Play & Performance

Students will perform a new original play based on Thucydides by acclaimed playwright John Lignadis, called “War, Teacher of Violence: From the Lacedaemonians at Pylos” (Πόλεμος Βίας Διδάσκαλος: Aπό Λακεδαιμονίων εκ Πύλο).

A public, professional performance of the play will take place at the Ancient Theater of Messene (capacity: 5,000), located at the foot of Mt. Ithome, over the weekend of August 12-13, 2017.

The play is the second part of the “War, Teacher of Violence” a theatrical trilogy by Lignadis (see, which began with “Theater of War: The Plataia Affair and other Tragic Events” in 2016.

“From the Lacedaemonians at Pylos” will focus on two critical historical events that took place in the Messenia region of the Peloponnese:

  • The dramatic Helot revolt, the so called 3rd Messenian War, which started in 466 BCE and ended ten years later with the tragic defeat of the Messenians at their stronghold on Mount Ithome and their subsequent expulsion from Messenia. The incident is recounted in the first book of Thucydides and is also known by other literary and archaeological sources.
  • The pivotal Battles of Pylos and Sphacteria in 425 BCE, resulting in the surprise victory of the Athenians (with the help of the exiled Messenians and the Naupaktians) over the Spartans, narrated in the third book of Thucydides, this being first recorded surrender of the elite Spartan hoplites. Sphacteria is the island located at the bay of Pylos.

“From the Lacedaemonians ” plot is based on a short non-fiction account of the Battle of Pylos written by Professor P. Themelis, Director of the Excavations at Ancient Messene, titled “Pylos 425”. Themelis’ narrative will constitute the basis for Lignadis’ play. Related literary material from other ancient sources as well as archaeological evidence will also be used in the final play.