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Aeschylus: Eumenides (Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics) 0th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521284301
ISBN-10: 0521284309
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Greek (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A text, with introduction and commentary, of Eumenides, the climactic play of the only surviving complete Greek Trilogy, the Oresteia of Aeschylus, and the one most relevant to the Athenian state at the time of its performance.
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Product Details

  • Series: Cambridge Greek and Latin Classics
  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (November 24, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521284309
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521284301
  • Product Dimensions: 4.8 x 0.7 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #930,176 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a review of Alan H. Sommerstein's commentary for the Cambridge green and yellow series on Aeschylus's "Eumenides". This play is the third in Aeschylus's "Oresteia" trilogy and depicts the final resolution of Orestes' struggle to rid himself of the Erinyes (i.e. Furies) who are pursuing him to avenge his killing of his mother Clytemnestra. This is achieved through a remarkable trial that takes place in Athens which is presided over by the goddess Athena at a newly established court on the Areopagus. Without spoiling too much of what happens in the play, it is enough to mention that this text offers noteworthy insights into Athenian views on the nature of justice, on whether and to what extent justice can be achieved through a city's legal system, on the relationship between the Olympian gods and older, more chthonic deities, and on the symbiotic relationship that exists between gods and humans. At 1047 lines of Greek text, "Eumenides" is substantially shorter than "Agamemnon", the first play in the trilogy, and is comparable in length to the second play, "Choephori/The Libation Bearers". I was surprised to discover that "Eumenides" is a much less difficult play to read in Greek than either of the preceding plays. A large part of this must certainly be credited to the commentator, who has provided a smooth text that prioritizes restoring coherence and readability to those places in the text where problems in transmission have occurred. At the same time, the commentator provides a fairly extensive apparatus criticus, leaves a few "daggers" in the printed text, and discusses textual problems in detail in the commentary, so it is certainly possible for the reader to follow and evaluate his choices in establishing the text while enjoying the fruits of textual conjectures.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(Note: just in case you don't know this: this edition is in ANCIENT GREEK, not English. The only English is in the [voluminous] notes, not a translation.)
I found this edition of the third play of Aeschylus' Oresteia very fine and very complete, and I was able to read all of the Eumenides with it -- and I am only in my second year of Greek (although my dedication may be above average). Sommerstein hits all the notes and remains balanced. The emendations are eminently well-defended; the meters are clear; the notes are thick and well-written. The historical overview of the years leading up to 458, when the play was produced, is unusually thorough for a book like this and deserves to become the standard for all such introductions. The cross-referencing with lines from other Greek literature is exhaustive and complete; much of the cross-referencing to different articles and works by modern authors impresses as well, with one caveat below.
Depending on which kind of an Oresteia scholar you are, you may become frustrated with this book. In his notes, Sommerstein evades many of the gender issues that are seen by some as essential to the play. This is done with the utmost in skill, though, so if you didn't know (or couldn't read or think) you might think there were no gender issues in the play. Hand-in-hand with this fact, he ignores important American writing on the Oresteia (done by Froma Zeitlin in her bold, some might venture to say excessive, but nonetheless important 1977 article "The Dynamics of Misogyny," for example) and does subscribe to a view of the Oresteia with which I have great sympathy, but that some may find naively progressive. To wit, Sommerstein believes the Oresteia to be about joy, triumph, cooperation in Athens, and a new era.

Overall, regardless of these matters this book is very fine. I would certainly use it were I to teach a reading class on the play.
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Format: Hardcover
For those of you who don't know this "The Eumenides" is part 3 of the trilogy by Aeschylus. In Part 1 ("Agamemnon")Agamemnon was killed by his wife Clytemnestra so she could be with her lover Aegisthus. In Part 2 ("The Libation Bearers") Agamemnon's son Orestes flipped the tables and killed Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. but Orestesis tormented by the furies. This brings us to the 3rd and concluding chapter.

The furies basically take the role of the chorus in the 3rd chapter. Basically, the furies do Zeus' dirty work for him. (Kind of along the line odf a Devil's Advocate.)Well, Zeus's son Apollo is confident the outcome will turnout in Orestes's favor. (Why not? Apollo is Zeus's son, and he commanded Orestes to avenge Agamemnon. And his 1/2 sister Athena is going to be the judge.)

Orestes places in faith in Apollo. For one final time Clytemnestra (now a ghost) appears and demands vengeance for her murder. (It would appear that Aeschylus knows that murder and revenge transcend life and death.)

When Apollo tells the furies to get out, he almost sounds like a priest performing an exorcism: "Out, out! Be off, and clear of this holy place /of your foul pestilence..." Interestingly, when Apollo confronts the furies with the full story, they have a mafia like theory. It was alright for Clytemnestra to kill Agamemnon, because he wasn't family by blood. It was wrong for Orestes to kill Clytemnestra because she was his mother.

but we can trust that Athena (goddess of wisdom) will bring reason to this dispute. Interestingly, Apollo continues to sound like a priest combating evil: "I would not have your powers, even as a gift."

Orestes continues to place his trust in Athena and Apollo. Throughout the trial, the furies emphasize their distance from the gods.
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