Euripides' Ion: Reflections of Art, Myth, and Cult from the Parthenon to the Attic Stage

by Gregory S. Jones

Hesperia, Volume 88, Issue 4
Page(s): 727-762
Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2972/hesperia.88.4.0727
Year: 2019


Ion, as the son of Apollo, was an object of myth and cult before Euripides composed the Ion in the late 5th century B.C. This article offers an expanded analysis of the play's associations with religious traditions and art, arguing that its original performance cultivated a Pheidian aesthetic that made progressive allusions to sculpture and culminated in an evocation of the imperial Panathenaia. The play also quoted the Parthenon's east frieze, including the depiction there of the peplos ritual. An analysis of related vase painting corroborates this reading and suggests that a comparable mixture of Ionian and Erechtheid mytho-religious iconography was an intentional component of the Parthenon's visual program from its beginnings.