o(/ ti kalo\n fi/lon a0ei/

That which is beautiful is dear forever

Euripides, "The Bacchae" line 881

Dancing maenad with leopard and thyrsus, hair tied back with a snake.
Greek, attributed to Brygos, c. 490 BCE

Biogrphy of Euripides:

Born near Athens around 484 BCE, Euripides, son of Mnesarchides, grew up to be one of the most prolific playwrights of his time. He wrote about 92 plays, most about controversial issues. He took the first set of these thinker-tragedies to the City Dionysia in 455 BCE, but he didn't win until 441. His lack of awards for his great plays may be a direct result of the content of his work. A pacifist with a questioning belief in his religion, Euripides expressed his radical ideas through his plays. One of his most famous works, The Bacchae, is one of these plays. In the story, King Pentheus of Thebes, unhappy with the new worship of Dionysus that is causing his female subjects to become insane, attempts to stop the worship. A deeply offended and vengeful Dionysus disguises himself as a mortal, and convinces the king to dress as a Bacchante. He then leads the disguised king into the mountains and places him in the custody of a wild group of Maenads, including his own mother, who literally tear him apart. The play was heralded as both a remarkable work of drama and, by some, as heresy. Euripides lived his life dancing across this thin line between genius and treason, and the only reason he escaped exile was that he only circulated heretical ideas in his plays.


Greek Mythology Link

Euripides' Biography

Euripides Home Page

Euripides on Perseus

A. Hoffmann, St. Paul's School, 2003