Recent scenes of Syrian refugees arriving in Europe and the nationalist reflections they have engendered recall the discourses of foreign and native in antiquity, a theme addressed frequently in Attic tragedy. Euripides' Phoenician Maidens is a meditation on the theme of autochthony, a key ideological and mythological nexus of ideas about identity and community. The ideal of a homogeneous community symbolized by Athenians' autochthonous heritage fits uncomfortably with another Athenian ideal: hospitality and openness to strangers. The Phoenician Maidens of Euripides reflects on the theme of sameness and otherness, foreign and native, using the resources of theater to articulate a utopian resolution of these conflicting desires.

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