Abraham & Isaac vs. Agamemnon

Many of us are familiar with the story of Abraham and Isaac, but to give a brief recap of the story:

God commands Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac and thus Abraham obeys the command and takes his son Isaac to the mountain, and rises the dagger, and in the moment as he is about to slit his sons throat, an angel appears and stops Abraham, and as a reward for his willingness to sacrifice his son in the name of God without question, gives him a lamb to sacrifice instead.

In the Greek myth of Agamemnon there is a story which very closely mirrors this Biblical tale. Agamemnon was ordered by Zeus to go off to Troy to fight in the war but Artemis creates winds which prevent Agamemnon’s fleet of ships from setting sail and will not let him fulfill his quest to go to Troy and free his ships unless he offers her a sacrifice. There are different variations as to the reasons behinds Artemis in demanding this sacrifice of Agamemnon. In some cases it is said that it was because he killed a deer in her sacred forest and boasted himself to be a better huntsmen than Artemis. In some versions, Artemis demands the sacrifice as way of making up for the blood of the innocent women and children who will be killed in the war.

Needless to say, the sacrifice that Artemis demands of Agamemnon is that of his own daughter Iphigenia. Caught between the orders of two different gods that of Zeus telling him to go to Troy and Artemis preventing him from doing so unless he obeys her sacrifice, Agamenon makes the choice to do as Artemis bids and prepares to sacrifice his daughter.

While in some versions of the story the sacrifice is completed, there are other versions of the story which state that at the very last moment Artemis snatches Iphigenia away and than as substitute gives Agamenon a deer to sacrifice instead.


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