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Tragedy and what it really means

January 4, 2010

Source: , Creative Commons Attribution 2.5

A Polish  blog friend of mine – Piotr – wrote  a very interesting post in Esperanto about the origin of the word tragedy (in Greek: τραγωδία, Esperante: tragedio). I tried to answer why these two words are related

τράγος : the male goat or billy goat

τραγωδία > τράγος + ωδή (or the song of the male goats which actually should be very unpleasant).

So, all of you possibly know that the origin of tragedy is connected closely with Dionysus  – the Greek god of wine and ecstasy. The chorus of old men in the Greek tragedies, which are dressed  like goats is another mystery that asks for an answer. Why are they dressed like that? Yes, this question actually makes sense…Why goats and not just another animal.

Goats or billy goats were  often objects of sacrifice and complex rituals. They  symbolised also the sacrifice of the god Dionysus himself, who was devoured by a group of wild women named Mainades …

The definition of  the Greek Portal for tragedy is :

είδος δραματικής ποίησης που προήλθε από τη λατρεία του θεού Διονύσου και που καλλιεργήθηκε ιδιαίτερα στην κλασική Aθήνα· τα θέματά της είναι παρμένα από τη μυθολογία ή από την ιστορία, τα παθήματα των ηρώων προκαλούν το φόβο και τη συμπάθεια και η λύση της την ηθική ικανοποίηση των θεατών

A   kind of drama poetry that came from the worship of the God Dionysus , which was cultivated especially in Athens of the classic era….The plot is taken out of mythology or the history, and the suffering of the heroes evokes  the fear and the  sympathy, and the solution the moral satisfaction of  the audience.

As long as the chorus represents Dionysus , a suffering god , the dress code have to keep alive the connection between the first tragic hero and his followers …I am not sure if this is the right explanation. Actually is the only one I can think for the moment.

Please , give us your explanation , if Piotr still is dubious about this one…

Finishing that post I would like to give you my recent discovery …a website with Greek tongue twisters (in Greek γλωσσοδέτες).  But this last one can be a topic of a new post …. Until then I just want to send my wishes to everyone :

Happy New Year

Καλή Χρονιά

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