Agamemnon - Aeschylus - Ancient Greece - Classical Literature
Clytemnestra, in Greek legend, a daughter of Leda and Tyndareus and wife of Agamemnon, commander of the Greek forces in the Trojan War. She took Aegisthus as her lover while Agamemnon was away at war. Clytemnestra was then killed by her son, Orestes, with the help of his sister. relationships between the Clytemnestra-figure (Frances Fermoy) and her realisations of Clytemnestra's involvement in the murder of Agamemnon from .. Dana Sutton, concedes that the staging problems presented by Agamemnon make. not to kill the man, nor court his lady for marriage; of his mother, which is the key issue in most later versions of the tale, . In Pindar's vision of Agamemnon's death, Clytemnestra kills both Cassandra and Agamemnon.
He extended his dominion by conquest and became the most powerful prince in Greece. Thus misfortune hounded successive generations of the House of Atreusuntil atoned by Orestes in a court of justice held jointly by humans and gods. Trojan War Agamemnon gathered the reluctant Greek forces to sail for Troy. Preparing to depart from Ancient Greece, which was a port in Boeotia, Agamemnon's army incurred the wrath of the goddess Artemis.
There are several reasons throughout myth for such wrath: Misfortunes, including a plague and a lack of wind, prevented the army from sailing. Finally, the prophet Calchas announced that the wrath of the goddess could only be propitiated by the sacrifice of Agamemnon's daughter Iphigenia.
Achilles ' surrender of Briseis to Agamemnon, from the House of the Tragic Poet in Pompeiifresco, 1st century AD, now in the Naples National Archaeological Museum Classical dramatizations differ on how willing either father or daughter was to this fate; some include such trickery as claiming she was to be married to Achillesbut Agamemnon did eventually sacrifice Iphigenia. Her death appeased Artemis, and the Greek army set out for Troy.
Several alternatives to the human sacrifice have been presented in Greek mythology. Other sources, such as Iphigenia at Aulissay that Agamemnon was prepared to kill his daughter, but that Artemis accepted a deer in her place, and whisked her away to Tauris in the Crimean Peninsula. Hesiod said she became the goddess Hecate.
Agamemnon was the commander-in-chief of the Greeks during the Trojan War. During the fighting, Agamemnon killed Antiphus and fifteen other Trojan soldiers, according to one source. Even before his "aristea," Agamemnon was considered to be one of the three best warriors on the Greek side as proven when Hector challenges any champion of the Greek side to fight him in Book 7, and Agamemnon along with Diomedes and Big Aias is one of the three most wished for to face him out of the nine strongest Greek warriors who volunteered.
And after they reconciled, even Achilles admits in Book 23 that Agamemnon is "the best in strength and in throwing the spear.
The Iliad tells the story about the quarrel between Agamemnon and Achilles in the final year of the war. Following one of the Achaean Army's raids, Chryseisdaughter of Chrysesone of Apollo's priests, was taken as a war prize by Agamemnon. Chryses pleaded with Agamemnon to free his daughter but was met with little success. Chryses then prayed to Apollo for the safe return of his daughter, which Apollo responded to by unleashing a plague over the Achaean Army.
After learning from the Prophet Calchas that the plague could be dispelled by returning Chryseis to her father, Agamemnon reluctantly agreed but first berated Calchas for previously forcing Agamemnon to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia and released his prize. However, as compensation for his lost prize, Agamemnon demanded a new prize.
As a result, Agamemnon stole an attractive slave called Briseisone of the spoils of war, from Achilles. Agamemnon, having realized Achilles's importance in winning the war against the Trojan Army, sent ambassadors begging for Achilles to return, offering him riches and the hand of his daughter in marriage, but Achilles refused, only being spurred back into action when his closest friend, Patroclus, was killed in battle.
We do not see them holding court but clearly they have to because the major goddesses must do this. Within their realm they make the laws and enforce them. We do not see Clytemnestra legislating either, but she clearly is active in her domain and her second husband, Aegisthus is passive.
Orestes decides to kill her for killing his father. Now the question becomes whether Orestes can be freed of guilt for murder because he commited matricide. In The Eumenides by Aeschylus Athena does this when she says: Therefore the fathers's claim And male supremacy in all things, save to give Myself in marriage, wins my whole heart's loyalty.
Therefore a woman's death, who killed her husband, is, I judge, outweighed in grievousness by his. But they remain in the divine realm of the Greek Pantheon. When the Greek religion was overthrown by Christianity even that was greatly weakened. About her name you seem to be on the wrong track. Thus the daughter of Chryses was Chryseis. The daughter of Briseus was Briseis. These are patronymic names.
There would be a similar name for Clytemnestra as the daughter of Tyndareus. Tyndaris is perhaps this name but I am not able to translate it. This references a Maiden who can yield many ox hides from her suitors.
The people of ancient Greece saw value in a daughter for this reason. Clytemnestra was probably in this category when she was a maiden. My involvement with ancient Greek women began with a page that I wrote on the Amazons. What I have is a web site that expands on this topic. I have spent a lot of time with the Minoan culture because it seemed to be a source of the Amazons. Now it seems more likely that the Amazons came from the source of the Mycenaean culture, the Indo-European culture.
But neither source is certain. Originally when I got involved with the web I thought that programming was important and that I could use my programming background. But I found that the content was more important and I have spent a lot of time reading about ancient Greek women. I continue this because it seems like an important topic. The ancient Greek women were not totally free to choose their way of life, but they were a lot freer than almost anyone else.
And even though the Classical Greeks put women in a subservient role, still they were given opportunities to educate themselves. In Sparta the wives of the Spartans were amongst the freest because their only role was the rearing of their children. Today women need to think of other roles besides child-rearing. Many countries are burdened by too many children that the women have raised because that is their only role.
Society needs to change, both men and women. The study of ancient Greek women may help this. Your study of these women may help with this too. But it seems so unfair, and so women unfriendly. But this situation Clytemnestra was in screams for a more womkan-friendly view. It was really Agamemnon who was the bad type in my opinion.
Menelaus was kind and loving, it seems. And Helena was very much in love with him, I think. Not now, and not then.
I personally think Paris abducted her in the true sense of the word. So how come his brother Agamemnon was such a bad man? What happened to him that he turned out to be so evil? Because someone who willingly murders a newborn baby, is pretty evil in my opinion. Killing something in a war or in a battle is another thing. That happens, and in those days it happened a lot.
Even killing someone in a rage or out of frustration or jealousy or sorrow is something I can understand. But it can be understandable in some cases.
By the way, is it known what her baby boy from Tantalus was called? And do you know how old Clytemnestra was when she married Tantalus? And why did she marry him at such an early age? I read somewhere that Tantalus was an old man?
How old was he? Was she in love with him? Or do you think they WERE mature enough? That an 11 year old girl from could never be compared to a year old girl in Greece BC? Is there anything known about their youths? Of Helena, Clytemnestra and their twin brothers?
And there was another sister Phoebe? Just that she existed. Was she older or younger than the 4 hatchlings from the swan eggs? And you mention another sister.
You also said they both died young. So you DO know something about these two sisters.
So it was a father and a mother and 6 children in that household? Four girls and two boys? I like reading about the myths. But I would like it much, much more if somewhere there would be some info about their real lives. You know, the daily routine. What their youth was like. What kind of things they did when they were just teens, but already had babies.
Did they care for their children themselves? Do you know anything about their youths and teen years? I have another question. But what do you think? When I read about that Greek era, there are lots of mythical aspects. There were Gods, and godesses, and titans, and all other sorts of divine figures. There was mount Olympus, and the Gods and Godesses were immortal, and they had special powers.
When you look at the lives of Clytemnestra and Helena, it already starts at their beginning. Zeus changed into a swan and raped Leda, and there were two eggs. Helena and Clytemnestra in one egg, and the boys in the other. Believing something and not needing proof? The same with this. I think miracles can happen. If you believe in God, and I do, then no miracle is totally unbelievable or unpossible. That whole Greek myth system is a lot to digest, even if you do believe in miracles.
If it all happened just like that, then the world was a very different world then we now know. Well, who knows; maybe it was. But what do you believe? Did these strange things really happen like it is told? Are the myths for real? People like Homerus and Eudipidus and others wrote about these figures. So there is written history in a way.
But these were authors, poets. So if they wanted to make it nicer or more fantastic, that they mixed fiction with reality? They could have, and they probably did. And can we be sure? Because I think men like Homerus wrote stories in a very beautiful way even back then they must have agreed about thatbut he also probably wrote it like it was custom to do.
Because that would be much more interesting in my view. I love reading about the myths; we all do. What their characters were like. Now a last question. They were called Helena, Phoebe and what-was-her-name? So they were given their own names too. They have real qualities. By studying the available literature you will realize that Agamamnon was not as bad as you think, nor was Meneleus as good. It turns out your belief in love potions is not that important. What is important is the beliefs of the people that use them.
Paragraph 2 — Anyway, I think — The main value of the Iliad and the Odyssey is the discussion of ethics. Some people believe every action can be judged by rules. Some believe each action must be judged in context. To decide you will have to carefully judge each each action in context. The good thing about the ancient Greeks is that they provide lots of material for this. She ads that Agamemnon then married her by force, and the implication is thus that his motive for the murders was to obtain her, although the test does not actually say that.
Apollodorus repeats the story, ApE2. He would be part of a larger family group ruled by his father or grandfather. When the wife came into the group she would be ruled more by her mother-in-law than by her husband. The husband and wife might sleep together but that is all. During the day the men would go outside the home to work and the women would work together inside the home. The new wife might be taught weaving, sewing and similar domestic skills. She might cook, but this is not documented.
She would have a specialized function in a larger group of women. Slaves would do the water fetching and cleaning. In the evening there would be a social time involving a meal.
Even then it was common for the man and women to be separate. The woman slaves would wait on the men while the women had their own event. Paragraph 4 — Is there anything known — Though little can be stated with certainly there are valuable conjectures that can be made. Euripides seems to think that not much had changed in Sparta from his time to the time of the Trojan war. So your can study what has been written about Sparta to get an idea about the life of the youth.
Some reasonable conclusions that can be drawn include: The were raised by wet nurses; they remained naked until they were five, their education consisted of sports contests,etc. The one thing we know about was that Helen was abducted by Theseus when she was twelve. He may have impregnated her. This may have not been that rare at that time.
Another fact is that Helen was dancing in the temple of Artemis Orthia when she was abducted. She knew how to dance and she participated in religious ceremonies.
We know from archaeology that they were mainly into raising sheep and making cloth from those sheep. This was exported to great distance. They were so wealthy that they built great palaces of stone. The only work Helen might have done was weaving. While she was weaving her brothers would be out hunting. Unlike most people she slept in her own room but she was not alone. A slave maid slept at the foot of her bed and another slept outside her door.
Each palace was a village unto itself with most of the people having the status of a slave. Their interrelationships could only have been provocative since two of them were immortal, thinking and reacting accordingly.
But at this point it is hard to distinguish between the mortality or immortality of Helen. Polydeuces is the only immortal in the group. But this is strange because an immortal needs no childhood. Paragraph 5 — I have another question — The writing about the ancient Greek deities is a test of your religious tolerance.
I consider that these stories about the ancient Greek religion to be about the same thing as the Christian Bible. It is nice to know the causes of things but many things happen that are not possible of explanation and one must resolve yourself to them.
Agamemnon Study Guide
They myths provide understanding of things that could not otherwise be known. Even today the Greek myths can do that for you. Today the Greek myths are used to personify things and this is meaningful. Another approach is to compare Christian values with the values of the ancient Greek. This can provide a better understanding of both.
Instead of rejecting the myths as false considering what is true about them can be very meaningful. Paragraph 6 — And by the way — The world was very different then.
But what happened then is not irrelevant. Studying what happened then can give new insight into different things that are happening now. Particularly though life was short and in most case miserable the ancient Greeks seemed to have an extremely rich life. In some cases their lives were richer than are own.
We might be able to learn from them how to accomplish life enrichment. Paragraph 7 — But what do your believe — Things did happen and some of them were strange. The myths are for real. But even Aristotle knew that they did not describe physical reality. The poets tried to tell the truth. But their task was not to relay historical or physical facts. In fact they really did not understand history or science. One aspect is that what they related was very personal. Many things happen that are neither historical nor physical but are personal.
Yet the individual must deal with these things especially when they have personal impact. The myths have value when they relate facts that are useful. If the myths can reduce your anxiety or inspire you then they may have accomplished their mission. The ancient Greek deities are just as much alive today as they were then.
But their realm is spiritual rather than physical. For the ancient Greeks the deities provided explanations that helped them. They were part of a causal chain that explained things. In their search for causes they realized that the deities played less and less of a part.
Aristotle reduced deities to a prime mover. He also wrote about topics that were clearly to him outside of the physical.
These topics are collected in his Metaphysics.
It is interesting in Homer that physical events are explained by deities that behave like human beings. These explanations are more revealing of human behavior than they are good explanations of physical reality. The abstract nature of those deities inpired great art. But underneath the myths and stories of Greek deities is a system of law which became very important.
The idea that reality can be interpreted by laws, whether divine or not, allowed Greek religion to lay the foundation for modern science.