Revenge in Athenian Culture
Revenge was an all important part of the ancient Athenian mentality, intruding on all forms of life - even where we might not expect to find it today. Revenge was of prime importance as a means of survival for the people of early Greece and remained in force during the rise of the 'poleis'. The revenge of epic heroes such as Odysseus and Menalaus influences later thinking about revenge and suggests that avengers prosper. Nevertheless, this does not mean that all forms of revenge were seen as equally acceptable in Athens. Differences in response are expected depending on the crime and the criminal. Through a close examination of the texts, Fiona McHardy here reveals a more complex picture of how the Athenian people viewed revenge.
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achieve revenge Achilles actions adulterer Aegisthus Aeschines Aeschylus Agamemnon Ajax Allen ancient anger Apollo Apollodorus appears argues armour associated Astyages Athenian Athens attack attempt avenge battle behaviour blood revenge brother Burnett cattle Chapter Christ claims Clytemnestra Cohen court Cyrus Daly and Wilson death Deiphobus Demaratus demonstrates Demosthenes depicted desire dishonour dispute Electra emphasises enemy Euphiletus Euripides evidence examples exile father female fighting further Gagarin gods Greek Hector Hecuba Herodotus heroes Homeric homicide honour husband Iliad insult Isocrates killer killing Leotychides lethal revenge Lysias MacDowell 1963 male man’s marriage McHardy Medea Meidias motives murder myth mythical Neleus Nestor Odysseus Oedipus opponents Orestes Patroclus play political Polymestor portrayed prosecute protect Rabinowitz 1993 raiding react reaction relatives response retaliation risk Seaford sexual Shay Sophocles speech status story suggests suitors take revenge tale Telemachus texts theft Theophemus Thucydides Trojans vengeful violent warrior Wees wife women Xenophon Zeus