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By Arthur Sidgwick

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Bearing in mind the above features of mime-theatre and the distinction which the ancients themselves made between mime and pantomime – a form of drama in which a solo actor was telling a story, usually taken from Greek mythology, by means of skilful dancing and elaborate movements to the accompaniment of a chorus or a cantor singing the plot – it is not surprising to find weak points in the well-known definition of mime offered by the grammarian Diomedes, who was writing in the fourth century AD, and was paraphrasing a Hellenistic source  For a detailed discussion of the portrayal of mime-actresses in literary sources see D.

Regarding mime as genus ludi scaenici is Lucil. . If the text printed by Marx is accepted, this instance is probably the earliest extant literary reference to mime as a distinct form of theatrical entertainment. But the reading mimi has been rejected by other editors of Lucilius, who print dici mihi (Buecheler, Terzaghi, Krenkel) or Decimus mihi (Warmington). The entry on mime in the OLD does not mention the Lucilian passage and groups together examples of mimus designating a literary play and examples of mimus indicating mime as a literary genre.

But it can also be misleading and ought to be made with caution, because it is far from clear that the repertory of the ‘literary’ mimes was different  See Cic. Ad fam. Oxy.  (sixth century AD; see Maxwell Mime  no. ); Nicoll Masks –; and Beare Stage , –. On the scena ‘the theatre-platform’ see Isid. ; Amm. Marc. . . On the orchestra see Isid. – L. On the siparium ‘small curtain or screen’ see Cic. De prov. consul. ; Iuv. – and schol. Iuv.  Wessner; Apul.

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A first Greek writer : with exercises and vocabularies by Arthur Sidgwick

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