In Greek mythology, Iphigenia appears in legends about the Trojan War*. She was killed by her father, Agamemnon, leader of the Greek forces, in exchange for favorable wind from the gods. Euripides* and Aeschylus also include the story of Iphigenia in their dramas.

In the myth, Greek ships on their way to attack Troy* were stuck in the port of Aulis because of unfavorable winds. There are a number of different explanations for the difficulty. Most suggest that Agamemnon was being punished for somehow offending the goddess Artemis*. Agamemnon was told that the gods would send winds for his ships if he would sacrifice Iphigenia to Artemis. Knowing that his wife, Clytemnestra, would never agree to the sacrifice, Agamemnon dispatched a message asking her to send Iphigenia to him so she could be married to the Greek hero Achilles*.

At this point in the myth, the story varies. According to some versions, Agamemnon actually did sacrifice Iphigenia. Clytemnestra never forgave him and arranged to kill him when he returned from the war. In other versions, Artemis spared Iphigenia by replacing her on the sacrificial altar with a female deer. Artemis then sent Iphigenia to the land of Tauris, where the girl acted as priestess of Artemis's temple there. A later myth says that Iphigenia's brother Orestes traveled to Tauris to search for a statue of Artemis. He was captured and about to be sacrificed, when Iphigenia recognized him. They both escaped with the help of the goddess Athena* and the god Poseidon*.

See also Achilles ; Agamemnon ; Clytemnestra ; Orestes .

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Jun 14, 2009 @ 7:19 pm
thanks this information helped me with my latin final! I Bced it (thats a B in my terms)...

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