Buying Babies in Euripides's Hippolytus
When Hippolytus makes his proposal for buying babies in Euripides's drama, it is clear that he does not envisage a commercial exchange. Rather, he proposes dedicating lumps of pure precious metal (gold, bronze, and lead) at temples. His mode of exchange, then, is not to purchase babies with coins but to establish a reciprocal relationship of guest-friendship with the gods. This appeal to elite guest-exchange adds to the characterization of Hippolytus as an aloof aristocrat in the household of the Athenian democratic hero, Theseus, a tension of values that is played out through the rest of the drama.
Ormand, Kirk. Fall 2015. "Buying Babies in Euripides's Hippolytus." Illinois Classical Studies 40(2): 237-261.
University of Illinois Press
Illinois Classical Studies