The New Student's Reference Work/Euripides

Euripides (ū-rĭp′ĭ-dēz), a famous Greek poet, was born in Salamis in 480 B. C. He was the last of the three great tragic poets of Greece. He was a pupil of Anaxagoras and a friend of Socrates. His first play was written when he was 18. He is said to have written from 75 to 90 dramas, of which we have 18 complete. Alcestis, Medea, Hecuba, Andromache, Ion, Orestes, Iphigenia, Electra and The Bacchæ are some of his works. Socrates admired his tragedies so much that he always went to the theater if a play of Euripides was performed, but Aristophanes made fun of him and charged him with degrading tragedy by introducing in it scenes from every-day life. He left Athens for the court of Archelaus, king of Macedon, where he died in 406 B. C. When the news of his death reached Athens, the whole city was plunged in mourning. Sophocles, then 90 years old, made his actors wear mourning on the stage. The Athenians asked for the body of Euripides for burial, and when refused built a magnificent tomb to his memory on the road to the Piræus, with the inscription: “All Greece is the monument of Euripides. Macedonian earth covers but his bones.” Archelaus also built a monument, and inscribed upon it: “Never, O Euripides, will thy memory be forgotten.” His popularity increased after his death. His plays were much oftener revived on the stage than those of Sophocles or Æschylus. His works were favorites of Aristotle, Vergil, Ovid, Horace, Milton and Browning.


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