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October 2017

Euripides: Hecuba

Hecuba and Polyxena, by Merry-Joseph Blondel. Via Wikimedia Commons.Hecuba (Greek: Ἑκάβη) is a tragedy by Euripides thought to have been written around 424 BC. The plot examines the fate of Queen Hecuba of Troy after the city's fall to the Greeks.

Hecuba loses two of her surviving children in the early scenes of the play. Her daughter Polyxena is carried off by Odysseus to be sacrificed to the shade of Achilles. Her son Polydorus, who Hecuba believes is safely in hiding, is murdered by his guardian, King Polymestor of Thrace, in order to sieze Trojan treasure.

Hecuba learns the truth when Polydorus' body is washed up on the sea shore. Her appeals to Agamemnon for justice go unheard. Instead she lures Polymestor to her tent, where she enacts a bloody revenge, killing his sons, and leaving him blinded.

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Free online texts

Didaskalia: Hecuba, translated by Jay Kardan & Laura-Gray Street. PDF format.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Euripides' Hecuba, Greek text edited with notes Michael Tierney (1946). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 484 Euripides II Children Of Heracles Hippolytus Andromache Hecuba. Loeb Edition, Greek and English parallel text. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Hecuba, Greek text edited by Charles Buller Heberden. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Hecuba, Greek text edited by W.S. Hadley (1894). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Hecuba of Euripides, translated by John Bond (1882). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Hecuba and Medea of Euripides, translated by W. Brownrigg Smith (1877). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Hecuba of Euripides, translated by R. Mongan (1865). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Hecuba, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Internet Archive: The Hecuba of Euripides, Greek text with notes by T.K. Arnold (1852). Multiple formats.

Loebulus: L009 - Euripides -- Euripides I: Iphigenia at Aulis. Rhesus. Hecuba. The Daughters of Troy. Helen. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Hekabe, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Hecuba, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Continue reading "Euripides: Hecuba" »


Sappho: Poems

Alcaeus and Sappho. Attic red-figure kalathos from Akragas ca. 470 BC. Via Wikimedia Commons user Bibi Saint-Pol.Sappho (Greek: Ψάπφω) was an archaic Greek poet from the island of Lesbos. Little is known for certain of her biography, but she is thought to have lived from around 630 to 570 BCE.

Only one complete poem of hers survives, the Ode to Aphrodite. Other extant fragments include some discovered as recently as 2014.

To the ancients, Sappho was one of the nine canonical lyric poets, and was sometimes described as the 'tenth muse'. In modern times, her work has attracted much interest for its expression of female autonomy and sexuality. The use of the term 'lesbian' to describe female homosexuality is a reference to her.

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Free online texts

Bibliowiki: The Poems of Sappho, translated by Edwin Marion Cox. HTML format.

Guardian: Read Sappho's 'new' poem, translated by Tim Whitmarsh. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Poems of Sappho - An Interpretative Rendition into English , by John Myers O'Hara. Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Sappho - A New Rendering, by Henry De Vere Stacpoole. Multiple formats.

Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies: Sappho Fragments 58–59 - Text, Apparatus Criticus, and Translation, by Dirk Obbink. HTML format.

Internet Archive: Sappho - One Hundred Lyrics, translated by Bliss Carman (1907). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sappho - Poetic Fragments, by D.M. Myatt. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Sappho - The Poems and Fragments. Greek text with an English translation by C.R. Haines (1926). Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L142 - Lyra Graeca I: Terpander. Alcman. Sappho. Alcaeus. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Middlebury College: Sappho -New Poem No. 58 from the Koln papyrus, translated by William Harris. HTML format.

Peitho's Web: Sappho, translated by H.T. Wharton (1895). HTML format archived at the Internet Archive.

Sacred texts: The Poems of Sappho, translated by John Mysers O'Hara (1910). HTML format.

Sacred texts: The Poems of Sappho, Greek text and English translation by Edwin Marion Cox (1925). HTML and unicode formats.

University of Houston: Fragments of Sappho, translated by Julia Dubnoff. HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek texts.

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Snorri Sturluson: The Prose Edda

Gylfi and three speakers. Manuscript SAM 66 (Iceland, 1765–1766), Reykjavík, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies. Via Wikipedia.The Prose Edda, also known as the Younger Edda or Snorri's Edda (Icelandic: Snorra Edda) is a compilation of Old Norse legends traditionally attributed to the the 13th Century Icelandic scholar Snorri Sturluson. Originally known simply as The Edda, it's later title differentiates it from collections based on the Codex Regius, which became known as The Poetic Edda.

The work is composed of four sections:

  • The Prologue presents an account of the Norse Gods tracing their ancestry to the ancient Trojans, and providing subsequent genealogies influenced by Anglo-Saxon tradition.
  • Gylfaginning - Tells the story of King Gylfi of Sweden and his encounter with three mysterious beings, High, Just-As-High, and Third. Their dialogue provides the frame for an account of the old pagan Norse cosmology.
  • Skáldskaparmál - A dialogue between Ægir, the Norse god of the sea, and Bragi, the god of poetry touching on Norse myth and the poetic language in which it found expression. In particular it gives a detailed list of the figurative expressions known as kennings.
  • Háttatal - A technical discussion of the verse forms of Old Norse poetry.


The Edda at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Younger Edda, translated by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson. Multiple formats. 

Heimskringla: Edda Snorri Sturlusonar - Old Norse and modern Scandinavian texts. HTML format.

Internet Archive: The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. Multiple formats.

Sacred Texts: The Prose Edda, translated by Arthur Gilchrist Brodeur. HTML format.

Septentrionalia: Prose Edda, Old Norse texts, pdf format.

Viking Society for Northern Research: Edda, by Snorri Sturluson, translated by Anthony Faulkes. PDF format.

Viking Society for Northern Research: Prose Edda - Prologue and Glyfaginning. Old Norse text. PDF format.

Wikisource: Prose Edda, translated by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson.

Other Resources

Librivox: The Prose Edda, public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Prose Edda.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

The Poetic Edda.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

Virgil: The Aeneid - Like many medieval European texts, the Edda employs Virgil as a model in linking local traditions to a classical heritage.

Bloom's Western Canon: The Prose Edda is listed.


Euripides: Andromache

Captive Andromache, by Frederick Leighton. Wikimedia CommonsAndromache (Greek: Ἀνδρομάχη) is a tragedy by Euripides, thought to have been first performed in the early 420s BC. It is one of a number of Euripides' plays to elaborate the fates of women associated with the Trojan War.

Andromache, the widow of Hector, has been taken back to Greece as a concubine by Neoptolemus, the son of Achilles. Ten years after the war, she has borne him a son, while his wife Hermione, daughter of Menelaus, remains childless.

As the play opens, Andromache is seeking refuge from Hermione's jealousy at the shrine of Thetis. She turns back when her son Molossus is threatened with death, and seeks protection from Neoptolemus' grandfather Peleus. After a confrontation between Andromache and Hermione, Peleus intervenes to prevent Menelaus from killing Molossus. Hermione is unexpectedly carried off by her former suitor Orestes after Neoptolemus is murdered at Delphi, and the goddess Thetis appears as a deus ex machina to settle matters.

The negative portrayal of Menelaus in the play is often regarded as a manifestation of anti-Spartan feeling at Athens in the early years of the Peloponnesian War.

Andromache at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Andromache, translated by Gilbert Murray (1900). Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Ανδρομάχη. Greek text, multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Andromache. Greek text, edited by Gilbert Norwood (1906). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Andromache. Greek text, edited by A.R.F. Hyslop (1900). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Andromache, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L010N - Euripides -- Euripides II: Electra. Orestes. Iphigeneia in Taurica. Andromache. Cyclops. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format. Also available as L484 at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation, by David Kovacs. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Andromache, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Andromache, translated by E.P. Coleridge.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Performances and Reviews

American Thymele Theatre, New York, 2014

Youtube: Andromache, American Theymele Theatre.

Other Resources

Ancient-literature.com: Andromache, synopsis and analysis.

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

History of Ancient Greece: Euripides at War, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Wikipedia: Andromache (play)

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Homer: The Iliad.

Euripides: The Trojan Women, Helen, Iphigenia in Tauris, Iphigenia at Aulis.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Andromache is listed.


Herodotus: The Histories

Greece_persian_war_500_479The Histories of Herodotus is the founding work of the Greek historical tradition, documenting the rise of the Persian Empire, the Ionian revolt and the subsequent war between the Persians and the Greeks led by Athens and Sparta. Through his frequent digressions on the various cultures of the known world Herodotus, known as the 'father of history', imparted to the discipline a broad anthropological focus, rivalling the predominantly political and military interests of his successor, Thucydides.

The Histories at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free Online Texts

Gutenberg: Herodotus author page. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The History of Herodotus, Volume 1. Translated by G.C. Macaulay.

Gutenberg: The History of Herodotus, Volume 2. Translated by G.C. Macaulay.

Inquiries by Herodotus, translated by Shlomo Felberbaum, with photographs by Shane Solow. Online text.

Internet Archive: Herodotus.

Internet Classics Archive, The History of Herodotus, translated by George Rawlinson.

Loebulus. L117 - Herodotus -- Herodotus I: Books 1-2. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. 

Loebulus. L118 - Herodotus -- Herodotus II: Books 3-4. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Loebulus. L119 - Herodotus -- Herodotus III: Books 5-7. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English. 

Loebulus. L120 - Herodotus -- Herodotus IV: Books 8-9. PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Pax Librorum: The Histories by Herodotus. Pdf download.

Perseus: Herodotus, Greek text (Godley ed., 1920). English translation (Godley, 1920). Online texts.

Sacred Texts: The History of Herodotus, parallel English/Greek, translated by G. C. Macaulay, (1890). Online with zipped text download.

 Wikisource: The Histories  - Online Translations by A. D. Godley, George Rawlinson and G. C. Macaulay. Downloads via Book Creator.

Continue reading "Herodotus: The Histories" »


Euripides: Hippolytus

Hippolytus and Phaedra, fresco from Pompeii. Photo by Wmpearl.Hippolytus (Greek: Ἱππόλυτος) is a tragedy by Euripides, first produced at the City Dionysia in 428 BC, when it won first prize.

The play focuses on the struggle between erotic love, represented by the goddess Aphrodite and the character of Phaedra, and the virtue of sophrosyne represented by the goddess Artemis and the character of Hippolytus. It's setting is the household of the exiled Greek king Theseus in the Peloponnesian city of Troezen.

Theseus's wife Phaedra conceives a violent passion for her step-son Hippolytus, and kills herself when it is not returned. However, she leaves behind a letter accusing Hippolytus of rape. Theseus sends his son into exile. As Hippolytus departs, his chariot is attacked by a bull from the sea. As he lies dying, the goddess Artemis appears to tell Theseus the truth, and father and son are reconciled before Hippolytus's death.

Hippolytus at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Bartleby: Hippolytus, translated by Gilbert Murray, Harvard Classics (1909-14) edition. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Hippolytus; The Bacchae, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Hippolytus, translated by Gilbert Murray (1904). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Hippolytus, Greek text with notes by R.A. Paley (1876). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Hippolytus, Greek text with notes by F.A.S. Freeland. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Hippolytus, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L012 - Euripides -- Euripides IV: Ion. Hippolytus. Medea. Alcestis. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format. Also available from the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by David Kovacs. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Hippolytus, translated by George Theodoridis (2010). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: Hippolytus, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

History of Ancient Greece: Early Euripides, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Librivox: Hippolytus. Public domain audiobook.

Theatre History: Hippolytus, summary and analysis.

Wikipedia: Hippolytus (play)

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Hippolytus is listed.


Euripides: Heracleidae

Hercules and Iolaus, Fountain mosaic from the Anzio Nymphaeum, Museo Nazionale RomanoHeracleidae or the Children of Heracles (Ancient Greek: Ἡρακλεῖδαι) is a tragedy by Euripides, probably first produced in Athensvaround 430 BC, in the early years of the Peloponnesian War. Its subject may have had a political resonance at the time, as Heracles was said to be the ancestor of the Dorian Greeks, a group which included the Athenians' main adversaries, the Spartans.

The play opens after Heracles' death, with his children fleeing persecution by Eurystheus, King of Argos. Accompanied by their uncle Iolaus, they take refuge at Athens. When King Demophon, son of Theseus refuses to give them up, Eurystheus declares war. Heracles' daughter Macaria offers herself as a sacrifice to ensure Athenian victory. With the aid of Heracles' eldest son, Hyllus, Eurystheus is defeated and captured.

The Heracleidae at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Heracleidae, Greek text with notes by E.A. Beck (1882). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Heracleidae, Greek text with notes by C.S. Jerram (1888). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L011N - Euripides -- Euripides III: Bacchanals. Madness of Hercules. Children of Hercules. Phoenician Maidens. Suppliants. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by David Kovacs. Multiple formats.

Poetry in Translation: Herakleidae, translated by George Theodoridis (2010). Multiple formats.

Topostext: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML format with accompanying map.

University of Adelaide: Heracleidae, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translation. HTML and other formats.

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Euripides: Medea

Medea killing one of her sons. Side A from a Campanian (Capouan) red-figure neck-amphora, ca. 330 BC. From Cumae.Medea (Ancient Greek: Μήδεια) is a tragedy by Euripides, first performed at the Athenian City Dionysia in 431 BC in which it came last.

The central character is taken from the legendary voyage of the Argonauts, during which Jason was assisted by the Colchian princess Medea to obtain the golden fleece. The play opens some years after Jason's return to Corinth with Medea as his wife. Jason has decided to cast her aside to marry Glauce, daughter of King Creon of Corinth. Medea is sent into exile at Athens, but persuades the Athenian King Aegeus to allow her to return. She poisons Glauce and Creon, before killing her own children by Jason, and fleeing to Athens.

Medea's escape may have contributed to contemporaries' negative judgement on the play. In modern times, however, it has been widely performed, with much interest in the issues of gender and ethnicity raised by a play which make a barbarian woman its central protagonist.

Medea at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Geoffrey Steadman: Medea, Greek text with commentary. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Medea, translated by Gilbert Murray (1912). Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Medea, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Medea, translated by T.A. Buckley (1897). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Medea, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L012 - Euripides -- Euripides IV: Ion. Hippolytus. Medea. Alcestis. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation, by David Kovacs. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Medea, translated by George Theodoridis (2005). Multiple formats.

Stoa.org: Euripides' Medea, translated by C.A.E. Luschnig. PDF format.

University of Adelaide: Medea, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations. HTML and other formats.

Performances and Reviews

Almeida London 2015

Susannah Clapp, 'a female voice both ancient and modern', Guardian, 4 October 2015.

Bristol Old Vic 2017

Lyn Gardner, 'all-female cast excel as Euripides meets modern-day Maddy', Guardian, 12 May 2017.

Other Resources

Ancient-Literature.com: Medea - synopsis and analysis.

The Conversation: Medea is as relevant today as it was in Ancient Greece, 23 July 2014, by Laura Swift.

History of Ancient Greece: Early Euripides, podcast by Ryan Stitt.

Internet Archive: An English Commentary on the Rhesus, Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, Heraclidae, Supplices, and Troades of Euripides, by Charles Anthon (1877). Multiple formats.

The Iris: A Guide to Euripides' Medea, by Mary Louise Hart, 11 September 2015.

Librivox: Medea, public domain audiobooks.

Literature and History: Woman the Barbarian -Euripides' Medea. Podcast and transcript by Doug Metzger.

Wikipedia: Medea (play).

Youtube: Theater Talk- “Medea” actress Fiona Shaw and director Deborah Warner.

The Great Conversation: Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Apollonius of Rhodes: Argonautica - The best known treatment of the Argo story.

Gaius Valerius Flaccus: Argonautica.

Aristophanes: Thesmophoriazusae  - features Euripides as a character who is mocked for his portrayal of women.

Hesiod: Theogony.

Herodotus: The Histories - records a tradition about Medea's return to Colchis.

Pindar: Pythian Odes.

Pseudo-Apollodorus: Bibliotheca.

Diodorus Siculus: The Historical Library - discusses a number of versions of Medea's story.

Seneca: Medea.

Cicero: Pro Caelio -  deploys Medea's name as a rhetorical barb against Clodi, sister of P. Clodius Pulcher.

Ovid - refers to the legend in the Heroides, Metamorphoses and Tristia.

Hyginus: Fabulae.

A.E. Haigh: The Tragic Drama of the Greeks (1896).

 Ancient Greek resources: Learn to read Greek classics in the original.

Bloom's Western Canon: Medea is listed.


Euripides: Alcestis

Alcestis and Admetus, ancient Roman fresco (45-79 d.C.) from the House of the Tragic Poet, Pompeii, ItalyAlcestis (Greek: Ἄλκηστις) is the earliest surviving play by the Greek dramatist Euripides, having been produced at the Dionysia of 438 BC, where it won second prize. It was presented as the last part of a tetralogy, the position normally reserved for a satyr play. It has sometimes been called prosatryic because of its happy ending and comic elements.

The plot centres on Apollo's promise to Asmetus King of Pherae, that he can cheat death if he can find someone else to take his place. Only Admetus' wife Alcestis is willing to accept this fate. A burlesque element arises from Admetus' attempts to mourn her, while fulfilling his obligation of hospitality to Hercules, who is kept in ignorance of her death. When Hercules learns of the true position, he rescues Alcestis from the clutches of death and restores her to her husband, 

The play was the subject of a modern adaptation by Ted Hughes, a choice that many critics have interpreted in autobiographical terms as a reflection on his relationship with Sylvia Plath.

Alcestis at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Alcestis, translated by Gilbert Murray (1915). Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Άλκηστις, Greek text. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: The Tragedies of Euripides, Vol I, translated by Theodore Alois Buckley (1892). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Alcestis of Euripides, translated with notes by Gilbert Murray (1920). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Alcestis of Euripides. Greek text edited by Herman Wadsworth Haley with an introd. and critical and exegetical notes (1898). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Alcestis of Euripides: Greek text with Introduction, Notes, Appendices, and Vocabulary, edited by Matthew Albert Bayfield. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Alcestis, Greek text edited by A. Sidgwick (1874). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Alcestis and Electra, translated by T.A. Buckley (1900). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Alcestis and Other Plays, translated by Robert Potter (1887). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Alcestis, translated by Richard Aldington. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L012 - Euripides -- Euripides IV: Ion. Hippolytus. Medea. Alcestis. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format. Also available at the Internet Archive.

Perseus: Greek text, with an English translation by David Kovacs. Cambridge. Harvard University Press (1994). HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Alcestis, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

Stoa.org: Alcestis, translated by C.A.E. Luschnig. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Alcestis, translated by Richard Aldington. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Alcestis - Greek text and multiple translations.

Continue reading "Euripides: Alcestis" »