Pyrrhichios

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Pyrrhic dancers

The Pyrrhichios dance ("Pyrrhic dance"; Ancient Greek: πυρρίχιος or πυρρίχη,[1] but often misspelled as πυρρίχειος or πυρήχειος) is an ancient Greek war dance, which described by Xenophon in his work the Anabasis. In that work he describes that at a festival was held in Trapezus to celebrate the arrival of his troops in the city. The following is a paraphrase of his account.

During that festival two Thracian women, dressed as men, fought with knives in circular dance to the sound of a lyra. He further describes the two dancers struggling with one another for victory and the opponent's death. At one point one of the dancers stabbed the other to the shock and amazement of the crowd. The blood that flowed and the subsequent collapse of the defeated dancer further shocked the observers who cried out in horror. The victor proceeded to dance around the defeated opponent. Suddenly, in a theatrical realization of his deed, he proceeded to kneel by the victim in anguish and stab himself. This further shocked the crowd some of whom rushed to abait this deed. When doing so, they realized that the entire proceeding was fake, as the blood was thickened dye. The two dancers then arose to the amusement of all present.

Also Homer refers to Pyrrihios and describes how Achilles danced it around the burning funeral of Patroclos. The dance was loved in all of Greece and especially the Spartans considered it a kind of light war training and so they taught the dance to their children while still young.

The Serra is another Pyrrhic (warlike) dance which is commonly danced by Pontians. The ancient origins of the dance can be proven as the dance moves resemble those of the ancient Pyrrhic dance.[2]

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  1. ^ From πύρριχος "red", itself from πυρρός "blazing red" (cf. πῦρ "fire") from Proto-Greek *purwo- from Proto-Indo-European *peh2-ur "fire" (see R. S. P. Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009, pp. 1260 and 1264).
  2. ^ Serra Pontian Dance

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