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This article weaves together several lines of thinking in recent work on Euripides, in particular, his innovative approach to traditional dramatic and religious expression, and the overt theatricality of the Bacchae. To the first three choral odes, which are clearly modeled on hymn, should be added other parts of the play, especially its middle scenes (576–976). There, Euripides uses idioms of the theatre—dialogue, messenger speeches, and performance—to express the content found often in hymns, such as a god’s birth, nature, and blessings. At its culmination, this “dramatic hymn” offers an etiology of the Dionysia itself.
τὰ νομισθέντα γὰρ αἰεὶ Διόνυσον ὑμνήσω.
(“As has always been the custom, I will sing the hymn of Dionysus.”)—Eur. Bacch. 71–72