Antigone

By Sophocles; Reginald Gibbons et al. | Go to book overview

APPENDIX 1.
THE DATE OF ANTIGONE

The only external evidence for the dating of Antigone is a statement in the ancient Argument attributed to the Hellenistic scholar Aristophanes of Byzantium and prefixed to the play in the manuscripts. Thanks to the success of Antigone, the Argument reports, Sophokles was elected one of the ten generals to serve in the Athenian war against the revolt of the island of Samos, an important member of the Athenian naval empire. The Samian revolt took place in 441–439 BCE, and the connection of the play with it, even allowing for exaggeration, would suggest a date in 442 or 441. As the elections took place in late spring, Antigone would have been first performed at the great festival of Dionysos in March 442 or 441. The connection between the generalship and the play, however, may be the invention of the often unreliable biographical tradition and may mean only that the play was performed sometime around 440, plus or minus a few years. Some scholars, therefore, for various reasons, have preferred a slightly later date. There is no absolute certainty, but a date in this period would suit the play's style and dramaturgy, and it is widely accepted. In any case, the play seems to belong to Sophokles' full maturity. Born in 496/97, he would have written it in his mid-fifties, after he had been presenting plays at the dramatic festivals for some thirty years, since his first victory in the dramatic competitions in 468. The play would be about a decade earlier than the Oidipous Turannos (429–425), with which it shares certain features (e.g., an angry encounter between a king and a prophet and the silent exit of a queen to commit suicide).

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Antigone
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Editors' Foreword v
  • Preface viii
  • Contents ix
  • Antigone *
  • Introduction 3
  • On the Translation 37
  • Antigone 51
  • Characters 52
  • Notes on the Text 117
  • Appendix 1 - The Date of Antigone 183
  • Appendix 2 - The Myth of Antigone, to the End of the Fifth Century Bce 184
  • Appendix 3 - The Transmission of the Text 187
  • Glossary 189
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 197
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