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HorkosThe Oath in Greek Society$
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Alan Sommerstein and Judith Fletcher

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781904675679

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781904675679.001.0001

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Horkos in the Oresteia

Horkos in the Oresteia

(p.102) 9 Horkos in the Oresteia

Judith Fletcher

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the thematic role of oaths in Aeschylus's Oresteia and how oaths were related to the Erinyes (also known as Curses, and midwives to the oath-god Horkos). It also considers how a series of flawed or failed oaths punctuates the action of the trilogy, eventually resulting in the establishment of the sworn tribunal of the Areopagus and giving rise to the sworn pledge of alliance offered by its first defendant, Orestes, to the Athenians of the future. The chapter discusses the recurrence of horkos throughout Oresteia, and also traces how the interconnection and evolution of oaths give meaning to the tragic events of the house of Atreus.

Keywords:   oaths, Aeschylus, Oresteia, Erinyes, trilogy, Areopagus, alliance, Orestes, horkos, Atreus

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