Athenian Power: Seven Against Thebes and the Democracy-in-Arms

  • Manuela Giordano


The paper highlights the martial dimension of power in democratic Athens, and Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes is interpreted as a significant case of this. The drama, a ‘civic tragedy’ in all respects, can be fully understood, it is argued, when set in the historical context of 467 BCE. Building on previous analyses, the paper deals with Aeschylean double construction of a masculine identity, represented in Eteocles and opposed to the chorus, on the one hand, and a warlike hoplitic warrior embodied in the Cadmean defenders and opposed to the Argive enemies on the other. It is also suggested that tragedy, an ‘invention d’Athènes’ nonetheless, plays a pivotal role in the construction of Athenian ideology.