Thursday, July 24, 2014

TFBT: Random Notes on The Eumenides

The phraseology of Orestes prayer summoning Athena around 290 sounds odd.  He calls to her regardless of whether she is in 

  • Northwest  Africa or the River Triton
  • action or rest,
  • with her near and dear ones or her enemies the giants. 
    The last two bullets represent a dichotomy: action/rest, friends/enemies.  But the first bullet doesn’t seem too.  Athena is Africa is mostly commonly associated with the long dead Lake Tritonis and its outflow, which are in Northwest Africa.  So did Aeschylus nod here, I’m being too picky or was there another River Triton on the southeast corner of the world?   According to Wikipedia; a River Triton ran into Lake Copais, west of Thebes. Is this the one that Aeschylus meant? If so the dichotomy could be explained as far/near.   Does that make more sense?  Of course, she was nowhere near either place.  She was at Troy (400)
    Some Great Quotes

  • “Erinyes; We drive murderers from their homes. Athena; And where is the end of exile for a killer? Erinyes;  Where happiness is not a custom”
  • “We are many, but we shall speak briefly.” The Eumenides 585
  • We undertake to ruin any house, where domestic violence  kills someone” The Eumenides; 355
  •  “We are awesome and hard for mortals to appease...we stand apart from the gods” The Eumenides; 385
  •  “For while this council-hall is filling, it is good to be silent,” The Eumenides 570  
    What’s with the comparison to Ixion?  Both Athena and Apollo compare Orestes to the father of centaurs (440 & 717) “Then was my father (Zeus) mistaken in his decisions about Ixion’s supplication in the first case of bloodshed?”  To answer the question; first Ixion did NOT kill his mother; he killed his father-in-law, so not a very good comparison.  That said, immediately after Zeus took Ixion into his house and purified him, the murderer violated the laws of hospitality by attempting to rape Hera.  So yeah I think we can confirm that Zeus made a bad decision in Ixion’s case. 
    Lots of talk about balance

  • Do not approve a lawless life nor a life of tyrannical repression. The god grants power to all in the middle rank, (530)” 
  •  Neither anarchy nor tyranny 697 - I advise the citizens of my city
  • Rejoice, rejoice in the wealth allotted to you by fate. Rejoice, people of the city, as you sit near to Zeus; you are the dear ones of the dear maiden, (1000) you who learn balance in the fullness of time. The father stands in awe of you,”

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