The Trojans

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The Trojans is the title of a tragedy by Euripides that probably took place in March 415 BC. Was performed on the occasion of the Great Dionysia . It belonged to the trilogy Alexandros - Palamedes - Troerinnen , which was supplemented by the satyr play Sisyphus .

Dramatis personae

The piece

The action takes place shortly before the Achaeans set out after the conquest of Troy . The main characters are Hekabe, the wife of the Trojan prince Priam , her daughters Kassandra, Andromache and Polyxena, as well as Helena, for whose return the Trojan War was fought.

Prologos (vv. 1-152)

The prologue begins with a speech by Poseidon, which appears at the sleeping Hecabe. He celebrates the fate of the city ​​built by Apollo and himself. He mentions the murder of Priam on the steps of the Zeus altar, the looting and the drawing of lots of the captured Trojan women. Hera and Athene are named as enemies of Troy and their support for the Achaeans is described. Athena joins in verse 48 and reveals to him the plan to disperse the army of the Greeks on the way home. As a reason she cites the desecration of Cassandra by Aias in the sanctuary of Athena. After the fall of Troy, he had dragged Kassandra away from the portrait of Athena, overturning the statue and raping Kassandra while still in the sanctuary. As a punishment for this act, the gods plan that Zeus punish the Achaeans with hail, rain and storm, Athena will destroy the ship of Ajas with Zeus' thunderbolt, while Poseidon should let the waves of the Aegean beat up. Poseidon promises that many banks will be covered with dead bodies of victims. Hecabe awakens and begins again to describe the fate of Troy, but more personally than Poseidon did. She laments her own fate and hints at her hatred of Helena.

Parodos (v. 153-234)

A first half-choir of the Trojan women moves in. In interplay with the choir, Hekabe laments her suffering. Hecabe also speaks to her daughter Kassandra, who is mad from her point of view. In verse 176 the second half choir moves in. Now it's about the fate of women. They wonder if they will be killed or who will master them. In verse 197 the two half-choirs unite. The women hope that they will at least be dragged off to Athens and not to Sparta . The second best destination the choir names Thessaly , the rich land at the foot of Mount Olympus .

1. Epeisodion (v. 235-510)

Talthybios, a messenger from the Greeks, appears with escort soldiers. He explains that the women have already been raffled. Kassandra was drawn to Agamemnon , the general of the Greeks, as a concubine, not as a slave. Polyxena was drawn to the tomb of Achilles . When Hecabe worries about their fate, Talthybios assures that Polyxena will have no trouble. Andromache, Hector's widow, comes into the hands of Achilles' son. Hecabe was redeemed by Odysseus . In a tent you can see flames. Hecabe is afraid that Kassandra will burn herself. But she jumps out of the tent with a torch, dancing; she seems happy about her lot. When Hecabe orders a halt, Kassandra declares: She celebrates that she will destroy the house of the Atrids . Because she foresees the murder of Agamemnon by Clytaimnestra and her own death, as well as the murder of Orestes of his mother as revenge for the death of the father. She then underlines the importance of Helena and the futility of the campaign against Troy: the Greeks moved to Troy because of Helena, in order to destroy the city, many victims had to suffer for a hated person. It also shows the difference between the Greek and the Phrygian dead. The Greeks fell on foreign soil for a reprehensible cause and were buried, while the Trojans fell at home for their hometown and were also buried in home soil. Talthybios regrets Agamemnon, since he receives the mad seer, but he has to carry out the orders and take her with him. Kassandra confronts the messenger with a saying from Apollo that her mother will die in Troy, albeit in a shameful way. She prophesies Odysseus' odyssey and mentions some adventures that he will experience. She gives details of her death. Then she is taken away and Hecabe faints. After she wakes up again, she calls on the gods. First she sings about her happiness as queen, wife and mother, then the suffering, the deep fall, follows. She laments her fate of having to serve Odysseus. An example of the famous envelope of happiness that appears frequently in ancient literature. Hecabe falls to the ground and sleeps.

1. Stasimon (v. 511-576)

The choir depicts the fall of Troy. It begins with the entry of the horse into the city by the citizens themselves. In Troy there is a normal life, one sacrifices, one walks through the streets. Then there are screams of murder, people are being killed. There is shouting in the city.

At this point a cart with Andromache and her son Astyanax drives past. The choir wakes Hecabe out of her sleep.

2. Epeisodion (v. 577-798)

Hecabe hears her daughter-in-law's complaints. Hecabe and Andromache beg their slain men for assistance; they complain to each other of their suffering. Andromache reports that Polyxena was killed over the grave of Achilles. Now Hekabe recognizes how Talthybios' statement from 1st Epeisodion was meant: she will have no more troubles. When Hecabe laments her dead daughter, Andromache objects that death is better than the shame of slavery. Then Andromache laments her conflict. Neoptolemus - Achill's son - desires her as a woman. If she gives herself to him, she betrays her dead husband, if she refuses, he will mistreat her. Hecabe asks her to satisfy her new husband. Talthybios reappears with women. He suggests evil concerning Astyanax; Andromache fears that her son will have another Greek master. Talthybios, however, tells her that he will have no Greek master; When she asks if he can stay in Troy, Talthybios tells her with a heavy heart that her son will be killed. He tells her to put up with it so that her son can be buried with honor. He would be denied this if she refused to surrender the son or if she curse the Greeks. She hugs him one last time, then Talthybios takes him. Andromache continues on the cart. Hekabe sees in it the total annihilation of Troy and sinks to the ground.

2. Stasimon (v. 799-859)

The choir sings about Telamon , King of Salamis , and also refers to Athens. He attacked Troy with Heracles on the Argonauts' train and plundered it. Heracles then wished Troy a brave son. Telamon got this too: Ajax . Aiax then took part in the Trojan War with another son of Telamon, Teuker. Again the choir complains about the destruction of the city.

3. Epeisodion (v. 860-1059)

Enter MENELAUS . He explains that he did not come because of his wife Helena, but because of Paris , to atone for the shame. But he wants to bring Helena home to Sparta and have her killed there so that she can atone for the many Greeks who have died in Ilion's soil. Hecabe heard this and praised Menelaus for his intention to kill. But he should avoid her face so that he does not fall for her again. The soldiers lead the decorated Helena out of the tent. She wants to know what has been decided about her. Menelaus tells her that the whole army is demanding their death, which Helena calls unjust. Hecabe asked that both sides should be heard, which Menelaus granted. Helena first blames Hecabe for the disaster, since she gave birth to Paris; then Priam, as he destroyed Troy and Helena by not killing the infant despite prophecy. Then Paris was drawn into the goddess controversy; Athena had promised him power over Greece, Hera dominion over Europe and Asia, but Aphrodite the most beautiful woman on earth. It follows that Aphrodite's victory had the effect that the Achaeans were no longer under the power of the barbarians of Asia Minor. Besides, Helena did not leave voluntarily, but through the intervention of the goddess who accompanied Paris to Menelaus' palace. She goes on to argue that he thinks she could have left Ilion after Paris' death and fled to the Greek camp. However, this was not possible because the wall was too well guarded. The choir now asks Hecabe to respond appropriately. She argues that the goddess controversy was only a joke and vanity, so it could not be that Athene and Hera had promised Paris power over Greece. It is completely ridiculous that Aphrodite went to the palace, because as the goddess she was powerful enough to move Helena from Sparta to Troy. She thinks that Helena should have lived thriftily in Sparta, while she savored the wealth in Troy. If Paris had kidnapped Helena by force, other people in the palace should have heard. Hekabe also points out that Helena was never caught on the run. Then she complains that Helena came out of the tent dressed up instead of keeping her shaved head down. At the end of her speech, she asks Menelaus to kill Helena in any case. Menelaus wants to have Helena stoned. She throws herself at his feet and asks for mercy. Hecabe asks him not to be infatuated by Helena. He then says that it is not possible and orders Helena to be brought onto the ship. He himself would return to Argos on another ship.

3. Stasimon (v. 1060-1117)

The choir of Phrygian women stated that no more sacrifices for the gods could come from Troy, since the altars were now in the hands of the Greeks. They lament the suffering of the men killed and the fall of their city. Then the misery of the kidnapping is lamented before they curse Menelaus.

Talthybios comes up with the body of Astyanax on Hector's shield.

Exodos (v. 1123-1332)

Talthybios tells how Andromache asked Neoptolemus to grant the Astyanax a burial and to leave the shield of her dead husband in Troy. Neoptolemus agrees to both requests. Talthybios gives Hecabe the shield with the corpse and tells her the corpse has already been washed. Hekabe laments the murder of the small child, describes the corpse and laments that the old now bury the young instead of the other way around. She covers the body with a dress that he should have worn to his wedding. Then she complains that the gods did not help, although one did sacrifice. The choir joins the lament. Talthybios comes back and orders Troy to be cremated; the women have to go to the ships of the Greeks. Hecabe and the choir weep for the end of Troy, then the castle sinks in a sea of ​​flames while the women go to the ships.

Modern edits


Web links

Commons : Troerinnen  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. further lit. see article Huis Clos , since collection topic
  2. For a comparative analysis by Euripides and W. Jens, Untergang, see Bernd Manuwald , Die “Troerinnen” in a new garment. Walter Jens '“The Downfall” and his Euripidean model, in: Annali della Facoltà di Lettere e Filosofia dell' Università di Napoli , vol. 26, new series, 14