Medea did not kill her children. The Corinthians killed them (in versions of the story earlier than Euripides).
Medea did flee to Athens to King Aegeus. They had a child (whom Medea did not kill), named Medos. He is the eponymous founder of the Medes (who, for Greeks, were synonymous with Persians). Medea left Athens with this child after Theseus arrived, and after she had unsuccessfully tried to do away with Theseus.
In 432, just prior to the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, the Athenians began a siege of Potidaea, a Corinthian colony, when that city tried to secede from the Athenian alliance. Helping the people of Potidaea were 2000 volunteers from Corinth and the rest of the Peloponnesus, led by a Corinthian general named Aristeus. The Athenian siege of Potidaea was one of the causes of the war. (Thucydides 1.56-65, 2.67, 70)
The Medea was produced in 431.
In Aristophanes' comedy The Frogs, produced in 405, the god Dionysus journeys to the underworld to bring back Euripides, who had died the previous year. Once there, Dionysus learns that his desire to recover Euripides is challenged by Aeschylus on the grounds that he would serve the god's purpose for Athens better and would give the people better advice. Sophocles, who had also died before the play was produced, played the perfect gentleman and did not ask to be returned to the living but let Euripides and Aeschylus fight it out. In the end, Dionysus chose Aeschylus. Why do you think Dionysus wanted to bring back a poet, to teach the people some wisdom? Comic poets were more blatant in their political commentary and advice, but they had greater freedom with their story lines. Tragic poets had political opinions which they expressed by the timing of their productions (e.g. Euripides wrote the Trojan Women right after the Athenian destruction of Melos in 416), by manipulating the details of the myths, and by the resultant symbolism.
Last updated: 14 October 2004
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