The Dionysiaca is an ancient Greek epic poem and the principal work of Nonnus. It is an epic in 48 books, the longest surviving poem from antiquity at 20,426 lines, composed in Homeric dialect and dactylic hexameters, the main subject of, the life of Dionysus, his expedition to India, his triumphant return to the west; the poem is thought to have been written in the late 4th and/or early 5th century. The Dionysiaca appears to be incomplete, some scholars believe that a 49th book was being planned when Nonnus stopped work on the poem, although others point out that the number of books in the Dionysiaca is the same as the 48 books of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, it has been conjectured that conversion to Christianity or death caused Nonnus to abandon the poem after some revisions. Editors have pointed out various inconsistencies and the difficulties of Book 39 which appears to be a disjointed series of descriptions, as evidence of the poem's lack of revision. Others have attributed these problems to copyists or editors, but most scholars agree on the poem's incompleteness.
The primary models for Nonnus are the Cyclic poets. The influence of Euripides' Bacchae is significant, as is the influence of the other tragedians whose Dionysiac plays do not survive, his debt to poets whose work survives only in disjointed fragments is far harder to gauge, but it is that he alludes to earlier poets' treatments of the life of Dionysus, such as the lost poems by Euphorion, Peisander of Laranda's elaborate encyclopedic mythological poem and Soteirichus. Reflections of Hesiod's poetry the Catalogue of Women, of Pindar, Callimachus can all be seen in the work of Nonnus. Theocritus' influence can be detected in Nonnus' focus on pastoral themes. Virgil and Ovid seem to have influenced Nonnus' organization of the poem. Nonnus seems to have been an important influence for the poets of Late Antiquity Musaeus, Colluthus and Dracontius. Although it is difficult to determine whether Claudian influenced Nonnus or Nonnus influenced Claudian, the two poets have some striking similarities in their treatments of Persephone.
Nonnus remained continuously important in the Byzantine world, his influence can be found in Genesius and Planudes. In the Renaissance, Poliziano popularized him to the West, Goethe admired him in the 18th century, he was admired by Thomas Love Peacock in 19th-century England. The metrics of Nonnus have been admired by scholars for the poet's careful handling of dactylic hexameter and innovation. While Homer has 32 varieties of hexameter lines, Nonnus only employs 9 variations, avoids elision, employs weak caesurae, follows a variety of euphonic and syllabic rules regarding word placement, it is remarkable that Nonnus was so exacting with meter because the quantitative meter of classical poetry was giving way in Nonnus' time to stressed meter. These metrical restraints encouraged the creation of new compounds and coined words, Nonnus' work has some of the greatest variety of coinages in any Greek poem; the poem is notably varied in its organization. Nonnus does not seem to arrange his poem in a linear chronology.
The poem states as its guiding principle poikilia, diversity in narrative and organization. The appearance of Proteus, a shapeshifting god, in the proem serves as a metaphor for Nonnus' varied style. Nonnus employs the style of the epyllion for many of his narrative sections, such as his treatment of Ampelus in 10–11, Nicaea in 15–16, Beroe in 41–43; these epyllia are inserted into the general narrative framework and are some of the highlights of the poem. Nonnus employs synkrisis, throughout his poem, most notably in the comparison of Dionysus and other heroes in Book 25; the complexity of organization and the richness of the language have caused the style of the poem to be termed Nonnian "Baroque." The size of Nonnus' poem and its late date between Imperial and Byzantine literature have caused the Dionysiaca to receive little attention from scholars. The contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica, noting the poem's "vast and formless luxuriance, its beautiful but artificial versification, its delineation of action and passion to the entire neglect of character," remarked, "His chief merit consists in the systematic perfection to which he brought the Homeric hexameter.
But the correctness of the versification renders it monotonous. His influence on the vocabulary of his successors was very considerable," expressing the 19th-century attitude to this poem as a pretty and disorganized collection of stories; as with many other late classical poets, newer scholarship has avoided the value-laden judgments of 19th-century scholars and attempted to reassess and rehabilitate Nonnus' works. There are two main focuses of Nonnian scholarship today: structure. Nonnus' compendious accounts of Dionysiac legend and his use of variant traditions and lost sources have encouraged scholars to use him as a channel to recover lost Hellenistic poetry and mythic traditions; the edition of Nonnus in the Loeb Classical Library includes a "mythological introduction" which charts the "decline" of Dionysiac mythology in the poem and implies that the work's only value is as a repository of lost mythology. Nonnus remains an important source of mythology and information to those researching classical religion, Hellenistic poetry, Late Antiquity.
However, scholars have focused more positively on No
Zeus is the sky and thunder god in ancient Greek religion, who rules as king of the gods of Mount Olympus. His name is cognate with the first element of his Roman equivalent Jupiter, his mythologies and powers are similar, though not identical, to those of Indo-European deities such as Jupiter, Perkūnas, Perun and Thor. Zeus is the child of Cronus and Rhea, the youngest of his siblings to be born, though sometimes reckoned the eldest as the others required disgorging from Cronus's stomach. In most traditions, he is married to Hera, by whom he is said to have fathered Ares and Hephaestus. At the oracle of Dodona, his consort was said to be Dione, by whom the Iliad states that he fathered Aphrodite. Zeus was infamous for his erotic escapades; these resulted in many divine and heroic offspring, including Athena, Artemis, Persephone, Perseus, Helen of Troy and the Muses. He was respected as an allfather, chief of the gods and assigned the others to their roles: "Even the gods who are not his natural children address him as Father, all the gods rise in his presence."
He was equated with many foreign weather gods, permitting Pausanias to observe "That Zeus is king in heaven is a saying common to all men". Zeus' symbols are the thunderbolt, eagle and oak. In addition to his Indo-European inheritance, the classical "cloud-gatherer" derives certain iconographic traits from the cultures of the ancient Near East, such as the scepter. Zeus is depicted by Greek artists in one of two poses: standing, striding forward with a thunderbolt leveled in his raised right hand, or seated in majesty; the god's name in the nominative is Ζεύς. It is inflected as follows: vocative: Ζεῦ. Diogenes Laërtius quotes Pherecydes of Syros as spelling the name, Ζάς. Zeus is the Greek continuation of *Di̯ēus, the name of the Proto-Indo-European god of the daytime sky called *Dyeus ph2tēr; the god is known under this name in the Rigveda, deriving from the root *dyeu-. Zeus is the only deity in the Olympic pantheon whose name has such a transparent Indo-European etymology; the earliest attested forms of the name are the Mycenaean Greek, di-we and, di-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.
Plato, in his Cratylus, gives a folk etymology of Zeus meaning "cause of life always to all things," because of puns between alternate titles of Zeus with the Greek words for life and "because of." This etymology, along with Plato's entire method of deriving etymologies, is not supported by modern scholarship. Cronus sired several children by Rhea: Hestia, Hera and Poseidon, but swallowed them all as soon as they were born, since he had learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by his son as he had overthrown Uranus, his own father, an oracle that Rhea heard and wished to avert; when Zeus was about to be born, Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save him, so that Cronus would get his retribution for his acts against Uranus and his own children. Rhea gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handing Cronus a rock wrapped in swaddling clothes, which he promptly swallowed. Varying versions of the story exist: According to Hyginus ) Zeus was raised by a nymph named Amalthea. Since Saturn ruled over the Earth, the heavens and the sea, she hid him by dangling him on a rope from a tree so he was suspended between earth and sky and thus, invisible to his father.
According to Pseudo-Apollodorus ) Zeus was raised by a goat named Amalthea in a cave called Dictaeon Antron. A a company of soldiers called Kouretes danced and clashed their spears against their shields so that Cronus would not hear the baby's cry. After reaching manhood, Zeus forced Cronus to disgorge first the stone his siblings in reverse order of swallowing. In some versions, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the babies, or Zeus cut Cronus's stomach open. Zeus released the brothers of Cronus, the Hecatonchires and the Cyclopes, from their dungeon in Tartarus, killing their guard, Campe; as a token of their appreciation, the Cyclopes gave him thunder and the thunderbolt, or lightning, hidden by Gaia. Together, his brothers and sisters and Cyclopes overthrew Cronus and the other Titans, in the combat called the Titanomachy; the defeated Titans were cast into a shadowy underworld region known as Tartarus. Atlas, one of the titans who fought against Zeus, was punished by having to hold up the sky.
After the battle with the Titans, Zeus shared the world with his elder brothers and Hades, by drawing lots: Zeus got the sky and air, Poseidon the waters, Hades the world of the dead. The ancient Earth, could not be claimed. Gaia resented. Soon after taking the throne as king of the gods, Zeus had to fight some of Gaia's other children, the monsters Typhon and Echidna, he left Echidna and her children alive. When Zeus was atop Mount Olympus he was appalled by human sac
Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology
The Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology is an encyclopedia/biographical dictionary. Edited by William Smith, the dictionary spans 3,700 pages, it is a classic work of 19th-century lexicography. The work is a companion to Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities and Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography; the work lists thirty-five authors in addition to the editor, an author for some definitions and articles. The authors were classical scholars from Oxford, Rugby School, the University of Bonn, but some were from other institutions. Many of the mythological entries were the work of the German expatriate Leonhard Schmitz, who helped to popularise German classical scholarship in Britain. With respect to biographies, Smith intended to be comprehensive. In the preface, he writes:The biographical articles in this work include the names of all persons of any importance which occur in the Greek and Roman writers, from the earliest times down to the extinction of the Western Empire in the year 476 of our era, to the extinction of the Eastern Empire by the capture of Constantinople by the turks in the year 1453.
Samuel Sharpe thought Edward Bunbury had plagiarised his work, as he wrote of in his diary entry on 3 September 1850: I felt mortified on reading the articles on the Ptolemies in Dr. Smith's "Dictionary of Classical Biography." They were all written by E. H. Bunbury with the help of my "History of Egypt," and with-out any acknowledgment, though he borrowed the volume from my brother Dan for the purpose. Many of the Dictionary's definitions and articles have been referred to in more recent works, Robert Graves has been accused of "lifting his impressive-looking source references straight, unchecked" from it when writing The Greek Myths; the work is now in the public domain, is available in several places on the Internet. While still accurate, much is missing more recent discoveries and epigraphic material. More the context in which ancient evidence is viewed has changed in the intervening century and a half. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.
Vol. I online at University of Michigan Library. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. II online at University of Michigan Library. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Vol. III online at University of Michigan Library; the Internet Archive has a derivative work: Smith, William. A new classical dictionary of biography and geography based on the "Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology.". London: Murray. Anthon, Charles. A new classical dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and geography: based upon the Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology by William Smith. New York: Harper and Brothers
Tantalus was a Greek mythological figure, most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was called Atys, he was made to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches, with the fruit eluding his grasp, the water always receding before he could take a drink. He was the father of Pelops and Broteas, was a son of Zeus and the nymph Plouto. Thus, like other heroes in Greek mythology such as Theseus and the Dioskouroi, Tantalus had both a hidden, divine parent and a mortal one. According to other sources, his father was an early king of Lydia. Plato in the Cratylus interprets Tantalos as ταλάντατος talantatos, "who has to bear much" from τάλας talas "wretched". R. S. P. Beekes has rejected an Indo-European interpretation. There may have been an historical Tantalus – the ruler of an Anatolian city named "Tantalís", "the city of Tantalus", or of a city named "Sipylus". Pausanias reports that there was a port under his name and a sepulcher of him "by no means obscure", in the same region.
Tantalus is referred to as "Phrygian", sometimes as "King of Phrygia", although his city was located in the western extremity of Anatolia, where Lydia was to emerge as a state before the beginning of the first millennium BC, not in the traditional heartland of Phrygia, situated more inland. References to his son as "Pelops the Lydian" led some scholars to the conclusion that there would be good grounds for believing that he belonged to a primordial house of Lydia. Other versions name his father as Tmolus, the name of a king of Lydia and, like Sipylus, of another mountain in ancient Lydia; the location of Tantalus' mortal mountain-fathers placed him in Lydia. The identity of his wife is variously given: as Dione the daughter of Atlas. Tantalus was called the father of Dascylus. Tantalus, through Pelops, was the progenitor of the House of Atreus, named after his grandson Atreus. Tantalus was the great-grandfather of Agamemnon and Menelaus; the geographer Strabo, quoting earlier sources, states that the wealth of Tantalus was derived from the mines of Phrygia and Mount Sipylus.
Near Mount Sipylus are archaeological features that have been associated with Tantalus and his house since Antiquity. Near Mount Yamanlar in İzmir, where the Lake Karagöl associated with the accounts surrounding him is found, is a monument mentioned by Pausanias: the tholos "tomb of Tantalus" and another one in Mount Sipylus, where a "throne of Pelops", an altar or bench carved in rock and conjecturally associated with his son is found. A more famous monument, a full-faced statue carved in rock, mentioned by Pausanias, is a statue of Cybele, said by Pausanias to have been carved by Broteas, but it is in fact Hittite. Further afield, based on a similarity between the names Tantalus and Hantili, it has been suggested that the name Tantalus may have derived from that of these two Hittite kings. Tantalus became one of the inhabitants of Tartarus, the deepest portion of the Underworld, reserved for the punishment of evildoers; the association of Tantalus with the underworld is underscored by the names of his mother Plouto, grandmother, Chthonia.
Tantalus was known for having been welcomed to Zeus' table in Olympus, like Ixion. There, he is said to have misbehaved and stolen ambrosia and nectar to bring it back to his people, revealed the secrets of the gods. Most famously, Tantalus offered up Pelops, as a sacrifice, he cut Pelops up, boiled him, served him up in a banquet for the gods. The gods became aware of the gruesome nature of the menu, so they did not touch the offering. Clotho, one of the three Fates, was ordered by Zeus to bring the boy to life again, she collected the parts of the body and boiled them in a sacred cauldron, rebuilding his shoulder with one wrought of ivory made by Hephaestus and presented by Demeter. The revived Pelops grew to be an extraordinarily handsome youth; the god Poseidon took him to Mount Olympus to teach him to use chariots. Zeus threw Pelops out of Olympus due to his anger at Tantalus; the Greeks of classical times claimed to be horrified by Tantalus's doings. Tantalus's punishment for his act, now a proverbial term for temptation without satisfaction, was to stand in a pool of water beneath a fruit tree with low branches.
Whenever he reached for the fruit, the branches raised his intended meal from his grasp. Whenever he bent down to get a drink, the water receded. Over his head towers a threatening stone like the one; this fate has cursed him with eternal deprivation of nourishment. In a different story, Tantalus was blamed for indirectly having stolen the dog made of gold created by Hephaestus for Rhea to watch over infant Zeus. Tantalus's friend Pandareus gave it to Tantalus for safekeeping; when asked by Pandareus to return the dog, Tantalus denied that he had i
In Greek mythology, Cronos, or Kronos, was the leader and youngest of the first generation of Titans, the divine descendants of Uranus, the sky, Gaia, the earth. He overthrew his father and ruled during the mythological Golden Age, until he was overthrown by his own son Zeus and imprisoned in Tartarus. According to Plato, the deities Phorcys and Rhea were the eldest children of Oceanus and Tethys. Cronus was depicted with a harpe, scythe or a sickle, the instrument he used to castrate and depose Uranus, his father. In Athens, on the twelfth day of the Attic month of Hekatombaion, a festival called Kronia was held in honour of Cronus to celebrate the harvest, suggesting that, as a result of his association with the virtuous Golden Age, Cronus continued to preside as a patron of the harvest. Cronus was identified in classical antiquity with the Roman deity Saturn. In an ancient myth recorded by Hesiod's Theogony, Cronus envied the power of his father, the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus's mother, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-handed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in Tartarus, so that they would not see the light.
Gaia created a great stone sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to castrate Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush; when Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked him with the sickle, castrating him and casting his testicles into the sea. From the blood that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes and Meliae were produced; the testicles produced a white foam from. For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons Titenes for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act. After dispatching Uranus, Cronus re-imprisoned the Hecatonchires, the Cyclopes and set the dragon Campe to guard them, he and his sister Rhea took the throne of the world as queen. The period in which Cronus ruled was called the Golden Age, as the people of the time had no need for laws or rules. Cronus learned from Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overcome by his own sons, just as he had overthrown his father.
As a result, although he sired the gods Demeter, Hera and Poseidon by Rhea, he devoured them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy. When the sixth child, was born Rhea sought Gaia to devise a plan to save them and to get retribution on Cronus for his acts against his father and children. Rhea secretly gave birth to Zeus in Crete, handed Cronus a stone wrapped in swaddling clothes known as the Omphalos Stone, which he promptly swallowed, thinking that it was his son. Rhea kept Zeus hidden in a cave on Crete. According to some versions of the story, he was raised by a goat named Amalthea, while a company of Kouretes, armored male dancers and clapped their hands to make enough noise to mask the baby's cries from Cronus. Other versions of the myth have Zeus raised by the nymph Adamanthea, who hid Zeus by dangling him by a rope from a tree so that he was suspended between the earth, the sea, the sky, all of which were ruled by his father, Cronus. Still other versions of the tale say that Zeus was raised by Gaia.
Once he had grown up, Zeus used an emetic given to him by Gaia to force Cronus to disgorge the contents of his stomach in reverse order: first the stone, set down at Pytho under the glens of Mount Parnassus to be a sign to mortal men, his two brothers and three sisters. In other versions of the tale, Metis gave Cronus an emetic to force him to disgorge the children. After freeing his siblings, Zeus released the Hecatoncheires, the Cyclopes who forged for him his thunderbolts, Poseidon's trident and Hades' helmet of darkness. In a vast war called the Titanomachy and his brothers and sisters, with the help of the Hecatonchires and Cyclopes, overthrew Cronus and the other Titans. Afterwards, many of the Titans were confined in Tartarus. However, Helios, Prometheus and Menoetius were not imprisoned following the Titanomachy. Gaia bore the monster Typhon to claim revenge for the imprisoned Titans. Accounts of the fate of Cronus after the Titanomachy differ. In Homeric and other texts he is imprisoned with the other Titans in Tartarus.
In Orphic poems, he is imprisoned for eternity in the cave of Nyx. Pindar describes his release from Tartarus. In another version, the Titans released the Cyclopes from Tartarus, Cronus was awarded the kingship among them, beginning a Golden Age. In Virgil's Aeneid, it is Latium to which Saturn escapes and ascends as king and lawgiver, following his defeat by his son Jupiter. One other account referred by Robert Graves, who claims to be following the account of the Byzantine mythographer Tzetzes, it is said that Cronus was castrated by his son Zeus just like he had done with his father Uranus before; however the subject of a son castrating his own father, or castration in general, was so repudiated by the Greek mythographers of that time that they suppressed it from their accounts until the Christian era. In a Libyan account related by Diodorus Siculus and Titaea were the parents of
Loeb Classical Library
The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books published by Heinemann in Londen, today by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each left-hand page, a literal translation on the facing page. The General Editor is Jeffrey Henderson, holder of the William Goodwin Aurelio Professorship of Greek Language and Literature at Boston University; the Loeb Classical Library was conceived and funded by the Jewish-German-American banker and philanthropist James Loeb. The first volumes were edited by T. E. Page, W. H. D. Rouse, Edward Capps, published by William Heinemann, Ltd. in 1912 in their distinctive green and red hardcover bindings. Since scores of new titles have been added, the earliest translations have been revised several times. In recent years, this has included the removal of earlier editions' bowdlerization, which habitually extended to reversal of gender to disguise homosexual references or translated sexually explicit passages into Latin, rather than English.
Since 1934, it has been co-published with Harvard University. Profit from the editions continues to fund graduate student fellowships at Harvard University; the Loebs have only a minimal critical apparatus. They are intended for the amateur reader of Greek or Latin, are so nearly ubiquitous as to be recognizable. In 1917 Virginia Woolf wrote: The Loeb Library, with its Greek or Latin on one side of the page and its English on the other, came as a gift of freedom.... The existence of the amateur was recognised by the publication of this Library, to a great extent made respectable.... The difficulty of Greek is not sufficiently dwelt upon, chiefly because the sirens who lure us to these perilous waters are scholars have forgotten... What those difficulties are, but for the ordinary amateur they are real and great. Harvard University assumed complete responsibility for the series in 1989 and in recent years four or five new or re-edited volumes have been published annually. In 2001, Harvard University Press began issuing a second series of books with a similar format.
The I Tatti Renaissance Library presents key Renaissance works in Latin with a facing English translation. A third series, the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library, was introduced in 2010 covering works in Byzantine Greek, Medieval Latin, Old English. Volumes with a brown cover; the Clay Sanskrit Library, bound in teal cloth, was modeled on the Loeb Classical Library. As the command of Latin among generalist historians and archaeologists shrank in the course of the 20th century, professionals came to rely on these texts designed for amateurs; as Birgitta Hoffmann remarked in 2001 of Tacitus' Agricola, "Unfortunately the first thing that happens in bilingual versions like the Loebs is that most of this apparatus vanishes and, if you use a translation, there is no way of knowing that there were problems with the text in the first place."In 2014, the Loeb Classical Library Foundation and Harvard University Press launched the digital Loeb Classical Library, described as "an interconnected searchable, perpetually growing, virtual library of all, important in Greek and Latin literature."
The listings of Loeb volumes at online bookstores and library catalogues vary and are best navigated via ISBN numbers. L170N) Iliad, Second Edition: Volume I. Books 1–12 L171N) Iliad: Volume II. Books 13–24 L104) Odyssey: Volume I. Books 1–12 L105) Odyssey: Volume II. Books 13–24 L057N) Volume I. Theogony. Works and Days. Testimonia L503) Volume II; the Shield. Catalogue of Women. Other Fragments L344) Dionysiaca: Volume I. Books 1–15 L354) Dionysiaca: Volume II. Books 16–35 L356) Dionysiaca: Volume III. Books 36–48 L496) Homeric Hymns. Homeric Apocrypha. Lives of Homer L497) Greek Epic Fragments L001) Apollonius Rhodius: Argonautica L019N) Quintus Smyrnaeus: Posthomerica L219) Oppian and Tryphiodorus L142) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume I. Sappho and Alcaeus L143) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume II. Anacreon, Choral Lyric from Olympus to Alcman L476) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume III. Stesichorus, Ibycus and Others L461) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume IV. Bacchylides and Others L144) Greek Lyric Poetry: Volume V; the New School of Poetry and Anonymous Songs and Hymns L258N) Greek Elegiac Poetry: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC.
Tyrtaeus, Solon and Others L259N) Greek Iambic Poetry: From the Seventh to the Fifth Centuries BC. Archilochus, Semonides and Others L056) Pindar: Volume I. Olympian Odes. Pythian Odes L485) Pindar: Volume II. Nemean Odes. Isthmian Odes. Fragments L129) Callimachus: Hymns, Epigrams. Phaenomena. Alexandra L421) Callimachus: Aetia, Iambi and Other Fragments. Hero and Leander L028) Greek Bucolic Poets: Theocritus. Bion. Moschus L508) Hellenistic Collection: Philitas. Alexander of Aetolia. Hermesianax. Euphorion. Parthenius L067) Volume I. Book 1: Christian Epigrams. Book 2: Christodorus of Thebes in Egypt. Book 3: The Cyzicene Epigrams. Book 4: The Proems of the Different Anthologies. Book 5: The Amatory Epigrams. Book 6: The Dedicatory Epigrams L068
Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived; some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according to the Suda, it was 92 at most. Of these, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete and there are fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer and Menander. Euripides is identified with theatrical innovations that have profoundly influenced drama down to modern times in the representation of traditional, mythical heroes as ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances; this new approach led him to pioneer developments that writers adapted to comedy, some of which are characteristic of romance. Yet he became "the most tragic of poets", focusing on the inner lives and motives of his characters in a way unknown.
He was "the creator of...that cage, the theatre of Shakespeare's Othello, Racine's Phèdre, of Ibsen and Strindberg," in which "...imprisoned men and women destroy each other by the intensity of their loves and hates", yet he was the literary ancestor of comic dramatists as diverse as Menander and George Bernard Shaw. Unique among writers of Ancient Athens, Euripides demonstrated sympathy towards the underrepresented members of society, his male contemporaries were shocked by the'heresies' he put into the mouths of characters, such as these words of his heroine Medea: His contemporaries associated him with Socrates as a leader of a decadent intellectualism, both of them being lampooned by comic poets such as Aristophanes. Whereas Socrates was put on trial and executed as a corrupting influence, Euripides chose a voluntary exile in old age, dying in Macedonia. Recent scholarship casts doubt on ancient biographies of Euripides. For example, it is possible that he never visited Macedonia at all, or, if he did, he might have been drawn there by King Archelaus with incentives that were offered to other artists.
Traditional accounts of the author's life are found in many commentaries and include details such as these: He was born on Salamis Island around 480 BC, with parents Cleito and Mnesarchus, a retailer who lived in a village near Athens. Upon the receipt of an oracle saying that his son was fated to win "crowns of victory", Mnesarchus insisted that the boy should train for a career in athletics. In fact the boy was destined for a career on the stage, where however he was to win only five victories, one of, after his death, he served for a short time as both torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius. His education was not confined to athletics: he studied painting and philosophy under the masters Prodicus and Anaxagoras, he had two disastrous marriages and both his wives—Melite and Choerine —were unfaithful. He became a recluse. "There he built an impressive library and pursued daily communion with the sea and sky". He retired to the "rustic court" of King Archelaus in Macedonia, where he died in 406 BC.
However, as mentioned in the introduction, biographical details such as these should be regarded with scepticism. They are derived entirely from three unreliable sources: folklore, employed by the ancients to lend colour to the lives of celebrated authors; this biography is divided into three sections corresponding to the three kinds of sources. Euripides was the youngest in a set of three great tragedians who were contemporaries: his first play was staged thirteen years after Sophocles' debut and only three years after Aeschylus's masterpiece, the Oresteia; the identity of the threesome is neatly underscored by a patriotic account of their roles during Greece's great victory over Persia at the Battle of Salamis—Aeschylus fought there, Sophocles was just old enough to celebrate the victory in a boys' chorus and Euripides was born on the day of the battle. The apocryphal account that he composed his works in a cave on Salamis island was a late tradition and it symbolizes the isolation of an intellectual, rather ahead of his time.
Much of his life and his whole career coincided with the struggle between Athens and Sparta for hegemony in Greece but he didn't live to see the final defeat of his city. It is said that he died in Macedonia after being attacked by the Molossian hounds of King Archelaus and that his cenotaph near Piraeus was struck by lightning—signs of his unique powers, whether for good or ill. In an account by Plutarch, the catastrophic failure of the Sicilian expedition led Athenians to trade renditions of Euripides' lyrics to their enemies in return for food and drink. Plutarch is the source for the story that the victorious Spartan generals, having planned the demolition of Athens and the enslavement of its people, grew merciful after being entertained at a banquet by lyrics from Euripides' play Electra: "they felt that it would be a barbarous act to annihilate a ci