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  1. A choral hymn sung in ancient Athens in honor of the god Dionysus.
  2. A poem or oration in the same style.

The dithyramb (διθύραμβοςdithurambos) was an ancient Greek hymn sung and danced in honour of Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility; the term was also used as an epithet of the god: Plato, in The Laws, while discussing various kinds of music mentions "the birth of Dionysos, called, I think, the dithyramb.". Plato also remarks of dithyrambs in the Republic (394c) that they are the clearest example of poetry in which the poet is the only speaker..

Plutarch contrasted the dithyramb's wild and ecstatic character with the paean. According to Aristotle, the dithyramb was the origin of Athenian tragedy. A wildly enthusiastic speech or piece of writing is still occasionally described as dithyrambic.

See also

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