‘Skatabasis’. The Rise and Fall of Kinesias

Title‘Skatabasis’. The Rise and Fall of Kinesias
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsFranklin, JC
EditorFongoni, A, Biondi, F, Gostoli, A
Book TitlePoeti in Agone: Competizioni poetiche e musicali nella Grecia antica
Series TitleGiornale Italiano di Filologia - Bibliotheca 18
ISBN9782503576183 (print); 9782503576305 (ebook)

This paper surveys all the evidence we possess relating to the life and career of Kinesias, along with past scholarly commentary amplified by original observations and suggestions. I pay special attention to the ‘sophistic’ qualities of the ‘New Musical’ dithyramb, and what is surely the most startling of all our notices – that Kinesias «shat upon the EKATAIA» while «singing in the circular choruses» (Aristoph. Ran. 366 and Σ). This allegation, I argue, relates not to some casual antic by the poet, as generally thought, but to a specific dithyrambic composition that dramatized a descent to the underworld and an aspect of mystic initiation. The paper should also be viewed as a kind of progress report towards a volume dedicated to Kinesias in the series Dithyrambographi Graeci (ed. A. Gostoli). [https://www.brepolsonline.net/doi/abs/10.1484/M.GIFBIB-EB.5.115164]


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