biographical name \ˈthes-pəs\

Definition of THESPIS

6th cent. b.c. Greek poet

Rhymes with THESPIS


   (Concise Encyclopedia)

(flourished 6th century BC, Athens) Greek poet, often considered the “inventor of tragedy.” He is the first recorded winner (c. 534 BC) of a prize for tragedy at the Great Dionysia, a drama festival. According to the rhetorician Themistius, Aristotle said that tragedy in its earliest stage was entirely choral until the prologue and speeches were first introduced by Thespis. Thespis, according to Themistius's account, was thus the first “actor,” and tragic dialogue began when he exchanged words with the leader of the chorus.


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