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OF CHOREUTÆ EMPLOYED IN THE TETRALOGY
-NUMBER OF THE CHORUS IN THE EUMENIDES DISPOSITION OF THE CHORUS
SCENIC ARRANGEMENTS-DUTY OF AVENGING BLOOD-DUTY OF ORESTES-POSITION
§ 1. No edition of the Eumenides of Æschylus would now be Müller's considered complete unless it in some sort recognised the valuable tions. Dissertations of C. 0. Müller. The Cambridge translation of this work, published in 1835, is now out of print: the present Editor has therefore judged it expedient to draw up an Analysis of the principal Essays, sufficiently brief to be comprised within the limits of an Introductory Chapter: to which will be added a Second Part, compiled from various sources, and containing a critique upon the more speculative and unsupported portion of Müller's book-his second Dissertation—which cannot be safely submitted to the reader's unqualified perusal.
2. Æschylus having determined to present himself as a can- Number of didate for the Tragic Prize, with his Trilogy of the “Orestea” employed and the “Proteus,” a Satyric Drama, Xenocles of Aphidna was tralleri appointed to furnish him with a Chorus. The question here naturally arises for our consideration, how many Choreuto did Xenocles engage to provide? We are told by the ancient Grammarians, “that the usual number of the Tragic Chorus was
in the Te
Dissertations, pp. 47--54.
either twelve or fifteen: Add this statement has always been understood to imply, that the said twelve or fifteen individuals performed the chorit parts in all the four plays successively. 3. But :besides the great difficulty of training people of no verj high attainments in Art to undertake so many different characters, sometimes male, and sometimes female; we know that Æschylus frequently employs in his dramas a number of persons, who are, properly speaking, neither actors nor Choreutæ, although they bear a strong resemblance to the latter. Of such a description are the Areopagites and the Escort of Women in the Eumenides: the last-mentioned body even sing the closing ode of the play. 4. Whence we may infer, first, that in addition to the proper Chorus of each individual drama, the one belonging to some other part of the same Tetralogy occasionally appears as a kind of Accessory Chorus; and secondly, that the regular Chorus of one drama was quite distinct from that of the others. Nay, in Choeph. 1044, we find the regular Chorus of Women, and the Accessory one of Furies, actually seen on the stage together, where Orestes exclaims,
Δμωαι γυναίκες, αίδε Γοργόνων δίκην
Πυκνούς δράκουσιν ουκέτ' αν μείναιμ' εγώ. And although the Choephorce are not supposed to behold the Furies here, their presence is unquestionably visible to the audience. We may, therefore, classify the Principal and Accessory Choruses belonging to the three plays of the Orestea, in the following manner:
In the closing scene of the Eumenides, it is evident that all these three Choruses must be on the stage at once: for the Areopagites have not quitted their position when Pallas summons the Escort of Women.
5. These considerations afford ample evidence that the whole number of Choreutæ assigned for a Tetralogy was far greater than twelve or fifteen. Now the Tragic Chorus was immediately derived from the Dithyrambic; and that, we know, consisted of fifty persons. This brings us nearer the mark; but the number 50 must be taken with some modification. The Dithyrambic Chorus was cyclic; that is, it danced in a circle round the Dionysian Altar; the Tragic was quadrangular (Tetpásywvos), and drawn up in rank and file. It was, therefore, a composite number; and as the components could scarcely be so far apart as that the one should double the other, viz. 5 x 10, so as to make up the number 50, we may more reasonably conclude that it was 6 x 8=48: which, if divided equally, would allow twelve choreutæ for each play. And this is probably what the Grammarians meant, in their statement “ that the Tragic chorus consisted of twelve or fifteen."
6. In the Agamemnon, it is clear that the number of the the Chorus regular Chorus was twelve. When the Gerontes hear the death- inenides, cry of their sovereign, and are debating what course to pursue, twelve suffrages only are given ; and if it be true that they re-appear in the Eumenides as Areopagites, this was unquestionably their number. In the Persæ, Supplices, and Sept. cont. Thebas, proof might be given that the Chorus likewise consisted of twelve. 7. But in the Choephorce and Eumenides this is not so certain ; in fact there is strong evidence in favour of a Chorus of fifteen for the Eumenides. For in such of the Odes as are Commatic (sung by different individuals), seven distinct voices, or rather pairs of voices, are frequently apparent; these with the Leader make up the number fifteen ; and Hermann (De Choro Eumenidum, Diss. I.) has proved to the general satisfaction that this number was the true one."
1 One of Müller's arguments in support of this proposition is somewhat sur-
ΧΟΡ. λάβε, λάβε, λάβε, λάβε, λάβε, λάβε, λάβε.
8. The evolutions of the Chorus bear a close analogy to those of a Móxos drawn up in order of battle; whence Æschylus often uses the word Nóxos for xópos (Eumen. v. 46), and military terms were employed to designate its several divisions. The Choreutæ enter in rank (Suryà) three abreast, and file (otoixol) generally five deep. When they take up their position in the Orchestra, the individuals fronting the audience are called αριστερoστάται, , or “left-hand men,” (a b c d e in opp. Fig. ;) theirs was reckoned the most honourable place, and in their centre stood the Leader, on the platform of the Thymele, and therefore somewhat higher than the rest. Immediately behind them are the lavpoo tátal (fgh i k), so called from standing in the alley (Aaúpa) formed by the two other lines. The third and hindmost row are called Defcootátai. 9. The annexed figure represents the Chorus in two positions : first, in its IIápodos, or entrance on the stage by the side-passages of the orchestra ; secondly, in its place about the Thymele, or centre of the orchestra itself.' These positions are usually, but not necessarily, adopted by the Chorus at its first alters the MS. reading so as to suit his theory, and then quotes the altered line in support of it! Not less strange is the argument on which he grounds this alteration. “The Scholiast,” he says, in p. 61, “ describes this verse as a dimeter brachy-catalectic, with a hephthemimer of tribrachs;
- v-lv-luvul woul 1 and must have read the line thus
Mυ μυ μυ μυ φράζουν λάβε, λάβε, λάβε, λάβε, λάβε. We are not therefore without warrant for considering hà cũ Mù dû as 'extra metrum,' repeating náße seven times, and making the verse a complete Iambic line.” We doubt whether any reader will be satisfied with such a warrant. All that can be gathered from the Scholiast is, that the word opácou as pronounced by the Leader, did in all probability precede the repetitions of aáße. Hermann has argued this matter at great length in his Opusc. vol. vi. p. 35.
1 Ovuéan, from dów, properly "an altar,” including the platform on which the altar was raised. Its position in the Theatre was derived from the Dionysian altar, round which the ancient Dithyrambic Chorus executed its dances. The reader should, however, be informed that Hermann (De Re Scenicâ in Oresteâ) distinctly denies that this Thymele could have been so placed, and even the existence of the altar itself. His words are : -“ Vanum est commentum Mülleri, thymelen in orchestrâ fuisse putantis, quam in ligneâ illâ orchestrâ, quæ fabularum agendarum causâ exstruebatur, nec fuisse ullam, et in quibusdam fabulis (Prometheo, Philoctetâ, Cyclope) ne potuisse quidem aram, ut in locis desertis, cogitari, demonstratum est.”