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The Tangled Ways of ZeusAnd Other Studies In and Around Greek Tragedy$
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Alan H. Sommerstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568314

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568314.001.0001

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Adolescence, ephebeia, and Athenian drama

Adolescence, ephebeia, and Athenian drama

(p.47) 3 Adolescence, ephebeia, and Athenian drama
The Tangled Ways of Zeus

Alan H. Sommerstein (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines critically the widespread belief that many 5th-century Athenian dramas reflect in various ways institutionalized practices or rituals connected with the young male's transition to adulthood. It argues that there is no good evidence that any such institutions existed in 5th-century Athens. However, the education and socialization of the adolescent male was a major theme of Athenian drama between about 430 and 400 BC; some deal with youths whose education has left them ill-equipped for adult life, others with youths who have been corrupted by their teachers. This is known to have been a time of educational crisis, with traditional education seeming inadequate and sophistic education deeply suspected, but no effective reform was found until the two-year, full-time ephebeia was introduced in 334.

Keywords:   drama, Athens, adolescence, ephebeia, ritual, transition, socialization, education, sophistic

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