Iphigeneia among the Tauroi (page 687 upper)

Chapter 17, The Return from Troy

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Euripides, Iphigeneia among the Tauroi 769-97

Iphigenia
Report to Orestes, the son of Agamemnon: [770] the one slain at Aulis sends you this, Iphigenia, who is alive, though no longer alive to those there—

Orestes
Where is she? Has she come back from the dead??

Iphigenia
The one you are looking at; don’t confuse me by your talk. Bring me to Argos, my brother, before I die. [775] Take me away from the barbarian land and the sacrifices of the goddess, where I hold the office of killing foreigners.

Orestes
Pylades, what shall I say? Where have we found ourselves?

Iphigenia
Or I will be a curse to your house.

Pylades
Orestes?

Iphigenia
So that you may know the name, hearing it twice.

Pylades
[780] O gods!

Iphigenia
Why do you invoke the gods in my affairs?

Pylades
No reason; finish your words; my thoughts were elsewhere. Perhaps, if I question you, I will not arrive at things I cannot believe.

Iphigenia
Tell him that Artemis saved me, by giving a deer in exchange for me; my father sacrificed it, [785] thinking that he drove the sword sharply into me; and she settled me in this land. This is my letter, this is the writing in the tablet.

Pylades
You have bound me with an easy oath, and sworn very well. I will not take much time [790] to carry out the oath I swore.

See, Orestes, I bring you a tablet from your sister here, and give it to you. Pylades hands the letter to Orestes.

Orestes
I do receive it, but first I will pass over the letter’s folds to take a joy that is not in words.

[795] My dearest sister, with what astonishment and delight I hold you in my unbelieving arms, after learning these marvels!  Greek Text

Euripides, Iphigeneia among the Tauroi 1029-41

Iphigenia
I think I have a new stratagem.

Orestes
[1030] What is it? Let me know; share your thought.

Iphigenia
I will use your sorrows as my contrivance.

Orestes
Women are wonderfully good at devising crafty plans!

Iphigenia
I will say that you came from Argos after killing your mother.

Orestes
Make use of my troubles, if you gain by it.

Iphigenia
[1035] And that it is not right to sacrifice you to the goddess.

Orestes
With what reason? I have a suspicion.

Iphigenia
Because you are not pure; I will frighten what is sacred.

Orestes
How does this help us to seize the statue of the goddess?

Iphigenia
I shall want to purify you in the waves of the sea—

Orestes
[1040] The image that we have sailed for is still in the temple.

Iphigenia
I will say that I have washed that also, since you have touched it.  Greek Text

Pausanias, Description of Greece 3.16.7

The place named Limnaeum (Marshy) is sacred to Artemis Orthia (Upright). The wooden image there they say is that which once Orestes and Iphigenia stole out of the Tauric land, and the Lacedaemonians say that it was brought to their land because there also Orestes was king. I think their story more probable than that of the Athenians. For what could have induced Iphigenia to leave the image behind at Brauron? Or why did the Athenians, when they were preparing to abandon their land, fail to include this image in what they put on board their ships?  Greek Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 121

CHRYSES: When Agamemnon was on his was to Troy, Achilles, too, came to Moesia, and took Chryseis daughter of the priest of Apollo, and gave her in marriage to Agamemnon. When Chryses came to Agamemnon to beg him to return his daughter, he was refused. Because of this Apollo destroyed almost all the army, partly by famine, partly by pestilence. And so Agamemnon sent back Chryseis though she was pregnant, to the priest. Though she claimed to be untouched by him, when her time came she bore Chryses the Younger, and said she had conceived by Apollo. Later when Chryses was about to return Iphigenia and Orestes to Thoas, he [Chryses the Elder] learned that they were children of Agamemnon, and revealed to Chryses his [grand]son the truth — that they were brothers and that he was a son of Agamemnon. Then Chryses, thus informed, with Orestes his brother, killed Thoas, and from there they came safe to Mycenae with the statue of Diana.  Latin Text

Hyginus, Fabulae 120

IPHIGENIA: When the Furies were pursuing Orestes, he went to Delphi to inquire when his sufferings would end. The reply was that he should go to the land of Taurica to King Thoas, father of Hypsipyle, and bring to Argos from the temple there the statue of Diana; then there would be an end to his sufferings. Upon hearing this oracle, along with Pylades his companion, son of Strophius, he embarked and quickly came to the land of the Taurians. It was their custom to sacrifice at the temple of Diana whatever stranger came within their borders. When Orestes and Pylades were hiding in a cave waiting an opportunity, they were seized by shepherds and brought to King Thoas. Thoas, as was his custom, ordered them to be brought bound into the temple of Diana to be sacrificed. The priestess there was Iphigenia, sister of Orestes, and when by tokens and questioning she found out who they were and why they had come, she herself, casting aside the vessels for sacrifice, started to remove the statue of Diana. When the king came up and asked her why she was doing this, she made pretence and said that since the men were accursed they had defiled the statue; because impious and wicked men had been brought into the temple, the statue should be taken to the sea for cleansing. She bade him make a proclamation forbidding citizens to go outside the city. The king complied with the words of the priestess. Iphigenia, seizing the opportunity, took the statue, embarked with Orestes and Pylades, and by a favouring breeze was borne to the island Zminthe to Chryses, priest of Apollo.  Latin Text

Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, March 2023

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