The Return of Philoktetes (page 636)

Chapter 16, The Trojan War

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♠ DP 59Dion of Prusa (Dio Chrysostom), Orationes – Dionis Prusaensis quem vocant Chrysostomum quae extant omnia, vol. 2, pp. 131-34, ed. J. de Arnim. Berlin 1896.


Odysseus. I fear ’twill prove that my allies were rash when they conceived of me the thought that I, in sooth, am best and wisest of the Greeks. And yet what kind of wisdom and prudence may this be which makes a man to toil beyond the others to gain the salvation and the victory of the group, seeing that, were he deemed to be but one among the throng, ’twere his to share these blessings with the best?​ Ah well, no doubt ’tis difficult to find a thing so proud, so jealous of honour, as man is born to be. For ’tis the prominent, those who dare to undertake more labours than the rest, I dare say, whom we all do view with wonder and regard as truly men.

[2] This thirst for glory is what leads even me to bear unnumbered woes and live a life of toil beyond all other men, accepting ever fresh peril, fearing to mar the glory won by earlier achievements.​ So now a task most hazardous and hard brings me to Lemnoshere, that Philoctetes and the bow of Heracles I may bear off for my allies. For the one most gifted in prophecy of all the Phrygians,​ Helenus Priam’s son, when by good fortune taken captive, disclosed that without these the city never could be seized.  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Sophokles, Philoktetes

This is the shore of the sea-encircled isle
of Lemnos, uninhabited and forlorn.
Here long ago, great Neoptolemus,
son of Achilles, noblest of the Greeks,
5under strict orders from my two commanders
I left the Malian archer Philoctetes.
His swollen foot groaned with a festering ulcer,
and we could not so much as sacrifice
in peace of mind, when all our camp was filled
10with savage, sacrilegious screams of pain,
moaning and wailing. But, why speak of that?
Now is no time for lengthy words, for he
may learn that I am here, and I may ruin
the scheme by which I hope to snare the man.
15Listen: in what remains you must assist me.
Go forth and seek a twin-mouthed rock: a cave
such that in winter each of the entrance-ways
faces the sun, but in the summertime
a gentle breeze sends sleep through both the chambers.
20Down to the left a little you will find,
I think, a stream – unless its source has failed.
Approach it silently, and signal me
whether he still lives there, or someplace else.
Then you must listen to the plan which I
25will tell you, and we’ll carry out together.  Continue Reading  Greek Text

Lesches, Ilias Mikra (Little IliadPEG – Poetae Epici Graeci 1, p. 74, ed. A. Bernabé. Leipzig 1987.

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Edited by Elena Bianchelli, Retired Senior Lecturer of Classical Languages and Culture, Univ. of Georgia, February 2023

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