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  • A Phlyax play, also known as a hilarotragedy, was a burlesque dramatic form that developed in the Greek colonies of Magna Graecia in the 4th century BCE. Its name derives from the Phlyakes or “Gossip Players” in Doric Greek. From the surviving titles of the plays they appear to have been a form of mythological burlesque, which mixed figures from the Greek pantheon with the stock characters and situations of Attic New Comedy. Only five authors of the genre are known by name: Rhinthon and Sciras of Taranto, Blaesus of Capri, Sopater of Paphos and Heraklides. The plays themselves survive only as titles and a few fragments. A substantial body of South Italian vases are thought to represent scenes of the phlyakes, giving rise to much speculation on Greek stagecraft and dramatic form.