24. The Persians (472 BC) by Aeschylus.

chronolit

Plot : News reaches the Persian court of their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Salamis where their army and navy have been decimated by the Athenians. My copy is the Penguin edition covering Aeschylus’ four surviving plays outside his Oresteian Trilogy, edited by Philip Vellacott (ISBN 9780140441123)
My thoughts:
The first play reached in my list, The Persians is interesting in that it was written by an Athenian for an Athenian audience to celebrate their successful rout of the invading Persian forces eight years earlier, yet is based on the news reaching the Persians and describing in detail the overwhelming disaster from their point of view. Xerxes’ rashness in attacking the Athenians is seen as the downfall of the Persian Empire, opening the door for democracy to overtake their society’s rule by kingship. The battle is not glorified – indeed, the description of the horrors of violent death as…

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