Sacrifice of Iphigenia. A.M. 2810.

WAG 7694


This is one of a group of drawings by British artist and book illustrator Edward Francis Burney, depicting scenes from Greek and Roman history and mythology. Iphigenia was the daughter of Agamemnon, a king who had angered the goddess, Artemis, by killing one of her deer. As punishment, Artemis stopped the winds blowing, thus preventing Agamemnon and his fleet setting sail for the Trojan Wars. Artemis insisted he sacrifice his daughter before she would let the winds blow again and Agamemnon reluctantly agreed. However, he lied to his daughter, telling her she was to marry Achilles before his fleet set sail and she and her mother, Clytemnestra, travelled to the port of Aulis in readiness for the wedding. On their arrival they realised the truth. Achilles tried to save Iphiginia but it was Artemis who rescued her, sacrificing another deer instead. Ipheginia then travelled to Tauris with the goddess and became a priestess in her temple.