Omphale's Scroll Club

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About Euripides

Euripides was born around 484 B.C. on the island of Salamis. He was the son of Mnesarchus, an unsuccessful retailer near Athens, and Cleito, whom comic writers accused of selling vegetables. Euripides was a dancer and torch-bearer at the rites of Apollo Zosterius. It is said that his father believed an oracle about his son predicted "crowns of victory", which Mnesarchus thought meant athletic victories. He encouraged his son into athletics. Euripides completed his military obligatin in 466 B.C. and then studied athletics, painting, and then philosophy under Prodicus and Anaxagoras. He began writing tragedies at the age of 25 and he first took part in the City Dionysia in 455 BC, the year after Aeschylus died. The Daughters of Pelias, a version of the Medea story, was one of the plays he entered in 455 BC. His first victory came in 441 BC and he won again in 428 BC. He won a total of four times. Aeschylus won 13 times and Sophocles 18 times. He married twice. His first wife, Melite, proved unfaithful. His second wife, Choerine, was the mother of this three sons. The second marriage was also a difficult one. The youngest of his sons also became a tragedian. He died in 407/406 B.C. and may have been buried in Pella.

Euripides was the least successful in his lifetime. He only earned five first places despite writing 92 plays over 50 years. Yet more of his plays have survived into the present than any other tragedian. Although branded a misogynist, he is famous for his sensitive depiction of female characters, such as Medea and Phaedra. He altered the mythic stories and added realism to his plays.

In late Greek times, there were 78 plays attributed to Euripides that were still extant. He wrote about 90 plays. One tetralogy, Tennes, Rhadamanthys, Pirithous and Sisyphus, was attributed to Euripides but may have been the work of Critias. So this leaves 19 Euripidean plays (counting the Rhesus) which are extant and 55 Euripidean plays that have become lost. Ten plays survive because they were selected by medieval copyists for copying and extensive comments called scholia (Alcestis, Medea, Hippolytus, Andromache, Hecuba, Trojan Women, Phoenissae, Orestes, Bacchae, and Rhesus). Nine plays come from two 14th century manuscripts that are thought to have been part of a "complete plays" of Euripides (Helen, Electra, Heraclidae, Heracles, Suppliant Women, Iphigenia at Aulis, Iphigenia Among the Taurians, Ion, and Cyclops). The extant plays are marked with an asterisk (*). The dates are estimates.

Aegeus - date unknown (The play concerns Aegeus, his wife Medea, their son Medus, and Aegeus' son Theseus).

Aeolus - before 421 BC (The play concerns the love of Macareus, son of Aeolus, for his sister, Canace).

*Alcestis - 438 BC (with Alcmaeon at Psophis, Cretan Women, Telephus)(This group took second place behind Sophocles' entry.) (Alcestis died in the place of Admetus but Heracles defeated death and brought her back.)

Alcmaeon at Corinth - 405 BC (see Bacchae)

Alcmaeon at Psophis - 438 BC (see Alcestis)(Alcmaeon was the son of Amphiaraus, the one righteous man who took part in the famous expedition against Thebes. Polynices bribed Amphiaraus' wife, Eriphyle, with the necklace of Harmonia to force her husband to join the expedition. Amphiaraus joined the expedition and died. Alcmaeon then killed his mother, Eriphyle. The Furies punished Alcmaeon by driving him mad. Alcmaeon married several times. The much sought after necklace of Harmonia continued to cause problems).

Alcmena - date unknown (Amphitryon, Alcmena's husband, comes home to find Alcmena pregnant with Heracles. Amphitryon tries to burn Alcmena alive even though she takes refuge at an altar. She is saved by Zeus, who was the one who made Alcmena pregnant when he appeared to Alcmena in the form of Amphitryon).

Alexander - 415 BC (with Troades, Palamedes, and the satyr play Sisyphus, these plays came in second behind Xenocrates' or Xenocles's plays.)(This play concerns Paris, also known as Alexander, who was exposed as a child because he was going to bring doom to Troy. But he is raised by shepherds and is recognized and welcomed as Priam's long-lost son after excelling in funeral games.)

Alope - date unknown - (Alope, the daughter of Cercyon, king of Eleusis, gives birth to a son of Poseidon's. The child is exposed but is suckled by mares. The king discovers Alope and the son and exposes the child again and imprisons the mother. The child is again suckled by mares. The shepherds realize the child must have divine parentage and raise the child, calling him Hippothoon. Theseus kills Cercyon and Hippothoon tells him who he is. Theseus is also a son of Poseidon so Theseus gives him the kingdom. The play was also called the Cercyon.)

*Andromache - perhaps 426 BC (Andromache, the widow of Hector of Troy, is now the concubine of Neoptolemus, Achilles' son.)

Andromeda - 412 BC (with Helen)(Andromeda, the daughter of Cassiopia, the wife of Cepheus of Ethiopia, must be sacrificed to a sea monster to save the land. Perseus saves Andromeda's life but is not given her as wife. Perseus turns Cepheus to stone by showing him the head of Medusa and so Perseus walks off with Andromeda. This play was known as one of Euripides' most beautiful plays yet it has not survived.)

Antigone - date unknown (The king, Creon, says no one is allowed to bury Polynices. Polynices' sister, Antigone, and his wife Argia, put his body on the pyre of his brother, Eteocles. They are discovered. Argia escapes but Antigone is handed over to Creon's son, Haemon, for execution. Haemon falls in love with Antigone and secretly sends her away to be tended by shepherds. Antigone bears Haemon a son, Maeon. Maeon is discovered by Creon at some games. In some versions, Haemon kills Antigone and then himself but in Euripides' play they may have been rescued by Herakles, who forced Creon to pardon them.)

Antiope - before 412 BC (Antiope, the daughter of Nycteus of Boeotia, is romanced by Zeus with the usual consequences. She flees to Sicyon, where Epopeus marries her. Lycus, Nycteus's successor marches against Sicyon and kills Epopeus. The imprisoned Antiope is treated cruelly by Lycus' wife, Dirce, while her twin sons are raised by shepherds. Antiope is rescured, Dirce is tied to a bull and dragged to death, and Lycus is forced to turn his kingdom over to Antiope's sons.)

Archelaus - one of the last plays Euripides wrote (This play deals with the mythological founder of the Macedonian kings. Archelaus was a grandson of Herakles and a son of the king of Argos. He was exiled by his brothers from Argos and went to Macedonia. There he saved the king from his enemies but instead of being given the promised daughter, the king tried to kill him. Archelaus killed the king but was forced to flee. He followed a she-goat and founded the town of Aegae, the capital of Macedonia. It was a popular play and quotes from it date to the 2nd or 3rd century AD).

Auge - after 415 BC (A drunken Herakles attacks Auge, daughter of king Aleus and priestess of Athena. She gives birth to a son, Telephus).

Autolycus - unknown date (This was a satyr play. Autolycus was a son of Hermes and a thief.)

*Bacchae - 405 BC (with Alcmaeon at Corinth and Iphigenia at Aulis)

Bellerophon - before 425 BC (Bellerophon's insanity is hinted at in the Iliad. Bellerophon has lost his children and has had many other misfortunes. He wants to fly to heaven on Pegasus and demand to know why all this has happened to him.)

Busiris - unknown date (This was a satyr play. Busiris was a king of Egypt. The land was barren for 9 years so Busiris consulted a soothsayer. The soothsayer said to sacrifice a stranger to Zeus every year. Busiris first sacrifices the soothsayer. When Herakles comes, Busiris tried to sacrifice him but instead Herakles kills Busiris and his son.)

Chrysippus - perhaps 409 BC (Pelops had two sons by Hippodamia, his wife, and one son, Chrysippus, by the nymph Danais. Laius of Thebes tried to kidnap Chrysippus. Then Hippodamia tried to convince her sons to kill Chrysippus. They would not so Hippodamia wounded Chrysippus with Laius' sword. Chrysippus exonerated Laius before dying and Hippodamia was banished.)

Cresphontes - c 427 to 429 BC, between 430 and 425 BC, or before 422 BC (with Heraclidae and Temenus)(Polyphontes, king of Messenia killed his predecessor and all of his predecessor's children except for one and then married the widowed queen, Merope. Merope saved her infant son, Cresphontes, and sent him to be raised in Aetolia. The young Cresphontes returns and claims to have killed Cresphontes. He then falls asleep. Merope thinks he has killed Cresphontes and is about to kill him when an old man tells people who Cresphontes is. Cresphontes recovers his kingdom. The recognition scene between Cresphontes and Merope was very famous).

The Cretans - date unknown (The play concerns Pasiphae's love for the bull from the sea and the birth of the Minotaur.)

Cretan Women - 438 BC (see Alcestis)(This plays deals with Aerope, the daughter of Catreus and the wife of Atreus. She had affairs with one of her father's slaves and with Thyestes, her husband's brother. She was also given to Nauplius to be thrown into the sea but Nauplius gave her to Pleisthenes instead.)

The Danae - (Danae was the daughter of Acrisius, king of Argos. It had been foretold that a son of Danae would kill Acrisius so Acrisius shut her up in a chamber. Zeus visited her in a shower of gold and she gave birth to Perseus. Acrisius had mother and child put in a chest and thrown into the sea. They were rescued by a fisherman and Danae married Polydectes, king of Seriphus. Perseus was raised by priestesses of Athena. Acrisius found out that his daughter and grandson were alive and set out for Seriphus. Perseus promised he would not kill Acrisius but Polydectes died and Perseus accidentally killed Acrisius with a discus at the funeral games of Polydectes. Perseus and Danae returned to Argos and Perseus became king.)

*Cyclops - late, perhaps 408 BC (a satyr play)(Silenus and his sons are captured by a Cyclops, Polyphemus, and forced to work for him. Silenus and his sons are dressed like satyrs. Odysseus and his men come and beat the Cyclops.)

Dictys - 431 BC (part of a trilogy with Medea that took 3rd place behind Euphorion, son of Aeschylus, and Sophocles.)

*Electra - 416 or 413 BC - (Aegisthus was going to kill Electra but her mother, Clytemnestra, saved her. Aegisthus marries Electra off to a peasant, who has a respectful, platonic relationship with her. Orestes arrives in secret, planning to avenge Agamemnon's death. An old servant recognizes Orestes. Orestes kills Aegisthus. Orestes and Electra then kill Clytemnestra.)

The Erechtheus - around 421 BC - (Concerns the attack of Eumolpus, son of Poseidon and Chione, with his Thracians, on King Erechtheus and Athens. An oracle from Delphi says that Athens will be saved if Erechtheus sacrifices one of his daughters and he does).

The Eurystheus - date unknown - (The play seems to have been popular in antiquity. It was probably "lively and funny". The play concerned Herakles confronting Eurystheus, who had sent him on his labors.)

*Hecuba - perhaps 425 or 424 BC (Tells of Hecuba's trials after the Fall of Troy. Hecuba is Priam's widow.)

*Helen - 412 BC (with Andromeda)(Helen goes to Egypt and sits out the War with Troy.)

*Heracles Furens- c 421 or 420 or maybe 414 BC (Lycus kills Creon and usurps the throne of Thebes. He then seeks to destroy Heracles' family. Heracles becomes insane and kills his wife, Megara, and their children.)

*Heraclidae - perhaps 430 BC or c 427 (see Cresphontes)

*Hippolytus Crowned - 428 BC (won first place against writers Iophon and Ion)

Hippolytus Veiled - earlier than 428 BC (This earlier version of the Hippolytus legend was not as well received. Perhaps it had Phaedra tell Hippolytus of her love for him. The play was not replaced by the later Hippolytus play and seems to have survived into late Greek times.)

The Hypsipyle - before 405 BC - (Hypsipyle was the daughter of Thoas, the son of Dionysos. Thoas was the king of Lemnos. Hypsipyle fell in love with Jason (of the Argonaut fame) and had two sons by him. The women of the island later killed all the men but Hypsipyle saved her father. She then fled but was enslaved by pirates and sold to Lycurgus, king of Nemea. There she was the nurse of the infant prince Opheltes or Archemorus. Hypsipyle is called away from Opheltes at one point and the baby is killed by a snake. Hypsipyle is slated to be killed for negligence but Amphiaraus, who is on his way to the expedition against Thebes, said Hypsipyle was called away on his account and he makes amends for the death of the child by instituting the Nemean games. Hypsipyle also meets her two sons by Jason, who are now grown. The play was probably a romantic drama like Iphigenia among the Taurians and Helen and seems to have been popular.)

Ino - before 425 BC - (Aeschylus and Sophocles both wrote about this subject. Ino, the daughter of Cadmus, was the wife of Athamas, king of Thessaly and the mother of two sons. Ino disappears and is thought to be dead. Athamas marries his third wife, Themisto, and has two more sons. It turns out that Ino went insane and went to live in a cave in Mount Parnassus. Athamas brings her back and Ino recovers her wits and lives quietly. But Themisto feels threatened by Ino, whom she considers a servant, and Themisto tries to kill Ino's children. Instead, Themisto ends up killing her own children. Themisto hangs herself. Ino's eldest son, Learchus, goes to tell Athamas what happened but Hera makes Athamas mad and he kills Learchus. Ino then goes mad and throws herself and her youngest son, Melicertes, into the sea. The play seems to have been popular in ancient times).

*Ion - 412 or 410 BC (Ion is the illegitimate son of Creusa, the daughter of Erechtheus of Athens, and Apollo. Creusa abandoned Ion near Athens. Ion grows up at Apollo's shrine. Creusa married Xuthus but they have no children. Ion meets Creusa and Xuthus. A tutor tries to get Creusa to kill Xuthus and Ion because Xuthus has suddenly accepted Ion as his son but in time everything is revealed.)

*Iphigenia Among the Taurians or Iphigenia in Tauris - 414 or 413 BC (Athena rescues Iphigenia from death and Orestes meets up with his sister, Iphigenia.)

*Iphigenia at Aulis - 405 BC (see Bacchae)(Agamemnon hesistates to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, so that they can go to Troy and rescue his brother Menelaus' wife, Helen.)

The Ixion - Perhaps between 410 and 408 BC - (Aeschylus and Sophocles both wrote plays based on Ixion. Aeschylus' play may have told how Ixion did not give his father-in-law all the wedding gifts so his father-in-law, Eioneus, took some of his horses and Ixion murdered him. Euripides' play concerns Ixion, who tried to make love to Hera and so was tied to a wheel. Ixion became the father of the Centaurs by a phantom Hera in a cloud.)

The Licymnius - (Some have suggested this little known play is really the Alcmena. Others say it was a separate play. Licymnius was the half-brother of Alcmena and was the son of Electryon and Midia the Phrygian. Electryon was accidentally killed by Amphitryon and Licymnius went with Amphitryon and Alcmena to Thebes for purification. Amphitryon married Licymnius to his sister, Perimede. Some of Licymnius' sons went with Herakles and were killed during their adventures. Herakles seems to have been a character in the play).

*Medea - 431 BC (with Philoctetes , Dictys, and Theristae, took 3rd place behind Euphorion, son of Aeschylus, and Sophocles)

Melanippe the Prisoner - around 413 BC - (For Melanippe's beginnings, see the later play, Melanippe the Wise. - Melanippe is now in prison and her children by Poseidon have been exposed. The children are cared for by a cow and a herdsman. The two children are then raised by the childless Theano, wife of Metapontus, king of Icaria. Theano says they are her own children. Later she really has children and she wants them to inherit. Theano tells her two sons that their two older brothers are not really brothers and that they should kill them. They try to but end up dying instead. Theano then kills herself. Poseidon tells Melanippe's children that Melanippe needs rescuing, so they rescue her and kill Aeolus, who tried prevent Melanippe's rescue. Poseidon restores her sight. Metapontus marries Melanippe and adopts her children.)

Melanippe the Wise - before 411 BC (This play features Melanippe's earlier history. Melanippe was the beautiful daughter of Aeolus and Hippe, the daughter of Chiron. Melanippe had twin sons by Poseidon. The sons were suckled by a cow and guarded by a bull. Aeolus returns and thinks that a cow has given birth to monstrosities. He tells Melanippe to kill them. She presents many wise arguments as to why they should not be killed but finally has to confess that they are her children. Perhaps she was blinded in punishment and the children exposed.)

The Meleager - before 415 BC - (Sophocles and many others also wrote a play based on Meleager. Meleager is the son of Althaea. Althaea overhears the Fates say that Meleager will only live as long as a brand that was burning in a nearby fire would continue to burn. Althaea takes the burning brand and protects it. Meleager grows up to adulthood. Meleager's father, Oeneus, has offended Artemis by not sacrificing to her so Artemis sent a boar to ravage the land of Calydon. Meleager falls in love with Atalanta at the hunt. Atalanta is the first to wound the boar but Meleager kills it and is given the hide. He gives the hide to Atalanta but there is a quarrel and Meleager kills his mother's two brothers. When Althaea hears that her brothers are dead, she destroys the brand and Meleager dies. Homer says Meleager had a wife named Cleopatra but she does not seem to feature in the play).

Oedipus - perhaps after 425 BC or between 420 and 410 BC - (Sophocles wrote the famous Oedipus Tyrannus between 439 and 412 BC but Aeschylus, Euripides, and others also wrote plays based on Oedipus. Oedipus kills Laius, the king, and marries the widowed queen, Jocasta, without knowing that Laius and Jocasta are his parents. Barrenness comes on the land and Oedipus discovers what happened. Oedipus is blinded by Laius' servants and Jocasta kills herself. It may not have been known that Oedipus was Laius' son when he was blinded. At one point, Periboea, the queen of Corinth, may have come to Thebes to say that Oedipus was not her son. Perhaps this was when Jocasta killed herself. Creon may have investigated Laius' death and set the whole thing in motion. Euripides' version of Oedipus may be represented in a surviving urn and bowl.)

The Oeneus - before 425 BC - (Old king Oeneus of Calydon has lost his sons and is driven from the throne by the sons of his brother, Agrius. After the expedition of the Epigoni against Thebes, Oeneus is rescued by his grandson, Diomedes, and Diomedes' friend Sthenelus. Some of the sons of Agrius are killed and Agrius kills himself. The kingdom is given to Oeneus' son-in-law, Andraemon, and Oeneus goes with Diomedes to Argos. Periboea, Oeneus' wife, may have a large part in the play because a Roman version of this play is called Periboea.

The Oenomaus - perhaps 409 BC, at the same time as Phoenissae (Both Sophocles and Euripides wrote about the chariot race between Pelops and Oenomaus, which led to Oenomaus' death and Pelop's marriage to Hippodamia. Hippodamia was the daughter of Oenomaus. The race was from Pisa to Corinth.)

*Orestes - 408 BC, his last Dionysia (Orestes has killed his mother, Clytemnestra, and her lover, Aegisthus, and is now mad. Some people want to kill Orestes while others want to make him king. Orestes kills Helen but later marries Helen's daughter, Hermione.)

Palamedes - 415 BC (with Troades, Alexander, and Sisyphus, this series took second)(This was a popular play in ancient times. Palamedes was supposed to have been the wisest of the Greeks and he invented writing. Palamedes was the one who figured out that Odysseus was feigning madness to avoid going to Troy. Odysseus frames Palamedes at Troy by making it look like he is getting gold from Priam. Palamedes is killed).

The Peleus - before 417 BC - (Peleus was the father of Achilles. The play concerns Peleus' grandson, Neoptolemus, who discovers that Peleus has been dethroned by Acastus and is living in a cave. Neoptolemus kills Acastus' sons, Melanippus and Pleisthenes. Acastus' crimes against the family of Achilles is revealed but Peleus spares Acastus' life. Neoptolemus takes the throne of his grandfather.)

The Peliades or Daughters of Pelias - 455 BC, traditionally part of Euripides' first trilogy, which took third place - (Sophocles also had a play called Rhizotomi based on this myth. The play concerns Medea, who has returned with Jason to Iolchus. There she tells the daughters of Pelias that their old father can become young again if they do what she says. She proves this by cutting up an old ram, boiling it with herbs, and making it young again. They try this on their father, Pelias, but he stays dead. Medea is thus revenged against Pelias for what he did to Jason's parents.)

The Phaethon - an early play - (This play was set in Ethiopia where Merops and his wife, Clymene, are arranging for the marriage of their son, Phaethon. Phaethon's intended bride is divine and this makes Phaethon worried. Clymene assures him that everything will be all right because Phaethon's father was really the sun god, Helios. Clymene tells Phaethon to talk to Helios. The choral ode that follows is one of the finest. Euripides sings of the early morning when dawn is appearing and the Pleiades are fading away. When Phaethon visits Helios, he persuades the reluctant Helios to let Phaethon drive the chariot of the sun. Phaethon drove so erratically that he was struck down by a thunderbolt of Zeus. Clymene has his still smoking body brought to the palace. Merops doesn't know Phaethon is dead yet and he comes in with a chorus who is singing a wedding song. The play ends with a series of laments).

Philoctetes - 431 BC (part of a trilogy with Medea, the Dictys, and Theristae that took 3rd place behind Euphorion, son of Aeschylus, and Sophocles)(This was a popular topic. Sophocles wrote two plays based on Philoctetes and Aeschylus wrote one. Philoctetes was bitten in the foot by a snake or was accidentally poisoned by one of Heracles' arrows. The resulting sore was so revolting that the Greeks marooned him on the island of Lemnos. The Greeks discover that they can not take Troy without Heracles' bow and arrows and it is Philoctetes who has them. He uses them to hunt with. Diomed and Odysseus must get them from Philoctetes. Euripides's version was unique in having Odysseus completely disguised. He also invented a Lemnian friend of Philoctetes called Actor and gave Odysseus a unique plan to get the bow and arrows. Euripides' version was well thought of.)

*Phoenissae or The Phoenician Women - 409 BC BC (won second place) (This play concerns the sons of Oedipus, Polynices and Eteocles.)

The Phoenix - an early play, before 425 BC - (Phoenix was the son of Amyntor. Phoenix was tempted by his father's concubine, Phthia, but he rebuffed her. Phthia falsely accused Phoenix of attacking her and Amyntor blinded him. Peleus took Phoenix to Chiron, who cured him of his blindness. He then became king of the Dolopians. Phoenix was probably blinded before or during the play. The play was considered to be quite famous and it was acted by well known actors. Sophocles also wrote a play based on Phoenix's story.)

The Phrixus - date unknown - (Ino, the wife of Athamas, is jealous of Athamas' children by his first wife, Nephele. Ino parches the seed grain which causes a famine. She bribes the messenger from the oracle of Delphi to say that the famine will be lifted if Phrixus, Nephele's son, is sacrificed. Phrixus volunteers to die for his people but the messenger is troubled by his generosity and tells Athamas the truth. Athamas hands Ino and her son Melicertes over to Phrixus to be killed but they escape and jump into the sea. Nephele sends Phrixus and Helle a ram from Hermes. The ram takes Phrixus to the land of the Colchians but Helle falls into the sea and drowns. Sophocles also wrote a play based on Phrixus.)

The Pleisthenes - before 415 BC - (Pleisthenes was the son of Atreus. He is raised by Thyestes, who was banished for having an affair with Atreus' wife. Atreus thinks Pleisthenes is dead but Thyestes has taken him to be his own son. Thyestes sends him to kill Atreus but Atreus kills him instead. Then Thyestes tells Atreus he killed his own son.

The Polyidus - later than 415 BC - (also called the Glaucus)(Glaucus was the son of Minos and Pasiphae was fell into a huge jar of honey while playing and drowned. Minos couldn't find him so he consulted Apollo or the Curetes. They said whoever could explain a "prodigy" (marvel) would find the boy. Polyidus the seer explains that the marvelous calf, which changed colors every four hours (it became white, red, and then black), was life a mulberry which also turned these same colors. Polyidus is then ordered to find Glaucus. He uses different omens to find the boy. Minos puts Polyidus in the tomb with Glaucus until Glaucus can be brought back to life. Polyidus restores Glaucus' life with an herb that was first used by snakes. Polyidus is rewarded and sent home.)

The Protesilaus - (Protesilaus had to go Troy after being married for only one day. At Troy he was the first to be killed. Protesilaus and his wife Laodamia both begged the gods of the underworld to be reunited. They were eventually reunited for three hours. Laodamia had an image of her husband that she always kept with her. Her father destroyed the image and Laodamia killed herself.)

*Rhesus - perhaps 437 BC (Euripides wrote a play called Rhesus. The question is whether the current text was written by Euripides. The play has lost its iambic prologue. Rhesus is a king of Thrace who fights for the Trojans in the Iliad)

The Sciron - (This was a satyr play). (Sciron was a robber in Megara who robbed travelers and then kicked them into the sea while they washed their feet. Theseus came and threw Sciron into the sea. Euripides may have combined Procrustes with Sciron and employed Procrustes' bed. Procrustes stretched short men to fit the bed and made tall men fit by chopping them up. Perhaps the play began with satyrs on their way to Corinth who encounter Sciron at Megara. Sciron imprisons them and regales them with tales of his past exploits. Then Theseus comes and saves the day.)

The Scyrians - unknown date - (Thetis learns that her son, Achilles, will die if he goes to Troy so she hides him with the daughters of Lycomedes, king of the island of Scyros. Achilles is given the name Pyrrha. Odysseus uncovers Achilles by showing the "daughters" feminine finery and a spear and shield. The daughters are excited about the finery and Achilles about the weapons. Odysseus had someone blow a horn. Achilles then took off the women's clothes and grabbed the weapons. Sophocles also wrote a play based on this theme.)

Sisyphus - 415 BC (see Troades)(This was a satyr play).

The Stheneboea - an early play, perhaps between 440 and 432 BC - (In Homer, Anteia, the wife of King Proetus of Tiryns, falls in love with the young hero, Bellerophon. Bellerophon rebuffs her and she falsely accuses him to Proetus. Proetus sends Bellerophon to Lycia to be killed. Iobates sends him on dangerous adventures in the hopes that will kill him. Iobates eventually recognizes that Bellerophon is under divine protection and gives him his daughter to marry. Euripides and others call Anteia, Stheneboea, and has Bellerophon sent to Caria rather than Lycia. In the play, Bellerophon returns from Caria to punish Proetus and Stheneboea. He convinces Stheneboea to go on Pegasus with him and then he shakes her off into the sea.)

*The Suppliants or Suppliant Women - perhaps 422 or 420 BC - (This play deals with the burial of the seven warriors who tried to take Thebes from Creon and reclaim the throne of Polyneices, the son of Oedipus.

The Syleus - (this was a satyr play)(The play concerns a mad Heracles who throws Iphitus from the walls of Tiryns and kills him. The oracle at Delphi says he will become well if he becomes a slave. Hermes sells him to Omphale but in the play, Euripides may have him sold directly to Syleus. Syleus lived in Thrace and he made people who passed by him work for him. The satyrs probably have to work for Syleus. Heracles tore up vines, feasted on Syleus' bulls, and killed Syleus and his daughter, Xenodice.)

Telephus - 438 BC (part of a series with Alcestis, Alcmaeon at Psophis, and Cretan Women)(This group took second place.)(Telephus was the son of Heracles and Auge. He was raised in Mysia where he became king. The Greeks attacked Mysia, thinking it was Troy, but Telephus beat them off. Achilles wounded him in the thigh and the wound refused to heal. An oracle said that Telephus would only be healed by the weapon that wounded him. The weapon was a spear given to Peleus by Chiron. Telephus had to go to Argos to get it. He disguised himself and wins Clytaemnestra's sympathy. Odysseus doesn't like how the stranger defends the Mysians. Telephus grabs the infant Orestes and threatens to harm him if Telephus is harmed. An oracle says that the Greeks will not take Troy without Telephus. Achilles isn't happy but a salve is made from the weapon and Telephus is cured. In exchange, Telephus will guide them to Troy. The story comes from the Cypria but the threat to Orestes may have been invented by either Euripides or Aeschylus. Sophocles also wrote a play based on Telephus' story.)

The Temenidae - (All of Temenus' sons plotted his death except for Agelaus. Temenus made his son-in-law Deiphontes, his general. Deiphontes and his wife, Hyrnetho were to succeed Temenus and the evil sons banished. The play may have concerned the efforts of the evil sons to take the throne after Temenus died. Ceisus, the eldest son, may have succeeded Temenus. Deiphontes and Hyrnetho flee to Epidaurus. Cerynes and Phalces try to kidnap their sister. Deiphontes shoots Cerynes but Phalces clings so closely to the pregnant Hyrnetho that Deiphontes can not shoot him. Hyrnetho dies in the struggle. Phalces escapes and Hyrnetho is buried by Deiphontes and their children.)

Temenus - c 427 to 429 BC or before 422 BC (see Cresphontes)(Temenus was the descendant of Heracles who led the conquest of the Peloponnesus. Various disasters befall Temenus, his brothers, and their sons.)

Theristae - 431 BC (part of a trilogy with Medea that took 3rd place behind Euphorion, son of Aeschylus, and Sophocles.)(This play became lost early in its history.)

The Theseus - before 422 BC - (The play concerned Theseus' arrival in Crete, Ariadne falling in love with him, and Theseus' killing of the Minotaur).

The Thyestes - before 425 BC - (Thyestes' many crimes were popular topics and Sophocles wrote two plays based on Thyestes' stories. Euripides' play may have focused on his quarrel with his brother Atreus for the throne and the terrible banquet where he served the flesh of his children. The play may also have dealt with Thyestes' incest with his daughter, Pelopia, by whom he became the father of Aegisthus. Euripides' play may have become lost at an early point.)

*The Troades or Trojan Women - 415 BC, the 91st Olympiad (with Alexander, Palamedes, and the satyr play Sisyphus, these plays came in second behind Xenocrates's plays)(The play may have been inspired by events at Melos or by Polygnotus' famous painting of Troy after its fall in the Stoa Poikile at Athens).


Sources:

Cliffs Notes on Greek ClassicsMary Ellen Snodgrass, New York: Wiley Publishing Inc., 1998.

Euripides: A Student of Human Nature, William Nickerson Bates, New York: A.S. Barnes and Company, 1930, 1961.

Who's Who in the Classical World, Oxford University Press, New York, 2000.

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Created before May 5, 2007
Last Updated November 30, 2009