1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Thespis

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THESPIS (6th cent. B.C.), Greek poet, of Icaria, in Attica, generally considered the inventor of tragedy, flourished in the time of the Peisistratidae. According to Diogenes Laërtius (iii. 56), he introduced for the first time in the old dithyrambic choruses a person distinct from the chorus, who conversed with the leader, and was hence called ὑποκριτής ("answerer").[1]

  1. According to another explanation, he was so called from repeating the words of another—the poet or composer.