Ancient Concept of Progress and Other Essays on Greek by E. R. Dodds

By E. R. Dodds

Those essays symbolize the complete variety of Dodds' literary and philosophical pursuits, and his skill to mix profound scholarship with the lucid humanity of a instructor confident of the worth of Greek reports to the fashionable international.

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Philol. Soc. I 938. s Stasimon, I 26 ff. 1 The Prometheus Vinctus and Aeschylus' plays were not performed in his lifetime but were staged posthumously by his son Euphorion (who also wrote plays of his own). Robertson suggested that the P. V. may have been among these posthumously staged plays, that it was unfinished, and that Euphorion supplied some of the odes as stopgaps. I find this hypothesis seductive because it can be used to explain a number of difficulties besides those which its author had in mind.

Calls it 4>v'Aag nov v6JLwv (4. 4) and €1rlaKo1To~ Tfj~ 7ToAtTEla~ (8. 4) ; and similarly Plutarch terms it €1rlaKo1Tov 7T(ivTwv Kat 4>v'AaKa Twv v6JLwV (Sol. 19). Aeschylus' phrase, €yp7Jyopos 4>povp'YJJLa yfj~, is most naturally taken as referring to the same powers. And if that is right, the play is no more propaganda for Pericles than it is propaganda for Cimon. €aov-which Aeschylus put so oddly into the mouth of the Erinyes (530)-might in fact be taken, not as a political catchword of Right or Left, or even as 'recommending a reflective attitude to politics', 1 but as an honest and correct description of the author's own position.

The moral gulf to be bridged is wide, but so is the time-scale of the Prometheia: between the beginning of the action and its end thirteen human generations must intervene. 2 That slow but decisive change may in fact reflect the evolution of morals and religion in the mind of man; but to Aeschylus and his audience it necessarily appears as an objective evolution in Heaven) 1 Aischylos: Interpretationen (1914), 150. [That gods, like men, gain in experience 2 with age is already assumed by Homer, Iliaa 21.

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