The Suppliants

Aeschylus (c.525–c.456 BC), translated by Theodoridis, G., (contributor-contact-email)

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The Suppliants, a play by the ancient Greek tragedian Aeschylus, was likely first performed shortly before the Oresteia in 458 BC. It is believed to be part of the Danaid Tetralogy, alongside the lost plays The Egyptians, The Daughters of Danaus, and the satyr play Amymone. Originally considered Aeschylus’ earliest work due to the chorus’s central role, later evidence places it among his later plays, postdating The Persians and possibly Seven Against Thebes. Noted for its rich choral lyricism, the play diverges from typical Greek tragedies that end in the protagonist’s downfall.

Pelasgus, the king of Argos, faces a critical decision. He must choose between offering asylum to the Danaids, which could provoke a war with Egypt, and denying their request, risking the wrath of Zeus, who is the protector of suppliants. Additionally, the Danaids threaten suicide if refused asylum, which would lead to ritual pollution of Argos and further divine displeasure. The play concludes with Pelasgus granting protection to the suppliants, thereby averting immediate conflict with Egypt. However, this resolution is temporary, suggesting that the subsequent plays in the tetralogy likely explore the ensuing war between Argos and Egypt and other associated tragedies.

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Theodoridis, G.,

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