ISBN : 9780198863342
'In requital for one man's sin, all Greece/ shall mourn the empty tombs of ten thousand of its children'.
These lines from a powerful but neglected Greek poem, Lykophron's Alexandra, were admiringly imitated by Virgil.
Priam's beautiful daughter, prophetic Kassandra, foresees her rape in Athena's temple by the hateful Greek Ajax at Troy's fall, and warns of disastrous returns (nostoi) for all the Greek 'heroes'. But Troy will rise again as Rome, founded by Trojan refugees. The Alexandra (also known as Kassandra) narrates Mediterranean foundation myths as failed Greek nostoi, and culminates in 'prophecies-after-the-event' of Roman rule over land and sea. This pseudonymous poem, a generic mix but closest to tragedy, is an ingeniously constructed masterpiece. It is ascribed to a third-century BCE tragedian, but was probably written c.190, when Rome had defeated Carthaginian Hannibal and was poised to humble the Seleukid king Antiochos III. The Alexandra anticipates, by over two millennia, modern Trojan War novels which adopt bitterly disillusioned female perspectives.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Note on the text and translation
Synopsis of the Poem
THE ALEXANDRA OF LYKOPHRON