This article inquires into the shaping force that competition at musical contests exercised on ancient perceptions of literary genres, particularly for the non-choral and non-dramatic kinds of the Classical Period. Three musical contests of the fourth century BCE, the Panathenaia, the Amphiaraia, and the Artemisia, are taken as case studies. After a reconstruction of their programs, principles of categorization that spectators might have inferred from the contests are deduced, and modes in which categories of competition and literary genres interacted are put forward. The article concludes by suggesting that, by enacting taxonomies, either strengthening or weakening the specificity of traditional types, institutionalized poetic and musical competitions contributed to the ancient conceptualization of literary genres.
Mousikoi Agones and the Conceptualization of Genre in Ancient Greece
This article circulated for a few years before reaching its final form. I am very grateful to Ewen Bowie, Dwora Gilula, Richard Martin, and Ian Rutherford for their comments and criticism at various stages of this work. Earlier versions were presented at the Thirty-Third Conference of the Israel Society for the Promotion of Classical Studies (June 2004, Ben Gurion University, Be'er Sheva, Israel) and the International Colloquium “Song Culture and Social Change: The Contexts of Dithyramb” (July 2004, Oxford, UK). I would like to thank those audiences for their inspiring feedback. Comments and criticism by the two anonymous referees of Classical Antiquity were of great help in improving my argument. Errors and misapprehensions remain of course mine.
- Views Icon Views
- PDF LinkPDF
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Andrea Rotstein; Mousikoi Agones and the Conceptualization of Genre in Ancient Greece. Classical Antiquity 1 April 2012; 31 (1): 92–127. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/CA.2012.31.1.92
Download citation file: