May Our Lives Be Luckier Than These! Reading Euripides’ “Phoenician Women” Online

Euripides, Phoenician Women 1582-1583 (Full text on the Scaife Viewer)

“Today has begun many troubles for Oedipus’ house.
May our lives be luckier!”

πολλῶν κακῶν κατῆρξεν Οἰδίπου δόμοις
τόδ᾿ ἦμαρ· εἴη δ᾿ εὐτυχέστερος βίος.

Euripides, Phoenician Women 504

“Would you rather be a tyrant or save your country?”

πότερα τυραννεῖν ἢ πόλιν σῶσαι θέλεις,


Euripides, Phoenician Women 357-360

“Mother, I have come with good intentions among enemy men
Even though it is a bad plan. Still, everyone loves their country
By necessity. Anyone who claims otherwise is just playing with words—
Keeping their true thought deep inside.”

μῆτερ, φρονῶν εὖ κοὐ φρονῶν ἀφικόμην
ἐχθροὺς ἐς ἄνδρας· ἀλλ᾿ ἀναγκαίως ἔχει
πατρίδος ἐρᾶν ἅπαντας· ὃς δ᾿ ἄλλως λέγει,
λόγοισι χαίρει, τὸν δὲ νοῦν ἐκεῖσ᾿ ἔχει.

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, Phoenician Women 429-439

“What is it like to lose your country? Is it a great evil?”
τί τὸ στέρεσθαι πατρίδος; ἦ κακὸν μέγα;

Euripides, Phoenician Women 439-440

“People value money most of all:
It has the greatest power of everything humans possess.”

τὰ χρήματ᾿ ἀνθρώποισι τιμιώτατα
δύναμίν τε πλείστην τῶν ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἔχει.

Scenes (Cecelia Luschnig’s Translation)

216-637:  Polynices, Eteocles, Jocasta, Chorus
833-1018: Creon, Tiresias, Menoeceus, Chorus
1356-1477: Messenger
1584-1724: Creon, Oedipus, Antigone

Euripides, Phoenician Women 460-464

“I want to offer some bit of wisdom to you:
Whenever a friend is angry with a friend
And comes together to look them in the eyes,
One must examine on those things they are discussing
And make no reminder of troubles they had before.”

παραινέσαι δὲ σφῷν τι βούλομαι σοφόν·
ὅταν φίλος τις ἀνδρὶ θυμωθεὶς φίλῳ
ἐς ἓν συνελθὼν ὄμματ᾿ ὄμμασιν διδῷ,
ἐφ᾿ οἷσιν ἥκει, ταῦτα χρὴ μόνον σκοπεῖν,
κακῶν δὲ τῶν πρὶν μηδενὸς μνείαν ἔχειν.

Tamieka Chavis – Jocasta/Tiresias
Tabatha Gayle – Antigone/Eteocles
Richard Klautsch – Creon
Sara Valentine – Menoeceus/Messenger
Noree Victoria – Chorus
Argyris Xafis – Polynices/Oedipus

Special Guest: Anna Lamari

Euripides, Phoenician Women 469-472

“The story of truth is simple.
It does not require sophisticated interpretations.
Its very character is the occasion! But unjust speech
Is sick and needs clever medicines to work.”

ἁπλοῦς ὁ μῦθος τῆς ἀληθείας ἔφυ,
κοὐ ποικίλων δεῖ τἄνδιχ᾿ ἑρμηνευμάτων·
ἔχει γὰρ αὐτὰ καιρόν· ὁ δ᾿ ἄδικος λόγος
νοσῶν ἐν αὑτῷ φαρμάκων δεῖται σοφῶν.

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)

Upcoming Episodes

Performing Epic 1, Homer’s Iliad, October 7th

Euripides, Rhesus, October 14th

Aeschylus, Agamemnon, October 21

Euripides, Phoenician Women 889-890

“Since the wicked part is stronger than the good,
There is one other strategy for salvation.”

ἐπεὶ δὲ κρεῖσσον τὸ κακόν ἐστι τἀγαθοῦ,
μί᾿ ἔστιν ἄλλη μηχανὴ σωτηρίας.

For earlier performances see the project home page or the full playlist on YouTube.

Euripides, Phoenician Women 1013-1014/b>

“I am leaving. By giving the unshameful gift of my death
To the state, I will free this land of disease.”

στείχω δέ, θανάτου δῶρον οὐκ αἰσχρὸν πόλει
δώσων, νόσου δὲ τήνδ᾿ ἀπαλλάξω χθόνα.

One thought on “May Our Lives Be Luckier Than These! Reading Euripides’ “Phoenician Women” Online

  1. Highlighting this offensive comment (Euripides, Phoenician Women 197-201) so early may turn some viewers off. I would omit it, not from the reading but from this introduction.

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