Scenography in Greece and Rome

The first thousand years

Authored by: C. W. Marshall

The Routledge Companion to Scenography

Print publication date:  October  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138917804
eBook ISBN: 9781315688817
Adobe ISBN:


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“Three and scene-painting Sophocles” (, Aristotle 1449a: 18): this enigmatic statement represents the earliest account of the origins of scenography. This phrasing in Poetics is notoriously terse, and claims made there often fudge actual knowledge into an artificial evolutionary model. Nevertheless, the short sentence appears to attribute to the fifth-century playwright Sophocles two significant innovations in Athenian stagecraft: the expansion of the number of permitted speaking actors from two (plus the chorus) to three, and the introduction of sk?nographia. Both of these details are problematic.

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