Aeschylus: Persians




A ghost summoned with bizarre rituals from the underworld, the elaborate protocol of the Persian court, desperate lamentation, self-mutilation, and a thrilling eye-witness account of the battle of Salamis – these are some of the features of Aeschylus’ Persians which make it one of the most exciting examples of ancient theatre. As the earliest surviving European drama it is of incalculable interest to students of ancient literature: as the only extended account of the Persian wars by an author who fought in them, it is a unique document of the Athenian historical imagination. In this, the first English language edition of the text with a commentary for thirty-five years, the particular focus is on the visual and aural effects Aeschylus created, his extraordinarily rich imagery, and the play’s unique contribution to Athenian democratic ideology. [Greek text with facing-page translation, commentary and notes. This edition was reprinted in 2007. Although it was not substantially revised or updated, a short bibliographic update describing important contributions to scholarship on Persians has been included.]

Edith Hall is Professor of Classics at King’s College, London. Her publications include Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660–1914 (co-authored with Fiona Macintosh, Oxford University Press, 2005), and The Theatrical Cast of Athens: Interactions between Ancient Greek Drama & Society (Oxford University Press, 2006).

‘This edition is the most up-to-date scholarly text of Persians now available. Scholars teachers, and students will appreciate in particular Hall’s careful and complete research, evidenced in the excellent introduction, commentary and bibliography as well as in the translation itself; ... An excellent text for Western tradition, history and literature courses. Highly recommended for all academic collections.’Choice

‘In short an admirable edition almost convincing that Persians is a good play as well as a useful historical source!’

Author Information

Edith Hall is Professor of Classics at King’s College, London. Her many publications include A People’s History of Classics: Class and Greco-Roman Antiquity in Britain 1689-1939 (with Henry Stead, Routledge 2020); Aristotle’s Way (Penguin Random House 2018); Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun (Oxford University Press 2010) and Greek Tragedy and the British Theatre 1660–1914 (with Fiona Macintosh, Oxford University Press 2005).