The Captive Woman’s Lament in Greek Tragedy.

Chapter 3. Athenians and Trojans

Before we can examine the laments and plight of the captive Trojan women in Euripides’ Trojan War plays in a meaningful way, it is first necessary to establish the Athenians’ particular relationship with the Trojan War. What associations does the Trojan War as a theme carry with it? How are Trojans and the fall of Troy represented in Athenian literature and art?

In the catalogue, Athens is a well-built citadel under the aegis of Athena and the Athenians’ native hero Erechtheus. The Athenian contingent of ships is led by the somewhat obscure hero Menestheus:

οἳ δ’ ἄρ’ Ἀθήνας εἶχον ἐϋκτίμενον πτολίεθρον
δῆμον Ἐρεχθῆος μεγαλήτορος, ὅν ποτ’ Ἀθήνη
θρέψε Διὸς θυγάτηρ, τέκε δὲ ζείδωρος ἄρουρα,
κὰδ δ’ ἐν Ἀθήνῃς εἷσεν ἑῷ ἐν πίονι νηῷ·
ἔνθα δέ μιν ταύροισι καὶ ἀρνειοῖς ἱλάονται
κοῦροι Ἀθηναίων περιτελλομένων ἐνιαυτῶν·
τῶν αὖθ’ ἡγεμόνευ’ υἱὸς Πετεῶο Μενεσθεύς.
τῷ δ’ οὔ πώ τις ὁμοῖος ἐπιχθόνιος γένετ’ ἀνὴρ
κοσμῆσαι ἵππους τε καὶ ἀνέρας ἀσπιδιώτας·
Νέστωρ οἶος ἔριζεν· ὃ γὰρ προγενέστερος ἦεν·
τῷ δ’ ἅμα πεντήκοντα μέλαιναι νῆες ἕποντο.
Αἴας δ’ ἐκ Σαλαμῖνος ἄγεν δυοκαίδεκα νῆας,
στῆσε δ’ ἄγων ἵν’ Ἀθηναίων ἵσταντο φάλαγγες.

Iliad 2.546-556

And they that held the well-built citadel of Athens—
the people of great Erechtheus, whom once Athena
the daughter of Zeus raised, and who was born of the life-giving soil itself,
and Athena established him at Athens in her own rich sanctuary;
there, with bulls and rams
the Athenian youths worship him as the years circle around—
of these men Menestheus, the son of Peteos, was commander.
There was no man on earth like him
for marshalling chariots and shield-bearing men.
Nestor alone rivaled him, for he was older.
With this man there came fifty black ships. {92|93}

It seems that the Athenians, small as their role was in the tradition as a whole, were nevertheless a venerable component of the Achaean forces, and that their hero Menestheus was as integrated into the oral tradition as any of the other minor figures that have been woven into the fabric of the narrative. But despite these claims to participation in the Trojan War, the Athenians were accused in antiquity of forging their place in the Iliad. Plutarch records two instances where verses that mention Theseus or the Athenians were said to be inserted by the Athenians themselves or by others. [8] Plutarch’s Life of Solon records the sixth-century Athenian statesman’s attempts to secure control of the island of Salamis for the Athenians, who were struggling over it with the city of Megara. After several years of war the two cities asked the Spartans to arbitrate:

οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ τῶν Μεγαρέων ἐπιμενόντων πολλὰ κακὰ καὶ δρῶντες ἐν τῷ πολέμῳ καὶ πάσχοντες, ἐποιήσαντο Λακεδαιμονίους διαλλακτὰς καὶ δικαστάς. οἱ μὲν οὖν πολλοὶ τῷ Σόλωνι συναγωνίσασθαι λέγουσι τὴν Ὁμήρου δόξαν· ἐμβαλόντα γὰρ αὐτὸν ἔπος εἰς νεῶν κατάλογον ἐπὶ τῆς δίκης ἀναγνῶναι· {93|94}

Αἴας δ’ ἐκ Σαλαμῖνος ἄγεν δυοκαίδεκα νῆας,
στῆσε δ’ ἄγων ἵν’ Ἀθηναίων ἵσταντο φάλαγγες.

Plutarch Solon 10.1 [Iliad 2.557-558]

Notwithstanding all this, when the Megarians persisted in their opposition, and both sides inflicted and suffered many injuries in the war, they made the Lacedaemonians arbitrators and judges of the strife. Accordingly, most say that the reputation of Homer favored the contention of Solon; for he himself inserted a verse into the Catalogue of Ships and read the passage at the trial:

Ajax brought twelve ships from Salamis,
and stationed them where the Athenians placed their phalanxes.

In interpreting the significance of the sack of Troy on the Parthenon metopes it is important to keep in mind the historical circumstances of the building of this temple. When the Athenians retreated to Salamis in 480, the Persians swept through Attica, took over the Acropolis of Athens, and burned it, destroying its sanctuaries and temples. The monumental building program of the fifth century BC was not only a necessary rebuilding, but also the Athenians’ testament to their own survival and to the continuity of their city-state in the face of utter devastation—as well as to their ultimate victory over a would-be oppressor. As a memorial of the sacrilege committed by the Persians, the ruins of the burned temples were incorporated into the new building program. The ruins of the old temple of Athena were left in full view and never rebuilt. [23] These same historical circumstances have led most scholars to interpret the presence of the sack of Troy on the Parthenon as an emblem of victory over the Persians, of West over East. [24] But as Ferrari has argued, such an interpretation requires a radical reinterpretation of the traditional significance of the sack of Troy. Ferrari asks:

If Ferrari’s interpretation is correct (and I believe that it must be), then the Athenians of the first half of the fifth century BC are not to be unequivo- {97|98} cally equated with the Achaeans of Homeric epic. Rather they are a separate entity altogether, more likely to identify with the conquered Trojans than to take pride in the excesses of the victorious Achaeans. Their marginal status in the Iliadic tradition allows Athenian local heroes to maintain a certain distance from the actions of such figures as Odysseus, Ajax (son of Oileus), and Neoptolemus, despite the fact that they are clearly on the Greek side.

I don’t mean to suggest, however, that the Athenians’ relationship with the Trojan War tradition and the sack of Troy in particular can be so simply explained. As I noted above, the Athenians believed that they had been a part of the collective Greek expedition. At times this was a source of pride for Athens, as the monumental bronze horse dedication on the Acropolis indicates. [26] Moreover, we know of at least one instance in antiquity where the actions of Menestheus at Troy were cited as a parallel for the victory of the Athenians over the Persians. In the fifth century BC, three herms were set up in the Athenian Agora to commemorate Cimon’s victory against the Persian forces at Eion in 475. [27] The inscriptions on the herms compared the valor of the Athenians to that of Menestheus at Troy. The following is one of the three inscriptions, as reported by Aeschines (3.185):

The herms must have been set up sometime in the mid-to-late 470’s, not long before the production of Aeschylus’ Persians, and in fact around the time of the production of Phrynichus’ Phoenician Women in 476, which also dramatized the aftermath of the battle of Salamis. In the previous chapter I argued that very soon after the Persian invasion the Athenians were able to sympathize in a remarkable way with the sufferings of their defeated enemy through the medium of tragedy. The ability to transcend hostilities and reexperience Salamis from the other side, however, does not mean that the Athenians did not condemn the Persian attack and in particular the destruction of the Acropolis, or that they did not take pride in their victory.

That the depiction of the sack of Troy on the Parthenon is a negative exemplum of a sacrilegious and hubristic assault is, I would argue, supported by Polygnotus’ wall paintings of the fall of Troy in the Painted Stoa in Athens and in the Cnidian Leskhê (meeting hall) in Delphi. [33] Neither painting survives, but they are both described in detail by Pausanias. Like the Parthenon, the paintings’ emphasis is on the outrage that pervaded the Trojan assault and its aftermath. I quote Pausanias’ entire description of the Painted Stoa here:

αὕτη δὲ ἡ στοὰ πρῶτα μὲν Ἀθηναίους ἔχει τεταγμένους ἐν Οἰνόῃ τῆς Ἀργεία; ἐναντία Λακεδαιμονίων· γέγραπται δὲ οὐκ ἐς ἀκμὴν ἀγῶνος {99|100} οὐδὲ τολμημάτων ἐς ἐπίδειξιν τὸ ἔργον ἤδη προῆκον, ἀλλὰ ἀρχομένη τε ἡ μάχη καὶ ἐς χεῖρας ἔτι συνιόντες. ἐν δὲ τῷ μέσῳ τῶν τοίχων Ἀθηναῖοι καὶ Θησεὺς Ἀμαζόσι μάχονται. μόναις δὲ ἄρα ταῖς γυναιξὶν οὐκ ἀφῄρει τὰ πταίσματα τὸ ἐς τοὺς κινδύνους ἀφειδές, εἴ γε Θεμισκύρας τε ἁλούσης ὑπὸ Ἡρακλέους καὶ ὕστερον φθαρείσης σφίσι τῆς στρατιᾶς, ἣν ἐπ’ Ἀθήνας ἔστειλαν, ὅμως ἐς Τροίαν ἦλθον Ἀθηναίοις τε αὐτοῖς μαχούμεναι καὶ τοῖς πᾶσιν Ἕλλησιν. ἐπὶ δὲ ταῖς Ἀμαζόσιν Ἕλληνές εἰσιν ᾑρηκότες Ἴλιον καὶ οἱ βασιλεῖς ἠθροισμένοι διὰ τὸ Αἴαντος ἐς Κασσάνδραν τόλμημα· καὶ αὐτὸν ἡ γραφὴ τὸν Αἴαντα ἔχει καὶ γυναῖκας τῶν αἰχμαλώτων ἄλλας τε καὶ Κασσάνδραν. τελευταῖον δὲ τῆς γραφῆς εἰσιν οἱ μαχεσάμενοι Μαραθῶνι· Βοιωτῶν δὲ οἱ Πλάταιαν ἔχοντες καὶ ὅσον ἦν Ἀττικὸν ἴασιν ἐς χεῖρας τοῖς βαρβάροις. καὶ ταύτῃ μέν ἐστιν ἴσα ‹τὰ› παρ’ ἀμφοτέρων ἐς τὸ ἔργον· τὸ δὲ ἔσω τῆς μάχης φεύγοντές εἰσιν οἱ βάρβαροι καὶ ἐς τὸ ἕλος ὠθοῦντες ἀλλήλους, ἔσχαται δὲ τῆς γραφῆς νῆές τε αἱ Φοίνισσαι καὶ τῶν βαρβάρων τοὺς ἐσπίπτοντας ἐς ταύτας φονεύοντες οἱ Ἕλληνες. ἐνταῦθα καὶ Μαραθὼν γεγραμμένος ἐστὶν ἥρως, ἀφ’ οὗ τὸ πεδίον ὠνόμασται, καὶ Θησεὺς ἀνιόντι ἐκ γῆς εἰκασμένος Ἀθηνᾶ τε καὶ Ἡρακλῆς· Μαραθωνίοις γάρ, ὡς αὐτοὶ λέγουσιν, Ἡρακλῆς ἐνομίσθη θεὸς πρώτοις. τῶν μαχομένων δὲ δῆλοι μάλιστά εἰσιν ἐν τῇ γραφῇ Καλλίμαχός τε, ὃς Ἀθηναίοις πολεμαρχεῖν ᾕρητο, καὶ Μιλτιάδης τῶν στρατηγούντων, ἥρως τε Ἔχετλος καλούμενος, οὗ καὶ ὕστερον ποιήσομαι μνήμην.

Pausanias 1.15.1-3

This portico contains, first, the Athenians arrayed against the Lacedaemonians at Oenoe in the Argive territory. What is depicted is not the crisis of the battle nor when the action had advanced as far as the display of deeds of valor, but the beginning of the fight when the combatants were about to close. On the middle wall are the Athenians and Theseus fighting with the Amazons. So, it seems, only the women did not lose through their defeats their reckless courage in the face of danger, if after Themiscyra was taken by Herakles, and afterwards the army which they dispatched to Athens was destroyed, they nevertheless came to Troy to fight all the Greeks as well as the Athenians themselves. After the Amazons come the Greeks when they have taken Troy, and the kings assembled on account of the outrage committed by Ajax against Cassandra. The painting includes Ajax himself, other captive women, and Cassandra. At the end of the painting are those who fought at Marathon; the Boeotians of Plataea and the Attic contingent are coming to blows with the barbarians. In this place neither side has the better, but the center of the fighting shows the {100|101} barbarians in flight and pushing one another into the marsh, while at the end of the painting are the Phoenician ships, and the Greeks killing the barbarians who are scrambling into them. Here is also a portrait of the hero Marathon, after whom the plain is named, of Theseus represented as coming up from the under-world, of Athena and of Herakles. The Marathonians, according to their own account, were the first to regard Herakles as a god. Of the fighters the most conspicuous figures in the painting are Callimachus, who had been elected commander-in-chief by the Athenians, Miltiades, one of the generals, and a hero called Echetlus, of whom I shall make mention later. [34]

Pausanias’ description of the larger Ilioupersis of Polygnotus makes it very clear that the painting’s subject is the aftermath of the sack of Troy and the suffering that resulted for the Trojans. The Greeks are sailing away or preparing to depart; Menelaus’ ship is putting out to sea. The next scene depicts the first of two groups of captive women:

Βρισηὶς δὲ ἑστῶσα καὶ Διομήδη τε ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς καὶ Ἶφις πρὸ ἀμφοτέρων ἐοίκασιν ἀνασκοπούμενοι τὸ Ἑλένης εἶδος. κάθηται δὲ αὐτή τε ἡ Ἑλένη καὶ Εὐρυβάτης πλησίον· τὸν δὲ Ὀδυσσέως εἶναι κήρυκα εἰκάζομεν, οὐ μὴν εἶχεν ἤδη γένεια. θεράπαινα δὲ Ἠλέκτρα καὶ Πανθαλίς, ἡ μὲν τῇ Ἑλένῃ παρέστηκεν, ἡ δὲ ὑποδεῖ τὴν δέσποιναν ἡ Ἠλέκτρα· διάφορα δὲ καὶ ταῦτα τὰ ὀνόματα ‹ἢ› Ὅμηρος ἔθετο ἐν Ἰλιάδι, ἔνθα καὶ Ἑλένην καὶ ἰούσας ὁμοῦ τῇ Ἑλένῃ τὰς δούλας ἐπὶ τὸ τεῖχος πεποίηκεν.

Pausanias 10.25.4

Briseis is standing with Diomêdê above her and Iphis in front of both, examining the form of Helen. Helen herself is sitting, and so is Eurybates near her. We inferred that he was the herald of Odysseus, although he had yet no beard. One handmaid, Panthalis, is standing beside Helen; another, Electra, is fastening her mistress’ sandals. These names too are different from those given by Homer in the Iliad, where he tells of Helen going to the wall with her slave women.

Briseis, Diomede, and Iphis are part of a group of women whom Achilles took captive in his raids in and around the Troad and the neighboring islands {102|103} before our Iliad begins. These raids were narrated in the Cypria and no doubt other epic traditions. [
40] In the painting, these women contemplate Helen, who might be interpreted as the cause of their suffering. Helen herself is now to some extent a captive woman, as are her attendants, and they await their fate at the hands of the victorious Greek soldiers. [41]

A second, far larger group of captive women appears later in Pausanias’ description. Their sheer number and their position in the description suggest that they were a prominent component of the painting. Here is approximately the first half of Pausanias’ description of the captive women:

γυναῖκες δὲ αἱ Τρῳάδες αἰχμαλώτοις τε ἤδη καὶ ὀδυρομέναις ἐοίκασι. γέγραπται μὲν Ἀνδρομάχη, καὶ ὁ παῖς οἱ προσέστηκεν ἑλόμενος τοῦ μαστοῦ–τούτῳ Λέσχεως ῥιφθέντι ἀπὸ τοῦ πύργου συμβῆναι λέγει τὴν τελευτήν· οὐ μὴν ὑπὸ δόγματός γε Ἑλλήνων, ἀλλ’ ἰδίᾳ Νεοπτόλεμον αὐτόχειρα ἐθελῆσαι γενέσθαι–, γέγραπται δὲ Μηδεσικάστη, θυγατέρων μὲν Πριάμου καὶ αὕτη τῶν νόθων, ἐξῳκίσθαι δὲ ἐς Πήδαιον πόλιν φησὶν αὐτὴν Ὅμηρος Ἰμβρίῳ Μέντορος παιδὶ ἀνδρὶ [ἐς Πήδαιον] συνοικοῦσαν.ἡ μὲν δὴ Ἀνδρομάχη καὶ ἡ Μηδεσικάστη καλύμματά εἰσιν ἐπικείμεναι, Πολυξένη δὲ κατὰ τὰ εἰθισμένα παρθένοις ἀναπέπλεκται τὰς ἐν τῇ κεφαλῇ τρίχας· ἀποθανεῖν δὲ αὐτὴν ἐπὶ τῷ Ἀχιλλέως μνήματι ποιηταί τε ᾄδουσι καὶ γραφὰς ἔν τε Ἀθήναις καὶ Περγάμῳ τῇ ὑπὲρ Καΐκου θεασάμενος οἶδα ἐχούσας ἐς τῆς Πολυξένης τὰ παθήματα.

Pausanias 10.25.9-11

The Trojan women are represented as already captives and lamenting. Andromache is in the painting, and nearby stands her boy grasping her breast; this child Lesches says was put to death by being flung from the tower, not that the Greeks had so decreed, but Neoptolemus, of his own accord, wanted to be his killer. In the painting is also Medesikastê, another of Priam’s illegitimate daughters, who according to Homer left her home and went to the city of Pedaeum to be the wife of Imbrius, the son of Mentor. Andromache and Medesikastê are wrapped in veils, but the hair of Polyxena is braided after the custom of maidens. Poets sing of her death at the tomb of Achilles, and I have seen with my own eyes paintings both at Athens and at Pergamon on the Caicus depicting the suffering of Polyxena. {103|104}

The captive women are painted in such a way that Pausanias can actually see them lamenting, and he mentions that Andromache is grasping her breast in a gesture of lamentation. The women are called aikhmalotidês, the traditional word for war captives. [
42] The fate of Andromache and her son and the sacrifice of Polyxena, two scenes that appear in most representations of the sack of Troy, are emphasized here as specific examples of the suffering of the Trojan women.

Already at this point in the description we can see that Polygnotus has drawn on a storehouse of traditions about the fate of the captive women of Troy for the composition of this painting. Throughout his description of the painting Pausanias uses his knowledge of epic traditions—most often the Sack of Troy attributed to Lesches—to interpret what he sees. In the previous passage Pausanias’ note about the names of Helen’s attendants tells us that the figures were labeled. But it also tells us that Polygnotus’ source of inspiration was not necessarily the Iliad as it was known to Pausanias and to us, but rather other traditions in which these women played a role. This is only to be expected, given the significant amount of time that elapsed between Polygnotus’ painting and Pausanias’ viewing of that painting. [43] I propose that there were already a variety of traditions about the captive Trojan women current in Polygnotus’ day. Pausanias says that he himself had seen a number of paintings that depicted the sacrifice of Polyxena. As we will see in the following chapters, captive women formed the protagonists and choruses of many tragedies. Women’s love song and lament traditions, with their own particular perspective on the Trojan War myths, may also have been an important source of inspiration for poets and painters in the archaic and classical periods. Pausanias is aware of the more canonical epic traditions about Troy, but he does not seem to have access to other media that may have influenced Polygnotus and other artists of the fifth century BC. [44]

We have still not come to the end of Pausanias’ description of the captive women, however. As the passage continues we catch still further glimpses {104|105} of the many traditions about the women of Troy that were current in antiquity:

τῶν δὲ γυναικῶν τῶν μεταξὺ τῆς τε Αἴθρας καὶ Νέστορος, εἰσὶν ἄνωθεν τούτων αἰχμάλωτοι καὶ αὗται Κλυμένη τε καὶ Κρέουσα καὶ Ἀριστομάχη καὶ Ξενοδίκη. Κλυμένην μὲν οὖν Στησίχορος ἐν Ἰλίου πέρσιδι κατηρίθμηκεν ἐν ταῖς αἰχμαλώτοις· ὡσαύτως δὲ καὶ ᾿Αριστομάχην ἐποίησεν ἐν Νόστοις θυγατέρα μὲν Πριάμου, Κριτολάου δὲ γυναῖκα εἶναι τοῦ Ἱκετάονος· Ξενοδίκης δὲ μνημονεύσαντα οὐκ οἶδα οὔτε ποιητὴν οὔτε ὅσοι λόγων συνθέται. ἐπὶ δὲ τῇ Κρεούσῃ λέγουσιν ὡς ἡ θεῶν μήτηρ καὶ Ἀφροδίτη δουλείας ἀπὸ Ἑλλήνων αὐτὴν ἐρρύσαντο, εἶναι γὰρ δὴ καὶ Αἰνείου τὴν Κρέουσαν γυναῖκα· Λέσχεως δὲ καὶ ἔπη τὰ Κύπρια διδόασιν Εὐρυδίκην γυναῖκα Αἰνείᾳ. γεγραμμέναι δὲ ἐπὶ κλίνης ὑπὲρ ταύτας Δηινόμη τε καὶ Μητιόχη καὶ Πεῖσίς ἐστι καὶ Κλεοδίκη·

Pausanias 10.26.1-2

Above the women between Aithra and Nestor are other captive women, Klymenê, Creusa, Aristomakhê and Xenodikê. Now Stesichorus, in the Sack of Troy, includes Klymenê in the number of the captives; and similarly, in the Homeward Voyages [Nostoi], he speaks of Aristomakhê as the daughter of Priam and the wife of Kritolaos, son of Hiketaon. But I know of no poet, and of no prose-writer, who makes mention of Xenodikê. About Creusa the story is told that the mother of the gods and Aphrodite rescued her from slavery among the Greeks, as she was, of course, the wife of Aeneas. But Lesches and the Cypria make Eurydikê the wife of Aeneas. Beyond these are painted on a couch Deinomê, Metiokhê, Peisis, and Kleodikê.

Each of the women depicted in the painting has a story behind her. Pausanias knows many of the stories, though not all. We can see from a passage like this that there is vast corpus of narratives about the fall of Troy that is now lost to us, but that must have informed the experience of any spectator of ancient Greek art or tragedy. Just as Pausanias can see and hear the laments of the captive women in the painting he describes, so any Athenian of Polygnotus’ day would have drawn on a vast corpus of women’s song traditions and song traditions about women when viewing the Painted Stoa, the metopes of the Parthenon, or hearing the laments of a tragic chorus of captive women.

There are several more aspects of Polygnotus’ painting that are relevant to this discussion of Athenian interpretations of the fall of Troy. First, Theseus’ son Demophon is represented as contemplating the rescue of his grandmother {105|106} Aithra. Pausanias does not mention this episode in his description of the smaller painting in the Painted Stoa in Athens, but it is almost certain to have been painted there too. In the Cnidian Leskhê at Delphi Demophon and Akamas are also included among the soldiers painted near the head of the Trojan horse. Other parts of the Delphi painting may have been depicted in the Stoa also, since Pausanias’ description of the Stoa is far briefer than his description of the Cnidian Leskhê. For example, Pausanias mentions the deliberation about the rape of Cassandra in his description of the Stoa. For the Leskhê he also describes Cassandra holding onto the wooden statue of Athena, as well as the various Greek soldiers present, including Ajax, who is giving an oath. It is difficult to say how many of the captive women described in the Leskhê may have been painted in the Stoa, but Pausanias tells us that there were some in the vicinity of Cassandra, and there may have been more.


The Parthenon was completed in 432, just before the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. It is a monument that must have evolved in its intentions and significance over the course of Athens’ fifth-century building program. Conceived of as a dedication to Athena and a monument to victory over the Persians, it took on further significance as Athens became an empire over the course of the fifth-century BC. The building was famously financed by Athens’ imperialist efforts: Athens moved the treasury of what was originally the Delian League, formed to drive the Persians out of Greece, from the sacred and neutral island of Delos to Athens itself. That act is symbolic of the transformation of the Delian League into the Athenian Empire. Now the Athenians become the sackers of cities and the captors of women and children. In the last three decades of the fifth century BC the Athenians systematically subjugated several cities that revolted from their enforced alliance or that refused to join them as allies in the Peloponnesian War that broke out in 431. In 427 the Athenian assembly of citizens voted to kill all the men of Mytilene and enslave all the women and children. Thucydides tells us that the next day, however, the Athenians reconsidered, and instead killed only more than a thousand of the leading conspirators in the revolt. [47] But in 421 the Athenians were not so generous with the people of Scione. There they did kill all the men and enslave the women and children. [48] In 416 they did the same for the city of Melos. But Melos had never been a member of the Delian League or Athenian Empire; they were a colony of Sparta who was attempting to remain neutral. Thucydides’ famous Melian dialogue highlights the Athenian atrocity. After a lengthy debate in which the Melians justify their decision to remain neutral, the Athenians besiege the city anyway, and upon taking it, kill the men, and enslave the women and children. [49]

This complex dynamic of democracy, empire, civic pride, and wartime suffering is crucial for our understanding of the force of the captive woman’s la- {107|108} ment in late fifth-century tragedy and the potential multiplicity of responses such laments evoked. The Hecuba and the Andromache are both thought to have been composed and produced in the mid 420’s, several years after the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War. [50] The Trojan Women on the other hand was produced in 416, just after the destruction of Melos, and just before the disastrous Sicilian expedition. [51] How does the representation of the victims of Troy resonate with the contemporary events of the Peloponnesian War, in which the Athenians are the destroyers of cities and the enslavers of women? Are the Athenians being asked to confront their Trojan past, this time in the role of the Achaeans, as a mirror image of their current actions? Modern critics have often interpreted the Trojan War plays of Euripides, and particularly the Trojan Women, as a protest of the Peloponnesian War on the part of Euripides. Edith Hamilton went so far as to call him “a pacifist in Periclean Athens” and the Trojan Women “the greatest piece of anti-war literature there is in the world.” [52] While such a reading is obviously far too simplistic, the question remains: Why would it be effective for Euripides to put Trojan captives and their extended laments on the tragic stage several times over the course of the Peloponnesian War? What was the emotional force of these laments and on what level were the Athenians supposed to relate to them, if at all?

Very much connected to these questions is the significance for an Athenian audience of the Trojan nationality and the slave status of the captive women in the tragedies under discussion. What relationship exists between these characters and the Greek concept of the barbarian? Does the slavery that marks the Trojan women after the fall of Troy alienate them from the Athenians and render them morally inferior and unsympathetic? We might expect this to be the case, given the polarized categories of male/female, free man/slave, and Greek/barbarian that have been shown to operate in Greek thought. [53] But in fact the Trojan women defy such binary oppositions and confound expectations. {108|109} Historians of slavery have found that the Trojans of tragedy exemplify a preoccupation on the part of the tragedians with the concept of conventional, as opposed to natural, slavery. [54] As Nancy Rabinowitz in particular has pointed out, the Trojan War plays explore the accident of fate and reversal of fortune by which queens and princesses become servants. She notes: “through highborn Trojan characters, the plays emphasize the possibility that the slave might remain noble in character.” [55] Rabinowitz argues that for the Athenian male spectators, the captive Trojan women exemplify a loss of freedom. The fear of slavery on the part of the male audience is to some extent mitigated by the fact that the Trojan captives are female, but their nobility exposes the reality of war, where anyone can be enslaved, regardless of their nature or status. [56] In this way Greeks and Trojans are shown to have a common vulnerability that transcends nationality or natural law.

Because the Trojan War plays of Euripides are the subject of the next chapter, I will adduce just two important passages here that show how completely Greek and Trojan identity can be merged or even reversed in these plays. In the Trojan Women, Helen is vilified by all sides as a treacherous wife, the perfect barbarian, while the Trojan Andromache emerges as the embodiment of Greek wifely virtues. Andromache’s description of her marriage to Hektor characterizes her as more Greek than Greek: [63]

ἃ γὰρ γυναιξὶ σώφρον’ ἔσθ’ ηὑρημένα,
ταῦτ’ ἐξεμόχθουν Ἕκτορος κατὰ στέγας.
πρῶτον μέν, ἔνθα (κἂν προσῇ κἂν μὴ προσῇ
ψόγος γυναιξίν) αὐτὸ τοῦτ’ ἐφέλκεται
κακῶς ἀκούειν, ἥτις οὐκ ἔνδον μένει,
τούτου παρεῖσα πόθον ἔμιμνον ἐν δόμοις·
ἔσω τε μελάθρων κομψὰ θηλειῶν ἔπη
οὐκ εἰσεφρούμην, τὸν δὲ νοῦν διδάσκαλον
οἴκοθεν ἔχουσα χρηστὸν ἐξήρκουν ἐμοί.
γλώσσης τε σιγὴν ὄμμα θ’ ἥσυχον πόσει
παρεῖχον· ᾔδη δ’ ἁμὲ χρῆν νικᾶν πόσιν,
κείνῳ τε νίκην ὧν ἐχρῆν παριέναι.

Trojan Women 645-656

What things have been found to be sensible for women,
at these things I toiled in Hektor’s home. {110|111}
First of all, if a woman does not stay inside—
whether or not blame has already attached itself to that woman—
this by itself causes people to speak badly of her.
Giving up my longing for this then I stayed in the house.
And I didn’t allow entry to the clever words of women,
but having my mind as a sufficient teacher
at home, I contented myself with that.
I kept a silent tongue and a fixed eye for my husband.
And I knew in what things I could be victorious over my husband,
and in what things I had to yield victory to that man.

Andromache goes on to say that her wifely virtue was her ruin—her Greek captors are so captivated by her reputation as a wife that Neoptolemus, the son of her husband’s killer, chooses her for himself.

My second example comes from the Hecuba, in which, as in the Trojan Women, the spectator is presented with a parade of Trojan suffering, voiced in the haunting laments of both the protagonists and the chorus. Such laments evoke the pity of the Greek audience and, by means of this quintessential emotion of tragedy, draw them into the experience of the Trojan women. But in an extraordinary passage, the Trojan women imagine and pity the suffering of the Greek women who have lost their loved ones in war:

πόνοι γὰρ καὶ πόνων
ἀνάγκαι κρείσσονες κυκλοῦνται
κοινὸν δ’ ἐξ ἰδίας ἀνοίας
κακὸν τᾷ Σιμουντίδι γᾷ
ὀλέθριον ἔμολε συμφορᾷ τ’ ἐπ’ ἄλλων.
ἐκρίθη δ’ ἔρις, ἃν ἐν Ἴ-
δᾳ κρίνει τρισσὰς μακάρων
παῖδας ἀνὴρ βούτας,

ἐπὶ δορὶ καὶ φόνῳ καὶ ἐμῶν μελάθρων λώβᾳ·
στένει δὲ καί τις ἀμφὶ τὸν εὔροον Εὐρώταν
Λάκαινα πολυδάκρυτος ἐν δόμοις κόρα,
πολιάν τ’ ἐπὶ κρᾶτα μάτηρ
τέκνων θανόντων
τίθεται χέρα δρύπτεται παρειάν,
δίαιμον ὄνυχα τιθεμένα σπαραγμοῖς.

Hecuba 638-656

Pain and compulsion,
even more powerful than pain, have come full circle; {111|112}
and from one man’s thoughtlessness came a universal
woe to the land of Simois,
destructive disaster resulting in disaster for others.
The strife was decided, the contest which
the shepherd, a man, judged on Ida
between three daughters of the blessed gods,

resulting in war and bloodshed and the ruin of my halls;
and on the banks of the beautifully flowing Eurotas river,
some Spartan maiden too is full of tears in her home,
and to her grey-haired head a mother
whose sons are slain
raises her hands and she tears her cheeks,
making her nails bloody in the gashes.

But is this the whole story? In Hall’s reading, the Trojan women are the innocent victims of a Spartan adulteress and a Spartan invasion by Agamemnon and Menelaus, the Spartan aggressors. The Peloponnesian War context causes a radical shift in emotional alliances for the Athenians: the Trojan barbarians are suddenly no longer a demonized other, and the Athenians can now sympathize with them against a common enemy. This thesis is attractive, but I argue that it requires modification in light of my preceding arguments. First of all, as I have attempted to show in this chapter, the Trojans are portrayed sympathetically in the vast majority of Greek {113|114} poetry and art throughout the fifth century BC. The sympathetic Trojans of Euripides are not a new phenomenon, but rather represent a continuity of treatment from the earliest Greek epic poetry onward. [69] We need only think once again of Odysseus, who in his tears shed upon hearing the tale of the capture of Troy, is compared to a lamenting Trojan widow as she is led off into captivity. It is certainly true that in tragedy, and especially in Sophocles, the Trojans were given foreign attributes and were even assimilated at times to fifth-century BC Persians. [70] This characterization, however, does not seem to have alienated them from the Athenian audience emotionally. And as I have argued in Chapter 2, the Athenians were capable of sympathizing with even their worst enemy, the Persians, less than a decade after the battle of Salamis. In that play the Persians are characterized as foreign in every way, except when it comes to their suffering. In their tears and lamentation, they are shown to be incredibly Greek, or perhaps simply all too human. Similarly, the Trojans may be foreign in dress, language, and other customs, but are nevertheless subject to the same laws and consequences of war as the Greeks.

In this chapter I have also tried to suggest that the Athenians cannot be separated from the Trojan expedition so easily. I do not deny that Agamemnon, Menelaus, Hermione, and Orestes are referred to as Spartans and are portrayed particularly negatively in the Trojan War plays of Euripides, especially in the Andromache. But Odysseus comes off hardly better, [71] and it is Neoptolemus (with the support of the Athenian heroes Akamas and Demophon) who kills the revered Polyxena in the Hecuba. The fact is that Spartans are at the heart of the Trojan War myths, and of course it is the Spartan Helen who is the traditional cause of the whole war. [72] Nevertheless, visual and literary representations of these myths make it clear that the Greeks as a collective are responsible for the atrocities commit- {114|115} ted during and after the sack of Troy. And since the Athenians considered themselves to have been a part of that collective, they are necessarily to some extent implicated in the events depicted by Euripides. Therefore I submit that the victims presented on the tragic stage must have struck a special chord with the Athenians, who in the course of the fifth century BC became sackers of cities and enslavers of women. The Athenians were not merely being invited to transfer their hatred of the Spartans to the legendary past and a war in which they themselves played no part. They were being forced to confront the actions of the legendary Achaean victors at Troy, and to evaluate the behavior of the Greeks as a collective in victory, in relation to the Athenians’ own aggressive wartime policies.

In the coming chapter I propose to analyze the laments of the captive Trojan women of Euripides within the context of the tragedies that they occupy. As I analyze each play individually, I will pay particular attention to the effect that the laments have within the play on the other characters (particularly the Greeks) and consider the possible reactions of the audience. As in my discussion of Aeschylus’ Persians in Chapter 2, in which I argued that the traditional features of Greek lament in the songs of the Persians allowed the Athenians to sympathize with their defeated enemy, in the following chapters I will concentrate on the traditional Greek features in the laments of the Trojan women and their emotional effect. Both formal laments as well as passages that employ the language of lament will be analyzed, in order to assess the thematic significance of the captive women of Troy. I will argue again that the “Greekness” of these laments and the continuity of form and meaning inherited from epic portrayals of Trojan suffering invite the audience to transcend the ethnic and political boundaries that divide nations at war. In this way the Athenians can explore their own sorrows by witnessing the suffering of others, including that of their own victims. {116|}


[ back ] 1. *The papyrus numbers referred to in this chapter are those of Dué, Ebbott, and Yatromanolakis (2001-), with the exception of the unpublished papyri that are included in West’s 1998 edition of the Iliad and numbered by him. For these unpublished papyri I have used West’s numeration, followed by a W. [ back ] In the arguments that follow I am indebted throughout to the work of Anderson 1997, Higbie 1997, and Ferrari 2000. On the distinction between Achaeans—the word most commonly used to designate the Greek collective forces at Troy—and Athenians, see Ferrari 2000, 127-128.

[ back ] 2. Athenians or the Athenian hero Menestheus are mentioned in Iliad 2.546-556, 2.558, 4.327-328; 12.331 and 373; 13.195-196 and 689-691; 15.331. Menestheus is also thought to appear in the Hesiodic Catalogue of Women (fragment 200.3 W).

[ back ] 3. See Allen 1921, Page 1959, and Simpson-Lazenby 1970.

[ back ] 4. For Bronze Age Athens see Iakovidis 1983, 73-90.

[ back ] 5. Theseus’ sons Akamas and Demophon are featured in the Little Iliad and the Sack of Troy, where they come to Troy in order to rescue Theseus’ mother Aithra, whom the Dioscuri had abducted while rescuing their sister Helen, who had been abducted by Theseus. (See Gantz 1993, 298, Anderson 1997, 97-101, and Jenkins 1999.) In the Classical period the rescue of Aithra is represented in several works of Athenian art. See further below.

[ back ] 6. See, e.g., Page 1959, 145ff., Simpson-Lazenby 1970, 56 and Kirk 1985, ad 552.

[ back ] 7. See Gantz 1993, 298. This is not the place to discuss the history of the transmission of the Iliad. It is my view that the process of transmission over generations of composers was generally conservative, with the result that difficult verses were more likely to be reinterpreted over time than discarded, although certainly the system was always to some extent in a state of flux. (See Dué 2001.) Formulas are slow to enter the overall system of epic diction, and they are likewise slow to drop out of it.

[ back ] 8. See Higbie 1997 for a detailed discussion of these two incidents. On insertion of verses see also Haslam 1997, 83.

[ back ] 9. Strabo 9.1.10. See Higbie 1997.

[ back ] 10. Iliad 2.558 is omitted in papyrus 2, 38, 104, 866W, and 868W, as well as manuscripts A, F, and Y.

[ back ] 11. Life of Theseus 20.2: τοῦτο γὰρ τὸ ἔπος ἐκ τῶν Ἡσιόδου Πεισίστρατον ἐξελεῖν φησιν Ἡρέας ὁ Μεγαρεύς, ὥσπερ αὖ πάλιν ἐμβαλεῖν εἰς τὴν Ὁμήρου νέκυιαν τὸ Θησέα Πειρίθοόν τε θεῶν ἀριδείκετα τέκνα [Odyssey 11.631] χαριζόμενον Ἀθηναίοις (“Hêreas the Megarian says that Peisistratus removed this verse from the poetry of Hesiod, just as he inserted into the Nekuia of Homer [Odyssey 11] the verse: “Theseus and Peirithoos, distinguished children of the gods”).

[ back ] 12. Iliad 1.265 (Θησέα τ’ Αἰγεΐδην, ἐπιείκελον ἀθανάτοισιν) is quoted by both Dio and Pausanias, but it is absent from many papyri (56, 122, 278, 377, 529, 531, 761W, 762W, 765W, 766W) and is found in only a minority of medieval manuscripts (O; it is added into the margins of T2, H, and V). Modern scholars assume it to be an interpolation of Athenian propaganda. (See Kirk ad loc.) West (2000) does not print the verse in the main text of his edition at all, not even in brackets.

[ back ] 13. For Akamas, Demophon, and the rescue of Aithra in Greek art see Kron 1981a, 426-27 and 1981b and Anderson 1997, 242-245. For Menestheus, see Simon 1992.

[ back ] 14. Here again I am heavily indebted to the discussion of these works in Ferrari 2000. On the Trojan horse (of which only the statue base survives), see Plutarch 1.23.8 and Hurwit 1999, 198 and fig. 168 on p. 195. On the painting of Polygnotus in the Painted Stoa, see Pausanias 1.15.1-3 and Plutarch, Life of Cimon 4.5-6. Polygnotus also painted a larger version of his Ilioupersis (“Sack of Troy”) in the Cnidian Leskhê at Delphi, on which see Pausanias 10.25-31, Robert 1983, Kebric 1983, and Stansbury-O’Donnell 1989.

[ back ] 15. This is by far the most common interpretation. (See, e.g., Hall 1989, 68-69 and Hurwit 1999, 228-231.) Ferrari (2000) has challenged this interpretation. See further below.

[ back ] 16. It was dedicated by a man named Khairedemos around 420 BC. See note 14, above.

[ back ] 17. The only ancient literary source that includes Menestheus in the Trojan Horse is the fourth-century AD poet Quintus of Smyrna (12.305-330). See Higbie 1997, 291 as well as Ferrari 2000, 119. (In addition to 4.271-289 see Odyssey 8.500-520 and 11.523-532.) On the significance of having Teucer and Menestheus depicted together see the discussion above (with reference to Athenian claims to Salamis based on the Catalogue of Ships in the Iliad), as well as Higbie 1997, 290-91.

[ back ] 18. Anderson 1997. The fall of Troy is one of the most popular subjects in Attic vase-painting from the mid sixth century BC to the mid fifth century BC, with representations increasing significantly after 490 (the year of the first Persian invasion). See, in addition to Anderson, Schefold and Jung 1989, 283-85 and Ferrari 2000, 120. On the fall of Troy (including the death of Astyanax and the capture of women) as a recognizable theme already in archaic art, see also Friis Johansen 1967, 26-30 and 35-36 and citations below, n. 000.

[ back ] 19. Ferrari 2000, 139.

[ back ] 20. For a survey see Ferrari 2000, 122-24 or Anderson 1997, 192-207. See also Ahlberg-Cornell 1992, 77-85, Gantz 1993, 646-661.

[ back ] 21. For the contents of the north metopes see Ferrari 2000, 130-132, whose reconstructions I follow here.

[ back ] 22. Cf. Proclus’ summary of the Sack of Troy: ἔπειτα ἀποπλέουσιν οἱ Ἕλληνες, καὶ φθορὰν αὐτοῖς ἡ Ἀθηνᾶ κατὰ τὸ πέλαγος μηχανᾶται. (“Then the Achaeans sail off, while Athena plots destruction for them on the seas”). Ferrari 2000, 132 cites as parallels to a council in which the will of Zeus is asserted Euripides’ Trojan Women 80-81 and Quintus of Smyrna 14.422-472. On Athena’s anger, see also Chapter 5.

[ back ] 23. See Ferrari 2002.

[ back ] 24. See note 000, above.

[ back ] 25. Ferrari 2000, 126. Ferrari (2000, 124) points out that Castriota 1992 questions how the Ilioupersis (“Sack of Troy”) representations in post-war Athens can possibly be interpreted as patriotic depictions of victory over the barbarian, but then reaffirms that they must.

[ back ] 26. For a patriotic interpretation of the Trojan War as a great and collective Greek victory over barbarians, see Isocrates, Panegyricus 159. Isocrates seems to me, however, strikingly isolated in his assimilation of the Trojans with barbarians.

[ back ] 27. On the herms of Eion see Connor (forthcoming).

[ back ] 28. For the inscriptions on the three herms see, in addition to Aeschines 3.183-185, Plutarch, Life of Cimon 7.4-6.

[ back ] 29. Cf. Winkler 1985, 37 and Croally 1994, 47.

[ back ] 30. Herodotus 1.89.2. See Chapter 2.

[ back ] 31. For sources, see Connor 2004.

[ back ] 32. See further below.

[ back ] 33. On the Painted Stoa see Wycherley 1953 and Meritt 1970. On the Cnidian Leskhê see Kebric 1983 and Anderson 1997, 247-255.

[ back ] 34. Translation after Jones and Ormerod (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1918), as are all subsequent translations of Pausanias in this chapter.

[ back ] 35. This is how Hall 1989, 68-9 interprets the painting. See also Erskine 2001, 71: “The Trojans of the Painted Stoa are tainted by their context.” Erskine likewise interprets the painting of Polygnotus in the Cnidian Leskhê (discussed below) as anti-Persian in sentiment.

[ back ] 36. This cause of Athena’s wrath is suggested by Proclus’ summary of the Sack of Troy in the Epic Cycle (see note 22, above). See also Euripides, Trojan Women 69-73, Anderson 1997, 77-80, and Chapter 5.

[ back ] 37. It is certainly possible that Pausanias has not described every aspect of the painting, on which point see further below. It is clear, however, that the sack itself was not represented, but rather the Greeks after they have taken Troy (ᾑρηκότες Ἴλιον)—i.e., the tragic aftermath.

[ back ] 38. See Wycherley 1953.

[ back ] 39. Plutarch, Life of Cimon 4.

[ back ] 40. See Dué 2002, 61-64. In the Iliad we are told that Briseis comes from Lyrnessos (2.690, etc.), Diomede from Lesbos (9.664), and Iphis from Skyros (9.667).

[ back ] 41. Cf. the choral odes in Euripides’ Hecuba (444-483) and Trojan Women (177-233), in which the chorus of captive Trojan women contemplate where in Greece they might be taken.

[ back ] 42. Sophocles composed a tragedy of that name, which is thought to have centered on Briseis and the other women taken captive by Achilles in the raids. See Blumenthal 1927.

[ back ] 43. On the evolution and multiformity of Greek epic traditions (as well as the relationship between epic and visual narratives) see Dué 2002, 21-36.

[ back ] 44. For more on women’s song traditions, see Chapter 1. See also Doherty 1996 and Pache 1999, who discuss the women’s song traditions that are incorporated into Odysseus’ catalogue of heroines in Odyssey 11.

[ back ] 45. The phrase “hall of victory” is Wycherley’s (1953, 27).

[ back ] 46. Many tragedies dealing with Trojan War themes were produced in the second half of the fifth century BC, but curiously, the sack of Troy as a subject of vase painting becomes less and less common. After 420 it nearly ceases to be represented. See Boardman 1989, 229.

[ back ] 47. Thucydides 3.50.

[ back ] 48. Thucydides 5.32.

[ back ] 49. Thucydides 5.84-116.

[ back ] 50. It should be noted that the Andromache may not have been first produced in Athens, if the scholiast on line 445 who states this can be trusted. It is a complicated question, on which see the recent discussion of Allan 2000, 149-60, with further references there. On the Andromache’s relationship to Athens and contemporary events see also below.

[ back ] 51. On the importance of the Peloponnesian War as the cultural context for Euripides’ Trojan Women, see Croally 1994. For the Hecuba, see the edition of Gregory 1999, passim.

[ back ] 52. Hamilton 1971,1. See also Delebecque 1951, 245-62. On the play’s relationship to contemporary events see also Westlake 1953, Goossens 1962, 520-34, and Maxwell-Stuart 1973.

[ back ] 53. See the Introduction.

[ back ] 54. See especially Croally 1994, 97-103 and Rabinowtiz 1998, who take these terms from Aristotle’s discussion of slavery (Politics 1252ff). Aristotle argued that some people were by nature free and others by nature slaves. For Aristotle and other Greek thinkers of the Classical period, women and barbarians belonged to the latter category. (For ancient citations, see Croally 1994, 103.) As Rabinowitz shows, Aristotle is most interested in the concept of natural slavery, but tragedy is more suited to depicting what happens to individuals when faced with a sudden reversal of fortune. The Trojan women are not by nature slaves, they are made slaves by circumstances beyond their control. For a historical analysis of the practice of enslaving prisoners of war in ancient Greece see Garlan 1987 with references in note 1.

[ back ] 55. Rabinowitz 1998, 59. Rabinowitz’ insights into the interplay of class and gender in the Trojan War plays of Euripides are too complex to be done justice here.

[ back ] 56. Rabinowitz 1998, 59. Rabinowitz goes on to argue that the Trojan captives also embody a fear of slave resistance, a fear which is itself mitigated when the Trojan women are shown to identify with their masters across class boundaries and along gender lines.

[ back ] 57. For an excellent discussion, see again Croally 1994, 97-115.

[ back ] 58. Hall 1989, 1. On the Trojans of Greek epic, see Mackie 1996 and Erskine 2001, 51-60. Erskine, however, following Hall (1989), sees a radical shift in the Classical period in the interpretation of the Trojans and the Trojan War. (See also the similar line of argument in Harrison 2002, 3-4.)

[ back ] 59. See, in addition to Hall 1989, Bacon 1961.

[ back ] 60. Hall 1989, 211-23. Croally 1994, 111-13 gives a detailed critique of Hall’s efforts to explain these noble barbarians. See further below.

[ back ] 61. Hall also discusses foreigners who are divinely inspired as an important group of noble barbarians.

[ back ] 62. Segal 1993, 171. See also Aélion 1983, Croally 1994, 103-15, Anderson 1997, 106, Vidal-Naquet 1997, 114, Ferrari 2000, 127-28, and Saïd 2002.

[ back ] 63. See Croally 1994, 90. For Andromache as the paradigm of the lamenting wife and widow in epic, see Segal 1971 and Dué 2002, 67-74.

[ back ] 64. Cf. Gregory 1999 on the passage cited above. The commonality between Greek and Trojan is also articulated by Odysseus elsewhere within the Hecuba: εἰσὶν παρ’ ἡμῖν οὐδὲν ἧσσον ἄθλιαι/γραῖαι γυναῖκες ἠδὲ πρεσβῦται σέθεν,/νύμφαι τ’ ἀρίστων νυμφίων τητώμεναι,/ὧν ἥδε κεύθει σώματ’ Ἰδαία κόνις (“Among us are grey-haired old women and aged men no less miserable than you, and brides bereft of excellent bridegrooms, whose bodies this Trojan dust has covered” Hecuba 322-325).

[ back ] 65. See Baldry 1965, Hall 1989, 215-223, and Croally 1994, 112-13.

[ back ] 66. Croally 1994, 104. See also 113-115.

[ back ] 67. As I will show in the next chapter, it is through her laments that Andromache obtains pity and admiration from the Greeks in the play.

[ back ] 68. Hall 1989, 214. Hall does not include the Hecuba in this statement, on which see chapter 4. See also Hall 1989, 213: “It is significant that the plays where Greeks are shown in a poor light are always concerned not with Athenians but with their enemies in the Peloponnesian War, especially the family of the Atridae (increasingly associated not with Argos but with Sparta), or Thebans.” Erskine 2001 interprets the Andromache along similar lines.

[ back ] 69. Hall 1989, 213 also suggests continuity of epic traditions as an explanation for why the Trojans are portrayed sympathetically in tragedy—a suggestion which contradicts her arguments elsewhere.

[ back ] 70. For Sophocles’ attribution of foreign language and clothing to the Trojans, see Hall 1989, 120-21. For Euripides, see Bacon 1961, 125ff., Segal 1993, 171 (with note 6) and Saïd 2002.

[ back ] 71. See, e.g., Iphigeneia at Aulis 526-27, Hecuba 131-133 and 254-257.

[ back ] 72. Sophocles’ Ajax almost certainly predates the Peloponnesian War, and a major crisis of that play is the attempt by the Spartans Agamemnon and Menelaus to deny the burial of Ajax. This attempt, had it been successful, would have been yet another sacrilege committed in connection with the end of the Trojan War by the Greeks, and it is clearly represented as the wrong course of action in the play.

[ back ] 73. Hall 2000, ix.

[ back ] 74. For the Andromache, see Anderson 1997, 133-55 and Allan 2000; for the Hecuba see Kovacs 1987, Mossman 1995, and the edition of Gregory 1999; for the Trojan Women see Croally 1994 and the edition of Barlow 1986.

[ back ] 75. See Hall 2000 and Loraux 2002, and Chapter 3, above.

[ back ] 76. I have worded this statement carefully, because I am not attempting to suggest that the lamentation of the Trojan women is the only element of these plays that elicits pity. Rhetorical arguments, which were so crucial to the education and life of the Athenian citizen, play an important role in all three plays (a feature that has been criticized in modern assessments). These arguments and such plot elements as the endangerment of children were equally important components of the structure of these plays. On the connection between pity and sorrow, see the Conclusion.

[ back ] 77. The Andromache, we are told by a scholiast, was not first produced in Athens. Any discussion of the play in its contemporary setting must take this possibility into account, although of course not all scholars accept the statement of the scholiast. See the discussion of Allan 2000, 149-160 and Chapter 6.