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A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology (ed. William Smith) 19 19 Browse Search
Diodorus Siculus, Library 1 1 Browse Search
Euripides, Rhesus (ed. Gilbert Murray) 1 1 Browse Search
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Euripides, Rhesus (ed. Gilbert Murray), CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY (search)
deceiving the Alexandrian critics, detectives specially trained for this kind of work? Let us try quite a different hypothesis, and begin by accepting the external evidence as true. The famous critic, Crates, of the second century B.C., happens to mention-in excuse of what he took to be a slip in the poet's astronomy-that the Rhesus of Euripides was a youthful work. Now the earliest dated tragedy of Euripides that we possess is the Alcestis, B.C. 438, written when he was about forty-six. His style may well have been considerably different fifteen or twenty years earlier, and must certainly have been much under the influence of Aeschylus. So far, so good. Then what of the other difficulties, the three different opening scenes and the few passages of late phrasing or technique? One obvious explanation suits both. The three different openings pretty clearly imply that the play was