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Euripides ( Greek Εὐριπίδης Euripides ; * 480 BC.. Or 485 / 484 BC.. On Salamis , † .. 406 BC in Pella ) is one of the great classical Greek playwrights .

After Aeschylus and Sophocles, Euripides is the youngest of the three great Greek tragedy poets . Of around 90 tragedies, 18 have survived. In addition, one of his satyr games has come down to us. With his plays, especially Medea , Iphigenie in Aulis , Elektra and Die Bacchen , Euripides is one of the most played dramatists in world literature.


Little is known about the life of Euripides. Some information can be found in a preface to Byzantine Euripides manuscripts. Accordingly, he was the son of Mnisarchos and the Kleito from the inland demos Phlya of the Attic Phyle Kekropis . During the second Persian War , his parents fled in 480 BC. To Salamis , and so he was born here. He is said to have returned to Salamis again and again to compose his dramas in a secluded cave. The cave of Euripides was identified in 1997 in the south of the island. He is also said to have been a torchbearer at the rites of Apollon Zosterios . He is also said to have heard lectures from the natural philosopher Anaxagoras and the sophists Prodikos and Protagoras .

Important life dates arise above all from his participation in the tragedy competitions that were organized in Athens on the occasion of Dionysia (a city cult event for the theater god Dionysus). Between 455 and 408 BC BC Euripides regularly brought tetralogies (consisting of three tragedies and a satyr play of a rather grotesque character) to the stage in the tragic agon . With his first competition entry Die Peliaden (lost), he took third place. His first victory falls in the year 441 BC. In the year 428 BC He won with the surviving The wreathed Hippolytos , which was the arrangement of another Hippolytos piece listed and heavily criticized a few years earlier. Overall, he won four times during his lifetime and with a posthumous tetralogy, to which the famous play The Bakchen belongs.

The poet was a friend of Socrates who - although he was not a fan of such events - even went as far as Peiraius when Euripides had a play performed there.

Shortly after Dionysia in 408 BC BC Euripides accepted the invitation of the Macedonian king Archelaos I , in whose capital Pella he visited at the beginning of spring 406 BC. Chr. Died. According to legend, he was torn apart by wild dogs in Bromiskos ; However, this legend is to be understood more symbolically as a description of his work, in which the Dionysian eruptive ecstasy plays a central role.


The Hecabe of Euripides. Original text with a Latin translation and marginal notes by the humanist Leonzio Pilato in a manuscript written in 1362. Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana , San Marco 226, fol. 1r
Euripides, Orestes , verses 1–23 with scholia in the Oxford manuscript, Bodleian Library , MS. Barocci 120, fol. 32r (early 14th century)

List of lost, preserved or fragmentarily transmitted pieces by Euripides with the performance dates that have survived or have been made accessible.

Surname year annotation
Aigeus - lost
Aiolos 423, before mentioned by Aristophanes, lost
Alexandros 415 first piece of the tetralogy, fragmentary
Alcestis 438 represents satyr play in tetralogy
Alkmaion in Corinth 406, after second part of the tetralogy, lost
Alkmaion in Psophis 438 second part of the tetralogy, lost
Alcmene - lost
Alop - lost
Andromache 424 approx.
Andromeda 412 first piece of the tetralogy, lost
Antigone - lost
Antiope 408 approx. lost
Archelaus 407 approx. Festival for King Archelaus I of Macedonia, lost
eye - lost
Autolycus - Satyr game, lost
Bellerophontes 425, before mentioned by Aristophanes, lost
Busiris - Satyr game, lost
Chrysippus 410/409 second part of the tetralogy, lost
Danae - lost
The Cyclops 412–408 approx. Satyr game
The Bacchae 406, after third piece of the tetralogy
The incarcerated melanoma - Get cutouts
The supplicants ( Hiketides ) 421 approx.
The Heraclids 430 approx.
The Temenids - lost
The clever Melanippe - lost
The Cretans - lost
The Cretans 438 first piece of the tetralogy, lost
The people from Skyros - lost
The Phoenicians 410/409 third piece of the tetralogy
The reapers 431 Satyr game, lost in antiquity
The daughters of Pelias 455 first piece, third place, lost
The Trojans 415 third piece of the tetralogy
Dictations 431 third piece of the tetralogy, lost
Elektra 420 approx.
Erechtheus 423 approx. lost
Eurystheus - Satyr game, lost
Hecabe 424 approx.
Helena 412 second place
Heracles 421-416 approx.
The wreathed Hippolytus 428 first place
The veiled Hippolytus 434 approx. lost, probably third place
Hypsipyle 408 approx. extensive fragments preserved on papyrus
In O - lost
ion 412–408 approx.
Iphigenia among the Taurians 414-412 approx.
Iphigenia in Aulis 406, after first piece of the tetralogy
Ixion - lost
Cadmos - lost
Kresphontes - lost
Likymnios - lost
Medea 431 first piece of the tetralogy
Meleager - lost
Oidipus - lost
Oineus - lost
Oinomaos 410/409 first piece of the tetralogy, lost
Orestes 408
Palamedes 415 second part of the tetralogy, lost
Peliaden - lost
Phaethon - lost
Philoctetes 431 second part of the tetralogy, lost
Phoinix (I) - lost
Phoinix (II) - lost
Phrixus - lost
Pleisthenes - Satyr game, lost
Polydios - lost
Protesilaos - lost
Rhesos - Attributed to Euripides, but authorship is disputed; but a lost piece of rhesus is attested for Euripides.
Sisyphus 415 Satyr game, lost
Skiron - Satyr game, lost
Steneboia - lost
Syleus - Satyr game, lost
Telephos 438 third piece of the tetralogy, lost
Temenos - lost
Theseus - lost
Thyestes - lost


Sophocles is said to have put on mourning robes on the news of the death of Euripides; its actors and choristers appeared without a wreath. In Athens, a cenotaph - an (empty) memorial tomb - was erected in his honor and three of his left behind were crowned posthumously.

Soon after the death of Euripides, his paramount importance was recognized, which was reflected, among other things, in the fact that he was the most frequently performed and read tragedy throughout ancient times. Of particular importance is his influence on the new comedy, especially its main representative Menander .

Of the grand masters of the Athenian tragedy, Euripides was the most problematic and modern, which earned him criticism.

Aristophanes is responsible for a picture of Euripides characterized by the grotesque distortions of the old comedy, which has been decisive up to the modern age.

A critical discussion between Christoph Martin Wieland and Euripides led Johann Wolfgang Goethe to his farce Götter, Helden und Wieland . Although made ridiculous by Goethe in it, Wieland showed understanding for Goethe's Sturm und Drang and even recommended the farce to the readers of his magazine as a good read.


  • Euripidis fabulae . Edited by Gilbert Murray , Oxford 1901–1909, three volumes:
    • Volume 1 (1902): Cyclops, Alcestis, Medea, Heraclidae, Hippolytus, Andromacha, Hecuba.
    • Volume 2 (3rd ed., 1913): Supplices, Hercules, Ion, Troades, Electra, Iphigenia in Tauris.
    • Volume 3 (2nd ed., 1913): Helena, Phoenissae, Orestes, Bacchae, Iphigenia Aulidensis, Rhesus.
  • Euripides: Tragedies and Fragments . Part 1 (no longer published), trans. by Ludwig Wolde, Wiesbaden 1949.
  • Euripides: Tragedies and Fragments . Translated by Hans von Arnim and Franz Stoeßl , Zurich 1958–1968, two volumes:
    • Volume 1 (1958): The Cretan Women, Alkmeon in Psophis, Telephos, Alkestis, Medea, Philoctet, Diktys, The Heraclids, Andromache, Hippolytos, Hecabe.
    • Volume 2 (1968): Hiketiden, Herakles, Elektra, Alexandros, Palamedes, Troerinnen, Sisyphus, Iphigenie with the Taurern, Cyclops, Helena, Andromeda.
  • Euripides: The Complete Tragedies and Fragments. Greek-German, transl. by Ernst Buschor , ed. by Gustav Adolf Seeck , Munich 1972–1981, six volumes:
    • Volume 1: Alkestis. Medeia. Hippolytus.
    • Volume 2: The Children of Heracles. Hecabe. Andromache.
    • Volume 3: The supplicating mothers. The madness of Heracles. The Trojans. Elektra.
    • Volume 4: Iphigenia in the Taurerland. Helena. Ion. The Phoenicians.
    • Volume 5: Orestes. Iphigenia in Aulis. The maenads.
    • Volume 6: Fragments. The Cyclops. Rhesos. (Translated by Gustav Adolf Seeck , Johann Jacob Christian Donner , Wilhelm Binder)
  • Euripides: works in three volumes . Ed. And transl. by Dietrich Ebener , 2nd edition, revised and supplemented by the fragments, Berlin a. Weimar 1979.
  • Euripidis fabulae. Edited by James Diggle , Oxford 1981–1994, three volumes:
    • Volume 1 (1984): Cyclops, Alcestis, Medea, Heraclidae, Hippolytus, Andromacha, Hecuba.
    • Volume 2 (1981): Supplices, Electra, Hercules, Troades, Iphigenia in Tauris, Ion.
    • Volume 3 (1994): Helena, Phoenissae, Orestes, Bacchae, Iphigenia Aulidensis, Rhesus.
  • Euripides: tragedies . Greek-German, ed. by Dietrich Ebener , 2nd, revised and expanded edition, Berlin 1990, six volumes:
    • Volume 1: Medeia.
    • Volume 2: Alcestis, Hippolytus, Hekabe, Andromache.
    • Volume 3: Heracles, The children of Heracles, The supplicants.
    • Volume 4: Elektra, Helena, Iphigenie in the land of the Taurians, Ion.
    • Volume 5: The Trojans, The Phoinists, Orestes.
    • Volume 6: Iphigenia in Aulis, The Bacchae, The Cyclops.
  • Euripides: Selected Tragedies in Two Volumes . Greek-German, transl. by Dietrich Ebener, ed. by Bernhard Zimmermann , Mannheim 2010.
  • Euripides: The dramas . Translated by Johann Jacob Christian Donner , ed. by Bernhard Zimmermann , 3rd, thoroughly revised and newly introduced edition, Stuttgart 2016, two volumes.


Overview representations

Introductions and investigations


Web links

Wikisource: Euripides  - Sources and full texts
Wikisource: Ευριπίδης  - Sources and full texts (Greek)
Commons : Euripides  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. On the Byzantine Vita including an English translation see: Mary R. Lefkowitz : The Euripides Vita. In: Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Volume 20, 1979, pp. 187-210, here: p. 189 ( PDF ).
  2. Ernst Meyer : Phlya. In: The Little Pauly (KlP). Volume 4, Stuttgart 1972, Col. 793.
  3. So in Vita 62-65, see for example Anton Westermann : Delectus vitarum graece scriptarum. In: Archives for Philology and Education. Volume 9, 1843, pp. 485-532, here: pp. 517-525 for the Greek edition ( online ); Mary R. Lefkowitz: The Euripides Vita. In: Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. Volume 20, 1979, pp. 187-210, here: p. 191 for the English translation.
  4. Aelian , Varia historia 2.13; William James Durant : Cultural History of Mankind . Volume 3 Classical Greece , Southwest, Munich 1978, page 178.
  5. Laaths: History of World Literature. Vol. 1, p. 93.
  6. Papyrus collection of the Berlin Egyptian Museum Inv.Nr. P 5014
  7. P.Oxy VI 852
  8. Harenberg: Lexicon of world literature. P. 89.
  9. Laaths: History of World Literature. Vol. 1, p. 94.