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Text and Transmission


The modern reader may encounter the Greek text of Euripides' surviving plays in many forms: in print either in complete editions or in separate editions of single plays published with translations or commentaries or both, and in digital form at well-known sites on the internet. When Euripides composed his plays, he is most likely to have written on a papyrus roll, although for rough drafts of small sections he could have used wax tablets, loose papyrus sheets, or pottery sherds. Although the papyrus rolls and early codices give us intriguing glimpses of the text of the Euripides plays up the seventh century CE, the surviving complete plays depend on the medieval textual tradition. For Euripides as for Aeschylus and Sophocles, Alexandrian scholars collected texts of as many plays as they could, comparing their titles to those known from the didascalic records. About seventy plays of Euripides never reached the medieval manuscript tradition.

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