Austin, NFE 41–8; O. Musso, Euripide: Cresfonte (Milan, 1974); A. Harder, Euripides’ Kresphontes and Archelaos (Leiden, 1985), 1–122; M. Cropp in SFP I.121–47, 286 (~ II.366); Diggle, TrGFS 111–4 (F 448a, 449, 453.15–26); H. Van Looy in ed. Budé VIII.2.257–87. See also on F 448a below.
S. Cengarle, Dioniso 40 (1966), 63–76; Webster 136– 43; Z. Vysoký, Strahovská Knihovna 5–6 (1970–1), 5–18 (German summary, 19–21); Gantz 735–6; Matthiessen 263–6. Myth, political aspects: J. N. Bremmer, ZPE 117 (1997), 13–17; N. Luraghi in H.-J. Gehrke (ed.), Geschichtsbilder und Gründungsmythen (Würzburg, 2001), 37–63, esp. 51–7.
The hero is a son of the Cresphontes who established the Dorian kingdom of Messenia after the so-called Return of the Heraclidae (see Introduction to Archelaus). According to the play, the elder Cresphontes and his two older sons were killed by a usurper Polyphontes, who forced the murdered king’s widow, Merope, to become his own wife. The younger Cresphontes survived the murders, being an infant at the time, and was raised in exile by Merope’s father or some other family ally. He then returned in disguise, pretending to be his own murderer and claiming the price