The Interrelation between Rhesus and its Genuine Poet: A Problematic Case of Reception?

  • Anastasia-Stavroula Valtadorou (Author)

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Rhesus, a tragedy mainly attributed to Euripides, had critics already in antiquity: as the second Ὑπόθεσις of the play makes evident, its alleged poor quality caused some ancient scholars to express doubts about its authenticity. The authorship of Rhesus is still under debate. For instance, Vayos Liapis often claims that the surviving Rhesus is a play written in the fourth century BCE by an actor named Neoptolemos (Liapis 2009; 2012). Unsurprisingly, these claims about inauthenticity are again interwoven with the alleged poor poetic value of the play. This connection generally established between Euripides and works of high aesthetic value raises some intriguing questions: is the reception of a text influenced by our convictions about what is classical? Is there an actual connection between an object and its meaning, or are we the ones that form the meaning based on our own beliefs?