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Euripides and the Gods$
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Mary Lefkowitz

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199752058

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199752058.001.0001

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(p.77) 3 Athena
Euripides and the Gods

Mary Lefkowitz

Oxford University Press

Athena, the goddess of Athens, appears in more of Euripides’ extant dramas than any other god. When angry, Athena can be ruthless, as she is in the Trojan Women, but in most other dramas she is more willing than other gods to communicate with mortals, especially when the interests of her own city are concerned, appearing ex machina in Euripides’ dramas Suppliants, Iphigenia among the Taurians, Ion, and Erechtheus. In these dramas the goddess helps to save the lives of a few members of royal families, or establishes cults in their honor, in order to protect the interests of her city and its cults of the gods. But like other gods she disregards the suffering of those few mortals she favors, and she is unwilling to alter or improve the lives of most human beings.

Keywords:   Athena, Erechtheus, Theseus, Euripides’ Suppliants, Iphigenia, Athenian cults, sacrifices, Erechthids

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