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Iphigenia (pronounced /ɪfɨdʒɨˈnaɪ.ə/; Greek Ἰφιγένεια, Ifigeneia) is a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra in Greek mythology.[1] In Attic accounts,[2] Her name means "strong-born", "born to strength", or "she who causes the birth of strong offspring."[3]


Post-Homeric Greek myth

Artemis punished Agamemnon after he killed a 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 Achaean fleet could sail. This much is in Homer, who does not discuss the aspect of this episode in which other writers explain that the only way to appease Artemis was to sacrifice Iphigenia 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[4] or a goat (the god Pan transformed) in her place. The Hesiodic Catalogue of Women called her Iphimede/Iphimedeia (Ἰφιμέδεια)[5] and told that Artemis transformed her into the goddess Hecate.[6] Antoninus Liberalis said that Iphigenia was transported to the island of Leuke, where she was wedded to immortalized Achilles under the name of Orsilochia.

Euripides has two stories about Iphigenia. In Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, Agamemnon is told by Calchus that in order for the winds to allow him to sail to Troy, Agamemnon must sacrifice Iphigenia to Artemis. Agamemnon fools Clytemnestra into bringing Iphigenia to Aulis by sending a letter to Clytemnestra telling her that Iphigenia will be married to Achilles. There is one moment in the play where Agamemnon regrets his decision and tries to send another letter telling them not to come, however Menelaus intercepts the letter. After Agamemnon and Menelaus have an argument, Clytemnestra arrives at Aulis with Iphigenia and Orestes. Agamemnon tries to convince Clytemnestra to go back to Argos while he marries Iphigenia to Achilles. Clytemnestra refuses to leave and plans on marrying off her daughter the proper way. When Clytemnestra sees Achilles she brings up the marriage, however Achilles doesn’t know what she is talking about and slowly the truth comes out about Agamemnon’s true plan. Achilles vows to help prevent the murder of Iphigenia even after the Greeks throw stones at him. After Iphigenia and Clytemnestra mourn together, Iphigenia makes the noble decision to die in honor and by her own will and asks Achilles not to stop the men. When Iphigenia is brought to the altar to be slain she willingly allows herself to be sacrificed. As Iphigenia is about to be slain a deer is put in her place.

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