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Music and the MusesThe Culture of Mousike in the Classical Athenian City$
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Penelope Murray and Peter Wilson

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199242399

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199242399.001.0001

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Dancing the Pyrrhichē in Athens

Dancing the Pyrrhichē in Athens

(p.91) 4 Dancing the Pyrrhichē in Athens
Music and the Muses

Paola Ceccarelli

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the pyrrhichē and provides a detailed investigation into the iconographic, textual, and epigraphic evidence for this dance. Particular attention is paid to the contexts in which it was performed, notably at the Panathenaia, the Tauropolia, and the Apatouria festivals, in the dances of tragedy, comedy and choral lyric, and in association with Dionysiac cult and funerary ritual. What seems to link these different contexts is the theme of the (re)integration of individuals into society. Although the military significance of the dance had largely disappeared by the 5th century, it retained a symbolic value, constituting a fundamental element in the Athenians' perception of themselves.

Keywords:   dance, Panathenaia, Tauropolia, Apatouria, cult, funerary ritual

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