Seneca: Moral Letters to Lucilius
Euripides: Electra

Euripides: The Suppliants

Ruins of Eleusis by Carole Raddato, Wikimedia Commons.The Suppliants or The Suppliant Women (Greek: Ἱκέτιδες; Latin Supplices) is a tragedy by Euripides produced in around 422 BCE, a time when it's portrayal of an alliance between Athens and Argos would have been of some contemporary relevance.

The play opens immediately after the events recounted in Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes. The Theban rulers have refused to allow the burial of the Argive leaders killed in the unsuccessful attack on their city. The mothers of the dead, accompanied by King Adrastus of Argos, travel to the shrine of Demeter at Eleusis in Attica. There they plead with Aethra, mother of King Theseus of Athens, for aid.

A Theban herald insolently demands the suppliants, in a debate which is notable for Theseus' defence of Athenian democracy as an institution. Theseus then forcibly recovers the bodies. Eviadne, widow of Capaneus, immolates herself on her husband's pyre during the subsequent funeral rites. The play ends with the sons of the Argives pledging to avenge their fathers and acknowledge their debt to Athens.

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Free online texts

Internet Archive: Euripides with an English translation by Arthur Sanders Way (1930). Vol. III. Bacchanals, The Madness of Hercules, The Children of Hercules, The Phoenician Maidens, Suppliants. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Suppliants, 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.

Poetry in Translation: The Suppliant Women, translated by George Theodoridis. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Suppliants, translated by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Suppliants (Euripides). Multiple translations. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

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

Wikipedia: The Suppliants (Euripides).

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

Aeschlyus: The Seven Against Thebes

Herodotus: The Histories - references a version of the same story at 9.27.

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

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


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