Iphigenia, Quest Heroine

Edith Hall

in Adventures with Iphigenia in Tauris

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780195392890
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979257 | DOI:

Series: Onassis Series in Hellenic Culture

Iphigenia, Quest Heroine

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The play helped make sense of the cult of Artemis and her bloody sacrifices not only as practised by the Euripides' contemporary Athenians at Brauron, Halai Araphenides and on the Acropolis but by Greeks wherever they took their goddess of wild animals, marshlands, hunting, healing, initiation and the biological aspects of women's lives—menarche, childbirth and death. The Tauric Iphigenia was one of their most attractive heroines, a brave, reflective and intelligent priestess of Artemis who is herself worthy of being celebrated forever, after she dies, in cult alongside the goddess. The play also provided a model of an idealised set of family relationships—a loving and loyal sister and brother, along with their friend and brother-in-law—surviving against the odds through pluck and solidarity, even after traumatic childhoods and family histories that have been anything but ideal.

Keywords: Artemis; cult; Brauron; heroine; quest; priestess; women; initiation

Chapter.  7587 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Classical Literature

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