Even Gods Need Vacations

Cicero Academica (Lucullus) 121

“You deny that anything is possible without god. Look, here Strato from Lampascus interrupts to grant immunity to that god of yours, however big the task. And, since the gods’ priests get a vacation, it is so much fairer that the gods do too!

Anyway, Strato denies that he needs to use divine actions to create the universe: whatever exists—he teaches—comes from natural causes. He does not, however, follow the one who argues that [the world] was put together out of rough and smooth, hook-shaped or crooked atoms separated by void. He believes that these are dreams of Democritus not as he teaches but as he imagines things. Strato himself, as he outlines the components of the universe in order, insists that whatever is or develops emerges from or was made by natural means, through gravity and motion.

Thus he frees the god of great labor and me of fear. For, once they imagine that some deity is worrying about them, who wouldn’t shudder at divine power day and night and, when anything bad happens—for who avoids such things?—wouldn’t fear that it happened because of some negative judgment? Still, I don’t agree with Strato nor, to be honest, with you. Sometimes his idea seems more likely, at other times yours does.”

 

[121] Negas sine deo posse quicquam: ecce tibi e transverso Lampsacenus Strato, qui det isti deo inmunitatem — magni quidem muneris; sed cum sacerdotes deorum vacationem habeant, quanto est aequius habere ipsos deos —: negat  opera deorum se uti ad fabricandum mundum, quaecumque sint docet omnia effecta esse natura, nec ut ille qui asperis et levibus et hamatis uncinatisque corporibus concreta haec esse dicat interiecto inani: somnia censet haec esse Democriti non docentis sed optantis, ipse autem singulas mundi partes persequens quidquid aut sit aut fiat naturalibus fieri aut factum esse docet ponderibus et motibus. ne ille et deum opere magno liberat et me timore. quis enim potest, cum existimet curari se a deo, non et dies et noctes divinum numen horrere et si quid adversi acciderit, quod cui non accidit, extimescere ne id iure evenerit? nee Stratoni tamen adsentior nec vero tibi; modo hoc modo illud probabilius videtur.’

The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel (Vatican City) https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Creaci%C3%B3n_de_Ad%C3%A1n.jpg

Feeling Sad? Just Think of All the Famous Dead People

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations 6.47

“Always keep in mind that all sorts of people from all kinds of occupations and from every country on earth have died. And take this thought to Philistion and Phoibos and Origanion. Turn to the rest of the peoples on earth too.

We have to cross over to the same place where all those clever speakers and so many serious philosophers have gone—Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Socrates—and where those great heroes of old, the brave generals and tyrants have gone too. Among them are Eudoxos, Hipparchus, Archimedes,  and other sharp natures, big minds, tireless men, bold men, and those who mock the temporary and disposable nature of life itself, like Menippus and the rest.

Think about all these people, that they have been dead for a long time. Why is this terrible for them? Why worry about those who are no longer named? This one thing is worth much: to keep on living with truth and justice and in good will even among liars and unjust men.”

Ἐννόει συνεχῶς παντοίους ἀνθρώπους καὶ παντοίων μὲν ἐπιτηδευμάτων, παντοδαπῶν δὲ ἐθνῶν, τεθνεῶτας· ὥστε κατιέναι τοῦτο μέχρι Φιλιστίωνος καὶ Φοίβου καὶ Ὀριγανίωνος. μέτιθι νῦν ἐπὶ τὰ ἄλλα φῦλα. ἐκεῖ δὴ μεταβαλεῖν ἡμᾶς δεῖ, ὅπου τοσοῦτοι μὲν δεινοὶ ῥήτορες, τοσοῦτοι δὲ σεμνοὶ φιλόσοφοι, Ἡράκλειτος, Πυθαγόρας, Σωκράτης· τοσοῦτοι δὲ ἥρωες πρότερον, τοσοῦτοι δὲ ὕστερον στρατηγοί, τύραννοι· ἐπὶ τούτοις δὲ Εὔδοξος, Ἵππαρχος, Ἀρχιμήδης, ἄλλαι φύσεις ὀξεῖαι, μεγαλόφρονες, φιλόπονοι, πανοῦργοι, αὐθάδεις, αὐτῆς τῆς ἐπικήρου καὶ ἐφημέρου τῶν ἀνθρώπων ζωῆς χλευασταί, οἶον Μένιππος καὶ ὅσοι τοιοῦτοι. περὶ πάντων τούτων ἐννόει, ὅτι πάλαι κεῖνται. τί οὖν τοῦτο δεινὸν αὐτοῖς; τί δαὶ τοῖς μηδ᾿ ὀνομαζομένοις ὅλως; Ἓν ὧδε πολλοῦ ἄξιον, τὸ μετ᾿ ἀληθείας καὶ δικαιοσύνης εὐμενῆ τοῖς ψεύσταις καὶ ἀδίκοις διαβιοῦν.

File:David - The Death of Socrates.jpg

Jacques-Louis David, The Death of Socrates 1787

Chance, Virtue, and Evil Deeds

Boethius, Consolation of Philosophy 4 145-155

“It does often turn out that the conduct of the most important affairs is entrusted to good people, that overwhelming corruption may be restrained. Chance apportions a proper mix of bad and good luck to some people based on the quality of their souls so they don’t exult in excess thanks to prolonged happiness. It lets other people suffer more, so that their minds’ virtues gain strength from the use and habit of patience.

Some people fear more than they need to about how much they can take while others are not serious enough about what they cannot. No few purchase a name the world honors at the price of a glorious death; others provide in their tortures an example to the rest of human kind that virtue cannot be conquered by evil deeds.”

Fit autem saepe, uti bonis summa rerum regenda deferatur, ut exuberans retundatur improbitas. Aliis mixta quaedam pro animorum qualitate distribuit; quosdam remordet ne longa felicitate luxurient, alios duris agitari ut virtutes animi patientiae usu atque exercitatione confirment. Alii plus aequo metuunt quod ferre possunt, alii plus aequo despiciunt quod ferre non possunt; hos in experimentum sui tristibus ducit. Nonnulli venerandum saeculi nomen gloriosae pretio mortis emerunt: quidam suppliciis inexpugnabiles exemplum ceteris praetulerunt invictam malis

Boethius Imprisoned

Being Good: Action Trumps Intent

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics 1105

“Knowledge has little or no impact on [acquiring virtues] while the other conditions are not of limited importance but are critical since virtue emerges from doing just and wise things. So, acts are called just and wise when there are the sorts of thing which a just or wise person might do but the just and wise person is not the one who does these things but who does them as wise and just people do.

So, it is well said that a person becomes just and wise from doing just and wise acts and that no one could become good without doing them. But the majority of people don’t do these things, instead they take refuge in talk, thinking that this is philosophy and that they will become good people in this way. They act like injured people who listen carefully to doctors but then do nothing of what they’re told to do.”

πρὸς δὲ τὸ τὰς ἀρετὰς τὸ μὲν εἰδέναι μικρὸν ἢ οὐδὲν ἰσχύει, τὰ δ᾿ ἄλλα οὐ μικρὸν ἀλλὰ τὸ πᾶν δύναται, εἴπερ ἐκ τοῦ πολλάκις πράττειν τὰ δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα περιγίνεται. τὰ μὲν οὖν πράγματα δίκαια καὶ σώφρονα λέγεται, ὅταν ᾖ τοιαῦτα οἷα ἂν ὁ δίκαιος ἢ ὁ σώφρων πράξειεν· δίκαιος δὲ καὶ σώφρων ἐστὶν οὐχ ὁ ταῦτα πράττων, ἀλλὰ καὶ [ὁ]1 οὕτω πράττων ὡς οἱ δίκαιοι καὶ οἱ σώφρονες πράττουσιν. εὖ οὖν λέγεται ὅτι ἐκ τοῦ τὰ δίκαια πράττειν ὁ δίκαιος γίνεται καὶ ἐκ τοῦ τὰ σώφρονα ὁ σώφρων· ἐκ δὲ τοῦ μὴ πράττειν ταῦτα 6οὐδεὶς ἂν οὐδὲ μελλήσειε γίνεσθαι ἀγαθός. ἀλλ᾿ οἱ πολλοὶ ταῦτα μὲν οὐ πράττουσιν, ἐπὶ δὲ τὸν λόγον καταφεύγοντες οἴονται φιλοσοφεῖν καὶ οὕτως ἔσεσθαι σπουδαῖοι, ὅμοιόν τι ποιοῦντες τοῖς κάμνουσιν, οἳ τῶν ἰατρῶν ἀκούουσι μὲν ἐπιμελῶς, ποιοῦσι δ᾿ οὐθὲν τῶν προσταττομένων.

From wikimedia commons

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.

Actors
 
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.

Only Tears Remain: Reading Euripides’ “Suppliants Online

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)

Lines 1-41: Aethra
Lines 87-364: Theseus, Aethra, Adrastus, Chorus
Lines 399-584: Herald, Theseus
Lines 778-910: Chorus, Theseus, Adrastus
Lines 955-1071: Evadne, Iphis, Chorus
Lines 1165-1231: Athena, Adrastus, Theseus, Chorus
 

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.

Performers

Aethra/Athena – Sara Valentine
Theseus – Evelyn Miller
Adrastus – David Rubin
Chorus – Hannah Barrie and Paul O’Mahony
Herald/Iphis – Carlos Bellato
Evadne – Noree Victoria
 

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)

Upcoming Episodes

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.

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

Euripides, Suppliant Women 971

“Only tears remain for me”

ὑπολελειμμένα μοι δάκρυα

Don’t Go to the Seventh Gate! Reading Aeschylus “Seven Against Thebes” Online

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 968

“The mind goes mad with mourning.”

μαίνεται γόοισι φρήν.

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 704

“Don’t take those paths to the Seventh Gate”

μη ᾿λθῃς ὁδοὺς σὺ τάσδ᾿ ἐφ᾿ Ἑβδόμαις πύλαις.

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 92-95

“Which god or goddess will defend us?
Who will help us?
Should I fall before the paternal altars
Of our gods?

τίς ἄρα ῥύσεται, τίς ἄρ᾿ ἐπαρκέσει
θεῶν ἢ θεᾶν;
95πότερα δῆτ᾿ ἐγὼ <πάτρια> ποτιπέσω
βρέτη δαιμόνων;

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.

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 208-210

“What’s this? Can a sailor find some clever safety
By escaping from the stern to the prow
When his ship is overcame by swelling seas?”

τί οὖν; ὁ ναύτης ἆρα μὴ ᾿ς πρῷραν φυγὼν
πρύμνηθεν ηὗρε μηχανὴν σωτηρίας
νεὼς καμούσης ποντίῳ πρὸς κύματι;

This week brings us back to Thebes, one of the central locations for Ancient Greek myth, and likely the second most famous tale of a besieged city from the ancient world. The tale of Seven Against Thebes is part of the Oedipus story, following on from his departure from the city and his cursing of his sons. We have records of a famous epic which told this tale, the lost Thebais, but Aeschylus’ version is our earliest full text dedicated to the struggle between Eteocles and Polyneices. Sophocles and Euripides will provide their own versions of this story, focusing in part on different aspects.

Aeschylus’ account takes us from the anticipation before the battle right up through the conflict over burying the brothers (more well-known from Sophocles’ Antigone). This play was produced in 467 BCE as part of a trilogy dedicated to the family of Oedipus, apparently with a play dedicated to each generation: LaiosOedipus, and the warring sons. The bulk of this play is the run up to the action, the description of where each of the famous seven fights, and the aftermath. 

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 287-295

“I care about this, but my heart cannot sleep in fear.
Anxiety lives next door
To my heart, growing fear
About the enemies around my wall
Just as a dove shakes all over
Afraid of the snakes with evil plans
For the children sleeping in their beds.”

μέλει, φόβῳ δ᾿ οὐχ ὑπνώσσει κέαρ·
γείτονες δὲ καρδίας
μέριμναι ζωπυροῦσι τάρβος
τὸν ἀμφιτειχῆ λεών,
δράκοντας ὥς τις τέκνων
ὑπερδέδοικεν λεχαίων δυσευνάτορας
πάντρομος πελειάς.

Scenes (Ian Johnston’s Translation)

1-35: Eteocles 
78-287: Eteocles, Chorus 
375-791: Messenger, Eteocles, Chorus 
845-1010: Chorus, Antigone, Ismene 
 

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 4

“If we should do well, it’s thanks to the gods.”

εἰ μὲν γὰρ εὖ πράξαιμεν, αἰτία θεοῦ·

Performers

Eteocles – Tim Delap
Chorus – Hannah Barrie and Paul O’Mahony
Messenger – Sara Valentine
Antigone – Tabatha Gayle
Ismene – Evelyn Miller

Special Guest: Naomi Weiss

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 563-567

“The story hunts through my chest
Each strand of my hair stands straight up
As I leason to the boasts of these boastful
Unholy men. If the gods are gods,
I pray they destroy them in our land.”

ἱκνεῖται λόγος διὰ στηθέων,
τριχὸς δ᾿ ὀρθίας πλόκαμος ἵσταται
μεγάλα μεγαληγόρων κλυούσᾳ
ἀνοσίων ἀνδρῶν· εἰ θεοὶ θεοί,
τούσδ᾿ ὀλέσειαν ἐν γᾷ.

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

Euripides, Suppliants September 23rd

Euripides, Phoenician Women, September 30

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

Euripides, Rhesus, October 14th

 

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 1168-1171

“The adage holds that Obedience is the mother

Of Success and the wife of Salvation.”

Πειθαρχία γάρ ἐστι τῆς Εὐπραξίας

μήτηρ, γυνὴ Σωτῆρος· ὧδ᾿ ἔχει λόγος.

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

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes 783-787

“It is just as if the sea is driving on
Waves of troubles. One recedes but another rises
Three times as strong. And it crashes around
The city’s prow.
In between all we have
Is this thin breadth of a wall.”

κακῶν δ᾿ ὥσπερ θάλασσα κῦμ᾿ ἄγει
τὸ μὲν πίτνον, ἄλλο δ᾿ ἀείρει
τρίχαλον, ὃ καὶ περὶ πρύμ-
ναν πόλεως καχλάζει·
μεταξὺ δ᾿ ἄλκαρ ὅδ᾿ ὀλίγῳ
τείνει πύργος ἐν εὔρει.

“Should We Kill Our Mother?”: Reading Euripides’ “Electra” Online

Euripides, Electra 966

“What should we do? Should we kill our mother?”

τί δῆτα δρῶμεν; μητέρ᾿ ἦ φονεύσομεν;’

Euripides, Electra 904

“Our state is hard to please and loves complaints”

δυσάρεστος ἡμῶν καὶ φιλόψογος πόλις.

Euripides, Elektra 112-119

“Quicken the move of your foot with song
Walk on, walk on in tears.
Ah, my life.
I am a child of Agamemnon,
And Klytemnestra also bore me,
That horrible daughter of Tydnareus.
The citizens around call me
Unlucky Elektra.”

σύντειν᾿ ᾠδᾷ ποδὸς ὁρμάν· ὤ,
ἔμβα ἔμβα κατακλαίουσα.
ἰώ μοί μοι.
ἐγενόμαν Ἀγαμέμνονος
καί μ᾿ ἔτικτε Κλυταιμήστρα
στυγνὰ Τυνδάρεω κόρα,
κικλήσκουσι δέ μ᾿ ἀθλίαν
Ἠλέκτραν πολιῆται.

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, Elektra 265

“Stranger, women love their husbands not their children.”

γυναῖκες ἀνδρῶν, ὦ ξέν᾿, οὐ παίδων φίλαι

If this week’s story sounds familiar, well, it should. Euripides’ Electra revisits some of the same basic myths as his Orestes and the same story as Aeschylus’ Libation Bearers and Sophocles’ Electra. Of course, since this is Euripides, the tale is far from the same as either playwright or his own treatment. In this version, Electra really is front and center and she has a husband–who doesn’t touch her, don’t worry–and a kind of agency over the action she does not enjoy elsewhere.

This play, then, is famous for its engagement with Aeschylus and Homer (watch for a fabulous scar) while also offering potential parallels for Sophocles’ own version which may have been written later. This play likely proceeds Euripides’ Orestes with its murderous ends and responds in different ways to the Orestes who appears in foreign lands in Iphigenia at Tauris. But it is still Euripides: tune in for the lock of hair and footprints, stay for the Dioscuri taking it all home.

Euripides, Elektra 585-595

“You have come, You have come! O long-coming day,
You are shining bright and you have shown
A clear sign to the city, a torch which went
On an ancient flight from paternal halls
Wandering miserably abroad.
A god, some god, brings us victory,
Friend.
Raise up your hands! Raise up the tale!
Let loose prayers to the gods that with luck,
With luck your brother enters our city now.”

ἔμολες ἔμολες, ὤ, χρόνιος ἁμέρα,
κατέλαμψας, ἔδειξας ἐμφανῆ
πόλει πυρσόν, ὃς παλαιᾷ φυγᾷ
πατρίων ἀπὸ δωμάτων τάλας
ἀλαίνων ἔβα.
θεὸς αὖ θεὸς ἁμετέραν τις ἄγει
νίκαν, ὦ φίλα.
ἄνεχε χέρας, ἄνεχε λόγον, ἵει
λιτὰς ἐς θεούς, τύχᾳ σοι τύχᾳ
κασίγνητον ἐμβατεῦσαι πόλιν.

Scenes (Ian Johnston’s Translation)

1-82: Peasant, Electra
82-400: Orestes, Electra, Chorus, Pylades 
487-613: Old Man, Electra, Orestes, Chorus, Pylades 
774-843: Messenger 
961-1355: Orestes, Electra, Chorus, Clytaemnestra, Dioscuri (Castor and Polydeuces), Pylades  

Euripides, Elektra 430-431

“…whether rich or poor / Everyone is equal when their belly is full.”

πᾶς γὰρ ἐμπλησθεὶς ἀνὴρ / ὁ πλούσιός τε χὠ πένης ἴσον φέρει.

Performers

Peasant – Carlos Bellato
Electra – Evelyn Miller
Orestes – Tim Delap
Pylades/Messenger – Paul O’Mahony
Chorus – Bettina Joy de Guzman and Lanah Koelle
Old Man – David Rubin
Clytaemnestra – Eunice Roberts
Castor and Polydeuces – Carlos Bellato

Special Guest: Robert Groves

Euripides, Elektra 387-388

“Flesh lacking brains / is just decoration for the marketplace”

…αἱ δὲ σάρκες αἱ κεναὶ φρενῶν / ἀγάλματ᾿ ἀγορᾶς εἰσιν…

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, Electra 938-945

“What deceived you the most, what you misunderstood,
Is that someone can be strong because of money.
Money can only stay with us for a brief time.
Character is strength, not money.
Character always stands at our sides and bears our troubles.
Wealth shacks up with fools unjustly and then disappears
Leaving their houses once it bloomed for a little while.”

ὃ δ᾿ ἠπάτα σε πλεῖστον οὐκ ἐγνωκότα,
ηὔχεις τις εἶναι τοῖσι χρήμασι σθένων·
τὰ δ᾿ οὐδὲν εἰ μὴ βραχὺν ὁμιλῆσαι χρόνον.
ἡ γὰρ φύσις βέβαιος, οὐ τὰ χρήματα.
ἡ μὲν γὰρ αἰεὶ παραμένουσ᾿ αἴρει κακά·
ὁ δ᾿ ὄλβος ἀδίκως καὶ μετὰ σκαιῶν ξυνὼν
ἐξέπτατ᾿ οἴκων, σμικρὸν ἀνθήσας χρόνον.

Future Readings

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes September 16th

Euripides, Suppliants September 23rd

Euripides, Phoenician Women, September 30

Performing Epic 1, Homer’s Iliad

Euripides, Elektra 1168-1171

“I join in pity for this woman, undone by her children.
God certainly gives out justice at some point or another.
You suffered terribly things, but, wretched woman
You did unholy things to your husband.”

ᾤμωξα κἀγὼ πρὸς τέκνων χειρουμένης.
νέμει τοι δίκαν θεός, ὅταν τύχῃ·
σχέτλια μὲν ἔπαθες, ἀνόσια δ᾿ εἰργάσω,
τάλαιν᾿, εὐνέταν.

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

Euripides, Elektra 605

“Child, no one is your friend when you’re unlucky”

ὦ τέκνον, οὐδεὶς δυστυχοῦντί σοι φίλος.

Immigrants and the State: Reading Aeschylus’ “Suppliants” Online

Aeschylus, Suppliants 698-703

“May the people whose will rules the state,
The forethought for common good,
Guard well our citizens’ rights
And grant just agreements to foreigners
Without pain before considering
Arming for war.”

φυλάσσοι τ᾿ εὖ τὰ τίμι᾿ ἀστοῖς
τὸ δάμιον, τὸ πτόλιν κρατύνει,
προμαθὶς εὐκοινόμητις ἀρχά·
ξένοισι δ᾿ εὐξυμβόλους,
πρὶν ἐξοπλίζειν Ἄρη,
δίκας ἄτερ πημάτων διδοῖεν.

Aeschylus, Suppliants 454

“I would rather be ignorant than know about these problems”
θέλω δ᾿ ἄιδρις μᾶλλον ἢ σοφὸς κακῶν / εἶναι·

Aeschylus, Suppliants  698-703

“May plague never
Drain this city of its men
Nor may civil war dye with blood
The fields of this land with its native sons.”

μήποτε λοιμὸς ἀνδρῶν
τάνδε πόλιν κενώσαι,
μηδ᾿ ἐπιχωρίοις <–>
πτώμασιν αἱματίσαι πέδον γᾶς·

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.

Aeschylus, Suppliants 406-411

“We need deep thinking as a savior,
Like that of a diver reaching to the deep
Looking with an eye not overcome with wine,
How these things may turnout unharmful to the city, first,
And then can have a good end for me too….”

δεῖ τοι βαθείας φροντίδος σωτηρίου,
δίκην κολυμβητῆρος εἰς βύθον μολεῖν
δεδορκὸς ὄμμα μηδ᾿ ἄγαν ᾠνωμένον,
ὅπως ἄνατα ταῦτα πρῶτα μὲν πόλει,
αὐτοῖσί θ᾿ ἡμῖν ἐκτελευτήσει καλῶς

This week we turn to Aeschylus’ Suppliants. This play, produced soon after the Persian Wars, tells of the flight of the Danaids from Egypt to Greece to escape forced marriage to their cousins. It is in part a record of the complex foundational narratives of Greece, stories which made the Greeks kin to the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians and more yet still tried to position the leading families as homegrown, indigenous to the most famous cities of the time. Its themes reflect modern concerns about immigration and migration, sexual violence, and what values we assume as part of cultural and political authority. Along with this, though, we find xenophobia, misogyny, early reflections on ethnicity and culture, and a great deal of suffering due to all of these themes

At the foundation of this story is a myth of the Danaids, a tale of global fraternal strife, of how the daughters of Danaus fled marriage with their cousins, the sons of Aegyptus, yet still ended up having to marry them in Greece. On their wedding night, as the traditional story goes, all but one of them used the knives their father had given them to kill their husbands. For this, they were to be punished eternally in the underworld, carrying water to fill a leaking cistern

Aeschylus’ play is set in the run-up to the marriage. The scene is Argos. Danaus has led his daughters there from Egypt. They meet Pelasgus. They ask for his protection. Then their ‘bridegrooms’ arrive.

Aeschylus, Suppliants 397-401

“This case is not easy to adjudicate: do not make me its judge.
I have said before that I would not do this
Without the people even though I am in charge,
In case the people say when things go badly,
“You destroyed the state by honoring immigrants.”

οὐκ εὔκριτον τὸ κρῖμα· μὴ ᾿μ᾿ αἱροῦ κριτήν.
εἶπον δὲ καὶ πρίν, οὐκ ἄνευ δήμου τόδε
πράξαιμ᾿ ἄν, οὐδέ περ κρατῶν, μὴ καί ποτε
εἴποι λεώς, εἴ πού τι μὴ λῷον τύχοι,
“ἐπήλυδας τιμῶν ἀπώλεσας πόλιν.”

Scenes (H. W. Smyth’s translation)

1-233: Chorus, Danaus   
234-503: King (Pelasgus), Chorus, Danaus 
600-824: Danaus, Chorus
843-1073: Chorus, Herald, Danaus, King (Pelasgus), Chorus of Handmaidens

Aeschylus, Suppliants  277-286

“You utter things incredible for me to hear,
That you are of our Argive race!
You look more like the women of Libya
Than the women who are born in this country.
Ah, the Nile might bear a crop like this;
And there’s a similar imprint on the Cyprian clan
Formed there by the male artisans.
I hear also of nomad women in India
Who ride across the land on camels like horses
Neighbors to the Ethiopians!”

ἄπιστα μυθεῖσθ᾿, ὦ ξέναι, κλυεῖν ἐμοί,
ὅπως τόδ᾿ ὑμῖν ἐστιν Ἀργεῖον γένος.
Λιβυστικοῖς γὰρ μᾶλλον ἐμφερέστεραι
γυναιξίν ἐστε κοὐδαμῶς ἐγχωρίοις·
καὶ Νεῖλος ἂν θρέψειε τοιοῦτον φυτόν·
εἰκὼς χαρακτήρ τ᾿ ἐν γυναικείοις τύποις
Κυπρίοις πέπληκται τεκτόνων πρὸς ἀρσένων·
Ἰνδάς τ᾿ ἀκούω νομάδας ἱπποβάμοσιν
εἶναι καμήλοις ἀστραβιζούσας χθόνα

Performers

Chorus: Tamieka Chavis and Tabatha Gayle
Danaus: David Rubin
King (Pelasgus): Damian Jermaine Thompson
Herald: Argyris Xafis

Special Guest: Rebecca Futo Kennedy

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)

Aeschylus Suppliants  143-150

“The oar’s flat blade and the linen-stitched
Wooden home walls out the sea
And sends me here without a storm
On fair winds. I do not complain.
May the all-seeing father in time
Bring about favorable ends for us.”

πλάτα μὲν οὖν λινορραφής
τε δόμος ἅλα στέγων δορὸς
ἀχείματόν μ᾿ ἔπεμπε σὺν
πνοαῖς, οὐδὲ μέμφομαι·
τελευτὰς δ᾿ ἐν χρόνῳ
πατὴρ ὁ παντόπτας
πρευμενεῖς κτίσειεν·

Future Readings

Euripides, Electra September 9th

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes September 16th

Euripides, Suppliants September 23rd

Aeschylus, Suppliants  1-4

“May Zeus, god of exiles, take a kind look
At our group which took to ship
From the soft sands of the Nile’s mouth…”

Ζεὺς μὲν ἀφίκτωρ ἐπίδοι προφρόνως
στόλον ἡμέτερον νάιον ἀρθέντ᾿
ἀπὸ προστομίων λεπτοψαμάθων
Νείλου·…

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

Everyone’s In Love! Reading Euripides’ “Hippolytus” Online

Euripides, Hippolytus 469-472

“…you have fallen into so much misfortune
How could you imagine you’d break free of it?
But if in the end you have more good than ill
You’d certainly be lucky enough as a human being.”

ἐς δὲ τὴν τύχην
πεσοῦσ᾿ ὅσην σύ, πῶς ἂν ἐκνεῦσαι δοκεῖς;
ἀλλ᾿ εἰ τὰ πλείω χρηστὰ τῶν κακῶν ἔχεις,
ἄνθρωπος οὖσα κάρτα γ᾿ εὖ πράξειας ἄν.

Euripides, Hippolytus  361-368

“Did you hear it? Did you hear
The queen speak aloud sufferings
One must neever speak?
May I die, my friend, before
I think your thoughts. My gods,
How pitiful you are from these pains.
Oh, all the toils that nourish mortals.
You are ruined—you have introduced evils to the light.
What can await you in this nearly endless day?”

ἄιες ὤ, ἔκλυες ὤ,
ἀνήκουστα τᾶς
τυράννου πάθεα μέλεα θρεομένας;
ὀλοίμαν ἔγωγε πρὶν σᾶν, φίλα,
κατανύσαι φρενῶν. ἰώ μοι, φεῦ φεῦ·
ὦ τάλαινα τῶνδ᾿ ἀλγέων·
ὦ πόνοι τρέφοντες βροτούς.
ὄλωλας, ἐξέφηνας ἐς φάος κακά.
τίς σε παναμέριος ὅδε χρόνος μένει;

Euripides, Hippolytus 161-169

“Women have an ill-fit harmony in their lives:
Their suffering lives alongside
The miserable helplessnesss of labor pains
And senselessness.
This breath escaped out of my womb
So I cried out to the heavenly aid
The queen of arrows
My much envied visitor among the gods:
Artemis.”

φιλεῖ δὲ τᾷ δυστρόπῳ γυναικῶν
ἁρμονίᾳ κακὰ
δύστανος ἀμηχανία συνοικεῖν
ὠδίνων τε καὶ ἀφροσύνας.
δι᾿ ἐμᾶς ᾖξέν ποτε νηδύος ἅδ᾿
αὔρα· τὰν δ᾿ εὔλοχον οὐρανίαν
τόξων μεδέουσαν ἀύτευν
Ἄρτεμιν, καί μοι πολυζήλωτος αἰεὶ
σὺν θεοῖσι φοιτᾷ.

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, Hippolytus 293-296

“If you suffer a sickness that is one of those we can’t mention,
These are women who can help take care of the disease.
If your suffering is open to discussion with men,
Tell us so we can share this deed with some doctors.”

κεἰ μὲν νοσεῖς τι τῶν ἀπορρήτων κακῶν,
γυναῖκες αἵδε συγκαθιστάναι νόσον·
εἰ δ᾿ ἔκφορός σοι συμφορὰ πρὸς ἄρσενας,
λέγ᾿, ὡς ἰατροῖς πρᾶγμα μηνυθῇ τόδε.

Euripides’Hippolytus takes us away from the stories of Agamemnon’s family and the Trojan War and takes us to some of the local tales of Attica. He tells the story of Theseus and his son Hippolytus, a product of Theseus’ rape of Hippolyta. The action of the play is in Troezen where Thesus is in exile for murder. Hippolytus has declared himself celebate and to punish him, Aphrodite has made his stepmother Phaedra fall in love with him.

This play was performed as part of a trilogy in 428 and won first prize. It is also not the only time Euripides turned to this topic. An ancient scholar writes that “this is the second Hippolytus, also called “the wreathed”. It appears it was written later. For it corrects what was improper and worthy of accusation in the earlier play” (τερος ᾿Ιοφῶν, τρίτος ῎Ιων. ἔστι δὲ οὗτος ῾Ιππόλυτος δεύτερος <ὁ> καὶ στεφανίας προσαγορευόμενος. ἐμφαίνεται δὲ ὕστερος γεγραμμένος· τὸ  γὰρ ἀπρεπὲς καὶ κατηγορίας ἄξιον ἐν τούτῳ διώρθωται τῷ δράματι. τὸ ).

According to scholarly traditions, Hippolytus was famed for his wisdom as well has his beauty and this play sets forces of prudence and self-discipline against desire and pleasure. Of course, since this is Euripides, it is not as simple as that: each character struggles with their impulses and their incomplete knowledge, struggling to be better and punished for trying to be something they are not.

Euripides, Hippolytus 653-655

“I am going to clean out everything I just heard
From my ears with running water. How could I be bad when
I feel dirty just hearing these kinds of things?”

ἁγὼ ῥυτοῖς νασμοῖσιν ἐξομόρξομαι
ἐς ὦτα κλύζων. πῶς ἂν οὖν εἴην κακός,
ὃς οὐδ᾿ ἀκούσας τοιάδ᾿ ἁγνεύειν δοκῶ;

Scenes (using Ian Johnston’s translation)

Lines 1-87: Aphrodite, Hippolytus, Chorus/Attendants
Lines 198-518: Phaedra, Nurse, Chorus
Lines 601-667: Nurse, Hippolytus, Phaedra (present but unseen)
Lines 885-1101: Theseus, Hippolytus, Chorus
Lines 1153-1466: Messenger, Theseus, Hippolytus, Artemis, Chorus

Euripides, Hippolytus 916-920

“O humanity, why do you fuck up pointlessly so often?
Why do you teach countless skills
And contrive and invent every kind of thing,
But fail to understand or even pursue at all
How to teach people to think when they are mindless?!”

ὦ πόλλ᾿ ἁμαρτάνοντες ἄνθρωποι μάτην,
τί δὴ τέχνας μὲν μυρίας διδάσκετε
καὶ πάντα μηχανᾶσθε κἀξευρίσκετε,
ἓν δ᾿ οὐκ ἐπίστασθ᾿ οὐδ᾿ ἐθηράσασθέ πω,
φρονεῖν διδάσκειν οἷσιν οὐκ ἔνεστι νοῦς;

Performers

Artemis and Aphrodite – Noree Victoria
Hippolytus – Rhys Rusbatch
Phaedra – Mariah Gale
Nurse – Marietta Hedges
Theseus – David Rubin
Messenger – Toph Marshall
Chorus – Noelia Antweiler

Special Guest, Eirene Visvardi

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 821-824

“…I look over a sea of suffering, poor one,
So large that it is impossible to swim free again
Or to cross over the wave of this sorrow.”

κακῶν δ᾿, ὦ τάλας, πέλαγος εἰσορῶ
τοσοῦτον ὥστε μήποτ᾿ ἐκνεῦσαι πάλιν
μηδ᾿ ἐκπερᾶσαι κῦμα τῆσδε συμφορᾶς

Upcoming Readings (Go here for the project page)

Aeschylus, Suppliants  September 2nd

Euripides, Electra September 9th

Aeschylus, Seven Against Thebes September 16th

Euripides, Hippolytus 486-489

“This is the very thing that lays low the well-lived cities
And homes of mortals: excessively attractive words!
You must not utter things to entice the ears at all
But rather whatever plan will bring us good fame!”

τοῦτ᾿ ἔσθ᾿ ὃ θνητῶν εὖ πόλεις οἰκουμένας
δόμους τ᾿ ἀπόλλυσ᾿, οἱ καλοὶ λίαν λόγοι.
οὐ γάρ τι τοῖσιν ὠσὶ τερπνὰ χρὴ λέγειν
ἀλλ᾿ ἐξ ὅτου τις εὐκλεὴς γενήσεται.

Videos of Earlier Sessions (Go here for the project page)
Euripides’ Helen, March 25th
Sophocles’ Philoktetes, April 1st
Euripides’ Herakles, April 8th
Euripides’ Bacchae, April 15th
Euripides’ Iphigenia , April 22nd
Sophocles, Trachinian Women, April 29th
Euripides, Orestes May 6th
Aeschylus, Persians, May 13th
Euripides, Trojan Women May 20th
Sophocles’ Ajax, May 27th
Sophocles, Oedipus Tyrannos, June 10th

Euripides, Ion,  June 17th

Euripides, Hecuba June 24th

Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound June 30th

Euripides, Andromache 

Aristophanes, Clouds July 15th

Euripides, Hippolytus July 22nd

Euripides, Hippolytus 176-198
“Oh, for mortal kind suffering and hateful diseases!
What will I do? What won’t I do?
This is your light, your bright sky-
Already outside lies
Your sick bed.
Coming here was your every word,
Quickly you will rush to go back again,
And quickly you will slip and delight in nothing.
Nothing present pleases you, what is absent
You hold more dear.
It is better to suffer sickness than tend to it.
The first is simple but the other unites
Anguish of thoughts with labor’s hands.
Human life is only pain
And there is no respite from labors.
Anything at all dearer to us than life
Darkness embraces and hides in shadows.
Then we show ourselves to be unlucky lovers
Of whatever shines clear for a bit on the earth
Because of our ignorance of any other life at all.
There’s no revelation of the afterlife.
We are carried along by nothing but stories.”

ὦ κακὰ θνητῶν στυγεραί τε νόσοι·
τί σ᾿ ἐγὼ δράσω; τί δὲ μὴ δράσω;
τόδε σοι φέγγος, λαμπρὸς ὅδ᾿ αἰθήρ,
ἔξω δὲ δόμων ἤδη νοσερᾶς
δέμνια κοίτης.
δεῦρο γὰρ ἐλθεῖν πᾶν ἔπος ἦν σοι,
τάχα δ᾿ ἐς θαλάμους σπεύσεις τὸ πάλιν.
ταχὺ γὰρ σφάλλῃ κοὐδενὶ χαίρεις,
οὐδέ σ᾿ ἀρέσκει τὸ παρόν, τὸ δ᾿ ἀπὸν
φίλτερον ἡγῇ.
κρεῖσσον δὲ νοσεῖν ἢ θεραπεύειν·
τὸ μέν ἐστιν ἁπλοῦν, τῷ δὲ συνάπτει
λύπη τε φρενῶν χερσίν τε πόνος.
πᾶς δ᾿ ὀδυνηρὸς βίος ἀνθρώπων
κοὐκ ἔστι πόνων ἀνάπαυσις.
ἀλλ᾿ ὅ τι τοῦ ζῆν φίλτερον ἄλλο
σκότος ἀμπίσχων κρύπτει νεφέλαις.
δυσέρωτες δὴ φαινόμεθ᾿ ὄντες
τοῦδ᾿ ὅ τι τοῦτο στίλβει κατὰ γῆν
δι᾿ ἀπειροσύνην ἄλλου βιότου
κοὐκ ἀπόδειξιν τῶν ὑπὸ γαίας,
μύθοις δ᾿ ἄλλως φερόμεσθα.