Hai tou Aischylou Trageodiai Seozomenai Hepta

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by Aeschylus

Aeschylus was an Athenian tragic poet born around 525BCE. [1] He was fortunate being born into a noble family, as well as watching the fall of tyranny and growth of democracy in Athens. Furthermore, Aeschylus is the earliest great Greek tragic poet whose work still remains. [2] His epitaph (c.456BCE) reveals the importance (either to him or his family) placed on his status as “a loyal and courageous citizen of a free Athens” by discussing only his skilled fighting in the battle of Marathon. There is no mention of his writing, despite the fact that he wrote an estimated 70-90 plays from 499BCE until his death. He won his first tragic production in 484BCE, followed by another twelve throughout his life. Aeschylus favored tetralogies, which were three tragedies composing a trilogy followed by a satyr-play (a satire) on the same or similar topic. This favorite production structure does not impact the “great and evolving variety in structure and presentation” he showed in his tragedies. Unfortunately, only seven of his many plays survive to this day: Persians, Seven against Thebes, Suppliant, the Oresteia trilogy (Agamemnon, Libation-bearers, Euminides) and Prometheus Bound. [3] All seven of these plays are contained in this work entitled “The Seven Extant Tragedies of Aeschylus.”

Aeschylus was a “pioneer” in his field of historical drama and playwriting. [4] Rather than focusing on the characters themselves, he focused on building up the plot to arrive at a key situation and event. “Even important figures in a play…can be almost without distinctive character traits.” [5] Aeschylus stressed the power of situations and events as a contrast to the “moral lesson of the impermanence of human power and success. [6] In order to further create the powerful situational aspects which illuminate the morals Aeschylus touted, he created strong and distinctive choruses for each of his plays who used music and dance to establish the entire theme and mood of the play and to direct it to its inevitable conclusion. [7]

This work was published by two well-known and regarded Scottish publishers. Robert and Andrew Foulis (ne Faulls) were brothers who opened their own publishing company and printing press in 18th century Glasgow. [8] Robert was a barber before enrolling in University of Glasgow courses, while Andrew “received a more regular education…[as] a student of Humanity” who taught Greek, Latin and French for a time after he graduated. [9] The brothers began as booksellers and then transitioned to publishing and printing books, with Robert initiating each endeavor before later being joined by Andrew. [10] In 1740-42, Robert had other printers print what he chose to publish, but began printing his own books in 1742 which continued until his and his brother’s deaths in 1775 and 1776, respectively, when Andrew’s son Andrew took over The Foulis Press.[11] The Foulis Press primarily produced text books and other “works of learning…and of general literature,” as it was the printer to the University of Glasgow. [12] The press is unique for the plethora of variant issues and editions of published books on special paper, in special font, or even on copper plates. [13]

Bibliographic Information

Author: Aeschylus

Title: Hai tou Aischylou Trageodiai Seozomenai Hepta = Aeschyli Tragoediae quae Extant septem.

Publication Info: Glasguæ: In aedibus academicis excudebat R. Foulis academiae typographys, 1746.


Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in contemporary acid stained calf with Greek and Latin parallel text. Purchased from Rosenlund Rare Books & Manuscripts.


  1. " Aeschylus " in Oxford Dictionary of the Classical World, ed. by John Roberts (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007).
  2. "Ae'schylus” in The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature, ed. by M.C. Howatson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
  3. " Aeschylus "
  4. William C. Kirk, Jr., “Aeschylus and Herodotus,” The Classical Journal 51, no. 2 (Nov. 1955): 83.
  5. "Aeschylus"
  6. Kirk, Jr., “Aeschylus and Herodotus,” 84.
  7. "Aeschylus"
  8. David Murray, Robert & Andrew Foulis and the Glasgow Press with some account of The Glasgow Academy of the Fine Arts (Glasgow: James Maclehose and Sons, Publishers to the University), 8.
  9. Ibid 3.
  10. Ibid 6-10.
  11. Philip Gaskell, A Bibliography of the Foulis Press, 2nd ed. (Winchester, Hampshire, England: St Paul's Bibliographies, 1986), 15-17.
  12. Ibid 17-18.
  13. Ibid 18-19.