Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 42-46
“Night has come with strange new fantasies
I will tell them to the sky, if that provides any relief.
I imagined in sleep that I was freed from this land
and was sleeping in my girlhood’s home in Argos….”
ἃ καινὰ δ᾿ ἥκει νὺξ φέρουσα φάσματα
λέξω πρὸς αἰθέρ᾿, εἴ τι δὴ τόδ᾿ ἔστ᾿ ἄκος.
ἔδοξ᾿ ἐν ὕπνῳ τῆσδ᾿ ἀπαλλαχθεῖσα γῆς
οἰκεῖν ἐν Ἄργει, παρθενῶσι δ᾿ ἐν μέσοις
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 137-143
“I have come. What’s going on? What are your worries?
Why did you bring me to this temple,
child of the man who approached Trojan towers
with a famous fleet of one thousand ships
of ten thousand arms
that leader of an army
the oldest of the famous Atreids?”
ἔμολον· τί νέον; τίνα φροντίδ᾿ ἔχεις;
τί με πρὸς ναοὺς ἄγαγες ἄγαγες,
ὦ παῖ τοῦ τᾶς Τροίας πύργους
ἐλθόντος κλεινᾷ σὺν κώπᾳ
<στρατιᾶς ταγοῦ τοῦ πρεσβυγενοῦς τῶν> Ἀτρειδᾶν τῶν κλεινῶν;
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 219-221
“Now I live as a foreigner
on the borders of a sea hostile to strangers
unmarried, childless, without city, without friend.”
νῦν δ᾿ ἀξείνου πόντου ξείνα
συγχόρτους οἴκους ναίω,
220ἄγαμος ἄτεκνος ἄπολις ἄφιλος.
The Center for Hellenic Studies , the Kosmos Society and Out of Chaos Theatre has been presenting scenes from Greek tragedy on the ‘small screen’ with discussion and interpretation during our time of isolation and social distancing. As Paul O’Mahony, whose idea this whole thing was said in an earlier blog post, Since we are “unable to explore the outside world, we have no option but to explore further the inner one.”
Each week we select scenes from a play, actors and experts from around the world, and put them all together for 90 minutes or so to see what will happen. This process is therapeutic for us; and it helps us think about how tragedy may have had similar functions in the ancient world as well.
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 376-379
“…I put off many embraces
to a later time,
because I thought I would go back to Argos again.
Wretched brother, Orestes, if you have died you have
such great fortune as you leave our father’s envied stores.”
πολλὰ δ᾿ ἀπεθέμην ἀσπάσματα
ἐς αὖθις, ὡς ἥξουσ᾿ ἐς Ἄργος αὖ πάλιν.
ὦ τλῆμον, εἰ τέθνηκας, ἐξ οἵων καλῶν
ἔρρεις, Ὀρέστα, καὶ πατρὸς ζηλωμάτων.
This week we return to Euripides and the fate of Agamemnon’s daughter Iphigenia in the surprising and challenging Iphigenia at Aulis. This play joins other Euripidean tragedies–like the Helen or his Orestes–in presenting alternative accounts of myth and challenging well-known narratives. In this one, the very daughter who was sacrificed to Artemis was whisked away to Tauris where she became a human sacrificing priestess of the goddess. Somehow, Orestes and Pylades end up in her hands after their trial at Athens. And, well, it goes on from there.
What do we make of such a fantasy, of the willful rewriting of the past? This play was performed during some of the most troubling of the years off the Peloponnesian War and its genre bending may have appealed to audiences eager for some escape or some hope that all was not fated. Like Helen it flouts mythical tradition, but unlike Helen it seems to create a largely new ending for its characters.
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 479-481
“Where have you come from, unlucky strangers?
You have sailed long to get to this land
and you will live below far from your homes for long indeed.”
πόθεν ποθ᾿ ἥκετ᾿, ὦ ταλαίπωροι ξένοι;
ὡς διὰ μακροῦ μὲν τήνδ᾿ ἐπλεύσατε χθόνα,
μακρὸν δ᾿ ἀπ᾿ οἴκων χρόνον ἔσεσθε δὴ κάτω.
Scenes (Using Cecelia Luschnig’s translation)
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 570-575
“The gods who are called wise
are bigger liars than winged dreams.
The great confusion among the gods exists
among mortals too. Only one reason for lament
remains to one who’snot a fool and has not trusted the words of the prophets:
he dies as those who know he died believe.”
οὐδ᾿ οἱ σοφοί γε δαίμονες κεκλημένοι
πτηνῶν ὀνείρων εἰσὶν ἀψευδέστεροι.
[πολὺς ταραγμὸς ἔν τε τοῖς θείοις ἔνι
κἀν τοῖς βροτείοις· ἓν δὲ λυπεῖται μόνον,
ὃς οὐκ ἄφρων ὢν μάντεων πεισθεὶς λόγοις
ὄλωλεν ὡς ὄλωλε τοῖσιν εἰδόσιν
Special Guests, Niall Slater
Artistic Director: Paul O’Mahony (Out of Chaos Theatre)
Associate Director: Liz Fisher
Director of Outreach: Amy Pistone (Gonzaga University)
Dramaturg: Emma Pauly
Executive Producer: Lanah Koelle (Center for Hellenic Studies)
Producers: Keith DeStone (Center for Hellenic Studies), Hélène Emeriaud, Janet Ozsolak, and Sarah Scott (Kosmos Society)
Poster Artist: John Koelle
Poster Designer: Allie Marbry (Center for Hellenic Studies)
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 874-885
“What end can there be for the fate that stalks me?
What will fortune bring me?
What path can be found
to send you from this man-killing city
back to our Argive home
before the sword tastes your blood.
Well, this is something you need to discover,
my dark soul.
Is the path by land, not with a ship
but with a dance of the feet?”
ἁ δ᾿ ἐποῦσ᾿ αὖ τίς τελευτά;
τίς τύχα μοι συγκυρήσει;
τίνα σοι <τίνα σοι> πόρον εὑρομένα
πάλιν ἀπὸ πόλεως ἀνδροφόνου πέμψω
πατρίδ᾿ ἐς Ἀργείαν,
πρὶν ἐπὶ ξίφος αἵματι σῷ πελάσαι;
τόδ᾿ <ἤδη> τόδε σόν, ὦ μελέα ψυχά,
πότερον κατὰ χέρσον, οὐχὶ
ναΐᾳ ἀλλὰ ποδῶν ῥιπᾷ;.
Upcoming Readings (Go here for the project page)
Euripides, Hippolytus, August 26rd
Aeschylus, Suppliants September 2nd
Euripides, Electra September 9th
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 414-421
“Hope is a dear friend to mortal suffering,
people have no fill of it when they wander
for a weight of wealth over the sea’s swell
testing themselves against cities and foreigners
for this common belief.
But some find expectation for wealth
untimely even though it comes in moderation for others.”
φίλα γὰρ ἐλπὶς †γένετ᾿ ἐπὶ πήμασι βροτῶν†
ἄπληστος ἀνθρώποις, ὄλβου βάρος οἳ φέρονται
πλάνητες ἐπ᾿ οἶδμα πόλεις τε βαρβάρους περῶντες,
γνώμα δ᾿ οἷς μὲν ἄκαιρος ὄλ-
βου, τοῖς δ᾿ ἐς μέσον ἥκει.
Euripides, Ion, June 17th
Euripides, Hecuba June 24th
Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound June 30th
Aristophanes, Clouds July 15th
Euripides, Alcestis July 22nd
Euripides, Iphigenia in Tauris 380-384
“I fault the tricks of this goddess.
Any mortal who even touches blood
or dips a finger in childbirth or death,
she bars from her alters because she thinks them unclean
when she herself delights in human sacrifice!”
ὰ τῆς θεοῦ δὲ μέμφομαι σοφίσματα,
ἥτις βροτῶν μὲν ἤν τις ἅψηται φόνου,
ἢ καὶ λοχείας ἢ νεκροῦ θίγῃ χεροῖν,
βωμῶν ἀπείργει, μυσαρὸν ὡς ἡγουμένη,
αὐτὴ δὲ θυσίαις ἥδεται βροτοκτόνοις.