Tragedy and Archaic Greek Thought
D.L. Cairns (ed)

ISBN 13: 9781905125579, hardback, 320pp, 2013, GB £50
 

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 Aidôs: _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).

 

Contents

Preface Introduction: Archaic Thought and Tragic Interpretation - Douglas Cairns
1 Atē in Aeschylus - Alan H. Sommerstein
2 Aeschylus, Herakleitos, and Pythagoreanism - Richard Seaford
3 Eteocles’ Decision in Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes - Fritz-Gregor Herrmann
4 Creon the Labdacid: Political Confrontation and the Doomed Oikos in Sophocles’ Antigone - Vayos Liapis
5 Divine and Human Action in the Oedipus Tyrannus - Douglas Cairns
6 ‘Archaic’ Guilt in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus and Oedipus at Colonus - William Allan
7 Sophocles and the Wisdom of Silenus: A Reading of Oedipus at Colonus 1211–48 - P. E. Easterling
8 The Mutability of Fortune in Euripides - Michael Lloyd