La macchina teatrale chiamata ecciclèma

Angelo Casanova


This paper presents an in-depth analysis (after the one conducted by Pickard-Cambridge in  1946) of all ancient testimonies about the ekkyklema, leading to the conclusion that it was a theatrical device consisting in a low trolley on wheels moved by turning the barrel of a windlass by means of a crank. It was used to show the audience the interior of a room, after the door was opened. The ekkyklema was used by the tragedians (since Aeschylus), and then by Aristophanes. Documentary evidence is lacking for Hellenistic and Roman times, when it was apparently replaced by the exostra, a hand-pushed variant dispensing with the windlass.


Ekkyklema; exostra; theatrical devices; Aristophanes; Aeschylus; Sophocles; Euripides

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