Aeschylus: Persae: with Introduction and Commentary by A.F. Garvie

Aeschylus' Persae, first produced in 472 BC, is the oldest surviving Greek tragedy. It is also the only extant Greek tragedy that deals, not with a mythological subject, but with an event of recent history, the Greek defeat of the Persians at Salamis in 480 BC. Unlike Aeschylus' other surviving plays, it is apparently not part of a connected trilogy. In this new edition A. F. Garvie encourages the reader to assess the Persae on its own terms as a drama. It is not a patriotic celebration, or a play with a political manifesto, but a genuine tragedy, which, far from presenting a simple moral of hybris punished by the gods, poses questions concerning human suffering to which there are no easy answers. In his Introduction Garvie defends the play's structure against its critics, and considers its style, the possibility of thematic links between it and the other plays presented by Aeschylus on the same occasion, its staging, and the state of the transmitted text. The Commentary develops in greater detail some of the conclusions of the Introduction.