aleator classicus

Reading at Random in Classical Literature

Aeschylus, Myrmidons fr. 139

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In a much-quoted passage from one of Aeschylus’ lost tragedies, Achilles uses an animal fable to parallel how he caused himself sorrow by sending Patroclus to his death in battle.

ὧδ’ ἐστὶ μύθων τῶν Λιβυστικῶν κλέος,
πληγέντ’ ἀτρακτῷ τοξικῷ τὸν αἰετὸν
εἰπεῖν ἰδόντα μηχανὴν πτερώματος·
“τάδ’ οὐχ ὑπ’ ἄλλων, ἀλλὰ τοῖς αὑτῶν πτεροῖς

This is what people say about a story from Libya: an eagle was shot with an arrow from the bow. Seeing the means by which the arrow was flighted, he said, “This is how we succumb, not at the hands of others, but with our own feathers!”

Written by aleatorclassicus

August 12, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Posted in Aeschylus

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