Iphigenia ĭf˝əjənī´ə [key], in Greek legend, daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. When the Greek ships were delayed by contrary winds at Aulis en route to the Trojan War, Calchas informed Agamemnon that Artemis demanded the sacrifice of his daughter Iphigenia. Agamemnon reluctantly agreed, and, despite Clytemnestra's protestations, Iphigenia nobly consented to die for the glory of Greece. Another legend contends that Artemis saved her life by substituting a hind at the altar and then carried her off to the land of the Taurians to serve as her high priestess. Years later Iphigenia had the opportunity of saving the life of her brother (Orestes), and she escaped with him to Greece. Euripides recounts both legends in his plays Iphigenia in Aulis and Iphigenia in Tauris.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Folklore and Mythology