Photo courtesy of Scala/Art Resource, NY

“Do not destroy me before my time!” cries Iphigenia, the daughter of King Agamemnon, as she is dragged to an altar to be sacrificed by the priest Calchas (right)—in this first-century A.D. painting from Pompeii. In some versions of the myth, Iphigenia is indeed sacrificed; in two plays by the fifth-century B.C. Greek tragedian Euripides, however, she is saved at the last minute to serve as a priestess. Authors Theodore H. Feder and Hershel Shanks (“Iphigenia and Isaac: Saved at the Altar”), compare this story with the biblical account of Abraham’s binding and near-sacrifice of Isaac.