87 books like The Bacchae and Other Plays

By Euripides, Philip Vellacott (translator),

Here are 87 books that The Bacchae and Other Plays fans have personally recommended if you like The Bacchae and Other Plays. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World

Julie Anderson Author Of Oracle

From my list on Delphi and its oracle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a crime writer and my latest novel is set in Delphi, Greece at the Temple of Apollo: it interweaves a modern murder mystery with perennial themes like justice, retribution and law so the cradle of law and democracy was an ideal setting, especially Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the centre of the world. I visited there at the turn of the millennium and it has always stayed with me. Since childhood, I have been fascinated, like many, with the stories of ancient Greece, its gods, myths, and legends, and the genesis of so many of the ideas which underpin western society and thought. I've taught Classics in the past, but these books will give the reader joy as well as improving their knowledge.

Julie's book list on Delphi and its oracle

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

Scott is an associate professor of classics and ancient history at the University of Warwick and his erudition shines through this comprehensive study of Delphi and, at its heart, the Oracle and Temple of Apollo. Yet this is never a dull, academic book, Scott's obvious love for the place and its history prevents that, as he chronicles the wars and disputes, the judgements and prophesies, as well as how the Oracle, the female Pythia, was set at the very centre of the ancient world. He evokes the place brilliantly, with its spectacular setting, and brings the history up to date with the rediscovery of the ancient site and its re-emergence from the mountainside. It was inestimably useful to me when I wrote Oracle, but it also reinforced my desire to return to what is a very special place.

By Michael Scott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Delphi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The oracle and sanctuary of the Greek god Apollo at Delphi were known as the "omphalos"--the "center" or "navel"--of the ancient world for more than 1000 years. Individuals, city leaders, and kings came from all over the Mediterranean and beyond to consult Delphi's oracular priestess; to set up monuments to the gods; and to take part in competitions. In this richly illustrated account, Michael Scott covers the history and nature of Delphi, from the literary and archaeological evidence surrounding the site, to its rise as a center of worship, to the constant appeal of the oracle despite her cryptic prophecies.…


Book cover of Oresteia

Fiona McHardy Author Of Revenge and Gender in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature

From my list on women and revenge in Greek tragedy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Greek literature began as a child when I was captivated by Greek myths and epic tales. As a student, I became fascinated with tragic revenge plots involving women, especially mothers who kill their children, and since then, I have published extensively on gender and violence in ancient Greek literature and life. I speak modern Greek and love thinking about these topics in traditional Greek folk poetry and literature as well, especially works like Alexandros Papadiamantis’ The Murderess and Pantelis Prevelakis’ The Sun of Death.

Fiona's book list on women and revenge in Greek tragedy

Fiona McHardy Why did Fiona love this book?

My journey to specialising in gender and revenge in ancient Athens began when I read this trilogy of tragedies by Aeschylus in the original ancient Greek. These plays captivated me because of their stunningly powerful and breathtakingly beautiful use of imagery and language.

The characters are equally striking, especially the clever and determined queen Clytemnestra, a ruthless and duplicitous killer who murders her husband in the bath. In turn, her son Orestes is faced with the dreadful prospect of killing his own mother to avenge the death of his father. Performing matricide brings forth the terrifying Erinyes, goddesses of vengeance, who demand that Orestes pay the price.

The powerful female characters and the dilemmas of the revenge plot are what make this trilogy one I return to time and time again.

By Aeschylus, Christopher Collard (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Oresteia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agamemnon *Libation Bearers *Eumenides Aeschylus' Oresteia is the only trilogy to survive from Greek tragedy, and the religious and moral ideas it enacts afterwards influenced a great dramatic genre, as well as giving its three plays their lasting significance. In this family history, Fate and the gods decree that each generation will repeat the crimes and endure the suffering of their forebears. When Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, their son Orestes must avenge his father's death. Only Orestes' appeal to the goddess Athena saves him from his mother's Furies, breaking the bloody chain; together gods and humans inaugurate…


Book cover of The Mask of Apollo

Edoardo Albert Author Of Edwin

From my list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a writer and historian, specialising in the early-Medieval period and the fractious but fruitful encounter between the Christian and Islamic worlds. My fiction is informed by my non-fiction work: it’s a great help to have written actual histories of Northumbria in collaboration with some of the foremost archaeologists working on the period. I regard my work as the imaginative application of what we can learn through history to stories and the books I have selected all do this through the extraordinarily varied talents of their authors. I hope you will enjoy them!

Edoardo's book list on overlooked or largely forgotten historical fiction

Edoardo Albert Why did Edoardo love this book?

The final sentence of The Mask of Apollo has haunted me for decades since I first read the book in my teens. When I read it again, many years later, I discovered that the story is as moving as I remembered. Renault weaves a fascinating re-creation of classical Greek theatre with Plato’s attempt to tutor a true philosopher king in the kingdom of Syracuse. But it’s the final chapter, after Plato’s death, that raises the book to the level of tragedy. For then we meet the young Alexander, already almost god-like in his charisma, a fire seeking fuel for its burning. Alexander burns through the world seeking it, but what he is looking for in the world has already left it: a broken Plato has already died.

By Mary Renault,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mask of Apollo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Set in fourth-century B.C. Greece, The Mask of Apollo is narrated by Nikeratos, a tragic actor who takes with him on all his travels a gold mask of Apollo, a relic of the theatre's golden age, which is now past. At first his mascot, the mask gradually becomes his conscience, and he refers to it his gravest decisions, when he finds himself at the centre of a political crisis in which the philosopher Plato is also involved. Much of the action is set in Syracuse, where Plato's friend Dion is trying to persuade the young tyrant Dionysios the Younger to…


Book cover of See Delphi and Die: A Marcus Didius Falco Mystery

Julie Anderson Author Of Oracle

From my list on Delphi and its oracle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a crime writer and my latest novel is set in Delphi, Greece at the Temple of Apollo: it interweaves a modern murder mystery with perennial themes like justice, retribution and law so the cradle of law and democracy was an ideal setting, especially Delphi, which the Greeks believed to be the centre of the world. I visited there at the turn of the millennium and it has always stayed with me. Since childhood, I have been fascinated, like many, with the stories of ancient Greece, its gods, myths, and legends, and the genesis of so many of the ideas which underpin western society and thought. I've taught Classics in the past, but these books will give the reader joy as well as improving their knowledge.

Julie's book list on Delphi and its oracle

Julie Anderson Why did Julie love this book?

This one's a bit of a cheat, but fun. It's one of the hugely successful Marcus Didius Falco series by Lindsay Davis, set in Flavian Rome (first century), in which she recounts the adventures of the disreputable private investigator Falco as he walks the mean streets of Rome in search of truth, a denarius or two and a loose woman (though not in this book, he's well and truly hitched by then). Raymond Chandler meets Robert Graves. The first in the series The Silver Pigs won the Author's Club First Novel Award in 1989 and it's easy to see why. It spawned twenty more. Delphi is the seventeenth and our heroes only get to the shrine in Part Four. Their passage up the Sacred Way, as they try to rid themselves of a limpet like freelance guide is one of the funniest descriptions I've read of arriving the Temple (and…

By Lindsey Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked See Delphi and Die as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's A.D. 76 during the reign of Vespasian, and Marcus Didius Falco, a Roman "informer," has achieved much in his life. He's joined the equestrian rank, allowing him to marry Helena Justina, the Senator's beloved daughter. But now he's just been hired to undergo a dangerous mission: to pry his brother-in-law Aulus, a scholar on the way to study in Athens, away from a murder investigation involving two dead women at the ancient site of the Olympic Games. Traveling to Greece under the guise of being tourists, Falco and Helena visit the country's classic sites in order to investigate the…


Book cover of The Art of Ancient Greek Theater

J. Michael Walton Author Of Euripides Our Contemporary

From my list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Hull, translator of some twenty plays from Greek or Latin into English, a professional director, and a member of Equity for more than fifty years. I hope and believe that my own experience as a practitioner has blended with an educational background in Greek and Latin from St Andrews combined in my extensive list of publications on theatre history as author and editor to be found listed on my website.

J.'s book list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences

J. Michael Walton Why did J. love this book?

This may seem a rather strange nomination as it is the catalogue for a remarkable exhibition, curated by Mary Hart at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2010.

The main justification is that this was probably the greatest collection of illustrations of dramatic performances in the classical world ever displayed together, in pots, paintings, and artefacts. Though hardly a reliable guide to how Greek comedies and tragedies were originally staged, the various artworks are given contexts and explanations in accompanying commentaries.

Above all, what the book validates is the belief that the earliest Greek theatre emerged as a visual art form, never initially to be preserved in print. Today, we do have some 46 more or less complete playtexts, including a couple from New Comedy, which there is no space to champion here, but which also features strongly throughout the catalogue.

By Mary Louise Hart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Ancient Greek Theater as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is an exploration of Greek theatre as seen through its many depictions in classical art. "The Art of Ancient Greek Theater" addresses the vibrant imprint that ancient Greek tragedy and comedy left on the visual arts of classical Greece. Theatrical performance as we know it originated in mid-sixth century BCE with choral dances held in honour of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and patron of the theatre. The great tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and the comedies of Aristophanes and Menander are preserved as some of the world's most revered literature and have formed the basis for…


Book cover of Public and Performance in the Greek Theatre

J. Michael Walton Author Of Euripides Our Contemporary

From my list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Hull, translator of some twenty plays from Greek or Latin into English, a professional director, and a member of Equity for more than fifty years. I hope and believe that my own experience as a practitioner has blended with an educational background in Greek and Latin from St Andrews combined in my extensive list of publications on theatre history as author and editor to be found listed on my website.

J.'s book list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences

J. Michael Walton Why did J. love this book?

Choosing five books that might be the most useful for anyone contemplating a revival of plays that were created for a single performance nearly two and a half thousand years ago is a daunting task, one I could have undertaken many times over.

While no practitioner would be recommended to try to recreate the original production, all would be advised not to ignore the circumstances which have contributed to the plays’ survival as living dramas.

Peter Arnott was rare among classicists in that his approach was primarily from a performance perspective.

He was himself a director of note, but also a puppeteer whose solo productions of Greek tragedies and comedies were a good introduction to the reality of masked performance to players and audiences in the huge performance spaces where the Athenian festivals were celebrated and where the playwrights explored the potential of their new medium.

By Peter D. Arnott,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Public and Performance in the Greek Theatre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Peter Arnott discusses Greek drama not as an antiquarian study but as a living art form. He removes the plays from the library and places them firmly in the theatre that gave them being. Invoking the practical realities of stagecraft, he illuminates the literary patterns of the plays, the performance disciplines, and the audience responses.
Each component of the productions - audience, chorus, actors, costume, speech - is examined in the context of its own society and of theatre practice in general, with examples from other cultures. Professor Arnott places great emphasis on the practical staging of Greek plays, and…


Book cover of Aristophanic Comedy

J. Michael Walton Author Of Euripides Our Contemporary

From my list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Hull, translator of some twenty plays from Greek or Latin into English, a professional director, and a member of Equity for more than fifty years. I hope and believe that my own experience as a practitioner has blended with an educational background in Greek and Latin from St Andrews combined in my extensive list of publications on theatre history as author and editor to be found listed on my website.

J.'s book list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences

J. Michael Walton Why did J. love this book?

Despite a somewhat daunting front cover, this is a most engaging book.

It can be misleading to divorce an understanding of Greek comedy from that of tragedy. Both were performed on specific occasions and engaged their audiences through complementary approaches to dramatic performance.

Kenneth Dover, knighted in 1977 for ‘services to scholarship’, was a most inspiring of teachers and a writer on all aspects of the ancient world, never more so than this book on Aristophanes.

Here he confronts all aspects of Old Comedy from a playwright who, through a mixture of farce and fantasy, created an unparalleled portrait of daily life in ancient Athens, but whose works remained fully untranslated and unperformed in English right up to the later years of the 20th Century.

Dover shirks neither political impetus, nor the ribaldry, blatant sexism, and often wildly obscene behaviour of the characters.

By K. J. Dover,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aristophanic Comedy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Professor Dover's newest book is designed for those who are interested in the history of comedy as an art form but who are not necessarily familiar with the Greek language. The eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes are treated as representative of a genre. "Old Attic Comedy", which was artistically and intellectually homogeneous and gave expression to the spirit of Athenian society in the late fifth and early fourth centuries B.C. Aristophanes is regarded primarily not as a reformer or propagandist but as a dramatist who sought, in competition with his rivals, to win the esteem both of the general public…


Book cover of Athens from Alexander to Antony

Ian Worthington Author Of Athens After Empire: A History from Alexander the Great to the Emperor Hadrian

From my list on post Classical Athens.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ian Worthington, FSA, FRHistS, is a Professor of Ancient History at Macquarie University, and has written and edited 21 books and over 100 articles on Greek history, oratory, and epigraphy. He also has a Great Courses DVD and CD course titled The Long Shadow of the Ancient Greek World. Away from academic work, he is addicted to reality TV and is an unpaid taxi driver for his two children.

Ian's book list on post Classical Athens

Ian Worthington Why did Ian love this book?

The late Christian Habicht was one of the foremost authorities on Hellenistic Greece. His book is both a synthesis of his research and publications on this period and an incisive and in-depth narrative of Athens down to 30 BC, anchored in the ancient, especially inscriptional, evidence. He shows among other things how Athens remained a vital city in Greece and how its intellectual and social life continued to flourish but how limited its democracy was. Habicht’s book could not take into account recent and much-needed epigraphical publications of the city’s major state decrees and laws and new insights into chronology, but it is still an indispensable read.

By Christian Habicht, Deborah Lucas Schneider,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Athens from Alexander to Antony as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The conquests of Alexander the Great transformed the Greek world into a complex of monarchies and vying powers, a vast sphere in which the Greek city-states struggled to survive. This is the story of one city that, despite long periods of subjugation, persisted as a vital social entity throughout the Hellenistic age. Christian Habicht narrates the history of Athens from its subjugation by the Macedonians in 338 BC to the battle of Actium in 31 BC, when Octavian's defeat of Mark Antony paved the way for Roman dominion over the Hellenistic world. For nearly three centuries Athens strove unsuccessfully for…


Book cover of The Greek Tragic Theatre

J. Michael Walton Author Of Euripides Our Contemporary

From my list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Emeritus Professor of Drama at the University of Hull, translator of some twenty plays from Greek or Latin into English, a professional director, and a member of Equity for more than fifty years. I hope and believe that my own experience as a practitioner has blended with an educational background in Greek and Latin from St Andrews combined in my extensive list of publications on theatre history as author and editor to be found listed on my website.

J.'s book list on Greek theatre for practitioners and audiences

J. Michael Walton Why did J. love this book?

If Arnott’s approach makes it easier to understand and appreciate how Greek drama and theatre were part of a performance culture in classical Athens, Baldry’s widens that perception to the much broader social and political climate of ancient Greece, from the likely ‘invention’ of tragedy and comedy in Athens at the end of the 6th Century BCE, to their development throughout the Greek world over the next two centuries and survival to our own time.

The whole sense of this new art form, a synthesis of storytelling, poetry, music, and dance, which developed as a kind of living and moving sculpture, is a hard one to take in all at once.

What Baldry offers is a brief but clear introduction to the background of both tragedy and comedy for anyone whose awareness of the potential of plays and players only begins with Shakespeare. He is both readable and a reliable…

By H.C. Baldry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greek Tragic Theatre as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Studies the nature of Greek tragedy during the fifth century B.C. focusing on the function of the actors and chorus, the organization of the theatre, and the audience


Book cover of Medea and Other Plays

Fiona McHardy Author Of Revenge and Gender in Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature

From my list on women and revenge in Greek tragedy.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Greek literature began as a child when I was captivated by Greek myths and epic tales. As a student, I became fascinated with tragic revenge plots involving women, especially mothers who kill their children, and since then, I have published extensively on gender and violence in ancient Greek literature and life. I speak modern Greek and love thinking about these topics in traditional Greek folk poetry and literature as well, especially works like Alexandros Papadiamantis’ The Murderess and Pantelis Prevelakis’ The Sun of Death.

Fiona's book list on women and revenge in Greek tragedy

Fiona McHardy Why did Fiona love this book?

This translation of four of Euripides’ plays features his three best female avengers.

Electra is the loyal daughter who conspires with her brother Orestes, to avenge the killing of their father by slaughtering their mother, Clytemnestra. Hecabe is the fierce maternal figure who exacts revenge for her dead son Polydorus on the man who killed him for his riches. Medea is the murderous mother who avenges herself on her faithless husband, Jason, by killing her own children to destroy his family line.

The power of these plays is in the way their plots build as the women move from grief to anger, culminating in their fatal acts of revenge and leaving the audience to ponder on the nature of justice.

By Euripides, Philip Vellacott (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Medea and Other Plays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Medea/Hecabe/Electra/Heracles

Four devastating Greek tragedies showing the powerful brought down by betrayal, jealousy, guilt and hatred

The first playwright to depict suffering without reference to the gods, Euripides made his characters speak in human terms and face the consequences of their actions. In Medea, a woman rejected by her lover takes hideous revenge by murdering the children they both love, and Hecabe depicts the former queen of Troy, driven mad by the prospect of her daughter's sacrifice to Achilles. Electra portrays a young woman planning to avenge the brutal death of her father at the hands of her mother, while…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in drama, Delphi, and William Shakespeare?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about drama, Delphi, and William Shakespeare.

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