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“A mask. Masks were worn by Greek and Roman actors in nearly all dramatic representations. This custom arose undoubtedly from the practice of smearing the face with certain juices and colours, and of appearing in disguise, at the festivals of Bacchus. Now as the Greek drama arose out of these festivals, it is highly probable that some mode of disguising the face was as old as the drama itself. Choerilus of Samos, however, is said to have been the first who introduced regular masks. Other writers attribute the invention of masks to Thesuis or Aeschylus, though the latter had probably only the merit of perfecting and completing the whole theatrical apparatus and costume. Some masks covered, like the masks of modern times, only the face, but they appear more generally to have covered the whole head down to the shoulders, for we always find the hair belonging to a mask described as being a part of it; and this must have been the case in tragedy more especially, as it was necessary to make the head correspond to the stature of an actor, which was heightened by the cothurnus. The annexed cut represents the grotesque mask of a Satyr, together with a tragic mask, which are contined in the British Museum. some of the oldest manuscripts of Terence contain representations of Roman masks, and from these manuscripts they have been copied in several modern editions of that poet. The cut annexed contains representations of four of these masks prefixed to the Andria.” — Smith, 1873


mask, Persona


William Smith, A School Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities (New York: Harper and Brothers, 1873) 247


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