]ροδίτης

TrGF 3 F 47a 821–832
<CHORUS> So go forth, my friends! Let’s proceed to arrange the wedding, since the occasion silently favours it. Moreover, I find now that the bride is also very willing to satisfy our lust for her. And this is not paradoxical at all. She spent a lot of time as a widow thrashing about on the reefs of the sea. But now she sees our youth before her … and glows with joy … at the glorious wedding ceremony of Aphrodite. [44]

Scholars keep focusing on the identity of the characters who claim Danae; is it the Satyr chorus, is it their father, Silenus, or is it both the Satyrs and Silenus who utter the verses of this passage? Our particular interest is focused on a scene in which we witness the attempt of an old Satyr to charm little Perseus with the promise of the blissful life of the Satyrs. The little boy is shown wondering at the strange forms of the beings around him, primarily at the sight of a shiny bald head; then the Satyr stretches out his arms and is ready to lead Perseus to his παῖδες (paides):

<ΣΙΛΗΝΟΣ>] ἰδο]ύ, γελᾷ μου προσορῶν
οὗτο]ς ὁ μικκὸς λιπαρὸν
τὸ μ]ιλτόπρεπτ[ο]ν φαλακρόν.
]ειε[.]παπας τις ἀρεσ-
[τὸς.]ως [.]. ποικιλονω-

TrGF 3 F 47a 786–790
<SILENUS> The little one is smiling as he looks at my bright-red bald head . . . some papa is pleasing to him . . . dappled back.

802    ὦ φίντων, ἴθι δε[ῦρo
804    θάρσει δή˙ τί κινύρη[<ι>;
δεῦρ’ ἐς παῖδας ἴωμεν ωσ.[
ἵξῃ παιδοτρόφους ἐμά[ς,
ὦ φίλος, χέρας εὐμενής,
808    τέρψῃ δ’ ἴκτισι κα[ὶ] νεβρο[ῖς
ὑστρίχων τ’ ὀβρίχοισ[ι]
κοιμήσῃ δὲ τρίτος ξὺν
μητρὶ [καὶ π]ατρὶ τῷδε.

TrGF 3 F 47a 802–811
<SILENUS> O darling, come here! [stage direction] Be brave! Why are you lamenting? Let me take you here to my boys. You, my dear, will be held by my child-nursing hands that will raise you kindly; you will delight in martens and fawns and baby porcupines; you will make three in a bed with your mother and me, your father. [45]

As scholars rightly believe, the bald head suggests Silenus, [46] and by the word παῖδες the elder Satyr means the Satyrs of the chorus. [47] We can thus imagine the variety of Aeschylus’ manipulations of scenes in his satyric dramas that presented an encounter between the Satyrs and the characters they pursued. [48]

In Aeschylus’ Prometheus Pyrkaeus, which followed his Prometheus trilogy (Prometheus Bound, Prometheus Lyomenos, and Prometheus Pyrphoros), the need to invent targets for the Satyr chorus is not so clear. In fact, this has to do with the controversial question of the original composition and the sequence of the plays in the trilogy, as well as the precise title of the Satyr play that concludes it. [49] In his recent commentary on the Prometheus Pyrkaeus, Tsantsanoglou raises the relevant problems in a substantive way. [50] He concludes that Aeschylus presented the Prometheus tetralogy in 469 BCE, in a secondary contest of the Anthesteria; [51] previously, in the City Dionysia of 472 BCE, he had presented a “pre-release” version of the Prometheus Bound, which followed on his non-thematic trilogy consisting of the tragedies Phineus, Persai, Glaukus Potnieus. [52] Since πυρκαεύς means “the one who sets fire” and not “the one who brings (/donates) it” (that would be πυρφόρος), the Prometheus Pyrkaeus would deal with the reception of fire by the Satyrs; their reactions would be lively and noisy, as they saw fire for the first time and did not know how to use it. [53] In fr. 207 (τράγος γένειον ἆρα πενθήσεις σύ γε), someone admonishes a Satyr not to embrace and kiss the fire because he will lament over his beard. The characters of the play, Silenus and Prometheus himself, probably tried to reassure the Satyrs by explaining to them the benefits of the gift of fire. Thus, in a celebratory khoreia, the Satyrs, crowned with leaves, appear to welcome fire in the orchestra. The chorus members are males—shepherds—and dance in the dark:

αὐχῶ] δὲ [κ]αὶ ποιμέ[ν]ας πρέπειν
χορο]ῖ[σι] κ[αὶ] τὸ νυκτίπλαγ–
κτον] ὄρχημ’ ἀ[μό]μφ[οι]σιν ἐπιστε[φεῖς
φύλ]λοις ἱ[στάναι συμπεφ]ορημέν[ους

TrGF 3 F 204b 18–21
I am confident that the shepherds are conspicuous as forming dances being ready to join in a nocturnal chorus, blamelessly wreathed with leaves and collected together. [54]

Βesides them, there is also a group of female dancers, the Nymphs:

Νύμφας δέ τοι πέποιθ’ ἐγὼ
στήσει[ν] χοροὺς
Προμηθέως δῶ[ρ]ον ὡς σεβούσας

TrGF 3 F 204b 6–8
I do believe that the Nymphs will start dances to honor Prometheus’ gift. [55]

The shepherds take off their chitones and dance naked and drunk (204b 2–3 φ[α]ενν[ὸ]ν [δ’ ἐῶ] / χιτῶνα πὰρ πυρὸς ἀκάματον αὐγάν; 204d 12.2–4 γλεῦκ[ο]ς δε τοι τέ[θεικ’ ἐγὼ] / πέλας πυρός, ἀν τρεῖς μεθυσ[θέντας ὡς υ – –); obviously, they aspire to compete in dance with the Nymphs and carry on flirting with them (204b 4–5 κλυοῦσ’ ἐμοῦ δὲ Ναΐδων τις παρ’ ἑσ–/ τιοῦχον σέλας πολλὰ διώξεται). For our purposes, we find that the mythological story of Prometheus’ fire could have been “satyrized” without the need to invent a character as a target of the Satyrs. The Nymphs, who are rivaled by them, do not act as particular characters, but as a secondary chorus. [56] And if we accept that the Prometheus tetralogy predates the Danaid tetralogy by six years, as Tsantsanoglou thinks, we can argue that the Satyr play Prometheus Pyrkaeus was composed before the Satyr play Amymone, in which the inventing of a character as a target of the Satyrs seems to have developed as a technique. But it is worth noticing that in the Prometheus Pyrkaeus Aeschylus also presents the particular satyric scene of the festive banquet of the Satyrs overcome by their wine-drinking and lust. And he does so by theatrically inserting a festive reception of Prometheus’ fire into the actual celebration of the City Dionysia, even though the stories of Dionysus and Prometheus were not compatible. [57]

Theoroi or Isthmiastai

A particular situation is found in Aeschylus’ Theoroi or Isthmiastai (fr. 78a–82). [58] To be precise, the Satyr chorus is represented as having defected from Dionysus, their patron; they have arrived as theoroi at the sanctuary of Poseidon on the Isthmus and are preparing to take part in the athletic games organized there in his honor. [59] In one of the extant fragments, the Satyrs angrily confront a person, probably Silenus, who tries to tempt them back to their Dionysiac occupations by offering them some objects that seem to be related to the cult of Dionysus (fr. 78c. 39–42 σὺ δ’ ἰσθμιάζεις καὶ πίτυος ἐστ[εμμένος / κλάδοισι κισσοῦ δ’ οὐδ[α]μοῦ τιμη[ / ταῦτ’ οὖν δακρύσεις οὐ καπνῶ[ι / παρόντα δ’ ἐγγὺς οὐχ ὁρᾶις τα[). [60] Immediately afterwards, another character, perhaps Poseidon, approaches the Satyrs in a friendly way and offers them other, unfamiliar objects (78c. 49–50 καινὰ ταῦτα . . . νεοχμὰ . . . ἀθύρματα) that shock them (78c. 43–62). Later, however, this character’s or Poseidon’s (?) gifts, which must be shields with embossed likenesses of Satyrs (78a. 6–7 εἴδωλον εἶναι τοῦτ’ ἐμῇ μορφῇ πλέον / τὸ Δαιδάλου μ[ί]μημα˙ φωνῆς δεῖ μόνον), are accepted by the chorus (78a. 1–22). [61] Moreover, the Satyrs willingly respond to Poseidon’s(?) exhortation to hang the shields on the façade of his temple on the Isthmus. [62] But a new character, probably Dionysus, interrupts their march and berates them for their apostasy (78a 23–36, 61–72). It is possible that Dionysus (?) forced the Satyrs to return to Athens to their cultic obligations at the City Dionysia, which would be the continuation of the plot. [63]
Does this particular handling of the Satyr chorus in the Theoroi indicate Aeschylus’ awareness of the role of the satyric drama in the contest of the City Dionysia? His choice, too, of representing the god Dionysus himself in the play may be due to the same awareness. Although acknowledging the difficulty of finding a thematic trilogy of Aeschylus ending with the athletic activities of the Satyrs, Tsantsanoglou tried to connect the Theoroi with a trilogy consisting of the tragedies Bakchai, Pentheus, and Xantriai. [64] He argued that this trilogy might be one of Aeschylus’ two untitled Dionysiac trilogies; the other trilogy consists of the tragedies Toxotides, Semele or Hydrophoroi, and Athamas, and the appropriate Satyr play for it is the one entitled Trophoi (Nurses) dealing with the adventures of the birth and infancy of Dionysus. [65] Although the extant fragments are meagre, we can assume that the trilogy Bakchai, Pentheus, and Xantriai would refer to the struggle of the mature Dionysus who, after his return from the East, would fight against his enemies in order to spread his cult throughout Greece; the Hypothesis of Euripides’ Bakchai informs us that Aeschylus’ Pentheus dealt with the same story. [66] It probably was an intentional choice of Aeschylus to close the fight of Dionysus against his enemies with a Satyr play in which the Satyrs, his most devoted followers, would run away from him. Aeschylus might have pondered the future of the satyric drama, wondering how it could continue to properly honor Dionysus at the City Dionysia.
To conclude: The required chorus of Satyrs was the natural source from which the tragic poets could draw features to compose the satyric drama, the fourth play that concluded the tetralogy-system at the contests of the City Dionysia. Aeschylus handled the Satyr chorus in the dramatic context of his thematically connected trilogies and made particular tragic characters the targets of the Satyrs without, however, giving satyric elements to their behavior; his Amymone is a good example of this state, which could not last forever. Thus, after Sophocles abandoned the coherence of the thematic tetralogy, [67] he might have felt free to handle the Satyr chorus and, in parallel, create conditions of satyric behavior for particular characters of the Satyr play. But elements of such a development are detectable mostly in the satyric productions of Euripides. Apart from his Cyclops, which is the only surviving satyric drama from antiquity, we have eight titles of Satyr plays produced by him; they are Autolycus, Bousiris, Epeios, Eurytstheus, Sisyphus, Skiron, Syleus, Theristai. [68] Despite the sparseness of the extant fragments, we can surmise that in all those eight Satyr plays the principal character was the gluttonous Heracles; he defeated the criminal title-character of the play whenever he accidentally arrived in his country as a passerby, and then celebrated his success in a banquet scene which featured his gluttony. [69] Heracles’ close association with gluttony and drunkenness, favorite themes of the poets of Doric Comedy in Megara and Sicily from the archaic period on, [70] perfectly matched the moods of the Satyrs; this could therefore provide suitable scenes for the satyric drama. [71] In fact, our best sample of Heracles’ gluttony is found in Euripides’ tragedy Alcestis, which was produced in the place of a Satyr play (following the tragedies The Cretans, Alcmaeōn in Psophis, and Telephos). Heracles is introduced there as a visitor who arrives at Admetus’ house just as he is mourning the death of his wife, the title-heroine. After the hospitality dinner which was offered him in the palace, Heracles exits on stage in a drunken state; he invites Admetus’ slave to join his banquet and threatens him for his refusal by twirling a skyfos in his hand (747–802). In the surviving Alcestis, the chorus members bear no relation whatsoever to the Satyrs; they are local elders who sympathize with the misfortune of the title heroine. That is, in his “prosatyric” Alcestis, [72] Euripides expelled the required Dionysiac Satyr chorus from the fourth play of the tetralogy-system. This was exactly what Aeschylus had criticized in his Theoroi as a negative possibility. [73]
The satyric drama trod a difficult path, being squeezed between tragedy and comedy, since, on the one hand, it had to follow on tragedy owing to its secondary position in the tetralogy-system and, on the other hand, it was thematically related to comedy, [74] which was introduced into the program of the City Dionysia as a separate dramatic genre. [75] That difficulty is seen in the inventing and handling of the satyric mythos by the tragic poets, which would perhaps explain why there are only few titles of Satyr plays by Euripides and why the example of his “prosatyric” Alcestis is a curious one. Ιn the fourth century BCE the satyric drama became independent from tragedy and comedy in competitions at the City Dionysia. [76] No tragedy or satyric drama produced after 405 BCE survives, however; and in the fourth century BCE ancient comedy changed into Middle and, then, New Comedy.



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[ back ] 1. For Pratinas’ popularity as a Satyric playwright, TrGF 1. 4 Testimonium 1. T3, T6, T7.
[ back ] 2. See Wright 2016:14–17.
[ back ] 3. Cf. Suda ο 806 s.v. οὐδὲν πρὸς Διόνυσον (iii. 579 Adler); Zenobius Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum 5.40; Plutarch Quaestiones Convivales 1.1.5 (615 a–b). On the context of the proverb “nothing to do with Dionysus,” see Bierl 1991:6–8.
[ back ] 4. It is difficult to accept that the satyrikon mentioned by Aristotle refers to the satyric drama as a precursor to tragedy (O’Sullivan and Collard 2013:316); according to Seaford 1976, the passage refers to dithyrambs of the archaic period, performed by Satyr choruses at the time of the birth of tragedy; see recently Palmisciano 2021.
[ back ] 5. Most recently, Tsantsanoglou 2022:222, argued that the Hyporchema was performed in the Dionysion ἐν Λίμναις during the festival of the Anthesteria.
[ back ] 6. Garrod 1920; di Marco 1973–1974; Seaford 1977–1978:85–87; Bierl 2021:341–352. Hourmouziades 1984:18–20, considers it possible that in Pratinas’ Hyporchema there were two choruses, the second competing with the first. Moreover, some elements of criticism of contemporary comic poets detectable in the poem suggest that it was composed shortly after the introduction of comic contests into the program of the City Dionysia in 486 BCE. Lloyd-Jones 1966, argues for the existence of another Pratinas, a poet of the late Attic dithyramb; his view has been followed by Zimmermann 1986.
[ back ] 7. See Touyz 2021.
[ back ] 8. The term is used by Demetrius Phalereus De elocutione (Περὶ ρμηνείας, On Interpretation) 169. On this, see O’Sullivan and Collard 2013:4–5; Hall 2020:23–24.
[ back ] 9. The association of the early phase of the satyric drama with Pratinas makes it a dramatic genre older than comedy; the latter was introduced into the City Dionysia in 486 BCE according to Aristotle (Poetics 1448a 29–34) who mentions Chionides, winner of that year, as the first comic poet.
[ back ] 10. This is the prevailing view among scholars. See von Fritz 1936:268; Seidensticker 1979:252; Hourmouziades 1984:26; Krumeich 1999:96–97; Voelke 2001:236; Slenders 2005:42–43. Reservations by Sutton 1974:193 and 1980:15.
[ back ] 11. The text is quoted from Frazer 1921.
[ back ] 12. Translation by Smith and Trzaskoma 2007 with adaptations.
[ back ] 13. The text is quoted from Marshall 2002.
[ back ] 14. Translation by Smith and Trzaskoma 2007 with adaptations.
[ back ] 15. Cf. Smith in Smith and Trzaskoma 2007:153 n. 53; Kenens 2011:136–137.
[ back ] 16. Michels 2021:547–553, argues that only Hyginus’ Fabula 169a derives from Aeschylus’ play, the title of which, most likely Amymone Aeschyli (552), “was removed from the table of contents and the fabula itself” (550).
[ back ] 17. For the play, Garvie 1969; Bowen 2013; Papadopoulou 2011; Sommerstein 2019.
[ back ] 18. Translation by Race 1997.
[ back ] 19. See Brommer 1938–1939:172; Brommer 1959:24–29, fig. 15–16 and 75 nn. 50–58a.
[ back ] 20. See Bowra 1964:142–143, 408, 413.
[ back ] 21. Hourmouziades 1984:26. For the depictions of the Amymone story and their possible relation with the Satyr play of Aeschylus, see Simon, “Amymone,” LIMC I. 1.742–752; Krumeich 1999:94–96.
[ back ] 22. I use the term mythos with the meaning given to it by Aristotle in his Poetics 1450a 4–5: λέγω γὰρ μῦθον τοῦτον τὴν σύνθεσιν τῶν πραγμάτων (“by mythos here I mean the construction of the incidents”).
[ back ] 23. The fact that both Pseudo-Apollodorus and Hyginus mention a single Satyr in the encounter with Amymone does not compel us to assume the same for the actual performance of Aeschylus’ Amymone, let alone to give a separate role to Silenus in that scene; see Hourmouziades 1984:180 n.35.
[ back ] 24. Hourmouziades 1984:24–30.
[ back ] 25. The text of Aeschylus’ fragments is quoted from Radt 2009.
[ back ] 26. Hourmouziades 1985:180 n.38, rightly doubts that a god would say that his marriage was destined (μόρσιμον). That Poseidon may have appeared on stage disguised as a mortal is very suggestive, despite the fact that extant evidence is too scant to support it. The fragment could be attributed to Silenus, who would come to support his sons in their encounter with Amymone, before Poseidon’s intervention; otherwise, there would be a need to use a third actor, which seems completely unlikely for the plot of even the very first tragedy of the trilogy.
[ back ] 27. Rosen 2007:153–154.
[ back ] 28. The twelve members of the chorus in the Suppliant Women would represent the total of fifty daughters of Danaus; see Papadopoulou 2011:83–85.
[ back ] 29. This fragment, cited by Athenaeus (8.600b), confirms the presence of Aphrodite; for the role of the goddess in the last tragedy of the Danaid trilogy, see Garvie 1969:204–230.
[ back ] 30. Translation by the author.
[ back ] 31. Hourmouziades 1984:29–30.
[ back ] 32. Cf. Aeschylus Suppliant Women 279–280 Λιβυστικαῖς γὰρ μᾶλλον ἐμφερέστεραι / γυναιξίν ἐστε κοὐδαμῶς ἐγχωρίαις.
[ back ] 33. Translation by Bowen 2013.
[ back ] 34. For the number of the chorus members in the Suppliant Women, see above n. 28.
[ back ] 35. Hourmouziades 1984:30 and 182 nn. 47, 48, supposes that Amymone was accompanied by one of the maids that had accompanied the Danaids in the festive scene at the end of the Suppliant Women. His argument is based on a vase-painting depicting a maid with a wing-fan standing behind Amymone (CVA, Bonn, Deutch1 pl. 30 nn. 5, 16); the figures in the painting are dressed in costumes that would be considered as theatrical; moreover, a remnant of a Satyr is clearly visible behind the figure of Amymone’s maid.
[ back ] 36. See LIMC VII s.v. “Oidipous,” nr. 72; LIMC VIII s.v. “Silenoi,” nr. 160, pl. 160. The Satyrs are depicted seated on klismoi and holding tall staffs while they are obviously attending to Sphinx and her riddle.
[ back ] 37. See Hourmouziades 1984:33–34; Sommerstein 2008:iii, 238–243.
[ back ] 38. We are led to this conjecture by the very title of the play, which bears the name of Proteus, and fr. 212 (Εἰδώ) in which Eidothea, the daughter of Proteus, is mentioned with the diminutive Eido; see Radt 2009 ad loc.
[ back ] 39. Eidothea’s plotting might have made good use of the elements of the Homeric account of the seals episode (Odyssey 4.399–424); cf. the “satyrization” of the Homeric “Cyclopeia” in Euripides’ Cyclops.
[ back ] 40. In the Scholia to Aristophanes’ Frogs 1124, we are told that Aristarchus and Apollonius referred to Aeschylus’ “Oresteia” as a trilogy without satyric drama: τετραλογίαν φέρουσι τὴν Ὀρέστειαν αἱ διδασκαλίαι· Ἀγαμέμνονα, Χοηφόρους, Εὐμενίδας, Πρωτέα σατυρικόν. Ἀρίσταρχος καὶ Ἀπολλώνιος τριλογίαν λέγουσι χωρὶς τῶν σατύρων. Since the satyric Proteus is connected with the story of the “Oresteia,” what is probably meant is the collapse, in 458 BCE, of the ikria, which made it impossible to complete the production of the tetralogy with the concluding Satyr play; see Tsantsanoglou 2022:222.
[ back ] 41. Translation by Smyth 1926.
[ back ] 42. We should notice that in Homer it is Proteus who informs Menelaus of the evil nostos of his brother, Agamemnon, from Troy (Odyssey 4.514–547).
[ back ] 43. See the latest edition of the Diktyoulkoi with a commentary by Dettori 2016. Cf. Hourmouziades 1984:63–69; O’Sullivan and Collard 2013, 254–265; Goins 1997 (for the date of the play and the possible content of a reconstruction attempt of the whole tetralogy).
[ back ] 44. Translation by the author.
[ back ] 45. Translation by the author.
[ back ] 46. See the bibliographic references by Radt 2009 in TrGF 3.
[ back ] 47. For the description of Silenos’ lyric ode, see Hourmouziades 1984:66–69; Charalabopoulos 2021:403–406.
[ back ] 48. For the association of Amymone with Danae, see Hourmouziades 1984:66. In fact, there is a difference in the available evidence regarding these two characters. For the encounter of Danae with the Satyrs, fragments exist, but there is no surviving play from the Dictys-Polydektes trilogy which the Satyr play Diktyoulkoi concludes; for the encounter of Amymone with the Satyr(s), there is only scanty evidence, but the first tragedy of the Danaid trilogy, the Suppliant Women, survives.
[ back ] 49. Hourmouziades 1984:36–40. The Prometheus Pyrphoros would not deal with the gift of fire to human beings, but rather with the establishment of a related cult after the restoration of Prometheus (cf. Aeschylus’ Eumenides); for its position at the end of the trilogy, Westphal 1869:207–224; Wilamowitz 1914:129; Tsantsanoglou 2022:210–211. For problematic issues of the Prometheus trilogy, especially the authenticity of the Prometheus Bound, see Herrington 1970; Griffith 1977; Zuntz 1993; Ruffell 2012:13–19 (a survey).
[ back ] 50. Tsantsanoglou 2022:179–227.
[ back ] 51. Tsantsanoglou 2022:210–227.
[ back ] 52. Tsantsanoglou 2022:96; analytically, Tsantsanoglou 2020.
[ back ] 53. Hourmouziades 1984:38; Tsantsanoglou 2022:186–189. Cf. Brown 1990.
[ back ] 54. Translation by the author.
[ back ] 55. Translation by the author.
[ back ] 56. In fr. 204d 4.2, διπ[λ indicates a double chorus; Tsantsanoglou 2022:203 (ad loc.).
[ back ] 57. For doubts about such a ritual destination of the Satyr play Prometheus Pyrkaeus, see Tsantsanoglou 2020:211.
[ back ] 58. See now the commentary by Tsantsanoglou 2022:1–110; also, Sonnino 2021.
[ back ] 59. A mythical version attributed the establishment of the Isthmian Games to Theseus; see Page 1942:546.
[ back ] 60. For the plot of the Theoroi I follow the latest order of the papyrus fragments, proposed by Tsantsanoglou 2022:3–5; this proposal reverses the generally accepted order of the papyrus fragments published by Radt in TrGF 3.
[ back ] 61. In all likelihood, the athletic contest, for which Poseidon is willing to provide the Satyrs with shields, is the ὁπλίτης or ἐνόπλιος δρόμος which was included in the program of the actual Isthmian Games; see Tsantsanoglou 2022:37, with bibliography.
[ back ] 62. At this point, the dramatic space, that is, the façade of the temple of Poseidon on the Isthmus, is identified with the scenic space, that is, the façade of the stage-building of the theater of Dionysus in Athens. Perhaps this is a direct allusion to the construction of the stage-building in Athens and the reconstruction of the temple of Poseidon on the Isthmus, both of which were completed by 460 BCE. See Broneer 1971:53–55; Tsantsanoglou 2022:97–101. The dithyramb Theseus of Bacchylides, which depicts the entry of Theseus into Athens after he defeated the dangerous monsters in the region of Isthmus, dates from the same period; see Maehler 2004:191.
[ back ] 63. Tsantsanoglou 2022:25–29 (on fr. 78c 39–40), argued that the Isthmian festival was competitive to Dionysus festivals at Athens.
[ back ] 64. See Tsantsanoglou 2022:93–96.
[ back ] 65. For the Athamas tetralogy, see also Gantz 1980:156–158 (= Gantz 2007:61–64). For the Lykourgeia, which is the only entitled Dionysiac tetralogy by Aeschylus, see West 1990:26–50; also, Nikolaidou-Arampatzi 2010.
[ back ] 66. As a Satyr play directly related to Dionysus, the Theoroi could also conclude Aeschylus’ Athamas trilogy, because, according to a mythical version, the Isthmia were established in honor of Melicertes, the younger son of Athamas; see Gebhard and Dickie 1999. Melicertes as well as his brother, Learchus, paid for the wrath of Hera against their father and their mother, Ino, for their care of the newborn Dionysus. However, Aeschylus’ Satyr play Trophoi is the most appropriate for his trilogy Toxotides, Semele or Hydrophoroi, and Athamas, in which the included tragedies are related to episodes of Dionysus’ infancy; if the infant Dionysus were to be the principal character of a Satyr play, it would not be the Theoroi , for the apostasy by his followers would not suit his situation. The possibility that Aeschylus’ intention in his Theoroi was to remind the establishment of the Isthmia by Theseus (referred to in n. 59) does not necessarily detract from the tradition relating the Isthmian Games to Melicertes.
[ back ] 67. Flintoff 1992:67–70 argues for thematic tetralogies by Sophocles; cf. Sutton 1984:126–127, for a Sophoclean Telepheia.
[ back ] 68. On the precise number of Euripides’ Satyr plays, see Meccariello 2021.
[ back ] 69. It is noteworthy that in his Sisyphus and Skiron Euripides attempts to introduce the satyric treatment of Heracles in mythological contexts unrelated to him; Hourmouziades 1984:120. The title Theristai (Harvesters) indicates that the Satyr chorus had a specific occupation, that of reapers; the criminal character would be the legendary Lydian Lityerses, who challenged the passers-by to a reaping contest in which he always won. See Hourmouziades 1984:124; Kotlińska-Toma 2021:508.
[ back ] 70. Gluttonous Heracles was evidently a hero in the comedy Bousiris by the Sicilian poet Epicharmus (fr. 18 K–A); he also existed in Epicharmus’ Heracles and the Girdle, Heracles with Pholos, Heracles Dexamenos, Hebe’s Wedding, Alkyoneus, and Muses. For the comedian Epicharmus and his influence on Attic drama, see Kerkhof 2001; Shaw 2014:56–77. For Megaric comedy, see Wilamowitz 1875; Breitholz 1960:176–187; Konstantakos 2020:17–23.
[ back ] 71. Heracles is also attested as the title character in some of Sophocles’ Satyr plays (Herakles [TrGF 1 CAT B 1.23], Herakleiskos, Epitaenarii Satyrs, Kerberos, in which we can discern traces of banquet scenes.
[ back ] 72. See Marshall 2000; Slater 2005.
[ back ] 73. Tsantsanoglou 2022:290, describes the situation very aptly: “Possibly, along with the funny and indecent Satyr chorus, comes the funny but decent Satyr chorus (Ichneutai), then an occasionally funny non-Satyr chorus (Inachos), and finally a serious non-Satyr chorus (Alcestis).”
[ back ] 74. See Hourmouziades 1984:158. For instance, Bousiris is the title of a satyric drama by Euripides as well as a comedy by Cratinus (fr. 23 K–A); for the mythological comedy, Konstantakos 2020.
[ back ] 75. For the evolution of satyric drama and Greek comedy, see Shaw 2014.
[ back ] 76. In the contests of the year 340 BCE at the City Dionysia, when Euripides’ Orestes was produced as an old tragedy by Nicomachus, the Satyr play Lykourgos was produced by Timocles hos concours (IG ii2 2320); see Millis and Olson 2012:61–69.