Tragedies of Seneca (1907) Miller

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THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA

 

Tragedies of Seneca - frontispiece.jpg

DOUBLE HERMES OF SENECA AND SOCRATES
Now in the Old Museum at Berlin

 

The Tragedies of Seneca


TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH VERSE, TO WHICH HAVE BEEN APPENDED
COMPARATIVE ANALYSES OF THE CORRESPONDING GREEK
AND ROMAN PLAYS, AND A MYTHOLOGICAL INDEX

BY

FRANK JUSTUS MILLER


INTRODUCED BY AN ESSAY ON THE INFLUENCE OF THE TRAGEDIES OF SENECA
UPON EARLY ENGLISH DRAMA

BY

JOHN MATTHEWS MANLY

 
 

CHICAGO
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS
LONDON
T. FISHER UNWIN, 1 ADELPHI TERRACE
1907

 

Copyright 1907 By
The University of Chicago


Published December 1907

 

Composed and Printed By
The University of Chicago Press
Chicago, Illinois, U. S. A.

 

TO

FRANK FROST ABBOTT

AND

EDWARD CAPPS

MY FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES

THROUGH A SCORE OF YEARS

 

 

PREFACE


The place of the tragedies of Seneca in literature is unique. They stand as the sole surviving representatives, barring a few fragments, of an extensive Roman product in the tragic drama. They therefore serve as the only connecting link between ancient and modern tragedy. They are, moreover, modeled more or less closely after the tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; and the Greek and Roman product in literature along parallel lines cannot be better studied than by a comparison of these Senecan plays with their Greek prototypes—a comparison which is not possible in comedy, since, unfortunately, the Greek originals of Plautus and Terence have not come down to us.

These plays are of great value and interest in themselves, first, as independent dramatic literature of no small merit; and second, as an illustration of the literary characteristics of the age of Nero: the florid, rhetorical style, the long, didactic speeches, the tendency to philosophize, the frequent epigram, the pride of mythologic lore.

Popular interest in the tragedies of Seneca has been growing to a considerable extent during the last generation. This has been stimulated in part by Leo's excellent text edition, and by the researches of German and English scholars into Senecan questions, more especially into the influence of Seneca upon the pre-Elizabethan drama; in part also by the fact that courses in the tragedies have been regaining their place, long lost, in college curricula.

The present edition seeks still further to bring Seneca back to the notice of classical scholars, and at the same time to present to the English reader all of the values accruing from a study of these plays, with the single exception of the benefit to be derived from a reading of the original. The influence which the tragedies have had in English literature is brought out in the introduction, which Professor Manly has kindly contributed; the relation of Seneca to the Greek dramatists is shown by comparative analyses of the corresponding plays, so arranged that the reader may easily observe their resemblances and differences; the wealth of mythological material is at once displayed and made available by an index of mythological characters; finally, it is hoped that the translation itself will prove to be as faithful a reproduction of the original as is possible in a translation, and at the same time to have sufficient literary merit of its own to claim the interest of the general reader.

The text used is that of Leo (Weidmann, Berlin, 1878), except in the instances noted. The line numbers as printed in the translation are identical with those of the original text. The meter employed in the spoken parts is the English blank verse, with the exception of the Medea, in which the experiment was tried, not altogether successfully, of reproducing the iambic trimeter of the original. In the lyric parts, the original meters are sometimes used; and, where these did not seem suitable in English, appropriate substitutes have been attempted.

Frank Justus Miller

Chicago, Ill.
October 25, 1907

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PAGE
I. The Influence of the Tragedies of Seneca upon Early English Drama 1
II. The Tragedies of Seneca Translated
Oedipus 11
Phoenissae 51
Medea 79
Hercules Furens 115
Phaedra or Hippolytus 165
HercuIes Oetaeus 213
Thyestes 287
Troades 333
Agamemnon 379
Octavia, with a Review of the Roman Historical Drama 415
III. Comparative Analyses of Seneca's Tragedies and the Corresponding Greek Dramas 453
IV. Mythological Index 497