Greek Literature

Euripides: The Phoenician Women

The Phoenician Women (Greek: Φοίνισσαι) by Euripides is the longest surviving Greek tragedy in existence. Originally produced sometime between 412 BC and 408 BC, its retelling of the legendary struggle for the city of Thebes through the eyes of chorus of innocent Phoenician bystanders may reflect conditions in Athens at the end of the Peloponnesian War. The plot covers similar material to Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes and gives accounts of the fates of Oedipus and Antigone that differ from those in Sophocles' Theban Plays.

Free online texts

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

Internet Archive: The Plays of Euripides, v.II: Andromache, Electra, The Bacchantes, Hecuba, Heracles Mad, The Phoenician Maidens, Orestes, Iphigenia among the Tauri, Iphigenia at Aulis, The Cyclops. English translation by E.P. Coleridge. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Phoenissae, 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 E.P. Coleridge. HTML and XML formats.

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

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

Wikisource: The Phoenician Maidens, English translation by Arthur S. Way. HTML and other formats.

Other Resources

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

Wikipedia: The Phoenician Women.

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

Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes.

Sophocles: The Theban Plays.

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

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


Euripides: Helen

Helen (Greek: Ἑλένη) is a play by Euripides based on a variant legend in which the real Helen never reached Troy but was taken to Egypt by the God Hermes, where she is rescued by Menelaus.

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Euripides I. Iphigeneia at Aulis, Rhesus, Hecuba, The daughters of Troy, Helen. Bilingual Loeb edition, translated by Arthur Sanders Way. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Helen, translated by E.P. Coleridge. HTML and TXT 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: Helen, translated by George Theodoridis, Multiple formats.

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

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

Other Resources

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

Sententiae Antiquae: Paris Donned a Menelaos Disguise to Convince Helen to Go To Troy! 7 October 2016.

Wikipedia: Helen (play)

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

Homer: The Iliad.

Herodotus: The Histories - gives a version of the story that Helen never reached Troy, but took refuge in Egypt.

Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War - discounted Helen's role in the origins of the Trojan War.

Euripides: Iphigenia in Tauris- a play with a similar escape theme.

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: Helen is listed.


Euripides: Ion

Ion (Greek: Ἴων) is a play by Euripides, probably composed around 412BC. The title character is the son of Apollo, by Creusa daughter of King Erechtheus of Athens. Abandoned at birth, his recognition by his mother in adulthood provided a theme that would influence the later New Comedy.

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Ίων, Greek text. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Ion of Euripides. Greek text with English translation. by A.W. Verrall (1890). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Ion, translated by Robert Potter. HTML and TXT formats.

Loebulus: L012 - Euripides -- Euripides IV: Ion. Hippolytus. Medea. Alcestis. Greek and English parallel text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and English translation by Robert Potter (1938). HTML and XML formats.

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

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Ion, translated by Robert Potter. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple English 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: Ion (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: Ion is listed.


Euripides: Iphigenia in Tauris

 Iphigenia from Casa di Lucio Cecilio Giocondo, Pompeii. Picture by Marie-Lan Nguyen. Via Wikisource.Iphigenia in Tauris (Greek: Ἰφιγένεια ἐν Ταύροις) is a tragedy by Euripides probably first performed in Athens some time around 412 BC. The play's usual English title is, strictly speaking, the Latin name meaning 'Iphigenia among the Taurians'.

Euripides follows the version of the Iphigenia story in the Cypria, which relates that when her father Agamemnon was about to sacrifice her to secure the success of the Trojan expedition, she was spirited away by the goddess Artemis to be a priestess in the land of the Taurians in Crimea.

The play deals with the arrival of a group of Greeks among whom Iphigenia recognises her brother Orestes. She saves him from being sacrificed and they escape together with the image of the goddess. The theme of escape has led some commentators to conclude that like Euripides' similar Helen, it was composed after the defeat of the Sicilian Expedition in 413 BC.

Iphigenia in Tauris at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg, Iphigenia in Tauris, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

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

Internet Archive: Iphigenia in Tauris, verse translation by Witter Bynner. (1915). Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: Iphigenia in Tauris, translated by Robert Potter. 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.

Perseus: Iphigenia in Tauris, translated by Robert Potter. HTML and XML formats.

Poetry in Translation: Iphigenia in Tauris, translated by George Theodoris. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Iphigenia in Tauris, translated by Robert Potter. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple English 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.

Librivox: Iphigenia in Tauris, public domain audiobooks.

Wikipedia: Iphigenia in Tauris

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

Homer: The Iliad

Epic Cycle: The Cypria.

Euripides: Iphigenia at Aulis

Euripides: Helen

Goethe: Iphigenia in Tauris.

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

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


Euripides: The Trojan Women

Ajax raping Cassandra from the Palladium. From Wikimedia Commons by User:Bibi Saint-Pol.The Trojan Women is a tragedy by Euripides, originally produced in Athens in 415 BC, the same year in which the Athenians captured the island of Melos, an event of often thought to have influenced the play's theme.

It centres on the fate of a series of captive women during the sack of Troy. Hecuba, the widow of Priam is to become a slave of Odysseus. Her daughter, the prophetess Cassandra, foresees her own death along with Agamemnon, who will take her as his concubine. Andromache, the widow of Hector, whose son is taken from her by the Greeks, is allotted to Neoptolemus. Helen, the mistress of Paris persuades her husband Menelaus to spare her and take her back.  In the finals scenes, the body of Andromache's son Astyanax is returned to Hecuba for burial, and the women are taken away as the city burns.


Euripides' The Trojan Women at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy
Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Trojan Women, translated by Gilbert Murray (1915). Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The Trojan Women of Euripides, translated by Gilbert Murray. Multiple formats.

Internet Classics Archive: The Trojan Women. HTML and TXT 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.

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

ToposText: English text indexed to accompanying map.

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

Wikisource: Greek text and multiple English translations. HTML and XML formats.

Performances and Reviews

YaleNews: ‘The Trojan Women’ at Yale Summer Cabaret laments Syrian war, by Mike Cummings, 23 June 2017.

Gate Threatre, London

Guardian: Trojan Women Review, by Mchael Billington, 13 November 2012.

Amman

Financial Times: Syrian refugees stage Euripides’ ‘The Trojan Women’, by Charlotte Eagar, 3 January 2014.

Flea Theatre, New York

New York Times: The Trojan Women’ Laments War and Bloodshed, From a Distance, by Laura Collins-Hughes, 1 September 2016.

Other Resources

Binghamton University: Ancient Tragedy Study Guide - Euripides' Trojan Women, by Andrew Scholtz.

Gutenberg: Euripides and His Age, by Gilbert Murray.

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

Internet Archive: Greek and Roman Plays - For the Intermediate Grades, by Dr Albert Cullum. Multiple formats.

Librivox: The Trojan Women. Public domain audiobooks, Coleridge and Murray translations.

University College London: Euripides' Trojan Women Study Guide, by Dr Rosa Andújar.

University College London:  Euripides, Trojan Women, by Professor Chris Carey.

University of Warwick: Summary - The Trojan Women by Euripides, by Mike Conley.

Wikipedia: The Trojan Women.

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

Homer: The Iliad.

Euripides: Hecuba.

Euripides: Andromache.

Thucydides: History of the Peloponnesian War. Recounts the sack of Melos which occurred around the time the play was first staged and may have influenced its theme.

Seneca: The Trojan Women - A Latin adaptation of the story.

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

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


Pausanias: The Description of Greece

Butler1851GreecePelopThe Description of Greece (Greek: Ἑλλάδος Περιήγησις) by Pausanias is a guide to continental Greece written in about 160 CE.  It focuses mainly on places and monuments of historical, religious and artistics interest, with observations on the natural world featuring only occasionally.

The work is divided into ten books covering: 1. Attica and Megara, 2. Corinth and Argolis, 3. Laconia, 4. Messenia. 5 and 6. Elis including Olympia, 7 Achaea, 8. Arcadia, 9, Boeotia, 10. Phocis including Delphi.

The Description of Greece at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Internet Archive: Pausanias's Description of Greece, English translation with a commentary by James George Frazer. Multiple formats.

Loebulus. L093 - Pausanias - Description of Greece I: Books 1-2 (Attica and Corinth). PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.
Loebulus. L188 - Pausanias - Description of Greece II: Books 3-5 (Laconia, Messenia, Elis 1). PDF of public domain Loeb edition in Greek and English.

Perseus: Greek text (Teubner 1903) and English translation by W.H.S. Jones and H.A. Ormerod. HTML and XML formats.

Theoi.com: Description of Greece. English translation by by W.H.S. Jones and H.A. Ormerod. HTML  format.

ToposText: English text hyperlinked to accompanying maps. HTML format.

Wikisource: Greek text and English translations by Jones and Taylor.

Other Resources

Ancient History Encyclopedia: Pausanias (Geographer).

Digital Milliet Project: Excerpts on painting. Ancient Greek with English and French commentary. HTML format.

Livius: Pausanias the Periegete.

Peter Sommer Travels: Pausanias - The Father of Guidebooks, by Heinrich Hall.

PPG System: Pausanias Paths in Greece. English introduction to Greek language navigation system.

University of Texas at Austin Linguistics Research Center: Classical Greek Online - Lesson 10 - From Pausanias' Description of Greece. Winfred P. Lehmann and Jonathan Slocum.

Wikipedia: Pausanias (Geographer).

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

Homer: The Iliad. See especially Book II.

Herodotus: The Histories.

Strabo: The Geography.

Butler: Atlas of Ancient Geography.

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


Strabo: Geography

Map of the World according to Strabo. Via Wikimedia Commons.Strabo's Geographica or Geography (Greek: Γεωγραφικά) is the most important work on its subject to survive from the ancient world, giving a comprehensive account of those parts of Europe, Asia and Africa known to the Romans.

It's author, Strabo, came from a well-to-do Greek family in the city of Amasia, Pontus, and was born in around 64 BC.  His early education at Rome was the prelude to extensive travels in the Near East.  He adopted a Stoic philosophy which influenced a cosmopolitan admiration for the Romans. His lost Historical Sketches covered the periods before and after the work of Polybius, up to the time of Julius Caesar. The Geography may have been completed around around 7BC and revised in 18 AD.

Strabo's Geography  at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: The Geography of Strabo. Vol I | Vol II | Vol III. English translation by Hailton and Falconer. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: L 049 - Strabo - Geography I. Greek and English text. Loeb edition, multiple formats.

LacusCurtius: Strabo's Geography. English translation by H.L. Jones. HTML format.

Loebulus: L049 - Strabo -- Geography I: Books 1-2L211 - Strabo -- Geography V: Books 10-12L223 - Strabo -- Geography VI: Books 13-14L241 - Strabo -- Geography VII: Books 15-16 | L267 - Strabo -- Geography VIII: Book 17 and General Index. Greek and English text. Loeb edition, PDF format.

Perseus: Greek text and translations by Hamilton & Falconer (Books I-XVII) and by Jones (Books VI-XII).

Wikisource: Greek text available. English text not yet online but open for contributions.

Other Resources

Ancient World Mapping Center: Strabo Map.

BBC In Our Time: Strabo's Geographica. Melvyn Bragg in radio conversation with Paul Cartledge, Maria Pretzler, and Benet Salway.

Cartographic-images.net: Strabo's World Map.

Strabo the Geographer - Site by Sarah Pothecary.

Wikipedia: Strabo - Geographica.

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

Herodotus: The Histories.

Polybius: The Histories.

Pliny the Elder: Natural History - a similarly encyclopaedic writer who seems to have been oddly unaware of Strabo's work.

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


Euripides: Heracles

Mosaic of the madness of Heracles from the Villa Torre de Palma. Picture by Carole Raddato, via Wikimedia CommonsHeracles or the Madness of Heracles (Greek: Ἡρακλῆς μαινόμενος, Latin Hercules Furens) is a tragedy by Euripides which may have been produced in about 417 BC. 

The play opens with Heracles' wife and children at the altar of Zeus in Thebes, where they are threatened with death by the tyrant Lycus. Heracles returns from the underworld, where he had been engaged on the last of his twelve labours, and rescues them. However, the goddess Hera drives him mad and he kills his own family. When he recovers his senses, he is filled with despair. Consoled by Theseus, who had returned from Hades with him, he is taken to Athens to be purified.

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

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: Heracles, 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: Heracles, translated by E. P. Coleridge. HTML and XML formats.

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

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

Other Resources

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

Wikipedia: Herakles (Euripides)

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

Euripides: Heracleidae.

Seneca: Hercules Furens - A Latin play telling the same story with some differences of plot.

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: Heracles is listed.


Euripides: Electra

Orestes, Pylades and Elektra. Via Wikisource by user Bibi Saint-PolEuripides' Electra (Greek: Ἠλέκτρα) is sometimes thought to have been produced in around 413 BC, at the time of the Sicilian Expedition, but may be somewhat earlier.  The play gives Euripides' version of the story of the Argive princess Electra and her long-lost brother Orestes, and their murder of their mother Clytemnestra in revenge for the death of their father, Agamemnon.

This episode was also told in Sophocles' play of the same name and Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers. Euripides seems to satirize some elements of Aeschylus' version, notably with a recognition scene in which Electra rejects tokens of Orestes' identity that had been accepted in the older play.

Euripides' Electra at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Gutenberg: Electra, translated by Gilbert Murray (1905). Multiple formats. 

Gutenberg: Ηλέκτρα, Greek text. Multiple formats.

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

Internet Classics Archive: Electra, 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.

Perseus: Electra, translated by E. P. Coleridge. HTML and XML formats.

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

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Electra, translated by E.P. Coleridge.

Wikisource: Greek text and several translations in 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.

Librivox: Electra, translated by Gilbert Murray. Public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Electra (Euripides play).

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

Aeschylus: The Libation Bearers - Part of the Oresteia trilogy which parallels the events of Euripides' Electra.

Sophocles: Electra.

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

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


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.

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

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.