The Classical Quarterly

Research Article

The Problem of the Rhesvs1

G. C. Richardsa1

a1 Oriel College, Oxford

Dr. Leaf's article in the Journal of Hellenic Studies has recalled our attention to the venerable problem of the Rhesus. I hasten to give my adhesion to his main contention (in which he was partly anticipated by W. Christ) that the play is a pièce d'occasion justifying or sanctifying the foundation of the city of Amphipolis. But, as he remarks, seeing that the oracle ordering the removal of the bones of Theseus from Skyros to Athens preceded the actual removal by some years, so this play may be intended to prepare for the actual removal of the bones of Rhesus from Troy by Hagnon, and may be prior to it by several years. For this official theft—doubtless arranged beforehand—we have only the authority of Polyainos' Strategemata, but it is a story which seems likely in itself, and goes far to explain the previously obscure lament of the Muse at the end of the play. My object is to examine the play afresh and see whether anything prevents our believing that it was written and exhibited somewhere near 440 B.C., in which case of course it is almost certainly the work of Euripides and not far from his Cyclops in date.


1 This paper has been written independently of Mr. W. H. Porter 's article in Hermathena, 1913. I am glad to find that in all essentials we agree.