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Euripides’s Revolution under CoverAn Essay$
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Pietro Pucci

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501700613

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501700613.001.0001

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The Battle

The Battle

19. The Battle
Euripides’s Revolution under Cover

Pietro Pucci

Cornell University Press

This chapter focuses on the battle between Athens and Thebes in Suppliant Women. Critics and commentators seem especially concerned to extrapolate, from the Messenger's description of the battle, the location of the actual territory before the wall of Thebes that Euripides's text describes to the audience. This description repeats some important episodes and tactics of the “battle of Delion” in 424 B.C., as told by Thucydides. Historians and critics have shown that the odd episode described in lines 678–79 resonates as an allusion to the presence in the Theban army of a special elite body of 300 warriors called parabates. In Diodorus's description of the battle of Delion, these warriors are fighting in front of the Theban army; in the Suppliants they descend from the chariots and fight, aided by the charioteers. This chapter considers the similarities in the tactics of the battle in Euripides's and Thucydides's texts.

Keywords:   battle, Athens, Thebes, Suppliant Women, Euripides, battle of Delion, Thucydides, parabates, warriors

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