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College of Arts and Sciences

Roman tragedy illuminated in original Latin

By: Linda B. Glaser,  A&S Communications
April 10, 2019

Ghosts, sacrifices, visions –Seneca’s ancient tale of the aftermath of the fall of Troy, “Troades” (“The Trojan Women”), is a Roman tragedy in the grand tradition.  On April 21 and 24 Cornell classics students will stage the play in the original Latin (with English supertitles), demonstrating both the power of Seneca’s language and the vigor of Cornell’s living Latin program. 

“Troades” is a Roman version of the Greek tragedy about the women who survive the fall of Troy. Before their Greek conquerors haul them off, an oracle demands that two of their offspring be offered as human sacrifices. The play examines whether death would be preferable in the face of such senseless slaughter.

“It has taken an enormous amount of commitment for these Cornellians to stage – unabridged and in the original Latin – a masterpiece of ancient theatre,” said Daniel Gallagher, the Ralph and Jeanne Kanders Lecturer in Latin and co-director of the play along with Nathan Chazan ‘19. “They have worked tirelessly to create a production that showcases Seneca’s extraordinary use of Latin to convey the despondency of the Trojan women, the deceptiveness of their Greek captors, and the horrific deaths of two children. Even those with little or no Latin will be struck by the power of Seneca’s language.”
 
The performance will feature an original musical composition by Cornell student Ellie Cherry. 

The play is sponsored by the Department of Classics in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Ancient Theater Performance Group of Cornell University. The Sunday, April 21 performance will be at 7:30 p.m. and the Wednesday, April 24, performance will be at 7: 30 p.m. All performances are free and will be held in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium in Klarman Hall. The public is invited. For more information, email lmb296@cornell.edu.

Image by Franklin Simmons, De Young museum, San Fransisco, USA