History of Greek and Latin Theatre

History of Greek and Latin Theatre

History of Greek and Latin Theatre

Prof. Elisabetta Matelli


The aim of the course is to teach students an understanding of classical theatre based on an interdisciplinary approach combining the history of literature with archaeology, epigraphy, philosophy and dramaturgy.


For students taking the course for the first time: 1. Basic lines of the history of Greek and Latin Theatre from an historical-literary and antiquarian viewpoint. 2. Overview of the dramaturgical study method outlined in Aristotle's Poetics and its specific application for reading the course books. 3. Introduction to a reading of the following works: Aeschylus’s The Persians - Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex - Euripides’sBacchae – Aristophanes’s The Frogs–Menander’s Misanthrope– Plautus’s Amphitryon - Senaca’s Oedipus.

Students who have already taken the first module once but would like to take a further study modulewill arrange a meeting to set an alternative syllabus that will also include, a detailed reading of Euripides’s Bacchaeand other works, further readings in agreement with the lecturer, a number of seminars to be attended.


Ancient works

Aristofane,Le rane,edited by Guido Paduano, BUR, Milano, 2005.

Aristotele, Poetica,Introduzione, trad. e note di D. Lanza, Rizzoli (BUR), Milano, 1987.

Eschilo, Persiani in Persiani – Sette contro Tebe,edited by G. Ieranò, Oscar Mondadori, Milano 2006.

Euripide, Baccanti,edited by G. Ieranò, Oscar Mondadori, Milano, 2004.

Euripide, Dioniso,l’illusionista,edited by E. Matelli, Educatt, Milano, 2014.

Menandro,Dyscolos. Lo scorbutico, traduzione di E. Savino, edited by E. Matelli, GBM (Opuscoli di Ethos), Messina, 2008.

Sofocle, Edipo re, in Edipo re, Edipo a Colono, Antigone,Parallel text, edited by S. Beta, Einaudi, Torino, 2009.

Plauto, Anfitrione,Bacchidi, Menecmi, Introduzione di M. Rubino, trad. di V. Faggi, Oscar Mondadori, Milano, 2001.

Seneca, Edipo,edited by G. Paduano, parallel Latin text, Rizzoli (BUR), Milano, 1993.

General section (level I)

G. Guidorizzi, Introduzione al teatro greco, Mondadori Università, Milan, 2003.

G. Chiarini-F. Mosetti Casaretto, Introduzione al teatro latino, Mondadori Università, Milan, 2004.

General section (level II), any of the following textbooks with the lecturer’s approval:

G. Mastromarco-P.Totaro, Storia del teatro greco, Le Monnier Università, Grassina, Florence, 2008.

H.C. Baldry, I Greci a teatro, Laterza, Bari, 1972-2007 (original title: The Greek Tragic Theatre, London 1971).

V. Di Benedetto-E. Medda, La tragedia sulla scena. La tragedia in quanto spettacolo teatrale, Einaudi, Turin, 1997.

M. Di Marco, La tragedia greca. Forma,gioco scenico, tecniche drammatiche, Carocci, Rome, 2000.

A. Pickard-Cambridge, Le Feste Drammatiche di Atene, La Nuova Italia, Florence, 1996, (Second edition revised by J. Gould, D.M. Lewis, translated by A. Blasina, Bibliographical appendix by A. Blasina and N. Narsi, original title: The Dramatic Festivals of Athens, Oxford, 1969).

G. Chiarini, La Recita. Plauto,la farsa, la festa, Pàtron, Bologna, 1983.

E. Paratore, Seneca tragico: senso e ricezione di un teatro, edited by Cesare Questa, Alessio Torino, postface by Maria Luisa Doglio, Fondazione Ettore Paratore Rome-QuattroVenti, Urbino, 2011.


Students are invited to sign up to the blackboard webpage, providing a valid e-mail address, in order to receive course material and information.

There will be exercises on the following topics as a level I study aid: - theatrical archaeology (Dr. Raffaella Viccei) - general lines of Greek and Latin Theatre for students who did not attend a classical high school or who want to be supervised in their home study on these topics (Dr. Andrea Martano).

Information about seminars for Level II students will be posted on the noticeboard on the Blackboard website.

First-level degree theses will be allocated after passing the examination with a mark of at least 27. The second-level degree theses will be allocated after passing both examination modules with an average mark of at least 27. There will be methodological exercises that thesis writers are required to attend.

It is worth noting that the Workshop on Ancient Dramaturgy, that takes place in the first module, includes a study on the staging of Euripides’s Bacchaeand a final performance of the playon 17th december 2014.

Further information can be found on the lecturer's webpage at or on the Faculty notice board.