UTMACS: Eric Csapo, University of Cambridge

When and Where

Friday, September 22, 2023 1:10 pm to 4:00 pm
Live via Zoom and CDRS (MN3230)
Maanjiwe nendamowinan
1535 Outer Circle, University of Toronto Mississauga


Eric Csapo, University of Cambridge


2023-24 University of Toronto Mississauga Annual Classics Seminar Series: "Centre and Periphery"

Rivalry between Centre and Periphery in the Theatre Industry of the Fourth Century BC
Eric Csapo, Visiting Fellow, Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, and British Academy Global Professor, University of Warwick

Lecture: The Social, Political and Economic Dimension
The first half of the lecture offers an overview of the rate and character of the expansion of the theatre industry in the fifth and fourth centuries BC from Athens to the rest of Greece (and beyond). The second half offers a variety of evidence for fierce competition for performers in the fourth century that led to major structural changes adopted by the Athenian Dionysia to minimise damage in the event of no-shows. Some of this expansion fits easily into a classic centre-periphery model, but with a reversal of some vectors of influence when, in the fourth century, the periphery begins to exert pressure on the centre.

Seminar: The Ideological Dimension
The seminar will examine the ideological dimension of the competition of festivals for limited resources. Athens felt a need to bolster the prestige of its festival by promulgating myths of the Attic invention of drama and Dionysian music generally. Several other cities staked their own claims and disputed the prestige of origins. We have not many traces of this debate, which reached a high degree of intensity in the 330s BC, but more than generally recognised. Three important texts will be precirculated, then, at the seminar, placed into historical context before being opened to discussion. The material throws light on the discursive context of an interurban competition that created many of the myths about the origins of drama that still dominate many histories of the early theatre in modern scholarship.

PDF iconUTMACS Csapo Advanced Readings.pdf

Speaker Bio
Eric Csapo is a Classicist with expertise on ancient myth, theatre and cultural history. He was trained in Classics, Law and Archaeology at the University of British Columbia, the University of Kiel, McGill University, the University of Toronto and the American School of Classical Studies.

Professor Csapo has excavated in Athens, Lesbos and Crete. After holding positions at the University of Toronto (1984-2005) and the University of Sydney (2005-2019), he took up a British Academy Global Professorship at the University of Warwick in 2018, which he currently holds. He has published on such diverse subjects as ancient cockfighting, the Dionysian Parade, Roman mosaics, the musical imagery of Euripides, and the sociology of James Frazer’s savage.

In collaboration with Professor Peter Wilson of Sydney and Cambridge, he is currently researching and writing the third volume of A Social and Economic History of the Theatre to 300 BC: Theatre People and Patrons (volume 1, Theatre in Athens, is nearly complete and volume 2, Theatre Beyond Athens, was published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press).

The theme for this year's UTM Annual Classics Seminar (UTMACS) is centre and periphery. The speakers will challenge and explore this topic from various perspectives. For those who have not yet attended a UTMACS seminar, the sessions are in two parts, consisting of (1) a lecture (1:10–approx. 2:40 pm) followed, after a short break, by (2) a seminar-style discussion (3–4 pm) that is centred on the ‘focus item’ specified by the lecturer.

Professor Csapo's talk will take place on Friday, September 22nd, 1:10PM to 4PM, at UTM in CDRS, Maanjiwe nendamowinan 3230, and broadcast live via Zoom.

Contact nicole.ferrari@utoronto.ca for the meeting link


1535 Outer Circle, University of Toronto Mississauga