EURIPIDESSalamis, approx. 480 - 406 B.C.
One of the great tragic poets of ancient Greece. According to prevailing information, he was born in 480 BC in Salamis and, in fact, on the same day that Xerxes' fleet was defeated. But it is most likely that he was born in 485 BC, as the so-called Pario marble testifies. According to this, he was the son of Mnisarchos, from the Attic municipality of Flyas (today's Chalandri). Many of the ancients argued that Euripides did not come from an aristocratic family, and his mother Cleito was often ridiculed by the comic poets for her lowly occupation as a greengrocer. However, other sources prove that the generation of Euripides, like that of his two older colleagues, Aeschylus and Sophocles, was also noble. His father had considerable real estate in Salamis,
Euripides received a thorough education, as his intellectual products show. As a young man, he took part in festivals in his hometown as Apollo's orchestrator and pyrophore, and excelled in wrestling and boxing. But he quickly abandoned physical exercises and devoted himself to intellectual pursuits. A theorist by nature, and leaning towards philosophy, he studied the writings of the older philosophers, and followed the teaching of his contemporaries, Anaxagoras, Proficus, Protagoras. He frequented the circle of Socrates, who, it is said, although he seldom went to the theater, liked to attend the plays of Euripides, whenever he premiered a new play of his. It is natural that Euripides was greatly influenced by his association with the wise, to whom he owes much for the development of his intellect. He had, it is said, rich library, he was a scholar, and this is also inferred from the knowledge that is richly diffused in all his works. From these, it also appears that if Euripides stayed away from active politics, he was careful and monitored the political issues of the day and had maximum zeal to teach his sound political theories.
Euripides disapproved of tyranny, but he was also successful against the oligarchy and its representatives, the rich and, in general, the arrogant and cruel, and preferred that the middle class of citizens prevail, whom he considers the saviors of the city and stable guardians of order . His patriotism is ardent and enthusiastic, for which the orator Lycurgos praises him, who saved some of the poet's verses, which testify to his loyalty and love for his country:
Oh patris, eithe pantes, oi naiousoi se,
outo filoien os ego kai radios
oikoimen an se k' ouden an parchois kakon
Moreover, Euripides does not leave any opportunity, to attack the enemies of the homeland, the Lacedaemonians. In his family life he had accidents, although what the comedians gave to the public is not very reliable. It is said that his wife Melito was cheating on him. He had three sons, and the third, Euripides also by name, presented his father's dramas after his death. He spent the last years of his life at the Court of the Macedonian king Archelaus, who, being a philologist, invited many poets, scholars and artists to Pella, in order to brighten his reign.
To honor this royal patron, Euripides, wrote the tragedy "Archelaus", where he praises the Heraklides, as the founder of the Macedonian dynasty. Even his "Bacchies", it is said, were written to be performed in the theater of Archelaus. In the fall of 407, the great tragedian died in Macedonia and was buried there.
It is said that he was devoured by wild dogs, but this may be imaginary. His tomb, near Amphipolis, became a place of pilgrimage for his Athenian admirers, and near Athens, in his honor, a cenotaph was erected, with the following epigram:
The grave of Euripides in Hellas · the end of life in the Land of Macedonia ·
the homeland of Hellas, Athens · many Muses
he pleased, praised by many.
Later, at the suggestion of the orator Lycurgus, his bronze statue was erected in the theater of Dionysos. According to tradition, Euripides was sullen, brooding and rarely laughed. In other words, he had the strict physiognomy of a meticulous moralist rather than the creative gaiety of a divinely inspired poet.
Euripides, apart from an epinicium he wrote for Alcibiades, when he had won in chariot races, and an elegy for the Athenians who fell at Syracuse, in that destructive campaign, (415 - 413 BC), wrote 92 dramas and 3 tetralogies, of which few survived. On the back of the statue, which is in the Louvre Museum, and Euripides is shown seated, 37 of his dramas up to "Orestes" are written in alphabetical order. Only 19 reached us, including a satirical one, "Cyclops".
Euripides, as a modernist, often provoked the reservations of established order, the judges and the conservatives. But the youth loved him more and called him wise.
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