Aeschylus: Suppliant Maidens

(2608 words)
  • K. Paul Bednarowski (The University of Maryland)

Suppliant Women is an early, and the only surviving, play in a connected tetralogy that treated the myth of the Danaids, the daughters of Danaus who marry their cousins, the sons of Aegyptus, only to kill them on their wedding night. The fourth play, a comedic performance in which satyrs formed the chorus, dramatized how the god Poseidon saved the Danaid Amymone from rape and then seduced her. Suppliant Women was once thought to be the oldest extant Greek drama due to its preponderance of sung lyrics, archaic composition, and sparing use of its second speaking actor as compared to the three actors of later tragedy. A fragmentary notice published in 1952 (Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 2256 fr. 3), however, places the …

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Bednarowski, K. Paul. "Suppliant Maidens". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 27 June 2013
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]