The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration

Book II begins the rise of the war chronologically. The thirty years peace ends when Thebes (allied with the Peloponnesians) attacks Plataea (allied with Athens) and the Thebans surrender. Both cities are loctaed borth of Athens in Boetia. Plataea executes its 180 vaptured prisoners in the country before Athenian emissaries could arrive to instruct them … Continue reading The Peloponnesian War, Book II: Proxy Wars and Pericles’s Funeral Oration

The Seven Against Thebes and The Phoenician Women Considered

Aeschylus's Seven Against Thebes is an odd, archaic play. The bulk of the play a long reflection and recital of the blazonry on a champion's shield, during the backdrop of the impending duel between Oedipus's two sons, Polynices and Eteocles, with Eteocles playing the main role. As David Grene (the play's translator) notes, the play … Continue reading The Seven Against Thebes and The Phoenician Women Considered

The Failure of Orestes

While many other Greek tragedies tend to reiterate already established myths and customs, Euripides's Orestes appears to be entirely his own invention. Chronologically, the plot of the play takes place after the events contained in Aeschylus's Libation Bearers. It was first performed in 408 BC, near the close of the Peloponnesian War. In Orestes, Electra recounts the story … Continue reading The Failure of Orestes

What Is Tragic About Greek Tragedy? Euripides’s Hecuba Considered

Euripides's Hecuba is perhaps the most bleak of the Greek tragedies. It takes place shortly after the sack of Troy by the Achaeans. The few remaining Trojans have been either killed or enslaved by the Greeks. Hecuba, Queen of Troy and wife of Priam, has been captured and enslaved by Odysseus. Like Job, the her life has had … Continue reading What Is Tragic About Greek Tragedy? Euripides’s Hecuba Considered

Xerxes, Thermopylae, and Salamis: Books VII – IX

In Book VII, Herodotus details the anger of Darius who was unable to seek vengeance on Athens and also Egypt that was revolting against the Persians. However, infighting between the sons of Darius began and Xerxes won out, thanks to the superior skills of persuasion he received from a Spartan defector. Xerxes consults with his … Continue reading Xerxes, Thermopylae, and Salamis: Books VII – IX