Sculpture bust of Greek dramatist Euripides.


(c. 484 BC - c. 406 BC)

The last great classical tragedian after Aeschylus and Sophocles, Euripides is known to have written ninety-two plays; nineteen are extant. He won the first of his four victories at the dramatic festival known as the Great Dionysia in 441 bc; the fourth victory, awarded after his death in 406 bc, was for a tetralogy that included Iphigenia in Aulis. According to the biographer Plutarch, some Athenian prisoners held in the Syracusan quarries after the Sicilian expedition of 415 bc were given their freedom if they could recite passages from Euripides.

All Writing


Euripidean drama requires “the sudden jolt of the machine” to clarify the characters’ “peculiar sense of the political,” writes classicist John Snyder. “The deus ex machina breaks in because that is what history does…outside forces, irrational, nonhuman in origin and agency, yet utterly human at the same time, make people do what they do.”

It belongs to a nobleman to weep in an hour of disaster.

—Euripides, 412 BC

They say that gifts persuade even the gods. 

—Euripides, 431 BC

Nature is immovable.

—Euripides, c. 415 BC

The first requisite to happiness is that a man be born in a famous city.

—Euripides, c. 415 BC

Time will reveal everything. It is a babbler and speaks even when not asked.

—Euripides, c. 425 BC

Of troubles none is greater than to be robbed of one’s native land.

—Euripides, 431 BC

I think it makes small difference to the dead if they are buried in the tokens of luxury. All this is an empty glorification left for those who live.

—Euripides, 415 BC

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