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Date and Time: Wednesday, 12th June, 2024 at 18:00h BST

Online: Access details below

Room: G21, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DA


The last Greek Dialogues of the 2023-24 academic year features Professor Marianne Hopman (Northwest University) elucidating the ways in which the prologue to Prometheus Bound exposes the brutal dynamics of tyranny. 

"Prometheus Bound" (Prometheus Vinctus), a tragedy of contested authorship within the Aeschylean corpus, is unique among extant Greek dramas for its nearly exclusive cast of divine beings. The exact date of its authorship is uncertain, but it is generally believed to have been composed around 480-460 BCE, traditionally attributed to Aeschylus. .

The play was written during a time when Athens was transitioning from tyranny to democracy, following the fall of the Peisistratid tyranny and the establishment of democratic institutions under leaders like Cleisthenes. This context of political change and the ongoing struggle between authoritarianism and democracy likely influenced the themes of the play. "Prometheus Bound" addresses issues of power, justice, and resistance against oppressive authority, reflecting contemporary concerns about governance and individual rights. Through the myth of Prometheus, Aeschylus explores the consequences of defying tyrannical power and the complex relationship between rulers and the ruled.

In the prologue, the god Hephaestus, reluctantly aided by Kratos and Bia, chains the defiant Titan Prometheus to a remote cliff. Prometheus, punished by Zeus for giving fire to humanity, is condemned to eternal torment. Despite his suffering, Prometheus remains unrepentant and foresees his eventual release.

Professor Hopman discusses the way in which the prologue highlights the brutal and arbitrary nature of tyranny. Through the characters Kratos and Bia, who personify strength and force, the play depicts how tyranny operates through sheer power and coercion. Hephaestus, who feels pity for Prometheus but complies out of fear, exemplifies how tyranny suppresses compassion and enforces obedience. Prometheus's punishment represents the cruelty of tyrannical rule and the merciless suppression of dissent and defiance.



Online Access Details

Topic: Greek Dialogues - Cleopatra's Daughter?
Time: Wednesday 12th June, 2024 at 18:00h BST

Join Zoom Meeting:

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Meeting ID: 899 9482 9371
Passcode: 305969


Livestreaming on:

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Credits: Image of Zeus by adeel ahmad khan from Pixabay

             Prometheus Being Chained by Vulcan, Dirck van Baburen (circa 1594/1595–1624),

Wednesday, 12 June, 2024 - 18:00
Event location: 
Online and Room G21, Faculty of Classics, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge, CB3 9DA