Plague and the Athenian Imagination: Drama, History, and the by Robin Mitchell-Boyask

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By Robin Mitchell-Boyask

The nice plague of Athens that begun in 430 BCE had an important influence at the mind's eye of its literary artists and at the social mind's eye of the town as an entire. during this ebook, Professor Mitchell-Boyask experiences the effect of the plague on Athenian tragedy early within the 420s and argues for an important dating among drama and the improvement of the cult of the therapeutic god Asclepius within the subsequent decade, in the course of a interval of conflict and lengthening civic strife. The Athenian choice to find their temple for Asclepius adjoining to the Theater of Dionysus arose from deeper institutions among drama, therapeutic and the polis that have been engaged actively by means of the obstacle of the plague. The publication additionally considers the illustration of the plague in Thucydides' historical past in addition to the metaphors generated by means of that illustration which recur later within the related paintings.

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These tables contain the same data, only arranged differently, with the first focused on nosos and the second on chronology. The totals for the nosos frequency in both of them include cognate forms such as verbs and adjectives. I shall then draw some preliminary observations and conclusions from the data in the tables before turning to a more detailed discussion of nosos in the dramas of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles. From these tables I can deduce some broad, though not absolutely consistent, patterns that can be linked first to the plague, then to the construction of the Asklepieion starting in 420 and finally to reactions, I suspect, to the oligarchic coup of 411.

428 425? 424? 423? 422–416 418–412 417–413 413? 415 413? 412 411? 409 408 407–406 407–406 406–405 ?? its language and metaphors aside for a while, possibly because of audience fatigue or the poet’s need for innovation. Construction on the Asklepieion commenced in 420, and, perhaps coincidentally, Euripides’ Ion, a drama about another son of Apollo, was likely produced around 418 and is ranked eighth in nosos frequency. The Asklepieion, I shall argue in later chapters, helps to keep disease as a theme and metaphor current.

Neither Asclepius still lives, nor does Chiron, the Centaur who taught him. Moreover, Pindar reminds Hieron, none of even the greatest heroes achieved a life free from pain or escaped death; not even Achilles, who was born from a goddess. Pindar closes this ode by comparing his activity of song to the doctor’s art ({erapeÅwn, 193), through which excellence (ˆret†, 201) becomes ageless, 11 The traditional view of P. 3 is that it presents an antithesis between literal immortality and immortality in song.

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