Greeks, barbarians and Aeschylus' Suppliants
Mitchell, Lynette G.
University of Exeter
Greece & Rome
Cambridge University Press
Ten years after producing the Persians in 472 BC, in which Greeks and barbarians are locked in conflict with each other, Aeschylus in the Suppliants explores the inextricable intertwining of Greekness and barbarity. While even in the Persians Aeschylus recognizes the ultimate ‘kinship' between Greek and barbarian (the women of Atossa's dream – one wearing Persian robes, the other Dorian – are described as ‘sisters of one race': Aesch. Pers. 180–7), in the Suppliants the poet develops this theme and casts it in sharper relief. In this later play, now generally accepted (despite archaic or archaizing elements) to have been produced in the late 460s, Aeschylus is more actively interested in the ways in which kinship both intersects with and is complicated by cultural polarity, and at the same time undercuts and complicates ‘Otherness'.
© The Classical Association, 2006.