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Translations and adaptations for the stage

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The face of the king?
This image, which does date back to the age in
which we might imagine the Trojan War, is
almost certainly not that of the historical king,
who, in Homer, leads the Greek forces against Troy,
but it captures our sense of him as few others do.

The Paralinear Oresteia:
A Gateway to the Ancient Greek Text

The Greek text by Aeschylus
with parallel English text and commentary by Robert Bethune

Available as a printed book on

Our "paralinear" edition of the Oresteia of Aeschylus

This edition of the Oresteia of Aeschylus is a tool for readers who have a working knowledge of ancient Greek to read Aeschylus in ancient Greek for pleasure and for literary appreciation while gaining an intuitive grasp of grammar and vocabulary. The presentation consists of an edition of the ancient Greek text with parallel extended English glossing of the Greek text. For sample pages, see the link below.

In a traditional interlinear text, glossing is placed between the lines. Since that layout doesn't work well for ancient Greek, I place my glossing alongside-para in ancient Greek-hence my invented term "paralinear" to describe this text. Each glossing presents the meaning of the text in English word order, with the words of the Greek text interspersed.

The reader can see easily which words in the Greek mean what, and how the structure of the Greek works. A reader who takes full advantage of this layout can follow the Greek relatively easily while learning the very large Aeschylean vocabulary naturally, in context.

For me, the great value of this play, the element that makes it so compelling as to inspire one to make the effort to read it in the original language, is terribly simple and terribly appropriate for our time. It is the story of how humankind invented justice--no more, no less. The full scope of humanity could not be reached until we found a way to transcend the endless, ageless cycle of violence and revenge, of eye for eye and tooth for tooth. The mythos of this play is the story of how humankind found its way out of that trap, escaped from being locked into that endless cycle of blood and death. We learned that lesson once, and we have had to relearn it over and over again through the blood-red ages. Can we learn it now, again, for our time--in time to save ourselves?

Sample pages

Sample pages and 'search inside the book" views can be found at this page on

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All text and images on this page are copyright 2005 Robert Bethune.

The photographs are of the production by Creative Theater Group, Monroe, New York.