• (Greek: machine) A crane-like piece of machinery set up behindthe stage in ancient Greek theaters. It was used to lower an actorplaying a god from the roof of the skene onto the stage.The device was used when the only way to resolve a crisis or concludea traditional plot was through divine intervention (hence the Latinphrase deus ex machina, god from a machine). Sophocles usedthe device seriously but Euripides parodied the use of the contraptionand Aristophanes made it seem ridiculous.