TrGF 1 43 Critias F 1–14, with F 4a in Vol. 12 (1986), 349–51; B. Gauly in Musa Tragica 109–20; Battegazzore (1962: see general bibl. above), 280–305 and in Battegazzore and others, Corpus dei papiri filosofici greci e latini 1* (1989), 442–66; Diggle, TrGFS 173–5 (F 1, 4a, 5, 7); G. Alvoni, Hermes 134 (2006), 290–300 (F 1, Hypothesis).
K. Kuiper, Mnemosyne 35 (1907), 354–85 (for Wilamowitz’s response to Kuiper see general bibl. above); Page, GLP 120–3 (no. 15); H.-J. Mette, ZPE 50 (1983), 13–19; D. F. Sutton, Two Lost Plays of Euripides (Frankfurt, 1987), 5–106; Gantz 277, 291–5; K. J. Dover, Aristophanes. Frogs (Oxford, 1993), 54–5; LIMC VII.i.232–42 ‘Peirithoos’ nos. 69–91, cf. V.i.182 ‘Herakles’ nos. 3515–9 and VII.i.922–51 ‘Theseus’ nos. 291–9.
On the authorship of Pirithous see the Introduction to this Appendix. For ascription to Euripides see also Kuiper, Page, Mette, Sutton, and for ascription to Critias, Dover. A further study is promised by Alvoni 290 n. 3 (‘pseudo- Euripidean’).
The close friendship between Theseus and Pirithous, already implicit in their brief pairing at Homer, Odyssey 11.631, is regularly attested in art and literature from the 6th century onwards (Gantz 277, 291–2, LIMC VII.i.232–3). The story of their joint descent into Hades to recover
Persephone (abducted by Hades) as Pirithous’ future wife, and of their imprisonment and release, became increasingly varied from the mid-5th century into late antiquity (Gantz 293–5). This background to the play is summarized along with its plot in the narrative hypothesis preserved by the Byzantine Ioannes Logothetes. It ends by stating that both Theseus and Pirithous were rescued by Heracles, and it is probably the source of the scholia on the Byzantine Tzetzes, Chiliades 4.911 (p. 573 Leone), which attribute the double rescue to Euripides and imply that a different version was commoner, in which Pirithous was intended as food for Cerberus and could not be rescued (so too Tzetzes on Aristophanes, Frogs 142a; the double rescue reappears in e.g. Diodorus 4.26.12 and Hyginus, Fab. 79.3; Heracles’ rescue of Theseus alone during the same labour also occurs in Euripides’ Heracles 610–9, 1221–2, and the single rescue persists in e.g. Horace, Odes 4.7.27–8: on this whole topic see Alvoni 294–5). The play’s dominant theme of friendship under severe trial (here between all three main persons: F 1, Hypothesis, end; F 6, 7) is frequent in Euripides; it helps to suggest his authorship (Mette, Sutton), but cannot prove it.
Some of the fragments can be given a dramatic context. F 2–4 are from the entry chant of the Chorus, comprised apparently of dead initiates of the Eleusinian Mysteries (see note on F 2); they come to pour offerings to the underworld powers, but celebrate also physical and metaphysical aspects of the world above. F 1, Heracles’ arrival in Hades and greeting by its ‘gatekeeper’ Aeacus, was for a time taken as the play’s opening (so Snell in the first edition of TrGF 1); such a dialogue is not securely attested at the very beginning of a Euripidean prologue, and was therefore taken also to disqualify him from authorship, but it