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Classical Greek Dramas Transform Troy

graphic of templeGreek heroes of the Trojan War were treated less favorably in classical Greek dramas than they had been by Homer. After all, a raging hero could be dangerous in a thriving city, such as Athens.

In Agamemnon, Aeschylus presented Agamemnon at the end of his life, arrogant and heedless as he returned home from Troy to be murdered in his bath by his wife, Clytemnestra.

Classical Greek dramas presented war as less glorious than in Homer's Iliad. One of the most powerful anti-war plays ever written was Euripides' The Trojan Women, which focused on the suffering victims of war, women and children, instead of on its heroes.

Greek Troy Drama Lecture Greek Troy Drama Activities Greek Troy Drama Bibliography
Explore the links below

         AUDIOBOOKS


         ART AND ARCHAEOLOGY

  • The Ancient City of Athens: A photographic archive of the archaeological and architectural remains of ancient Athens.
  • Greek Sculptures: This site includes a lovely selection of important Greek sculptures with explanatory text. Each sculpture can be enlarged by clicking on it. All are from the National Archaeological Museum at Athens.
  • Skenotheke: Images of the Ancient Stage. Includes many good links to visual and text material about Greek drama.   

ETEXTS

  • Agamemnon by Aeschylus: Translated by E. D. A. Morshead. From MIT. Includes reader comments page, search engine and links to buy books. A download version is available. Last section is missing online.
  • Agamemnon by Aeschylus: (ed. Herbert Weir Smyth, Ph. D.). From the Perseus Database. Slow to load; lots of interesting footnotes.
  • The Choephori by Aeschylus: Translated by E. D. A. Morshead. From MIT. Includes reader comments page, search engine and links to buy books. A download version is available.
  • The Eumenides by Aeschylus: Translated by E. D. A. Morshead. From MIT. Includes reader comments page, search engine and links to buy books. A download version is available.
  • Herodotus, The Persian Wars, Bk. VII: This section includes the story of how the Persian Great King Xerxes invaded Greece in the 5th century, first stopping at Troy to sacrifice to the Trojan Goddess Minerva.
  • The History of the Peloponnesian War: By Thucydides. Written 431 BCE. Translated by Richard Crawley. Book 1 starts with intriguing estimates of the economics and strategies of the Trojan War by a fifth century BCE general.
  • The History of the Peloponnesian War. By Thucydides. This is the Perseus site version; clear large font, nicely annotated.
  • The Internet Classics Archive: From MIT. A searchable collection of 440 classical Greek and Latin e-texts, in English translations. Texts in Greek and Latin are also available on line here.
  • Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides: From MIT. Includes reader comments page, search engine and links to buy books. A download version is available.
  • Iphigenia in Tauris by Euripides: Translated by Robert Potter. From MIT. Includes reader comments page, search engine and links to buy books. A download version is available.
  • The Republic by Plato: Translated by Benjamin Jowett. From MIT. Books II and III discuss the problem of poets and how they misrepresent the gods. Homer is the major Greek poet who told stories about the gods. 
  • The Trojan Women by Euripides: From MIT. Perhaps the greatest anti-war play ever written.

MYTHOLOGY

  • Bulfinch's Mythology: THE AGE OF FABLE OR STORIES OF GODS AND HEROES by Thomas Bulfinch. A full text of Bulfinch's famous handbook of mythology. Not up-to-date, but full of interesting information about gods and heroes who have not changed a lot in the past century.
  • Bulfinch's Mythology: another site with the text.
  • Greek Mythology Link: A new collection of the Greek myths being written and published on line by Carlos Parada. It includes texts, images, tables and maps.
  • Influences from the Near East: This is Chapter 9 of a Web Book, Greek Mythology and Prehistory, by William Harris, Professor Emeritus, Middlebury College. The work as a whole offers a "new look at the myths of the Greek seen as portions of a much older, lost historical tradition." Fascinating reading.
  • Myths and Legends: An extensive list of links organized by region and language group; somewhat chronological.
  • Oedipus and the Myths of Thebes: Includes Oedipus myths,  Jason and the Argonauts myths, and lots of lovely images.
  • Theoi Greek Mythology: An attractively designed large site, "exploring Greek mythology and the gods in classical literature and art." Wonderful resources for Greek mythology, including many classical texts, beautiful images, profiles of the gods and heroes, etc. Definitely worth a visit.

HISTORY AND BACKGROUND

  • "About Helen of Troy": A useful excerpt about the historical background of Helen from Women of Classical Mythology: A Biographical Dictonary, by Robert E. Bell.
  • Aeschylus and Agamemnon: Chapter 7 of material for a course on Ancient Literature and Language by Mark Damen from Utah State University. Includes link to slides from the course lectures.
  • Ancient History Sourcebook: Aristotle: On a Good Wife, from Oikonomikos, c. 330 BCE.
  • Ancient History Sourcebook: The Lot of the Hellenic Woman, c. 700-300 BCE.
  • Bryn Mawr Classical Review: This is a wonderful collection of extended reviews of recently published books about matters classical. The online archive includes reviews from 1990 to the present.
  • Center for Hellenic Studies: at Harvard; links to various classical journals and other resources.
  • Didaskalia: Ancient theater today. Includes information about ancient theaters as well as current productions of ancient dramas.
  • Gender and Immortality: Heroines in Ancient Greek Myth and Cult: by Deborah Lyons Published by Princeton University Press. E-text version available here.
  • Girls and Women in Classical Greek Religion:  by Matthew Dillon (2002). Reviewed by Bryn Mawr Classical Review.
  • Human Sacrifice in Ancient Greece: by Dennis D. Hughs. Reviewed by Richard Hamilton. The main point is that there is little to no archaeological evidence for the practice of human sacrifice in ancient Greece, despite the literary treatments of the topic.
  • Introduction to Greek Tragedy: A comprehensive study guide with links to the Perseus classical database.
  • An Introduction to Greek Tragedy: Chapter 6 of material for a course on Ancient Literature and Language by Mark Damen from Utah State University. Includes link to slides from the course lectures.
  • Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: A clear, well-organized, extensive list of on-line sources of texts and images for studying ancient history.
  • The People vs. Clytemnestra: This unusual site offers arguments pro and con Clytemnestra's murder of Agamemnon.
  •  Odysseus: Fascinating Man and his Many Transformations. By Moya K. Mason. This interesting essay follows the career of Odysseus from Homer to the classical Greek dramas.
  • The Sophists: Philosophical Background of the 5th Century BCE; An interesting, well-developed narrative with links to the Perseus classical database.
  • Spartan Women in the Spotlight: a thoughtful, detailed review by Thomas J. Sienkewicz of Sarah Pomeroy's Spartan Women. Helen of Troy was from Sparta, a very different sort of place from Athens, perhaps especially for women.
  • TheatreHistory.com: this large site has information on theater from the ancient Greek to the 20th century. Much is from out of copyright sources, but still interesting.  Includes a substantial list of short essays of aspects of ancient Greek theater. Annoying popup ads.
  • Women's Life in Greece and Rome: by Mary Lefkowitz and Maureen Fant. Adapted from their book for Diotima.

MAPS

  • Attica: a map of Greece with stars to click on major sites, leading to images and bits of interesting information.
  • Map of Eastern Mediterranean: from the Black Sea (includes Tauris) and Greece to Libya and Egypt. 

METASITES

  • Perseus: Probably the most comprehensive site on Greek antiquity on the web. Includes etexts of literature and philosophy, images of painting, sculpture and architecture, geography, mythology, etc., all interlinked with its own search engine. A bit overwhelming for a beginner, but wonderful if you have a particular research project in mind, or want to spend a few pleasant hours wandering around virtual antiquity.
  • Voice of the Shuttle: Classical Studies Page. Many links to all sorts of resources relating to the classics. Clear, well-organized, and up to date.

SEARCH ENGINE

  • Diotima: Searches materials for the study of women and gender in the ancient world. An attractive, comprehensive site.

TROY Main Page

© Diane Thompson: 8/25/1998; updated: 5/20/2014