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Three Millennia of Greek Literature


Rhapsody 4

Literally Translated, with Explanatory Notes, by Theodore Alois Buckley

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Paris not being slain, the combat left it doubtful whether Helen should be returned or not; but Juno extorts a promise from Jove of the final destruction of Troy. Minerva then persuades Pandarus to break the truce by aiming an arrow at Menelaus. The wound is, however, cured by Machaon. The Trojans proceed to the battle, while Agamemnon exhorts the chieftains of the Greeks. The fight then commences, Mars and Apollo encouraging the Trojans, Minerva and the other deities the Greeks.


Now they, the gods, sitting on the golden floor[163] with Jove, were engaged in consultation, and amidst them venerable Hebe poured out the nectar: but they pledged[164] one another with golden cups, looking towards the city of the Trojans. Forthwith the son of Saturn attempted to irritate Juno, speaking with a covert allusion, with reproachful words:[165]

"Two goddesses, indeed, are auxiliaries to Menelaus, Argive[166] Juno and Minerva of Alalcomenae:[167] and yet these, forsooth, sitting apart, amuse themselves with looking on; but to the other, on the contrary [Paris], laughter-loving Venus is ever present,[168] and averts fate from him. Even now has she saved him, thinking that he was about to die. But the victory, indeed, belongs to Mars-beloved Menelaus: let us therefore consult how these things shall be, whether we shall again excite the destructive war, and dreadful battle-din, or promote friendship between both parties. And if, moreover, this shall perchance[169] be grateful and pleasing to all, the city of king Priam, indeed, may be inhabited, but let Menelaus lead back again Argive Helen."

[Footnote 163: "On the golden floor of Jove's abode."—Cowper.]

[Footnote 164: Athenaeus, i. ll, [Greek: edexiounto, propinonies eautois, tais dexiais]. Cf. xi. 14. Hesych. [Greek: deidecto, edexioto, dia philias espazeto kai logon].]

[Footnote 165: I am indebted to Arnold for this version.]

[Footnote 166: So called from her temple at Argos. See Pausan. ii. 17; Apul. Met. vi. p. 458; Servius on AEn. i. 28.]

[Footnote 167: She had a temple at Alalcomenae, in Boeotia. Cf. Pausan. ix. 33; Steph. Byz. n. [Greek: alalkomenion].]

[Footnote 168: On the affinity of [Greek: bloskein] and [Greek: poleini], see Buttm. Lexil. p. 84.]

[Footnote 169: Read [Greek: pos] for [Greek: autos], with Aristarchus, Wolf, Spitzner.]

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