~Ah me, how sudden have the storms of Fate,
Beyond all thought, all apprehension, burst
On my devoted head! O Fortune, Fortune!
With what relentless fury hath thy hand
Hurl’d desolation on the Persian race!
Wo unsupportable! The torturing thought
Of our lost youth comes rushing on my mind,
And sinks me to the ground. O Jove, that
Had died with those brave men that died in fight I~
"The Persians" by Aeschylus.
How daring and innovative sounds till our days a writer to dedicate a whole play to the enemies of his country, that’s Aeschylus’ case when writing “The Persians”, an antiwar cry against greed and obstinance of mind. King Xerxes is no equal in glory compared to his godlike father Darius but he has to find that out in the most bitter way by sacrificing the youth and future of great Persia. The venerable mother of Xerxes, Atossa refinds her son after his defeat and humilation but she can feel no comfort in the thought that her son is responsible for the loss of many, a mother can only bare while remaining wise inside her grief. Aeschylus writes while he has no intention to underestimate the magnitude of the persian suffering, on the contrary he feels for them conveying an ageless message, a message against blind power and violence of the numbers, one we know very well in our modernity as well. Some warnings are forever, let’s stop now and listen…
In the photos: “The Persians” as presented by The National Theatre of Northern Greece, in the role of Darius’ ghost the legendary greek actor Yannis Fertis. One of the most enjoyable aspects of greek summer is the plethora of options the audience has when choosing to see theatrical adaptations of ancient greek plays and most of those plays speak with the words of the past a language of today.