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Invitation to World Literature


Recommended Translations & Editions

EditionsAbout the Editions

The Bacchae, translated by William Arrowsmith, Volume 7 from the Complete Greek Tragedies, The University of Chicago Press, 1959 (and later reprints).


Recommended as the most readable modern translation, poetic and beautifully written, though often quite free rather than literal. Arrowsmith provides an introduction to the play. No line-by-line comments or footnotes.

The Bacchae of Euripides by Euripides, a translation with commentary by Geoffrey S. Kirk, Prentice Hall Greek Drama Series, 1970.


This edition aims to provide an accurate line-by-line translation and has commentary with textual explanation as well as context. Because of the emphasis on literal accuracy, the language is not as poetic as some other editions. The scenes, sections, and sub sections (for instance, parts of odes) are all identified. This edition has copious notes.

Bacchae edited with an introduction and commentary by E. R. Dodds. First published by Oxford in 1944, with numerous reprints.


This edition has a comprehensive introduction, including notable content on Greek religion and its role in the play. This is a Greek edition of the text, without English translation. (Dodd's Greek version has often been used by later translators.) There are comprehensive notes on textual matters (in English).

Euripides, Three Plays: Bacchae, Iphigenia at Aulis, and Rhesus, translated by David Kovacs, Loeb Classical Library series, Harvard University Press, 2002.


This edition has an introduction, notes, and includes the Greek text on the left hand side and English on the right. The translation focuses on textual accuracy, but is quite readable.