Composers and their stage works 

The Suppliants

(Hiketides; Supplices, ca. 420/418 B.C.).


Drama describing the aftermath of the ill-fated expedition of the Seven Against Thebes.


The Thebans, victorious over the Argive chieftains, have refused to allow their adversaries to bury their dead. Adrastus, King of Argos, and the chorus of Argive mothers appeal to Aethra to persuade her son, the Athenian king Theseus, to intercede. Reluctant at first to disturb the peace of Athens for the sake of Adrastus, who had led the Argives into battle against the will of the gods, Theseus at last agrees to listen to his mother's plea. Gaining consent from the citizens of Athens, to whom he had granted equal voting rights in the government of the city, he orders the Thebans to relinquish the bodies of the fallen Argives. When the Thebans refuse, a battle ensues, and the victorious Theseus returns with the bodies of the seven chiefs, having buried with his own hands the bodies of the other Argive warriors. There follows a lengthy lamentation, with eulogies for each of the heroes. Since one of the fallen heroes, Capaneus, was struck by Zeus's thunderbolt, the Athenians prepare to bury him as a consecrated corpse apart from the others, whose bodies are placed together. When the funeral pyres are kindled, Capaneus's wife Evadne leaps onto her husband's, not heeding her father's attempts to dissuade her. As the chorus and the children of the chieftains carry away the ashes of the dead, Theseus asks them to remember for all time their benefactor, the city of Athens. The goddess Athena, appearing from above, urges Theseus to bind the Argives in a sacred oath to keep peace between Athens and Argos, and she promises that one day Argos will have its revenge against Thebes.