The costuming of tragedy in classical antiquity
Campbell, Constance L.
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The previous research on the question of the costuming of tragedy in the ancient world has centered on speculation as to how tragic actors were clothed in Athens during the fifth century BC. However, most of the evidence for tragic costume dates from the fourth century BC and later. Little attention has been paid to the evidence as it applies to the times in which it was produced. This dissertation is a chronological examination of the evidence for theatrical costuming from the fifth century B.C. through the Roman period, with a view to a clarification of the evolution of costuming practices during the Greek and Roman eras. The evidence falls into two main categories, literary and archaeological. The literary evidence also falls into two categories, that from the plays themselves, and descriptions by those who comment on theatrical practices. The former dates almost exclusively form the fifth century BC, while the latter is quite late, largely from the second century AD. The archaeological evidence spans the entire period, from the fifth century BC to the end of the Roman era. The available data is reviewed in chronological order whenever possible, in order to trace the use and development of tragic costume from the Classical period in Greece to the late Roman Empire. Various points that are addressed in this study include the high-soled boot and the onkos, and the question when and why they developed. Another area of investigation is be the colors used in the costumes, something that to my knowledge has never been specifically addressed, other than in regard to the color of hair in comic masks. This study of color has yielded some intereting information on the costuming of royal characters from the Greek classical period through late Roman times. The chronological approach taken in this dissertation yields much information on the development of tragic costuming, allowing innovations and traditions both to be viewed clearly in context.