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Headword: Euripidês
Adler number: epsilon,3695
Translated headword: Euripides
Vetting Status: high
Son of Mnesarchus or Mnesarchides and Cleito, who [sc. both] fled to Boeotia, where they settled before moving on to Attica. It is, nevertheless, untrue that his mother was a vegetable-hawker; she was actually of high-born parentage, as Philochorus reports.[1] His mother conceived at the time Xerxes made his crossing,[2] and Euripides was born on the day the Greeks defeated the Persians.[3] He started out as a painter, then became a student of Prodicus[4] in rhetoric and of Socrates[5] in ethics and philosophy. So too, he studied with Anaxagoras of Clazomenae.[6] However, he turned to writing tragedy when he saw Anaxagoras come under threat for the doctrines he espoused. Euripides' disposition was sullen and gloomy and reclusive; hence he was also considered a misogynist. That said, he first married Choirine,[7] daughter of Mnesilochus, and with her had Mnesilochus and Mnesarchides and Euripides. After divorcing this woman, he married again; this woman, too, proved herself unfaithful. Departing Athens, he went to Archelaus, king of Macedonia,[8] at whose court he resided enjoying the highest honor. Euripides met his end at the plotting of Arrhibaeus[9] of Macedonia and Crateuas of Thessaly, poets jealous of him. They bribed, with ten minas, a servant of the king's, named Lysimachus, to unleash on him the royal hounds, for which he was the keeper. But some say that he was torn apart not by hounds but by women at night[10] while he was going to a late rendezvous with Craterus, a young male lover of Archelaus.[11] Others contend he was going to meet Nicodicus of Arethusa's wife. Euripides lived to the age of 75, and the king interred his remains at Pella. According to some, he wrote 75 plays; others say 92, but 77 survive.[12] He won five victories: four during his lifetime, one postumously when his nephew Euripides produced the plays.[13] Euripides himself produced plays for twenty-two years straight,[14] his last during the 93rd Olympiad.[15]
Greek Original:
Euripidês, Mnêsarchou ê Mnêsarchidou kai Kleitous, hoi pheugontes eis Boiôtian metôikêsan, eita en têi Attikêi. ouk alêthes de, hôs lachanopôlis ên hê mêtêr autou: kai gar tôn sphodra eugenôn etunchanen, hôs apodeiknusi Philochoros. en de têi diabasei Xerxou ekuophoreito hupo tês mêtros kai etechthê kath' hên hêmeran Hellênes etrepsanto tous Persas. gegone de ta prôta zôgraphos, eita mathêtês Prodikou men en tois rhêtorikois, Sôkratous de en tois êthikois kai philosophois. diêkouse de kai Anaxagorou tou Klazomeniou. epi tragôidian de etrapê ton Anaxagoran idôn hupostanta kindunous di' haper eisêxe dogmata. skuthrôpos de ên to êthos kai ameidês kai pheugôn tas sunousias: hothen kai misogunês edoxasthê. egême de homôs prôtên men Choirinên, thugatera Mnêsilochou: ex hês esche Mnêsilochon kai Mnêsarchidên kai Euripidên. apôsamenos de tautên esche kai deuteran, kai tautês homoiôs akolastou peiratheis. aparas de ap' Athênôn êlthe pros Archelaon ton basilea tôn Makedonôn, par' hôi diêge tês akras apolauôn timês. eteleutêse de hupo epiboulês Arribaiou tou Makedonos kai Krateua tou Thettalou, poiêtôn ontôn kai phthonêsantôn autôi peisantôn te ton basileôs oiketên tounoma Lusimachon, deka mnôn agorasthenta, tous basileôs, hous autos etrephe, kunas epapheinai autôi. hoi de historêsan ouch hupo kunôn, all' hupo gunaikôn nuktôr diaspasthênai, poreuomenon aôri pros Krateron ton erômenon Archelaou [kai gar schein auton kai peri tous toioutous erôtas], hoi de, pros tên gametên Nikodikou tou Arethousiou. etê de biônai auton oe#, kai ta osta autou en Pellêi metakomisai ton basilea. dramata de autou kata men tinas oe#, kata de allous #4b#: sôizontai de oz#. nikas de aneileto e#, tas men d# periôn, tên de mian meta tên teleutên, epideixamenou to drama tou adelphidou autou Euripidou. epedeixato de holous eniautous kb#, kai teleutai epi tês #4g# Olumpiados.
Probably 480s - after 408 BCE; see generally John Gould in OCD(4) s.v. For a balanced and succinct investigation of Euripidean lore (with ample sourcing), see the Introduction (1-49) by David Kovacs in Euripides: Cyclops, Alcestis, Medea in the Loeb Classical Libarary.
[1] Philochorus FGrH 328 F218. For the 'vegetable-hawker' allegation see chiefly Aristophanes, Acharnians 479, Thesmophoriazusae 387, Frogs 840.
[2] No earlier than May 10, 480 (Green 78), which obviously makes this date and/or a September birth (see next note) implausible.
[3] September 20, 480 (Green 186-198).
[4] See generally pi 2365.
[5] See generally sigma 829, sigma 830.
[6] See generally alpha 1981.
[7] Also found as Choirile/Choirille. For the sexual innuendo associated with this name in Old Comedy, see Kovacs [below] 19, and LSJ under xoi=ros.
[8] Reigned 413-399.
[9] For the name cf. e.g. Thucydides 4.79.2; there is no need to emend to Arrhidaeus.
[10] Ostensibly by Bacchic women; see Kovacs [below] 21. The story is a fanciful readback from the Pella compositon of Bacchae, which concludes with Pentheus' dismemberment by his maenad mother and company (1113ff). See also "Chronological Notes to the Plays of Euripides" (616) in The Complete Greek Tragedies, Vol. IV; and M. Hadas' Introduction (xv) in the Ten Plays of Euripides.
[11] For the technical term e)rw/menos, see OCD(4) s.v. 'homosexuality' (or the Oxford Companion (below) 347-54 for this material without bibliography); and Cambridge Illustrated History 126-27. The Suda includes a parenthetical comment here: "for he also had erotic passions for that sort as well."
[12] The Alexandrians "seemed to have possessed copies of seventy-eight plays" (Kovacs [below] 13).
[13] Bacchae, Iphigenia in Aulis, and the lost Alcmaeon in Corinth. See "Chronological Notes."
[14] Ninety-two plays arranged in tetralogies yields twenty-three theatrical seasons.
[15] Euripides' death date is usually given as c.406, within the 93rd Olympiad.
Cartledge, Paul, ed. Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1998
Green, Peter. The Greco-Persian Wars. Berkeley: University of California, 1996
Grene, David and Lattimore, Richard. The Complete Greek Tragedies, IV Vols. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1960
Hadas, Moses and McLean, John, trans. Ten Plays by Euripides. New York: Bantam, 1960
Kovacs, David, ed. and trans. Euripides: Cyclops, Alcestis, Medea. Cambridge: Harvard University (The Loeb Classical Library), 1994
Hornblower, Simon and Spawforth, Antony, eds. The Oxford Companion to Classical Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University, 1998
Keywords: art history; biography; chronology; comedy; economics; ethics; food; gender and sexuality; geography; historiography; history; military affairs; mythology; philosophy; tragedy; women; zoology
Translated by: Craig Miller on 15 February 2003@12:10:12.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented notes and keywords; cosmetics) on 16 February 2003@05:56:19.
Craig Miller on 16 February 2003@14:53:57.
William Hutton (Minor corrections and cosmetics) on 16 February 2003@15:09:32.
David Whitehead (another keyword) on 18 November 2005@10:13:41.
David Whitehead (more keywords; cosmetics; raised status) on 14 November 2012@06:48:20.
David Whitehead (updated 2 refs) on 3 August 2014@08:58:45.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 7 February 2015@23:38:50.


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