“Ion” by Euripides

Apollo raped Creusa, a young princess of Athens, who gave birth to Ion in secret and in shame and fear exposed the infant to die. Apollo arranged to have the baby brought to his temple in Delphi and raised by his priestess. Creusa, now married to Xuthus but remained childless, came to Delphi with her husband to inquire of the oracle.

While writing an intriguing story of love, abandonment, treachery, enmity, murder, reunion and reconciliation, Euripides also relates the struggles for power and survival among the various races and lineages in ancient Greece, the same type of struggles that have existed throughout the ages. Another play by Euripides, “Medea”, has a similar theme with a completely different ending.


“Proud of their high race are your Athenians, natives of the land, not drawn from foreign lineage: I to them shall come unwelcome, in two points defective, my father not a native, and myself of spurious birth: Loaded with this reproach, if destitute of power, I shall be held abject and worthless: Should I rush among the highest order of the state, and wish to appear important, inferior ranks will hate me; aught above them gives disgust. The good, the wise, men form’d to serve the state, are silent, nor at public honours aim too hastily: by such, were I not quiet in such a bustling state, I should be deemed ridiculous, and proverb’d for a fool. Should I attain the dignity of those, whose approved worth hath raised them to the height of public honours, by such suffrage more should I be watched; for they that hold in states rule and preeminence, bear hostile minds to all that vie with them.”

“The pleasure is equal, to rejoice in greatness or to have delight with little.”



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