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Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 1

Peter Bing
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet:
Anecdote, Image and Hypothesis in the
Hellenistic Reception of Euripides
Richard Kannicht Octogenario
Hermippus of Smyrna, the 3
rd
century B. C. biographer and student of Callimachus, wrote
a life of Euripides in which he recounts the following story that goes to the heart of this
poets reception:
1
\y:i o vd Iinno Aiovoiov +ov `iv:\d +dvvov :+d +v +:\:u+v +o
Iuinoou +6\dv+ov +o v\ovoi du+o nqdv+d \d|:v +o qd\+iov
vd +v o\+ov vd +o yd:ov, n: iov+d v:\:odi +o ov+d :v + o
Mouoov i: o dvd0:vdi :niy6qdv+d +o du+o vd Iuinoou ovdoi oio
vd [:voi\o+d+ov v:v\o0d doi oid +o 6\io+d uno [vov i\:o0di uno
yd A0vdov :0ov:+o.
Vita Euripidis p.5 Schwartz I = TrGF 5.1 T A 1 III 4 (Kannicht)
Hermippus says that following Euripides death, Dionysius [the 1st], tyrant of Sicily
[from ca. 405367, and notorious as author of both tragedy and comedy himself], sent
Euripides heirs the sum of one talent and got the poets harp, his writing tablet and his
stylus. After he had seen the instruments, he ordered those who brought them to set
them up as a votive gift in the temple of the Muses and he had an inscription made in his
own and Euripides name. It is for this reason that he [scil. Euripides] was called most
beloved by strangers, because he was particularly loved by foreigners, whereas the Athe-
nians bore him ill-will.
This anecdote, which concerns the transfer of a poets instruments the emblems of his
art from their native setting to a distant land, is very much a product of its age. It recalls
other Hellenistic texts, both in verse and prose, that describe how custody of the poetic
heritage shifts to a new place to a setting in which that legacy is better appreciated, more
lovingly safeguarded. No longer for sale to the highest bidder, the emblems of the poets
craft are sanctified within a shrine of the Muses.
2
A comparable tale was told of how the
1
Section 2 and part of the introduction of this essay appears in Matthaios / Montanari / Rengakos 2011,
199206.
Cf. Bollanse 1999, 98100 and 223.
2
See also the later, more scurrilous tradition at Lucian. adv. indoct. 15 (= TrGF 1, 76 T11), concerning
Dionysius reaction when his tragedies were mocked: ou+o +ovuv nu0:vo o :yy:\+di, +o Ai-
o_\ou nu[ov :i :v:vo yd: ov no\\ onouo v+o6:vo vd du+o o:+o v0:o
o:o0di vd v6+o_o :v +o nu[ou d\\ o :v du+ o :v:v o dv o y:\oi+:d yd:v,
Well, when he discovered that he was being laughed at, he took great pains to procure the wax-tablets on
which Aeschylus used to write, thinking that he too would be inspired and possessed with divine frenzy in
virtue of the tablets. But for all that, what he wrote on those very tablets was far more ridiculous than what
he had written before. (Transl. by A. M. Harmon, Loeb Edition 1960).
2 Peter Bing
Ptolemies unscrupulously acquired from Athens the official Lycurgan copy of the three
great tragedians, the so-called Staatsexemplar; they offered to give the Athenians a de-
posit of fifteen talents if only they could borrow the originals to make copies or so they
said. The Ptolemies, however, gladly forfeited the huge sum so as to keep the prototype.
3
As with the instruments of Euripides in Hermippus tale, these precious literary objects
were deposited in a shrine of the Muses, the Alexandrian Museum of which the great li-
brary likely formed a part. Another example this time a poem, epigram 37 AB of the
Milan Posidippus papyrus similarly traces a poetic objects journey to a new land. It de-
scribes how a lyre, carried by Arions dolphin, was washed ashore in Egypt and de-
posited in the temple of Arsinoe Philadelphus. The poem plausibly reflects Ptolemaic
claims to be the new custodians of the literary heritage, here in particular of the Lesbic
tradition of lyric verse, embodied by Arion.
4
For Hermippus, the fate of Euripides poetic implements his lyre, writing tablet, and
stylus exemplifies this tragedians special popularity beyond his native Athens. Though
unappreciated at home, foreigners adore him; hence he is xenophilotatos. Previous studies
have had nothing to say about this term. Yet it is worth noting how peculiar it is, to-
gether with its underlying concept. The related adjective philoxeinos is, of course, well-
attested already in the Odyssey in the sense of loving strangers, hospitable (6.121,
8.576, 9.176, 13.202), and not infrequent thereafter in poetry (especially Pindar and tra-
gedy) and in prose. But while the actively cordial philoxeinos makes perfect sense within
the norms of ancient Greek hospitality, the passive xenophilos, beloved by strangers, is
a cultural oddity. It is not surprising, therefore, that Hermippus expression, xenophilos,
is a hapax a unique term to designate a unique playwright; it is, moreover, not even rec-
orded in LSJ.
5
Indeed, the word is a pointed and witty inversion of the conventional vir-
tue embodied in the more common philoxeinos. For while philoxeinos reflects the idea-
lized attitude of a host toward any given stranger, xenophilos regards the anomalous
quality of a stranger beloved abroad by every imaginable host even as he is unappreci-
ated in his native land.
In the case of Euripides, that popularity abroad is borne out by various types of evi-
dence. As is well known, papyri show that texts of this tragedian far outnumber those of
Aeschylus and Sophocles, and indeed that he was the most widely read Greek poet after
Homer at least in Greco-Roman Egypt, where most of the papyri were found. But the
same holds true for South Italy, where drama was a favored subject in vase painting, and
where the number of depictions of Euripidean tragedies greatly exceed those of the other
tragedians.
6
Didascalic notices, moreover, though hardly plentiful, nonetheless also con-
firm this general impression. Starting in 386 B. C., when the Athenians added the revival of
3
Gal. comm. in Hipp. Epidem. (CMG V 10,2, 1 p. 79). Cf. Fraser 1972, 325 with n.147.
4
See my treatment of this poem in Bing 2009, 247251.
5
It does occasionally appear as a name.
6
This is true generally, and not just in South Italy, for post-5
th
cent. B. C. vase painting. See Kuch 1978, 196
n. 46, citing Trendall and Webster 1971. Now see especially Taplin 2007, 108219, esp. 109: compared with
Aeschylus and Sophocles, Euripides made a far greater impact on mythological pictures. Surely this must
go hand in hand with his being more frequently performed, and with his making a greater impression on
audiences. For the performance of Euripides in the Greek West, cf. Allan 2001. For Euripides reception
generally, cf. Funke 1965/1966. For the reception of Bacchae in particular, cf. Sauron 2007.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 3
an older tragedy to the standard program of the Greater Dionysia,
7
restagings of Euripides
are especially prominent.
8
Elsewhere as well, such Euripidean revivals were evidently all
the rage. To take just one paradigmatic example, consider the elaborate 3
rd
cent. B. C. in-
scription from Tegea, near its theater (IG V 2, 118 = DID B 11), commemorating the career
of a performer/athlete.
9
The text informs us that this actor, whose name is unfortunately
missing, was also a boxer; he took the prize in the mens category of this sport at the Ptol-
emaia in Alexandria. As this suggests, this guy was probably a bruiser; someone who, with
his boxers physique, was sufficiently imposing to play the great tragic heroes. His
specialty was Euripides, and his far-flung engagements as recorded in the inscription mir-
ror the ubiquitous impact of this tragedian: He triumphed at the Soteria of Delphi and
again at the Heraia of Argos playing Euripides Herakles, at the Greater Dionysia in Athens
with that same dramatists Orestes, and with his Archelaus at both the Argive Heraia and the
Naia of Dodona. Further, he was victorious with Archestratus Antaios at Delphi, and with
Chaeremons Achilles at Dodona. The inscription concludes by telling us that he won a
further 88 prizes at agones skenikoi in a whole range of cities, at Dionysia and at whatever
other festivals those cities held (vd +o vd+d n\:i dyovd ovvivo Aiovoid
vd : +ivd \\d o+d di n\:i yoodv oyoovov+d ov+o). Presumably here
too he often played Euripides, though one may wonder, particularly at the more minor fes-
tivals, whether these were truly full-fledged productions of tragedy and not rather high-
lights, favorite speeches and arias, as Albrecht Dihle in particular has argued.
10
That Euripides was xenophilotatos, then, is no exaggeration. But in what sense was he be-
loved? And by whom? Evidence suggests that this tragedian appealed to very different
audiences, each of whom saw in him their own distinct Euripides. On the one hand, we
have Euripides, the paradigm of avant-garde Hellenistic artistry: The aesthetic terms used
already by Aristophanes in the Frogs to characterize Euripides style as slender, leptos (828,
876, 1108, 1111), or lean, ischnos (941), vis--vis Aeschylus mighty thundering, epibremetas
(814), are precisely those that Callimachus and his followers were to champion.
11
Not sur-
prisingly, then, one important source of Callimachus Aetia Prologue was the choral song
on old age from Euripides Herakles (637700).
12
Similarly for Apollonius, the influence of
Euripides on his Argonautica is well known.
13
On the other hand, we find Euripides the
paradigm of life and inexhaustible font of wisdom. This Euripides is the one whose texts
philosophers constantly cite as an ethical model: thus, according to Diog. Laert. 7,22, Zeno
continually quoted Suppliants 861863 as a behavioral ideal for the young (ouv:_ +:
no::+o +o :n +o Kdndvo Iuinoou o+_ou), and according to that same
source (7,180) Chrysippus incorporated so much of Medea in one of his works that when
someone studying his treatise was asked what he was reading, he replied The Medea of
7
TrGF 1, DID A 1, 201203 = IG II
2
2318 col.8: :n O:oo+ou nd\diov od no+o[v] nd:ood[dv
oi +dy[oioo].
8
Note especially the Euripidean revivals in three consecutive years, 341339 (TrGF 1, DI D A 2a, 23, 1819,
3233), but cf. also for the years post 308 (DI D B 8) and in the 3
rd
century (DI D B 11, 1).
9
On this inscription, see Sifakis 1967, 84. Regarding the inscriptions date and the political circumstances of
the performances it cites, cf. Revermann 1999/2000, 462465.
10
Cf. Dihle 1981, 32. See further his illuminating discussion of Hellenistische Theaterpraxis, pp. 2838.
11
Cf. Snell 1960, 117 for an insightful discussion in his chapter, Aristophanes and Aesthetic Criticism.
12
Cf. Fantuzzi and Hunter 2004, 7374 with bibliography in n.119.
13
Apollonius debt to Euripides is great, and is not limited to the tragedians Medea. Cf. Sansone 2000.
4 Peter Bing
Chrysippus.
14
This Euripides is also the one whose sententiae filled ancient gnomological
collections.
It is this second Euripides, the paradigm of life, who is the focus of my essay. What was it
that set this tragedian apart and made him so beloved? I will try to illuminate his appeal by
looking at three different kinds of Euripides-reception. In a first step, I will consider that
reception as it appears in the anecdotal tradition. Next, I will examine the hypotheses, or
prose plot-summaries, of Euripides plays as a manifestation of his popularity. Finally, I
will look at an example of Euripides-reception in South Italian vase painting.
1.
The anecdotal tradition may suggest one possible quality that lay at the heart of Euripides
popularity: He was able to get under peoples skin, into their guts and heads, in such a way
as virtually to invite life to imitate art, Euripidean art in particular. This is not surprising,
perhaps, given how Hellenistic schoolchildren evidently learned Euripides by rote as part of
their standard curriculum. Callimachus epigram 26 GP (= Anth. Pal. 6,310) humorously
depicts how even a tragic mask of Dionysus gapes in boredom at pupils endless recitation
of the Bacchae in their schoolroom.
15
We get an inkling of how deeply Euripides penetrated
the Hellenistic psyche in a marvelous anecdote from Lucians How to Write History 59,1 =
TrGF 5.1 (10) AAPOMIAA iv d. I quote it in full with D. Kovacs translation (1994):
A|o+di do Auoi6_ou o |doi\:ov+o :n:o:v +i vod, vd\
m\ov, +oio+o nu++:iv v yd +d no+d ndvo: ndv+d dno +
no+ :u0 :ovo vd \ind: + o nu:+ o, n: o +v |ov +o v
dd no\ :v ivov uv, +o o io :niy:v:vo, no\ vd ou+o, \uo:v
+ov nu:+v. : y:\oov o +i n60o n:io+d +d yvod du+ov ndv+: yd :
+dy oodv nd:vvouv vd id|:d :0yyov+o vd yd :|ov 6\io+d o +v
Iuinoou Avooodv :ov ooouv vd +v +o I:oo oiv :v \:i oi:[ :-
odv, vd :o+ [v n\i o_ov dn6v+ov vd \:n+ov +ov |oodov :v:vov
+dy ooov,
o o 0:ov +dvv: vdv0onov Io (F 136, 1),
vd +d \\d :y6\ + ov dvd|oov+ov vd +o+o :n no\, _i o _:iv
vd vo o yd y:v:vov nduo: \ov+d du+o. di+dv o oi oov: +o
+oio+ou nddo_:v A_\do o +dy oo, :uooviov ++:, :oov+o 0ou
:v no\\ o + o \oy o +dy oood du+o +v Avooodv, o nu[di +: dno
+o 0:6+ou +o no\\o vd dvdo+6v+d uo+:ov : +v +dy oodv ndo\i-
o0dv:iv, :n no\ :i\o_ooo + Avoood + v du+ov vd +o
I:oo +i ov + M:ooo +v v6o+ou yvov n:in:+ovou.
They say, my handsome Philo, that during the reign of Lysimachus (305281) a disease
with these symptoms fell upon the inhabitants of Abdera. All the population together
caught a fever, one that was strong and persistent from the very first day. Around the
seventh day a plentiful discharge of blood from the nostrils in some cases, or a profuse
sweat in others, broke up the fever. But it brought their minds around into a laughable
condition. For they were all out of their minds for tragedy and they uttered iambic verse
14
For the importance of Medea in particular to Stoic thought, see Gutzwiller 2004, 356360.
15
On this epigram, see Fantuzzi 2007, 481483. For Euripides in the schools, see Cribiore 2001, 9899.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 5
and shouted it aloud. For the most part they sang individually the Andromeda of Eur-
ipides and they performed in song the speech of Perseus, and the city was full of these sal-
low and emaciated seventh-day tragic actors, reciting Eros, tyrant of gods and men alike
and all the rest at the top of their voices. And this lasted for a long time until winter and
it was a cold one came and stopped their raving. The cause of this, as I think, was pro-
vided by Archelaus, the tragic actor. He enjoyed a high reputation at that time and at the
height of summer, in a fierce heat, he acted the Andromeda for them. The result was that
the majority caught the fever immediately after the theater, and when they recovered later
they slipped back into tragedy, since Andromeda haunted their memories and Perseus
with the Medusa was still flitting about each mans mind.
We have all experienced that particular irritation of having a tune stuck in our heads and not
being able to get it out, have we not? Well, this story takes that experience to a new, path-
ological, level: From summers heat till winters frost, Andromeda haunts, or rather like
an obsessive lover, stalking her beloved season after season literally likes to lurk about
(:i\o_ooo) within these poor citizens of Abdera and cling to their memories. In-
deed, as they recite Eros, tyrant of gods and men alike their symptoms resemble precisely
those of exhausted lovers.
16
Andromeda must have had a particular allure: It was through
reading this play, we recall, that Dionysus in Aristophanes Frogs became consumed with
longing for Euripides! (vv. 5254, 6667), a state which prompts him to journey, Orp-
heus-like, to Hades so as to bring the object of his desire back to the upper world.
17
In any
case, it is not that the disease causes the Abderites to spout Euripides. Rather, the illness
simply taps something that had evidently taken deep root in the psyche of the populace,
sufficiently deep that they retained a detailed recollection of various parts of the tragedy, as
well as of the manner of its performance. Thus, in addition to bellowing regular trimeters
(id|:d :0yyov+o vd yd :|ov), they apparently sang one of Andromedas solo
arias ( Avooodv :ov ooouv), and performed a stichic speech of Perseus as a song (:v
\:i oi:[:odv) this last possibly an example of how in the Hellenistic age parts of tra-
gedy that had originally been spoken were set to music.
18
This kind of adaptation was ap-
parently part and parcel of Archelaus performance at Abdera, and it carried over into the
spectators, who now lived their lives according to a Euripidean play-book.
16
See e. g. Theokr. 14,6.
17
Aristophanes humorously milks the sexual peculiarity of this longing when Heracles tries to figure out the
object of Dionysus desire by enumerating the possibilities (v. 56 ff.): a woman? a boy? a man? The
truth, however, is beyond even Heracles imaginings, notwithstanding his omnivorous sexual appetite:
Dionysus longing is for a dead man (+o +:0vv+o; v.67) a necrophiliac passion that of course
anticipated the Hellenistic ardor for this poet.
18
Cf. Dihle 1981, 31, who points to the early 2
nd
cent. B. C. inscription (Syll.
3
648 B), describing how at Del-
phi the flute-player cum actor, Satyrus of Samos, staged an excerpt from Euripides Bacchae, in which he
played the role of Dionysus as a song to choral and musical accompaniment ( od :+d _oo
Aivuoov vd vi06iod) although die Rolle des Dionysos in jenem Stck besteht nur aus Sprech-
versen. Setting trimeters to music, as Dihle notes, is called n:i 6o:iv +d id|:d (Lucian. salt. 27). See
also Kannichts notes ad Euripides (10) AAPOMIAA iv d. A new example of this phenomenon appears
in the 2nd cent. A. D. musical papyrus of the younger Carcinus Medea (P. Louvre E 10534), published by
Blis 2004, and re-edited by West 2007. West would date the musical setting of the trimeters to Roman
times, because the earliest examples in papyri are likewise Roman. However, he misses that early 2
nd
cent.
B. C. inscription cited by Dihle above (not to speak of our anecdote about the Abderites), which demon-
strates that sung trimeters appear far earlier.
6 Peter Bing
To be sure, the case of the Abderites is extreme. And one might reasonably wonder
whether this anecdote is anything but an amusing cock-and-bull story. After all, fictional
life had long imitated Euripidean art, starting right in the poets lifetime: Aristophanic he-
roes regularly, and hilariously, follow Euripidean play-books and adopt the persona of his
characters to further whatever madcap ends they have in the comic world they inhabit.
Thus in Acharnians, to take just one example, Dikaiopolis begs Euripides to dip into his
tragic wardrobe and lend him the tattered costume and props of Telephus; wearing these,
he can mimic the tragic hero, and thus better persuade his comic audience (vv.393489).
Scenes of comic characters channeling Euripides may well have set the paradigm for tales
such as that about the delirious citizens of Abdera.
Yet given that it was told about the actual city of Abdera, at a particular historical mo-
ment (the reign of Lysimachus), and in connection with a well-known personage (the actor
Archelaus), the tale invites us to imagine such Euripidomania as a real-life phenomenon.
And in fact, the notion that life might follow a Euripidean script was hardly limited to fic-
tion. In his De oratore (3,214), Cicero quotes a speech of Gaius Gracchus. In it, the re-
former and orator appears desperate following the murder in 133 B. C. of his brother Tibe-
rius near the door of the temple of Juppiter Capitolinus, together with 300 Gracchan
supporters, who had been clubbed and stoned to death. Forbidden even to bury his
brother, whose body had been unceremoniously dumped into the Tiber, and wondering
perhaps what avenue lay open to him, Gaius doubtless felt as though all those supports on
which he had previously relied had been knocked out from under him, that he stood now
bereft. At such a moment, he chose to cast his predicament in a series of anguished ques-
tions and disconsolate answers, clearly based on the model of Euripides distraught her-
oine, Medea. That tragic figure had assailed Jason with the questions, vv no +6nodi;
n+:d no nd+o oou,/ ou oo nooood vd n6+dv divv;/ no
+d\dvd I:\i6od; vd\o y v ov / o[div+ ovoi ov nd+d vd+v+dvov
(vv. 502505). Now where can I turn? To my fathers house, / which I betrayed together
with my country when I came with you? / To Pelias wretched daughters? They would
surely give a warm / welcome in their house to me, who killed their father. Cicero cites
Gaius words so as to evoke and extol his poignant delivery. Significantly (in light of the
Euripidean echoes), he compares this with actors use of emotive gesture in the theater:
Quid fuit in Graccho, quem tu melius, Catule, meministi, quod me puero tanto opere fer-
retur? Quo me miser conferam? Quo vertam? In Capitoliumne? At fratris sanguine
madet. An domum? Matremne ut miseram lamentantem videam et abiectam?
19
Quae sic
ab illo esse acta constabat oculis, voce, gestu, inimici ut lacrimas tenere non possent.
Haec ideo dico pluribus, quod genus hoc totum oratores, qui sunt veritatis ipsius actores,
reliquerunt; imitatores autem veritatis, histriones, occupaverunt.
19
It may be that Gracchus was quoting not from Euripides but from Ennius Medea (fr. CIV Jocelyn = ROL
284285), the corresponding lines of which Cicero cites just a bit later, at de orat. 3,217: quo nunc me vor-
tam? Quod iter incipiam ingredi?/ domum paternamne? Anne ad Peliae filias? It is worth noting, however, that
Ennius text comprises only Medeas questions, not the answers. Those are present in Euripides version,
and Gracchus appears to include them as well. Hence (pace Jocelyn ad loc.) it seems plausible that Gracchus
(if not Cicero) based his speech on that of the Euripidean heroine. For Euripides importance as a model for
Ennius, however, and the likely South Italian site of their encounter, cf. the case of Melanippe below.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 7
What was it about Gracchus, whom you, Catulus, remember better than I, that was
talked about so much when I was young? Where can I take refuge in my misery? Where
can I turn? To the Capitol? But that is overflowing with my brothers blood! To home?
So that I can see my mother in misery, grief-stricken and downcast? People generally
agreed that, when delivering these words, he used his eyes, voice, and gestures to such
effect that even his enemies could not contain their tears. I am talking about this in some
detail because the orators, who act in real life, have abandoned this entire field, while the
actors, who are only imitators of reality, have appropriated it.
(James M. May & J. Wisse transl.)
Schanz / Hosius, in their Geschichte der rmischen Literatur (I, 218), echo Cicero in their
praise of this speech, also adopting his clear preference for real-world oratory versus the
theatrical variety. Conditioned by this perspective, when they point out the Euripidean
source, it is to stress how Gaius speech excels its model: We know the prototype for this
dilemma: It comes from Euripides Medea. But oh how the orator has infused his model
with an intellectual power that he draws from life! (welche Gedankenwucht hat der
Redner aus dem Leben diesem Vorbild eingeflt!) From the perspective of Euripides-re-
ception, it seems more relevant to me to stress how the tragedian here provides Gracchus
with a means for coming to grips with the situation, for framing it rhetorically, evoking
sympathy, and even (for those who can hear the echoes of Medea) suggesting that the
speaker is not to be trifled with; he is rather a potent, formidable character even in a mo-
ment of such apparent weakness. Thus at a critical juncture in his career, Gaius Gracchus
chose to adopt the role of a latter-day Medea, transforming the landmarks of Colchis and
Corinth into those familiar to his audience in Rome. Familiarity with his Greek tragic
model would have been second nature to Gaius, given how his mother, Cornelia, the
daughter of Scipio Africanus, had immersed her sons in Greek literature and culture from
earliest childhood. How many in his audience would have been aware of the Euripidean
model? That is hard to say. But he evidently used it to such stupendous effect that even his
enemies could not remain detached, but wept like spectators at a deeply moving tragedy.
I want to mention one further instance of life imitating Euripidean art, perhaps the most
famous one, namely the closing scene of Plutarchs Crassus (33,24). The setting of this nar-
rative is in the palace of king Artabazes of Armenia; the time, just after the Parthian victory
over Crassus at Carrhae in 53 B. C.; a celebration is under way not, as one might expect,
commemorating Crassus defeat, but rather the wedding of the kings sister to the son of
the king of Parthia. Plutarch goes out of his way to stress how even in this remote setting
both the Parthian sovereign and the king of Armenia are versed in Greek literature. Indeed,
Artabazes is described as writing tragedies himself. And what is on the program at this
revel? A performance of Euripides Bacchae.
20
But just as the tragic actor is singing Agaves
scene from the end of the tragedy, a messenger comes to the door, carrying the head of the
triumvir, Crassus: following Carrhae, he had been killed and decapitated by one Poma-
xathres who, as it happens, is present at this revel. When, to great applause, the head is
20
Sauron 2007, 253255 suggests that the hellenophile Artabazes choice to have this play performed at his
sisters wedding was pointedly political: On peut alors supposer que la figure de Dionysos en gnral, et
les Bacchantes d Euripide en particulier, ont pu constituer de la part d Artavazds un puissant levier de
propagande en direction des populations hellnes ou hellnises dans le but de dtacher ces dernires de
linfluence de Rome, o Dionysos ntait certes pas ignor, mais du moins o il inspirait la plus grande
mfiance. (255)
8 Peter Bing
thrown into the midst of the company, the actor playing Agave hands the mask and cos-
tume of Pentheus to one of the chorus members, seizes the severed head and begins singing
her famous lines, We bring to the palace this fresh-cut tendril from the mountains, a
blessed quarry (11691171). This delights all those present. But when the actor goes on
to his dialogue with the chorus Who slew him?, Mine is the honor (1179) ,
Pomaxathres jumps up and grabs the head: It is his right to declaim these lines, he feels,
not the actors. Greatly pleased, the king gives him presents according to ancestral custom,
and also gives a talent to the actor. They say that with such a finale, as in tragedy, the
expedition of Crassus came to an end (:i +oio+v doiv :[oiov +v K6ooou
o+d+ydv on: +dy oodv +:\:u+odi). Here, as Charles Garton has remarked,
illusion and reality have become one, the fictive arrogating [the] real, thereby dissolv-
ing the boundary between theater and life.
21
In a final macabre gesture that seems to under-
line the fusion of these normally discrete spheres of action, the king rewards the perform-
ance of both the actor and his real-life counterpart without distinction. Anecdotes such as
these suggest the extent to which the dramas of Euripides might enter into everyday life,
permeate discourse, and shape perceptions of events.
22
2.
Yet one form of Hellenistic Euripides reception has been thought to suggest a different,
more detached experience of this tragedians work, namely the narrative hypotheses, or
plot-summaries, of Euripides plays. These texts which are to be distinguished from the
learned didascalic hypotheses that circulated under the name of Aristophanes of Byzan-
tium, or from elaborate Byzantine synopses have been found in a wide array of papyri,
ranging in date from the 1
st
through the 3
rd
cent. A. D.
23
For the most part, they exhibit
such formal consistency that they have plausibly been thought to derive from one original
single-authored collection, whose date judging by the style was likely between the 2
nd
21
Cf. Garton 1972, 3839. His discussion in chapter 1 of the appreciative mean, by which an audience bal-
ances its critical detachment against a sympathetic involvement in the theatrical illusion, remains stimulat-
ing and helpful.
22
A similar tale of life imitating Euripidean art and specifically his Bacchae appears in the amusing tale
about the 1
st
cent. A. D. Cynic Demetrius response to an uneducated reader in Lucians adv. indoct. 19,1.
Here the performative and written aspects of Euripidean reception merge into each other with fascinating
results: A+io o o Kuvivo iov :v Kov0 o dndo:u+v +ivd |i|\ov v6\\io+ov dvdyiy-
voovov+d +d I6v_d odi +o Iuinoou, vd+d +ov yy:\ov o [v +ov oiyo:vov +d +o
I:v0o n60 vd +o + Ayd yov dn6od oiondo:v du+o :inov, A:ivv :o+i + o
I:v0: nd[ ondd_0vdi un :o uno oo no\\6vi.Once in Corinth Demetrius the Cynic
found some illiterate person reading aloud from a very handsome volume, the Bacchae of Euripides, I think
it was. He had got to the place where the messenger is relating the destruction of Pentheus by Agave, when
Demetrius snatched the book from him and tore it in two: Better, he exclaimed, that Pentheus should
suffer one rending at my hands than many at yours. (transl. H. W. Fowler & F. G. Fowler). My thanks to
Prof. R. Hschele for drawing my attention to this text.
23
The earliest is P. Mil. Vogl. 2,44. For the most recent, detailed treatment of these hypotheses, cf. van Ros-
sum-Steenbeek 1998. For general character, style and date, the treatment of Zuntz 1955, 134139 remains
essential. See also now Diggle 2005, esp. 6567.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 9
cent. B. C and 1
st
cent. A. D.
24
As the papyri show, this collection was available indepen-
dent of the plays themselves and arranged in alphabetical order according to title. Building
on a comparison made already by Wilamowitz, Gnther Zuntz dubbed it Tales from Eur-
ipides, after Lambs Tales from Shakespeare.
25
Zuntz also had a strong opinion about the
function of this text. With typical bluntness, he asserted that these hypotheses sole pur-
pose is to summarize the action of the play [They] are not designed to introduce the
reader to the plays. They are meant as a substitute for the plays. This is to say, the
Tales of Euripides were retold for the use of readers interested in mythology rather than
in poetry.
26
This assessment, which sees these texts as mythography operating mostly
apart from the plays, has become the dominant view among scholars.
27
Yet I believe the
texts themselves suggest something different. And I want to illustrate that difference by
reference to the hypothesis of the lost play, Melanippe the Wise. We know the text from
various sources. It appears in two closely related versions in works by 12
th
cent. authors,
John Logothetes and Gregory of Corinth, in their commentaries on a rhetorical treatise of
Hermogenes, Concerning the Pursuit of Intensity. Substantial portions have also emerged in
the 2
nd
cent. A. D. Oxyrhynchus papyrus 2455, part of an alphabetic edition of Euripi-
dean hypotheses, whose fragments start with Mu and run, with interruptions, to the end
of the alphabet.
28
Further, fragments of several lines survive in a Leiden papyrus probably
of the 1
st
cent. (P. Lugd. Bat. 25.2).
29
These papyrus texts are nearly identical to the medi-
eval versions.
30
Kannichts text in TrGF 5, which I reproduce, is thus a composite of these
various sources:
24
This is the conclusion of Diggle 2005, 66, who finds that the types of clausulae he [scil. the author of the
hypotheses] favours and his pervasive use of them, allied to the rhetorical nature of his prose and the
rhythms with which he embellishes it, all mark him as an adherent of the Asiatic school of rhetoric, whose
origins are associated with Hegesias of Magnesia in the 3
rd
century.
25
Wilamowitz 1907, 134 n.19 and 170 made the comparison with Lamb. See Zuntz 1955, 135139.
26
Zuntz 1955, 135.
27
It is echoed e. g. by Turner 1968, 101: clearly a work of popularization retelling the story of the plays in
digest form, so that the reader could skip the original if he felt so inclined; Rusten 1982, 358: the nar-
ratives were meant solely to summarize the plot, and contained no critical comments or didascalic
information; they were thus designed for readers who wished to be familiar with Euripidean plots with-
out reading the plays themselves, and belonged not to scholarship but to mythography; or more
recently Kannicht 1997, 68: Tales From Euripides, die die vielfach kanonisch gewordene u0onoid
der euripideischen Stcke in schlichter Prosa so vermitteln, da sie deren Lektre unter stofflicher Rck-
sicht gegebenenfalls ersetzen konnten; tending in this direction, though occasionally contradicting her-
self, see van Rossum-Steenbeek 1998, 159: The narrative hypotheses consist of independent retellings
of tragedies ; they may easily be read without the text of the plays, or even instead of them ; the
author and/or other readers and users of the collection did not have to read or consult the tragedies to
obtain the information they needed for some reason or another. Yet on p.161, she says Most of our
subliterary papyri seem to have helped the readers to acquire information on or form a picture of the
literature they were reading or about to read. These papyrus texts have an auxiliary or introductory
character.
28
Editio princeps by Turner 1962.
29
Editio princeps by Daniel 1991, 34. Cf. Luppe 1991.
30
As Luppe 1991, 15 has stressed, soweit der Oxyrhynchus-Papyrus erhalten ist, hat er gezeigt, dass die mit-
telalterliche berlieferung fast wrtlich den ursprnglichen Text bewahrt hat.
10 Peter Bing
(TrGF 5.1, (44) i Kannicht)
M:[\dvnn :o, [ d_
Z: o.[. . . .
o un0:oi
I\\vo +o Aio Ao\o +:vvo0: 4
:v v Iuuov :yvvo: K0d vd
`d\ovd vd `ouov, :v o + X:o-
vo 0uyd+o Jnn v6\\:i oidou-
odv M:\dvnnv. du+o v ov vov 8
noiod :n :vidu+ov dn\0: uy6,
+v o M:\dvnnv Ioo:iov oioov
ndoov yvuov :noo:v. o oid +v noo-
oovdv + +o nd+o ndouod +o y:v- 12
v0v+d :i +v |oo+doiv oov: +i
+ooi 0:vdi vd+d +v :v+o\v +o vd-
+don:dv+o. uno o +v v60ooov +o
ouv6o+ou +d | +iv +ov |ouv\ov 16
u\d++:vd v uno +o +dou, 0-
\d:vd o uno i +ov |oov iov+:,
o |ouy:v +d+d + o |doi\: noo-
v:yvdv. o o + +o nd+o I\\vo yvo- 20
n:io0: o\ovdu+ov +d | v-
vd M:\dvnn + 0uyd+ noo+d[:v
:v+doi du+d vooodi. o vd +ov
voov du+o :n0v: vd \yov :i 24
ndd+oiv :[0v: i\+iov.
Melanippe the Wise, whose first line is
Zeus [
The plot is this:
Aeolus was begotten by Zeus son Hellen. By Eurydice he fathered Cretheus, Salmoneus
and Sisyphus, and by Cheirons daughter Hippe the extraordinarily beautiful Melanippe.
Now after committing a murder, he himself went into exile for a year, and Melanippe was
impregnated by Poseidon with twin sons. Anticipating her fathers return she gave the in-
fants when she had borne them to her nurse to place in the ox-stable, in accordance with
their fathers instruction. Upon the rulers homecoming, some of the ox-herds saw the in-
fants being guarded by the bull and suckled by one of the cows. Taking them to be cow-
born monsters, they brought them to the king who, following his father Hellens opinion,
decided to burn up the infants and instructed his daughter Melanippe to furnish them
with funeral apparel. Melanippe put the apparel on them, and also interceded for them
with an ambitious speech.
First of all, it is worth saying again that, as P. Oxy. 2455 makes clear, this text was part of an
alphabetic collection of Euripidean hypotheses, and that hypotheses preserved in other pa-
pyri point to the same sort of collection. Thus, although scholars starting with Wilamowitz
have noted the sometimes verbatim similarity between parts of these hypotheses and more
general works of mythography such as the Library of Ps.-Apollodorus or Hyginus Fabu-
lae,
31
and have argued from this that the hypotheses served a similarly independent mytho-
31
See Wilamowitz 1875, 183184, Zuntz 1955, 136, and Rusten 1982, 357 n. 2.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 11
graphic function, it is noteworthy that our collection was not made to form a coherent
mythological narrative, whether organized genealogically and chronologically like Ps.-
Apollodorus, or thematically like Hyginus or Parthenius Peri ertikn pathematn. Rather,
the hypotheses raison dtre are the tragedies of Euripides: They appear together in the col-
lection for no other reason than that they refer to his works. Their relatively large number
in the papyri vis--vis synopses of the other tragedians suggests the popularity of Eur-
ipides not of the prose hypothesis as independent genre.
Further, E. G. Turner (1968, 101102) noted how the alphabetic organization of the
hypotheses clearly looks back to a complete and [alphabetically] ordered edition of Eur-
ipides . Each hypothesis, moreover, is introduced as in the case of our Melanippe the
Wise by title and opening verse, terms which are themselves derived from a definitive
edition or catalogue This is how works were entered in Callimachus Pinakes. That is to
say, the collection of hypotheses was keyed to a standard text of Euripides, and designed so
as to facilitate its use in conjunction with such a text. What, after all, would be the point of
including a dramas first line if not to allow readers to find the scroll containing, for
example, Melanippe the Wise, when they look for it in the book-bucket of his tragedies with
titles in Mu? Clearly, the hypothesis leads to the text.
In addition, as Zuntz (1955, 137) points out, John Logothetes probably found this hy-
pothesis, and that to the Sthenoboia, in an earlier source that had extracted them from a
complete edition of Euripides, for he was able to add to the arguments quotations from
each of these plays. In other words, that source had linked the hypothesis to the play, pre-
cisely as the hypothesis itself invites its readers to do. A concrete link to the play may also
be apparent when, in line 24 of the hypothesis, Gregory of Corinth adds to the words vd
\yov the article +v, so as to produce vd +ov \yov. Kannicht rightly glosses this
change (ad loc.) as meaning illam orationem, that is, that well-known \yo. And he
adds in a recent letter (9/20/08), a hint at the fame of Melanippes speech?
That seems to be suggested, too, in the further qualification that \yo receives here. Al-
though the hypotheses certainly omit elements that are present in the tragedies, or add
others that help fill in the background, they often highlight particular moments in the
drama. In the case of Melanippe, we observe how at the critical point when she has already
dressed her children in funeral garb in preparation for their fiery death, the hypothesis tells
us she delivered an ambitious speech, \yo i\+io, as an appeal (l.25). As van Ros-
sum-Steenbeek (1998, 12) notes, the hypotheses contain minimum employment of adjec-
tives. Hence, the use of the evaluative i\+io here is striking. What is its function in
this text? I would say that it refers readers to Euripides, giving them a gentle nudge as
though to suggest Go look for yourself.
One cannot unproblematically compare these hypotheses to Lambs Tales from Shakes-
peare.
32
Yet when Lamb writes of his hope that what these Tales shall have been to the
young readers, that and much more it is the writers wish that the true Plays of Shakespeare
may prove to them in older years, one cannot help recalling that several papyri with Eur-
32
The early 19
th
cent. milieu conditions that works expectation that its Tales will serve the education of very
young children, and young ladies in particular, because boys being generally permitted the use of their
fathers libraries at a much earlier age than girls are, they frequently have the best scenes of Shakespeare by
heart, before their sisters are permitted to look into this manly book (Preface, Everymans Library edi-
tion, New York 1906).
12 Peter Bing
ipidean hypotheses were evidently written as school exercises.
33
Moreover, Plutarch attests
that in their education, children did not go straight to poetry; first, they were given a sum-
mary noi+ivd uno0o:i, as he calls them in his treatise on How a Young Man Should
Study Poetry (aud. poet. 14d).
34
Inasmuch, then, as they help introduce the reader to a given
play or facilitate his experience thereof, these texts must be seen as feeding ultimately into
the publics avid consumption and keen enjoyment of Euripidean tragedy. In this sense,
hypotheses such as that for Melanippe the Wise are one more indicator of Euripides status
as xenophilotatos in the Hellenistic Age.
3.
I want to close with another manifestation of Euripides-reception which, like the hypo-
theses, is at a remove from the tragedies themselves, and raises similarly thorny questions
about its function and relation to the plays. I am referring to the reflections of Euripidean
tragedy in South Italian vase painting. The popularity of Athenian tragedy in general was
so great that already by the mid 5th cent., it had spread to other parts of the Greek world,
especially to Sicily and South Italy. Greek colonies of South Italy became avid consumers
of Athenian drama.
35
During this time, Athenian potters and painters appear to have mi-
grated to these regions, setting up local workshops from which the several regional wares
would develop in the fourth century. Taras became the hub of Apulian vase production,
where artists and patrons favored monumental vessels decorated with elaborate scenes
from Greek mythology, often inspired by Greek tragedy. The population of Taras was also
known for being crazy about theater.
36
In his Life of Pyrrhus (16,12) Plutarch tells of how
the Tarentines, threatened by the encroaching power of Rome, invited Pyrrhus to be their
general, yet were themselves incapable of taking arms because they were addicted to their
pleasures. In desperation, Pyrrhus agent suspended all festivals, all revels, shut the gym-
nasia and even the theater (Zon. 8,2), so that he could levy the necessary troops. Even so,
as other sources add (Dion. Hal. ant 19,4, Cass. Dio. fr. 39,35), when the Roman fleet
33
See Cribiore 1996, 192, 301. Cf. van Rossum-Steenbeek 1998, 31.
34
Thus Marrou 1956, 165. Note, however, van Rossum-Steenbeeks caution about what precisely Plutarch
might have meant by noi+ivd uno0o:i, and whether these might refer to verse-hypotheses, 1998, 73
n. 50.
35
No doubt, as Allan 2001, 6970 has stressed, the crucial factor in Megale Hellas was theatres role in
affirming Greek identity. Patrons like Hieron in the west (and Archelaus in the north) recognized and
exploited both the panhellenic appeal of tragedy and its potential as a vehicle of Hellenization If we ask
what made tragedy in particular such a suitable medium for the maintenance of Hellenism, the crucial fac-
tor, I would suggest, was its status in the classical period as a public performance art (as opposed to a private
readers text), which made the experience of tragedy an essentially communal activity and therefore one
ideally suited to the creation and confirmation of a shared cultural and ethnic identity. For Hellenization
as one motivating factor particularly in the Macedonian reception/appropriation of Euripides, cf. Rever-
mann 1999/2000, 456458. A further factor influencing how Macedon and in its wake the Ptolemies
eagerly made Euripides one of their own (a Macedonian, like them) was his sheer cultural prestige he was
a valuable asset to be claimed in the rivalrous literary politics of the Hellenistic Age, as Hanink 2008 has
shown.
36
On drama and vase painting in South Italy generally, cf. Taplin 1993, 1320 and Taplin 2007.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 13
sailed into the harbor of Taras in 282 B. C., they met no resistance because the entire popu-
lation was in the theater, absorbed in a performance.
A large volute krater (over 80cm tall) from this theater-crazy Tarentine milieu was ac-
quired by the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University in 1994 (accession no.
1994.1).
37
Belonging to the later phase of Apulian painting that flourished in the last quarter
of the fourth cent. B. C., it was painted by an anonymous artist of great talent, whom we
call the Underworld Painter, after the subject he depicted on his famous volute krater in
Munich. We recognize his work by his use of elaborate pattern, rich detail, and color, as
well as by the range of emotion he gives his characters. His mythological representations
are particularly intricate and, in the case of this krater, give us the only surviving pictorial
representation of Euripides Melanippe the Wise.
Let us have a closer look at this vase:
The Underworld painter divided his main scene into two registers. Above, the gods as-
semble on the rocky landscape of Mt. Olympus to watch as though from the theologeion
in a theater the human tragedy unfold below.
38
The relevance of some of the gods is not
37
This section draws on material developed together with my colleague, Bonna Wescoat, for an earlier pres-
entation on this vase at the Carlos Museum. The vase is discussed now in Taplin 2007, 68, pp. 193196.
38
The comparison with the theologeion is made by Green 1999, 43.
14 Peter Bing
immediately apparent, but the presence of Poseidon, Melanippes lover and father of her
twin sons, is striking. He sits at the far right, trident in hand, conversing with Aphrodite
and Eros, deities of obvious symbolic importance for the action of the play.
39
In the drama depicted above, we see a cast of characters that overlaps remarkably with
those mentioned in the hypothesis to the play. We recognize them with ease, as their names
are carefully inscribed beside each one, virtually constituting a list of the dramatis personae.
We see, moreover, that the characters are in the midst of precisely that critical scene de-
scribed in the hypothesis: In the center, an old man, dressed and labeled as a herdsman
(|o+), arrives from the country signaled by the tree , probably from the cattle-yard
(|oo+doi) mentioned in the hypothesis, holding a pair of twin infants wrapped in an
animal skin tied to the end of a staff. Gazing at the twins, his eyebrows downcast in an ex-
pression possibly of pity or anxiety, he presents them to a hooded, grizzled old man. This,
we learn from the label, is Hellen, the elder statesman of the family. Tightly gripping his hi-
mation, he leans forward on his staff with outstretched arm, looking solely at the herdsman
and past the twins. His forward-pointing arm may suggest that he is casting the herdsman
out along with his precious baggage, a gesture visually equivalent to his brutal advice in the
hypothesis when he tells his son to have the babies burned. Behind Hellen, an old, white-
haired woman called +o, nurse, supports a young woman who raises her hand to her
chest and looks on in obvious distress. She is named Melanippe, and she stands (appropri-
ately enough) immediately below her lover and father of her children, the god Poseidon in
the upper register. To the right of the presentation scene stands a mature man of royal bear-
ing, holding a scepter crowned with a bird. He is labeled Aeolus. Behind him, a male
youth, named Kretheus, crowns a high-stepping mare, a likely reference to Hippe, mother
of Melanippe. Pollux mentions a theatrical mask for Hippe, suggesting that she appeared in
the play, perhaps as a deus ex machina at the end so as to achieve a satisfactory resolution.
While the depiction is quite close to Euripides plot as we know it from the hypothesis,
not all the characters could have appeared together in a given scene. Nor are they shown
wearing masks. It may be that the central figures of the herdsman and Hellen hint at a the-
atrical origin in their costume, with the undertunic that covers their arms to the wrist,
40
or
with the herdsmans particularly splendid boots,
41
yet other characters do not. The
painting is thus not a snapshot of a single moment of performance, and it does not insist on
its own theatricality. As Oliver Taplin has emphasized, tragedy typically appears, as here,
at a remove from performance in South Italian vase painting a sharp contrast with depic-
tions of comedy, where theatricality is explicit and specific.
42
What we have, then, is a re-
flection of a decisive moment in the play, which at the same time includes other characters
from other scenes. These appear to have been telescoped in a kind of literal synopsis, that is,
a scene where everything is seen together. For from the presence of Poseidon in the reg-
ister above, to that of Melanippes mother Hippe below, the picture seems to allude to the
whole arc of the narrative without, of course, being in any way a scene-by-scene repre-
sentation. In this sense, it is again remarkably similar to the hypothesis.
39
What, one wonders, is the meaning of the dappled fawn lying on the ground between the gods, attentive to
their conversation? Might the play ultimately have involved a sacrificial substitute for the twins, as with
Euripides Iphigeneia?
40
Thus Green 1999, 42.
41
Thus Taplin 2007, 193. These likely reflect the tragic buskin (kothurnos), cf. p. 38.
42
Taplin 1993, 2129 and 2007, 3537. See also Gutzwiller 2004, 349.
Afterlives of a Tragic Poet 15
Was its purpose similar as well? In my opinion, it served an analogous function, namely
to provide an overview of cast and plot and even highlight a particularly memorable
scene for someone interested in Euripides play. Perhaps our krater was used as an actual
mixing vessel, but its high artistic quality suggests that it was mainly a display-piece, its
chief function communication. Did it decorate its owners home, then? That is possible.
Like most Apulian vases, however, it probably ended up in a tomb. Indeed, the back of the
Melanippe krater contains a standard funerary scene set around a stele, decorated with fil-
lets, on either side of which a young man and a young woman bring offerings for the tomb.
This depiction may suggest that the krater had a funerary purpose from the start. Why,
then, would someone choose a depiction of a Euripidean tragedy, in particular of Melanippe
the Wise, to display in such a crucial setting?
One aspect that might have resonated in these circumstances was the kraters genealogi-
cal focus, its concern with a familys survival across generations: the depiction of four gen-
erations (Hellen Aeolus Melanippe her infant twins) in a single scene is unusual and
striking.
43
A further factor may be that the Melanippe myth itself had strong regional sig-
nificance: We know that Euripides wrote another tragedy on this theme, called Melanippe
Desmotis, i. e. Melanippe the Captive. Though the details of the plot are unclear, Melanippe
and her babies were evidently transported from their native Thessaly to Metapontum, near
Taras, where the heroine languished in prison, while her children were reared by the local
queen, in ignorance of their true parentage until a final anagnorisis.
44
Thus we find an intri-
guing link between Melanippe and the region from which our krater comes one that, sig-
nificantly, ties the colonial setting to the heritage of the Greek mainland. Indeed, scholars
have suggested a connection between Euripides use of this Metapontine legend and Athe-
nian strategic interest in the area in his time; Collard, Crop, and Lee (1995, 245) go so far
as to propose that Euripides could have envisaged a production there. That local signifi-
cance of the saga may have led Ennius (ca. 239169 B. C.), a native of Messapian Rudiae,
near Taras, to choose Melanippe as the theme for one of his tragedies (most of which, we
do well to note, take their subjects from Euripides).
45
Our painter, then, or his patron, may have found a special relevance in this particular
saga. More generally, as J. R. Green (1999, 54) has noted, for a theater-loving people like
the Tarantines, depictions of great moments from tragedy may have become points of ref-
erence in their lives , not least at key periods of emotional crisis such as the death of a
member of a family.
The vase resembles the hypothesis inasmuch as it provides a selective and summary re-
flection of the play. Like the hypothesis, moreover, it offers a list of characters and displays
highlights. Yet it differs from the hypothesis in that its orientation is retrospective rather
than prospective. It serves, in other words to remind rather than introduce. For without
some prior familiarity with the plot, a viewer would be hard put to interpret the scene.
46
A
43
This aspect has been stressed by Nozawa 2005, 3338.
44
For the plot, cf. Collard / Cropp / Lee 1995, 242247.
45
Allan 2001 suggests a similar local significance for two depictions of the tale of the Heraclidae found on late
5
th
cent. vases from Heraclea (modern Policoro, not far south from Metapontum), and likely inspired by
Euripides play of that name. Allan, followed by Taplin 2007, 129, proposes that these vases plausibly point
to a performance of the play in Heraclea already in the 5
th
cent. B. C.
46
Similarly Gutzwiller 2004, 341: effective communication is dependent on audience recall of the other
medium. The painted image must somehow display or encode discursive meaning in order to convey the
16 Peter Bing
precious souvenir, then, which its owner wanted to have with him even in death. At the
close of the 5
th
cent., Aristophanes Dionysus had felt an overwhelming urge to bring Eur-
ipides back up from Hades to the world of the living. Now the terms are reversed, and the
proud owner of this krater evidently wanted to take his Euripides with him to the grave.
There, too, Euripides was xenophilotatos, a most welcome guest, beloved by strangers.
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