Achilleis is the convenient modern designation of a trilogy of plays written by the Greek tragedian Aeschylus. It follows the Greek hero Achilles during the Trojan War, wherein he defeats Hector and eventually gets killed by Paris when an arrow punctures his heel.
The triad of plays, of which a fragment of the first, Myrmidons, exists, and scattered quoted lines from the other plays—Nereids and Phrygians, sometimes referred to as the Ransom of Hector—had been known to exist due to a parody in Aristophanes' Frogs (lines 911-13), where the provocative and disruptive silence of the Aeschylean Achilles is one of the focal points. The often-discussed theme of the Aeschylean silence revolves around this fragment of Myrmidons. There are other references to the individual plays and their titles.
The triad has long been considered lost. However, in the early 1990s sections of the play on papyrus are said to have been discovered inside an Egyptian mummy Along with extant fragments of the play, these new verses were used to reconstruct a playable version.
A Greek author, Elias Malandris, worked on the project for over a decade, it was reported in 2003 . His work was based on the newly discovered material and a wide array of references to Achilles, found in ancient texts, as Homer's Iliad, and other Greek plays.
A small number of verses from these three of Aeschylus' lost works had been saved: fifty-four from "Myrmidons", seven from "Nereids" and twenty-one from "Phrygians." Elias Malandris first translated the remaining material and then - in the first attempt of this scope - made the recompilation of the three tragedies. Thus, the trilogy under the title "Myrmidons, Nereids, Phrygians" was born.
The reconstructed play was performed by the Cyprus National Theatre (Th.o.C) on August 6 and 7 2004 for the first time in over 2,000 years (and 2,500 years since it was written).
- ^ The trilogy's title Achilleis, widely accepted by modern scholars, is not attested in ancient sources (Michelakis 1999)
- ^ The great fire of the Library of Alexandria is sometimes instanced in this respect.
- ^ The fragments purported to have been discovered have not been reported in the academic press, which would be a remarkable omission.
- S. Radt, 1985. Tragicorum Graecorum Fragmenta, Vol. 3. Aeschylus (Göttingen) 113. (in Greek)
- Playbill.com News report.
- Manchester Guardian: 14 November 2003. News report.
- Pantelis Michelakis, 1999. "The Spring Before It Is Sprung: visual and non-verbal aspects of power struggle in Aeschylus' Myrmidons" Bibliography, including references to previous reconstructions of the Achilleis.
Medieval Greece / Byzantine Empire
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