The Adultery Mime

Classical Quarterly 40 (3-4):77- (1946)

Of all the themes treated by the mimes, perhaps the one that gave the most delight to their audiences throughout the centuries was that of adultery. References to it, from various parts of the ancient world, are found from the first century before Christ to the sixth century of the Christian era, and in many cases it is spoken of as a theme typical of the mime as a whole. There does not seem to be satisfactory evidence of its existence in a genuinely dramatic form at an earner date. It is reported that the μαγδoί, among other impersonations, mimicked the behaviour of μoιχoί, but their performance, so far as can be discovered, was purely a piece of imitative buffoonery. When the theme of adultery was treated by Greek mimes of a later date, the approach seems to have been rather a psychological study of the adulteress than an attempt to bring out the dramatic possibilities inherent in the situation. This is certainly the case with Herondas' fifth mime, which portrays a lady jealously in love with a slave. Evidence from sources bearing a close relationship to the mime is equally negative. Thus a well-known Egyptian papyrus contains a song, written perhaps in the third or second century B.C., in which Helen complains of Menelaus' indifference to her after bringing her back from Troy; but this is far from constituting a variant on the adultery theme. The wall-song in Marissa, which was composed in the middle of the second century B.C., does indicate a situation in which a woman is trying to keep her lover's presence outside the house from the knowledge of another man with whom she is consorting inside
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DOI 10.1017/S0009838800023387
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The Tyrant Goddess: Herodas's Fifth "Mime".David Konstan - 1989 - Classical Antiquity 8 (2):267-282.

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