I am particularly interested atm in the Edda where it has "Foo spake:" and "Bar spake:" before several of the stanzas. But that's Old Norse. This being a Latin site, I am interested in the Latin Mass script. There it is a bunch of "actors" saying things, so they have "P:" and "C:", etc. In Greek, it could be one of the many Socrates/Plato conversations, etc.

In all these cases, I am wondering if in the original text, or if none persist then what we imagine would be the original text, it would contain "Foo: ..." and "Bar: ..." like these current renditions/edits are showing. If not, do they just leave it out and leave it up to figuring it out from context? I ask because, the didn't have quotation marks back then ", so you had to figure that part out at least. So I'm wondering if really, there were no "Foo: ...." to say who's speaking, it was just back-n-forth-n-back-n-forth without any hints, and you had to figure it out. Is that the case?

As a sidenote, it might be interesting to include when we started actually writing dialogues/plays/etc. with "characters" explicitly written down by name before they speak/play their part. Was it with Shakespeare? (That late), or has it always been done, or somewhere in between?

Basically, I want to know what the earliest forms of the written down oral poetry look like. Do they include the character names? (Obviously they don't have the colon after them). Or not? In other questions I'm asking about formatting and punctuation of the original texts, but here, like for the Nordic runes, do they write the character names there? I haven't been able to find an example poem written with names using nordic runes, but maybe one exists. Likewise, in Cuneiform, I wonder for the epics, or with Greek. But here, since this is Latin, I wonder about the different types of dialogues that might occur it texts likely written down during the Roman or early Catholic era.

  • As a side note, thought to be the earliest recorded French Farce, but presumed to be similar to unrecorded street theatre. Le Garcon et l'Aveugle, Jeu du XIIIe Siécle (ed. Mario Roques, Honoré Champion, Paris 1921) Warburg: warburg.sas.ac.uk/pdf/ebh160b2452027.pdf
    – Hugh
    Nov 1 '19 at 10:37

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