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Myths on the MapThe Storied Landscapes of Ancient Greece$
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Greta Hawes

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198744771

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198744771.001.0001

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Scandalous Maps in Aeschylean Tragedy

Scandalous Maps in Aeschylean Tragedy

Chapter:
(p.204) 11 Scandalous Maps in Aeschylean Tragedy
Source:
Myths on the Map
Author(s):

Aara Suksi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198744771.003.0012

In Homeric epic, describing a map of the world, like epic song itself, is a privilege granted by the divine Muses and figured in Hephaestus’ shield-making. In two examples from Aeschylean tragedy, a defiant hero appropriates the map-making prerogative of the gods established in Homeric epic. In each case, in a bid to restructure the existing order, the hero lays claim to the divine ability to map the space of the world without invoking the Muses. In Prometheus Bound, Prometheus’ gift of a map to mortal Io is not just an altruistic favour. It is also a part of his strategy for controlling and directing the future in a way that will ultimately lead to his own liberation. In Agamemnon, Clytemnestra uses Hephaestus’ fire to map space instantaneously. Her control of the god’s technology is aligned with her scandalous power over every other aspect of the action of the play.

Keywords:   map, Aeschylean tragedy, Homeric epic, Prometheus Bound, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, map-making, Io, Hephaestus, Muse

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