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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Euripides Bilingual Anthology : A CITY NEEDS DEMOCRACY

from Euripides' Suppliants, * Lines 399-463, * Translated by E.P.Coleridge, * Greek Fonts


HEBAN HERALD: Who is the despot of this land? To whom must I announce the message of Creon, who rules o'er the land of Cadmus, since Eteocles was slain by the hand of his brother Polyneices, at the sevenfold gates of Thebes?

THESEUS: Sir stranger, thou hast made a false beginning to thy speech, in seeking here a despot. For this city is not ruled by one man, but is free. The people rule in succession year by year, allowing no preference to wealth, but the poor man shares equally with the rich.

Οὐδὲν τυράννου δυσμενέστερον πόλει

ΚΗΡΥΞ: τίς γῆς τύραννος; πρὸς τίν΄ ἀγγεῖλαί με χρὴ λόγους Κρέοντος͵ ὃς κρατεῖ Κάδμου χθονὸς Ἐτεοκλέους θανόντος ἀμφ΄ ἑπταστόμους πύλας ἀδελφῆι χειρὶ Πολυνείκους ὕπο;

ΘΗΣΕΥΣ: πρῶτον μὲν ἤρξω τοῦ λόγου ψευδῶς͵ ξένε͵ ζητῶν τύραννον ἐνθάδ΄· οὐ γὰρ ἄρχεται ἑνὸς πρὸς ἀνδρὸς ἀλλ΄ ἐλευθέρα πόλις. δῆμος δ΄ ἀνάσσει διαδοχαῖσιν ἐν μέρει ἐνιαυσίαισιν͵ οὐχὶ τῶι πλούτωι διδοὺς τὸ πλεῖστον ἀλλὰ χὠ πένης ἔχων ἴσον.

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