Masks in Greek Theatre

(3777 words)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay


No Greek theatrical mask (Greek: prosōpon) survives today. Masks were made by a specialized craftsman (skeuopoios, “manufacturer of theatrical properties”) using perishable material (most likely thin stuccoed linen, cf. the ancient scholium to Aristophanes’ Frogs 406, less likely wood or leather), hence they could not stand the test of time. Our material evidence is limited to representations and generally derivative renditions of the real thing, objects of art used for a variety of non-theatrical purposes, such as dedication to shrines (by victorious actors, performance sponsors or troupes), trade (souvenirs of performances), decoration, show of culture …

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Petrides, Antonis. "Masks in Greek Theatre". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 28 December 2009
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]