Teaching Staff: To be announced
Course Code: ΑΕΦ205
Course Type: Compulsory Elective
Course Level: Undergraduate
Course Language: Greek
Semester: 5th΄

Short Description:

Based on Euripides’ Medea we will trace the historical circumstances of the ancient Greek drama and the relation between tragedy and society in the historical milieu of the 5th c. BCE. Political and religious institutions of the Athenian society during the classical period, such as marriage, hospitality, supplication, the class of metics and the constituents of democracy, will be investigated by studying Medea and other tragedies. In particular, we will discuss either in translation or in Greek sections from the Suppliants and the Eumenides by Aeschulys, Philoctetes by Sophocles, and the Trojan Women by Euripides in order to trace the interconnection between the polis and the oikos, the development of democracy and the fall of aristocracy, the influence of the Peloponnesian War on the literary production of the period, the criticism of the Athenian hegemony, the gender role of women especially in the realm of marriage, and the literary representation of the horror of war. The course will focus on the meticulous study of the content and the diction of Medea but also on the analysis of the tragedies mentioned above with the result that the historical, social and political dimensions of the ancient Greek drama will be revealed.  

Objectives - Learning Outcomes:

The aim of this course is to familiarize the students with the diction and the content of Medea in order that they will be able to analyze and interpret certain sections. The students will be able to discern the institutions of the private and public life in ancient Athens as they are presented in the tragedies, which we will study. The lectures will employ historical and archaeological sources that will allow the students to develop their critical thinking and to enrich their background in history. They will also be able to understand the historical and social aspects of the ancient Greek tragedies in the classical period, contemplating on the objectivity of these sources.  


Week #1 Historical Review
Political Institutions and the Establishment of Democracy
Greek Drama as an institution of democracy
The meaning of oikos – The oikos of the Atreides
Sources: Eumenides by Aeschylus
(Overview- from translation)

Week #2 The establishment of the Athenian empire
The ideal city
The institution of supplication
Sources:Suppliants by Aeschylus (sections from the original and from translation)

Week #3 The Athenian imperialism.
War and the crisis of ideas
The terror of war on stage
Sources:Trojan Women by Euripides (sections from the original and from translation)

Week #4 The Athenian hegemony and its crisis
Education in ancient Athens
Sources: Philoctetes by Sophocles
(sections from the original and from translation)

Week #5 Women in Ancient Athens
Sources: Μήδεια
1-130  (no 131-213)

Week #6 Cult life
Religious practice
Gods in ancient Greek tragedy Oath giving
The institution of exile
Sources: Μήδεια
214-266 Medea’s Monologue
267-408 Medea-Creon

Week #7  The institution of marriage
Sources: Μήδεια
446-518 Jason
519-625 (summary / from translation)

Week #8 Foreigners in Athens
The institution of metics
The concept of asylum
Sources: Μήδεια
663-730 Medea-Aegeus

Week #9  Ancient Medicine
Sources: Μήδεια
731-810 Medea-Aegeus
(no 810-865)

Week #10  Athenian Law
The law of Pericles on Athenian citizenship
Law on homicide
Sources: Μήδεια Ευριπίδη
866-975 Medea-Jason
(no 976-1002)

Week #11 The myth of Medea in various versions. Public and private crime
Sources: Μήδεια Ευριπίδη
1002-1018 Medea-Pedagogue
1019-1080 Medea’s monologue
1080-1121 from translation (Chorus-Medea)

Week #12  Reciprocity, Punishment, Revenge
The unwritten laws of the Athenian society
Sources: Μήδεια Ευριπίδη
1136-1230 Messenger (from translation/ summary)

Week #13 Review
Sources: Μήδεια Ευριπίδη 1325-1415


Suggested Bibliography:


  • Meier, C. 1997. Η πολιτική τέχνη της αρχαίας ελληνικής τραγωδίας (μτφρ. Μανακίδου Φ.). Εκδόσεις Καρδαμίτσα. (ειδικά σελ.19-89, 112-170, 240-254)
  • Mastronarde, D.J. 2003. Ευριπίδου Μήδεια (μτφρ. Δ. Γιωτοπούλου, επιμ. Μ. Χριστόπουλος). Εκδόσεις Πατάκη [especially pages 14-94,118-127 from the commentary at the end of the book]

Added teaching material on e-class (translations of the following tragedies)

  • Suppliants by Aeschylus
  • Eumenides by Aeschylus
  • Trojan Woman by Euripides
  • Philoctetes by Sophocles

Monographs–Collective Volumes

Αθανασάκη Λ., Νικολαΐδης Τ., Σπαθάρας Δ. (επιμ.). Ιδιωτικός βίος και δημόσιος λόγος   στην ελληνική αρχαιότητα και στον διαφωτισμό :. μελέτες αφιερωμένες στην        Ιωάννα Γιατρομανωλάκη.  Ηράκλειο 2014.

Bakewell, W. G. Aeschylus's Suppliant Women: The Tragedy of Immigration. Wisconsin Studies in Classics.  Madison 2013.

Belfiore, E. Murder among friends. Violation of Philia in Greek Tragedy. Oxford 2000.

Croally, N. Euripidean Polemic. The Trojan Women and the function of tragedy,   Cambridge 1994.

Easterling, P.E. (επιμ.), Οδηγός για την αρχαία ελληνική τραγωδία (Παν/κές Εκδ.             Κρήτης), Ηράκλειο 2010.

Gregory, J. (επιμ.), Όψεις και θέματα της αρχαίας ελληνικής τραγωδίας (εκδ.        Παπαδήμα), Αθήνα 2010.

Lesky, A., Η τραγική ποίηση των αρχαίων Ελλήνων. Από τη γέννηση του είδους ως τον      Σοφοκλή, μτφρ. Ν. Χ. Χουρμουζιάδης, Αθήνα 1987.

Μαρκαντωνάτος Α. – Τσαγγάλης Χ. Αρχαία Ελληνική τραγωδία. Θεωρία και πράξη.       Αθήνα 2008.

McDonald, M. – Walton, M. (επιμ.), Οδηγός για το αρχαίο ελληνικό και ρωμαϊκό θέατρο             (εκδ. Καρδαμίτσα), Αθήνα 2011

Meier, C.  Η πολιτική τέχνη της αρχαίας ελληνικής τραγωδίας. Mτφρ.: Φ. Μανακίδου,     επιμ.: Μ. Ιατρού. Αθήνα, 1997.

Murray G. Ο Ευριπίδης και η εποχή του. Μετάφρ.: Κ. Παπανικολάου. Αθήνα.

Osborne A. Athens and Athenian democracy. Cambridge 2010. 

Παπαδημητρόπουλος Λ. Η έννοια του οίκου στον Ευριπίδη : Άλκηστη - Μήδεια –            Ιππόλυτος. Αθήνα 2014.

Pelling, C.B.R. (ed.), Greek Tragedy and the Historian. Oxford 1997.

Seaford, R., Ανταπόδοση και τελετουργία. Ο Όμηρος και η τραγωδία στην αναπτυσσόμενη πόλη-κράτος, μτφρ. Β. Λιαπής, Αθήνα 2003.

Tzanetou A. City of Suppliants: Tragedy and the Athenian empire. Austin 2012.

Χουρμουζιάδης, Ν.Χ. . Ευριπίδου Μήδεια. Αθήνα, 2011.


Critical Editions


Allan, W. Euripides Medea. Λονδίνο 2002.

Mastronarde, D. J. 2002. Euripides. Medea. Cambridge (σε μετάφραση Δ. Γιωτοπούλου   και επιμέλεια Μ. Χριστόπουλου). Αθήνα, 2006. 

Page, D. L. Euripides. Medea. Oxford 1938.


Barlow, S.A., Euripides Trojan Women (εισ. – κείμ. – μτφ. – σχόλια), Warminster 1986.

Johansen H. F. and Whittle E.W. (επιμ.) Aeschylus: The Suppliants. Copenhagen 1980.

Sommerstein H. A. Αισχύλος. Ευμενίδες.Κριτική και ερμηνευτική έκδοση. Μτφρ.            Νικόλαος ΓεωργαντζόγλουΑθηνα 2000.

Webster T. B. L. Σοφοκλής. Φιλοκτήτης : Εισαγωγή, κείμενο, σχόλια. Μτφρ.  Νικ. Π. Μπεζαντάκος. Αθήνα 1992



Αισχύλος, Ευμενίδες. Μτφρ. Κ.Χ. Μύρης. Αθήνα 1988.

Αισχύλος, Ικέτιδες. Μτφρ. Ι.Ν. Γρυπάρη. Θεσσαλονίκη 2015.

Ευριπίδης, Μήδεια. 1990. Μετάφρ. Γ. Γιατρομανωλάκης-Εισαγ. D.L. Page. Αθήνα Καρδαμίτσα.

Ευριπίδης, Τρωάδες. Μτφρ. Στέλλα Μπαζάκου - Μαραγκουδάκη. Αθήνα 2002.

Σοφοκλής, Φιλοκτήτης. Μτφρ. Στ. Μπαζάκου–Μαραγκουδάκη. Αθήνα 1996.


Teaching Methods:

Teaching will combine lectures with discussion. In every class fifty to one hundred verses will be analyzed syntactically, grammatically and semantically. The topic of every lecture will be connected with the relevant section to be studied. The material to be covered will be implemented with articles and chapters, which will be presented to class and will be the focus of discussions. The lectures will use PowerPoint presentations.  

Evaluation Methods:
  • written exams that will involve short and long answer questions based on the analysis and the interpretation of certain sections from the five tragedies, and on the relevant bibliography, which will be covered in the lectures
  • optional paper on a topic proposed by the instructor up to eight pages long, which will be graded with the maximum possible grade of 2. This will be added to the final grade of the exam, only if the student receives a passable grade (i.e. 5)

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