Libation Bearers

Aris & Phillips Classical Texts


February 9th, 2018

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The Libation Bearers (Choephori) of Aeschylus is the central tragedy of his Oresteia, the only Greek trilogy that survives in full and one of the acknowledged masterpieces of Greek literature. The play enacts and explores in profound detail the unsettling myth of Orestes, the young hero who was obliged to avenge the murder of his father Agamemnon by killing his mother Clytemnestra. The standard commentary, by A. F. Garvie, is intended for advanced students and professional scholars and makes few concessions to the less experienced. This edition, while taking full account of the latest advances in scholarship and criticism, seeks to make the play accessible to a much wider range of readers. Besides an introduction and bibliography it includes a newly constituted Greek text (with critical apparatus), a facing translation closely matched to this, and a commentary keyed to the translation. The commentary seeks to interpret the play at all levels, not avoiding detailed issues of textual criticism and the meaning of individual words but also exploring the play’s imagery, questions of stagecraft and dramatic effect, the poet’s use of existing mythical and poetic material, and the wider significance of the play in relation to the rest of the trilogy.


'Any student who has occasion to be involved with Libation Bearers will be well served by this edition; textual problems (perhaps the most puzzling to the neophyte) in this sadly corrupt play are handled with notable skill .... strongly recommended.'
Colin Leach, Classics for All

'Stimulating and even, at times, provocative, the Aris & Phillips Libation Bearers by Andrew Brown is a commentary no serious reader of the Oresteia will want to be without. Far from confining himself to general observations, Brown engages repeatedly with the latest currents of textual and interpretive work on both the play itself and on Aeschylean tragedy more broadly.'
Marcel Andrew Widzisz, The Classical Journal

'A helpful volume for both students and scholars [...] The presentation of the volume is excellent, as expected in this series, with no puzzling typographical errors. All this, combined with a very reasonable price, leads me to recommend the purchase of this edition, alongside the author’s earlier (1987), equally commendable edition of Sophocles’ Antigone in the same series.'
Thalia Papadopoulou, Journal of Hellenic Studies

'The overall impression is one of great care: B.'s explanations are always accessible and thorough, whether the topic is staging or the possible deletion of a particle, and suggestions are often tempered with cautionary reminders of our limited evidence [...] The up-to-date bibliography and B.'s frequent citations of other scholars will be invaluable to students undertaking research on the play. This is a rich and lucid commentary, which makes not only a difficult play, but the scholarship surrounding it much more accessible to students of Aeschylus.'
Isabella Reinhardt, The Classical Review

‘The presentation of the volume is excellent, as expected in this series, with no puzzling typographical errors.’
Thalia Papadopoulou, The Journal of Hellenic Studies

Author Information

Andrew Brown has edited Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’ (1987) and Aeschylus’ ‘Libation Bearers’ (2018) for the Aris & Phillips Classical Texts series, and is the author of ‘A New Companion to Greek Tragedy’ (Croom Helm, 1983; reprinted in Routledge Revivals, 2014) and a number of articles on Greek tragedy in classical journals.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page2
Copyright Page3
1. The Myth8
2. The Performance19
3. Trilogy and Tragedy31
4. Imagery46
5. Textual Transmission50
6. Influence in Antiquity53
7. This Edition59
Libation Bearers82
Metrical Analysis462