Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Αισχύλος vs. The Mummy

Sure Hellenic culture and Egyptian culture interacted over the centuries, and the library at Alexandria held many works of Greek drama when it burned, but who could imagine extracting a long-lost play from the bowels of a mummy.

That's exactly what is being done, however; "... archaeologists found mummies in Egypt which were stuffed with papyrus, containing excerpts of the original plays of Aeschylus," said Andy Bargilly, the director of the Θεατρικού Οργανισμού Κύπρου or Cyprus Theatre Organisation (THOC), according to press reports [BBC | Reuters | Playbill].

The Αισχύλος (Aeschylus) work in question is the Achilles trilogy, which was recreated based upon scraps of papyrus found in mummies and information gleaned from other ancient critics and writers, including some material about the Trojan War from Homer's The Iliad. "We do think it is a faithful adaptation to a large extent, but nobody can say 100%," Bargilly said. Author Elias Malandris worked on the project for a decade.

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