In recent years the general view of the theology and morality of Aeschylus which we still find expressed in the most popular handbooks of Greek tragedy has come under fire; fire which its defenders have so far been unwilling or unable to return. That Aeschylus was a bold religious innovator propounding advanced doctrines can no longer be assumed without argument; neither can one take for granted that his outlook on morality in general and on justice in particular was as advanced (...) as it was once usual to maintain. (shrink)
After a hundred and thirty years of controversy, the interpretation of thePrometheus Boundis still the subject of debate. To the romantic poets of the revolutionary era, the Titan tortured by Zeus for his services to mankind appeared as a symbol of the human spirit in its struggle to throw off the chains which priests and kings had forged for it. But to the distinguished Hellenists who after the fall of Napoleon laid the foundations of the great century of German scholarship, (...) no such naïve and one-sided view of thePrometheusseemed tolerable. It was partly, perhaps, that the political atmosphere discouraged an interpretation adverse to authority; but the other writings of Aeschylus himself seemed to offer strong evidence against this view. Elsewhere in Aeschylus, they could argue, Zeus was treated with profound respect. In theSupplices, he is continually appealed to by the chorus of Danaids, who miss no opportunity to extol the supremacy of his power. Zeus' omnipotence is the burden of a celebrated section of the first chorus of theAgamemnon; although scholars have differed widely in the details of their interpretation of this passage, most are agreed that it expresses theological doctrines that are at once subtle and sublime, and many have discovered profound significance in its puzzling allusions to ‘learning by suffering’ and to aχάριςthat comes to men from the gods. Chiefly upon evidence derived from these two plays, many scholars have credited their author with the invention of a peculiar personal religion, tending to exalt Zeus at the expense of the other members of the Olympic pantheon, and crediting him with the purpose of perfecting men in goodness through the discipline of suffering. Some have gone so far as to detect tendencies to monotheism in Aeschylus. A fair specimen of the usual kind of view is that of Nilsson, who begins by hesitating to pronounce Aeschylus a monotheist; Aeschylus, he warns us, is not a religious innovator preaching a new form of religion, but a profoundly pious poet; but later, he comes dangerously near to this view. The power of Zeus, he argues, is so much magnified that at one point he seems more a principle than a personal god. (shrink)
No project lay nearer to the heart of Eduard Fraenkel during his last years than that of promoting a reprint of the famous book Die dramatische Technik des Sophokles, by Tycho von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, which was first published as volume xxii of Philologische Untersuchungen in 1917. Tycho Wilamowitz, the son of Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff and the grandson of Theodor Mommsen, was killed fighting against the Russians near Ivangorod on the night of 14/15 October 1914. After his death the manuscript was prepared (...) for publication by his friend Ernst Kapp, who has explained in the foreword of the book the nature of his services. (shrink)
So many scholars nowadays believe that the final scenes of the Seven against Thebes as we have them have been considerably distorted and interpolated that some may not be aware that such an opinion was first expressed little more than ioo years ago. The first scholar to do so was A. Scholl, who afterwards recanted.
All commentators so far as I know have believed that lines 100–1 are simply a vague paraphrase for Jebb's translation may be taken to represent the usual view: ‘… is he threading the straits of the sea, or hath he found an abode on either continent?’ But this sense is not only poetially inept, but linguistically impossible.