Abstract This paper argues that Aeschylus' Eumenides presents a coherent geography that, when associated with the play's judicial proceedings, forms the basis of an imperial ideology. The geography of Eumenides constitutes a form of mapping, and mapping is associated with imperial power. The significance of this mapping becomes clear when linked to fifth-century Athens' growing judicial imperialism. The creation of the court inEumenides, in the view of most scholars, refers only to Ephialtes' reforms of 462 BC. But in the larger context, Athenian courts in the mid-fifth century are a form of imperial control. When geographically specific jurisdiction combines with new courts, it supports and even creates a developing imperial ideology. Moreover, the figure of Athena and the role she gives the Athenian jury emphasizes a passionate pro-Athenian nationalism, a nationalism that the text connects to Athens' geographic and judicial superiority. This imperial ideology did not spring from Aeschylus' imagination fully formed; it reflects a trend in Athens of promoting her own cultural superiority. This sense of cultural superiority in fact disguises the realities of Athens' developing power and increasingly harsh subjection of her former allies.
Research Article| April 01 2006
Justice, Geography and Empire in Aeschylus' Eumenides
Classical Antiquity (2006) 25 (1): 35–72.
- Views Icon Views
- PDF LinkPDF
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Rebecca Futo Kennedy; Justice, Geography and Empire in Aeschylus' Eumenides. Classical Antiquity 1 April 2006; 25 (1): 35–72. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2006.25.1.35
Download citation file: