Theseus, Tragedy, and the Athenian Empire

Hardcover | February 1, 1997

bySophie Mills

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This book traces the development of the Theseus myth and its importance for Athens from the earliest evidence down to the end of the fifth century. The author examines all extant tragedy in which Theseus appears, even including the fragmentary drama in which Theseus is known to appear, toassess the significance of his role as mythological representative of Athenian greatness. The author argues that the Theseus of most Athenian tragedy is carefully drawn to exemplify the idealized image of the Athenian `national character' that was prevalent in the age of the Athenian empire. Every nation needs role models: the Athenians were no exception. Handsome, brave, intelligent, and just, Theseus seemed the perfect Athenian, but under the exterior lay a heartless seducer, rapist, and killer of his own son. The author describes Athenian attempts to cope with thesecontradictions in her discussion of how the Theseus of Athenian tragedy relates to Athenian life and imperial ideology.

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This book traces the development of the Theseus myth and its importance for Athens from the earliest evidence down to the end of the fifth century. The author examines all extant tragedy in which Theseus appears, even including the fragmentary drama in which Theseus is known to appear, toassess the significance of his role as mytholog...

Sophie Mills is at University of North Carolina at Asheville.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.87 inPublished:February 1, 1997Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198150636

ISBN - 13:9780198150633

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`This new contribution to the Oxford Classical Monograph series offers with striking diligence and finely woven argumentation, numerous exegeses of passages from Greek tragedies which characterize Theseus ... The unusual thing about this book is its refreshingly wide scope for atheme-orientated topic ... Mills' readable prose and abundant but individually concise footnotes prove that she is as conversant with vase painting as with Cleisthenes' reforms.'Carolyn C Breen, Classical World 92.6 (1999)