Scholars have disagreed about whether the Great Dionysia was celebrated in 404 BCE, despite the grim circumstances in Athens on the eve of the city's surrender to Sparta. This article reconsiders the problem and reviews the positive documentary evidence for the festival's celebration. The evidence indicates that the festival was indeed held, which speaks to the centrality of the Great Dionysia to Athenian civic life. The article then re-examines the conditions in Athens in the spring of 404, the practical consequences that these may have had for the festival, and the celebration of other festivals during times of war and crisis. Despite the evidence that the Great Dionysia was celebrated, the scale of its festivities must have been reduced. The first regular celebration after the war did not likely take place until 402/1, when the posthumous premiere of Sophocles' Oidipous at Kolonos would have served partially as a symbolic proclamation that Athens' great theatrical tradition would continue undiminished.
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Research Article| October 01 2014
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Johanna Hanink; The Great Dionysia and the End of the Peloponnesian War. Classical Antiquity 1 October 2014; 33 (2): 319–346. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/CA.2014.33.2.319
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