:"112 Iphigenia is an asteroid." Iphigeneia (Eng. /ɪfədʒə'naɪə/ polytonic|Ἰφιγένεια, also Iphigenia) is a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra in Greek mythology. In Attic accounts, [Pausanias, 2.21.6; a scholium on Aristophanes' "Lysistrata" l.645, asserts that it was not at Aulis but at Brauron in Attica that she was apparently sacrificed (noted Kerenyi 1959:238 and note 599).] Iphigeneia is sometimes called a daughter of Theseus and Helen raised by Agamemnon and Clytemnestra. The name means "strong-born", though more literally "born to strength". [ [http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.04.0057%3Aentry%3D%2351428 Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", "s.v." "Iphigeneia"] . Karl Kerenyi, aware of Iphigeneia's obscure pre-history as an autonomous goddess rather than a mere marriageable girl in the house of Agamemnon, renders her name "she who governs births mightily" (Kerenyi, "The Heroes of the Greeks" [1959:331] ).]

Post-Homeric Greek myth

Artemis punished Agamemnon after he killed a sacred deer in a sacred grove and boasted he was the better hunter. On his way to Troy to participate in the Trojan War, Agamemnon's ships were suddenly motionless as Artemis stopped the wind in Aulis. The soothsayer Calchas revealed an oracle that appeased Artemis, so that the Aechaean fleet could sail. This much is in Homer, who was unaware of the aspect of this episode in which the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice Iphigeneia to her. According to the earliest versions he did so, but other sources claim that Iphigenia was taken by Artemis to Tauris in Crimea to prepare others for sacrifice, and that the goddess left a deer ["When his wife had sent Iphigeneia, Agamemnon placed her on the altar and was about to sacrifice her when Artemis spirited her off to the Taurians, where she set her up as her own priestess; she put a deer on the altar in the girl’s place. Also, according to some, she made Iphigeneia immortal." Pseudo-Apollodorus, "Epitome of the Library" 3.21.] or a goat (the god Pan transformed) in her place. The Hesiodic "Catalogue of Women" called her Iphimede/Iphimedeia (polytonic|Ἰφιμέδεια) [This isolated fragmentary passage, found among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, has been restored to its proper place in "Ehoeae", the Hesiodic Catalogue, in modern times; the awkward insertion of "eidolon" — the "image" of Iphimede — and lines where Artemis saves her are considered a later interpolation by Friedrich Solmsen, "The Sacrifice of Agamemnon's Daughter in Hesiod's' Ehoeae" "The American Journal of Philology" 102.4 (Winter 1981), pp. 353-358.] and told that Artemis transformed her into the goddess Hecate. [this doesn't appear in any of the surviving passages of the Hesiodic catalogue but is attested for it by Pausanias, 1.43.1.] Antoninus Liberalis said that Iphigeneia was transported to the island of Leuke, where she was wedded to immortalized Achilles under the name of Orsilochia.

According to Euripides' "Iphigeneia in Tauris", Iphigeneia features in the story of her brother, Orestes. In order to escape the persecutions of the Erinyes for killing his mother Clytemnestra and her lover, he has been ordered by Apollo to go to Tauris [Tauris is now the Crimea.] carry off the "xoanon" of Artemis which had fallen from heaven, and bring it to Athens. He has repaired to Tauris with Pylades, son of Strophius and intimate friend of Orestes, but the pair are at once imprisoned by the Tauri, among whom the custom is to sacrifice all Greek strangers to Artemis. The priestess of Artemis, whose duty it is to perform the sacrifice, offers to release Orestes if he will carry home a letter from her to Greece; he refuses to go, but bids Pylades take the letter while he himself will stay and be slain. After a conflict of mutual affection, Pylades at last yields, but the letter brings about a recognition between brother and sister, and all three escape together, carrying with them the image of Artemis. Here the play ends. After their return to Greece, Orestes takes possession of his father's kingdom of Mycenae and Argos and Iphigeneia leaves the image in the temple of Artemis in Brauron, Attica, where she remains as priestess of Artemis Brauronia. According to the Spartans, however, the image of Artemis was transported by them to Laconia, where the goddess was worshipped as Artemis Orthia.

These close identifications of Iphigeneia with Artemis have encouraged some scholars to believe that she was originally a hunting goddess whose cult was subsumed by the Olympian Artemis.

Among The Taurians

The people of Taurica facing the Euxine Sea [Taurica (Greek: Ταυρίς, Ταυρίδα, Latin: Taurica) also known as the Tauric Chersonese, and Chersonesus Taurica was the name of Crimea in Antiquity.] worshiped the maiden goddess Artemis, some very early Greek sources in the Epic Cycle affirmed that Artemis rescued Iphigenia from the human sacrifice her father was about to perform, for instance in the lost epic "Cypria", which survives in a summary by Proclus: ["Epicorum Graecorum Fragmenta", ed. G. Kinkel, p. 19] "Artemis, however, snatched her away and transported her to the Tauroi, making her immortal, and put a stag in place of the girl upon the altar." The goddess swept the young princess off to Tauris where she became a priestess at the Temple of Artemis. The earliest known accounts of the death of Iphigenia are included in Euripides' "Iphigeneia at Aulis" and "Iphigeneia in Tauris", both Athenian tragedies of the fifth century BCE set in the Heroic Age. In the dramatist's version, the Taurians worshipped both Artemis and Iphigeneia in the Temple of Artemis at Tauris.

Other variations of the death of Iphigeneia include her being rescued at her sacrifice by Artemis and transformed into the goddess Hecate. Another example includes Iphigenia’s brother Orestes discovering her identity and helping him steal an image of Artemis. The reason for many discrepancies in telling of the myth is playwrights such as Euripides modified the stories about Iphigenia to make them more palatable for the audiences and make sequels using the same characters.

Many traditions arose from the sacrifice of Iphigenia; one prominent one by the Spartans. Rather than sacrificing virgins, they would whip the victim in front of a sacred image of Artemis, until an erotic reaction occurred and he ejaculated, fertilizing the land with blood and semen. However, most tributes to Artemis inspired by her sacrifice, were mere sacrifices themselves. Taurians especially performed sacrifices of bulls and virgins in honour of Artemis. [Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, London: Penguin, 1955; Baltimore: Penguin pgs 73-75: “Iphigenia Among the Taurians”]


Iphianassa (polytonic|Ἰφιάνασσα) is the name of one of Agamemnon's three daughters in Homer's Iliad (ix.145, 287) [The three are Chrysothemis, Laodice (the double of Electra) and Iphianassa. In "Iliad" ix, the embassy to Achilles is empowered to offer him one of Agamemnon's three daughters, implying that Iphianassa/Iphigeneia is still living, as Friedrich Solmsen 1981:353 points out.] The name Iphianassa may be simply an older variant of the name Iphigeneia. "Not all poets took Iphigeneia and Iphianassa to be two names for the same heroine," Kerenyi remarks, [Kerenyi 1959:331, noting Sophocles, "Elektra" 157. Kerenyi clearly distinguishes between parallel accounts of Iphigeneia. "It is possible in the "Cypria" Agamemnon was given four daughters, Iphigeneia being distinguished from Iphianassa", Friedrich Solmsen remarks, (Solmsen 1981:353 note 1) also noting the scholium on "Elektra" 157. ] "though it is certain that to begin with they served indifferently to address the same divine being, who had not belonged from all time to the family of Agamemnon."

Cymon and Iphigenia

The episode of Iphigeneia and Cymon that inspired such painters as Benjamin West (1773), John Everett Millais (1848) and Frederic Leighton (1884) is not a Greek myth, but a "novella" taken from Boccaccio's "Decameron" and developed later by the poet and dramatist John Dryden.

The tale intended to demonstrate the power of love. As Iphigeneia sleeps in a grove by the sea, a noble but coarse and unlettered Cypriot youth, Cymon, seeing Iphigeneia's beauty, falls in love with her and, by the power of love, becomes an educated and polished courtier.

A Modern Viewpoint

In Eric Shanower's "Age of Bronze" vol. 2, "Sacrifice", (ISBN 1-58240-399-6), the substitution of a deer for Iphigeneia was a pious lie invented by Odysseus to comfort the grieving Clytemnestra. It did not work: she angrily cursed the whole Achaean army, wishing they would all die in the war, the violent men who had been clamoring for the blood of her daughter.

Sheri S. Tepper's "The Gate to Women's Country" contained a similar idea, with a play named "Iphigenia at Illium" running through the novel as a leitmotif. Within the novel, the ghost of Iphigenia tells Achilles that all the poets lied; she did not die willingly, and nor was a goat sent to take her place. Iphigenia also realises that these myths no longer have any power over her; when Achilles attempts to claim her as his wife, she reminds him that "women are no good to you dead".

ome modern sources

*Bonnard, A. "Iphigénie à Aulis. Tragique et Poesie". Museum Helveticum, Basel, v. 2, p. 87-107, 1945.
*Croisille, J.-M. "Le sacrifice d’Iphigénie dans l’art romain et la littérature latine". Latomus, Brussels, v. 22, p. 209-225, 1963.
*Decharme, P. "Iphigenia." In: c. d'Aremberg, and E Saglio, "Dictionnaire des Antiquités Grecques et Romaines", v. 3 (1ère partie), p. 570-572, (1877-1919).
*Jouan, F. "Le Rassemblement d’Aulis et le Sacrifice d´Iphigénie." In: _______, "Euripide et les Légendes des Chants Cypriens". Paris: Les Belles Lettres, pp 259-298, 1966.
*Kahil, L. "Le sacrifice d’Iphigénie." In: 'Mélanges de l’École Française de Rome'. "Antiquité", Rome, v. 103, p. 183-196, 1991.
*Kerenyi, Karl, "The Heroes of the Greeks" (New York/London:Thames and Hudson) 1959, pp 331-36 et passim
* Graves, Robert (1955), "The Greek Myths", London: Penguin, pgs 73-75: ("Iphigenia Among the Taurians")
*Kjellberg, L. "Iphigeneia." In: A.F. Pauly and G. Wissowa "Real-Encyclopädie der Classischen Altertumswissenschaft". Stuttgart: J. B. Metzler, v. 9, 1916, pp. 2588-2622.
*Lloyd-Jones, H. '"Artemis and Iphigeneia" "Journal of Hellenic Studies" 103 (1983) pp 87-102.
*Peck, Harry. "Iphigeneia.' in "Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities." New York: Harper and Brothers, 1898.
*Séchen, L. "Le Sacrifice d’Iphigénie" "Révue des Études Grecques", Paris, pp 368-426, 1931.
*Shanower, E. "Age of Bronze: Sacrifice", 2005.
*West, M.L. "The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women". Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985.

ome adaptations of the Iphigeneia story

*"Cymon and Iphigenia", a solo Cantata by Thomas Arne (1753)
* "Iphigeneia at Aulis", play by Euripides.
** "Iphigénie en Aulide", play by Jean Racine.
** "Iphigénie en Aulide", opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck.
** "Iphigenia", film by Michael Cacoyannis.
** "The Songs of the Kings", novel by Barry Unsworth.
** "Iphigenia", play by Mircea Eliade.
** "Iphigenia at Aulis", play by Ellen McLaughlin (Part of "Iphigenia and Other Daughters")
** "Ifigeneia", a rewrite of the play by Finn Iunker
** "Iphigenia at Aulis", the first part of "The Greeks" trilogy, adapted and directed by John Barton for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1980.
** " [http://www.charlesmee.com/html/iphigenia.html Iphigenia 2.0] ", modern adaptation of the play, by Charles L. Mee [http://www.charlesmee.com/]
** "Iph. . .", adapted by Colin Teevan.
* "Iphigeneia in Tauris", play by Euripides.
** "Iphigenie auf Tauris", play by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
** "Iphigénie en Tauride", opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck.
** "Iphigenia at Tauris", play by Ellen McLaughlin (Part of "Iphigenia and Other Daughters")
* "Iphigenia in Brooklyn," a solo cantata by P. D. Q. Bach. (This version of the story may be less tragic than others.)
* "Iphigénie", ballet by Charles le Picq.
* "Iphigenia", play by Samuel Coster.
* "Iphigenia in Orem", part of "", a collection of three plays by Neil LaBute.


External links

* [http://www.biblioweb.org/Iphigenie.html Iphigénie de Jean Racine : Analysis, Plot overview] (in French)
* [http://www.smh.com.au/news/arts/shock-and-awe-and-buckets-of-blood--it-must-be-kosky/2007/04/30/1177788059061.html Contemporary interpretation of Gluck] by Australian Barrie Kosky at the Komische Oper Berlin, May 1, 2007]
* [http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/ArtemisFavour.html#Iphigeneia Iphigeneia]

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