2. The distinguished tragic writer, of the Athenian demus of Phlya in the Cecropid tribe, or, as others state it, of Phyle in the tribe Oeneis, was the son of Mnesarchus and Cleito, and was born in B. C. 485, according to the date of the Arundel marble, for the adoption of which Hartung contends. (Eur. Restitutus,
p. 5, &c.)
This testimony, however, is outweighed by the other statements on the subject, from which it appears that his parents were among those who, on the invasion of Xerxes, had fled from Athens to Salamis (IIerod. 7.41), and that the poet was born in that island in B. C. 480. (See Clinton, sub anno.) Nor need we with Miller (Greek Literature,
p. 358) set it down at once as a mere legend that his birth took place on the very day of the battle of Salamis (Sept. 23), though we may look with suspicion on the way in which it was contrived to bring the three great tragic poets of Athens into connexion with the most glorious day in her annals. (Hartung, p. 10.) Thus it has been said that, while Euripides then first saw the light, Aeschylus in the maturity of manhood fought in the battle, and Sophocles, a beautiful boy of 15, took part in the chorus at the festival which celebrated the victory. If again we follow the exact date of Eratosthenes, who represents Euripides as 75 at his death in B. C. 406, his birth must be assigned to B. C. 481, as Miller places it.
It has also been said that he received his name in commemoration of the battle of Artemisium, which took place near the Euripus not long before he was born, and in the same year; but Euripides was not a new name, and belonged, as we have seen, to an earlier tragic writer. (See, too, Thuc. 2.70
With respect to the station in life of his parents, we may safely reject the account given in Stobaeus (see Barnes, Eur. Vit.
§ 5), that his father was a Boeotian, banished from his country for bankruptcy. His mother, it is well known, is represented by Aristophanes as a herb-seller, and not a very honest one either (Ach.
454, Thesam. 387, 456, 910, Eq. 19, Ran.
839; Plin. Nat. 22.22
; Said. s. vv. Σκάνδιξ
; Hesych. s. v. Σκάνδιξ
); and we find the same statement made by Gellius (15.20
) from Theopompus; but to neither of these testimonies can much weight be accorded (for Theopompus, see Plut. Lys. 30
; Ael. VH 3.18
; Clem. Alex. Strom.
1.1 ; Joseph. c. Apion.
1.24; C. Nep. Alc.
11), and they are contradicted by less exceptionable authorities.
That the family of Euripides was of a rank far from mean is asserted by Suidas (s. v.
) and Moschopulus (Vit. Ear.
) to have been proved by Philochorus in a work no longer extant, and seems, indeed, to be borne out by what Athenaeus (x. p. 424e.) reports from Theophrastus, that the poet, when a boy, was cup-bearer to a chorus of noble Athenians at the Thargelian festival,--an office for which nobility of blood was requisite. We know also that he was taught rhetoric by Prodicus, who was certainly not moderate in his terms for instruction, and who was in the habit, as Philostratus tells us, of seeking his pupils among youths of high rank. (Plat. Apol.
p. 19e.; Stallb. ad loc. ;
3.14.9; Philostr. Vit. Sop/h. Prodicus.
) It is said that the future distinction of Euripides was predicted by an oracle, promising that he should be crowned with " sacred garlands," in consequence of which his father had him trained to gymnastic exercises; and we learn that, while yet a boy, he won the prize at the Eleusinian and Thesean contests (see Dict. of Ant.
pp. 374, 964), and offered himself, when 17 years old, as a candidate at the Olympic games, but was not admitted because of some doubt about his age. (Oenom. apud Euseb. Praep. Evan.
5.33; Gel. 15.20
.) Some trace of his early gymnastic pursuits is remarked by Mr. Keble (Prael. Acad.
xxix. p. 605) in the detailed description of the combat between Eteocles and Polynices in the Phoenissae. (5.1392, &c.) Soon, however, abandoning these, he studied the art of painting (Thom. Mag. Vit. Eur. ;
Suid. s. v.
), not, as we learn, without success; and it has been observed that the veiled figure of Agamemnon in the Iphigeneia
of Timanthes was probably suggested by a line in Euripides' description of the same scene. (Iph. in Aul.
1550; Barnes, ad loc. ;
183, &c.) To philosophy and literature he devoted himself with much interest and energy, studying physics under Anaxagoras, and rhetoric, as we have already seen, under Prodicus. (Diod. 1.7
; Strab. xiv. p.645
; Heracl. Pont. Alleg. Homer.
§ 22.) We learn also from Athenaeus that he was a great book-collector, and it is recorded of him that he committed to memory certain treatises of Heracleitus, which he found hidden in the temple of Artemis, and which he was the first to introduce to the notice of Socrates. (Athen. 1.3
a.; Tatian, Or. c. Graec.
p. 143b.; Hartung, Eur. Rest.
p. 131.) His intimacy with the latter is beyond a doubt, though we must reject the statement of Gellius (l.c.
), that he received instruction from him in moral science, since Socrates was not born till B. C. 468, twelve years after the birth of Euripides. Traces of the teaching of Anaxagoras have been remarked in many passages both of the extant plays and of the fragments, and were impressed especially on the lost tragedy of Melanippa the Wise.
545, 971; Pors. ad loc. ;
p. 26d. e.; Troad.
879, Hel. 1014; Fragm. Melanip.,
ed. Wagner, p. 255; Cic. Tusc. Disp.
1.26; Hartung, p. 109; Barnes, ad Eur. Heracl.
529; Valck. Diatr. c.
The philosopher is also supposed to be alluded to in the Alcestis
(5.925, &c.; comp. Cic. Tusc. Disp.
3.14). " We do not know," says Mluller (Greek Literature,
p. 358), " what induced a person with such tendencies to devote himself to tragic poetry."
He is referring apparently to the opposition between the philosophical convictions of Euripides and the mythical legends which formed the subjects of tragedy; otherwise it does not clearly appear why poetry should be thought incompatible with philosophical pursuits. If, however, we may trust the account in Gellius (l.c.
), it would seem,--and this is not unimportant for our estimation of his poetical character,--that the mind of Euripides was led at a very early period to that which afterwards became the business of his life, since he wrote a tragedy at the age of eighteen.
That it was, therefore, exhibited, and that it was probably no other than the Rhesus
are points unwarrantably concluded by Hartung (p. 6, &c.), who ascribes also to the same date the composition of the Veiled Hippolytus.
The representation of the Peliades,
the first play of Euripides which was acted, at least in his own name, took place in B. C. 455.
This statement rests on the authority of his anonymous life, edited by Elmsley from a MS. in the Ambrosian library, and compared with that by Thomas Magister; and it is confirmed by the life in the MSS. of Paris, Vienna, and Copenhagen. In B. C. 441, Euripides gained for the first time the first prize, and he continued to exhibit plays until B. C. 408, the date of the Orestes.
(See Clinton, sub annis.) Soon after this he left Athens for the court of ARCHELAUS, king of Macedonia, his reasons for which step can only be matter of conjecture. Traditionary scandal has ascribed it to his disgust at the intrigue of his wife with Cephisophon, and the ridicule which was showered upon him in consequence by the comic poets.
But the whole story in question has been sufficiently refuted by Hartung (p. 165, &c.), though objections may be taken to one or two of his assumptions and arguments.
The anonymous author of the life of Euripides reports that he married Choerilla, daughter of Mnesilochus, and that, in consequence of her infidelity, he wrote the Hippolytus
to satirize the sex, and divorced her.
He then married again, and his second wife, named Melitto, proved no better than the first. Now the Hippolytus
was acted in B. C. 428, the Thesmophoriazusae
of Aristophanes in 414, and at the latter period Euripides was still married to Choerilla, Mnesilochus being spoken of as his κηδεστής
with no hint of the connexion having ceased. (See Thesm.
But what can be more unlikely than that Euripides should have allowed fourteen years to elapse between his discovery of his wife's infidelity and his divorce of her ? or that Aristophanes should have made no mention of so piquant an event in the Thesmophoriazusae?
It may be said, however, that the name Choerilla is a mistake of the grammarians for Melitto; that it was the latter whose infidelity gave rise to the Hippolytus ;
and that the intrigue of the former with Cephisophon, subsequent to 414, occasioned Euripides to leave Athens.
But this is inconsistent with Choerilla's age, according to Hartung, who argues thus :-- Euripides had three sons by this lady, the youngest of whom must have been born not later han 434, for he exhibited plays of his father (?) in 404, and must at that time, therefore (?), have been thirty years old (comp. Hartung, p. 6); consequently Choerilla must have become the wife of Euripides not later than 440.
At the time, then, of her alleged adultery she must have been upwards of fifty, and must have been married thirty years.
But it may be urged that Choerilla may have died soon after the representation of the Thesmophoriazusae
(and no wonder, says Hartung, if her death was
hastened by so atrocious an attack on her husband and her father !), and Euripides may then have married a young wife, Melitto, who played him false. To this it is answered, that it is clear from the Frogs
that his friendship with Cephisophon, the supposed gallant, continued unbroken till his death.
After all, however, the silence of Aristophanes is the best refutation of the calumny. [CEPHISOPHON.] With respect to the real reason for the poet's removal into Macedonia, it is clear that an invitation from Archelaüs, at whose court the highest honours awaited him, would have much temptation for one situated as Euripides was at Athens.
The attacks of Aristophanes and others had probably not been without their effect; there was a strong, violent, and unscrupulous party against him, whose intrigues and influence were apparent in the results of the dramatic contests; if we may believe the testimony of Varro (apud Gell.
17.4), he wrote 75 tragedies and gained the prize only five times; according to Thomas Magister, 15 of his plays out of 92 were successful.
After his death, indeed, his high poetical merits seem to have been fully and generally recognized; but so have been those of Wordsworth among ourselves even in his lifetime ; and yet to the poems of both, the φωνᾶντα συνετοῖσι
of Pindar is perhaps especially applicable. Euripides, again, must have been aware that his philosophical tenets were regarded, whether justly or not, with considerable suspicion, and he had already been assailed with a charge of impiety in a court of justice, on the ground of the well-known line in the Hippolytus
(607), supposed to be expressive of mental reservation. (Arist. Rhet.
He did not live long to enjoy the honours and pleasures of the Macedonian court, as his death took place in B. C. 406. Most testimonies agree in stating that he was torn in pieces by the king's dogs, which, according to some, were set upon him through envy by Arrhidaeus and Crateuas, two rival poets.
But even with the account of his end scandal has been busy, reporting that he met it at the hands of women while he was going one night to keep a criminal assignation,--and this at the age of 75 !
The story seems to be a mixture of the two calumnies with respect to the profligacy of his character and his hatred of the female sex. The Athenians sent to ask for his remains, but Archelaus refused to give them up, and buried them in Macedonia with great honour.
The regret of Sophocles for his death is said to have been so great, that at the representation of his next play he made his actors appear uncrowned. (Ael. VH 13.4
; Diod. 13.103
; Gel. 15.20
; Paus. 1.20
; Thom. Mag. Vit. Eur.;
Suid. s. v. Εὐριπίδης
; Steph. Byz. s. v. Βορμίσκος
; Eur. Arch.
ed. Wagner, p. 111 ; see Barnes, Vit. Eur.
§ 31; Bayle, Dict. Histor. s. v. Euripides,
and the authorities there referred to.)
The statue of Euripides in the theatre at Athens is mentioned by Pausanias (1.21
The admiration felt for him by foreigners, even in his lifetime, may be illustrated not only by the patronage of Archelaus, but also by what Plutarch records (Nic.
29), that many of the Athenian prisoners in Sicily regained their liberty by reciting his verses to their masters, and that the Caunians on one occasion having at first refused to admit into their harbour an Athenian ship pursued by pirates, allowed it to put in when they found that some of the crew could repeat fragments of his poems.
We have already intimated that the accounts which we find in Athenaeus and others of the profligacy of Euripides are mere idle scandal, and scarcely worthy of serious refutation. (Athen. xiii. pp. 557, e., 603, e.; comp. Suid. l.c.;
1045; Schol. ad loc.
) On the authority of Alexander Aetolus (apud Gell.
15.20; comp. Ael. VH 8.13
) we learn that he was, like his master Anaxagoras, of a serious temper and averse to mirth (στρυφνὸς καὶ μισογέλως
); and though such a character is indeed by no means incompatible with vicious habits, yet it is also one on which men are very apt to avenge themselves by reports and insinuations of the kind we are alluding to. Certainly the calumny in question seems to be contradicted in a great measure by the spirit of the Hippolytus,
in which the hero is clearly a great favourite with the author, and from which it has been inferred that his own tendency was even to asceticism. (Keble, Prael. Acad.
p. 606, &c.)
It may be added, that a speculative character, like that of Euripides, is one over which such lower temptations have usually less power, and which is liable rather to those of a spiritual and intellectual kind. (See Butler's Anal.
part 2.100.6.) Nor does there appear to be any better foundation for that other charge which has been brought against him, of hatred to the female sex.
The alleged infidelity of his wife, which is commonly adduced to account for it, has been discussed above; and we may perhaps safely pass over the other statement, found in Gelliuis (15.20), where it is attribulted to his having had two wives at once,--a double dose of Matrimony !
The charge no doubt originated in the austerity of his temper and demeanour above mentioned (Suid. s. v.
); but certainly he who drew such characters as Antigone, Iphigeneia, and, above all, Alcestis, was not blind to the gentleness, the strong affection, the self-abandoning devotedness of women. And if his plays contain specimens of the sex far different from these, we must not forget, what has indeed almost passed into a proverb, that women are both better and worse than men, and that one especial characteristic of Euripides was to represent human nature as it is.
With respect to the world and the Deity, he seems to have adopted the doctrines of his master, not unmixed apparently with pantheistic views. [ANAXAGORAS.] (Valck. Diatr.
4-6; Hartung, Eur. Rest.
p. 95, &c.) To class him with atheists, and to speak in the same breath, as Sir T. Browne does (Rel. Med.
§ 47), of " the impieties of Lucian, Euripides, and Julian," is undoubtedly unjust.
At the same time, it must be confessed that we look in vain in his plays for the high faith of Aeschylus, which ever recognizes the hand of Providence guiding the troubled course of events and over-ruling them for good; nor can we fail to admit that the pupil of Anaxagoras could not sympathise with the popular religious system around him, nor throw himself cordially into it. Aeschylus indeed rose above while he adopted it, and formally retaining its legends, imparted to them a higher and deeper moral significance. Such, however, was not the case with Euripides; and there is much truth in what Müller says (Greek Literature,
p. 358), that " with respect to the mythical traditions which the tragic muse had selected as her subjects, he stood on an entirely different footing from Aeschylus and from Sophocles.
He could not bring his philosophical convictions with regard to the nature of God and His relation to mankind into harmony with the contents of these legends, nor could he pass over in silence their incongruities. Hence it is that he is driven to the strange necessity of carrying on a sort of polemical discussion with the very materials and subjects of which he had to treat." (Herc. Fur.
1316, 1317, Androm.
445, &c., Fragm. Beller.
ed. Wagner, p. 147; Clem. Alex. Protrept.
7.) And if we may regard the Bacchae,
written towards the close of his life, as a sort of recantation of these views, and as an avowal that religious mysteries are not to be subjected to the bold scrutiny of reason (see Müller, Gr. Lit.
p. 379, Eumen.
§ 37; Keble, Prael. Acad.
p. 609), it is but a sad picture of a mind which, wearied with scepticism, and having no objective system of truth to satisfy it, acquiesces in what is established as a deadening relief from fruitless speculation.
But it was not merely with respect to the nature and attributes of the gods that Euripides placed himself in opposition to the ancient legends, which we find him altering in the most arbitrary manner, both as to events and characters. Thus, in the Orestes.
Menelaüs comes before us as a selfish coward, and Helen as a worthless wanton; in the Helena,
the notion of Stesichorus is adopted, that the heroine was never carried to Troy at all, and that it was a mere εἴδωλον
of her for which the Greeks and Trojans fought (comp. Herod. 2.112
) ; Andromache, the widow of Hector and slave of Neoptolemus, seems almost to forget the past in her quarrel with Hermione and the perils of her present situation; and Electra, married by the policy of Aegisthus to a peasant, scolds her husband for inviting guests to dine without regard to the ill-prepared state of the larder.
In short, with Euripides tragedy is brought down into the sphere of every-day life, τὰ οἰκεῖα πράγμαρα
, οἷς χρώμεθ᾽
, οἷς ξύνεσμεν
957); men are represented, according to the remark of Aristotle so often quoted (Poet.
46), not as they ought to be, but as they are; under the names of the ancient heroes, the characters of his own time are set before us; it is not Medea, or Iphigeneia, or Alcestis that is speaking, says Mr. Keble (Prael. Acad.
p. 596), but abstractedly a mother, a daughter, or a wife. All this, indeed, gave fuller scope, perhaps, for the exhibition of passion and for those scenes of tenderness and pathos in which Euripides especially excelled; and it will serve also to account in great measure for the preference given to his plays by the practical Socrates, who is said to have never entered the theatre unless when they were acted, as well as for the admiration felt for him by the poets of the new comedy, of whom Menander professedly adopted him for his model, while Philemon declared that, if he could but believe in the consciousness of the soul after death, he would certainly hang himself to enjoy the sight of Euripides. (Schlegel, Dram. Lit.
lect. vii.; Aelian, Ael. VH 2.13
; Quint. Inst. Or.
10.1; Thom. Mag. Vit. Esurip.;
Meineke, Fragm. Com. Graec.
i. p. 2086, iv. p. 48.) Yet, even as a matter of art, such a process can hardly be justified : it seems to partake too much of the fault condemned in Boileau's line : “Peindre Caton galant et Brutus dameret”; and it is a graver question whether the moral tendency of tragedy was not impaired by it,--whether, in the absence especially of a fixed external standard of morality, it was not most dangerous to tamper with what might supply the place of it, however ineffectually, through the medium of the imagination,--whether indeed it can ever be safe to lower to the common level of humanity characters hallowed by song and invested by tradition with an ideal grandeur, in cases where they do not tend by the power of inveterate association to colour or countenance evil. And there is another obvious point, which should not be omitted while we are speaking of the moral effect of the writings of Euripides, viz. the enervating tendency of his exhibitions of passion and suffering, beautiful as they are, and well as they merit for him from Aristotle the praise of being " the most tragic of poets." (Poet.
The philosopher, however, qualifies this commendation by the remark, that, while he provides thus admirably for the exciteument of pity by his catastrophes, " he does not arrange the rest well " (εἰ καὶ τὰ ἄλλα μὴ εν̓̂ οἰκονομεῖ
); and we may mention in conclusion the chief objections which, artistically speaking, have been brought with justice against his tragedies. We need but allude to his constant employment of the " Deus ex machine," the disconnexion of his choral odes from the subject of the play (Arist. Poet.
32; Hor. Ep. ad Pis.
191, &c.), and the extremely awkward and formal character of his prologues. On these points some good remarks will be found in Muller (Greek Lit.
pp. 362-364) and in Keble. (Prael. Acad.
p. 590, &c.) Another serious defect is the frequent introduction of frigid γνῶμαι
and of philosophical disquisitions, making Medea talk like a sophist, and Hecuba like a freethinker, and aiming rather at subtilty than simplicity.
The poet, moreover, is too often lost in the rhetorician, and long declamations meet us, equally tiresome with those of Alfieri. They are then but dubious compliments which are paid him in reference to these points by Cicero and by Quintilian, the latter of whom says that he is worthy to be compared with the most eloquent pleaders of the forum (Cic. Fam. 16.8
; Quint. Inst. Or.
10.1); while Cicero so admired him, that he is said to have had in his hand his tragedy of Medea
at the time of his murder. (Ptol. Hephaest. 5.5.)
Euripides has been called the poet of the sophists,--a charge by no means true in its full extent, as it appears that, though he may not have escaped altogether the seduction of the sophistical spirit, yet on the whole, the philosophy of Socrates, the great opponent of the sophists, exercised most influence on his mind. (Hartung, Eur. Rest.
p. 128, &c.)
On the same principles on which he brought his subjects and characters to the level of common life, he adopted also in his style the every-day mode of speaking, and Aristotle (Aristot. Rh. 3.2.5
) commends him as having been the first to produce an effect by the skilful employment of words from the ordinary language of men (comp. Long. de Subl.
31), peculiarly fitted, it may be observed, for the expression of the gentler and more tender feelings. (See Shakspeare, Merch. of Venice,
act v. sc. 1 ; comp. Muller, Greek Lit.
According to some accounts, Euripides wrote, in all, 75 plays; according to others, 92. Of these, 18 are extant, if we omit the Rhesus,
the genuineness of which has been defended by Vater and Hartung, while Valckenaer, Hermann, and Müller have, on good grounds, pronounced it spurious. To what author, however, or to what period it should be assigned, is a disputed point. (Valeken. Diatr.
9, 10; Hermann, de Riheso tragoedia, Opusc.
vol. iii.; Müller, Gr. Lit.
p. 380, note.)
A list is subjoined of the extant plays of Euripides, with their dates, ascertained or probable. For a fuller account the reader is referred to Miüller (Gr. Lit.
p. 367, &c.) and to Fabricius (Bibl. Graec.
vol. ii. p. 239, &c.), the latter of whom gives a catalogue also of the lost dramas.
B. C. 438.
This play was brought out as the last of a tetralogy, and stood therefore in the place of a satyric drama, to which indeed it bears, in some parts, great similarity, particularly in the representation of Hercules in his cups.
This circumstance obviates, of course, the objection against the scene alluded to, as a " lamentable interruption to our feelings of commiseration for the calamities of Admetus,"--an objection which, as it seems to us, would even on other grounds be unenable. (See Herm. Dissert. de Eurip. Alceest.,
prefixed to Monk's edition of 1837.) While, however, we recognize this satyric character in the Alcestis,
we must confess that we cannot, as Müller does, see anything farcical in the concluding
B. C. 431.
The four plays represented in this year by Euripides, who gained the third prize, were Medea, Philoctetis, Dictys,
, a satyric drama. (See Hartung, Eur. Rest.
B. C. 428.
In this year Euripides gained the first prize. For the reason of the title Coronifer
), see vv. 72, &c.
There was an older play, called the Veiled Hippolytus,
no longer extant, on which the present tragedy was intended as an improvement, and in which the criminal love of Phaedra appears to have been represented in a more offensive manner, and as avowed by herself boldly and without restraint. For the conjectuad reasons of the title Καλυπτόμενος
, applied to this former drama, see Wagner, Fragm. Eurip.
p. 220, &c.; Valcken. Praef. in Hippol.
pp. 19, 20; comp. Hartung. Eurip. Rest.
pp. 41, &c., 401, &c.
This play must have been exhibited before B. C. 423, as Aristophanes parodies a passage of it in the Clouds
(1148), which he brought out in that year. Müller says that the passage in the Hecuba
(645, ed. Pors.), στένει δὲ καί τις κ. τ. λ
., " seems to refer to the misfortunes of the Spartans at Pylos in B. C. 425."
This is certainly possible ;
and, if it is the case, we may fix the refresentation the play in B. C. 424.
Müller refers it, by conjecture, to, B. C. 421.
This also he refers, by conjecture, to about the same period.
of uncertain date.
of uncertain date.
referred by Müller, on conjecture, to the 90th Olympiad. (B. C. 420-417.)
B. C. 415.
assigned by Müller, on conjecture and from internal evidence, to the period of the Sicilian expedition. (B. C. 415-413.)
B. C. 412, in the same year with the lost play of the Andromeda.
(Schol. ad Arist. Thesm.
Iphigeneia at Tauri.
Iphigeneia at Tauri.
B. C. 408.
The exact date is not known; but the play was one of the last exhibited at Athens by its author. (Schol. ad Arist. Ran.
This play was apparently written for representation in Macedonia, and therefore at a very late period of the life of Euripides.
Iphigeneia at Aulis.
Iphigeneia at Aulis.
This play, together with the Bacchae
and the Alcemaeon,
was brought out at Athens, after the poet's death, by the younger Euripides. [No. 3.]
of uncertain date.
It is interesting as the only extant specimen of the Greek satyric drama, and its intrinsic merits seem to us to call for a less disparaging criticism than that which Müller passes on it.
Letters ascribed to Euripides
Besides the plays, there are extant five letters, purporting to have been written by Euripides. Three of them are addressed to king Archelaus, and the other two to Sophocles and Cephisophon respectively. Bentley, in a letter to Barnes (Bentley's Correspondence,
ed. Words. vol. i. p. 64), mentions what he considers the internal proofs of their spuriousness, some of which, however, are drawn from some of the false or doubtful statements with respect to the life of Euripides.
But we have no hesitation in setting them down as spurious, and as the composition of some later ἀρεταλόγος
, though Barnes, in his preface to them, published subsequently
to Bentley's letter, declares that he who denies their genuineness must be either very impudent or deficient in judgment.
The editio princeps of Euripides contains the Medea, Hippolytus, Alcestis, and Andromache, in capital letters.
It is without date or printer's name, but is supposed, with much probability, to have been edited by J. Lascaris, and printed by De Alopa, at Florence, towards the end of the 15th century. In 1503 an edition was published by Aldus at Venice: it contains 18 plays, including the Rhesus and omitting the Electra. Another, published at Heidelberg in 1597, contained the Latin version of Aemil. Portus and a fragment of the Danae, for the first time, from some ancient MSS. in the Palatine library. Another was published by P. Stephens, Geneva, 1602
. In that of Barnes, Cambridge, 1694, whatever be the defects of Barnes as an editor, much was done towards the correction and illustration of the text.
It contains also many fragments, and the spurious letters.
Other editions are that of Musgrave, Oxford, 1778
, of Beck, Leipzig, 1778-88
, of Matthiae, Leipzig, 1813-29, in 9 vols. with the Scholia and fragments, and a variorum edition, published at Glasgow in 1821 in 9 vols. 8vo. The fragments have been recently edited in a separate form and very satisfactorily by Wagner, Wratislaw, 1844
. Of separate plays there have been many editions, e. g.
, and Hermann
There are also numerous translations of different plays in several languages, and the whole works have been translated into English verse by Potter, Oxford, 1814
, and into German by Bothe, Berlin, 1800
. The Jocasta, by Gascoigne and Kinwelmarsh, represented at Gray's Inn in 1566
, is a very free translation from the Phoenissae,
much being added, omitted, and transposed.