Aeschylus, III, Fragments (Loeb Classical Library)

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9780674996298: Aeschylus, III, Fragments (Loeb Classical Library)
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Aeschylus (ca. 525-456 BCE), the dramatist who made Athenian tragedy one of the world's great art forms, witnessed the establishment of democracy at Athens and fought against the Persians at Marathon. He won the tragic prize at the City Dionysia thirteen times between ca. 499 and 458, and in his later years was probably victorious almost every time he put on a production, though Sophocles beat him at least once.Of his total of about eighty plays, seven survive complete. The first volume of this new "Loeb Classical Library" edition offers fresh texts and translations by Alan H. Sommerstein of Persians, the only surviving Greek historical drama; "Seven against Thebes", from a trilogy on the conflict between Oedipus' sons; Suppliants, on the successful appeal by the daughters of Danaus to the king and people of Argos for protection against a forced marriage; and Prometheus Bound (of disputed authenticity), on the terrible punishment of Prometheus for giving fire to humans in defiance of Zeus.The second volume contains the complete "Oresteia" trilogy, comprising "Agamemnon", "Libation-Bearers", and "Eumenides", presenting the murder of Agamemnon by his wife, the revenge taken by their son Orestes, the pursuit of Orestes by his mother's avenging Furies, his trial and acquittal at Athens, Athena's pacification of the Furies, and the blessings they both invoke upon the Athenian people. The third volume of this edition collects all the major fragments of lost Aeschylean plays.

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Review:

The Loeb Classical Library, now almost a hundred years old and constituting over [500] volumes, has proven itself (like its French counterpart, the Budé series) an invaluable tool for scholars and students from all over the academic landscape. With Greek or Latin text on the left and English translation on the facing page, it provides quick, consistent and user-friendly access to a wide range of authors, and does not discriminate between those who want to read in the original and those who just want an English version...Alan Sommerstein's three-volume Aeschylus...is in many respects the best critical edition of this playwright available in any format. Sommerstein's authority as a linguist and expert in Aeschylean drama is second to none, and he has provided an up-to-date and carefully constituted text for the seven surviving plays, plus all of the fragmentary remains that are at least one line long. Important manuscript variants and modern conjectures are scrupulously recorded (making the page a little cluttered, but clear enough); and in addition he has provided copious notes, fuller and more numerous than is normal for a Loeb, on matters of myth, geography, history and interpretation. Particularly welcome is the well-documented and clearly presented volume of Fragments--for of course the seven plays we happen to possess are by no means all that Aeschylus wrote, and not necessarily even the seven best: the trilogies dealing with Achilles at Troy, or with Pentheus and the Bacchants, for example, seem to have been especially daring and influential. The facing English translation is a trustworthy guide for all who want help in figuring out wjat Aeschylus (probably) wrote and meant.-- (02/12/2010)

About the Author:

Alan H. Sommerstein is Professor of Greek, University of Nottingham.

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