Medea Medea question

Who are some similar Greek/Roman authors?
deleted member (last edited May 30, 2012 08:42AM ) May 30, 2012 08:42AM
Some of my favourite plays/stories are Medea and the Bacchae (both Euripides), and Ovid's Metamorphoses. Are there any Greek or Roman authors that are really similar to them that I could read? Particularly those who write tragedies. I've read Hippolytus, but wasn't too much of a fan of that one.

As far as the other Greek/Roman works go, I've read Virgil's Eclogues (wasn't too much of a fan), some of Aurelius's Meditations, Plato's Republic and Symposium, and a few other works.

I would say that a playwright who is similar to Euripides is definitely Sophocles (the Theban plays such as Oedipus Rex), although you could give Aeschylus a go as well (ESPECIALLY the Oresteia trilogy). I can't say I'm too familiar with much else besides those two that could give you the same thing as Euripides- maybe you could try more of Euripides' plays if you liked Medea (ex. Rhesus, Ion, Alcestis)?

Well, the only ancient Greek tragedians whose works survive are Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles. Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy is wonderful (the first one, "Agamemnon," is my favorite tragedy, and includes a character, Clytemnestra, somewhat similar to Medea); Sophocles' most famous play is probably Oedipus Tyrannos (aka Oedipus Rex, Oedipus the King) or Antigone, both great (as is Iphigenia in Tauri, less popular now but much admired in antiquity). You could also try some of Seneca's (Roman, much later) tragedies -- those are much more gruesome, and not really to my taste, but some people love them. Try the Thyestes, if you don't mind a really, really disgusting story. And if you want to go beyond the ancient world, the 17th-century French authors Corneille and Racine are very much in the same tradition (Try Racine's "Andromache," "Phaedra" [same story as "Hippolytus], or "Britannicus," or Corneille's "El Cid," "Cinna," or "Oedipus," would be my advice.)
As for Ovid, he wrote much more than just the Metamorphoses! For more mythological material, try the Heroides (a group of letters from mythological heroines), or the Fasti (explaining the holidays of the Roman calendar, with a lot of Roman myth and history -- a bit more scholarly than the Metamorphoses in tone, but similar). His love poetry ("Amores," and "The Art of Love") is a lot of fun; I also love the poems written in exile ("Sorrows" and "Letters from the Black Sea"), though they can get a bit monotonous.
On the other hand, if you want mythological epics by other authors, you should start with Homer's Odyssey and Iliad, which are what all the later examples are reacting to. Don't give up on Virgil, either -- the Aeneid is probably a better starting place for modern readers than the Eclogues. I'd also recommend Apollonius Rhodius' "Argonautica" and Lucan's "Civil War" (which gets quite dark and gruesome).
Finally, if you want to combine your interest in ancient epic with your interest in ancient philosophy, you could try Lucretius' "On the Nature of Things," a long poetic explication of Epicurean philosophy. I love it, but be warned: he goes into pretty exhaustive detail about (incorrect) atomic physics and similar matters, so there are definitely some very dry sections.
That should be enough for a start! For any of these, make sure to try and find a well-reviewed translation; that can make all the difference in the world.

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