Democratic Paideia in Aeschylus’ Suppliants

in Polis: The Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought
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Abstract

The analysis of political language in Aeschylus’ Suppliants confirms the hypothesis that the form of government here represented is strongly influenced by contemporary Athens: prehistoric Argos turns out to be a sort of mirror of democratic Athens. It is no coincidence that the sequence running from the entrance of Pelasgus at l. 234 to the Danaids’ song of benediction (ll. 625-709) presents a dramatic pattern similar in several respects to that underlying in Eumenides 397-1002 (the scenes between the entrance of Athena and the Chorus’ prayer of blessing). Pelasgus (likewise Athena in Eumenides) imparts a sort of lesson on ‘democratic paideia’ to the Danaids, in view of their integration as metoikoi in the institutional structures of the polis.