Grumpy and Irritable: An Encyclopedia Entry on Euripides

Suda, s.v. Euripides, Εὐριπίδης, Epsilon 3695

“Euripides was the son of Mnêsarkhos or Mnêsarkhidês and Kleitô, who settled in Boiotia as exiles and then in Attica. It is not true that his mother was a vegetable vendor. For she was actually of real highborn lineage as Philokhoros demonstrates.

His mother became pregnant when Xerxes was crossing the Hellespont and gave birth the day the Greeks routed the Persians. At first, he was a painter and then a student of Prodikos among the orators and Socrates for ethics and philosophy. He also learned from Anaxagoras the Klazomenian. But he tried his hand at tragedy after he observed the dangers Anaxagoras faced because of the beliefs he introduced.

Euripides had a grumpy character and was irritable and avoided people. For this reason, he was also believed to be a misogynist. Still, first he married Mnêsilokhos’ daughter Khoirine. With her he fathered Mnesilokhos and Mnesikhardê as well as little Euripidês. He divorced her and remarried another woman whom he also discovered to be unfaithful

He left Athens and when to the court of Arkhelaos, king of the Macedonians, where he lived enjoying the highest honors. But he died thanks to the plot of Arribaios the Macedonian and Krateuas of Thessaly, two poets who were jealous of him and who used 10 minai to convince one of the king’s servants, Lysimakhos, to set the king’s dogs—animals he had trained himself—on Euripides.

But some people record that he was torn apart at night by women instead of dogs when he was sneaking out for a late night meeting with Krateros, Archelaus’ lover [since he was enamored with him too and had a lot of these kinds of lovers]. But there are those who say he was on his way to meet the wife of Nikodikos of Arethousa.

Euripides lived until he was 75 years old and the king had his bones interred at Pella. He wrote 75 plays—although some claim 92—but there are 77 attributed to him. He was victorious 5 times, 4 while alive and once after his death when his nephew, also named Euripides, staged his play. He staged plays for 22 years in a row and performed his last in the 93rd Olympiad.”

Εὐριπίδης, Μνησάρχου ἢ Μνησαρχίδου καὶ Κλειτοῦς, οἳ φεύγοντες εἰς Βοιωτίαν μετῴκησαν, εἶτα ἐν τῇ Ἀττικῇ. οὐκ ἀληθὲς δέ, ὡς λαχανόπωλις ἦν ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ: καὶ γὰρ τῶν σφόδρα εὐγενῶν ἐτύγχανεν, ὡς ἀποδείκνυσι Φιλόχορος.

ἐν δὲ τῇ διαβάσει Ξέρξου ἐκυοφορεῖτο ὑπὸ τῆς μητρὸς καὶ ἐτέχθη καθ’ ἣν ἡμέραν Ἕλληνες ἐτρέψαντο τοὺς Πέρσας. γέγονε δὲ τὰ πρῶτα ζωγράφος, εἶτα μαθητὴς Προδίκου μὲν ἐν τοῖς ῥητορικοῖς, Σωκράτους δὲ ἐν τοῖς ἠθικοῖς καὶ φιλοσόφοις. διήκουσε δὲ καὶ Ἀναξαγόρου τοῦ Κλαζομενίου.

ἐπὶ τραγῳδίαν δὲ ἐτράπη τὸν Ἀναξαγόραν ἰδὼν ὑποστάντα κινδύνους δι’ ἅπερ εἰσῆξε δόγματα. σκυθρωπὸς δὲ ἦν τὸ ἦθος καὶ ἀμειδὴς καὶ φεύγων τὰς συνουσίας: ὅθεν καὶ μισογύνης ἐδοξάσθη. ἔγημε δὲ ὅμως πρώτην μὲν Χοιρίνην, θυγατέρα Μνησιλόχου: ἐξ ἧς ἔσχε Μνησίλοχον καὶ Μνησαρχίδην καὶ Εὐριπίδην. ἀπωσάμενος δὲ ταύτην ἔσχε καὶ δευτέραν, καὶ ταύτης ὁμοίως ἀκολάστου πειραθείς. ἀπάρας δὲ ἀπ’ Ἀθηνῶν ἦλθε πρὸς Ἀρχέλαον τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Μακεδόνων, παρ’ ᾧ διῆγε τῆς ἄκρας ἀπολαύων τιμῆς.

ἐτελεύτησε δὲ ὑπὸ ἐπιβουλῆς Ἀρριβαίου τοῦ Μακεδόνος καὶ Κρατεύα τοῦ Θετταλοῦ, ποιητῶν ὄντων καὶ φθονησάντων αὐτῷ πεισάντων τε τὸν βασιλέως οἰκέτην τοὔνομα Λυσίμαχον, δέκα μνῶν ἀγορασθέντα, τοὺς βασιλέως, οὓς αὐτὸς ἔτρεφε, κύνας ἐπαφεῖναι αὐτῷ. οἱ δὲ ἱστόρησαν οὐχ ὑπὸ κυνῶν, ἀλλ’ ὑπὸ γυναικῶν νύκτωρ διασπασθῆναι, πορευόμενον ἀωρὶ πρὸς Κρατερὸν τὸν ἐρώμενον Ἀρχελάου [καὶ γὰρ σχεῖν αὐτὸν καὶ περὶ τοὺς τοιούτους ἔρωτας], οἱ δέ, πρὸς τὴν γαμετὴν Νικοδίκου τοῦ Ἀρεθουσίου. ἔτη δὲ βιῶναι αὐτὸν οε#, καὶ τὰ ὀστᾶ αὐτοῦ ἐν Πέλλῃ μετακομίσαι τὸν βασιλέα. δράματα δὲ αὐτοῦ κατὰ μέν τινας οε#, κατὰ δὲ ἄλλους #4β#: σῴζονται δὲ οζ#. νίκας δὲ ἀνείλετο ε#, τὰς μὲν δ# περιών, τὴν δὲ μίαν μετὰ τὴν τελευτήν, ἐπιδειξαμένου τὸ δρᾶμα τοῦ ἀδελφιδοῦ αὐτοῦ Εὐριπίδου. ἐπεδείξατο δὲ ὅλους ἐνιαυτοὺς κβ#, καὶ τελευτᾷ ἐπὶ τῆς #4γ# Ὀλυμπιάδος.

File:Euripides Statue.jpg

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