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Enter by Eisodos A Aegeus, the aged king of Athens, in travelling costume.

Aegeus
Medea, I wish you joy: no one knows a better way than this to address a friend.

Medea
[665] Joy to you as well, Aegeus, son of wise Pandion! Where have you come from to be visiting the soil of this land?

Aegeus
I have come from the ancient oracle of Phoebus.

Medea
Why did you go to earth's prophetic center?

Aegeus
To inquire how I might get offspring.

Medea
[670] Have you really lived so long a life without children?

Aegeus
I am childless: it is the act of some god.

Medea
Have you a wife, or have you no experience of marriage?

Aegeus
I am not without a wife to share my bed.

Medea
What then did Phoebus tell you about children?

Aegeus
[675] Words too wise for mortal to interpret.

Medea
Is it lawful for me to hear the response?

Aegeus
Most certainly: it calls for a wise mind.

Medea
What then did the god say? Tell me, if it is lawful to hear.

Aegeus
‘Do not the wineskin's salient foot untie. . .'

Medea
[680] Until you do what or come to what country?

Aegeus
'. . .until you come to hearth and home again.’1

Medea
And what were you in need of that you sailed to this land?

Aegeus
There is a man named Pittheus, king of Trozen.

Medea
The son of Pelops and a man most pious, they say.

Aegeus
[685] It is with him that I wish to share the god's response.

Medea
The man is wise and experienced in such matters.

Aegeus
What is more, he is closest of all my allies.

Medea
Well good luck attend you, and may you obtain what you desire.

1 Aegeus is bidden in the oracle's riddling terms not to have sexual intercourse before he reaches home. In the usual version of the legend, Aegeus does have intercourse with Aethra, daughter of Pittheus, in Trozen and thus begets Theseus. But the oracle, which may be Euripides' own invention, clearly does not belong with this story, for how could Aegeus beget a son if he violated the oracle's instructions? When Aegeus departs at the end of this scene, he seems bound for Athens, not Trozen.

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