Clytaemnestra's Watchman on the Roof
Eranos, Vol. 103, No. 1, pp. 38-47, 2005
13 Pages Posted: 30 Oct 2008 Last revised: 3 Nov 2008
Date Written: October 1, 2008
In the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, an unfortunate error by ancient grammarians, equating AGKATHEN (line 3) with ANEKATHEN, gave rise to a tradition that the Watchman delivered the prologue from the roof of the SKENE. Though the error was recognised long ago, the tradition has endured, principally on the argument that the roof provides a good vantage for the Watchman's observations. This article argues that the Watchman did not deliver the prologue from the roof. The argument is based on the Watchman's reference to his "dewy bed" (lines 12-13), a reference by which Aeschylus assimilates the Watchman to a soldier sleeping on the ground, and on the word AGKATHEN (line 3), by which the Watchman indicates that he spends his night moving "around" the palace like a dog.
Keywords: Aeschylus, Agamemnon, watchman, roof, skene, staging
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