Agamemnon (page 675, with art)

Chapter 17, The Return from Troy

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Euripides, Orestes 25-26

who slew her husband, after snaring him in an inextricable robe.  Greek Text

Euripides, Orestes 366-67

“Menelaus, your brother lies dead, plunged in a fatal bath, the last his wife will ever give him.”  Greek Text

Euripides, Elektra 8-10

but at home he died by the guile of his wife Clytemnestra [10] and the hand of Aegisthus, son of Thyestes.  Greek Text

Euripides, Hekabe 1279

And she shall slay this man as well, lifting high the axe.  Greek Text

Euripides, Troades 361-62

I will not tell of that axe which shall sever my neck and the necks of others  Greek Text

Euripides, Elektra 279

Yes, with that same axe by which my father died.  Greek Text

Sophokles, Elektra 96-99

father, whom bloody Ares did not welcome with deadly gifts in a foreign land, but my mother and her bedfellow Aegisthus split his head with murderous axe, just as woodmen chop an oak.  Greek Text

Ferrara, Museo Nazionale di Spina 2482: Attic red-figure cup by Marlay Painter with Klytaimestra about to strike Kassandra with an axe; latter kneels at altar and laurel tree, and near falling tripod of Apollo

Fabio Lo Piparo, “Torn Fillets and Broken Sceptre: Cassandra’s Costume, Props and Attributes in Ancient Greek Drama and Vase-Painting,” engramma: la tradizione classica nella memoria occidentale 148 (August 2017) fig. 1


Beazley Archive Pottery Database

Digital LIMC

Perseus Art & Archaeology Artifact Browser

Pherekydes 3F134 – Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 1, p. 94, ed. F. Jacoby, 2d ed. Leiden 1957.

Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2.16.6

In the ruins of Mycenae is a fountain called Persea; there are also underground chambers of Atreus and his children, in which were stored their treasures. There is the grave of Atreus, along with the graves of such as returned with Agamemnon from Troy, and were murdered by Aegisthus after he had given them a banquet. As for the tomb of Cassandra, it is claimed by the Lacedaemonians who dwell around Amyclae. Agamemnon has his tomb, and so has Eurymedon the charioteer, while another is shared by Teledamus and Pelops, twin sons, they say, of Cassandra.  Greek Text

Scholia at Homer, Odyssey 11.420 – Scholia Graeca in Homeris Odysseam, vol. 2, p. 513, ed. W. Dindorf. Oxford 1855. 

Greek Text

Lykophorn, Alexandra 1099-1102

One at the bath while he seeks for the difficult exits of the mesh about his neck, entangled in a net, shall search with blind hands the fringed stitching. And diving under the hot covering of the bath he shall sprinkle with his brains tripod and basin, when he is smitten in the midst of the skull with the well-sharpened axe.  Greek Text

Seneca, Agamemnon 875-905

A feast is spread within the royal house and thronged with guests, like that last banquet of the Phrygians; the couches gleam with Trojan purple, and their wine they quaff from the golden cups of old Assaracus. Lo, he himself in broidered vestments lies on lofty couch, wearing on his body the proud spoils of Priam. His wife bids him doff the raiment of his foe and don instead the mantle her own fond hands have woven – I shudder and my soul trembles at the sight! Shall an exile slay a king? an adulterer a husband? The fatal hour has come. The banquet’s close shall see the master’s blood, and gore shall fall into the wine. The deadly mantle he has put on delivers him bound treacherously to his doom; the loose, impenetrable folds refuse outlet to his hands and enshroud his head. With trembling right hand the half-man stabs at his side, but hath not driven deep; in mid stroke he stands as one amazed. But he, as in the deep woods a bristling boar, though with the net entangled, still tries for freedom, and by his struggling draws close his bonds and rages all in vain, – he strives to throw off the blinding folds all around him floating, and, though closely enmeshed, seeks for his foe. Now Tyndaris in mad rage snatches the two-edged axe and, as at the altar the priest marks with his eye the oxen’s necks before he strikes, so, now here, now there, her impious hand she aims. He has it! the deed is done! The scarce severed head hangs by a slender part; here blood streams o’er his headless trunk, there lie his moaning lips. And not yet do they give o’er; he attacks the already lifeless man, and keeps hacking at the corpse; she helps him in the stabbing.  Latin Text

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Artistic source edited by Frances Van Keuren, Prof. Emerita, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Univ. of Georgia, July 2022

Literary sources edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2023

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