THE STORY: (45 minutes) In this horrifying episode Agamemnon, Commander in Chief of the Greek’s Operation Trojan Storm, is confronted with an existential question. How badly does he want to invade Troy, and who or what is he willing to sacrifice in order to realize his plans?
THE COMMENTARY: MURDER, INCEST, INFIDELITY & CANNIBALISM – AGAMEMNON’S INTERESTING FAMILY! (16 minutes; begins at 45:00) This deeply troubling episode is based on the story of the sacrifice of Iphigenia – Agamemnon’s teenage daughter. In the post-story commentary I explore how two different Athenian dramatists used the broad outlines of the well-known “Iphigenia story” to craft their own unique plays. I first look at Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (458 B.C.E.), and explain why I chose to follow his general plot outline in narrating my own account of the story. Then I turn to Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis (405 B.C.E.), seeking (and finding) a much happier and less horrifying account of the story I have just told. I leave you the listener to decide which of the two versions you find more compelling and believable – because of course, none of us will never know what really happened on that beach at Aulis. Finally I turn to a quick account of Agamemnon’s absolutely horrifying family: the House of Atreus. Starting with Agamemnon’s great grandfather, then down through the generations to Agamemnon himself, I recount a family predilection for murder, incest, infidelity and cannibalism. I discuss the Bronze Age belief that “the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons” to account for the horrifying intergenerational curse of the House of Atreus. Because of my “no plot spoilers” promise, I conclude my review of the curse with Agamemnon himself, but promise listeners that in later episodes of Trojan War: The Podcast, Agamemnon’s descendants will carry on the proud family history of horrifying deeds.