Aeschylus “The Oresteia”

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Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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9 Responses

  1. Avatar Kataplexis says:

    We don’t actually know whether women were allowed to attend the theater or not. Still a topic of debate. Some anecdotes suggest they did. Goldhill has an article on it as well as some others.Report

  2. Avatar Matthew Schmitz says:

    Thanks for the notes on translations. I’ll keep an eye out for the Hughes.Report

  3. Avatar dpinkert says:

    “But, in a world in which the cruel and oppressive often lived quite well, the bloodline curse gives a sense of retributive justice; eventually, one of your line, if not many of them, will pay for your misdeeds.”

    Doesn’t a lot here depend upon then-contemporary views of the afterlife? If I’m right about that, and if the Greeks did not consider judgment of the individual to be one of the key functions of the afterlife, then it was natural that the sins of the “fathers” should be assumed to be visited upon the “sons.”

    Incidentally, the Hebrew tradition of that time with respect to this issue is on all fours with the classical Greek tradition.Report

    • Avatar Rufus in reply to dpinkert says:

      That’s sort of how I understand it as well, although I’ve heard some really shrewd disagreements here about that. There’s a point in the Odyssey in which Achilles, now in Hades, says that being a great man in the afterlife is still worse than being the lowliest peasant in the world of the living. My understanding is that being dead sort of sucks for everyone. So, the bloodline curse at least visits justice upon the family during life, even if the perpetrator makes out okay in life and isn’t especially “damned” after life. Indeed, I think this is in the early books of the Bible, in which Yahweh often threatens to curse several generations of descendants of a wrongdoer. After the development of the final judgment, it does seem pretty redundant however.Report

      • Avatar dpinkert in reply to Rufus says:

        Yahweh reaches down to inflict punishment “only” to the third generation (that might have been considered humane back in those days). I think it’s only with intertestamental Judaism that we see the full flowering of the theory of the final judgment — by that point, Sheol (read Hades) is long gone from the working Hebrew theology.Report

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