Iphigeneia

Iphigenia is the first daughter of Agamemnon.

When the Greek army has gathered at Aulis, the winds will not blow.  This is because the goddess Artemis was angered.  There are two different explanations as to why.  Either Agamemnon claimed to be a better hunter than Artemis, or cattle sacred to her were killed by the Greeks.  The Greeks consult the seer Calchas, who says that Agamemnon's first-born daughter Iphigeneia must be sacrificed.

Agamemnon was torn by this.  He obviously did not want to sacrifice his daughter.  But if he did nothing and the winds still would not blow, he feared retribution from his army.  The Greeks were there against their will, and if they were forced to wait longer or perhaps sent back home, they might turn on Agamemnon and Menelaus

Unable to tell her the truth, Agamemnon tells his daughter Iphigeneia that she is to marry Achilles.  She is then brought from Mycenae to Aulis.  On the day of the sacrifice, she dresses in the traditional wedding outfit.  As she walks up to the temple, she meets her mother Clytemnestra, who is crying inconsolably.  Now knowing the truth, Iphigeneia bravely proceeds towards the priests, who will perform the sacrifice.  There are two different versions as to what happens next. 

According to Aeschylus, she is sacrificed.  According to Euripides, Artemis at the last moment takes the girl away and leaves a deer in her place.  Iphigeneia was taken to the Taurians, where she was made Artemis' priestess.  Years later, she is reunited with her brother Orestes, who has come to steal Artemis' statue.

Source(s):

  1. AeschylusOresteia.

  2. EuripidesIphigeneia e en Aulidi.

  3. EuripidesIphigeneia e en Taurois.