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The Theatre in Greece

Code: 104208 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2503702 Ancient Studies OB 3 2
2504394 English and Classics Studies OB 3 2


Carlos Varias Garcia

Use of Languages

Principal working language:
catalan (cat)
Some groups entirely in English:
Some groups entirely in Catalan:
Some groups entirely in Spanish:


It is highly recommended that students enrolling in this subject have previously passed all the Greek language subjects included in the teaching plan for the 1st and 2nd academic years of the Bachelor's Degree in Ancient Sciences and of the Bachelor's Degree in English and Classical Studies, so they have enough knowledge of Greek language in order to achieve the necessary goals to pass this subject.

Objectives and Contextualisation

This is a compulsory course of the 3rd year which is part of the subject "Greek Philology" of the Bachelor's Degree in Ancient Sciences and the Bachelor's Degree in English and Classical Studies.

The formative objectives of this subject are twofold:

1st) To contextualise the origin and development of the Greek dramatic genre in the context of Greek literature.

2nd) To acquire an in-depth knowledge of the characteristics of the Greek dramatic genre in its two variants - tragedy and comedy - through the translation and commentary of a selection of representative texts of both theater genres.


    Ancient Studies
  • Apply grammatical knowledge acquired in the analysis and comprehension of Latin and Greek texts.
  • Be able to express oneself orally and in writing in the specific language of history, archaeology and philology, both in one's own languages and a third language.
  • Interpret texts written in Latin and Greek to understand the history and Classical civilisations.
  • Make a commentary on a literary texts applying knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.
    English and Classics Studies
  • Apply the methodology of analysis and knowledge of genres, metrics and stylistics to comment on literary texts and analyse the culture and history of English-speaking countries and the ancient world.
  • Demonstrate grammatical knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages and its application to the analysis and comprehension of Greek and Latin texts.
  • Interpret written texts in Latin and Greek to learn about classical history and civilizations.
  • Produce effective written work or oral presentations adapted to the appropriate register in distinct languages.
  • Students must develop the necessary learning skills in order to undertake further training with a high degree of autonomy.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the context of the literary works whose characters, topics and clichés were passed down to the following tradition.
  2. Extract information from the Greek texts on features of the Greek imaginary, ways of thinking and mentality.
  3. Identify in the Greek texts the characteristics of a particular literary genre.
  4. Preparing an oral and written discourse in the corresponding language in a proper and organized way.
  5. Submitting works in accordance with both individual and small group demands and personal styles.
  6. Translate fragments of the Greek works proposed.
  7. Translate fragments of the proposed Greek works.
  8. Write a metric commentary on a Greek text in verse.
  9. Write a morpho-syntactic commentary on a Greek text.


A. List of topics:

1. A general introduction to ancient Greek tragedy:

   1.1. Origins of Greek tragedy

   1.2. General features of Greek tragedy

   1.3. The dramatic festivals of Athens

   1.4. Structure of Greek tragedy. Performance.

   1.5. Aeschylus's predecessors

2. Aeschylus

3. Sophocles

4. Euripides

5. Ancient Greek comedy: origins and general features

6. Old comedy: Aristophanes and other poets

7. Middle comedy

8. New comedy: Menander

9. Satyr play

B. Selection of passages to be translated:

This year two classical plays, one tragedy and one comedy, will be worked. Their titles are their protagonists: two heroin women who face a male dominant world in Greek society of the 5th century BC: Sophocles' Antigone and Aristophanes' Lysistrata.

TEXT 1: Sophocles' Antigone [x 327]

vv. 1-99: Opening scene: Dialogue between Antigone and Ismene. 

vv. 334-375: The Chorus of the Elders of Thebes sings an 'Ode to Human Being'.

vv. 441-581: Creon, aware that Antigone has buried the body of her brother Polynices, confronts her, but she not only acknowledges her guilt, but also argues and justifies her actions. Creon condemns her and her sister Ismene, whom he has summoned, to death. Ismene claims to have also buried the body of Polynices, but Antigone says that she is lying.

vv. 891-928 y vv. 937-943: Antigone's last words before dying. 

TEXT 2: Aristophanes' Lysistrata [x 392]

vv. 1-253: Lysistrata gathers the Greek women and proposes them a means to put an end to the (Peloponnesian) war that men have been waging for years: a sex strike. Women say OK and occupy the Acropolis of Athens.

vv. 829-967: A man approaches the Acropolis: Kinesias, the husband of Myrrhine. Dialogue between Kinesias and Myrrhine, with whom he wants to have sex, without getting it.

C. Reading in transation of the following plays: Aeschylus, Seven against Thebes; Sophocles, Oedipus Rex; Euripides, Medea, and Aristophanes, The Clouds.


The teaching methodology of this course will consist of alternating theoretical explanations of the syllabus with translation and commentary on the selection of passages.

Students must submit two literary reviews of the tragedies Seven against Thebes by Aeschylus and Medea by Euripides. The two other compulsory readings (Oedipus Rex by Sophocles and The Clouds by Aristophanes) will be asked in exams.


Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Explanation of the subject's topics 9 0.36 1, 2, 3
Transation and commentary of texts 36 1.44 9, 8, 4, 6, 7
Type: Supervised      
Tutorials for the reading's reviews 10 0.4 4, 5
Tutorials for the translations 20 0.8 9, 8, 3, 6, 7
Type: Autonomous      
Reading of the proposed plays in translation 10 0.4 2, 3
Translation of the course's texts 50 2 9, 8, 1, 3, 6, 7
Two reading's reviews 15 0.6 4, 5


Evaluation procedure:

The evaluation of this subject is continuous and will be done according to the evaluation activities which are stated in the table below.

Given the eminently practical nature of this subject and in order to make a gradual learning of the contents, it is very important that students consider the regular attendance at lectures and the execution and assessment of daily exercises and translations, which is one evaluation activity, with weight of 10% in the final score.

On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.

Students will obtain a Not assessed/Not submitted course grade unless they have submitted more than 30% of the assessment items. It is an essential requirement to obtain a minimum grade of 4 in each of the assessment activities to make a weighted average of all the grades that make up the final grade, an average that must reach 5 to pass the course.

Reassessment procedure

To participate in the reassessment, students must have previously been assessed in a set of activities whose weight is equivalent to a minimum of 2/3 of the total grade. Reaching a minimun mark of 4 in every evaluation activity is an essential requirement to do the final weighted average mark, which must be 5 or more to pass the subject. Only students who have failed an exam or a review with a mark below 4, or have not reach 5 in the final weighted average mark, can resit at the reevaluation. Only two exam's marks at the most, besides the reviews, can be resitted. The final score of any reassessment activity, that will be submitted on the reassessment day, will be “5 Pass”.


In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Attendance and active participation at lectures 10% 0 0 9, 8, 2, 6, 7
Review of "Medea" by Euripides 10% 0 0 4, 2, 5
Review of "Seven against Thebes" by Aeschylus 10% 0 0 4, 2, 5
Translation with dictionnary and metrical, morphosyntactic and literary commentary exam of non in-class translated text of "Antigone" by Sophocles 20% 0 0 9, 8, 1, 3, 6, 7
Translation with dictionnary and metrical, morphosyntactic and literary commentary exam of non in-class translated text of "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes 20% 0 0 9, 8, 1, 3, 6, 7
Translation without dictionary exam of in-class translated texts of "Antigone" and reading's exam of "Oedipus Rex" by Sophocles 15% 0 0 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7
Translation without dictionary exam of in-class translated texts of "Lysistrata" and reading's exam of "The Clouds" by Aristophanes 15% 0 0 4, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7


Basic bibliography:

ADRADOS, Francisco R., Fiesta, comedia y tragedia, Madrid 1972.

ALSINA, José, Tragedia, religión y mito entre los griegos, Barcelona 1971.

ARISTÓTELES, Poética. Texto, introducción, traducción y notas de José Alsina Clota, Barcelona: ed. Bosch, col. Erasmo-textos bilingües, 1985.

ARTIGAS, Esther; HOMAR, Roser (translators), L'escena antiga. Introducció de Joan Cases, Martorell 2016.

BAÑULS, José V.; DE MARTINO, Francesco; MORENILLA, Carmen (eds), El teatro clásico en el marco de la cultura griega y su pervivencia en la cultura occidental. Volume series. Bari 1998-.

CARMONA VÁZQUEZ, Antonia, Lo político en Sófocles: estudio semántico, Cádiz 2002.

CLAUSS, James J.; JOHNSTON, Sarah I. (eds.), Medea: essays on Medea in myth, literature, philosophy and art, Princeton 1997.

COULET, Corinne, El teatro griego, Madrid 1999 (original in French: 1996).

DOBROV, Gregory (ed.), Brill's Companion to the Study of Greek Comedy, Leiden 2010.

EASTERLING, Patricia E. (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge 1997.

GARCÍA NOVO, Elsa; RODRÍGUEZ ALFAGEME, Ignacio (eds), Dramaturgia y puesta en escena en el teatro griego, Madrid 1988.

GREGORY, Justina (ed.), A Companion to Greek Tragedy, Oxford 2005.

GUZMÁN GUERRA, Antonio, Introducción al teatro griego, Madrid 2005.

JOUANNA, Jacques, Sophocle, Paris 2007.

LESKY, Albin, La tragedia griega, Barcelona 1973 (original in German: 1958).

LESKY, Albin, Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid 1969 (original in German: 1963).

LIDA DE MALKIEL, María Rosa, Introducción al teatro de Sófocles, Buenos Aires 1944.

LLOYD, Michael (ed.), Oxford Readings in Aeschylus, Oxford 2006.

LÓPEZ FÉREZ, José Antonio (ed.), Historia de la literatura griega, Madrid 1988.

MARKANTONATOS, Andreas (ed.), Brill's Companion to Euripides, 2 vols, Leiden 2020.

MARKANTONATOS, Andreas (ed.), Brill's Companion to Sophocles, Leiden 2015.

McCLURE, Laura K. (ed.), A Companion to Euripides, Oxford 2017.

McDONALD, Marianne; WALTON, J. Michael (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek and Roman Theatre, Cambridge 2007.

MOSSMAN, Judith (ed.), Euripides, Oxford 2003.

NIETZSCHE, Friedrich, El nacimiento de la tragedia, Barcelona 1998 (original in German: 1872).

ORMAND, Kirk (ed.), A Companion to Sophocles, Oxford 2012.

REINHARDT,Karl, Sófocles, Madrid 2010 (original in German: 1976).

REVERMANN, Martin (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy, Cambridge 2014.

ROISMAN, Hanna M. (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy,3 vols., Hoboken 2013.

ROMILLY, Jacqueline de, La tragedia griega, Madrid 2011 (original in French: Paris 19823).

SEGAL, Erich (ed.), Oxford Readings in Aristophanes, Oxford 1996.

SEGAL, Erich (ed.), Oxford Readings in Greek Tragedy, Oxford 1983.

SEGAL, Erich (ed.), Oxford Readings in Menander, Plautus and Terence, Oxford 2002.

SOURVINOU-INWOOD, Christiane, Tragedy and Athenian Religion, Oxford 2003.

VERNANT, Jean-Pierre; VIDAL-NAQUET, Pierre, Mito y tragedia en Grecia Antigua, 2 vols., Madrid 1987-1989 (original in French: Paris 1972-1986).

VICENTE SÁNCHEZ, Ana; BELTRÁN CEBOLLADA, José A. (eds.), Grecia y Roma a escena. El teatro grecolatino: actualización y perspectivas, Madrid 2010.

VÍLCHEZ, Mercedes, El engaño en el teatro griego, Barcelona 1976.

Bibliography about Greek metre:

GUZMÁN GUERRA, Antonio, Manual de métrica griega, Madrid 1997.

WEST, Martin L., Greek Metre, Oxford 1982.

Texts editions and handbooks of literary, linguistic and mythological contents must be added to this bibliogrpahy. During the course, published translations of the compulsory readings in translation will also be announced.


1/ Spanish articles of web page Liceus. Biblioteca virtual E-excelence: http://www.liceus.com/:

MELERO BELLIDO, Antonio, La comedia. Orígenes de la comedia. Características generales de la comedia griega, 2005.

MORENILLA TALENS, Carmen, Menandro, 2009.

RAMÓN PALERM, Vicente M., Aristófanes y otros poetas de la comedia antigua, 2005.

SANCHIS LLOPIS, Jordi, El drama satírico, 2010.

VARIAS GARCÍA, Carlos, La tragedia. Orígenes de la tragedia. Características generales de la tragedia griega. La tragedia anterior a Esquilo, 2005.

VARIAS GARCÍA, Carlos, Esquilo, 2005.

VARIAS GARCÍA, Carlos, Sófocles, 2005.

VICENTE SÁNCHEZ, Ana, Eurípides, 2006. 

2/ Three short introductions to Greek drama by The National Theatre of London:





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