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 The Persians  (): The Persians
: Aeschylus
: LibriVox
: LibriVox Volunteers
: 2014
: Classics, Tragedy
: mp3
: 128 kbps
: 01:05:59
: 53.77

AESCHYLUS (c. 525/524 - 456/455 BC), translated by Edmund Doidge Anderson MORSHEAD (1849 - 1912)
This is one of the few Greek tragedies that deals with historical events rather than mythological ones. The elders of the Persian court await new of the outcome of the Battle of Salamis, and mourn when they find that their king, Xerxes, has lost to the Greeks. - Summary by Libby Gohn

"The Persians" ( _el. ??????, "Persai") is an Athenian tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Aeschylus. First produced in 472 BCE, it is the oldest surviving play in the history of theatre. It dramatizes the Persian response to news of their military defeat at the Battle of Salamis (480 BCE), which was a decisive episode in the GrecoPersian Wars; as such, the play is also notable for being the only extant Greek tragedy that is based on contemporary events.


"The Persians" was the second part of a trilogy that won the first prize at the dramatic competitions in Athens City Dionysia festival in 472 BCE. The first play in the trilogy was called "Phineus"; it presumably dealt with Jason and the Argonauts rescue of King Phineus from the torture that the monstrous harpies inflicted at the behest of Zeus. The subject of the third play, "Glaucus", was either a mythical Corinthian king who was devoured by his horses because he angered the goddess Aphrodite or else a Boeotian farmer who ate a magical herb that transformed him into a sea deity with the gift of prophecy. [A catalogue of Aeschylean plays contains the two titles "Glaucus Potnieus" and "Glaucus Pontius" hence the uncertainty. To add to the confusion, one title could easily be a garbled duplicate of the other. The consensus seems to favor "Glaucus Potnieus" (thus, e.g., Lesky 1996, 244). See, however Muller/Lewis 1858, 322.] In "The Persians", Xerxes was defeated because he angered the gods when he built a bridge across the Hellespont; given Aeschylus propensity for writing connected trilogies, the theme of divine retribution may connect the three. It has been argued by some that these plays would have indirectly forecast events of the Persian invasion. Based on their presumed content, Xerxes march through Thrace and his defeat at the Battle of Plataea in 479, respectively, seem likely candidates. [See Munn (2000, 30).] The satyr play following the trilogy, "Prometheus the Fire-lighter", comically portrayed the titans theft of fire.

: The Persians


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