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

See all articles by Ernest Metzger

Ernest Metzger

University of Glasgow - School of Law

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

Suggested Citation

Metzger, Ernest, Clytaemnestra's Watchman on the Roof (October 1, 2008). Eranos, Vol. 103, No. 1, pp. 38-47, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Ernest Metzger (Contact Author)

University of Glasgow - School of Law ( email )

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