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date: 24 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

As with myth, the ancient Greeks did not have a term equivalent to what we refer to as ritual. On the one hand, the heroic past of Greece was rendered as archaion or palaion, on the other, cultural and religious practices were grasped in terms of agency (drama in particular). Attic tragedy is particularly meaningful in terms of this double foundation, spoken word and (dramatic) action, of what we call Greek religion. Integrated into a mousikos agon, tragedy is itself a ritualized poetic form: it stages an exemplary action taken from the heroic past of the civic community to lead up, at times through the aetiological institution of a cult, to its musical performance as part of ritual honours dedicated to a deity. From this point of view, attention is directed in particular to the choral songs which frame and punctuate, though ritual pragmatics, the dramatization of the tragic action.

Keywords: choral song, drama, pragmatics, ritual, tragedy, myth

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