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The history of European drama began at the festivals of Dionysus in ancient Athens, where tragedy, satyr-drama and comedy were performed. Understanding this background is vital for students of classical, literary and theatrical subjects, and Alan H. Sommerstein's accessible study is the ideal introduction.
The book begins by looking at the social and theatrical contexts and different characteristics of the three genres of ancient Greek drama. It then examines the five main dramatists whose works survive - Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes and Menander - discussing their styles, techniques and ideas, and giving short synopses of all their extant plays.