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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: November 2019

15 - Visualising Euripides’ Tauric Temple of the Maiden Goddess

from Part III - Plays


The Black Sea is the focus of a text by Lucian of Samosata, Toxaris: A Dialogue of Friendship, written in the second century AD. A Greek named Mnesippus converses with a Scythian named Toxaris (‘Archer’). Toxaris claims that the Scythians are better than Greeks at admiring exemplary heroes, and cites as illustration the Oresteion, a temple in Scythia to Orestes and Pylades. They are counted as honorary Scythians because of their unparalleled mutual loyalty (5–6). Their deeds are engraved on a bronze pillar, and they are honoured with sacrifices. Moreover, children in Toxaris’ country are obliged to commit the list of deeds (first dramatised in Euripides’ IT) to memory, and see the exploits of the Greeks in their country in ‘pictures by the artists of old’ hanging in the temple corridor (6).

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