The Birth of Comedy: Track 1

Featuring: Audio Audio

Take the topical satire of Have I Got News For You and mix thoroughly with the adolescent humour of The Inbetweeners, add in a healthy dose of Monty Python-esque absurdity and finish off with lashings of songs and dances. Then serve it all up to a baying crowd in an atmosphere more like a football match than a theatre stage. Welcome to the world of Aristophanes, ‘the father of comedy’. The rise of democracy in ancient Greece produced one of the greatest ever flowerings of culture and gave birth to history, philosophy, science … and fart gags. Theatre first appeared in Athens 2,500 years ago to educate and entertain the growing audience of citizens. However Greek theatre wasn’t a quiet entertainment but a rowdy, competitive sport involving teams of performers battling each other for prizes.

By: The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams) , The iTunes U team (Programme and web teams)

Share on Google Plus Share on LinkedIn View article Comments
Print

Track 1: Creating a Spectacle: Theatre in Ancient Athens

Why was theatre-going so important to the Athenians? James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, looks at the birth of comedy and the rise of democracy and wonders why we never hear of Spartan stand up.


© The Open University


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Creating a Spectacle: Theatre in Ancient Athens    Why was theatre-going so important to the Athenians? James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, looks at the birth of comedy and the rise of democracy and wonders why we never hear of Spartan stand up. Play now Creating a Spectacle: Theatre in Ancient Athens
2 Making Athens Laugh: The Ancient Sense of Humour    Slapstick, satire or stereotypes, just what made the Greeks laugh? In this episode James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, examines the elements of successful Greek comedy. Play now Making Athens Laugh: The Ancient Sense of Humour
3 Sex, Swearing and Satire in Aristophanes’ Comedy    Obscenity was a powerful tool in the hands of Greek playwrights. James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, asks how Aristophanes pulled it off. Play now Sex, Swearing and Satire in Aristophanes’ Comedy
4 Aristophanes’ Athens    What do Aristophanes’ plays tell us about life in ancient Athens? James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, and his guests discuss the use of literary sources. Play now Aristophanes’ Athens
5 Performing Aristophanes    What are the challenges in performing Aristophanes for a modern audience? James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, and his guests discuss the problems of making classics relevant today. Play now Performing Aristophanes
6 Aristophanes’ Women    How well do the women in Aristophanes’ plays reflect the lives of real women in ancient Athens? James Robson, Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University, and his guests discuss what we can learn from the gaps in the evidence. Play now Aristophanes’ Women

Copyright information

Tags, Ratings and Social Bookmarking

Ratings

Your rating None. Average rating 3.4 out of 5, based on 10 ratings

Share

Leave a comment
Sign in or create your OpenLearn account to join the discussion.

We invite you to discuss this subject, but remember this is a public forum.
Please be polite, and avoid your passions turning into contempt for others. We may delete posts that are rude or aggressive; or edit posts containing contact details or links to other websites.

Other content you may like

OU on the BBC: Ancient Greece: The greatest show on Earth: ARCHIVE Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Ancient Greece: The greatest show on Earth: ARCHIVE

Join us on a journey to the ancient world and explore the heart of Athens: the theatre.

Article

History & The Arts 

Greek Theatre

What was it like to go to the theatre nearly 2500 years ago? Greek theatre has survived through the ages as a powerful and influential art form. This album introduces what early Greek theatres looked like and the kind of audience they attracted. Using the Theatre of Dionysus as a starting point, experts discuss the significance of attending the theatre as a civic occasion, associated with the political and cultural achievements of Athens. Through archaeology and analysis of contemporary art forms, such as decoration on pottery, a picture is built up of ancient Greek theatre. The album reveals how precious Greek texts have survived, and how Aeschylus’ tragedy 'Persians' has been interpreted in modern theatre. This material forms part of The Open University course A219 Exploring the classical world.

Audio
45 mins
Solon upsets the wealthy Croesus Creative commons image Icon Wikimedia Commons under Creative-Commons license activity icon

History & The Arts 

Solon upsets the wealthy Croesus

Consider the answer to Croesus’ question of him about ‘happiness’ before exploring possible routes for Solon’s journey, comparing them with travelling in the Mediterranean today. According to Herodotus, Solon, the Athenian lawmaker, spent ten years ‘sailing forth to see the world’, before meeting with Croesus in Sardis.

Activity
Hestia Project map and partners’ resources Creative commons image Icon Hestia Project under Creative-Commons license activity icon

History & The Arts 

Hestia Project map and partners’ resources

Follow the guidance on how to make the most of the Hestia Project map and explore the links to find out more about Hestia Project partners, to take your research further.

Activity
The obscure history of the ‘virgin’s disease’ that could be cured with sex Creative commons image Icon David Reece under CC-BY-SA licence under Creative-Commons license article icon

History & The Arts 

The obscure history of the ‘virgin’s disease’ that could be cured with sex

Where did ideals and misconceptions around virginity and the hymen stem from? Helen King explores...

Article
The Dog of Alcibiades article icon

History & The Arts 

The Dog of Alcibiades

Getting people to gossip about your dog can be a useful way of distracting them from talking about you! 

Article
Bringing out the bad guy with Star Trek Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: photos.com article icon

History & The Arts 

Bringing out the bad guy with Star Trek

How does "soft" science fiction like Star Trek offer new ways to explore old questions about who we are and what made us that way?

Article
Roman outfits Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

History & The Arts 

Roman outfits

Was Rome really all about togas? Open Minds set out to discover the truth.

Article
Classical studies: it's more than the words Creative commons image Icon Wikimedia Commons under Creative-Commons license activity icon

History & The Arts 

Classical studies: it's more than the words

When thinking about ancient literature and historiography, we need to consider more than just the words written, but the aims of the author, role of the translator, political and cultural issues of the time of writing as well as the period in history.

Activity