Thyestes (Euripides)

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Thyestes (Ancient Greek : Θυέστης) is a lost tragedy by Euripides. The play may have concerned the myth of Thyestes' seduction of Areope, the wife of his brother Atreus, and Atreus' subsequent revenge on Thyestes, killing his children and serving them to him at a feast. [1]

Euripides ancient Athenian tragic playwright

Euripides was a tragedian of classical Athens. Along with Aeschylus and Sophocles, he is one of the three ancient Greek tragedians for whom a significant number of plays have survived. Some ancient scholars attributed 95 plays to him but, according to the Suda, it was 92 at most. Of these, 18 or 19 have survived more or less complete and there are also fragments, some substantial, of most of the other plays. More of his plays have survived intact than those of Aeschylus and Sophocles together, partly because his popularity grew as theirs declined—he became, in the Hellenistic Age, a cornerstone of ancient literary education, along with Homer, Demosthenes, and Menander.

Thyestes figure from Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Thyestes was a king of Olympia. Thyestes and his brother, Atreus, were exiled by their father for having murdered their half-brother, Chrysippus, in their desire for the throne of Olympia. They took refuge in Mycenae, where they ascended the throne upon the absence of King Eurystheus, who was fighting the Heracleidae. Eurystheus had meant for their lordship to be temporary; it became permanent because of his death in conflict.

Atreus king of Mycenae, father of Agamemnon

In Greek mythology, Atreus was a king of Mycenae in the Peloponnese, the son of Pelops and Hippodamia, and the father of Agamemnon and Menelaus. Collectively, his descendants are known as Atreidai or Atreidae.


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Agamemnon figure from Greek mythology

In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was a king of Mycenae, the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra and the father of Iphigenia, Electra or Laodike (Λαοδίκη), Orestes and Chrysothemis. Legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area. When Helen, the wife of Menelaus, was taken to Troy by Paris, Agamemnon commanded the united Greek armed forces in the ensuing Trojan War.

Aegisthus mythical character

Aegisthus was a figure in Greek mythology. Aegisthus is known from two primary sources of Greek mythology. The first is Homer's Odyssey, believed to have been first written down by Homer at the end of the 8th century BC, and the second from Aeschylus's Oresteia, written in the 5th century, BC.

Tantalus Greek mythological figure, son of Zeus

Tantalus was a Greek mythological figure, most famous for his eternal punishment in Tartarus. He was also called Atys.

Menelaus King of Sparta, husband of Helen of Troy

In Greek mythology, Menelaus was a king of Mycenaean (pre-Dorian) Sparta, the husband of Helen of Troy, and the son of Atreus and Aerope. According to the Iliad, Menelaus was a central figure in the Trojan War, leading the Spartan contingent of the Greek army, under his elder brother Agamemnon, king of Mycenae. Prominent in both the Iliad and Odyssey, Menelaus was also popular in Greek vase painting and Greek tragedy, the latter more as a hero of the Trojan War than as a member of the doomed House of Atreus.

Aerope daughter of Catreus, the king of Crete

In Greek mythology, Aerope was a daughter of Catreus, the king of Crete, and sister to Clymene, Apemosyne and Althaemenes. She was the wife of Atreus, and by most accounts the mother of Agamemnon and Menelaus.

In Greek mythology, Pleisthenes is the name of several different people descended from Tantalus.

Pelops mythical character

In Greek mythology, Pelops, was king of Pisa in the Peloponnesus. His father, Tantalus, was the founder of the House of Atreus through Pelops's son of that name.

Oenomaus father of Hippodamia; son of Ares

In Greek mythology, King Oenomaus of Pisa, the father of Hippodamia and the son of Ares. His name Oinomaos signifies him as a wine man.

Chrysippus of Elis son of Pelops

In Greek mythology, Chrysippus was a divine hero of Elis in the Peloponnesus.

Revenge play

The revenge tragedy, or revenge play, is a dramatic genre in which the protagonist seeks revenge for an imagined or actual injury. The term, revenge tragedy, was first introduced in 1900 by A.H. Thorndike to label a class of plays written in the late Elizabethan and early Jacobean eras.

Revenge tragedy is a theoretical genre in which the principal theme is revenge and revenge's fatal consequences. Formally established by American educator Ashley H. Thorndike in his 1902 article "The Relations of Hamlet to Contemporary Revenge Plays," a revenge tragedy documents the progress of the protagonist's revenge plot and often leads to the demise of both the murderers and the avenger himself.

In Greek mythology, Tantalus was a son of Thyestes and a prince of southern Argolis. He was killed along with his brother Pleisthenes, by Thyestes's brother Atreus. Atreus killed his nephews because Thyestes seduced his wife, Aerope. Atreus was the king of Mycenae, and Thyestes ruled the south of Argolis. In some accounts, he was the first husband of Clytemnestra and was slain together with their newborn child by Agamemnon who married the Spartan princess after his death.

<i>Thyestes</i> (Seneca) tragedy by Seneca the Younger

Thyestes is a first century AD fabula crepidata of approximately 1112 lines of verse by Lucius Annaeus Seneca, which tells the story of Thyestes, who unwittingly ate his own children who were slaughtered and served at a banquet by his brother Atreus. As with most of Seneca's plays, Thyestes is based upon an older Greek version with the same name by Euripides.

<i>Agamemnon</i> (Seneca) tragedy by Seneca

Agamemnon is a fabula crepidata of c. 1012 lines of verse written by Lucius Annaeus Seneca in the first century AD, which tells the story of Agamemnon, who was killed by his wife Clytemnestra in his palace after his return from Troy.

Thyestes was the mythical king of Olympia.

Pleisthenes, in Greek mythology, was the son of Atreus and Aerope. According to Hesiod, Pleisthenes married Cleolla, daughter of Dias, and is the father of Agamemnon, Menelaus, and Anaxibia. Aeschylus also followed this tradition when he called the Atreidai "the race of Pleisthenes".

In Greek mythology, Pelopia, less commonly known as Mnesiphae, was the daughter of Thyestes.


  1. Conacher, D. J. (1970). "Review: The Tragedies of Euripides by T. B. L. Webster". Phoenix. 24 (1).

Further reading

Loeb Classical Library

The Loeb Classical Library is a series of books, today published by Harvard University Press, which presents important works of ancient Greek and Latin literature in a way designed to make the text accessible to the broadest possible audience, by presenting the original Greek or Latin text on each left-hand page, and a fairly literal translation on the facing page. The General Editor is Jeffrey Henderson, holder of the William Goodwin Aurelio Professorship of Greek Language and Literature at Boston University.