Rhinthon - Encyclopedia


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RHINTHON (c. 323-285 B.C.), Greek dramatist, son of a potter. He was probably a native of Syracuse and afterwards settled at Tarentum. He invented the hilarotragoedia, a burlesque of tragic subjects. Such travesties were also called phlyaces (" fooleries") and their writers phlyacogra phi. He was the author of thirty-eight plays, of which only a few titles (Amphitryon, Heracles, Orestes) and lines have been preserved, chiefly by the grammarians, as illustrating dialectic Tarentine forms. The metre is iambic, in which the greatest licence is allowed. The Amphitruo of Plautus, although probably imitated from a different writer (Archippus of the Middle Comedy), may be taken as a specimen of the manner in which such subjects were treated. There is no doubt that the hilarotragoedia exercised considerable influence on Latin comedy, the Rhinthonica (i.e. fabula) being mentioned by various authorities amongst other kinds of drama known to the Romans. Scenes from these travesties are probably represented in certain vase paintings from Lower Italy, for which see H. Heydemann, "Die Phlyakendarstellungen auf bemalten Vasen," in Jahrbuch des archdologischen Instituts, i. (1886).

Fragments in monograph by E. Volker (Leipzig, 1887); see also E. Sommerbrodt, De Phlyacographia Graecorum (Breslau, 18 75); W. Christ, Geschichte der griechischen Litteratur (1898).

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