American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Ancient Greek festivals held seasonally, chiefly at Athens, in honor of Dionysus, especially those held in the fall and connected with the development of early Greek drama.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In classical antiquity, the orgiastic and dramatic festivals celebrated periodically in various parts of Greece, in honor of Dionysus or Bacchus. The most important of these festivals, in the historic period, were those of Attica, which were four in number, celebrated annually: the Rural or Lesser Dionysia, the Lenaia, the Anthesteria, and the Dionysia in the City, or Greater Dionysia. The Lesser Dionysia were a vintage-festival, celebrated through the rural demes in the month of Poseideon (December), with universal merriment and freedom from restraint, extended even to slaves. Plays were performed during this festival, and from its characteristic songs and jests comedy was developed. The Greater Dionysia were observed at Athens in the second half of March, with a grand procession, a set chorus of boys, and the production in competition at the expense of the state, in the Dionysiac theater, in honor of the god, of the comedies and tragedies of which those surviving constitute our most precious treasures of ancient literature. See Bacchus, Lenaia, Anthesteria, choragic, and choragus.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Class. Antiq.) Any of the festivals held in honor of the Olympian god Dionysus. They correspond to the Roman Bacchanalia; the greater Dionysia were held at Athens in March or April, and were celebrated with elaborate performances of both tragedies and comedies.
- n. an orgiastic festival in ancient Greece in honor of Dionysus (= Bacchus)
- Latin Dionȳsia, from Greek (ta) Dionūsia (hiera), (festivities) of Dionysus, neuter pl. of Dionūsios; see Dionysian. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The great feasts were commonly called Dionysia, from one of the names of that god, (58) and were solemnized in the spring within the city.”
“Therefore, this festival must have been officially known as the Dionysia έπί Ληναίω.”
“Elaphebolion, and was called the Dionysia ἐν ἄστει, Αστικὰ, or”
“Troth I know not that, * actual celebration, called the Dionysia: this was also the more apposite, as it was now this very comedy Avas in repre - sentation.”
“There are several theories about this, ranging from the dull (a goat might have been the prize at the Dionysia), to the moderately convincing (goats may once have been sacrificed to choral song, which evolved into tragedy as we know it, like in Antigone, etc.), to the highly impertinent (choral singers were young men much like goats in that they were hairy, smelly, and licentious).”
“My name in torchlights at the Dionysia Amphitheater.”
“He got the lead in a big production at the Dionysia Amphitheater in Greece, so he just took off.”
“The star of the new play in the Dionysia Amphitheater—the biggest theater in all of Greece—has gotten a bad case of catarrh!”
“There are no immediate references to childrenfor instance, in the deed poll of the foundation of Bethlehem, he requests that masses be sung for the souls of his departed ancestors and descendants, and for his friends Guy of Marlow, John Durant, Ralph Anway, of Matilda, Margery and for Dionysia their wives, but no mention is made of children.”
“At the annual Festival of Dionysia in Athens, playwrights competed to determine whose tragedy was the best.”
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