Guus Bosman

software engineering director


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Aeschylus II

I had never heard of Aeschylus before. Turns out he is the first known playwright, living around 500 BC, and seven of his works (partially) survive. I first read part II of the David Greene edition, next on my list is part I with the remaining, complete play -- the Oresteia.

  • The Suppliant Maidens. These ladies and their father fled and searched protection from King Pelasgus. He offered his protection -- but only after checking with the citizens first, rather democratic. Interesting to read about the King's dilemma.
  • The Persians. Interesting to read the the Greece made a play on how their enemies must have experienced defeat. Nasty thing, war. While I was reading this Trump and Iran were arguing; it is so easy to find quotes from the play that are still relevant.
  • Seven Against Thebes. First I was apprehensive. If the translator is warning that the text is difficult and tedious, you'd expect the worst. Granted, it was a bit boring as a text, but how cool is it that it turns out to be about the brothers Eteocles and Polynices, sons of the famous Oedipus! And that another playwright, Sophocles, essentially wrote a follow-up to Seven Against Thebes years later, very interesting. These stories are all so connected. I read that the storyline of seven attackers, and the brothers killing each other, harks back to older Babylonian stories, possibly. I'm glad I read Gilgamesh, it's cool to see those connections (even if sometimes unproven). And at the other side of the spectrum, I saw the name Leto being used -- together with the earlier Atreies name a familiar name for a Dune fan.

Quotes

The Persians, 685

What do you long for, child?
Do not the frantic lust
for battle, filling the heart
carry you away. Expel
the evil passion at its birth.

Prometheus Bound 147

For new are the steersmen that rule Olympus:
and new are the customs by which Zeus rules,
customs that have no law to them,
but what was great before he brings to nothingness.

Prometheus Bound, 227

This is a sickness rooted and inherent
in the nature of a tyranny:
that he holds it does not trust his friends.

language: 
English
Author: 
Aeschylus
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