Already in the 4th century BC the origins of Athenian comedy--and even the name of the genre--were being debated and politicized. One of two main competing explanations derived "kômôidia" from the activity of "kômos-singers," but this further opens a series of complex and unresolved questions: what exactly was a "kômos," what sort of songs took place in these events, and how might they have led to the dramatic art of Eupolis, Cratinus, Aristophanes and other comic masters? This talk will attempt to sketch out some answers using visual as well as textual evidence.
Richard P. Martin is Antony and Isabelle Raubitschek Professor in Classics at Stanford University. His most recent book on archaic Greek poetry, culture, and myth is Mythologizing Performance (2020). Others include Healing, Sacrifice and Battle (1983), The Language of Heroes (1989), Myths of the Ancient Greeks (2003), and Classical Mythology: The Basics(2016). In addition, he has edited Bulfinch's Mythology (1991) and provided extensive notes and introductions for translations of the Iliad by Richmond Lattimore (2011) and the Odyssey by Edward McCrorie (2005). His other interests include Greek religion, comedy, ethnopoetics, medieval Irish literature and Modern Greek poetry.
This talk is free and open to the public. Zoom meeting link is available under "More Info".