Papers of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens — 6.1890-1897 (1897)

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THE CHORUS IN THE LATER GREEK DRAMA.

period was considered as belonging to that of Plato or to that ot
Menander. Since the criterion of /ca>/jLa>8eiv aiviyfiarmSw or
KaffoXov undoubtedly was first employed to distinguish the post-
Aristophanic comedy from that which preceded it, we can most
readily explain the fact that Aristophanes and Plato are often
assigned to the second period, and that Menander and Philemon
never are (Apul. Florid., 3, 16 is a palpable error), by the
supposition that the grammarians from whom these notices
sprung had no clear idea of any distinction between the fourth
century comedy and that of Aristophanes. We certainly can-
not concede the claim made by Fielitz that the new comedy
was considered to embrace the middle by the grammarians of the
twofold division, because a few times, in Suidas and in passing
allusions of late Roman writers, a poet of the new is assigned to
the middle. The second significant fact will make my point
clearer. Amidst all the confusion that pervades these notices,
the lack of a chorus is constantly kept as a distinct characteristic
of the new comedy, and in Anon, v, where the old and the middle
are combined under the common head iraXaid, it is expressly
stated that the TraXaid (not the ap^aia) required the chorus. Per-
haps some significance should be attached to this fact also, that in
many of the notices the chorus is not mentioned at all. Dio-
medes(Suet. ed. Reif.,p. 11) certainly thought that Attic comedy
always had a chorus. After various remarks about the chorus
in general, he adds: Latinae igitur comoediae chorion non habent.
Perhaps the chorus had not disappeared even from the new
comedy so far as is generally believed.

Fielitz further remarks that the characteristics of middle com-
edy, as laid down by Anon, in, are really those of new comedy.
He therefore proposes to cut out the references to the former as
interpolations. But, as Ivaibcl has shown (I. c. p. 63), none of the
characteristics assigned to middle comedy belong to it exclusively,
whether it be the nature of the myths employed, the language,
the metres, or the general spirit. The predominant traits of one
period are found in the other two also, more or less modified.
The designation of the comedy of the fourth century as the middle
comedy is convenient as marking the transition period, even if it
is not in accordance with some of the. grammarians. To class
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