The Persians (472 BCE) is the oldest ancient Greek drama that has survived in full to the present day. It is also a historical record of the most important battle of the second Persian invasion of Greece (and one of the most crucial conflicts in human history), the Battle of Salamis, in which the play’s author, Aeschylus, took part.
Without triumphalism or bravado, and with respect for the suffering of the de-feated,
Aeschylus delivers a paean to the freedom of the individual, juxtaposing democratic ideals with tyranny and blind obedience to power. Victory crowns those who act wisely, while the mechanism of justice punishes anyone whose pride leads them into excesses, offending both gods and men with their arro-gance.
In Susa, the Persian capital, the old men who loyally guard the glorious palaces of Xerxes are awaiting news of their army’s campaign against the Greeks, and are apprehensive about the outcome of the expedition.
The impressive size of the Persian army, the fame of its generals, and the god-given power of their king do nothing to allay the fears of the elders, who know all too well how the web of Ate, the goddess of folly, can entrap men and lead them to their ruin.
Their trepidation reaches its peak when Queen Atossa, the mother of the cam-paign’s commander, Xerxes, and the wife of the deceased King Darius, recounts an ominous dream in which Xerxes attempts to yoke a Greek woman and an Asian woman to his chariot. The Greek woman breaks free, throwing the king to the ground.
The arrival of an out-of-breath messenger confirms their worst premonitions: the Persian army has been annihilated; the Greeks have won.
A detailed account of the rout concludes with a long description of the Battle of Salamis, the flight of Xerxes, and the ill fortune of the remaining army that at-tempted to return by land.
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The performances at the Epidaurus Ancient Theatre are presented with surtitles in English and Greek.
Theodoros StefanopoulosTranslation, Metric coaching
Dimitris LignadisDirected by
Konstantinos RigosChoreography, Movement
Alegia PapageorgiouSet design
Eva NathenaCostume design
Christina ThanasoulaLighting design
Melina PeonidouMusic coach
Nourmala EastyAssistant to the director
Markella ManoliadiAssistant to the choreographer
Dafne FoteinatouAssistant to the set designer
Sofia GavalaAssistant to the costume designer
Angelos PanagopoulosAssistant to the choreographer
Marietta PavlakiAssistant to the lightining designer