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Lost Dramas of Classical AthensGreek Tragic Fragments$
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Fiona McHardy, James Robson, and David Harvey

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780859897525

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859897525.001.0001

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Death and Wedding in Aeschylus' Niobe

Death and Wedding in Aeschylus' Niobe

(p.113) 6 Death and Wedding in Aeschylus' Niobe
Lost Dramas of Classical Athens

Richard Seaford

Liverpool University Press

The mythical Niobe was a boastful mother who was punished by Artemis and Apollo by the death of her children. This chapter attempts to contextualize a fragment from Aeschylus' fragmentary play and in so doing also informs our reading of several passages in extant tragedies, such as the Antigone and the Medea, where Niobe is also mentioned. It shows that the dual presence of death imagery and wedding imagery is evoked in these passages and explains the rationale behind the tradition of Niobe's eventual transformation into stone — an ever-weeping rock — as represented in several remarkable vase-paintings which are thought to have been directly inspired by Aeschylus' play.

Keywords:   Greek tragedies, tragic fragments, fragmentary text, plays, vase-painting, Antigone, Medea, death imagery, wedding imagery

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