Euripides: Suppliant Women 0856687790, 9780856687792

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EURIPIDES Suppliant Women

with Introduction. Translation and Commentary' by

James Morwood




EURIPIDES Suppliant Women

with Introduction, Translation and Commentary by

James Monvood


Aris & Phillips Classical Texts are published by Oxbow Books, Park End Place, Oxford 0X1 1HN

© James Morwood, 2007. Greek text reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press from Euripides Fabulae Volume 11 (1981) edited by James Diggle. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including photocopying without the prior permission of the publishers in writing. ISBN 978-0-85668-779-2 ISBN 978-085668-784-6

0-85668-779-0 cloth 0-85668-784-7paper

A C1P record for this book is available from the British Library.

The cover illustration is a figure from a kylix of c.430 BC at Harrow School (1864.52, Gardner Wilkinson Collection). Theseus is portrayed as he is about to kill the sow of lCrommyon (see 31619n.). He is in the posture of Aristogeiton, one of the tyrannicides (see n. 17 in the Introduction). Reproduced from J. Gaunt, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Great Britain 21 (Oxford 2005) Plates 22-25 (23.1) by kind permission of the Keepers and Governors of Harrow School and the British Academy (photograph by Robert L. Wilkins). © The British Academy 2005.

Printed and bound by the University Press, Cambridge


General Editor’s Foreword Editor’s Preface Introduction 1. 2. 3a. 3b. 4. 5. 5a. 5b. 5c. 6. 7. 8.

Plot, themes and motifs Politics and character King Theseus and democratic Athens Theseus, Herakles and Kimon Athenian funeral encomia and Adrastos’ oration The play’s geography Eleusis Thebes Argos The myth and its reception Date The text and translation

vii ix 1 1 5 8 11 14 17 17 20 22 23 26 30

Bibliography and Abbreviations for Suppliant Women


Map: The Greece of the play


Suppliant Women




Appendix: The Argive Women and Athenian mourning legislation


General Bibliography for Euripides




GENERAL EDITOR’S FOREWORD Euripides’ remarkable variety of subject, ideas and methods challenges each generation of readers - and audiences - to fresh appraisal and closer definition. This Series of his plays is in the general style of Aris and Phillips’ Classical Texts: it offers university students and, we hope, sixth-formers, as well as teachers of Classics and Classical Civilisation at all levels, new editions which will emphasise analytical and literary appreciation. In each volume there is an editor’s Introduction which sets the play in its original context, discusses its dramatic and poetic resources, and assesses its meaning. The Greek text is faced on the opposite page by a new English translation which attempts to be both accurate and idiomatic. The Commentary, keyed wherever possible to the translation rather than to the Greek, pursues the aims of the Introduction in analysing structure and development, annotating and appreciating poetic style, and explaining the ideas; since the translation itself reveals the editor’s detailed understanding of the Greek, philological comment is confined to special phenomena or problems which affect interpretation. These are guidelines within which individual contributors to the Series have been asked to work, but they are free to handle or emphasise whatever they judge important in their particular play, and to choose their own manner of doing so. It is natural that commentaries and commentators on Euripides should reflect his variety as a poet. These last points are being borne out by the volumes as they appear, all of them different in emphasis and style. Reviewers in a very wide range of journals have been generally sympathetic to the purpose of the Series and appreciative of what it offers. Some of the warmest welcomes have come from countries where English is not the first language. Suppliant Women is the seventeenth volume in the series, which now includes two offering Selected Fragmentary Plays. The next volume to be published will be Medea (Judith Mossman); in preparation are Cyclops (to include major satiric fragments of

vi ii


Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides: Patrick O’Sullivan with Christopher Collard) and Iphigenia in Aulis (Christopher Collard). It is hoped still to include the probably spurious Rhesus. July 2006

Christopher Collard, Oxford (formerly University of Wales, Swansea)

EDITOR’S PREFACE Euripides’ Suppliant Women was one of the least studied of his plays up to a generation ago. Indeed, Christopher Collard’s magnificent edition of 1975 set out to provide the first comprehensive commentary on the work. Its only successor up till now has been David Kovacs’ 1998 Loeb edition. Yet over the past twenty years the play has attracted considerable comment in books and articles. Its concerns appear to be central to the modern debate on Greek political, social, religious and military life as well as the role and behaviour of women. It has very decidedly come in from the cold. And it certainly deserves a new commentary for the first decade of the new millennium. I have been helped in my efforts to provide this by a number of individuals. While they have improved my work enormously, I of course must take full responsibility for any errors and bêtises that remain. My warmest thanks go to William Allan, Angus Bowie, Anthony Bowen, James Diggle, Tara Evans, Peter Liddel, Ian McAuslan, Bryan Morwood (who designed the map), Judith Mossman, John Penney, Scott Scullion, Richard Seaford, Ian Storey and Christopher Tyerman. My principal debt is to Christopher Collard, the general editor of this series, who has far exceeded any obligations of friendship in his unstinting guidance. To work with him on this play, which he knows and loves so wisely and so well, has been not only a privilege but an education. July 2006

James Morwood Wadham College Oxford

INTRODUCTION TO SUPPLIANT WOMEN 1. Plot, themes and motifs The setting of Suppliant Women is in front of the temple of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis. The Chorus of the mothers of the seven warriors killed in a disastrous attack on Thebes surround Aithra, queen mother of Athens, in supplication at the altar in the orchestra. By the temple doors are Adrastos, king of Argos, who led the expedition against Thebes, and a secondary chorus of boys, the sons of the dead warriors. Aithra explains that the Thebans are refusing to hand over the bodies of the slain heroes for burial. Adrastos is supplicating her to persuade her son Theseus, the king of Athens, to recover the bodies by negotiation or force. The Chorus give voice to their intense grief in their first song. Theseus arrives and discovers from Adrastos that he had attacked Thebes without divine approval, indeed in defiance of the counsel of the seer Amphiaraos. He rejects the Argive king’s supplication dismissively. However, moved by an appeal from the Chorus and recalled by his mother to a sense of his status as a hero and as the Athenian king, he relents and returns to Athens to win the people over to his new resolve to regain the bodies. The Chorus anxiously wonder what the city’s decision will be. Theseus returns. He has gained the people’s endorsement. A Theban herald now enters and, after a passionate argument with Theseus about the relative merits and defects of tyranny and democracy, warns the Athenian king not to take up the cause of the Argives. Theseus makes it clear that he is determined to recover the bodies, either by negotiation or by warfare. He sets out for Thebes with the Athenian army. The Chorus speculate, half of them pessimistically, half of them with greater optimism, on the result of the seemingly inevitable battle. A messenger arrives and, in a vivid speech, gives an account of Theseus’ defeat of the Thebans. In a dialogue with Adrastos he pays tribute to the Athenian’s noble treatment of the bodies he has recovered. Faced with the prospect of seeing the corpses of their sons, the Chorus express the wish that they had never married or had children. The bodies of the sons are now brought on to agonized grieving from Adrastos and the mothers. At Theseus’ invitation, the Argive king delivers a funeral oration, paying tribute to the dead heroes’ courage and their sense of civic duty. The bodies are taken off to be cremated.



The sorrowing Chorus now see Euadne, the wife of Kapaneus (one of the Seven), on a rock above the temple. Clothed in her wedding dress, she ecstatically expresses her longing to join her husband in death. Her father Iphis then arrives in search of her, and he and the Chorus watch appalled as she leaps onto her husband’s burning pyre. Old Iphis departs, a broken man. The boys bring on the urns containing the ashes of their fathers and join with the grandmothers in intense lamentation. Theseus now asks the Argives always to remember what Athens has done for them. The goddess Athena appears aloft and instructs him to take an oath from the Argives that they will never attack the city and will take up arms against her aggressors. She declares that the sons of the Seven will sack Thebes in vengeance for their fathers’ deaths. Finally the Chorus pay tribute to the labours of Theseus and his city on their behalf. I deal with matters of the staging and interpretation of this multi­ faceted, rich and moving play in the notes to this edition. Here it seems appropriate to outline a number of the themes and motifs that permeate the drama and give it unity. In the Index I list full references to the notes on the text that deal with these as well as the line numbers of occurrences not commented on in the notes. (I feel, however, that the motif of parents and children is too pervasive to allow for a helpful accumulation of references.) The central issue of Suppliant Women is the treatment of the Argive corpses. This serves as a kind of touchstone to test individuals and cities and to expose their essential nature. By their passionate support for the cause of burial, Aithra and (after an initial stumble) Theseus, and by extension the Athenians generally, are revealed as proponents of what is pious and right, while Kreon, the Theban herald, and by extension the Thebans generally, are shown up as impious and hubristic. The play’s theme of pity also asserts the humane rightness of Theseus’ delayed response. As Colin Macleod remarks, ‘pity is one of the leading ideals of Athenian democracy’ and he refers to the Theseus of our play (above all at 763-8) as a most striking exemplar of this.1 In1

1 Macleod (Collected Essays (Oxford, 1983) 74) cites ‘especially’ PI. Menex. 244e. There was an altar of Pity in Athens (Paus. 1.17.1), and the artist Parrhasios included pity among the conflicting passions he attempted to represent in his portrait of the Athenian Demos (Pliny UN 35.69); cf. Thuc. 3.36.2-4. Dem. 24.171 and E.B. Stevens, Some Attic commonplaces of pity'. AJPh 65 (1944) 1-25. For Euripides' exploitation of pity which made him so popular in the eighteenth-century theatre, see E. Mall & F.



fact, Theseus nowhere espouses pity in explicit words,2 though he admits he has felt a stab of what can only be that emotion at 288, but the lines to which Macleod refers show him as embodying it in his actions, as indeed does his whole behaviour in the play after his mother has brought him to the right way of thinking. The generosity of Athenian pity is thrown into relief by the limitations shown in the conventional self-pity of lphis and the Argive women. The rightness of the reformed Theseus is also emphasized by the exploitation of a Panhellenic motif. Just as the Greece of Suppliant Women is deeply divided, so was the Greece of Euripides’ own day. But it was united in its conviction that both divine and human law insisted that corpses should be buried. This is not a pacifist work. Its one brief celebration of peace comes from the lips of the Theban herald (486-91), an unappealing character whose stance is in any case undermined by the fact that it is Thebes’ obduracy that drives Theseus to warfare to ensure that the burial can take place. We need to be persuaded that the Athenian king has no choice but to fight, and the tragedy’s assertion of Panhellenic values is a more than sufficient justification for his action. Aristotle thought that it was right to fight a war ‘for the sake of peace’ {Pol. 7.13.8), and surely it would have struck an Athenian audience as equally right to fight for the attainment of this fundamental Panhellenic end. The equally important motifs of youth and age and parents and children - obviously in many instances they coincide - lend continual emphasis to the fact that we see three generations in this play. The old Argive women, Aithra and the now white-haired Adrastos contrast strongly with the chorus of boys, the new generation of Argives. The virile and youthful Theseus (see n.166) manifestly belongs to the middle generation between them. And the theme of education, which finds its clearest expression in Adrastos’ great funeral oration (857917: see nn.841-2, 857-917.1, 902-3, 911, 913-14, 914-17), clearly coalesces with that of youth and age. The fresh generation of boys must be schooled in the proper values in order to become the citizen warriors

Macintosh. Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660-1914 (Oxford, 2005) 84-5. The authors quote Joseph Warton's description of Euripides in 1744 as ‘soft Pity’s priest, / Who melts in useful woes the bleeding breast’. 2 Indeed, in his reply to Adrastos (195-249), he responds not at all to the appeals of the Argive king and the Chorus for pity (168, 179, 190; 194), as Adrastos tartly observes (253-62).



of the future (implicitly in the funeral oration; 1169-73), and the aged Adrastos is not too old to learn, even if belatedly ( 1176-79, 1181). In a play that seems so straightforwardly to accept the inevitability of war, it is perhaps not surprising that the boys’ education will not succeed in liberating them from the tragic cycle of revenge (1213-24). And a pessimism that accompanies much that is optimistic in Suppliant Women may find expression above all in the motif of labours. Theseus - and Herakles (see Introduction 3.b) - have aimed to civilize the world through their labours, line 342 (‘it is not possible for me to refuse labours’) proving superbly definitive of the Athenian hero, and labour is the price they have had to pay for their success. There are other sorts of labour too: the toil of endurance (80, 84), the toil of argument (195), the toil of bearing children for death to take away (920), the toil of tending to the corpses (939). Life is harsh. Do all these labours justify themselves? At 951—4 Adrastos, guided by his own disastrous shouldering of a doomed enterprise, grimly concludes that they do not. Yet there is much in the play to suggest that they very decidedly do. Adrastos and the Argive women in the end arrive at a moving appreciation of what Theseus and Athens have done for them, the women referring to the toils of the hero and the city in the lines that conclude the play (1176-9, 1181, 1232^4). Their sons have been established as exemplars of courage and civic virtue, and they themselves seem to have reached the other side of despair (see nn. 1232, 1233—4). Even if only temporarily, the labour of Athens has built a structure of civilized order. It has reaffirmed key religious values, and that reaffirmation endures both in the myth and in the Euripides play which celebrates that myth. Thus the drama, even though it is shot through with sorrow, is fundamentally optimistic. Theseus may get a lot wrong in his speech rejecting Adrastos’ supplication (195-249), but his view of an essentially beneficent divinity who has brought about human progress (201-15; cf. 594-5, 1227-8) is surely borne out by the play as a whole. There is nothing sentimental about Theseus’ optimism. The philosophical passage is preceded by his acceptance that life has bad elements as well as good (199). Later in the same speech he is alive to serious defects in political systems (232^43).3 Suppliant Women fully ' See contra D.J. Mastronarde, (1986) 201-11. He argues that Theseus is an Optimistic rationalist’ who believes 'that the world is orderly and comprehensible and that there are elements in that order which have been fashioned for the good of man"



acknowledges the tragic dimension of human existence.*4 But the clear­ eyed recognition of this dimension lends strength to the play’s underlying assertion that through piety, pity, education and labour man can indeed progress. 2. Politics and character Writing in 1995 of the recent emergence of Suppliant Women from obscurity, Barbara Goff remarked that the ‘category of “political” has often been assumed to connote “not as good as other tragedies that are not political’” , but, as she goes on to say, ‘such an easy division can no longer be so easily made’.5 It is true that, when G. Zuntz forty years before gave to his ground-breaking book championing this work, along with Children o f Heracles, the title The Political Plays o f Euripides, his classification set these tragedies apart in a manner scarcely calculated to make the pulse beat faster. There is, of course, an important sense in which he was spot on in his choice of title. The debate on democracy and tyranny between Theseus and the Theban herald (399^155) is one of the LV-texts of political theory (discussed in n.381-597). The myth of the return of the bodies of the Seven, with its insistence on the Athenians’ championship of the victims of sacrilegious abuse and their espousal of pity, was a frequent feature of their civic funeral orations (see Introduction 4). Furthermore, Suppliant Women offers compelling evidence in support of the argument of Simon Goldhill’s famous article, ‘The Great Dionysia and Civic Ideology’,6 which, for the post-Zuntz generation. (202). However, he feels, its dramatic context tells us "that Theseus' speech is undercut by irony and shown to be inadequate to the realities of the tragic world' (203). For me the context tells a different story. 4 - as when Athena makes it clear that the Epigonoi are to renew the cycle of warfare and death (1213-24): see the first sentence of the paragraph above. 5 Goff (1995) 65. Mendelsohn (2002). 1-12. summarizes the critical approaches hitherto taken towards Suppliant Women. He remarks (5) that academic criticism of the play has continued 'to lag behind the richly imaginative interpretative activity that has been focused on this poet’s better known and more highly-esteemed tragedies'. 6 JHS 107 (1987) 58-79, revised in Winkler and Zeitlin (1990) 97-129. The approach had been anticipated some 150 years earlier when in 1833 Edward Bulwer (later Bulwer-Lytton) wrote of the ancient Athenians that 'the theatre with them was political... Thus theatrical performance was to the Athenians a newspaper as well as a play. We banish the Political from the stage, and we therefore deprive the stage of the most vivid of its actual sources of interest' (quoted by Hall and Macintosh (2005 - see n.l above) 314).



set the agenda for what political drama now meant, when the pre-play ceremony in which the orphans of the Athenian war-dead were led into the orchestra (Isoc. On the Peace 82, Aeschin. In Ctes. 154) is reflected in our drama’s chorus of sons who hold urns containing their fathers’ ashes as they sing in their lament (see n. 1123-64: strangely Goldhill misses this). The nakedly political content of the play does not stop there: among other things, alliance with Argos is invoked (see n.l 1915) and the mutual loathing between Athens and Thebes is inevitably exploited (see Introduction 5.b).7 Since the appearance of Goldhill’s article, what is meant by the word ‘political’ in this context has been refined and expanded.8 Richard Seaford, in ‘The social function of Attic tragedy: a response to Jasper Griffin’,9 lists ‘but a few’ of the ‘practices of the Athenian polis that...cannot be ignored by serious interpreters of tragedy’: democracy, philosophy, written law, the mysteries, the development of rhetoric, the legal position of women, the Peloponnesian war, hero-cult. Suppliant Women makes use of all that material and more, and if that makes it a political play all over again, then new oxygen is pumped into the old classification and the work’s recent popularity is scarcely surprising. Would Seaford allow the family a space on his list?10 No doubt. The question is worth asking because Suppliant Women revolves around mothers who have lost their sons - like the archetypal mother Hecuba in the same dramatist’s Trojan Women, they are on stage from start to finish - and around sons who have lost their fathers. Theseus’ first appearance is motivated by anxiety for his mother (89-91), ‘the one intimate facet of his character’, according to Collard (quoted in n.90). She understands how to manage him and shames him into pious behaviour; she causes him to be true to himself. At the end of their scene together, they hold each other’s hand (n.361: the only occasion indicated in the text that two characters do so) and he calls the mutual 7 For the possible evocation in this play of the aftermath of the Battle of Delion, see Introduction 7. 8 A valuable recent contribution is P.J. Rhodes, 'Nothing to do with democracy: Athenian drama and the polis' in JHS 123 (2003) 104-19. 9 CQ 50 (2000) 38-9. Griffin had written an article called ‘The Social Function of Attic Tragedy’ in CQ 48 (1998) 30-41 in which he responded to the trend of political/ritual criticism of tragedy associated with both Goldhill and Seaford. 10 For an admirable summary of this dimension of the play, see Suzanne Saïd, 'Tragedy and Politics' in D. Boedeker and K. Raaflaub (eds.). Democracy, Empire, and the Arts in Fifth-Century Athens (Harvard, 1998) 289-90.



service of parents and children the ‘noblest’ of benefits (361-4). The sensitively and discreetly delineated familial interplay has led Theseus to take a momentous political decision which will cause his city to involve itself in a bloody war. Thus the politics of the family are reflected on the big screen of international affairs. The part played by his mother in the education of Theseus is important, but of course the role of women generally is of profound significance in this play (see under ‘Women’ in the index). This is established at the outset by the setting at Eleusis (see Introduction 5.a), the great Attic sanctuary of the goddesses Demeter (whose name launches the play) and Kore (Persephone). Queen Aithra is beneficently present for the Proerosia, the festival before the autumn planting (the all-female Thesmophoria festival would happen later the same month in historical Athens), and she speaks the prologue surrounded by 15 Argive women (see n. 1-41a). The play’s management of the grief of these women is a subject which has much exercised recent scholars, who tend to see it in terms of masculine control of mourning ritual (see Appendix). Yet it is the Argive women who are given the play’s final words, which are no mechanical signing off - five of Euripides’ plays, by contrast, end with more or less identical stock concluding lines - but a handsome acknowledgement of the labours that Theseus and his city have undertaken on their behalf. The disruptive, profoundly un-Greek nature of Euadne’s astonishing scene (nn.980-1113, 1026-30, 1059) offers another, deeply disconcerting view of female behaviour. Three images of women, in modern eyes iconic, are set before us: the empowered older woman (Aithra), the sorrowing mother (the Chorus), the woman running wild (Euadne). All three offer challenges to the men who in a patriarchal society ‘should’ control them. The tension between these women and the men is one of the features of the play that give it so vital a dramatic life. Another source of vitality is the realm of international relations. The Argives are temperamentally very different from the Athenians whom they have come to supplicate (see Introduction 5.c). Quite simply, Theseus and Adrastos find it hard to relate to each other. The Argive brings out a dismissive contempt in the Athenian, evident in his very first comment to Adrastos - ‘Yes, for you didn’t keep quiet in crossing over Greece’ (117) -, culminating in his brutally colloquial interruption at 513 (see n.) and continuing with his refusal to allow Adrastos to go to war with him (589-93). The Argive king is proud and resentful (164-7, 253-7 (see n.)). Then, after Theseus has rehabilitated him by



asking him to deliver the funeral oration, he becomes almost unnaturally submissive (933, 947-8). Pace Collard (see my n.513), he seems to learn little or nothing until the play’s final scene, apart perhaps from a lesson in grieving from the mothers (771), he finds himself reduced to grimly nihilistic clichés (734-6, 744-49, 775-7), and at 949-54 (see n.951 ) he appears crassly unappreciative of all that Theseus and the Athenians have done for him. Adrastos and Theseus are antitypes: the former would wish men to cease from labours (951); the latter’s fundamental nature is such that he cannot give them up (342 - see nn.). But Adrastos’ limitations - and Shaw (1982), 12-15, argues that they apply to the play’s Argives generally - throw the characterization of Theseus into brilliant relief. While Adrastos stays imprisoned in his limitations until he attains a generosity of spirit at the end (1 176-9, 1181), and the Argive heroes that he describes (860-908) are incomplete as rounded humans, however magnificent they may be, the Athenian king grows before our eyes. His trust in words (see under ‘Theseus and coherent talk’ in the Index) serves him as a kind of compass, but it is not enough: he must learn his obligation to the concept of Panhellenic law from his mother (306-13), thus unlearning his narrow nationalism (135, 220-1). Simple victory on the battlefield is insufficient. He has learnt a complementary greatness of spirit when he takes upon himself the task of burying the dead, moving on from his previous view that bad fortune is infectious (see n.768). The philosopher (195-218, 531-536) has learnt to feel (288, 764). The play does not simply show the king of Athens developing into a noble and pious statesman. It portrays a great hero becoming a great man. A work that has shown such concern with definitions of masculine virtue offers us an ideal in this well-tempered Athenian." 3.a King Theseus and democratic Athens Theseus is explicitly linked with the city of Athens as early as lines 3-4 of the play, and then finally in its penultimate line. In its various forms the idea of ‘Theseus and the city’ sounds repeatedly like a musical motto, occurring twelve times (for references, see ‘Theseus and the1 11 - "well-tempered" in the musical sense. In the next century Isocrates (Encomium o f Helen 21) observed of Theseus that ‘although we shall find that other famous people lack something - the one courage, another wisdom, another some other share of virtue - this person alone was in need of nothing: he had achieved complete virtue (aretë)' (tr. David Mirhady in Isocrates (Austin. 2000)).



city' in the Index). We are faced with the apparent paradox that Theseus is presented at one and the same time as the king of Athens and the creator (352-3) and champion (403-62) of its democracy, as well as a full participant in it (247, 349-50).1213To be specific, he says that he has put the people in sole command, making the city isopsëphos (‘on terms of an equal vote’ - 352-3). He insists on the authority of one set of laws for all: poor and rich are equal (407-8, 430-41); and he claims to have made Athenians equal (isos - 408, 432, 434, 441). Is this the kind of thing that a Greek king does? In fact, a number of ancient authors find no problem in seeing King Theseus as the founder of its democracy. Plutarch (Thes. 25.2) observes that ‘Aristotle says that he was the first to incline towards democracy’ (literally, ‘to the rabble’, okhlon - see n.411 for this loaded way of referring to the people). We have only Plutarch’s word for this, but Isocrates (436-338 BC) gives an account of the matter in his Encomium o f Helen (c.370?) which predates Aristotle: Far from doing anything against the citizens’ wishes, he made the people {demos) master of the state, and they in turn decided that only he was worthy to rule. They thought that his monarchy was more trustworthy and beneficial to the common good than their democracy. (36 - tr. David Mirhady - see η. 11 above)1’ Isocrates goes on to say that ‘his authority was that of a king {turannos), but his good deeds made him a leader of the people {dëmagôgosy (37 - cf. n.352-3). Demosthenes says that Theseus established democracy and the people chose the king; he also established isëgoria (equal right of speech) in the city (59.75.4, 60.28: cf. 438—41 of our play). The late fourth and early-third century Athenian historian Philochoros wrote that Theseus gave Athens democracy (F 94).14 And Pausanias (1.22.3) says that he established the worship of Persuasion there (cf. 247, 347, 350-1,354-5). 12 A considerable literature has accumulated on this subject. The two most recent full discussions can be found in Walker (1995) and Mills (1997). Further bibliography is given in J.N. Davie. ‘Theseus the King in Fifth-Century Athens’, G&R 29 (1982) 28. 31 and A. Michelini (1994) 233, both of whom are well worth reading in themselves. 13 For a discussion of how this passage relates to Euripides' Theseus, see S. Zajonz' note in her commentary, Isokrates ' Enkomion auf Helena (Göttingen, 2002) 205-7. N The oligarchic man in the Characters of Theophrastus (c.370-285 BC) huffs and puffs, saying how hateful the breed of demagogues is and blaming the city’s troubles on Theseus since he 'broke up the monarchy’ (26.6).

INTRODUCTION All this evidence postdates Suppliant Women. Indeed, Walker argues that Euripides seems to have invented the version that Theseus was the founder of Athenian democracy (p. 145). However, lines 352-3 - in which Theseus says that he gave the monarchy to the people would surely have had to be developed with far greater emphasis if they were communicating a complete novelty. And there are other grounds for considering Walker mistaken. As evidence that the ‘story about Theseus and the beginning of democracy actually became an official myth’ he cites a fourth-century painting by Euphranor in the Stoa of Zeus Eleutherios (Zeus, god of Freedom), which showed Theseus in the company of Demos and Demokratia (Paus. 1.3.2). But we can go back much further in time than that. In about 477 BC a statue group by Kritias and Nesiotes of the two tyrannicides Harmodios and Aristogeiton was put up in the Agora to replace an earlier group pillaged by the occupying Persians in 480/79. The new group is seen, surely rightly, by Josiah Ober15 ‘as a self-consciously democratic monument, put up by the Athenians immediately after the Persian Wars to celebrate democratic Athenian unity and boldness in action’. The tyrannicides received cult honours (Ath. Pol. 58.1) and their deed was celebrated in songs. 1 quote two stanzas (893 and 896) from Carmina convivialia in D.L.Page, Poetae melici Graeci (Oxford, 1962): 1shall carry my sword in a branch of myrtle like Harmodios and Aristogeiton, when they killed the tyrant and made Athens isonomos (i.e. equal before the law). You two will always have glory throughout the world, dearest Harmodios and Aristogeiton, because you killed the tyrant and made Athens isonomos. It was C. H. Morgan who first noted16 how on each of the two friezes of the Hephaisteion in Athens (c.450 BC) there is one central actor, Theseus, fighting (probably) the Pallantids, Theseus’ political enemies, on the east side and the centaurs on the west. O n the east frieze he 15 "Tyrant Killing as Therapeutic Stasis: A Political Debate in Images and Texts’, 212-250 in ed. K.A. Morgan, Popular Tyranny (Texas, 2003). The quotation is from p.217. 16 - in Hesperia 31 (1962)226.



impersonates Aristogeiton, on the west Harmodios in the group by Kritias and Nesiotes that was set up in the Athenian Agora...Thus Theseus, the warrior king of Athens attacking his savage enemies, appropriates the guise of the historic foes of tyranny.’ In a similar strategy to that of Euripides in his Suppliant Women, the sculptor of the Hephaisteion by his iconography locks Theseus into the great democratic tradition as a major proponent.17 3.b Theseus, Herakles and Kimon In the Athens of Euripides, there was an inescapable parallelism between Theseus and Herakles. Both were great heroes who toiled for humanity through their famous labours. Plutarch tells us {Thes. 6.6-7, 29.3) that Theseus was stimulated to undertake his by his consuming admiration of Herakles, and indeed that he inspired the saying ‘This is a second Herakles’.18 To what extent is this parallelism exploited in Suppliant Women? It could well be thought that in a play where the idea of labour is thematic (see Introduction 1) the evocation of Theseus’ great friend and contemporary is inevitable. But the fact of the matter is that nowhere is a comparison between the two heroes explicitly drawn.19 Others may disagree, but for me the linking is clinched by two passages. One of them is the sensational close-up of Theseus wielding his club (714-17

17 As early as 1881 Cecil Smith observed of a famous kylix (a two-handled stemmed cup) in the British Museum (BM E 84) portraying the labours of Theseus and dating from 440-30 BC, that there is a "striking resemblance of the figure of Theseus [holding a chlamys (a short cloak) as a shield] in this group to one of the figures from the original marble group of Harmodius and Aristogeiton...while the other figure in the same group seems to have suggested the action of the hero in his contest with Skiron as given in the interior of the cup’ (JHS 2 (1881) 61). C.P. Kardara (O n Theseus and the Tyrannicides’, AJA 55.4 (1951) 293) suggests that the kylix gives a back view of the tyrannicides as well. See also Mills (1997) 28-9, and T. Hölscher, "Images and Political Identity: The Case of Athens’ in Boedeker & Raaflaub (1998 - n.10 above) 160: ‘The equivalent of the tyrant-slayers on the level of myth was Theseus. His introduction into political art by the early isonomie state was well calculated.’ See also the image from the Harrow School kylix represented on the front cover with details on p.iv. 18 - though Isocrates, comparing them in his Encomium o f Helen (24-25), points out that while Herakles was ordered by Eurystheus to perform his labours, Theseus was his own master. 10 But see n.316-19. Certainly 318-9 are hard to read without awareness of HF 157-64.

INTRODUCTION with note), a weapon won by our hero at Epidauros but surely evoking the club of Herakles, one of his three most famous props, to be seen in countless visual representations.20 The second passage occurs in Athena’s dea ex machina speech, where she talks of a tripod that Herakles had left with Theseus while hurrying off on one of his labours (1197-1200 with notes). Herakles’ tripod seems to have been invented by Euripides for this context. There was no need to involve the Theban hero. It seems to me that Athena is here explicitly making the association between the two heroes and friends that has been present but unspoken in the play so far. (See ‘Theseus and Herakles’ in the Index.) Certainly the association has long since been recognized as a commonplace of the Athenian art and literature of the period. Herakles had been portrayed as the hero of Athens’ tyranny in the art of the sixth century BC.21 At the end of the century, however, Theseus started to rival him as the Athenians’ alternative hero. Mills (1997), 27, notes that by the first quarter of the fifth century ‘13 percent of all extant vase painting has Theseus as its subject while Heracles’ appearances have declined from 44 down to 19 percent, but’ - she significantly adds - ‘he remains great and important as a hero, and always more important in cult than Theseus’. As for literature, an epic poem called the Theseis probably dates from around 525,2223and the mythographer Pherecydes, who may have worked between 508/7 and 467/5 BC, told the story of Theseus in prose in his Attica.2'1' A classic example of Theseus’ increasing iconographical importance is the Treasury of the Athenians at Delphi (erected some time between 510 and 480 BC). Here, and I quote Walker (1995) 52, the ‘nine metopes on the long southern side show the adventures of Theseus, and this is the prestigious side of the Treasury, the one that the Delphic pilgrims would have seen as they went up to the Temple of Apollo. The corresponding metopes on the " See LIMC 5.l.5ff„ 5.2.6-188 and T.H. Carpenter. Art and Myth in Ancient Greece (London. 1991) 118fT. and cf. Aristides 9.32: Herakles and Theseus ’wore the same gear and with the same resolve they pacified the earth'. For Theseus' club in Eur. see Meleager F 531 (Kannicht refers to Supp. 714-7): for Herakles' club, see HF 471, 993. Syleus F 688. 693. Herakles' other famous props are his lion-skin and his bow and arrows. 21 - argued by J. Boardman in RA 1972. 57-72. RA 1978. 227-34. JHS 95 ( 1975) I,2 \ 22 See M.L. West. Greek Epic Fragments (Cambridge, Mass.. 2003) 216-17. 23 See R. Fowler, Early Greek Mythography (Oxford. 2000) 352-55 (F 147-153).



less conspicuous northern side show the labours of Herakles.’ As Mills (1997), 136, puts it, ‘The consistent association of Theseus and Heracles on Athenian public architecture even in the fifth century, a long time after Theseus had been built up as a hero to match Heracles, indicates that the Athenians never stopped needing to equate the deeds of their national hero with those of Greece’s greatest hero.’ 24* We are left with the fact, already mentioned, that no explicit comparison is made between the two figures in our play. Could it be that Euripides is evoking Herakles’ lustre in order to direct it exclusively upon Theseus? To liken the latter to the fomer by name would be to divide the limelight between them, especially if it happened on a number of occasions. To associate them subliminally enhances the glory of the hero we see before us. Euripides wishes Theseus to be a nonpareil. When within forty lines from the end of the play Herakles is eventually mentioned, the Athenian’s pre-eminence has been well and truly established. He is the hero of Suppliant Women in more than one sense. A final point. If Euripides is in fact evoking this parallelism in Suppliant Women, it may be that one particular thing that he is doing is activating in his audience the awareness that Herakles came from Thebes and had an important cult there, thus causing them to meditate on the shocking gap between the Panhellenic altruism of the city’s great hero and the impious, self-regarding negativity of its inhabitants in the play (see Introduction 5.b). Herakles’ values are no longer present in Thebes; they dwell in Attica, in the figure of his alter ego Theseus. * * *

Though the promotion of Theseus began under the tyrants, it is generally associated with the growth of Athenian democracy (Kleisthenes’ democratic programme dates from 507 BC, Ephialtes’ radical reforms from 462). However, the aristocratic general and politician Kimon succeeded in harnessing the popularity of the national hero for the benefit of his own reputation when, in a triumphant propaganda coup, he brought back in the mid-470s (or later) what he claimed were the bones, spear and sword of Theseus from the island of Skyros and built a shrine for them in Athens. ‘This,’ says Plutarch, ‘was the chief reason why the people took kindly to him’ (Cim. 8.6). 24 There is a substantial literature on the relationship between Herakles and Theseus in Attic art. See J. Boardman in D. Kurtz & B. Sparkes (eds.). The Eye o f Greece ( 1982) I n.2.

INTRODUCTION ‘The Athenians were overjoyed and welcomed [the relics] with magnificent processions and sacrifices, as though the hero himself were returning to the city’ (Thes. 36.2 - tr. Ian Scott-Kilvert (Penguin)). His hero cult now became definitively established. His splendid tomb25 was a refuge for runaway slaves (36.3 - cf. Supp. 268) and his main festival, celebrated with processions, libations and sacrifices,26 was held on the 8th day of Pyanopsion (36.4), on the second day after that on which Suppliant Women is set, the day of the Proerosia festival at Eleusis.27 The play’s action takes place at a time of year that is particularly orientated towards Theseus.28 When Kimon was ostracized at the time of Ephialtes’ radical democratic reforms in 462 BC, the association between the present-day Athenian and the national hero of the heroic age did not cause Theseus’ star to wane. On the contrary, it was appropriated for such iconographical agenda as the opposition to tyranny outlined in Introduction 3.a. Theseus was the Athenian hero for all seasons, and as such could be very easily assimilated into the ‘eulogy of Athens’ which the Hypothesis (3) states this play to be. 4. Athenian funeral encomia and Adrastos’ oration The funeral oration in Suppliant Women is delivered by an Argive king over Argive dead, but the Athenian audience would see and hear an analogue of a custom unique to their own city (Thuc. 2.34.2-6, Dem. 20.141).29 This was their annual gathering in Kerameikos, the Description in J.P. Barron, JHS 92 (1972) 20-4, S. Woodford, JHS 94 (1974) 5865. Ludwig Deubner, Attische Feste (Berlin, 1932) 224. There were games as well (Hans Herter, RE Suppl. 13 (1973) 132, esp. col. 1227, 20-9). Indeed, Euripides is supposed to have won a victory at the Theseia when he was a boy (Aulus Gellius 15.20.3). 27 For the relative dates of the Proerosia at Eleusis and the Theseia, see J. Mikalson, The Sacred and Civil Calendar o f the Athenian Year (Princeton, 1975) 66-71, based on S. Dow & R.F. Healey, ‘A Sacred Calendar of Eleusis’, HThS 21 (1965) 14-20. 28 Referring to Plut. Thes. 4, 22-3, 27, 36. Mikalson (1975 - previous note, 69) writes that there are ‘numerous religious rites associated with Theseus about this time in Pyanopsion’. 29 J. Herrman, Athenian Funeral Orations (Newburyport, 2004), 1 & 4, makes the point that these orations were a particularly democratic institution. ‘Whether rich or poor, a young man who dies in the field receives the same honors.’ He adds that 'rowers in the navy who were too poor to fight as hoplites receive the same honor as the richest cavalry soldiers’.



graveyard of Athens, to hold a public funeral for citizens who had died in combat. In a custom again unique to Athens, the bones of the dead were brought back to the city from wherever they had fallen and placed in a special tent, and coffins were carried on wagons to the graveyard. (In our play the human remains of the Argives are brought on.) As well as male Athenians, female relatives of the dead attended, and foreigners were welcome. A leading citizen delivered a speech in honour of the fallen (an epitaphios logos), which, as Edith Hall points out, was in itself ‘a unique occasion in the city’s calendar, for women never normally heard political speeches’.30 In the speech Thucydides puts into the mouth of Perikles for 431 BC, the statesman adds to the encomium of Athens and the fallen warriors his advice to the bereaved women on how to cope with their loss, including the notorious comment that women’s glory is great ‘if there is the least possible talk of [them] among men either for praise or for blame’ (Thuc. 2.45-6, tr. P.J. Rhodes (Aris and Phillips)). The fact remains that just as the women of Athens could hear his speech, the Argive women can listen to that of Adrastos, even if they seem singularly unconsoled by it (Foley (2001) 38);31 but see Loraux for a different view).32 And it could well be that there were also Athenian women present in the audience of Suppliant Women to hear Adrastos’ funeral oration, echoing and reinforcing the female presence on stage.33* Apart from Thucydides’ version of Perikles’ funeral speech, a number of public Athenian funeral orations survive. They are Gorgias, Funeral Oration (F 1, 2, 3 4), Lysias 2, Plato, Menexenos 236d-249c,

30 See her introduction to R. Waterfield et al., Orestes and other plays (Oxford, 2001) xxvii. 31 J. Grethlein (2003), 177-8, argues interestingly that the Argive women continue to lament because Adrastos ends his speech without the consolation traditional in epitaphioi. At the end of my Appendix, however, 1 suggest that the nature of their mourning changes after the funeral oration. For one thing it seems to be less physically intense. 32 N. Loraux (1986) 49. 33 The tendency of recent scholarship has been to assume that women did attend the city Dionysia, e.g. J.J. Winkler in Winkler and Zeitlin (1990) 39 n.58, Csapo and Slater (1995) 286-7, J. Henderson, Three Plays by Aristophanes: Staging Women (New York/London, 1996) 16; but see contra S. Goldhill in R. Osborne and S. Homblower (eds.). Ritual, Finance, Politics (Oxford, 1994) 347-69 and in The Cambridge Companion (1997) 62-6.

INTRODUCTION Demosthenes 60 and Hyperides 6.34 They all date at least from the generation after Suppliant Women. Two features about them are particularly interesting in the context of the present discussion. First, they could be mocked for their conventionality and insincerity (PI. Menex. 234c), which may cast light on the discrepancy between the true nature of the five of the Seven whom Adrastos describes and his praise of them (for the perceived problem here, see n.857-917.1). And they also included stories which showed Athens in a good light, above all the episodes in which mythology asserted they had come to the help of suppliant refugees. Their aid to the children of Herakles, celebrated in Euripides’ play named after them, was among these, and the championship of the Argive suppliants is a feature of three of the surviving speeches (Lysias 2.7-10, PI. 239b & Dem. 60.8).35 The latter, of course, is the story of Suppliant Women, which thus acts out an episode that was a characteristic feature of Athenian funeral orations. In view of this, it is perhaps not surprising if Argive warriors who might otherwise resist assimilation into a world of civic excellence (again see n.857-917.1) can nevertheless be admitted to it by the simple fact of their inclusion in an Athenian ceremony which pays more or less automatic tribute to such virtue.36 In his funeral oration Adrastos presents us with portraits of five exemplars of masculine virtue. These men had all received a good education in courage (911-14). A new generation (the chorus of boys on stage and the young men in the audience - see n.842-3) is being given a lesson in manliness as Adrastos sets these role models before it. The same educational purpose was surely served by the statue group of the ten eponymous heroes (who gave their names to the ten tribes created by Kleisthenes in 507 BC) in the Agora.37 Members of the

j4 They can be all be read, together with the Thucydides/Perikles speech and the Gettysburg addresses, in Herrman (2004 - n.29 above). 3 Full discussion by F. Jacoby. Atthis: The Local Chronicles o f Ancient Athens (Oxford, 1949) III.b.2.353, nn.31ff.; cf. Goff(1995) 67. 36 A passage from Demosthenes' speech over the war dead (60.27) is characteristic: 'The considerations that activated these men one and all to choose to die nobly have now been enumerated. - birth, education, habituation to high standards of conduct, and the underlying principles of our form of government in general.' (trans. N.W. and N.J. DeWitt (Loeb)) For Solon's law which forbade speaking ill of the dead, see n.857-917. 37 E.B. Harrison. 'The Iconography of the Eponymous Heroes on the Parthenon and in the Agora' in ed. O. Morkholm & N.M. Waggoner. Greek Numismatics and Archaeology (1979). 71-85. believes that the heroes were physically differentiated; but



tribes, especially the young, could be stirred to emulation of their virtues.38 And the tyrannicides’ group discussed in Introduction 3.a had a similar function of education through inspirational example.39 Adrastos’ verbal portaits have just such an educational intent (913-17). In addition, the oration’s thumbnail descriptions would seem to be symptomatic of the emerging genre of biography.40 The works of Ion of Chios, who may have come to Athens in c.466, include a book called Epidemiai ( Visits) which records his meetings with, and impressions of, great men of his day; and Stesimbrotos (fl. late 5th century) wrote On Themistokles, Thucydides [son o f Melesias] and Perikles, while Thucydides the historian included sketches of several figures, notably Pausanias and Themistokles.41 In Introduction 2 we identified the play’s debate between Theseus and the Theban herald about the merits and defects of democracy and tyranny, as one of the Ur-texts of political theory. We shall probably not be mistaken if we also see the creator of Adrastos’ funeral oration as a pioneer of the literary form of biography. 5. The play’s geography 5.a Eleusis Suppliant Women is set in front of the temple of Demeter at Eleusis. This temple, apparently the same building as the Telesterion, the hall of the initiates,42 was built ‘beneath the steep wall of the acropolis’ (the Homeric hymn to Demeter, 271). The play’s chorus of Argive women refer to ‘the heaven-high rock which soars above this temple’ (987-9). see contra Carol C. Mattusch. 'The Eponymous Heroes: the Idea of Sculptural Groups' in ed. W.D.E. Coulson, O. Palagia. T.L. Shear. H.A. Shapiro & F.J. Frost, The Archaeology o f Athens and Attica under the Democracy (Oxford. 1994) 73-81. Cf. E. Kearns, The Heroes o f Attica. BICS 57 (1989) 80-102. ’ 18 The educational dimension in contemplating the example of the eponymous heroes comes across strongly in Demosthenes' funeral oration. 60.27-31. See. for example, the passage quoted in n.36 above. 30 T. Hölscher in Boedeker & Raaflaub (1998 - n.10 above). 160. observes that, placed at the edge of the meeting place of the citizens' assembly, "the tyrant-slayers stood not only as praiseworthy heroes but above all as concrete examples of behaviour for the citizens during the ekklesia and the ostrakismos'. 30 - suggested by A. Dihle. Studien zur griechischen Biographie (Göttingen. I9702) 20ff. 31 For an extended account see A. Momigliano, The Development of Creek Biography (Cambridge, Mass.. 1993)23-42. N.J. Richardson ed.. Homeric Hymn to Demeter (Oxford, 1974) 328-30

INTRODUCTION This is poetic hyperbole, but the Eleusinian acropolis does in fact rise above the temple to a height of 63 m., and a real-life Euadne would have had no difficulty in leaping down onto her husband’s pyre beneath (1065, 1070). Plays have no obligations to topographical accuracy, but I make no apology for considering the actual geography of the Eleusinian location.43 This is one of the two extant tragedies by Euripides that are set in Attica. The other is Children o f Herakles, which is located in the Marathonian tetrapolis, a setting which would have evoked for the Athenian audience the heroism of their ancestors when they almost single-handedly repelled the Persian invasion there at the battle of Marathon (490 BC). The city of Eleusis would have been decidedly better known than Marathon to the generality of Athenians. It is even closer to Athens (14 as opposed to 26 miles away) and the overwhelming majority of adult Athenians would have gone there along the Sacred Way for religious purposes, above all with the famous procession to the Eleusinian Mysteries.44 The Persians had burnt down the Telesterion during their second invasion (480-79 BC). Rebuilding had begun in Kimon’s Athens (i.e. before 461 BC) and Perikles completed the work.45 For his tragedy set in the heroic age - and there were graves at Eleusis of those who marched against Thebes46 Euripides evokes in the mind’s eye of his original audience a state-ofthe-art building.47 This counterpoint between ancient and modem is echoed in the presentation of Theseus, king of Athens from the heroic

43 J. Carrière, Le choeur secondaire dans le drame grec (Paris, 1977), 52-9, relates the action of the play to the site at Eleusis, with a photograph. 44 A story in Herodotus (8.65) suggests that 30,000 pilgrims made the annual journey to Eleusis (30,000 is Herodotus’ figure for the total citizen population of Athens (5.97.2)). It was anticipated that ‘all the citizens’ would accompany the procession (Plut. Ale. 34.4). 45 Plut. Per. 13.4, Strabo 9.1.12, K. Kourouniotes, Eleusis: A Guide to the Excavations and the Museum, tr. O. Broneer (Athens, 1936) 20-1. 46 Plut. Thes. 29.5, Paus. 1.39.2. However, the heroes’ ashes will not remain at Eleusis at the end of our play. They will be taken to Argos (1168, 1185-6). 47 Next door to the theatre of Dionysus - and visible from most of it - was the Odeon of Perikles, the construction of which is very similar in plan to the Telesterion at Eleusis (H.R. Goette, Athens, Attica and the Megarid (London, 1993) 275). Thus most of Euripides’ audience would have a building evocative of the Eleusis temple to their east. This point should not be pushed too far, however. The famous conical roof of the Odeon (Plut. Per. 11.5) was surely not a feature of the Telesterion.



age, as the enthusiastic proponent of contemporary Athenian democracy (see Introduction 3.a). Eleusis was one of the greatest cult centres of the ancient world. Here Demeter and her daughter Kore (Persephone) were worshipped in a cult open not only to women but to all adult speakers of Greek. 8 The Argive women would under other circumstances have been welcome at Eleusis, but they have not in fact come there for any festival (63, 97, 173) and their presence as suppliants is far from propitious (38). 9 While, as A. Bowie remarks,48*50 ‘the myth of the Eleusinian Mysteries has obvious point in a play about mothers seeking the return of the bodies of their children’, the specific festival they have interrupted is likely to have been the Proerosia, which was intended to ensure successful agriculture (see n.28-9). It was at Eleusis that Demeter had put an end to the famine that her absence as she searched for her daughter had caused, giving seeds of wheat to Triptolemos and thus endowing mankind with the blessings of agriculture (30-1). The sanctuary thus has overwhelming connotations of fertility and renewal.51 In view of these highly positive connotations, W.D. Smith is surely right to draw attention to the sense of menace that the suppliants bring with them to Eleusis.52 A feeling of religious horror, he writes, ‘is communicated by reference to the impiety or inappropriateness of the 48 See e.g. K. Clinton, 'The Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore at Eleusis’ in N. Marinatos and R. Hägg (eds.), Greek Sanctuaries: New Approaches (London, 1993) 120, R. Parker, Athenian Religion, A History (Oxford, 1996) 98; for the myth of Demeter’s loss of her daughter and their subsequent reunion, see n.34 in the commentary. 40 For the penalties for leaving a suppliant’s bough on the altar of the Eleusinion in Athens at the time of the Eleusinian mysteries, see n.63-4 in the commentary. 50- i n ed. C. Pelling (1997) 54. 51 In addition, as Kovacs (1998), 15 n.5, observes, ‘The Athenians at about the time of this play greatly expanded the festival by requiring their allies and inviting others to contribute a percentage of their produce to the goddesses at Eleusis’ (1G i3 78 ((= IG I2 76) - discussion in Goff (1995) 75). The Athenians were trying to enhance the Panhellenic nature of the festival. They were looking back to a story told in a late source (10th century AD), the Lexicon known as the Suda (under ειρεοιώνη: ‘some say that famine took hold of all the land and the god said that the Athenians should perform a sacrifice, the Proerosia, to Demeter on behalf of all; on account of which they sent first-fruits to Athens from all parts as thank-offerings.’) 52 Smith (1966) 151-70, 154-5; cf. E. Krummen in Sommerstein etc. (1993) 191217. As well as sharing Smith’s sense of threat. Krummen gives a sensitively nuanced and balanced account of the resonances of the Eleusis setting (203-8).



garb and sounds of weeping in that place (63ff, 97, 173), the fear that Aithra’s weeping will pollute the altar (289-90), and Adrastus’ invocation of Demeter as giver of grain when he calls her to witness that the suppliants have been dishonoured (258-62). The suppliants may pollute the sacrifice and the earth of Athens with their colors, their boughs, and their emotions.’ Of course the danger is averted by the pious action of the hero Theseus, but even his presence at Persephone’s sanctuary is not without ambiguity. The myth has it that he and his friend Pirithoos tried to kidnap the goddess from the underworld, a story treated in the possibly Euripidean fragmentary play Pirithous.53 I find Smith’s analysis far more true to the play than the suggestion of C. Sourvinou-lnwood ((2003) 313-^4) that Eleusis is an entirely appropriate location for ‘the tragedy’s focus on burial, corpses, and the death ritual’. Drawing attention to the facts that Persephone was queen of the underworld and that the Eleusinian mysteries offered the hope of a happy afterlife, she observes (314) that the ‘whole point about the eschatological/soteriological facet of the Eleusis cult is the presence of death, but a death and life articulated in more reassuring terms’.54 Sourvinou-lnwood’s discussion is certainly subtle and well-argued, but I cannot see that Euripides activates any thought of life after death at any point in his tragedy. 5.b Thebes I shall be discussing the battle of Delion (424/3), in which the Boiotians, including the Thebans, defeated the Athenians and then refused to hand back their dead, in Introduction 7, because it is relevant to the dating of the play. Here I intend to try to show briefly that there must have existed considerable bitterness between the Thebans and the Athenians, whether the battle of Delion needs to be taken into account or not. In 458/7 BC the Athenians conquered the Thebans and other Boiotians at the battle of Oinophyta. This led to ten years of Athenian control of Boiotia. They were forced to give it up in 446, but the Thebans will scarcely have relished their time as subjects of Athens.

53 C. Collard. 'The Pirithous Fragments' in ed. J.A. Lôpez Ferez, De Homero a Libanio (Madrid, 1995) 183-93. M See also B. Lavagnini. "Echi del Rito Eleusinio in Euripide' (Supp. 54 e 469ss.). AJP 68 (1947) 82-6.



Then, in 431 BC, the Thebans effectively launched the Peloponnesian War by attacking the neighbouring city of Plataia (the aggression was compounded by the fact that it took place at a sacred time of the month - Thuc. 2.2-6, 3.56.2, 65.1 ). Plataia was traditionally the ally of Athens and had in fact been the only Greek city to join the Athenians in defeating the Persians at Marathon in 490 BC. The attack on Plataia failed, but in 429 the Peloponnesians and their Theban allies, led by the Spartan Archidamos, besieged the city. The Plataians consulted the Athenians about the terms the Spartans were offering, and received the answer that they should stand by the alliance. They did so. However, in 427 they were forced to surrender, and the Peloponnesians slaughtered no fewer than 200 Plataians and 25 Athenians who had shared in the siege (3.68.2). According to Thucydides, the Spartans carried out these executions ‘prompted by a wish to please the Thebans, who seemed likely to be useful allies to them in the war just beginning' (3.68.4). It can be imagined how the Athenians must have felt towards the Thebans after this. Their rage may have been compounded by guilt over the fact that they had persuaded the Plataians not to make terms with the Spartans and had then found no way of saving them. Even if Suppliant Women predates the Battle of Delion, Euripides’ audience would have been united in their loathing of the Theban enemy. For the Attic dramatists, however, Thebes was more than a geographical or historical construct. It was a figurative one too. Froma Zeitlin (1990), in an important and, despite the qualifications expressed in my footnote, persuasive essay,55 writes of the way in which they made use of the Theban myths. She suggests (131) that ‘through the specific myths associated with Thebes on the Athenian stage, certain clusters of ideas, themes, and problems recur which can be identified as proper to Thebes - or rather Athenian tragedy’s representation of

55 She develops her ideas interestingly in 'Staging Dionyus between Thebes and Athens'. 147-182 in Carpenter and Faraone (1993). I find her stance on this matter helpful and illuminating. However, Oliver Taplin (in "Spreading the word through performance' in S. Goldhill. R. Osborne (eds.). Performance Culture and Athenian democracy (Cambridge, 1999) 33-57. quotations 51-2) enters a valuable caveat against 'any simple formulation of Athens-positive/Thebes-negative polarity’. As he rightly remarks, there is 'plenty of favourable localization [of Thebes] in [Aeschylus’] Seven. and in Euripides’ Phoinissai. and in Herakles'. See also R. Rehm’s introduction to R.C. Jebb, Sophocles, Oedipus Coloneus (Duckworth, 2004) 45: in Soph. OC, it is not "Thebes per se. but the choices made by certain Thebans, that lead the city to ruin’. See further Papadopoulou (2005) 151-7.

INTRODUCTION Thebes as a mise-en-scène...The Athenian theatre...portrays a city on­ stage that is meant to be dramatically “other” than itself. Thebes...provides the negative model to Athens’ manifest image of itself with regard to its notions of the proper management of city, society, and self.’ Eleusis is an Attic (i.e. Athenian) city. It lies between - is indeed on the road between - the enlightened city of Athens and the brutally ‘other’ location of Thebes. It is the ideal site for Theseus to make a moral choice that will align him either with civilization or with impiety. 5.c Argos In Zeitlin’s schematic structure (see last paragraph of 5.b), ‘Argos occupies the middle space between the two extremes that Athens and Thebes represent... Argos, too, is a city of conflict, and it has erred grievously in sending the expedition of the Seven... But the city, or more precisely, its characters, can be saved... Adrastos is open to admonishment and can admit the error of his ways, which means he can finally be linked to the side of the Athenians’ (145-6). Zeitlin observes neatly that the rapprochement is close enough to allow him to deliver an epitaphios, as we have seen a uniquely Athenian type of speech, over the Argive dead. (For another positive reading of Adrastos’ development in this play, see M. Toher (2001 ) 338.) Zeitlin’s analysis is persuasive up to a point, but here again it needs qualification. There seem to me serious limitations to the growth of the Argive Adrastos in this play (see Introduction 2), and indeed the character of the Argives generally surely lacks the capacity for humane development that we see in the Athenian king. Shaw (1982), 17, asks rhetorically, ‘Why does Argos have one universe and Athens another?’ ‘Theseus’ character,’ he argues (18), ‘is presented as an improvement of the Argive character, a harmony of traits which are separate and mutually exclusive in the Argives. Consequently, he possesses all of their virtues and none of their failings.’ Yet surely Shaw goes too far in his direction, just as Zeitlin does in hers. One has only to contemplate the detestable cockiness of the Theban herald and the impious obstinacy of the sinister Kreon (673-4n.) to be persuaded that Adrastos advances at least some of the way on a journey to redemption through self-discovery and the example of Theseus. Certainly his final lines are a noble acknowledgement of what Athens has done for his people (1176-79, 1181). 1 tread a middle course between these two scholars.



Adrastos, it seems to me, does learn a lesson in Attic virtue, but it is at best a partial one. For relations between Athens and Argos, another democratic city state, in Greek history, see Introduction 7 and n.1191-5. For a discussion of Argos in Greek tragedy which steers clear of Zeitlin’s figurative treatment of geography, see S. Saïd, ‘Tragic Argos’ in Sommerstein etc. (eds.) (1993) 167-89. 6. The myth and its reception I have told the story of the play in Introduction 1 and given the relevant background information about Oidipous and his two sons in nn.12-16 and 150. The plot of Suppliant Women derives from the almost completely lost epic, the Thebaid (late sixth century). Aeschylus handled the same material in his fragmentary Eleusinians. We have seen in Introduction 3 how the Attic orators made patriotic use of a story that portrayed the Athenians as the champions of foreign suppliants. Other treatments of this part of the Theban saga that survive are Pindar, Olympian 6.12ff. (see also schol. on 23a, 26) and Nemean 9.22ff., and Herodotus 9.27.3 (all probably predating our play: the possible exception is Herodotus). We are thus in a position to come to some conclusions about Euripides’ handling of the material. In Pindar (Ol. 6.15-16, Nem. 9.22-4) recovery of the dead is negotiated after the defeat of the Seven at Thebes and performed there by Adrastos himself.56 In Aeschylus’ Eleusinians Theseus arranges a treaty between the Argives and Thebans, as indeed most writers assert, and the bodies are buried at Eleusis (Plut. Thés. 29.4-5). Euripides, however, follows Herodotus who causes his Athenian speakers to say that ‘we sent our army against the Kadmeans and recovered the dead’ (9.27.3 - in this version too the bodies were buried at Eleusis). The Theseus of our play is eager up to the last moment to avoid military conflict (see 347, 385-9, 558-9, 672). He would dearly wish to play the part assigned to him by Aeschylus, but he and the Athenians are compelled to fight. They must actively labour in the cause of what is pious (1187, 1234). That fundamental matter apart, Euripides largely follows the established details of the myth, but there are two further significant

56 At Horn. //. 14.114 Tydeus, one of the Seven, is said to be buried at Thebes.



exceptions. At 739—41 Adrastos confronts us with a sweetly reasonable Eteokles who offers negotiation before the attack of the Seven on Thebes. Such a glimpse of him is attested nowhere else and I suggest in n.739^t0 that this may be an ad hoc invention by the playwright to add intensity to Adrastos’ expression of remorse. And then the Euadne/lphis episode (980-1113) appears to be entirely invented by Euripides. I discuss the extraordinary nature of this scene in the note that precedes it. Euadne’s surpassing love and devotion to her husband were to make her an embodiment of those qualities in Latin literature.57 The sensational act of self-immolation that Euripides created for her assured her of a Roman fame. It is likely, however, that the work which brought the story of Suppliant Women into the modern world owed little or nothing directly to Euripides. This is the Thebaid of the Roman poet Statius (first century AD), who probably modelled his poem, which recounts the war between the sons of Oidipous over the kingship of Thebes, on the vast Thebaid of Antimachus of Colophon, a Greek poet of the fifth and fourth centuries BC. (Antimachus’ poem must not, of course be confused with the sixth century BC Thebaid mentioned above.) Statius treats the same material as Euripides in two passages in his twelfth and final book (105-311,464-809). The very free Italian version of Statius’ poem by Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-75), his Teseida, was the source for Geoffrey Chaucer in his Knight's Tale, the first of the Canterbury Tales, and that in turn proved the source for William Shakespeare and John Fletcher in The Two Noble Kinsmen. Act 1 of that play, from which my excerpt is taken, is thought to be by Shakespeare.581 make no apology for quoting from both works at moderate length. As I explain below the passages, these two poets make use of their inherited material in strikingly similar ways to Euripides, whose tragedy they could not have known. The great poets shake hands across the centuries. The themes explored by the Greek dramatist have lost none of their relevance in these later handlings. In my Chaucer excerpt, the widows of the war dead exclaim as follows: ' -e .g . at Verg. Aen. 6.447. Prop. 1.15.21-2. 3.13.24. Ov. AA 3.21-2. Tr. 5.14.38. Pom. 3.1.111-2. Epiced. Drusi 321-2. Sen. Contr. 2.5.8. Stat. Theb 12.800ft.. Mart. 4.75.5. ' 8 The Two Noble Kinsmen, ed. E.M. Waith (Oxford. 1989) 22.



And yet now the olde Creon, weylaway! That lord is now of Thebes the citee, Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee. He, for despit and for his tirannye. To do the dede bodies vileynye Of alle oure lordes whiche that been yslawe. Hath alle the bodies on an heep ydrawe, And wol nat sufffen hem, by noon assent. Neither to been yburied nor ybrent [burnt]. But maketh houndes ete hem in despit. (Canterbury Tales, 938-47) The vile treatment of the corpses is communicated with shocking force, especially in the last line. This treatment is meted out by the malevolent tyrant Creon, whose perversity and obstinacy are stressed. In the first line the women resort to a simple sound of sorrow (‘weylaway!’) with poignant effect. The stabbing alliteration of ‘yburied’ and ‘ybrent’ conveys the intensity of their grief over the refusal of burial. A visceral sense of outrage and pain is communicated throughout. All of that is in Euripides’ play too. We now turn to Shakespeare: First Queen: We are three queens whose sovereigns fell before The wrath of cruel Creon; who endured The beaks of ravens, talons of the kites. And pecks of crows in the foul fields of Thebes. He will not suffer us to bum their bones. To um their ashes, nor to take th’ offence Of mortal loathsomeness from the blest eye Of holy Phoebus, but infects the winds With stench of our slain lords. O pity, Duke! Thou purger of the earth, draw thy feared sword That does good turns to th’ world; give us the bones Of our dead kings, that we may chapel them. (1.1.39-50) Here again the cruelty of Creon and the violation of the bodies, in this case by carrion birds, are vividly conveyed. The due order of the burial which the corpses are being refused is reflected in the internal rhyme of ‘burn’ and ‘urn’ (11.5-6). While the idea of the pollution caused by stinking unburied bodies is not found in Euripides’ play - Sophocles



makes memorable use of it in Antigone (412-12, 1080-3) - the Queen’s plea for pity and the concept of Theseus as a ‘purger of the earth’ whose sword ‘does good turns to th’ world’ lie right at the heart of the earlier drama. In both works Theseus must bring pious order to a dislocated Greece.59 *** Details of modern performances of the play are given on the website of the Oxford University Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama ( After languishing in a theatrical limbo for 2,500 years. Suppliant Women has been staged in 11 productions in Europe and the USA between 1926 and 1999. 7. Date The dates of the first performances of nine of Euripides’ 18 plays (I omit Rhesus) are more or less securely established by references in the hypotheses and scholia.60 Taking to its near-apogee work inaugurated in 1807 by J. Gottfried Hermann and pursued by T. Zielinski,61 a twenty-year-old Oxford undergraduate called E.B. Ceadel62 used those probably firm dates as fixed points in order to demonstrate that, as his dramatic career proceeded, Euripides became increasingly liable to resolve feet in his iambic trimeters, i.e. to use two light syllables where a single heavy one would more regularly be used.63 Ceadel’s work has won general acceptance, hardly surprisingly since it appears to offer an objective criterion for dating the other plays, i.e. the higher proportion of resolutions to trimeters, the later the play. His analysis has been

After his victory, very differently from the Theseus of our play (942-6). Shakespeare's Duke tells the women to search the battle field: Go and find out The bones of your dead lords, and honour them With treble ceremony. (1.4.6-8) 60 Alcestis (438), Medea (431), Hippolytus (428), Troades (415), Heien (412), Phoenissae (between 411 and 409), Orestes (408), Bacchae and Iphigenia at Aulis (between 405 and c.400). For questioning of whether Euripides spent his last years in Macedon and hence produced his last two plays there, see S. Scullion, ‘Euripides and Macedon, or the silence of the Frogs', CO 53 (2003) 389^)00. 61 In Tragodumenon (Cracow, 1925) 133-240. 6~ In ‘Resolved feet in the trimeters of Euripides and the chronology of the Plays’. CQ 35 (1941)66-89. 63 For a discussion of where in the lines the resolutions occur, see Cropp-Fick (1985 - see n.65 below) 27-68.



further refined by M.L. Philippides,64 and by M. Cropp and G. Fick.65 The detailed computer-assisted statistical work of Cropp-Fick is particularly impressive. While they have some understandable reservations about Ceadel’s procedure, their conclusions are not in fact very divergent from his (5-8).66 However, the resulting analysis is not without its problems. One is that Hippolytus (428) contains a smaller percentage of resolutions than the two plays which we know preceded it (see n.60). Another is that the last two plays have a considerably smaller percentage of resolutions than Orestes, the surviving play that came before them. However, nobody has ever claimed that such statistical pointers can offer more than a useful approximation. Employed with caution, they can certainly supply useful corroborative evidence. Cropp-Fink place Suppliant Women between 424^120. The history of the 420s makes its own contribution to the debate about the play’s date. At its conclusion, the goddess Athena enjoins a defensive alliance between Athens and Argos. Such an alliance was actually formed in 420. Was Euripides exploiting this alliance for dramatic purposes after it had been contracted?67 Or was he reflecting a possible direction of Athenian policy which later came to fulfilment? Or does Athena’s demand that Theseus should tie down the Argives to a sworn treaty (1187-90) reflect the historical Argives’ shifting allegiances at the end of the 420s?68 Or could Euripides have been looking back to a previous alliance with the Argives in 461, a point of

M In The lambic Trimeter o f Euripides {La Haule, 1981). 65 In Resolutions and chronology in Euripides (London, 1985 = BICS Suppl. 43). 66 It is regrettable, however, that two of the broader questions they hoped that their study would open up - 'why Euripides developed his use of resolutions in the way that he did' and ‘to what extent he did so consciously or unconsciously' (3) - have not in fact been taken further. 67 Though, as Zuntz ( 1955), 75. points out. in the play Argos subscribes to a 'wholly one-sided obligation such as in reality could only be dictated to a completely vanquished enemy’, the historical Argives did in fact swear to the condition specified by Athena at 1193 of Suppliant Women (cf. Thuc. 5.47.3). that they would make war on invaders of Attica. 68 In 421-20. the Argives. seeing that war between them and Sparta was inevitable and hoping to gain the leadership of the Peloponnese (Thuc. 5.28.2). made alliances with the Corinthians, the Mantineans and the Eleans before self-interest led them to negotiate with the Spartans (5.40.3—41). These negotiations broke down and the Argives and their allies (apart from the Corinthians) then made their treaty and alliance with Athens.



reference at the end of Aeschylus’ Oresteia (Eum. 762ff.)? Or, if we engage with such speculations at all, are we simply being misled by the intentionalist fallacy? Another piece of historical evidence proves equally resistant to decisive interpretation. The Suppliant Women concerns the withholding of corpses by the Thebans. At the start of the winter of 424/3, the Boiotians, including the Thebans, defeated the Athenians at the battle of Delion and refused to hand back their dead because they had occupied a temple of Apollo on Boiotian soil (Thuc. 4.92.7, 97.2-3). The temptation to link the historical Thebans’ attitude towards the corpses of their enemies with that of their dramatic counterparts has proved a hard one for a number of scholars to resist. Collard (1975), 10, for example, writes that it would be ‘very remarkable indeed if a play which other indications place in the middle or late 420s, and which dramatises refusal of burial to slain warriors as a moral issue between Thebes and Athens, should not have been prompted by, and therefore be later in date than, the Theban refusal to relinquish the Athenian dead for burial after the campaign at Delion in November of 424’.69 Angus Bowie believes that Euripides is here conducting a dramatic ‘replay’ of Delion, ‘as it were a mythical/theatrical “rectification” of recent events’70 - since of course while the historical Athenians suffered a traumatic defeat, their mythical ancestors win conclusively in the play. Christopher Pelling (2000), 165, echoed by Edith Hall (2001),71 writes that the battle of Delion is ‘in the background of the similar episode in Euripides’ Suppliant Women'.

69 But see Collard. 'The date of Euripides" Suppliants and the date of Tim Rice's Chess'. LCM 15.3 (Mar. 1990) 48. He tells how the Rice musical in which a Russian chess-player eloped with an American during an international tournament was denounced by a first-night critic as 'improbable". Yet just such an elopement occurred two vears later. ™ In ed. Pelling (1997) 51. If Bowie's view is correct, another feature of the historical story that is theatrically 'rectified’ is the Boiotian herald’s accusation that the Athenians have transgressed Greek norms by violating the temple of Apollo (Thucydides 4.97.2-3). In the play the situation is the total reverse. As Sophie Mills (1997) observes (p.94), 'In the Supplices Athens forces Thebes to conform to Greek law. by beating the Theban army in battle, while in Athenian history. Thebes reclaims Delion from Athens, and then voluntarily returns the bodies (Thuc. 4.101)." 71 In her introduction to R. Waterfield. Orestes and other plays (Oxford. 2001) xxvii. I have myself, in n.696. made a point relating to the Boiotian confederacy which may indeed suggest that the Battle of Delion is being specifically evoked in our play.



Yet the theme of the treatment of corpses is a pervasive one in Greek literature and scarcely requires a historical episode to activate it.72 It is raised in the first sentence of the Iliad, i.e. in the first sentence of surviving Greek; and the subject of the last book of that epic is the handing over of a corpse by the Greek slayer to the Trojan father after a long delay. G. Zuntz points out, with superb scorn, that Aeschylus’ Eleusiniam, which recounted the same story, had no need of a specific battle to inspire it.73 Perhaps most tellingly, some of those who are so confident about the symbiotic relationship between the battle of Delion and this play have failed to notice - or at any rate to comment upon one remarkable fact. This is that, according to Thucydides (4.101.1), the bodies were returned more than 17 days after the battle. The summer heat had passed, but even so the corpses must have been in a foul state of corruption.74 If The Suppliant Women really were an inyour-face replay of the historical events, a tragedy which so clearly concerns the treatment of corpses would surely have exploited to the full the disgusting condition to which Theban intransigence had reduced the Athenian corpses in 424/3 BC. Yet, while the mutilation of the tragedy’s corpses is rammed home (44-6, 282, 812, 944-5), there is no reason at all to believe that they are in a decaying state.75 Like the curious incident of the inactivity of the dog in the night-time in the Sherlock Holmes story, the fact that the bodies in Suppliant Women have not decomposed could well have some significance.

72 The recovery of corpses remains a profound human need. All the bodies that could be retrieved from the disasters of the North Sea oil platform Piper Alpha (1988) and the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk (2000) were brought to land and given burial. It was felt that this was the only effective way in which the loved ones of the dead could come to terms with their tragic loss. After the Lockerbie airplane disater of 1988. a group of local women determined ‘to perform an act of cleansing akin to Ancient Greek ritual. They wanted to get hold of the blood-stained clothes of the passengers on Pan Am 103, wash them, and return them to their families.’ (The Times, 6.9.2005, 28) 73 Zuntz (1955) 4: ‘If the battle of Delion is taken to be re-enacted on the stage. Aeschylus, in the Eleusinians, had managed to visualize the same situation nearly fifty years before it became reality.’ 14 See S. Homblower, A Commentary on Thucydides, 2 (Oxford. 1996), note on this passage. 75 It could be that this is implied by Adrastos' feelings about handling them (767), but one would surely need some corroborative evidence for such an implication. In Sophocles' Antigone the corpse of Polyneikes has started to stink within a single night and morning even before the sun has reached its zenith (410-12). See n.944 on the verb άλλοιόω.

INTRODUCTION It remains perfectly possible that the play was performed after the battle of Delion and that outrage over Theban treatment of Athenian corpses was evoked. If this is indeed the case, in suppressing a key fact about the condition of the corpses, Euripides would seem to be distancing the particular historical reference. The play upholds the sanctity of a Panhellenic nomos (custom, observance) about the treatment of corpses. It would be drably reductive to make a single historical episode the key point of reference. And in so far as the play articulates the mutual hatred between Athens and Thebes, as it very clearly does, there is plenty of evidence of this before the battle of Delion (see Introduction 5.b). In view of all these factors, I must profess agnosticism about the date of Suppliant Women. The years proposed by previous scholars range from 424 to 417-6 BC.76 Any date within those time limits would certainly be possible. However, if I can conclude on a highly subjective note, the Athenian-style funeral oration over the Argive heroes would ring out with greater pathos at a time when Athens was - or had recently been - at war and annual speeches in honour of her dead were being delivered in Kerameikos, the city’s grave-yard. It is tempting to believe that Euripides may have seized on the dramatic potential offered by this, and thus to set the play’s date before or not long after Athens made peace with Sparta in 421. 8. The text and translation Suppliant Women is one of nine Euripides plays which survive only from a complete edition of the poet in which the plays were arranged alphabetically, as is evident from the fact that their titles come from only four letters of the Greek alphabet (E, H, I, K). They are Electra, Helen, Heracles. Heraclidae, Hiketides (Suppliant Women), Ion, Iphigenia in Aulis, Iphigenia among the Taurians and Kyklops {Cyclops). Our manuscript source for the text of these plays is almost exclusively L (Laurentinus plut. 32.2) which is dated to the early fourteenth century. (L1* refers to the first correction of L.) The Palaeologean scholar Demetrius Triclinius (Tr - c. 1280-1332 AD) made three revisions of (T r1 (the first), T r2 (the second or third)). The manuscript P (Palatinus gr. 287 and Laurentianus Conv. Soppr. 172) was copied from L after Triclinius’ first revision (but not after his 76

summary in Collard (1975) 8-9.



second or third), p refers to a 15th century Italian corrector of P. Par. refers to a 15th century copy in Paris. The text given here is from the Oxford Classical Text of Euripides edited by James Diggle (Vol. 2, Oxford, 1981), and I am grateful to both editor and publisher for permission to reprint it. It is a masterly edition and I have expressed outright dissent from it only once, in 371, where 1 have replaced his αμυγμα with L’s αγαλμα. However, 1discuss a number of alternative readings in my notes. In the problematic lines 249, 303 and 1144 1 have translated readings from the apparatus, as detailed in the commentary. The apparatus criticus printed after the Greek text is largely a selective, simplified (and Anglicized) version of Diggle’s. I must of course take full blame for any distortions that I have perpetrated. Those wishing to see the wide range of manuscript evidence and scholarly emendation should, of course, consult Diggle’s apparatus and that in C. Collard’s Teubner edition (Leipzig, 1984). In selecting from Diggle’s OCT apparatus, 1 have omitted minor MS errors where correction, whether by later hands in L and P or by scholars, has been obvious and inescapable; less important corrections by editors for metre; less important typical variations from L in secondary sources such as anthologists seemingly reliant upon memory or making adjustments; and other minor emendations which seem unquestionable. 1 have included errors and editors’ corrections which are almost certainly right and are therefore seldom discussed in my commentary; and all significant errors and conjectures which have required discussion. For detailed information on the text and manuscript tradition, see ‘History of the text’ in the General Bibliography.


[ ]

11 ( )

enclose matter judged spurious enclose matter supplied by conjecture enclose matter judged incurably corrupt in the translation, this indicates material not in the Greek but included to fill out the sense.

In accordance with the aims of this series, my translation does not aim at elegance or performability. Its primary objective is to make clear what 1 take to be the meaning of the Greek.


For standard abbreviations of classical authors and works see The Oxford Classical Dictionary (third edition, 1996), and for journal titles L'Année Philologique. Editions and commentaries on classical texts are cited by editor’s name (e.g. Barrett on Eur. Hipp. 165). Editions (for other editions, commentaries and translations, see Collard (1975) xiv-xv) Nicklin, T. The Suppliant Women o f Euripides (Oxford, 1936) (school edition; text reprinted from G. Murray). Collard, C. Euripides, Supplices, edited with introduction and commentary, 2 vols (Groningen, 1975). Kovacs, D. Euripides: Suppliant Women, Electra, Heracles (Cambridge, Mass, and London, 1998: Loeb Classical Library): with introductions and English translations. Select bibliography Bibliographical details of books referred to in this edition but not included in this bibliography can be found in the General Bibliography. Bowie, A.M., ‘Tragic Filters for History: Euripides’ Supplices and Sophocles’ Philoctetes ’, in C. Pel ling (ed.), Greek Tragedy and the Historian (Oxford, 1997) 39-62. Brock, R., ‘Mythical Polypragmosyne in Athenian Drama and Rhetoric’, in M. Austin, J. Harries & C. Smith (eds), Modus Operandi, BICS Supplement 71 (1998)227-38. Burian, P., ‘Logos and Pathos: The Politics of the Suppliant Women', in Burian, Directions in Euripidean Criticism (Durham NC, 1985) 129-55. Collard, C., ‘The Funeral Oration in Euripides’ Supplices’, BICS 19 (1972) 39-53. Collard, C., ‘The Date of Euripides’ Suppliants and the date of Tim Rice’s Chess', LCM 1990. Conacher, D.J., ‘Religious and Ethical Attitudes in Euripides’ Suppliants', TAPA 87(1956) 8-26.



Conacher, D.J., Euripidean Drama: Myth, Theme, and Structure (Toronto, 1967). Connor, W.R., ‘Theseus in Classical Athens’, in A.G. Ward et al. (eds), The Quest for Theseus (London, 1970) 143-74. Davie, J., ‘Theseus the King in Fifth-Century Athens’, G&R 29 ( 1982) 25-34. Fitton, J.W., ‘The Suppliant Women and the Herakleidai of Euripides’, Hermes 89(1961)430-61. Foley, H.P., ‘The Politics of Tragic Lamentation’, in A. Sommerstein et al. (eds.), Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis (Bari, 1993) 101-43. Foley, H.P., Female Acts in Greek Tragedy (Princeton, 2001). Gamble, R.B., ‘Euripides’ Suppliant Women: Decision and Ambivalence’, Hermes 98 (1970) 385—405. Gibert, J., Change o f Mind in Greek Tragedy (Göttingen, 1995) 99-103. Giles, P., ‘Political Allusions in the Suppliants of Euripides’, CR 4 ( 1896) 95-8. Goff, B„ ‘Aithra at Eleusis’, Helios 22.1 (1995) 65-78. Greenwood, L.H.G., Aspects o f Euripidean Tragedy (C ambridge, 1953). Grethlein, J., Asyl und Athen: die Konstruktion kollektiver Identitäten in der griechischen Tragödie (Stuttgart, 2003). Grube, G.M.A., The Drama o f Euripides (London, 1941). Kitto, H.D.F., Greek Tragedy, 3rd ed. (London, 1961). Krummen, E., ‘Athens and Attica: polis and countryside in Greek tragedy’, in A. Sommerstein et al. (eds). Tragedy, Comedy and the Polis (Bari, 1993) 191-217. Loraux, N., The Invention o f Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City, tr. A. Sheridan (Cambridge, Mass., 1986). Macleod, C.W., ‘Thucydides and Tragedy’, in Collected Essays (Oxford, 1983)140-58. Mastronarde, D.J., ‘The Optimistic Rationalist in Euripides: Theseus, Jocasta, Teiresias’ in M. Cropp, E. Fantham, S.E. Sully (eds), Greek Tragedy and its Legacy (Calgary, 1986) 201-211. Mendelsohn, D., Gender and the City in Euripides ' Political Plays (Oxford, 2002). Michelini, A., ‘The Maze of the Logos: Euripides, Suppliants 163-249’, Ramus 20/21 (1991) 16-36. Michelini, A., ‘Political Themes in Euripides’ Suppliants', AJPhil. 115 (1994)219-52. Michelini, A., ‘Alcibiades and Theseus in Euripides’ Suppliants', Colby Quarterly 33.2 ( 1997) 177-84.



Mills, S., Theseus, Tragedy and the Athenian Empire (Oxford, 1997). Morwood, J., The Plays o f Euripides (London, 2002) 31-5. Rehm, R., ‘The Staging of Suppliant Plays’, GRBS 29.3 (1988) 263-307. Rehm, R., Marriage to Death: The Conflation o f Wedding and Funeral Rituals in Greek Tragedy (Princeton, 1994). Scully, S., Orchestra and Stage in Euripides’ Suppliant Women’, Arion 4 (1996/7)61-84. Shaw, M.H., ‘The ηθοο of Theseus in “The Suppliant Women’” , Hermes 110 (1982) 3-19. Smith, W.D., ‘Expressive Form in Euripides’ Suppliants’, HSCP 71 (1966) 151-70. Storey, I., Euripides: Supplices (London (Duckworth), forthcoming 2007). Thury, E.M., ‘A Study of Words Relating to Youth and Old Age in the Plays of Euripides and its Special Implications for Euripides’ Suppliant Women’, Computers and the Humanities 22 (1988) 293-306. Toher, M., ‘Euripides’ “Supplices” and the social function of funeral ritual’, Hermes 129 (2001) 332^9. Van Hook, L., ‘The Praise of Athens in Greek Tragedy’, CW 27 (1934) 185-8. Walker, H.J., Theseus and Athens (Oxford, 1995). Waterfield, R., Hall, E., & Morwood, J., ‘Suppliant Women’, in Euripides. Orestes and Other Plays (Oxford, 2001 ). Whitehorne, J.E.G., ‘The Dead as Spectacle in Euripides’ Bacchae and Supplices’, Hermes 1 14 (1986) 59-72. Zeitlin, F.I., ‘Thebes: Theater of Self and Society in Athenian Drama’ in J.J. Winkler, Zeitlin (eds), Nothing to do with Dionysos? (Princeton, 1990) 130-167. Zuntz, G., The Political Plays o f Euripides (Manchester, 1955). Abbreviated works o f reference GP KG

J.D. Denniston, The Greek Particles (second edition, Oxford, 1954). R. Kühner and B. Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der griechische Sprache (Hanover, 1898-1904). LSJ H.G. Liddell, R.Scott, H.S. Jones, A Greek-Engish Lexicon (Oxford, 1996). Smyth H.W. Smyth, Greek Grammar (rev. G.M. Messing, Cambridge, Mass., 1956). RE G. Wissowa et al. (eds), Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft (1893-1980)




Y n O 0 E C I C ΙΚ Ε Τ ΙΔ Ω Ν

... ij μ ί ν CKrjVT] iv [αϊ μ η τ ί ρ ΐ ΐ τω ν

‘E X tv cîvi' o Si χορόο £ξ Ά ρ γ ί ί ω ν γυνα ικώ ν i v Θ ηβαίο π ο π τω κ ό τω ν άριοτόων]. το S i δρ ά μ α ογκώ μιον ’Α θ η νώ ν. (τά το ΰ δράματοο π ρ ό cam a' Α ϊθ ρ α ,χ ο ρ ό c, θηοονο, “A SpacToc, κ η ρ νζ, â yytA o c, Ε ύάδνη, ΤΙ φ te, n a îS tc , Ά θ η ν ά .)


...the scene is in Eleusis. The chorus is made up o f Argive women [the mothers o f the champions who fell at Thebes], The drama is an encomium o f Athens. 5


Δ ή μ η τtp t e n οΰχ' ’EXtvcîvoc χθονόα τηαδ’ ο Γ τ ί ναονα ίχατα πρόαποΧοι θαάα, ανδαιμοναΐν μα θ η α ία r t πα ϊδ' έμον πάλιν τ ’ ’Αθηνών την r t Πιτθάωα χθάνα, (V ήι μα θράφαα όΧβίοια tv δώμααιν Αΐθραν πατήρ δίδω α τώ ι Πανδίονοα Α ιγα ι δάμαρτα Λοξίον μαντανμααιν. te τάαδα yàp βΧάφαα’ άπηυξάμην τά δ ί γρανα, ou Χιπονααι δώ μ α τ’ Ά ργαίαα χθονόα ικτήρι θαλλώι προαπίτνουα’ άμόν γόνυ, παiffoc παθονααι δ ίΐνό ν άμφι γάρ πΰλαο Κάδμου θανόντων απτά γανναίων τέκνων άπαιδέα tie ιν, oiîe ττοτ’ Ά ργα ίω ν άναξ ”/4S/3acToc η γ α γ ’, Οΐδίπου παγκληρίαα μέροα κατααχαΐν φνγάδι ΠοΧνναίκαι θέλων γαμβρώ ι. νακρούα St ro ù e όλωΧάταα δο/ji θάφαι θέλουαι τώνδ* μ η τ έ ρ ά χθονί, t ιργοναι δ’ οι κρατούνται ούδ’ άναίρααιν δούναι θάΧουαι, νόμιμ’ άτίζονταα θαών. κοινόν δα φόρτον ταΐοδ’ αχών χραίαα άμηα '/lô p a c T o e όμμα δάκρυα ιν τάγγω ν 5δ(

17 μητόροο Tr: μητέρων L: cf. 100



The action is set before the sanctuary at Eleusis. AITHRA is at the altar in the orchestra, surrounded by the CHORUS o f Argive women. ADRASTOS is lying at the doors o f the temple surrounded by the secondary Chorus o f BOYS. The attendants o f the Argive women are also present. AITHRA

Demeter, guardian of this land of Eleusis, and you servants of the goddess who live in the temple, 1 pray that good fortune may be with me and Theseus my son and the city of Athens and the land of Pittheus in which my father brought me up in a prosperous home 5 and gave me, Aithra, to Aigeus, the son of Pandion, as his wife, in accordance with the oracle of Loxias. I have made this prayer after looking upon these old women who have left their homes in the land of Argos and have fallen at my knees with their suppliant branches, 10 having suffered terribly. For they have been orphaned of the seven noble sons who died before the gates of Kadmos. Adrastos, king of the Argives, once led these men in his wish to secure part of Oidipous’ whole inheritance for the exile Polyneikes, 15 his son-in-law. It is their corpses, laid low by the spear, that their mothers wish to bury in the ground. But the rulers (of Thebes) are preventing this and are not willing to allow the corpses to be taken up, making light of the laws of the gods. Sharing with these women the burden of their need of me, 20 Adrastos here lies prostrate, wetting his eyes with tears


EURIPIDES κεΐται, το τ’ έγχ ο ε την τί

δυ ετυ χ εετά τη ν ετένω ν ετρα τεία ν ήν έπ εμ φ εν εκ δόμων' oc μ' έξοτρύνει π α ΐδ ’ έμόν π εΐεα ι λ ιτα ΐε νεκρών κ ο μ ιετη ν η Aôyotciv η 8ορόε


ρώ μ η ι γενέεθ α ι καί τά φ ου μ ε τ α ίτ ι ον, κοινόν τόδ' εργον προετιθείε έμ ώ ι τέκνω ι πόλει τ' ’Α θηνώ ν, τυ γχ ά ν ω 8’ ύπ ερ χθονοε άρότου ττροθύουε’, ί κ δόμων eAöoöc’ όμων προε τόνδί εηκόν, ένθα π ρ ώ τα φαίνεται φριζαε υπέρ γ η ε τη εδ ε κάρπ ιμοε ετά χ ν ε. δεεμόν 8 ’ άδεεμον τό ν δ ’ έχουεα φυλλάδοε μένω προε ά γν α ΐε εεχάραιε δυοΐν ôeaîv Κ όρηε τ ε κ α ι Δ η μ η τρ ο ε, οίκτίρουεα μεν πολιάε άπα ιδαε τά εδε μ η τέρ α ε τέκνω ν, /Λ g# f \ / > » (/ cepovca ο i€pa €Τ€μματ . ο ιχ ε τα ι 0€ μοι κηρ υζ προε ά ετυ δεΰρο θ η ε έ α καλώ ν, ώε η το το ύτω ν λνπρόν έξ έλη ι χθονοε η τ ά ε δ ’ άνά γκ α ε ΐκεείονε λΰεη ι, θεούε δειόν τ ι δράεαε· π ά ντα γά ρ 8ι’ άρεένων γυ να ιξ ί πράεεειν εικοε α ΐτινεε εοφαί.




XOPOC ικετεύω εε, γερ α ιά , γεραιώ ν εκ ετο μ ά τω ν προε γό νυ π ίπ το υ εα το εά ν I άνομοι τέκ ν α λΰεα ι φθιμένω ν νεκύω ν oîf κ α τα λείπ ο υει μ έλ η θανάτω ι λ ν ε ιμ ε λ ε ΐ θηρε'ιν όρειοιει β ο ρ ά ν

[erp. α

έειδοΰε’ οίκ τρά μ ε ν δεεω ν δά κ ρυ’ ά μ φ ϊ βλεφάροιε 27 ρυ-

27 κοινόν Stahl: μόνον L: μόνωι Reiske 33 μένω Markland: μενώ L 44 δνα μοι (Brodaeus) τέκνα λΰεαι ’κ (Page) φθιμένων νεκύων ών Diggle

45 [άντ. α



and lamenting that most ill-fated military expedition which he led from home. He is urging me to persuade my son with my prayers to become the recoverer of the corpses and abetter of their burial either by negotiation or force of arms,25 setting this as a joint task for my son and the city of Athens. I happen to be sacrificing for the land’s tillage. I have come from my home to this sacred enclosure where the fruitful com crop first appeared bristling over this soil. 30 Bound by this foliage that is no bond 1stay by the holy hearth of the two goddesses, Kore and Demeter, in pity for these grey-haired mothers who are orphaned of their children, 35 and in reverence for their sacred wreaths (of wool). And a herald has gone for me to the city to call Theseus here so that he can either relieve the land of the distress they are causing or loose (the bond of) his obligation to help the suppliants by performing a holy service to the gods. It is appropriate for women who are wise to do everything through men.40 CHORUS

I beseech you, aged woman, from my aged mouth as I fall at your knees, f Recover our children! Lawless are the men who leave the limbs of dead bodies t 45 in death that looses the limbs (and makes them) food for the beasts of the mountains. (Recover them,) as you look upon the pitiful tears around the lids of our eyes,

EURIPIDES cà S i eaρκώ ν ποΧιάν κ α τα δ ρ ύ μ μ α τα χ α ρ ώ ν , τ ί γ ά ρ ; â φθιμάνουc irai· Sac ifioùc ovTC Sôfiocc η ρ ο θ ίμ α ν ovrc τά φ ω ν χ ώ μ α τα y a ia c icopui. CTacte καί cv π ο τ ’, ώ π ό τν ια , κούρον φ ίλα π ο ιη - [erp. β capeva Χ ίκ τρ α π ό α ι cώι^ μ ( τ ά νυν 56 Soc (μ ο ί câc Siavoiac, μ ( τ àSoc S ’, ôccov i -παΚγώ μ (Χ (α (yi!)) φθιμόνω ν ove ctckov n a p â n a c o v S i côv, ώ, Xiccopai, iXSeîv tckvov Ί< μη- 6 0 vov ίμ ά ν τ ’ èc χ ίρ α Ocîvai vtKvcov θαΧίρών cώ μ α τ ’ άΧαίνοντ’ ά τα φ α . ôctuic ο νχ , v it’ à và y x a c S i npom rrrovca npocairovc’ [ά ν τ.β (μοΧον StÇ invpovc θ(ώ ν OvpAXac ίχ ο μ ΐ V S’ ivSiKa, καί coi τ ι ιτ ά ρ α τ ι cdevoe euer’ eu65 TtKviai 8να~νχίαν rà v -παρ’ (μο'ι κ α θ(Χ (ΐν ’ ο ίκ τρ ά S i 7rάcχoυc’ Ικ (τ(ύ ω côv (μο'ι π α ϊ8α ταΧαίναι ’ν χ (ρ ι θ ίΐνα ι vckvv, ά μ φ ιβαΧ (ΐν Χ υγρά μΑΧη iraiSoc (μ ο υ . 70 άγάιν S S ’ iXXoc ( ρ χ ίτ α ι γόω ν γ ό ο κ 58960*2

[cTp. y

58 occov T r: öcov L: oîov Stinlon 59 c ά φ ίκ ΐτ ο ΐν τ α ΰ θ ’ ά π ίΧ θ ίΐν , π ν ίΰ μ α μ ί ν προc aW tpa, το cώ μa δ ’ te γ η ν ' ο ν τι γ ά ρ κ ίκ τ ή μ ίθ α η μ ί τ tpov αύτο πΧήν tvoticijcai βίον, κ ά π ΐΐτ α τη ν θρόφ ac αν αύτο S t î X aßtlv. SoKtîc κ α κ ο υ ρ γίΐν "A pyoc ον θ ά πτω ν vtKpovc; ήκΜ τα ' πάcηc Έ Χ Χ άδοι κοινόν τ ό δ ί, f l το ν c Bavôvrac vocφlcac ων χ ρη ν X a ytîv ά τά φ ο υ ΐ tic tÇ ti' SeiXlav γ ά ρ ^ φ ί ρ ί ΐ to Î c άΧ κ ίμ ο ια ν ovtoc ην Τ ΐθή ι vôpoc.

521 comma after πράγμαθ’ Lenting, after ούτως most eds 528 πεπόνθατ’ p: πέπονθέ y’ L 530 δ’ Heath: τ’ L 532 qxöc Porson: ςώμ’ L and Stob. 533 άπελθεΐν Stob. 4. 55. 3a: άπήλθε L









ADRASTOS Vilest of men... THESEUS Silence, Adrastos, keep your mouth shut and don’t place your words before mine. For this man has not come with his message to you 515 but to me. And it is I who must respond. And I shall answer your first points first. I am not aware that Kreon is my master or has the greater power so that he can compel Athens to do these things. The world would flow backwards 520 if we are to be dictated to like this. I am not beginning this war and I didn’t go to the land of Kadmos with these men either. But I think it right to bury the bodies of the dead, not damaging my city nor bringing upon it struggles in which men die, 525 (but) maintaining the custom of all the Greeks. What aspect of all this is not good? For if you have suffered some injury at the hands of the Argives, they are dead, you repulsed your enemies nobly, bringing disgrace on them, and the case is closed. 530 Now (that they are dead), allow the bodies to be covered in the ground and to go away to the place from which each part of them came to the light, the breath to the air, the body to the earth. For we do not possess it as our own but only as something to dwell in for our life(-time), 535 and then the (earth) that nourished it must recover it. Do you think that you are harming Argos by not burying the bodies? Absolutely not. This is a cause shared by the whole of Greece - if someone keeps the dead unburied, separating them from what is their due portion. For it will instill cowardice 540 in the brave if this custom is established.



X o.

Κψ θη. Κψ θη. Κη.

κάμοί μ ίν fjXdfc Sfiv' ά π ιιλ ή ιω ν i m j, νικρ ούι St τ α ρ β ί ΐ τ ’ ti κ ρυφ ή ΐο ντα ι χθονί; τι μ η γ ίν η τ α ι; μ η κ α τα ικ ά φ ω ιι γη ν TcuftivTfc ύμώ ν; η τ ί κ ν ’ iv μ υ χ ο ΐι χθονοι φναιχιν, ( ξ ών tlc i tic τιμω ρία ; CKaiôv γ ι τάνάΧωμα τ ή ι γΧ ο κ ιη ι τό δ ΐ, φόβσνι πονηρούΐ »cal κ ιν ο ύ ι δ(δοικίναι. άλλ’, ώ μά τα ιοι, γν ω τ( τάνθρώ πω ν κακά' π α Χ α ίΐμ α θ ’ ημ ώ ν 6 β ίο ι' (ύ τν χ ο ν ci St οί μ ίν τ ά χ ’, οί δ ’ icadBic, οι δ ’ ήδη βροτώ ν' τρυφ ά ι δ ’ ό δα ίμ ω ν' trpôc τ ί γά ρ τοΰ δ υ ιτ ν χ ο ΰ ι, ώ ι (ύτνχη α η ι, τ ίμ ιο ι γ ιρ α ίρ ιτ α ι, ο τ ’ όΧβιόι νιν ττνιΰμα δίΐμ α ΐνω ν Χ ιπιϊν ύφηλόν aipei. γνό ν τα ι οΰν χρεώ ν τ ό δ ί α δικουμίνουι τ ι μ έτρια μ η θυμώ ι φ ΐρ ίΐν àSnctîv Tt τοιαΰθ' οια μ η βΧ άφίΐ τταΧιν. π ώ ι ουν αν ιιη ; τ ove όΧωΧόται νεκρούι θάφαι δόθ' ή μ ΐν toÎc θίΧ ουαν evceßelv. ή δήΧα τά ν θ ίν δ ’’ ( ΐμ ι καί θάφω β ία ι. ού γά ρ π ο τ ’ eic "ΕΧληναι ( ζ ο ιιθ ή ΐΐτ α ι cue tie i μ ’ (Χθων καί πόΧιν Π ανδίονοι νόμοι παλαιοί δαιμόνων δκ φ θ ά ρ η . θ ά ρ κ ι' τό γά ρ το ι τ η ι Δ ίκ η ι εώ ιζω ν φ άοι ποΧΧούε ΰ π ικ φ ΰ γ ο ιι αν άνθρώπων φ ό γο υ ι. βονΧηι ιννάφω μΰθον (V β ρ α χ ε ί τιθ ε ίι; Χ ίγ ’ et τ ι βοΰΧηι’ »cal γά ρ ού ιιγη Χ ό ι tl. ούκ άν π ο τ ’ ίκ γ η e 7ταΐδα ι Ά ρ γ ι ίω ν Χ άβοκ. κάμον ννν άντάκουιον, ( ί βονΧηι, πάλιν. κΧνοιμ’ ά ν ού γά ρ αλλά Scî δούναι μ ί ρ ο ι .

545 μυχοίο Markland: -ώ L 554 τ’ Markland: δ’ L 557 βλάψει Matthiae: -ψαι L πάλιν Canter: πόλιν L 559 δόθ’ Kirchhoff: δόο L εύοεβείν Markland: είοιδείν L 565 ψόγουο Hartung: λόγουο L 566 τιθείο Diggle: οέθεν L










And have you come to me to deliver terrible threats while (mere) bodies make you afraid if they are to be hidden in the earth? What do you fear may happen? That buried (corpses) will raze your land to the ground? Or that they will beget children in the recesses of the earth, 545 from whom some vengeance will come? It is a perverse waste of time to talk about this - the fear of base and empty terrors. No, you deluded men, recognize the ills of human existence. Our life (is) a series of wrestling bouts. Some men have good fortune now, 550 others in the future, others in the past. The gods lead a spoiled existence. For they are revered and respected by the unfortunate man so that he may gain good fortune. The rich man exalts them to the heights in fear that the breath (of good fortune) may leave him. In recognition of this, 555 those who are wronged should not react to moderate troubles with anger and they should inflict such wrongs as will not recoil harmfully upon them. Well, how is it to be? Give the bodies of the dead to us who wish to act piously to bury. Or else what comes next is clear. I shall go and use force to win their burial. 560 For never will it be broadcast among the Greeks that when the ancient law of the gods was referred to me and the city of Pandion, it was extinguished. Be confident. For if you preserve the light of Justice, you would escape much censure from men. 565 Do you want me to put it briefly? If you want to say anything, say it. You aren’t exactly reticent. You will never take the Argives’ sons from our land. Then hear me too as 1respond in turn, if you are willing. 1 shall listen. 1can scarcely deny you your turn (to reply) . 570


EURIPIDES θη. Κη. θη. Κη.

θη. Κ η. θη. Κη.

θη Κη. θη.

θάψω vtKpoùe yrjc ΐξ ίΧ ώ ν Ά ί ω π ι α ί . iv ac TrieLi1 cot π ρ ώ τα KtvSvvtvTfov. πολλούΐ ίτΧ ην δη χ ά τ ίρ ο ΐί άλλove nôvovc. ή nâctv οΰν CD >


>· CD >· CD




But some fate may overthrow in turn the one who dazzles with his success. This is the confident hope that enfolds me. You speak of gods who are just. 610 Yes, for what other gods assign men’s fortune? 1 see many occasions when the gods act at variance with men’s wishes. (You say that), for you are being broken by your former fear. Justice calls for justice and death calls for death. The gods grant relief from evils to mortals, 615 having the end of everything in their control. O that we could come to the plains with the lovely towers.


EURIPIDES Καλλίχορον dtâe ύδωρ Xtnovcai; ποτανάν e i c e t i c θ ΐώ ν lertcai, διπόταμον ’να πόλιν poXoic, tlhtirjc αν φίλω ν tthtirjc âv τ ν χ α ί. — rie π ο τ' alca, rie άρα π ό τμ ο ( tn t μ ίν α τον άλκιμον






— κtκλ^ημivovc μ ίν ά να κ α λοόμ ίθ ’ αλλά φόβων nier te â h t πρώ τα. — ίώ ZtC , T a c παλαιομάτο poe nathoyovt noptoc Ίν α χ ο ν, nôXtt μοι ξύμ μ a χo e



[άντ. ß


ytvoC r a th ’ tύμtv·ήc. — το c ô v ά γα λ μ α , το côv Ιδρυμα nàXtoe ίκ κ ό μ ιζ ί μοι rrpàe πυράν üßptcdtv. A rrE A O C yvvaÎK tc, ήκω π ό λ λ ’ ΐχ ω ν Xeyttv φίλα, avToc Tt eωθfίc (iyiρόθην yàp tv μ ά χ η ι ην οί davôvTtc ίπ τ ά Stcn o ra i λόχω ν ^ήγωvίcavτο ρ (ΰ μ α Α ιρκα ΐον π ά ρ α ) νίκ-ην Tt &ηetωe à yytX ών. λόγου St et μακροΰ àπoλveω ' K aπ avtω c yàp Xdrpte, 621

621 μόλοις Wilamowitz: μόλω L 623 the first rie Reiske: ετι L 632 έκκόμιζέ μοι Musgrave: έκκομίζομαι L 636 δεςπόται λόχων Musgrave: δεοποτών λόχοι L 639 άπολύαυ Herwerden: άποπαύαυ L




leaving Kallikhoros, the spring of the goddess! If one of the gods were to make you winged 620 so that you could go to the city with its two rivers, you would know the fortunes of your friends, you would know them. What fate, I wonder, what destiny awaits the valiant king of this land? 625 Again we invoke aloud the gods we have already invoked. But (we do so because) this is what fears most trust in. O Zeus, who begat a child on the foremother (of the Danaans), the heifer of Inakhos, I beg you to become a friend and ally to this city.630 Bring forth to the pyre, I beg you, the outraged (ones), your city’s delight and bulwark.

Enter MESSENGER stage right. MESSENGER

Women, I have come with many welcome things to say. 1 have survived safely myself (for I was taken in the battle 635 which the seven dead masters of companies fought along the stream of Dirke) and (I have come) to announce the victory of Theseus. I shall cut a long story short. For I was the slave of Kapaneus,




Α γ.


Α γ.

ôv Z tv c κιρα ννώ ι πνρπόλω ι καταιθαλοΐ. ώ φ ίλ τ α τ ’, ιΰ μ ιν νόιτον ά γ γ ί λ λ ι ι ι ct'ôev τη ν τ ’ ά μ φ ι θ η εά ω ι βά ζιν' f l S t και ιτ ρ α τ ό ι ιώ ι t e r ’ ’Α θηνώ ν, πάντ ’ αν dyyt'AAoic φίλα. ιώ ι και π ά π ρ α γίν due " Α δ ρ α ιτο ι ώ φ ιλ ιν πρόζαι ζ ν ν Ά ρ γ ι ίο ιιι ν ove ά π ’ Ίνα χ ο ν cTtlXac tn tc T p a r tv c t Κ α δμ ιίω ν πάλιν. π ώ ι γά ρ τρό π α ια Ζ η νό ι Α ιγά ω ι τό κ ο ι ΐ ι τ η κ ν οι τ ί ιν μ μ ιτ α ιχ ό ν τ ΐί δορόι; λάζον' παρώ ν γά ρ ον π α ρ όντα ι ιν φ ρ α ν ίιι. λα μ π ρ ά μ ίν ά κ τ ιι ήλιον, κανών εα φ η ι, άβαλλί γα ια ν ' ά μ φ ι δ ’ Ή λ ίκ τ ρ α ι π ν λ α ι ϊιτ η ν θ ια τ η ι πύρ γον ιν α γ ή λαβών, όρώ 8 f φ νλα τρ ία τριώ ν ιτρ α τίν μ ά τω ν ' τιν χ ιιφ ό ρ ο ν μ ίν Λαόν ίκ τιίν ο ν τ’ άνω Ί ιμ ή ν ιο ν π ρ ό ι όχθον, we μ ίν ήν λ ό γο ι, αυτόν τ’ άνακτα , π α ι 8 α κλίΐνόν Αιγάωι, και τονι ινν αντώ ι 8 ΐζιό ν τιτα γμ ά ν ο ν ι Ktpac, π α λ aide Κ ικ ρ ο π ία ι οικήτο ρα ι, f αΰτόν| δί Π άραλον ά π ο λ ιιμ ίν ο ν δορι


κρήνην π α ρ ’ αντην “A p to e ' Ιππότην {δ’) όχλον πρ όι κραιπάδοιιι ιτρατοπόδον τιτα γμ ά νο ν, ΐιο ν ι αριθμόν' αρμάτω ν 8 ’ ο χ ή μ α τα fv tp e t ιιμ ν ώ ν μ νη μ ά τω ν Ά μ φ ίο ν ο ι. Κ άδμον δ ί Aaôc ή ιτο π ρ ό ιθ ι τΐιχάω ν vfKpovc δ π ιιθ ΐ θάμινοι, ών ϊ κ ( ΐ τ ’ άγω ν.


642 βάξιν Reiske: τάξιν L 649 ού Wecklein: τούο L άπόνταο ρ 653 οτρατευμάτων ρ: cuctpai- L 659 αυτόν] λαιώι Diggle, λαιόν Reiske τε Murray 660 Reiske όχλον Scaliger: δχον L







whom Zeus burnt to ashes with his fiery thunderbolt.640 O my dearest friend, what you say about your return is good news - as is what you say about Theseus. If the army of Athens is safe too, all of your news would be welcome. It is safe, and it has fared as Adrastos should have fared with m esseng er the Argives whom he despatched from Inakhos 645 when he made his expedition against the city of the people of Kadmos. Well, how did the son of Aigeus and those who were fighting with CHORUS him (win and) set up the trophy of Zeus? Tell me. For as you were there, you will gladden the hearts of us who were not. MESSENGER The bright ray of the sun, a clear guide, 650 was striking the earth. I stood near the Elektran gate as a spectator. I had climbed a tower which gave a clear view. I saw three divisons of the (Athenian) army: the armoured host (of infantry) extending upwards to the Ismenos hill - so I heard it called - 655 and the king himself, the famous son of Aigeus and those with him, the inhabitants of ancient Kekropia, drawn up on the right wing; and Paralos t himself t, armed with a spear, close to the spring of Ares itself; and the massed cavalry 660 drawn up at the fringes of the army, equal in number; and the chariots below Amphion’s holy tomb. The host of Kadmos was positioned before the walls. They had placed the corpses, the cause of the conflict, behind them.665


E U R IP ID E S 1·πττ(ΰα δ ’ ΐπ π ή ι ijcav ά νθω πΧ ^μίνο ι TtTpaôpoici τ ’ α ν τί' ά ρ μ α θ ’ ά ρ μ α α ν. κηρυξ δ ί &ηc t ï n t v cc π ά ν τac τ ά δ ί' Cly â r t , Λαοί, c îy a , Κ α δ μ ΐίω ν cti\ cc, ά κ ο ό ια θ ’' ήμ*ΐ< ή κ ο μ ιν vtKpovc μ ίτ α , θάφαι θ ίΧ ο ν τΐΐ, τον ΠανίΧΧήνων νόμον ΐώ ιζ ο ν τ ίΐ, ούδίν δ ΐό μ ιν ο ι T tîva i φόνον, κούδίν Κ ρ ιώ ν toîc S’ ά ν τ(κ ή ρ υ ξΐν Adyoic, ά λ λ ’ ^ ς τ ’ ί φ ’ ônXoïc c îy a . iroipjvtc δ ’ δχω ν τιτρ α ό ρ ω ν κ α τηρ χο ν ίν τ (ΰ θ (ν μ ά χ η ι' π ίρ α ν δ ί δ ιίλ ά ία ν τ ίί άΧΧηΧων ό χουΐ π α ρ α ιβ ά τα ί ( ΐτ η ια ν ic τά ζιν δ ο ρ ό ι. χ ο ί μ ίν α δ ή ρ ω ι δ κ μ ά χ ο ν θ ’, οι δ ' ίΐτ ρ ΐφ ο ν ntôXovc ic αλκή ν α ίθ ic ic π α ρ α ιβ ά ra c . ίδιον δ ί Φ όρβαc, Sc μ ο ν α μ π νκ ω ν άναξ fjv to îc Έ ρ € ·χβ (ίδα ΐΐΐν, αρμάτω ν όχλον οι τ ’ αδ τό Κ ά δμ ο ν δι{φ νΧ αίΐον Ιππικόν (υνηφαν άΧκην κ ά κρά τονν r/ccaiVTO τ ί. Xfύccωv δ ί τ α ΰ τ α κού κλύω ν ( ί κ ί ΐ γ ά ρ ή ίν θ ’ άρμα τ ’ η γ ω ν ίζ ίθ ’ ο ί τ ’ ίπ (μ β ά τ α ι) τ ά κ ί ΐ παρόντα ποΧΧά π η μ α τ ’ ούκ ίχ ω τ ί π ρ ώ τον ΐίπ ω , π ό τ(ρ α τη ν ic ουρανόν κόνιν npocavTtXXovcav, toc ποΧλη παρήν, η τούς άνω Τί και κάτω opovp*vovc ίμ ά α ν , α ΐμ α τ ôc τ e φοινίου poàc τω ν μ ίν πιτνό ντω ν, τω ν δ ί θpavcθίvτω v δίφρων f’c κ ρά τα πρόc γ η ν ίκ κ ν β ιιτιό ν τω ν β ία ι πpόc αρμά τω ν τ ’ â y a îc i Χ ΐιπόντω ν βίον. 6

666 δ’ Hermann: θ’ L 686 deleted by Herwerden 689 τούς ... φορουμένους Heath: τάς ... φορουμένας L



Cavalry were drawn up against cavalry and chariots against fourhorsed chariots. And the herald of Theseus said these things to all: "Silence, armies, silence, you ranks of Kadmos’ descendants, listen. We have come to fetch the bodies. 670 We wish to bury them, maintaining the custom of all the Greeks, in no way wanting to prolong the slaughter.’ And Kreon made no answering proclamation to these words but sat in silence by his arms. Thereupon the drivers of four-horsed chariots began the battle,675 and driving their chariots through each others’ formation, they set down the warriors who were riding beside the charioteers, into the ranks of spearmen. And the warriors battled it out with iron while the chariot drivers kept turning their colts back to the fight where the dismounted warriors were. And seeing the turmoil of the chariots, Phorbas, who was the captain of the horse for the descendants of Erekhtheus, 680 and also the marshallers of the Theban horse joined battle and were winning and being defeated. I saw these things and did not discover them from hearsay (for 1 was there where the chariots and the warriors fought) 685 and 1 do not know which of the many woes there I should speak of first. Should it be the vast amount of dust rising up to the sky, or the men being dragged up and down entangled in reins, and the streams of red blood i90 as some fell and others were violently hurled headlong to the ground from their shattered chariots and left life in the wreckage of the chariots?


EURIPIDES νικώντα 8’ ιππο ιι ώ ι ύ π ίίδ ιτο ιτρατόν Κ ριώ ν τόν ίνθίνδ’, Ιτιάν λαβών χιρ'ι χ ω ρ ίΐ πριν όλθιΐν ξυ μ μ ά χο ιι όυιθυμΐαν. και μην τα θ η ιίω ι γ ’ ούκ όκνωι διιφθάρη, άλλ* te r' ιύθύι λ ά μ π ρ’ άναρπάιαι όπλα, κά c μ ί cov άπαντα ιν μ π α τά ξ α ν τΐΐ ιτρατόν ίκτανον turtivovro και παρηγγύω ν κ ΐλ ιν ιμ ό ν άλλήλοιιι opàc cyciv cXdccovc tiô vS c TctcctPTtup 8ίκ η ν . ω ZcC , τι Srjτ α toÙc τα Χ α ιπω ρουο ßpoTOve povcîv X cyovci; coû yàp ίξ η ρ τ η μ € θ α 8ρ ω μ ίν Te το ια ΰ θ ’ â v cv τ ν γ χ âwrjic θίΧω ν. η μ ιν y à p tÇp τό t ’ “A p y o c ο ύ χ ΰ π ο ιτ α τ ό ν α υ τ ο ί TC πολλοί teat vcoi β ρ α χ ίο α ν . ’E tcok Xcovc



àπω X όμccθ,’

Χ αβώ ν π ίν η ο



π ο ιο ύ μ εν ο υ ,

μ ί τ ρ ι α OcXovtoc, ο ύκ ί χ ρ ή ι ζ ο μ ^ X aßciv,




ο δ' α ί τότ* c οντ ω ρ κ θ ίίι, άλλ* άντί τω ν εών itai ττόλfω c μοχθημάτων

1171 Ttuiciv θ’ ύπειπείν Reiske: πάείν θ’ ύπείπον L τοίεδε Tyrwhill: τούοδε L I 180 δήτ’ εθ’ Elmsley: δήποθ’ L I 183 τήςδ’ Seidler I 184 πόλιν Reiske. τα ca Musgrave

1 185

SUPPLIANT WOMEN your dear mother’s dear delight.


Enter THESEUS and ADRASTOS stage left. THESEUS

Adrastos and women of Argive race, 1165 you see these children holding in their arms the bodies of the best of fathers whom I recovered for burial. 1 and the city give them to these boys. You must remember these things and maintain your gratitude for them as you look upon what you have won from me, 1170 and you must suggest to these boys here these very words, to honour this city, always handing down from one generation of children to another the memory of what you have won. And (let) Zeus and the gods in heaven (be) witnesses of what treatment you have been thought worthy by us as you go on your way. 1175 ADRASTOS Theseus, we are conscious of all the many good deeds you have done for the Argive land, doing it good service in its need, and we shall feel a gratitude that does not grow old. For we have met with noble treatment and have an obligation to pay you back in kind. THESEUS What further service must I do you then? 118 ADRASTOS Fare well. For that is what you and your city deserve. We shall fare well indeed. But may you too meet with the same THESEUS fortune. ATHENA appears above. ATHENA

Listen, Theseus, to these words of Athena, hear what you should do and help t my commands t by so doing. Do not give these ashes to these children to carry to the Argive land, 1185 letting them go easily like this, but in return for your and your city’s labours.


EURIPIDES ■πρώτον λάβ' όρκον. τόνδΐ δ ’ όμνύναι χρ«1>ν "Αδραίτον' οδτοί κύριοί, τύραννοί ών, ■πάίηί υπέρ γ ή ί Δαναϊδών όρκω μοτύν.


ο δ* όρκοι έίτα ι μ ή π ο τ’ Ά ρ γ ύ ο υ ί χθόνα

f i τήνδ’ inoU tiv πολέμιον παντίυχίαν άλλων τ ’ ιόντων έμποδών θή κιν δόρυ. ήν δ’ όρκον έκλιπό ντίί έλθωίΐν πόλιν, κακώί όλέίθαι π ρ ό ίτρ ΐπ ' Ά ρ γ ίίω ν χθόνα. tv ώι δ( τέμνίΐν οφάγια χρή c’ άκουέ μου.

I I 95

ίίτιν τρίπουί toi χαλκόπουι ίίω δόμων, όν Ίλιο ν π ο τ’ (ζαναίττ/ίαί βάθρα ίπουδην i n ’ άλλην Ή ρ α κ λ ή ί όρμωμίνοί ίτη ία ΐ ί έφ&ϊτο Πυθικήν πρό( έίχάραν.


tv τώ ιδί λαιμούί τ ρ ίϊί τριών μήλων τίμω ν έγγραφον δρκουί τρίποδοί έν κοίλωι κύτίΐ κά πίΐτα ίώ ιζίΐν θίώι δόί ώι Δ ίλφώ ν μέλίΐ, μνη μίΐά θ’ όρκων μαρτύρημά θ’ Έ λλάδι. ήι δ' άν διοίζηΐί ίφάγια καί τρώ ίηΐί φόνον όξύίτομον μάχαιραν i i γα ία ι μυχού ί


κρύφον παρ’ αύτάί έπτά πνρκάιάί νίκρών. φόβον γάρ αύτοΐί, ήν π ο τ’ έλθωαν πόλιν, δΐίχθίΐοα θή ίίΐ καί κακόν νόίτον πάλιν. δράίαί δ< τα δτα πέμπ( γ ή ί έξω νίκρούί. τιμένη δ ’, ιν’ αυτών ίώ μαθ’ ήγνίίθη πυρί,


μ έθ ίί παρ’ αυτήν τρίοδον Ίίθ μ ία ν θίώι. coï μ ίν τά δ’ ίΐπ ο ν Tratet δ ’ Ά ρ γ ίίω ν λέγω'

πορθήίίθ’ ή β ή ία ν τίί

Ίιμ η νο ΰ


1200 e’ Reiske: γ ’ L 1211 ήγνίεθη Heath: άγνιςθή L 1212 Ίοθμίαν Tyrwhitt: ίςθμίαε T r1: -Oiac L θεώι Tyrwhitt: θεοΰ L Ίεθμίαε όδοΰ Heath, but μέθεε feeble without a dative



first exact this oath. Adrastos here must swear: he has the authority as the kin^ to take the oath on behalf of all the descendants of Danaos. 11 0 The oath shall be that the Argives should never lead a hostile force in full array into this land, and that, if others come, they will set their spears in the way. And if they abandon this oath and come against our city, pray that the land of the Argives may perish miserably. 1195 Hear me (tell) over what vessel you must sacrifice the victims. Inside your palace you have a bronze-legged tripod which Heracles once, when he had uprooted the foundations of Ilion and was rushing off on another urgent task, bade you (to take) to the Pythian hearth and set it there. 1 00 Cutting three throats of three sheep in this, inscribe the oath on the curving hollow of the tripod and then give it to the god who looks after Delphi to guard, as a record of the oaths and a testimony to Greece. As for the sharp-edged knife with which you cut open the victims and deal the death-wound, 1205 hide it in the recesses of the earth there by the corpses’ seven pyres. When it is shown, it will cause fear in them, if ever they come against the city, and make their return home an unlucky one. Once you have done these things, send the bodies outside the land. 1210 And dedicate the sanctuaries where their bodies were purified by fire, to the god by the turning to the Isthmos. That is what I have to say to you. To the sons of the Argives I say this. When you have grown up, sack the city of Ismenos,


EURIPIDES π α τέρ ω ν θανόντων ίκ δ ικ ά ζ ο ν τ ίί φόνον, α ν τί π arpôc, A ly ia X tv , (τρ α τη Χ ά τη ΐ vtoc Karacràc irate τ ’ a ir ' Α ίτω λ ω ν μ ό λω ν Τ νδό ω ΐ, ον ώ νό μ α ζί Δ ιο μ ή δ η π α τή ρ , ά λ λ ’ ού φ θάνίΐν χ ρ ή ον brackets in the translation reflect the problems encountered in the distribution of parts in L. 796 O that I might die: death wishes occur frequently in kommoi: cf. 821, 82931. For the expression, cf. n.618-9. 797 to join them in Hades: literally, ’to a shared Hades’. 798-800 for the bodies: objective genitive, in answer to: the Greek adjective άντίφων’ translated here is neuter plural. The noun ΰτενάγματα (’wails') must be understood from 801 and taken, in conjunction with the adjective, in apposition to οτεναγμόν (‘lament’ (798)): ‘a lament for the bodies, wails in response to...' 802-3 how bitter it is for loving mothers to call you that: literally, Ό bitter object of words of address of (i.e. from) loving mothers’.




for my own sorrows: των έμών κακών: Diggle (1994), 180-1, gives parallels for this genitive of the thing exclaimed over: cf. Eur. Phoen. 373, Men. Dys. 189. 806 The words of the Chorus are missing. This is shown by the fact that the line does not respond to 819 in the antistrophe. There is similar damage in 811. 807 O city of Argos, do you not see my fate?: like the corresponding 821 (see n.), a hexameter line imparting an epic tone (cf. nn.263-85, 686). Though the city is singular, the verb έοοράτε (do you see?) is plural. The idea is that it is in fact the citizens to whom she is putting the question: construction based on sense: cf. 660-2 and n.662. The plural continues into the next line. 811 Bring forward, : like 806, a line that needs repair because of incomplete responsion. For a note on his text here, see Diggle (1981) 18-21. 813 unworthily: in the Greek we have an adjective in the neuter plural which is here used with adverbial force: cf. Eur. Hel. 455, IT 943. Adrastos is surely wrong in his view that the Seven did not deserve their deaths. They should never have attacked Thebes (155-61, 494—505, 738-9). slaughtered: the participle is in the masculine while the word for ‘bodies’ is in the neuter: they are, of course, male corpses: construction based on sense: cf. Eur. Bacch. 1306-7. 815-17

so that I may at last embrace my children and hold them in my arms:

literally, ‘so that, having attached (my) hands with embraces, I may place (my) children in my arms’. The Greek word for ‘embrace’ (περιπτυχαΐα) is emphasized by δή to poignant effect: I have tried to convey this through my ‘at last’. In fact they are never to embrace the bodies of their sons: see Appendix.

818 ADRASTOS. You have, you have CHORUS, yes, a sufficient weight of woes: Adrastos was presumably about to sing something meaning ‘the bodies of your children’, communicating the sense, ‘Here they are before your eyes.’ The women’s substitution picks up 785, 790-1, 807. For the expression here, cf. Jebb’s note on Soph. Aj. 875. 819 Do you not speak for the parents?: i.e. are you so obsessed with your own woes that you are blind to those of the Chorus? ‘For the parents’ is dative of advantage. For the tragic idiom of women using the masculine to refer to themselves or other women in the plural, cf. Eur. Hipp. 287: ‘the generalizing always masculine, even when used with reference to a woman’ (Barrett’s note): cf. Soph. El. 399, Ant. 926. 820 Listen: the word for ‘listen’ is άίετε and it echoes the sound of αίαΐ, the exclamation I have translated as ‘alas’ in the previous line. The assonance enhances the groundswell of sorrow: see N. Loraux in The Mourning Voice: An Essay on Greek Tragedy, tr. E.T. Rawlings (Ithaca, 2002), chapter 3, which is largely devoted to the sound of αίαΐ and like-sounding words in tragedy. 821 If only the ranks of Thebans had slain me in the dust!: a hexameter corresponding to the one in 807 (see n.). It has an unmistakably Homeric ring. For epic dust, cf. n.686-7. 824 a sea of evils: cf. Eur. HF 1087, Hipp. 822. The metaphor is Aeschylean, Pers. 433. PV 746, Supp. 470, cf. Sept. 758. 826-31 we have furrowed our skin: literally, ‘we have been furrowed’: cf. 76-7n. we have poured dust over our heads: the Greek word for ‘dust’ (cjtoôôc) can mean 'ashes’ as well. It appears four times in Euripides, all in the kommoi of this play; it is



both a marker of the pathos of death (the great heroes have crumbled to mere dust, to mere ashes -1129-30,1140) and also an emblem of the intensity of the women’s grief as they sully their bodies with it. After these expressions of sorrow, Adrastos wishes for death in three different ways: being swallowed up in the earth (like Amphiaraos (500, 926) - a wish first found in Homer (e.g. //. 4.182, 8.150); being tom to pieces by the wind (with physical immediacy added to the standard idea of being swept away by the winds: e.g. 11. 6.346, Od. 20.66); and being blasted by Zeus’ lightning (like Kapaneus (496-7, 860, 934, 1011 )) —cf. Eur Andr. 847, Med. 144. There is perhaps an element of cliché in these lines, but it could be that Adrastos’ wishes are not merely conventional. He may wish to share Amphiaraos’ and Kapaneus’ deaths, as Euadne does later in the case of the latter (1002-3, 1019-20). And the whole of this passage is given energy and emphasis in the Greek by the several instances of the epic phenomenon of tmesis (by which the preposition which is part of the verb is separated from it): κατά...ήλοκίςμεθα, άμφι.,.κεχύμεθα, κατά.,.ελοι, διά.,.οπάοαι, έν.,.πέοοι.

833-4 Bitter were the marriages you looked upon, bitter was the oracle of Phoibos (that you heard): cf.220-ln. For the word ‘bitter’, cf. 783, 802, 945 and n.782-5.


The grievous Fury has left the house of Oidipous and come to us: the

Fury, in Greek Έρινύο, was originally a haunting and maddening goddess of punishment, and later particularly the vindictive spirit roused from the underworld by killings within the family (see Collard’s n. 17 on p.xxxiv of his Aeschylus, Oresteia (Oxford, 2002)). For the Oidipous myth, see nn. 12-16 and 150. Cf. Pindar on the myth at Ol. 2.38ff.: ‘his doomed son met Laius and killed him, and accomplished the oracle spoken long before at Pytho. But the swift Erinus saw it, and slew his warlike sons, each by the other’s sword.’ Since those two sons, Eteokles and Polyneikes, are now dead, the Fury has no more work to do in Thebes and is now harrying the Argives, who were embroiled in the Theban conflict by Polyneikes. For the characteristic features of the Furies, see Cropp’s n. at Eur. El. 1252. 8 3 8 -9 5 4

Fourth episode

The arrival of the corpses has reduced the Chorus and Adrastos to a state of abject despair. Theseus now enters and initiates a process of rehabilitation for Adrastos by asking him to deliver a funeral oration. Adrastos does so, as also in Pindar (Ol. 6.12ff.), who on the other hand has him deliver his panegyric at Thebes itself. For a discussion of Adrastos’ speech, see n.857-917. Another lyric expression of grief by the Chorus (918-24) marks off Adrastos’ oration from the speech that follows, in which Theseus praises Amphiaraos and Polyneikes, the two of the Seven whom Adrastos had omitted, presumably because their bodies are absent (925-31). Theseus and Adrastos now discuss the conduct of the funeral in a passage of stichomythia (932—46), Adrastos again reflects on the folly of war (947-54: cf.734—49), and the two of them go out to cremate the heroes.

838-40 + when you were draining the depths of your lamentations over the army, but I shall let the matter alone +: the text is hopelessly corrupt: ‘1 shall let the matter alone’ is nonsensical. ‘You’ is presumably Adrastos: hence OCT’s reading of Adrastos in the vocative in 840. It is certainly easier to believe that Theseus is acting on an earlier intention to talk to Adrastos than that he is entering in conversation with a third



party (cf. his entry at 381). Elmsley’s reading ήνίκ’ έξήνταε οτρατώ yoouc άφήεων ('when you came to meet the army to pour out lamentation (for the dead)', cf. 772) at least makes sense, draining the depths: the metaphor is from the total draining of a ship’s bilges: cf. Eur. Med. 79, and Mastronarde’s note there: ‘the metaphorical use of άντλεω and έξαντλεω is a Euripidean mannerism (elsewhere only Aesch. Clio. 748, PV 375 [cf. άπαντλέω, PE 84]). From "bale out the bilge-water” it comes to mean "drain to the dregs”, "suffer to the bitter end", or just "suffer".’ I put a question to you: L’s text means ‘I look at Adrastos’ and certainly needs correction. Jacobson’s reading, translated here, makes good sense.

841- 2 How ever did these men come to be pre-eminent among mortals in courage?: ‘Theseus wishes to learn not the heroic ancestry of the Seven...but the manner of their upbringing from childhood...and their individual άοκήοειο [modes of life, fields of expertise]...: these, not birth, teach virtue’ (Collard (1975) n.842b-3): cf. 911-17. For the play’s educational dimension, see Introduction I and Grethlein ((2003) 168-9) who links the pedagogical function of Adrastos’ speech with that of the Athenian public funeral oration. 842-3 the young (sons) of these citizens here: Smith (1966). 169, n.20, takes this as referring to ‘the sons of these, your fellow townsmen [the Argive corpses now on stage]’, i.e. to the chorus of orphans who, I suggest in n.794 (stage direction), may have come forward to their fathers’ bodies in the orchestra. But for Theseus to refer to the Argive corpses as townsmen or citizens in the play’s Eleusinian setting would seem decidedly odd. The pall-bearers are presumably Athenian citizens, but their sons are not on-stage to be spoken to by Adrastos. In fact, the deictic adjective τώνδε in conjunction with the word for 'citizens’ would most naturally refer to the Athenian citizens who make up the audience, and it could well be that the play here breaks out of the confines of the dramatic action (cf. n.352-3) to include the young citizens in the theatre of Dionysos, most especially to the orphans of the Athenian dead who may well be sitting in the front seats of the theatre: see n.l 123-64 and Introduction 2. since you have greater wisdom: since at 219 Theseus had specifically said that Adrastos was not naturally wise, it is tempting to accept Hermann’s deletion (see apparatus: the meaning that results is: 'speak; for you have the knowledge.’). But Eur. Phoen. 529-30, cited by Diggle, would suggest that experience can bring its own wisdom (cf. F 619), and Adrastos has had plenty of that. 844 I saw their bold deeds: the word that 1 have translated as ‘I saw’ could also mean ‘They saw’. Both are mystifying. Of those on stage, it was only Adrastos who witnessed the exploits of the Seven. Theseus has of course seen the corpses and may have inferred the heroes’ bold deeds from their wounds, but that seems a strained interpretation o f ‘I saw ...’ In his Loeb edition. Kovacs, following Camper, moves 8445 to after 859, thus making Adrastos the speaker (Euripidea Altera (Leiden/New York/Köln, 1996) 93). A different solution would be to emend ειδον (Ί saw’) to ειδεε (‘you saw’). This would make Adrastos its subject and lead to good sense, their: αύτών refers back to οϊδε in 841.

849-50 these words of those who listen are worthless as are those of the speaker who stands amid the fighting: i.e. first- and second-hand reporting are equally unreliable in these circumstances: cf. 854-5.



852 makes a clear report of who is the hero: the first Greek verb here, απήγγειλε, is a gnomic aorist. For similar scepticism about reports from the front line, see Eur. El. 377-8. In his note there Cropp comments on 'the serious nature of this point in an era where...the old traditions of awards for excellence (aristeia, e.g. Hdt. 8.123) and calling on witnesses to one’s valour (e.g. HF 176—87) were in question’. There is surely no Euripidean mockery here of his messenger speech earlier in the play. That was delivered by a man who had observed the battle from a tower, not participated in it (see n.652). 8 5 7 -9 1 7

Adrastos’ Funeral Oration

I. This speech, in which Adrastos pays tribute to five of the Seven, has called forth very different critical responses. The essential problem is that Adrastos presents the five heroes as moral exemplars while the myth has established them as monsters, particularly in the cases of Kapaneus and Tydeus. So is the oration a satire on the clichés of the speeches over the war dead delivered annually in Athens (the most famous of which is Perikles’ as given in Thuc. 2.34ff. (for this Athenian custom, see Introduction 4))? For satirical/ironic interpretations, see especially L.F1.G. Greenwood (1953) 92-120, Fitton (1961) 437^)0, Smith (1966) \62-A, Gamble (1970), 403f.. Mendelsohn (2002) 187-96. The basic stance of such interpretations is one only too familiar to students of Euripides. Greenwood, 99, sums it up when he says that 'there are things even in this play which are not easy to explain on the assumption that Euripides does mean what he appears to mean, and not something else’. And Fitton. 446, expresses the stance more pithily: O ne would have thought that it were better to regard Euripides as a satirist than a bungler'. Following in the footsteps of Zuntz (1955). 13-16, 19, 23, 24, Collard (1972) rebuts these ingenious readings. One key point in his detailed argument is that the Greek tragedians always feel free to adapt the myths for dramatic purposes. Characterization of both on-stage and narrated persons is subordinate to the dramaturgy of a whole play. Of Kapaneus, for example, he remarks (44), 'There is nothing a Capaneus made temperate and uncompromisingly loyal for the Oration - and the exemplary portrait set prominently at its start serves too as a preparatory motif for his wife Evadne’s suicide: she dies from devotion to a model husband. While Euripides has the Theban Flerald recall Capaneus' ußpic at Thebes (496-9), this is in the special context of the agon with Theseus: he is careful to have Theseus as the agon's moral ‘victor’ argue that with their death Capaneus and all the Seven have paid their debt to justice: their account is settled (528ff.. esp. 530: ή δίκη διοίχεται).’ Another important point is Collard's insistence on the educational nature of the oration (see Introduction I ). At 841-2 (see n.) Theseus says to Adrastos, 'Flow ever did these men come to be pre-eminent among mortals in courage? Tell the young (sons) of these citizens here since you have greater wisdom.' The young sons surely include those in the audience (see n.842-3). As Collard remarks, 44. 'Together the portraits illustrate a wide range of social and civic virtues acquisible by any man if he schools himself to them.' It is such a schooling that Adrastos’ Funeral Oration offers. (For the motif of education, see Introduction I.) And the context in which it is presented is essentially a martial, not a civic one (840-5), so that the critique by Mendelsohn


((2002) 194) that it is out of line with the values that ‘helped constitute fifth-century Athens’ ideological self-portrait’ is beside the point. Burian (1985), 146-9, has suggested a middle way between the two critical approaches: the speech is ‘a failed attempt at genuine praise’. ‘The custom of honouring the dead, time-honoured and comforting, entails a disastrous suspension of judgement’ on Adrastos’ part about the true nature of these particular dead heroes. This approach is certainly a tempting one. Equally tempting is the view of Grethlein ((2003) 173—4) that the discrepancy between the picture of the heroes offered earlier in the play by the Theban herald as well as in the mythical tradition, and the portraits drawn by Adrastos reflects the tension between the truth communicated by tragedy and the ideal of the funeral oration. A final consideration is that the de mortuis nil nisi bonum principle was, according to Plutarch (Sol. 21.1), enshrined in the law which Solon bequeathed to the Athenians: ‘Praise is given also to the law of Solon which forbids speaking ill of the dead.’ Cf. PI. Menex. 234C. (According to Cicero {On the Laws 2.63), in early times the speeches at the funeral banquet had been truthful: the relatives considered it wrong to lie.) 2. In these five portraits Adrastos tries to encapsulate what he sees as the essential character (q0oc) of each of the heroes. He develops three of the portraits in association with the etymologies of their names. The name Eteoklos is a collateral form of Έτεοκλήε (‘truly famous’): see 874; Hippomedon means ‘horse-ruler’: see 886; Parthenopaios means ‘girl-boy’: for his beauty see 899. Adrastos steers clear of such etymologies in the case of Kapaneus, whose name damns him: see n.496-7. And the name Tydeus does not offer an opportunity for such development. 3. Theseus’ question to Adrastos at 841-2 relates specifically to pre-eminence in courage. The Greek word used for ‘courage’ here is ευψυχία: it refers to male courage in battle. See the discussion of the word by Dover (1974), pp. 166-7. Whatever the flaws of character that the five warriors may have had, no fault can be found with them as exemplars of this virtue. It is surely appropriate to consider Adrastos’ eulogy in this context. Theseus has altered the view of courage expressed in 161 (there too the Greek word is ευψυχία). But then he was condemning headstrong bravado; at 841 he appears to be commending reasoned courage learned by training and experience (cf. 885, 903, 909-17). 857 Listen then: the Greek here (ακούε δή νυν) is a tragic formula favoured by Euripides. 858-9 about whom: the preposition πέρι comes at the end of the sentence, a long way from the relative pronoun which it governs. However, the word for ‘friends’ (the Greek literally means ‘about which friends’) is placed between them, keeping the listener alert to the need for something to complete the sense. 860 the man whom (Zeus’) violent thunderbolt pierced: Adrastos does not ignore the hubristic conclusion to Kapaneus’ life, but the portrait as a whole is deeply sympathetic. Kapaneus was unpretentious and not self-indulgent with his wealth, but modest and moderate (861-6); a true friend but with few friends (867-8); sincere, affable and reliable for all, both for those within the oikos (home) and for citizens



generally (869-71 - note the civic dimension), violent: L’s τον αβρόν ("the delicate man’) is utterly out of place in any portrait of Kapaneus. Tyrwhitt’s transference of the emended adjective to the weapon (βέλοο - i.e. the thunderbolt that killed him) leads to good sense. Polybius (5.9.5) quotes a mocking adaptation of this line by one Samos which was graffitized on the walls of a city devastated in 218 BC in retaliation for the sack of a place called Dion (4.62.2—3): ôpâic τό δΐον.,.βέλοο (‘do you see...the divine (i.e. Zeus’) weapon?’). The jest is that τό δίον... βέλος can be taken to mean ‘the Dionbolt’. Samos’ adaptation establishes that in the Euripidean original the adjective qualifies the weapon (τό λάβρον), not the man (τόν αβρόν). If this emendation is accepted, there is surely no case for a satirical interpretation of the speech (see n.857917.1). Kapaneus was certainly not delicate but everything else that Adrastos says about all five heroes is perfectly plausible, however incomplete. 864 boasted too much of (extravagant) feasts: boasted: the Greek word έξογκόω literally means ‘heap up’, ‘swell’, and there is doubtless a suggestion here of the physical consequences of excessive eating as well as the metaphorical sense of being puffed up with pride: for the latter use, cf. e.g. Eur. Hipp. 938, Andr. 703. (extravagant) dinners: the Greek word for ‘dinners’ (τραπέζαιο) literally means ‘tables’. The use of the plural suggests dining on a large scale: cf. Ar. Vesp. 1216 with MacDowell’s note.

867-8 He was also a true friend to his friends whether they were present or absent: this definition of friendship - being true to friends even when they are distant is something of a cliché: cf. Eur. Hipp. 1001, El. 245. The antithesis παρών/μή παρών has a proverbial ring: cf. 649. 869 he was an easy conversationalist: literally, ‘an affable mouth’. 870 there was nothing immoderate: literally, ‘having nothing unmixed’, as of wine: cf. Eur. Cyc. 149. The nominative masculine participle εχων (‘having’) does not agree with anything grammatically; we might expect it to be in the dative of possession (‘there was a character etc. (869) (possessed by him, a man) having’). But the man himself can be easily inferred as the noun governing the participle. For asyndeton in characterizations, see Eur. Or. 903-6, 920-2. I translate OCT’s άκρατον, but since Kapaneus’ moderation has been dealt with at length in 861-6, there is a case for keeping L’s ακραντον, ‘unfulfilled’: he always carried out his promises. 876-7 make his behaviour servile: literally, ‘render (his) ways slaves (i.e. slavish)’. For the use of the word δοΰλοο cf. Eur. Or. 1170, F 1029.2. Again there is the insistence on the essential character: see n.857-917.2. Eteoklos’ self-control in coping with his poverty (873-7) and his loyalty to the civic ideal (cf. n.860) despite bad leadership (878-80) look back to the debate between Theseus and the Theban Herald (407-8,412-25, 433^1). take my word for it: I translate the particles τοι καί (Denniston, GP 545-6). 879 880 helmsman: for the image of the ship of state, see n.267-9, and cf. 509. 882-3 starting right from childhood: literally, 'being a child, he at once...’ to avoid the Muses’ pleasures and the soft life: literally, ‘not to turn himself in pursuit of (πρόο + ace.: KG 1.519-20: same sense in 885) softness (literally, the soft thing) of life’. Eteoklos had no time for music and poetry. There is an interesting debate in Euripides’ fragmentary Antiope between the farmer Zethos and his musician brother Amphion. Music, says Zethos, has corrupted Amphion (F 185.2ff.,186), rendering him



useless al home and in the city and a nobody for his friends (F 187). He tells him to 'cease from useless activities and practise the fine music of hard work' (F 188). On the other hand, it is interesting to note that the greatest of warriors. Achilles, played and sang to the lyre (Horn. //. 9.186-9). Cf. 906 and Eur. Hipp. 452. 884-5 he loved to subject his nature to harsh training: literally, 'he rejoiced (in) giving harsh things to his nature'. 885-6 loved...loving: editors have worried about the repetition of the verb χαίρω here, but it is surely unproblematic, loving to ride: literally, "taking joy in his horses'. For this very obvious instance of the name reflecting the nature (Hippomedon means "horse-ruler’), see η.857-917.2. 887 wishing to make his body useful to the city: again the civic dimension: cf. nn. 860, 876-7. 882-3. Hippomedon’s physical fitness is devoted to the good of the city. 888-90 Atalante: this Arcadian heroine participated in the famous hunt of the Caledonian boar, the next: for this use of αλλοο ("other-: here, "next’, "further’) cf. 71 and Eur. Tro. 706. Inakhos: see n.628-9. 889 Parthenopaios, a young man: his youth is stressed in the repetition of the pai (παϊ) sound in pais (παϊο = boy. young man) and Parthenopa/os (Collard (1972) 41). For the exploitation of the hero's name ("girl-boy’), see n.857-917.2. An anapaest in the "second foot' is unproblematic when a name is used: cf. Eur. HF 220. Dindorf s deletion of παΐο is mistaken. As we have seen, the hero’s youth and beauty are lent deliberate emphasisis and there is no pleonasm. Dindorf s deletion was motivated by the appearance of the name Parthenopaios at the head of a line in Aeschylus’ description of the Arcadian in Sept. (547: the description is at 532-49). 891 was educated: in the Greek, this is a historic present. 892 foreigners living in a city: Parthenopaios was a metic (μέτοικοο). For advice in tragedy for foreigners to conform, see Aesch. Supp. 994ff.. Soph. OC 171-2 and Page’s note on Eur. Med. 222.

899-900 He had many male and t many t female lovers too, but he took care to do no wrong: the only literal sense that can be extracted from the first clause as L preserves it here is: "having many male lovers and how many from women!’: while ocac (how many!) can certainly introduce an exclamation, the expression seems decidedly convoluted. Hence England’s and Canter's emendations (see apparatus), which would mean "as many' and "an equal number' respectively. For the idea that a beautiful boy should show self-discipline, see Demosthenes. 613. Following L. Dindorf, Collard (1972). 41. argues that these lines should be deleted, thus removing "a detail of frivolous irrelevance’ from the sketch. But cf. Alcibiades' praise of Socrates' sexual temperance at PI. Symp. 218b-2l9e. I cannot agree with Collard that these lines are "inconsequential stuff. Michelini (1994). 243. feels that the beauty of Parthenopaios "offered him special challenges and temptations to which he responded with the same restraint that he brought to his role as a metic’. noting that ’instead of beginning with personal virtue and moving to civic topics [like the other descriptions], this description moves in reverse order’. Presumably the aim is variety. In a forthcoming paper, ‘Les moeurs des hommes politiques à Athènes au Vième siècle’. Pauline Schmitt Pantel examines the way in which non-political behaviour and



political action are linked in fifth century Athens in six of Plutarch’s Lives. She gives three examples of love affairs: ‘The first presents the common love of Themistocles and Aristides for a young man as the beginning of their political rivalry [Arist. 2.2-3]. The second is the love of Cimon for his sister, this being at odds with the honourable public life he led afterwards [Cim. 4.5-7], The third is the love inspired by Alcibiades in his (male) contemporaries, divided between those attracted by his beauty and Socrates, who admired his virtue, thus showing the ambivalent rhetoric of political/erotic seduction around Alcibiades [Ale. 4.1—4].' Another example that could be cited here is Pericles’ comment to Sophocles, who, when serving together with him at Samos, began to praise the looks of a handsome boy. Pericles remarked that a general has to keep his eyes clean as well as his hands (Plut. Per. 8.8). Schmitt Pantel concludes by commenting that ‘various domains, in addition to political acts, contributed to an Athenian political identity in the fifth century B C . Sexual conduct was a significant factor. 902-8: there may well be damage and interpolation in the portrait of Tydeus. See Collard (1975) 334-5. The main problems are: I. Adrastos declares in 901 that he will praise Tydeus briefly (έν βραχεί), yet his eulogy continues for another seven lines. (This is surely not a difficulty: at Eur. F 362.5. the same word, βραχεί, introduces a sermon of some 30 lines: and in any case the portrait of Tydeus is significantly the briefest tribute in this speech.): 2. there is duplication, with Tydeus' greater ability at fighting than speaking being mentioned twice (902. 908) and his martial skill being praised in both 902-3 and 906. where there is a further problem about the use of metonymy (see n.); and there is repetition in 903 (see n.902-3); 3. in a tribute to Tydeus, why say that he is inferior to his brother Meleagros? Why mention Meleagros at all? As can be seen. Diggle deletes 902-6. Certainly, as Professor Diggle has observed to me, the verbless lines 907-8 fit perfectly after 901. He feels that the lack of verbs gives 907-8 a lapidary ring, and might well have prompted interpolation from readers who thought more verbs were needed. Grégoire and Smith preserve the whole passage, but the accumulation of problems makes it tempting to follow Diggle. Even so, L’s characterization of Tydeus is in general a striking and forceful one and Adrastos’ speech as a whole would be weakened by its emasculation. With all their difficulties. I should prefer to let 902-6 stand. 902-3 he did not shine at speaking: cf. 907-8: in this particular play, with the high value it sets on verbal communication (see n.739—40), this may come across as a seriously adverse criticism. At Homer II. 4.399-400, Agamemnon says that Tydeus produced a son inferior to himself at fighting, though superior in the agora (assembly). Euripides presumably glances at that comment here. As Peter Jones remarks (Homer's Iliad (London. 2003) 57). ‘It is as important for the [Homeric] hero to win arguments in council as battles on the field, since in both arenas, the hero's personal status is at stake.’ Achilles says of himself (II. 18.105-6) that he surpasses everyone else in warfare, though in the assembly others are better, a formidable expert in warfare and in finding much wisdom there: literally, ‘a terribly good (ôctvôc) sophist in the shield (i.e. warfare - metonymy: cf. n.473-5 and ôopôc in 905) and (terribly good) at finding many wise things’. Tydeus’ civic virtue finds expression in deeds, not words (908), in warfare, not the arts of peace.



The repetition in coipictijc and cocpà and the need to make the infinitive έξευρεΐν dependent on an inferred δεινός have led some to prefer Numenius’ text for the second half of 903: see apparatus. This would mean ‘and a slaughterer of the unpractised’. The Greek word meaning ‘unpractised’ (‘unexercised’, ‘untrained’) would certainly fit well with the ideas of training and education so fundamental to this speech (see especially 911-17). Toup’s reading would lead to the meaning ‘wise at finding many things’: this is unconvincing because of its lack of focus. 904 Meleagros: he led the hunt for the Caledonian boar (cf. 888). Nowhere else is his intellectual prowess mentioned. 905 he won equal fame: one would expect the Greek to mean ‘he provided equal fame’. The middle form of παρέχω would more naturally lead to the sense needed here, ‘he rendered his name equal’: hence Diggle’s conjecture. But Collard has found a fairly close parallel for L’s active at Eur. Or. 1170. 906 finding a precise music in warfare: Tydeus finds his wisdom and his music on the battlefield: cf. Eteoklos, 882-3n. No cultured intellectual he. Smith (1966), 163, observes that in myth, he was ‘known for bribery, assassination, cannibalism, and supposed fratricide’, in warfare: literally, ‘in the shield’: metonymy: cf. n.473-5. Dr Scott Scullion, who shares the view that 902-6 should be deleted (cf. n.902-8), observes to me that this line looks as if it means ‘discovering precise music in his shield’, e.g. by banging on it. He remarks that the use of metonymy entails the avoidance of writing in such a way that the literal sense works perfectly well and means something quite different. It is a fair point. 907 His richly-endowed nature: the word I have translated ‘richly-endowed’ (πλούαος) simply means ‘rich’: see M.L.West, Philologus 108 (1964) 164 for parallels for the idea of mental wealth, e.g. PI. Euthyphr. 12a, Pit. 26 le. Men. F 936.

909-10 In the light of what I have said here, Theseus, do not wonder that these men had the courage to die before the towers: here Adrastos refers back to Theseus’ words at 841-5, more or less saying, ‘Now you know how they came to be pre-eminent in courage.’ 911 to be brought up not basely brings a sense of honour: the idea of education, which has resonated throughout the speech. Cf. Introduction I. basely: the word κακός used here includes ‘cowardly’ in its range of meaning, just as ‘good’ (αγαθός, 912) includes the meaning ‘brave’, sense of honour: for this meaning of αιδώς, cf. Horn. II. 15.561, Eur. Ale. 601. 913 to become base: preferable to ‘to be called base’ (Stobaeus - see apparatus). Adrastos is dealing with fact, not reputation. Diggle’s suggestion (leading to the meaning ‘to be spoken of as base’) is easier to explain than Stobaeus’ as a miscopying of L but falls under the same objection. 913- 14 Courage is something that can be taught: cf. Eur. Hec. 599-602, ΙΑ 561-2. 708-9, 926-7. Whether virtue (which includes courage) can be taught is a constant topic in Plato. For a good discussion, see R.W. Sharpies, ed. Plato, Meno (Warminster, 1984) 4—6, 14-15 (‘Is excellence teachable?’). 914- 17 a young the theme of education rings out loud and clear as the speech concludes. Cf. Introduction 1. speak and be told: cf. 949-50. give children a good education: cf. 549, 744-7, 849-52 for such exhortations ‘to the audience’ (cf. n.842-3).


2 15


in my womb: literally, ‘under (my) liver’: this is the only time in surviving Greek literature that the pregnant womb is given this location. 920 labours: the women’s labours are those of childbirth. See Introduction I. 921-2

Hades holds the fruit of my labours, wretched (mother) that I am:

literally, ’Hades holds the labour (i.e. the children - cf. rovouc in 1134 and μόχθος in Med. 1261) belonging to me, wretched (woman)’, άθλιας (‘wretched’) is genitive, agreeing with the μου (of me) implicit in έμόν (‘my’): cf Soph. Phil. 1126. Eur. El. 366. 923 no-one to tend me in old age: cf. 361—4. It is ‘a fundamental tenet of the Greek social system that children are to pay back the nurture they received as children by caring for their parents in turn when the parents are burdened with old age...and that in a happy family the elders will receive all proper burial from their living children’ (Mastronarde’s note on Eur. Med. 1033—4): cf. Ale. 662—E Tro. 1182-6. 925 Look: the particles και μήν.,.γε introduce a new and supplementary consideration: cf. 393n. the noble son of Oikles: Amphiaraos (158, 500-1). Theseus pays tribute to him, using the epic formula ‘noble son’ (cf.656), and to Polyneikes, the two of the Seven omitted by Adrastos from his oration, presumably because their bodies are not present (see n.838-954). 925-7 the gods...give him clear praise: Theseus’ tribute to Amphiaraos here is a corrective to the Theban Herald’s dismissive view, expressed at 496-500-1. For Amphiaraos’ hope of honour in death, see Aesch. Sept. 589. And his hope was realized in history. By the sixth century BC he had re-emerged in Greece as a famous source of oracles. Supposedly he was first worshipped as an Olympian god at the Amphiareion, his chief sanctuary from the late fifth century on, situated in ‘a cleft-like ravine on the border between Boiotia and Attika in the territory of the Oropians’ (C. Mee and A. Spawforth, Greece (Oxford, 2001) 123 - see map). Mee and Spawforth add that the shrine’s credentials for faith-healing are attested by 414 BC. swept off: the Greek literally says ‘having snatched up’, which may at first sight seem odd when the destination is the recesses of the earth. Hence Paley’s emendation, meaning ‘having snatched away’ (see apparatus and Diggle (1994) 132-3). Yet surely it makes sense that the gods should snatch Amphiaraos up before plunging him down. 929 if we were to praise him, we would not be speaking falsely: Theseus' praises of the heroes Amphiaraos and Polyneikes are as unclouded by criticism as the earlier tributes of Adrastos (but see n.902-3). They make an odd pairing: cf. the contrast between them at Aesch. Sept. 568-84. Earlier Theseus had felt strong sympathy with Amphiaraos’ holy advice (158-9, 229-31) and distaste for Polyneikes’ advocacy of his own cause (160-1, 232-3). We may be further surprised by the tribute to Polyneikes in view of the thuggish impression given at 144-6. As Michelini (1987). 119, notes, ‘the humane optimism of Theseus balances the moving yet tarnished history of the Seven’. 930 he was a guest-friend: it appears that Euripides invented the guest-friendship between Theseus and Polyneikes. It may be that he intended to add to the virtues of Theseus an understanding of the values of xenia (hospitality), a highly important concept for the ancient Greeks. Adrastos’ guest-friendhip with Polyneikes had led him to disaster (221). 933-46: stichomythia about the funeral of the corpses and its conduct.




Do you wish to bury him apart, as a sacred corpse?: those killed by lightning, the weapon of Zeus, took on an aura of superstition. They had to be buried apart, often at their place of death, and their resting place was sacred. Dodds has a helpful note on this at Eur. Bacch. 6-12 (Semele’s tomb): cf. R. Garland. The Greek Way o f Death (London, 1985) 99-100. 937 So after you have placed Kapaneus here apart, where will you set up his monument?: literally. "So where will you set up a monument for this man here, having placed (him) apart?’


I shall build a stone tomb: the word for ‘stone’ is not in the Greek, but the word I have translated ‘build’ (ουμπήγνυμι) means ‘construct’ and suggests a stone structure, not a mound (Collard, n. adloc.): cf. χώματα, the word for ‘mounds’, in 54. 939 Could this labour now be the concern of servants?: αν with the optative expresses a polite request in the second or third person, labour: we have recently met this word (novoc) referring to the labours of women in childbirth (920). Now the labour is tomb-building. For the theme of labour see Introduction I. 940 the biers carrying the corpses: literally, ‘the burdens consisting in the corpses’, pass on their way: the soldiers may lift the biers at this point in response to Theseus’ command. 942 What you are saying, Adrastos, is totally unfitting: Theseus gives humane reasons for wishing to deny the women contact with the corpses of their sons, but commentators such as Mendelsohn (2002), 23, have felt that the Athenians’ ongoing efforts to curtail public mourning, especially by women, will inevitably have invited the audience to look deeper than the ‘surface’ meaning that Theseus is making 'a solicitous effort to spare the dead soldiers' mothers more anguish’. I discuss this matter at some length in the Appendix. 944 disfigured: literally, ‘changed’. Does this mean that the bodies have rotted? The next line mentions only blood and wounds and there is no talk of corruption (as there is of a new corpse in Eur. Phaethon F 786.2). Of the 14 instances of άλλαιόω given in the Hippocratic Concordance none connotes putrefaction and only one relates to suppuration (i.e. in a living body). ‘Disfigured’ (by wounds. 945) is the only legitimate translation here. I raise this matter partly because it seems to me to be relevant to the dating of the play (see Introduction 7) and partly to counter Mendelsohn, who writes ((2002) 195): ‘Theseus’ mention of the decomposing bodies of the Seven, en route for burial (944-6), is the gruesome reality that stands in vivid contrast to Adrastos’ gleaming rhetoric.’ 945 the bloody wounds of corpses: literally, ‘blood and the wounds of corpses’: hendiadys. OCT here follows Toup’s brilliant correction of the nonsensical L: see apparatus. 948 Theseus: the name is given emphasis by being placed in enjambement. 949 you will gather the ashes to your embrace: literally, ‘you will bring the bones to yourselves’. It is possible that the Greek suggests that the women are to take the ashes home. See Collard (1975) n.947-9a: ‘Warriors slain on the Epic battlefield were burned and their ashes buried there, but the home-bringing of the ashes for burial was an Athenian custom instituted only in the C. 5 and associated with the public έπιταφίοο’ [funeral oration]’. Since the play is set in the epic era. there is a deliberate anachronism here as contemporary Athenian practice is back-projected upon the world



of heroes, reflecting the presentation of Theseus as the proponent of Athenian democracy as well as a king of Athens in the heroic age (see Introduction 3.a). For the anachronism, see Wilamowitz' magisterial note on Aesch. Ag. 435: cf. Soph. El. 1266ff. Here and later (1107. 1115. 1185) I have translated the Greek word for -bones· as ’ashes'. Talking of Roman cremation (which must have been much the same as Greek). David Noy (GAR (2002) 186) remarks. ’The force of the fire, the raking and collapse of the pyre during burning, and eventual quenching with cold liquid would together normally be sufficient to reduce the bones to small fragments which would fit easily into [a] container.’ Noy makes an interesting comparison between ancient cremation and what happens in gas-fired crematoria today (186-7). 949-53 Oh you unhappy ones...avoid labours: compare Adrastos previous moralizing at 744-9. Of the present passage, Michelini (1994), 245, writes that Adrastos’ words 'reassemble in a new and broader context the same slogans that appeared in earlier political debate’: i.e. his ηΰυχοι μεθ ηούχων, which I have translated ’living in peace with one another’ (see n.952). looks back to 324-5 (see notes there), 481-8 and possibly 573-7. Now. as Michelini says, caution and quietude appear to him in a positive light. 951 ceasing from your labours: a variant on the theme of labours (steer clear of them): see also 954 and Introduction I. Presumably the labours (πονοι) referred to here are the miseries men make for themselves by resorting to war. not words (74 -9), i e Polyneikes and Adrastos himself. But the fact remains that Theseus and the Athenians have undertaken a ttovoc of selfless exertion in going to war to recover t e Argive corpses. Adrastos is gracelessly ungrateful. However, he comes roun to an appreciation of what they have done at 1176-9. 1181. For the ant.-war sentiment, cf. 486-93, Eur. Heracl. 371-2, Tro. 400. . r, 952 living in peace with one another: literally, ’quiet men with qu.etmen . For the political overtones of the Greek word for ’quiet' (ηςυχοε), cf. nn.3 , . 953-4 Life is a brief affair...and avoid labours: literally, the business of life is brief. This is a colloquial periphrasis: cf. Eur. Andr. 1 8 1 (see Stevens note), . F 96. Adrastos’ reflection that since life is short one should ma e it as pain ess as possible is in its context a new and interesting idea and, as such, very ι erent rom t e inert gnomic sentiments that we so often meet with at the end o speec es in ree tragedy. (Euripides was especially fond of such conclusive reflections, some οo the instances from tragedy are in his plays (Johansen (n. 22 ) ).) or eJ example (again placed at the end of a scene) that ’is meant to be ear , see with Bond’s note. For the sentiment expressed in 953-4 elsewhere in uripi es, see 503-5, Hel. 253-4, Bacch. 397-402. . . L u 954 stage direction: note that the secondary chorus ot boys exits ere. ey ave to reenter at 1114. Thus the Euadne-lphis scene is played only before women. 9 5 5 -7 9

Fourth stasimon

Now left entirely on their own, the Chorus sing of the misery' of their childless old age. They are adrift. Not only have they have lost their children; they also feel alienated from the gods. All they can do is weep. The aeolic rhythm is common both to this Chorus and Euadne’s monody (990-1030) - and thus the stasimon prepares the way for



her aria. Thematically too it paves the way for the next scene in which a father will lose his daughter and join the despairing ranks of the childless.

958-9 Artemis, goddess of childbirth, would not speak to those who are childless: the women are too old to bear new children. The goddess has withdrawn her favour. 'Childbirth and nurture of the young were an important function of Artemis, who was worshipped as Locheia ‘birth-bringer’ and with similar titles such as Eileithuia (originally an independent birth-goddess)’ (Cropp’s note on Eur. IT 1097). 961-2 like some wandering cloud I flit to and fro, (driven) by cruel winds: ‘The old women who comprise the chorus...remain as figuratively displaced by griefstricken childlessness as they were literally displaced at the play’s opening, when their childlessness and...wandering far from home were likewise highlighted (9, 35)’ (Mendelsohn (2002) I): cf. 280. Their sense of displacement recurs in the responding lines of the antistrophe in which they say that they belong neither among the living nor the dead (968-70). 963 We seven mothers: how many Argive women constitute the chorus'? The number "seven’ is hammered home in this line. But see n .l-4la. 966-71 And now I grow old...left for me: a powerful statement of the misery of childless old age. Cf. 49-51, 169-75, 1080-1113. 1116-17. 967 in utter misery: 1 have translated OCT’s superlative adverb δυοτανοτάτωο. The superlative adverb ending in -coc is found elsewhere at Aesch. Supp. 672 (Diggle) and Soph. OC 1579 but nowhere else. The adjectives given in the apparatus could be translated in an adverbial sense with much the same meaning. 968-9 t numbered neither among the dead nor among the living, +: the sense is good. The problem is that 969 does not respond in metre to 961 in the strophe. The conjectures offered reorder the wording but do not alter the sense. See Diggle (1981) 23-4. For the idea of neither ‘a’ nor "b’ but 'in between’ (970), see Griffith’s note at Soph. Ant. 850-2 where he remarks that 'Antigone’s “in-between” status, not truly “resident” among the dead yet disenfranchised from the upper world, creates added distress’. For the expression, cf. Eur. Hel. 1137: ‘What is god, or not god, or what is in between?’ 973-4 locks of hair cut in mourning and ungarlanded hair: for the cutting of hair in mourning, cf n.97. And mourners, of course, do not wear garlands. For a trenchant justification of Markland’s emendation, printed in OCT, see Diggle (1981) 24-6. (L’s text would mean ‘garlands for the hair’.) 974 : Plutarch preserved this line, which a scribe had omitted, presumably because of the similarity in uncial manuscript of the opening words in 974 and 975. in a quotation of 974-6. 975-6 songs which golden-haired Apollo does not accept: i.e. funeral laments, dirges. Apollo, whose cult-hymn is the healing paean, is antipathetic to these. The glorious sun god must avoid the pollution of death and mourning: cf. Eur. Ale. 22-3. Aesch. Ag. 1075 with Fraenkel’s note, 1078-9. and Burkert (1985) 145-6. In fact, all gods must avoid the pollution of death: cf. Artemis at Eur. Hipp. 1437-9 with Barrett’s note. 977 Wailing sleepless in the dawn: literally, ’lying in bed at dawn with wailings'. For the use of the dative, cf. Eur. El 181. For the idea of the sleepless dawn, see Eur. Phaethon 69 where the same words are used in reverse order.




1 shall for ever drench the folds of my robes: literally, 'I shall always moisten the fold (πτύχα is the accusative (unique in Greek tragedy) of πτύξ) of my robes (making it) wet’. The adjective 'wet’ (νοτερόν) is proleptic. i.e. it does not become true until the action in the verb has taken place: cf. Eur. Ion 106. For the pleonasm, cf. 77: ‘bloody your skin (making it) bloody’. 9 8 0-1113

Fifth episode

There now follows one of the most extraordinary scenes in Greek tragedy. Euadne, attired presumably in her wedding dress (1054-6), rushes on to the cliff above the temple, in terms of staging the roof of the skene. This ‘totally unprepared entry" (Allan (2000) 72: cf. Taplin (1977) 11 n.3) is astounding in a number of ways: I. it is one of a very small number of occasions in Greek tragedy when a human character appears aloft (the others in Euripides are Antigone and the Servant at Phoen. 88ff., Orestes, Pylades and Hermione at Or. 1567 - and, on the crane, Medea at 1317, Bellerophon at F 306-8. and Perseus at Andromeda F 124). It will thus create a shock effect on the same scale as the appearance on high of the goddesses Iris and Lyssa at HF 815 (which packs its huge punch by being a mid-play epiphany of two divine figures that is unique in surviving tragedy, by the fact that, again uniquely, both gods speak, and by the devastating content of what they say (see Bond’s n.815ff.)). 2. after the Chorus’ sung stasimon and their chanted anapaests, the audience will be expecting the next scene to be in spoken iambic trimeters, the regular metre of the non-choral parts of Greek tragedy. Instead they are given the wild ecstasy of Euadne’s monody, sung in the aeolic rhythm (see n.955-79) 3. the wedding dress of this frenzied new arrival will make a startling contrast with the mourning garb of the Argive women. In view of all this, it is scarcely surprising that Rehm (1994), 112, writes, ‘As far as we know, nothing like [the Euadne scene] ever took place in fifth-century tragedy before or after Supplices, and it would be hard to find a more theatrically daring moment in the history of the stage.’ The text of the monody is seriously corrupt. There has been considerable intervention by editors at 991-1004 throughout, 1009-10, 1013-22, 1026-30. The obeli are chiefly necessitated by metrical factors. In the strophe (990-1008) Euadne looks back to the joyous day of her wedding with Kapaneus. She has come to Eleusis in a frantic endeavour to join him in death. In the antistrophe (1012-30) she declares her intention of leaping onto the pyre where her husband’s body is burning. She feels that this renewal of marriage in death is cause for ecstatic celebration. Despite the appalling state of the text, Euadne’s monody give us more than a glimpse of the power and intensity of the greatest of the many instances of this form in Euripidean tragedy. The most clear comparison is with Kassadra’s wedding monody in Tro. 308ff. Where is the pyre? The most plausible answer is that a fire has been lit at the back of the retaining wall behind the skene (Csapo and Slater (1995) ID. 148) and that its existence is made plain to the chorus - and the audience - by the rising smoke. (If it was directly behind the skene, Eudane would have nowhere to jump and in any case the wooden structure might have caught fire.) Euadne will thus be able to perform her 7asca-like leap off the back of the roof onto a pile of soft materials, becoming invisible to the audience at once. D.J. Mastronarde (‘Actors on High: The Skene Roof, the Crane, and the Gods in Attic Drama’. Classical Antiquity 9 (1990) 281 n.2) suggests that she was attached to the crane (mechane - see Csapo and Slater (1995) IV.77)) and



lowered behind the skene building at 1070. He observes that her leap would have been safer if she had already been attached to the crane on her entry. Yet such dramatic caution would surely have at the least damaged this thrilling scene, and at the worst rendered it ludicrous. I can find no evidence for any Health and Safety Officer at the Theatre of Dionysos whom the tragedians would have had to defer to! (I am grateful to Dr Scullion for the reconstruction offered above.) For the stage effect of fire. cf. Eur. Tro. 1295-1301, Or. 1573-4, Phaethon F 781.214-5. Euadne’s father Iphis arrives to recover the corpse of his son Kapaneus and in search of his daughter. (In view of what we have heard about his son’s poverty as a young man (873). there is unlikely to be anything grand about Iphis’ mourning costume.) In a harrowing passage of stichomythia (1052-1069). she tells him what she is planning while he pleads with her unavailingly. Then to his and the Chorus’ horror, she leaps to her death on Kapaneus’ pyre. Euadne’s appearance aloft and her leap are, as Rehm justly says, among the most daring effects in theatrical history. The visual tableau of Euadne on high and the Chorus and Iphis (who may gesture upward at 1069 (see n.)) below is filled out by the smoke rising into the sky from Kapaneus’ pyre (see n. 1009-10). This scene, and the Orestes finale, are, more than any other passages in Greek tragedy, defined by a vertiginous polarity of up and down, and the dramatist has prepared the way by embedding in his earlier text a small but significant number of up- and down-motifs. These largely refer to two sensational incidents, the hubristic ascent of Kapaneus upon the gates of Thebes (497-8, 729) and the swallowing of Amphiaraos beneath the earth (501, 926). There is also the messenger’s position on top of his tower (652) and, in anticipation. Athene’s appearance ex machina (1183). By giving these motifs visual expression in this scene (emphatically up in 987-9 and 1045-7, down in 1070 and in the act of falling itself). Euripides enmeshes Euadne’s extraordinary leap in the fabric of his play. It is sensational, yet strangely apt. For discussion of details in the Euadne episode which evoke the idea of the wedding, see R. Seaford. The Tragic Wedding', JHS 107 (1987) 121-2. For discussion of how Euadne’s actions form an integral part of the play, see E.P. Garrison in Groaning Tears: Ethical and Dramatic Aspects o f Suicide in Greek Tragedy (Leiden, New York, Köln. 1995) 121-5. Garrison likens what she sees as Euadne’s failed attempt to gain aretë (1063) to her husband Kapaneus’ hubris. Iphis now laments the miseries of old age and longs for death (1080-1113 - see note for a more detailed summary). He then departs. 980-1 Look: the Greek particles και μήν are regularly used to draw attention to the entry of a new character: cf. 1031. now: it is the general belief that ηδη (translated ‘now’) originated as ή and δή and that the combination of δή ('indeed’) and ηδη may therefore be tautologous. Chantraine (Diet.) identifies a use of ηδη meaning ‘indeed’ at Horn. II. 16.844, but the instances cited by Diggle ((1981) 26-7) suggest that fifthcentury Athenians did not think of the word in that way: cf. 1114. If the repeated sound is an objection. Diggle in a robust note ((1994) 32-3: cf. (1981) 75-6) establishes that Euripides has no problem with this even in contiguous words, this chamber of the sacred tomb: literally, ‘this chamber and sacred tomb’: hendiadys. We discover that the tomb of Kapaneus has already been built (cf. 938). It is of course possible that the



intention to erect it expressed by Theseus in that line has been carried out by extras on stage and that a tomb is now visible. More probably, it is to be imagined either in front of the temple or behind it by Kapaneus’ notional pyre (see η.980-1113). τάοδε in 980 and τήνδ’ in 1009 would in that case refer to just off-stage, as frequently: see e.g. S. Scullion. Three Studies in Athenian Dramaturgy (Stuttgart, 1994) 78 with n.26. 982-3 Theseus’ offerings for the corpses, (brought) out of the temple: there is disagreement about the meaning of αναθήματα here, with Wilamowitz and Grégoire suggesting 'funeral pyre" and Collard 'the rites and offerings of funeral’. I have followed Diggle (1981) 28-9. He argues that the offerings are dedicatory cloths or tapestries and cites Eur. Ion 1141 —4; as Musgrave suggests, they are to be burnt with the dead: cf. Eur. IT 632. [Eur.] Rhes. 963. Theseus continues to evince his now habitual piety. For the inference of the sense of 'brought’, cf. Eur. El. 794, Tro. 574-6. Ion 113-16. Phoen. 1158. 984-5 the famous wife of this man who was destroyed by the thunderbolt: is Euadne famous already simply as the wife of Kapaneus. or, as is surely more likely, is the adjective anticipatory of the glory she hopes she will win for herself by her death: 1015, 1055, 1059. 1063? 986 the daughter whom lord Iphis begat: the father is presumably mentioned to prepare the way for his entry at 1031-2. In addition. Euadne is an uncommon name and a little-known mythological figure, and so a reference to her slightly better-known father will help fix her identity. 987 taken her stand on the heaven-high rock: for the accusative of ’rest’ (πέτραν) with an intransitive verb, cf. Eur. Or. 1251. Ion 91, etc.: cf. L’s reading at 1013.


What light, what brightness did the sun and the moon in their chariots:

Euadne looks back poignantly to the light of the sun and the brightness of the moon that shone, apparently so auspiciously, on her wedding to Kapaneus: for an auspicious sun cf. 650; for a moon propitious for a wedding, cf. Eur. Andr. I009ff., El. 866, Ion 1149. For this way of traversing heaven, cf. Andromeda FI 14 ('Holy night, how long the course you drive in your chariot across the starry back of the holy sky, through most august Olympus.’ (tr. J. Gibert)): for examples from the visual arts see LIMC 11.906-7 ('Astra’).


+ where the swift-running nymphs ride the gleam through the darkness t:

the problems here are characteristic of those that are found throughout the monody: there are difficulties with both sense and grammar; the metre is faulty and does not respond to 1015-6. Collard (1975), n. ad toe., suggests that the nymphs may form part of "the torchlight procession which accompanied a bride to her new home on her wedding-night and form a constant motif in "wedding memories": Eur. Ale. 915. Hel. 639f., Tro. 3081'f., 3l9ff.’ Seaford (1987 - n.980-1113), 121. comments that 'the torches which contributed so much to the splendour of a wedding are associated with the fire in which she and her husband are now to be consumed... Perhaps this association of celebratory and destructive fire gives point to her opening question ['What light, what brightness’, etc.].’ 995 For speculation about what may fill the lacuna, revealed by lack of responsion with 1017, see the apparatus. A favourable adjective agreeing with γάμων would surely fit most aptly, and Diggle’s suggestion (meaning 'famous’, 'glorious’) is to be preferred to



Page's esoteric one (‘sweetly-wedded’). Haupt’s ‘fatally wedded' is altogether inappropriate from the ecstatic Euadne. 997-8 made (my) happiness tower-high: the accusative Greek word for ‘happiness" has been attracted into the plural through its association with the poetic plural of the word for ‘wedding’: cf. Soph. OT 1492. For the metaphor, cf. Eur. Med. 526. 1000-1 with a bacchante’s wild haste: Euadne as maenad: there is surely an in-built stage direction for the actor here: he must play her as febrile and ecstatic in her celebratory garb (1054-6). For discussion of bridal, funereal and maenadic parallels to this scene in Euripides, see Seaford (1993) 125-6. 1002- 3 seeking to share the light of his pyre and his tomb: literally, ‘seeking the light of his pyre and the same tomb’. The translation ‘pyre’ follows OCT but, as at 1124,1 would be happy to preserve L’s πυρόε (‘fire’). 1003- 5 to end my toilsome life of labours in death: a variant on the theme of labours (death ends them): see Introduction I. While the mothers are desolate that their labours have been taken from them (921-2). Euadne is eager to end hers. For καταλύω meaning ‘end’, cf. Eur. F 994.2. Mastronarde on Medea 146 (where the verb is in the middle) says that there is an idea there of taking one’s rest ‘like a weary traveller at an inn (from the notion of undoing one’s baggage or unyoking one’s team)’, in death: literally, ‘into Hades’, my toilsome life of labours: literally, ‘my toilsome life and the labours of life’: hendiadys: the pleonasm lends emphasis: cf. Eur. HF 1035-8, Bacch. 999-1000. For Greek attitudes to suicide, see n.l 104-5. 1007 to die together with one’s dead loved ones: the word I have translated ‘dead’ is in fact a present participle. For the present tense of θνήιεκω used with a past meaning, cf. Eur. Hec. 695, Bacch. 1041, El. 9. The sentiment at the end of the strophe corresponds with that at the end of the antistrophe (1029-30), both expressing the idea of an erotic union in death (see especially 1019-21). We are not so very far away from the ecstasy of Isolde in her Liebestod at the end of Wagner’s Tristan. 1009-10 this pyre near which you are standing, Zeus’ treasure chamber: ‘the pyre holds in Capaneus’ body something ‘‘special” to Zeus’ (Collard (1975), 10091In.) because it had been struck by his lightning. Cf. 935; at Eur. El. 497 ‘Dionysos’ treasure’ is wine. The ecstasy of Euadne is emphasized as the Chorus set their iambic trimeters, the standard metre of the episodes in Greek tragedy, against her wild song (cf. n. 1031). 1013-18 May fortune be with me...leaping into the fire t: Scaliger’s emendation of L’s indicative makes the main verb optative and thus expresses a wish (‘May fortune be with the leap of my foot for me’), not a statement. The obeloi are chiefly the result of metrical problems. The connection of syntax between 1014 and 1015 is problematic too. L’s reading (άλλα τηε) provides a link: however, άλλα (‘but’) is not wanted: we would need ‘and’. Following L here would make the preceding words mean ‘May the fortune of my foot be with me’, which, though possible, would be fiat and unconvincing. Hermann’s αλματι (‘with the leap’) removes the false ‘but’, matches the corresponding verse-end at 992 better, and lends the requisite energy to Euadne’s wish. The verb which I have translated ‘jump’ (όρμάω) suggests Bacchic haste (cf. Soph. Ant. 135. where the cognate noun is used of Kapaneus: like husband, like wife).



"Leaping (1017) and subsequently "joining’ (1020) and "placing’ (1021) are all aorist participles, but they do not precede the action of the leading verb ("I shall jump’) in time: they describe different aspects of the same total action. This "coincident’ use of the aorist participle is fully explained by Barrett in his note on Eur. Hipp. 280-92.

1019—21 joining my body to my dear husband’s in the blazing flames and placing my flesh next to his flesh: the eroticism of this expression of the hoped-for union in death is striking indeed (cf. n. 1007). For erotic overtones to the adjective φίλος, see Eur. !A 69, Tro. 700, Phaethon 98 (F 773.59). 1022 the bridal chambers of Persephone: i.e. the underworld, where Persephone spent a number of months of each year as the wife of Hades and therefore as queen, θάλαμοο ("inner room’) is not necessarily a bridal chamber but that is a common meaning (LSJ la) and is rendered inescapable here by the context of the marriage in death. Since Persephone shares the shrine at Eleusis with her mother Demeter, there is a special charge in Euadne's use of her name at this location. She is going down to the underworld like Persephone. However, R. Rehm ((1994) 113-15) shows how Euadne cannot be assimilated into the Demeter/Persephone myth: Euadne "imagines that she is following Persephone as a bride of Hades, but her actions categorically deny the myth’s redemptive promise of revival and reunion’: cf. C. Sourvinou-lnwood (2003), quoted at the end of Introduction 5.a. Later, after her act of self-immolation, Mendelsohn (2002), 216-7, feels that there may well be "a corresponding likeness between the grief-stricken Iphis...and Demeter herself. He develops this likeness interestingly on 217-18. 1023—4 betraying: literally, ‘having betrayed’: a temporal aorist participle, unlike the ‘coincident’ ones in 1017-21 (see n.1013-18). you who are dead beneath the ground: I have translated κατά ydc with τον θανόντ’. by staying alive: one possible translation of έμά ψυχά, literally, ‘in my soul, 'in my life spirit’. Others that have been suggested are ‘by living on this earth’ and 'in my heart’. The ψυχή is the seat and operation of what you do with your life. 1025 Light the marriage-torch, start the marriage-song: literally, ‘let the light and the marriage)-song) proceed’. Euadne sings the marriage-cry; cf. Eur. Tro. 308 (the maenadic Kassandra) and Phaethon 101 = F 773.58. Collard (n.1025) points out how these invocatory words of the wedding-hymn "are lent a pathetic irony from the exactly responding verse in the strophe’ (1002 - 'the light of the pyre and his tomb’). See Seaford’s comment quoted in n.993^1. 1026-30: the text is extremely corrupt and unmetrical. The main problems are: ε’ίθε should be used with the optative, not the subjunctive as here, to express a wish; ‘your’ (coc) is clearly wrong: if a possessive adjective is wanted here, it should be ‘my’ (which I have given in my translation); the nominative ‘husband’ (1028) is not the subject of any verb (my translation takes it that she wishes him to be an example); there is no main verb after δέ in 1028. The general sense, however, is clear: Euadne is expressing the wish that all Argive brides may be as faithful as she. It has to be said, however, that she is resorting to a very un-Argive, un-Greek way of demonstrating fidelity. Her suttee (a Sanskrit word referring to a Hindu widow who immolates herself on her husband’s pyre or, as here, the act of self-immolation itself) suggests uncontrolled Eastern behaviour: cf. Morwood (2002) 34.



1026-7 sound marriages: literally, 'some beds of sound wedding(-song)s‘ - an elaborate pleonasm: cf. Eur. Med. 641. HF 798-9, IA 131-2: but the lack of metrical correspondence between 1026 and 1003 indicates corruption here: hence the obeloi. appear: Diggle interestingly speculates in his apparatus whether the idea of Orphans’ (