Eight leading contemporary interpreters of
Classical Greek tragedy here explore its relation to the thought
of the Archaic
Period. Prominent topics are the nature and possibility of divine
justice; the influence of the gods on humans; fate and human responsibility;
the instability of fortune and the principle of alternation; hybris
and ate; and the inheritance of guilt and suffering. Other themes
are tragedy’s relation with Pre-Socratic philosophy, and the interplay
between ‘Archaic’ features of the genre and fifth-century ethical
and political thought. The book makes a powerful case for the importance
of Archaic thought not only in the evolution of the tragic genre,
but also for developed features of the Classical tragedians’ art.
Along with three papers on Aeschylus, four on Sophocles, and one
on Euripides, there is an extensive introduction by the editor.
Douglas Cairns is Professor of Classics in the University of Edinburgh.
His publications on ancient Greek literature and society include
_e psychology and ethics of honour and shame in ancient Greek literature
(1993), Bacchylides: Five epinician odes (2010), and Sophocles:
Antigone (forthcoming, 2013). For the Classical Press of Wales
he has edited
or jointly edited Law, Rhetoric, and Comedy in Classical Athens:
Essays in honour of D. M. MacDowell (2004), Body Language in the
Greek and Roman Worlds (2005), and Dionysalexandros: Essays on
Aeschylus and his fellow tragedians in honour of A. F. Garvie (2006).