The number of speaking actors in Old Comedy has been much discussed, but no consensus has been reached. The old assumption that the number was three, as in tragedy, was shaken when it was realized that some scenes of Aristophanes have four characters on-stage at once, all taking part in the dialogue: for example, in Lys. 77–253 we have Lysistrate, Kalonike, Myrrhine, and Lampito, and in Frogs 1414–81 we have Dionysos, Aiskhylos, Euripides, and Plouton. Rees therefore argued that there was (...) no fixed number, but that view was not generally accepted. A more widely held view is that there were three principal actors with additional performers for small parts. However, there is no evidence contemporary with Aristophanes which distinguishes three actors from the others in this way, and it is probable that writers of later periods who mention three actors are referring to their own times and did not have authentic information about the fifth century. The passage which DFA, p. 149, seems to regard as the most trustworthy is in a brief account of comedy attributed to Tzetzes: πιγενμενος δ Κρατνος κατστησε μν πρτον τ ν τ κωμδ πρσωπα μεχρ τριν, στσας τν ταξαν4 DFA paraphrases this as ‘Cratinus reduced the disorderliness and, in some sense, fixed the number of regular actors at three’. But πρσωπα means ‘masks’ or ‘characters’; it does not mean ‘actors’ . What the writer meant by saying that Kratinos settled the masks or characters in comedy at ‘up to three’ is not clear, but his statement is useless as evidence for the number of actors. (shrink)
If you look up οκος in Liddell and Scott, you find the instances classified in three main divisions: first those meaning a house, or sometimes other kinds of building; secondly ‘one's household goods, substance’, for which I shall generally say ‘property’, though Liddell and Scott do not actually use that word; and thirdly ‘family’. This threefold distinction is sound, and I shall adhere to it here. Admittedly one sometimes finds an instance where it is not easy to decide which sense (...) the word has. Two of the senses, occasionally even all three, may overlap. But in the great majority of instances it is clear which sense is meant. (shrink)
Marriage is a subject of perennial interest, and we should like to be able to assess the exact degree of importance which the Greeks attached to this institution. One of the chief questions is how the formality of marriage, or the lack of it, affected the children of a union; above all, was illegitimate birth a bar to citizenship even in democratic Athens? Unfortunately there is still no general agreement about the answer to this question.
The time-limits imposed by the κλεψύδρα on speakers in Athenian trials have been much discussed, but a valuable distillation of the ancient evidence and modern interpretations of it has recently been made by P. J. Rhodes, A Commentary on the Aristotelian Athenaion Politeia , pp. 719–28. He prudently states his own conclusions in a cautious manner, but I find them convincing. One khous of water took 3 minutes to run out; this is indicated by the length of time taken by (...) the κλεψύδρα found in the Agora , which holds 2 khoes and takes 6 minutes, and it is also consistent with the evidence of Aiskhines about the διαμεμετρημένη μέρα. In a ‘measured-through day’, used only for public cases, the total amount of time allowed for the speeches in a trial was 11 amphoreis , equivalent to 132 khoes, taking 396 minutes; one third of this time was allocated to the prosecution, one third to the defence, and one third to the speeches on the assessment of the penalty . Time taken for other proceedings, including the allocation of jurors to courts, voting, and payment of jurors at the end of the day , was additional. (shrink)