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Euripides

Palamedes

F. Jouan in ed. Budé VIII. 2.487–513; R. Falcetto, Euripide. Palamede (Alessandria, 2002); C. Collard in SFP II.92–103.

Jouan (1966), 339–63; F. Stoessl, Wiener Studien 79 (1966), 93–101; Webster 174–6; G. Koniaris, HSCP 77 (1973), 87–92; M. Szarmach, Eos 63 (1975), 249–71; R. Scodel, The Trojan Trilogy of Euripides (Göttingen, 1980), 43–54; Aélion (1983), I.47–59; Gantz 603–8; S. Woodford, JHS 114 (1994), 164–9 and LIMC VII.i.145–9 ‘Palamedes’; D. Sutton, Two Lost Plays of Euripides (New York, 1984), 111–55; W. Luppe, APF 50 (2004), 217–8; R. Kannicht in A. Bierl (ed.), Antike Literatur in neuer Deutung. Festschrift für J. Latacz (Munich–Leipzig, 2004), 196–7; J. L. L. Cruces, Philologus 149 (2005), 158–61.

Palamedes the son of Nauplius the Argonaut was a human counterpart of the intellectual and inventive god Prometheus who gave men many skills; he became a byword for cleverness (Aristophanes, Frogs 1451 = test. iv; F 588). He was one of the Greeks at Troy, having unmasked the madness which Odysseus pretended in order to avoid going there (Cypria F 19 West); with his invention of writing and numbering, and of board games, he helped the Greeks organize their food supplies (Sophocles, Nauplius F *432, Plato, Republic 522d = test. *vi below; cf. F 578) and prevent boredom when they were held back at Aulis (Sophocles,

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Euripides

Palamedes F 479 and Nauplius F 429; Gorgias, Palamedes 30). His resulting popularity added jealousy to Odysseus’ resentment (Xenophon, Memorabilia 4.2.33 = test. *vb), and his ridicule of Agamemnon’s leadership (test. *vi, cf. F 581) won enmity from him as well. Together with Diomedes these two destroyed Palamedes—by drowning according to early myth (Cypria F 27West), but through a ‘stratagem’ of Odysseus in the version developed by 5th c. tragedy (Polyaenus = test. *va below, cf. test. *vi; Kannicht [bibl. above], 197). They accused him of negotiating treacherously with Priam of Troy, for a reward of gold; they planted both gold and a forged letter to incriminate him, and ‘found’ both of these themselves; and Palamedes was summarily arraigned and stoned to death. This story is fullest in the Scholia on Euripides, Orestes 432; there are different details in Hyginus, Fab. 105, cf. Apollodorus, Epitome 3.8. Odysseus’ destruction of Palamedes is grimly recalled in Euripides, Philoctetes F 789d.(8)–(9); cf. also Virgil, Aeneid 2.81–5.

Palamedes’ story continued, however. He had been accompanied to Troy by his brother Oeax, who after his death sent a message to their father Nauplius back in Greece. Nauplius came to Troy and threatened Agamemnon with vengeance. This continuation was in Aeschylus’ Palamedes (F 191) and Sophocles’ Nauplius (P. Oxy. 3653 fr. 1.4–5 in TrGF 42.756, cf. F 431, 433); it stands also in the Scholia on Orestes (above), and Nauplius’ presence at Troy in Euripides’ play now appears to be confirmed by an unpublished Michigan papyrus hypothesis (Luppe in bibl. above); cf. also F 588a for Oeax, who the papyrus says was thrown into the sea by the Greeks but rescued by the Nereids. Such an ending for the play had long ago been suggested by Stoessl (1966).

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.euripides-dramatic_fragments.2008