The Ancient Library

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On this page: Euryale – Euryalus – Euryclea – Eurydice – Eurynome – Eurypylus



his death at the same time as the Iphigcnia at Aulis. The genuineness of the Rhesus was doubted even in antiquity. A great number of fragments have survived from about sixty pieces, and in particular from the PhaSthon.

The tragedies of Euripides are of very unequal merit. Some of them, for instance the Hippolytus and the Bacchai, attain the lofty style of Sophocles, others approach it, as the Medea and Iphigenia in Tauris. But others, as for instance the Andromache and Electro, are very carelessly put to­gether. His strong point is not artistic composition, well contrived disposition, or the coherent design which gives the inner motive of the action. It is sufficient, in support of this statement, to call attention to his habit of prefixing to every piece a prologue, explaining the story to the spec­tators, and connected loosely (if at all) with the play; to the very slight connexion be­tween the chorus and the action, and to his liking for bringing in a dSus ex machlna to cut a difficult knot. On the other hand, it must be allowed that Euripides is a master in the art of devising pathetic situations, and shows extraordinary power in representing human passion, especially the resistless might of love in the case of women.

In his religious views he differs essen­tially from .iEschylus and Sophocles. With Euripides the gods are not moral powers, and fate is not so much the result of a higher dispensation as a perverseness of accident. The lack of grandeur is also a point which distinguishes him from his great prede­cessors. Instead of their sublime ideas he gives us maxims of worldly wisdom, often to all appearance dragged in without occasion. The motives of action are not so pure as in ^Eschylus and Sophocles, and the characters of the heroes are not raised above the level of ordinary life, but brought down to it. So fond is he of giving prominence to the faults of women, that he has been called a woman-hater. He pays more attention to the course of politics than his predecessors, and is indeed influenced by political considera­tions in his sketches of character. In deference to the democratic leanings of his public, he makes hia kings cruel tyrants, without dignity or majesty, and the heroes of the Peloponnese, in particular, he treats with unconcealed dislike. His dialogues are often overloaded with rhetoric and sophistical dialectic. But, in spite of all these faults, for which the spirit of the age is mainly responsible, he is a great poetical

genius. He was very popular with his con­temporaries, and has been still more so with succeeding generations. The trage­dians of the next age made him their model and pattern without qualification, and the Roman poets preferred paraphrasing his dramas to those of the other tragedians.

Europe (Lat. EurOpa). A figure in Greek mythology. In Homer she is the daughter of Phoenix, in the later story of the Phoenician Agenor, and sister of Cadmus. Zeus, in the shape of a bull, carried her over the sea to Crete, where she bore him Minos, Rhada-manthys, and according to the later legend, Sarpedon also. Zeus left her with AstSrion, king of Crete, who brought up her sons and left them his kingdom. She was worshipped in Crete under the name of Hellotis, especially at Gortyn, where she was supposed to have been wedded with Zeus, and to have borne him her sons. A festival called Hellotia was held in her honour, at which her bones were carried in a wreath of myrtle.

Euryale. See gorgon.

Enryalus. Son of Mecisteus, one of the Eplgoni, and with SthSuSlus, the companion of DlOmedes before Troy.

Euryclea (Eurykleia). The nurse of Odysseus, who brought up his son Tel6-machus. When her master had returned home in the disguise of a beggar, she recognised him by a scar while bathing his feet. On a hint from him she kept silence, and afterwards was the first who brought to PenSlSpe the news of her husband's return and of the slaughter of the suitors.

Eurydlce. See orpheus.

Eurynome. See charites.

Eurypylns. (1) Son of Pdseidon and Asty-palsea, king of the MSrSpSs of Cos. He was slain by Heracles, who had been driven on to the coast on his return from Troy. The struggle was a hard one, but Heracles was assisted by Zeus. The daughter of Eurypylus, ChalciOpe, became mother of Thessalns by Heracles.

(2) Son of Telgphus and AstySche. As-tyoche, bribed by her brother Priam with the present of a golden vine, persuaded Eurypylus to bring the last succour to the Trojans shortly before the fall of the city. After performing deeds of bravery, he fell at the hand of Neopt816mus.

(3) Son of Eusemon, king of OrmSnldn in Thessaly, one of the suitors of Helen. He was among the bravest of the Greek heroes who fought before Troy, and of his own accord offered to engage Hector in single

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