Euripides, Suppliant Women 98-99 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)
“What’s happening, mother? It’s your job to tell me
And my job to listen. I think it’s something bad.”
τί ταῦτα, μῆτερ; σὸν τὸ μηνύειν ἐμοί,
ἡμῶν δ᾿ ἀκούειν· προσδοκῶ τι γὰρ νέον.
Euripides, Suppliant Women 214-218
“When god has given us this kind of support for life
Are we not truculent if it isn’t pleasing to us?
Arrogance seeks to be stronger than god—
Because we have boasts in our thoughts we think
We are wiser than divinities.”
ἆρ᾿ οὐ τρυφῶμεν, θεοῦ κατασκευὴν βίῳ
δόντος τοιαύτην, οἷσιν οὐκ ἀρκεῖ τάδε;
ἀλλ᾿ ἡ φρόνησις τοῦ θεοῦ μεῖζον σθένειν
ζητεῖ, τὸ γαῦρον δ᾿ ἐν φρεσὶν κεκτημένοι
δοκοῦμεν εἶναι δαιμόνων σοφώτεροι.
Euripides, Suppliant Women 238-245
“There are three groups of citizens: the wealthy
Are useless and are always longing for more.
Those who have nothing and struggling for a living
Are frightening because they honor envy too much
And aim their wicked barbs at the well-to-do,
Directed by the words of their cowardly leaders.
Those people in the middle third save cities
By preserving the order that each state creates.”
τρεῖς γὰρ πολιτῶν μερίδες· οἱ μὲν ὄλβιοι
ἀνωφελεῖς τε πλειόνων τ᾿ ἐρῶσ᾿ ἀεί·
οἱ δ᾿ οὐκ ἔχοντες καὶ σπανίζοντες βίου
δεινοί, νέμοντες τῷ φθόνῳ πλέον μέρος,
ἐς τούς <τ᾿> ἔχοντας κέντρ᾿ ἀφιᾶσιν κακά,
γλώσσαις πονηρῶν προστατῶν φηλούμενοι·
τριῶν δὲ μοιρῶν ἡ ᾿ν μέσῳ σῴζει πόλεις,
κόσμον φυλάσσουσ᾿ ὅντιν᾿ ἂν τάξῃ πόλις
The Center for Hellenic Studies , the Kosmos Society and Out of Chaos Theatre has been presenting scenes from Greek tragedy on the ‘small screen’ since the beginning of the US lockdown in March. As our director Paul O’Mahony has put it, since we are “unable to explore the outside world, we have no option but to explore further the inner one.”
Euripides, Suppliant Women 429-439
“There is nothing more hateful to a state than a tyrant.
There, first, there are no common laws
Because one person rules, holding the law
In his control. This is not equality.
When laws are written both the weak
And the wealthy receive equal judgment.
It is possible then for the weak to accuse
The lucky whenever they are slandered
And the smaller person overcomes the great if his cause is just.
This is freedom: “Who has a good idea
And wants to offer counsel to the state?”
οὐδὲν τυράννου δυσμενέστερον πόλει,
ὅτου τὸ μὲν πρώτιστον οὐκ εἰσὶν νόμοι
κοινοί, κρατεῖ δ᾿ εἷς τὸν νόμον κεκτημένος
αὐτὸς παρ᾿ αὑτῷ· καὶ τόδ᾿ οὐκέτ᾿ ἔστ᾿ ἴσον.
γεγραμμένων δὲ τῶν νόμων ὅ τ᾿ ἀσθενὴς
ὁ πλούσιός τε τὴν δίκην ἴσην ἔχει,
[ἔστιν δ᾿ ἐνισπεῖν τοῖσιν ἀσθενεστέροις
τὸν εὐτυχοῦντα ταὔθ᾿, ὅταν κλύῃ κακῶς,]
νικᾷ δ᾿ ὁ μείων τὸν μέγαν δίκαι᾿ ἔχων.
τοὐλεύθερον δ᾿ ἐκεῖνο· Τίς θέλει πόλει
χρηστόν τι βούλευμ᾿ ἐς μέσον φέρειν ἔχων;
This week keeps us in the city of Thebes and contemplating unburied dead, but with a typical Euripidean twist. Instead of just the body of Polynices being at issue, Euripides’ play centers around the chorus of mothers of the Seven Against Thebes who supplicated Theseus in Athens to force Thebes to allow their bodies to be buried. Beyond the basic expansion of the funerary rites theme to the entire expedition, this play also introduces fascinating questions of Athenian empire and the ability of any one Greek city state to force another to maintain some basic level of civilization.
This play was allegedly performed in 423 BCE and reflects some earlier historical changes in ritual (there were tombs to the seven warriors erected on the borders of Attica in the historical period. But it would not be strange to wonder how this reflects the concerns of the Athenian and people during the Peloponnesian War.
Euripides, Suppliant Women 486-488
“All people certainly understand the better
Of two arguments, the good and the bad,
By how much peace is better than war for mortals.”
καίτοι δυοῖν γε πάντες ἄνθρωποι λόγοιν
τὸν κρείσσον᾿ ἴσμεν, καὶ τὰ χρηστὰ καὶ κακά,
ὅσῳ τε πολέμου κρεῖσσον εἰρήνη βροτοῖς·
Scenes (Cecelia Luschnig’s Translation)
Euripides, Suppliant Women 724-725
“….He said he did not come to sack the city
But instead to ask for the dead.”
οὐ γὰρ ὡς πέρσων πόλιν
μολεῖν ἔφασκεν ἀλλ᾿ ἀπαιτήσων νεκρούς.
Special Guest: Angeliki Tzanetou
Euripides, Suppliant Women 775-777
“I mourn alone. Mortals have only one thing
That cannot be bought back once it is spent:
A mortal life. There are many ways to money.”
ἔρημα κλαίω· τοῦτο γὰρ μόνον βροτοῖς
οὐκ ἔστι τἀνάλωμ᾿ ἀναλωθὲν λαβεῖν,
ψυχὴν βροτείαν· χρημάτων δ᾿ εἰσὶν πόροι
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, Phoenician Women, September 30
Performing Epic 1, Homer’s Iliad, October 7th
Euripides, Rhesus, October 14th
Euripides, Suppliant Women 1006-1008
“The sweetest death
Is to die together with your loved ones
If some god will allow such things.”
ἥδιστος γάρ τοι θάνατος
συνθνῄσκειν θνῄσκουσι φίλοις,
εἰ δαίμων τάδε κραίνοι.
Euripides, Suppliant Women 971
“Only tears remain for me”
ὑπολελειμμένα μοι δάκρυα