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The Rhesus of Euripides   By: (480? BC - 406 BC)

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RHESUS

THE ATHENIAN DRAMA FOR ENGLISH READERS

A Series of Verse Translations of the Greek Dramatic Poets, with Commentaries and Explanatory Notes.

Crown 8vo, cloth, gilt top, 7s. 6d. each net. Each Volume Illustrated from ancient Sculptures and Vase Painting.

AESCHYLUS: The Orestean Trilogy. By Prof. G. C. Warr. With an Introduction on The Rise of Greek Tragedy , and 13 Illustrations.

SOPHOCLES: OEdipus Tyrannus and Coloneus , and Antigone . By Prof. J. S. Phillimore. With an Introduction on Sophocles and his Treatment of Tragedy , and 16 Illustrations.

EURIPIDES: Hippolytus ; Bacchae ; Aristophanes' 'Frogs.' By Prof. Gilbert Murray. With an Appendix on The Lost Tragedies of Euripides , and an Introduction on The Significance of the Bacchae in Athenian History , and 12 Illustrations. [ Fifth Edition.

ALSO UNIFORM WITH THE ABOVE

THE HOMERIC HYMNS. A New Prose Rendering by Andrew Lang, with Essays Critical and Explanatory, and 14 Illustrations.

THE PLAYS OF EURIPIDES

Translated into English Rhyming Verse, with Explanatory Notes, by Prof. Gilbert Murray.

Hippolytus. 14th Thousand. } Bacchae. 10th Thousand. } Paper Covers, 1s. The Trojan Women. 11th Th. } each net. Electra. 11th Thousand. } Medea. 8th Thousand. } Also crown 8vo, Iphigenia in Tauris. 6th Th. } cloth, gilt top, The Frogs of Aristophanes. 10th Thousand. } 2s. each net. OEdipus Tyrannus of Sophocles. 12th Thousand. }

[Illustration]

THE RHESUS OF EURIPIDES

TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH RHYMING VERSE WITH EXPLANATORY NOTES BY

GILBERT MURRAY LL.D., D. Litt., F.B.A. REGIUS PROFESSOR OF GREEK IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

LONDON GEORGE ALLEN & COMPANY, LTD. 44 & 45 RATHBONE PLACE 1913

[All rights reserved]

Printed by Ballantyne, Hanson & Co. At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh

INTRODUCTION

This short play needs rather a long introduction. It has had the bad fortune to become a literary problem, and almost all its few readers are so much occupied with the question whether it can be the work of Euripides and if not his, whose? that they seldom allow themselves to take it on its merits as a stirring and adventurous piece, not particularly profound or subtle, but always full of movement and life and possessing at least one or two scenes of great and penetrating beauty.

The outlines of the Rhesus Question are these. The Rhesus appears in the MSS. of Euripides; we know from the Athenian Didascaliae, or Records of Performances, that Euripides wrote a play of the name; some passages in it are quoted by early Alexandrian writers as from "the Rhesus of Euripides;" no passage is quoted under any other name. This seems about as strong as external evidence need be. Yet the ancient introduction to the play mentions that "some think the play spurious," and expresses the odd opinion that "it suggests rather the Sophoclean style." Further, it tells us that, besides the present opening scene, there were extant two different prologues, one of which was "quite prosy and perhaps concocted by the actors." This seems to show that the Alexandrian scholars who tried for the first time to collect the complete works of Euripides, some two centuries after his death, found this play current as "Euripides' Rhesus ," but that it was credited with three different openings and that its style was felt to be somehow peculiar... Continue reading book >>




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