The Bacchae (Ancient Greek: Βάκχαι, Bakchai) is tragedy by the Athenian playwright Euripides.
Also known as The Bacchantes in English.
The original text
Written during his final years in Macedonia, while at the court of Archelaus I of Macedon, it premièred posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that also included Iphigeneia at Aulis and Alcmaeon in Corinth, and which Euripides's son or nephew probably directed. It won first prize in the City Dionysia festival competition.
The tragedy is based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agauë, and their punishment by the god Dionysus (who is Pentheus's cousin) because he refuses to worship him. It shows the city caught up in hysterical orgies in honour of Dionysus, and the god himself not only speaks the prologue, but plays an important role in the action.
Translations and adaptations
Translated into English by **
Performance history in South Africa
1971: Performed by the Serpent Players directed by John Kani on Monday 5 July 1971 starring Kani, Winston Ntshona, Daniso Mankazana, Mangaliso Grootboom, George Luse, Nomhle Nkonyeni, Vuyelwa Cola, Grace Mnci, Joyce Faku (TECON).
1981: Directed by John Burch for the Rhodes University Drama Department, March 1981, with the cast including John Burch, Karin Jerg, Chris Goetsch, Carol-Ann Kelleher, Julie Coghlan, Bruce Young and Martin le Maitre amongst others.
World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll. Harrap, 1949.
Photographs and contact sheets for photographs of the cast for The Bacchae by Euripides, NELM
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