Just How Just is Aeschylus’ Justice?
Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy is often celebrated as a progressive account of the replacement of blood vengeance at the level of the family by legal procedures at the level of the city; and there is something to be said for this view. But examined more closely, the way in which Aeschylus shows that Orestes is acquitted at his trial in the Eumenides seems to emphasize a number of aspects, especially in the behavior of Athena, which can make the justice of its outcome seem at least questionable. So just how just is Aeschylus’ justice?
Glenn W. Most retired in November 2020 as Professor of Greek Philology at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, and remains a regular Visiting Professor on the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago and an External Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He has published books on Classics, on ancient philosophy, on the history and methodology of Classical studies, on comparative literature, cultural studies, and the history of religion, on literary theory and on the history of art, and has published numerous articles, reviews, and translations in these fields and also on such other ones as modern philosophy and literature. Most recently he has published the second, revised edition of Hesiod in two volumes in the Loeb series, a co-edited comprehensive Loeb edition of the early Greek philosophers in nine volumes, co-edited volumes on impagination and on scholarly methods in a variety of canonical written traditions, a co-edited volume of essays on a sen-tence of Kafka, a collection of his essays in Italian on ancient and modern psy-chology, and articles and reviews on a number of different subjects. He is currently working on various projects involving both ancient Greek philology and the comparison of philological practices in different periods and cultures throughout the world.