July 2020 – The Hellenic Initiative Canada

Athens and Epidaurus Festival Online

Saturday, July 25th, 2020

Time: 2:00 pm EST

This year for the first time ever the Athens and Epidaurus Festival will be broadcasting live on the internet, free of charge, the play “PERSIANS” by Aeschylus, staged at the ancient theater of Epidaurus.

On the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of the Battle of Salamis The National Theater with the support of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports will present to the international public the tragedy Perseus of Aeschylus.

The live streaming of the show will take place with English subtitles and will last about 90 minutes. It will be available at www.livefromepidaurus.gr as well as through the websites of the National Theater, the Athens and Epidaurus Festival and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, and directly from the National Theater’s YouTube channel.

About the play “The Persians” by Aeschylus

The Persians (472 BC) is the oldest complete drama surviving today and at the same time a historical document about the most important conflict of the second Persian invasion of Greece, the naval battle of Salamis. One of the most decisive battles in the history of mankind is the issue of the tragedy of Aeschylus, who took part in it.

In Susa, the capital of Persia, the elders who have remained in the rear, faithful guardians of the glorious palaces of Xerxes, are worried about their army attempting to campaign against Greece, as no news has arrived about the outcome of the military mission.

The impressively numerous forces that make up the Persian army with the resounding names of its leaders and the god-given power of their king, are not enough to allay the anxiety of the elders, who know that the impenetrable web of Deception deceives people and leads them to doom.

The anxiety culminates when Queen Atossa, Xerxes’ mother, the leader of the campaign, and the wife of the dead Darius, recounts her ominous dream: Xerxes tried to snatch a Greek woman and an Asian woman in his chariot, but the Greek woman broke his bond and king. The arrival of the panting messenger confirms the bad feelings: the whole Persian army was annihilated. The Greeks won.

The detailed account of the defeat of the Persians ends with the extensive description of the naval battle of Salamis, the flight of Xerxes and the bad luck of the rest of the army, which tried to return by land.

The symbol of the glorious past, King Darius, appears from Hades in response to the invocations of the chthonic powers and the lamentations of the Persians. The deceased king’s interpretation of destruction attributes the responsibilities to Xerxes’ arrogance and his insult to nature and the gods. The arrival of the ragged defeated king, in stark contrast to Darius’ previous glorious presence, completes the image of doom. Praise for the achievements of the past turns into lamentations and sorrows for the present, and culminates in suffering in the once glorious Persian palace.