Aeschylus is the oldest of the three great Greek tragedians. Born probably in 525 or 524 BC, he lived through the end of tyranny at Athens and the restitution of democracy. He took part in the battle of Marathon in 490 and probably also in the battle of Salamis in 480, the subject of his Persians. During his life he made at least two visits to Sicily, and died there at Gela in 456 or 455. Those who wish may believe the late story that he was killed by a tortoise, which an eagle dropped on his bald head, mistaking it for a rock on which to crack the tortoise's shell. This book deals with Aeschylus' six extant plays in the chronological order of their first production: Persians, the earliest Greek tragedy that has come down to us, Seven against Thebes, Suppliants, and the three plays of the Oresteia trilogy: Agamemnon, Libation Bearers and Eumenides. It also contains also an essay on Prometheus Bound, now generally thought not to be by Aeschylus, but accepted as his in antiquity. It is intended primarily as a readable introduction to the dramatist for A-level students of Classical Civilisation and Ancient History, and for the first two years of university courses.
It should be of interest also to students of other disciplines and to the non-specialist reader.
A.F. Garvie is Emeritus Professor of Greek at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of 'Aeschylus 'Supplices': play and trilogy' (1969); of editions of Aeschylus 'Choephori' (1986); Homer 'Odyssey VI-VIII' (1994); and Sophocles 'Ajax' (1998), and of 'The Plays of Sophocles' in this series.