Classical Texts Library >> Tzetzes, Chiliades >> Book 2





1. Cleopatra
2. Trajan
3. Archimedes
4. Heraces
5. Samson
6. Polydamas of Skoutoussa
7. Milo the Wrestler
8. Aegon, Idas, Lynceus, Heracles & Lytiertes
9. Damoxenus
10. Iphiclus
11. Euphemus
12. Proteus
13. Periclymenus
14. Thetis
15. Mestra
16. Castor & Polydeuces
17. Aethalides
18. Aristeas
19. Theseus
20. Protesilaus
21. Alcestis
22. Eurydice
23. Thales, Pythagoras, Anaxagoras & Empedocles
24. Laius
25. Apollonius of Tyana
26. Democritus














The kinswoman of Ptolemy, mistress Cleopatra,
The Egyptian, wise and entirely most well proportioned,
Persuasive and eloquent, pouring out the charms of the Sirens,
Charming, with her beauty, all people and the nature of beasts,
[20] Gaius Julius Caesar, and rather,
Even after him, Anthony, the brother-in-law of Octavian,
(Through whom she is both made a captive and dies by asps
And embalmed is conveyed to Rome for the pleasure of a goddess;
Even her children were paraded before Octavian,
For one, the name is Helios, and for the girl, it is Selene)
Cleopatra, along with the Cyprian architect Dexiphanes,
After making the sea of Alexandria into dry land
As much as towards one half of a mile, or a little more, to some extent,
She constructed the highest tower of Pharos,
[30] To shine in the surging sea a light that would bring more safety to trading vessels.
Virgil mentions this Cleopatra,
And Lucian and Galen, and Plutarch with them,
And Diodorus, and George The Chronicler with others.
Even John of Antioch later after them.


Trajan, being neither an Italian nor a Greek inhabitant of Italy,
But being an Iberian of a different ethnicity, a commander in Germania,
Of such a kind, becomes king of the Romans.
After the rule and voluntary death of Nero,
And Domitian’s slaughter by Stephan,
[40] There is Nerva, an old man, entirely good in his manners,
Whom the Romans choose for their king.
Who, having surpassed both a lifetime and a third part of a lifetime
And a nine day period, in which he was weak from old age,
Both vomiting and disregarding all food,
Having judged the safety of the commonwealth over any relatives,
He dismisses all of his relatives, he dismisses even his acquaintances.
And having convened the entire Senate of the Romans,
It is Trajan, then being towards Germany,
Whom he distinctly proclaims as autocrat of Rome,
[50] Shouting above the citadel these words exactly:
“For the good fortune of the Senate and people of the Romans
And of myself, I am making Trajan autocrat.”
And immediately, he sent a letter to Germania for Trajan,
“May the Danaans pay for my tears with your arrows.”
And upon coming to Rome a king, Trajan, son of Nerva,
He was loved as a good man for all of the Romans together.
After doing many useful things for Roman cities,
And spending some amount of time around Rome,
He campaigns against Decebalus, the king of the Dacians,
[60] Who rebelled while keeping the payments due to the Romans,
Covering up the treasuries fronting the Strei River.
But having come first to the Danube, Trajan immediately
Carried the Romans with vessels across to the Dacians;
The other part of them was facing the land just opposite.
Wherefore he makes the bridge for access.
The placing of the bridge lies in some such a way:
There are twenty large solid square stones,
With a width of sixty feet, and with regard to the height, including the foundations,
They reach one hundred fifty feet.
[70] For one hundred and seventy feet, each stone
Stands apart from one another, and they are united by arches.
In this way Trajan bridged the Danube.
After both making the entirety of Dacia under the Romans
And founding cities in it, he turns towards Rome,
Bringing the head of Decebalus with captives,
And for these things there was a triumph with all of the Romans
In this way, Trajan bridged the Danube;
And Hadrian, being a son of Hadrian the son of Afer,
Having formed marital connections to Trajan in the sister of Trajan,
[80] Destroyed the bridge once he received the kingdom of the Romans,
Lest it be a course for the Dacians against the Mysians.
Hadrian even kills Apollodorus the bridge maker,
Thereby turning out, by nature, to be a malice bearing king, even if he was of those who were fond of learning.
Dio Cassius has written this story,
And many other men chronicling notable things.
Even Theophilus recalls this bridge on the Danube
He himself being fond of his comrades in the construction of harbours,
And in the foundations by the sea,
Being a proconsul, a patrician, a quaestor,
[90] And a prefect of this royal city,
Saying that Apollodorus bridged the Danube,
After framing a small chamber into the fore foundations,
So that there was a length with these things of one hundred and twenty feet,
And eighty for the width. Men say these things.
They even relate that Trajan had the ears of a he-goat:
Which I myself have not found written in writings:
Rather from hearsay alone, by asking some people directly;
For either the man was salacious after the manner of the goats themselves,
And would intelligently pursue even such sexual mingling,
[100] Or, by campaigning against enemies down from inaccessible places,
And by only giving ear to enemies that meet Rome.
For a goat delights in cliffs and inaccessible places.


Wise Archimedes, that machinist,
Was a Syracusan by race, an old geometrician,
And driving past seventy-five seasons,
A man who built many mechanical capacities,
Even with the three-pulley machine, with the left and only hand
He drew to the sea a trading vessel burdened with six hundred thousand gallons.
Also, when Marcellus, a general once of the Romans,
[110] Was attacking Syracuse by land and sea,
Archimedes, at first, used machines to draw up some trading vessels,
And having raised to the Syracusan wall the vessels
Together with some men, he sent them down again to the deep all at once.
But when Marcellus removed the vessels just a little bit,
The old man, in turn, makes all of the Syracusans
Able to raise stones that are large enough for each to load a wagon,
And to sink the vessels with each man, one by one, sending down the stones.
But as Marcellus removed those vessels by the length of a bow shot,
The old man constructed some sort of six-angled mirror.
[120] Having set from an equally measured interval of the mirror
Small such mirrors, fourfold in their corners,
That were set in motion both by cups and some hinge joints,
He set that six-angled mirror in the middle of rays of the sun
When it was mid-day both in the summer and in the most wintry season.
When the rays, later, were reflected into this,
A fearful fiery kindling was lifted to the vessels,
And reduced them to ashes from the length of a bow shot.
In this way, the old man with his contrivances was victorious over Marcellus.
And he spoke even in Doric fashion, with Syracusan speech:
[130] “Where should I go, and, with my lifting instrument, move the entire earth?”
This man (according to Diodorus, when this city of Syracuse
Was altogether betrayed to Marcellus,
Or, according to Dio, when it was destroyed by the Romans,
As the citizens at that time were celebrating a night-festival to Artemis)
Died in such a manner by some Roman:
He was bent forward, drawing some mechanical diagram,
But some Roman standing near him dragged him in an attempt to take him prisoner.
And Archimedes, being then wholly engulfed in his diagram,
Not knowing who was dragging him down, said to that man:
[140] “Stand away, o man, from my diagram.”
But as the Roman was dragging him, Archimedes twisted up, and, recognizing that he was Roman,
Shouted, “Someone, give me one of my mechanisms.”
But the Roman, excited, immediately kills him,
A decayed old man, divine in his works.
And Marcellus, immediately upon learning this, lamented,
And illustriously buried this man in the paternal tombs,
In the company of the best of the citizens and all of the Romans;
But the killer of Archimedes, I think, Marcellus kills with an axe.
Dio and Diodorus write the story,
[150] And with them, many men Archimedes:
Anthemius first and foremost, the writer of paradoxes,
Hero and Philo and Pappus and every writer of machines,
Both from these writers we have read about reflective machines
And all other learning of the most mechanical of things,
Such as the lifting screw, the machine moved by wind, and the water clocks,
And from the books of this old man Archimedes.


Heracles, the son of Alcmena, belonged to Amphitryon.
By one account, he was called Amphitryon’s son,
But in truth, he was the son of Zeus, a lord, and astrologer.
[160] With regard to how they used to call all kings Zeuses, I spoke.
This Zeus, having mingled even with women that met him,
Women who they also call mortals, made some offspring from them.
That they used to call the women that met him mortals,
And queens goddesses, even Ptolemy writes
In his Tetrabiblos, writing to Syrus:
“As many men as have an Aphrodite belonging to their family,
Are mingling with such divine and eminent destinies.”
And so that magic astrologer king
Had, from different women, countless children.
[170] When, because of Zeus, both Alcmena was at the time of parturition,
And about to bear a son Heracles to Zeus then,
And Archippe was pregnant then to Zeus
Except that the child, Eurystheus, was going to be the result of an incomplete seven-month birth,
That king Zeus, the great astrologer,
Then alone had been deceived. For seeing the stars
All being well, and in kingly places,
And knowing that Alcmena was pregnant for nine months,
And that it was then the time for the baby’s birth,
Not having considered beforehand whether even then the baby was born,
[180] Or Alcmena kept in the one, but the other was born incomplete,
Looking away to only the stars belonging to his family,
Gods wise and ruling, this thing (Zeus says) I am speaking forth:
“The son who today was born mortal from my wife,
My queen, is going to take the sceptre,
And rule all those born to me and to my mortal women.”
In this way he spoke, thinking that Heracles was born.
But when this great-bodied son was being born,
And was surrounding all of the air of his mother,
Which they even said was the power of Hera that belonged to his family,
[190] Rather, since even Iphicles was being brought forth with Heracles,
Alcmena, in sore travail after some days
Gave birth in the tenth month. But Archippe then
Gave birth to a seven month baby in the time of kingly stars.
His name was Eurystheus, and for the rest of the time he was a lord over Heracles.
But in this way I allegorized rather learnedly;
And now I will speak more ethically in the manner of orators.
There was a Zeus, a king, childless because of custom,
But having mistresses, in Alcmena and Archippe, who were pregnant.
Alcmena was to birth a nine-month baby, but the other woman would give birth within the seventh month.
[200] Held down by much love for Alcmena,
And knowing that in that time then, Alcmena was going to give birth,
But that Archippe was hopeless with regard to giving birth,
Zeus wrote in dispositions under oath and namelessly:
“Whatever son that is born to me today, from whatever woman,
Must have the royal sceptre and power.”
And thusly, as I said before, when the births happened,
Eurystheus, who outran the months, held the sceptre,
And drew Heracles into mighty slavery,
Leading, by destiny, the man who was entirely the strongest.
[210] Pontic Herodorus says in writing that Heracles
Had a height of four forearms and one foot.
I think, however, that everyone shouts out the strength attributes of the man.
For having killed someone with his lyre while still being a boy,
He is sent, by the hands of Amphitryon the father, to cowherds.
And while herding in Cithaeron at the age of eighteen,
He killed a lion that was devouring cows and dons the hide.
I, however, accept that wild lions are in no wise
In Thebes and Nemea and such places,
Unless, perhaps, driven mad out of some other places
[220] as a sort of miracle they streamed in to what sort of places they speak.
And Thestius, knowing that he killed the lion, entertains him as a guest.
Having fifty daughters from Megamede,
He made Heracles drunk and had all of his daughters lay in bed with him
For as long as fifty nights, one daughter for each night,
In order that they might conceive with him, and even bear children.
And after doing these things, Heracles even kills Erginus
Who had made war upon Thebes; Heracles exacts tribute from Erginus’ Minyans,
In return for which he received Megara from Creon.
Maddened and having burned Megara’s children with fire,
[230] Heracles heeded the oracular responses and went to Mycenae, the city of Eurystheus,
Whom he serves, eventually accomplishing the twelve labours.

First, having shot the Nemean Lion with his bow, he strangles it with his hands,
And brings its hide to Mycenae for Eurystheus.
Terrified at Heracles’ irresistible power,
Eurystheus forbade his entrance into the city;
Instead, he bid Heracles to display all of his labours before the gates.

Secondly, Heracles kills the nine-headed Hydra of Lerna,
Which consisted of nine brothers who were army-leaders and of one soul,
For whom even Crab was general, being an ally and a friend.
[240] These men Heracles destroyed with toil and strength.
For when one was destroyed from this army,
Two others would peep out from the fortresses.
For these reasons, most vexatiously Heracles scarcely took them,
While from another part Iolaus burned the city;
Wherefore Eurystheus did not receive this labour favourably.
There is also a more true very ancient hydra,
Existing seven generations before the time of Heracles,
The fifty-headed one, and settler of Lerna.
When its head was cut off, two would appear instead.
[250] Heracles, though not being present, destroyed it even then.
This hydra, though, is the heads of the children of Aegyptus,
Which the Danaids threw into the water of Lerna,
One after another, each woman bearing the head of another man.
They destroyed these men because of the deliberations of their father.
Later, since Lynceus alone escaped with his life
And struck together justice, all of the women—through just reason
(Lynceus and Heracles, I say, also obtained the glory of the land)—
Had received the punishment befitting them.
Even the fifty-headed hydra is some sort of badness,
[260] Accomplishing, many times, many occasions for deceits,
A hydra which Heracles, in the sense of reasoning, kills with the help of Iolaus,
A just man gladdening well thinking people.
But whereas these two hydras were inconvenient to Heracles,
The former was attached to the offspring of Alcmena.

Thirdly, Heracles held down with his feet the hind of golden horns,
Which Taygete consecrated as a sacred hind of Artemis,
After adorning its horns with gold and epigrams.

Then, Heracles goes to the Erymanthian Boar.
He performed secondary work in killing all of the centaurs together.
[270] For Pholus the centaur entertains Heracles,
Having opened up the common jar of the wine of the Centaurs.
And they, upon arriving, were grievously pressing upon Pholus,
Whence Heracles killed them with his bow.
The affairs of the Centaurs, though, I will allegorize subtly when it is necessary.
But the boar was ruining Phocis in every way.
Having pursued it out of the thicket to a place of excessive snow,
Heracles bound it with slip-knots and brought it, living, to Mycenae.

Fifth, Heracles was carrying out the dung of the three thousand cows
That belonged to the lord of the Eleans, Augeas, Phorbas’ son
[280] (Or the son of Poseidon, or of Helios according to others).
In any event, having been promised that he could take a tenth of these cows alive,
And having turned the river Alpheus towards the cattle-fold,
Heracles cleaned out the dung in the shortest amount of time.
But when Augeas did not give what was promised to Heracles,
Phyleus, having dared to speak against him: “how unjust you are, O father,”
Settled in Dulichium as he was ostracised in Augea;
But Heracles, as he was tricked, laid waste to Elis.
But later, and not in the time immediately after,
Eurystheus did not accept the cleansing of the dung,
[290] Saying that it was for a tenth of the cows and therefore a wage.

For the sixth labour, both with a bronze rattle and his bow, Heracles kills birds,
Having shot them with feathered arrows in the marshy Stymphalian Lake.

For the seventh labour, after overpowering the Cretan Bull, Heracles carries it away while it was still alive,
Whether it was the bull that carried Europa across to Crete,
Or the one Poseidon brought out from the sea,
Which grew extraordinarily wild and was damaging Crete,
And which Eurystheus sent away free.
Going through Marathon, the bull was a thing of damage to the people of Attica.

The eighth labour, involving the man-slaying horses of Diomedes,
[300] King of the Bistonians and son of Cyrene and Ares,
Led Heracles by the sea. And the armed soldiers running together,
All of those belonging to Diomedes, Heracles killed, including that man.
But Abderus, the son of Erinus and a friend of Heracles,
Was rent in pieces by the horses, who ate him with their teeth.
Abderus was from Locrian Opus, and a keeper of these horses;
Heracles, after he placed the city Abdera over the body of Abderus,
Later conveyed the horses to Eurystheus;
But dwelling in Olympus, the horses supplied food by beasts of prey.

For the ninth labour, Heracles runs after the girdle of Hippolyta
[310] Since Admete, the daughter of Eurystheus, wanted it.
With one ship, Heracles was carried across to the Amazons,
And in the coasting voyage, after destroying all of Bebrycia together,
Heracles gives the land to Mysian Lycus, the son of Deipylus,
But only after Heracles defeated the brothers Amycus and Mygdon.
Lycus calls the city of these people Heraclea,
Honouring Heracles, the one who cheerfully gave the place.
But Heracles, having sailed to Themiscyra itself,
Defeated the Amazons and took the girdle.
In passing, he rescues Hesione from the sea monster.
[320] Then, the guest-slaying sons of Proteus,
Tmolus and Telegonus, Heracles kills after he wrestled them down.

For the tenth labour, the red cows of three-bodied Geryon,
Being master of three islands or a desire of three brothers—
For not now would I say that the “tripartite” aspect of the time is rather natural
Geryon, the sun, Heracles,
And the rest of the things contributing to the accounts touching time.
But more like an orator, in this way, as I said, I am speaking:
Heracles led the red cows of this three-island-leader,
Or of the leader being of one soul with two other brothers,
[330] Out of Erytheia, an island of the Ocean,
Which now is called Gadeira, and was recently called Cotinousa,
The Cotinousa out of which the river Baitis slips.
Heracles led away those cows after killing the dog Orthrus,
And, indeed, Eurytion, the cowherd of Geryon,
And Geryon with them, who, in pursuing Heracles, was shot by his bow.
With the cows, Heracles was carried on the stream of Ocean,
And running out of Erytheia back to Europe,
Into Tartessus, a notable city of Iberia,
He set up the two pillars, Alybe and Abinna.
[340] Driving the cows through Iberia into Libya,
Heracles kills Dercynus and Alebion, sons of Poseidon,
As they were trying to take away some of the cows. And Heracles goes to Tyrrhenia;
A bull, having swum from Rhegium into Sicily,
Has left to posterity that the name for the place be Italy.
For the Tyrrhenians somehow call “bull” italos.
Apprehending this bull, Eryx, the son of Poseidon,
Mixed it in with herds of Ida for the herdsmen.
And Heracles, having crossed to Sicily, wrestled down Eryx three times,
Killed him, and drew together the cows.
[350] Having crossed to the Ionian bay of Dyrrhachium,
Heracles goes with difficulty through Thrace to Eurystheus;
Eurystheus sacrificed all the cows to Hera,
With all of these labours accomplished by Heracles
In a month and eight years, and not more.

But as Eurystheus did not appoint Heracles to the labours of the hydra and the boar,
He orders an eleventh labour for the future:
To bring from the Hesperides, from the Hyperboreans,
The golden apples of Hera, which Zeus for his marriage regarded
As the best marital gift concerning Hera.
[360] The guard of these apples was a sleepless dragon, the son of Typhon.
Heracles, travelling through Illyria,
And the mountain of Pyrenaeus, and the streams of Eridanus
(Which are in the Celtic land), makes an inroad into Libya.
Heracles even kills sixty-armed Antaeus by wrestling him;
For Heracles had the stature of four fore-arms and a foot,
As Pontic Herodorus says somewhere in writing.
Going to Egypt, Heracles even destroyed Busiris,
A son both of Poseidon and of Lysianassa;
and going by Arabia, Emathion, the son of Tithonus,
[370] He kills; and in Caucasus, he shoots
The eagle that was eating the liver of Prometheus;
Heeding the counsels of Prometheus, Heracles went to the Hyperboreans,
And took three apples from Atlas.
Others say that Heracles received the apples from the nymphs,
After he himself killed the dragon, the guardian of the apples,
Who was actually a shepherd, while the apples were his flocks,
Being of golden skin and grazing in the places of the Hyperboreans;
This is in the mountains of the Hyperboreans;
For now it is not fitting to speak allegorically and more physically,
[380] (Saying that seasons are nymphs and stars are apples,
And the man marking out by borders even the origin of waters a dragon,
Whence stars, fresh-bathed, rise up shining,
As golden Calliope of Homer has made clear),
But in this way, as we said, fittingly to public speakers.
Having turned about and put in at Thermydron harbour of Rhodes,
And having taken one bull out of a wagon, Heracles slaughtered and ate it;
The herdsman from the mountain above was calling down curses upon him.

After bringing the apples, moreover, to Eurystheus
Heracles accomplishes the twelfth labour, the bringing up of Cerberus,
[390] Who was the terrible fifty-headed dog of Hades,
Having three dog heads, the tail of a dragon,
And down the back, heads of other beasts of all sorts.
Heracles, then about to accomplish this labour,
Ran forth into Eleusis and, having been initiated by Eumolpus,
Was led down through Tenaro to Hades himself.
Heracles raised up Theseus, while the cowherd of Hades,
Menoetius the son of Ceuthonymus, he broke in pieces,
After rubbing and dashing together his ribs in wrestling.
Heracles even found Cerberus in the gates of Acheron.
[400] Covered only by his lion skin and breast piece,
Apart from the rest of his weapons, just as Pluton said,
Heracles held him down from the neck, while being bitten by the tail,
And by the rest of the heads along the back of this dog,
And carried it through Troezen to Eurystheus.
He then brings it back down to Acheron and Hades.
This Hades was the king of the Molossians,
Having, also, a very large dog which he called Cerberus.
This Hades, even holding down Pirithous, together with Theseus,
On the one hand killed Pirithous, but was guarding Theseus.
[410] Having come to Acheron, Heracles saved Theseus.
And the rest of the facts are quite manifest; so why do we speak at great length?

After the labours, accordingly these ones recounted,
Eurytus, defeated by Heracles in a bow contest, along with his five sons,
Did not give up his daughter Iole for marriage,
Lest somehow, having begotten children from this woman, maddened, Heracles kill even her,
As he did with the sons of Megara who were begotten from him.
And not much afterwards, when Eurytus was defrauded of horses by Autolycus,
He judged the crime to be the work of Heracles.
And Iphitus, a son of Eurytus, upon going to Heracles,
[420] Who already beforehand had saved Alcestis,
Demands these animals at Heracles’ expense; and Heracles entertains him as a guest.
But held down again by madness and rages of Hera,
Heracles threw Iphitus from the walls of Tiryns and destroyed him.
And when Neleus of Pylos did not wish to cleanse Heracles,
Who was cleansed instead by Deiphobus, then even diseased
Heracles receives the Delphic oracle, which stated that there is release from the disease,
If, after being sold, he should be a slave for three whole seasons
And provide the wage for his servitude to Eurytus.
And upon being sold, he was a slave to Lydian Omphale,
[430] The daughter of Iardanus, and a wife of Tmolus.
Also, while being a slave there, Heracles binds the Ephesian Cecropes,
And Syleus the Lydian, who were forcing strangers
To dig about their vineyards in a manner of slavery.
He also destroyed Xenodice, the daughter of Syleus,
And he pulls up the vines of this man from the roots.
Even Musaeus recounts this story
With words according to Hero and Leander, writing the epic verses in this way:
“But convey me, your suppliant, and if you should wish, bed-fellow,
Whom Eros took by hunting, overtaking me with his arrows.
[440] As swift Hermes with wand of gold conveyed bold Heracles
To the Iardanian maiden to be a serf,
Even Cypris sent me to you, and wise Hermes did not bring me.”

Having filled out this time with the servitude,
With six triremes Heracles plunders both the city of the Trojans
And that of the Coans, and he kills the king Eurypylus,
A son both of Poseidon and Astypalaea.
Then, facing Phlegra, Heracles works with the gods against the Giants.
They say kings are gods (we said this many times).
Heracles plunders Elis, then, and kills Augeas,
[450] And Cteatus and Eurytus, sons of Actor, he kills in treachery.
And he has even plundered Pylos, and wounds Hades;
And he gives the kingdom of the Laconians to Tyndareus
Having killed Hippocoon, who was allied to Neleus.
And making an attack in Calydon, he defeats Achelous,
And marries Deianira, the daughter of Oeneus.
In the wedding-feast, after destroying Ennomus the son of Architeles,
Fleeing to Ceyx, who was near Trachis,
Near Evenus itself, Heracles even shoots with his bow Nessus,
Who wished to dishonour Deianira with force.
[460] This Nessus gave his blood to Deianira,
Telling her to use it to anoint Heracles’ undergarment
When she should perceive him loving any girl.
Later, by doing this very act, Deianira kills Heracles.
But then, Heracles, travelling in Dryopis,
Slaughters a bull of Theiodamas, and eats up this animal.
He both renders the land plundered and kills Laogoras.
And Cygnus, the son of Ares and of Pelopia,
Heracles destroyed while going through the Itonian land.
And while going into Trachis, he leads an army against Eurytus.
[470] After plundering Oechalia, and even taking Iole,
Heracles came to anchor near to Cenaeum, the cape of Euboea,
And set up an altar of Zeus. About to sacrifice there,
Heracles sends his attendant Lichas to Deianira
To declare his arrival and victory.
Deianira, being suspicious of his desire for Iole,
And considering the words of Nessus as true,
Anointed some undergarment with the blood of Nessus
And sent Lichas with it to Heracles.
Having put it on, Heracles perished in an utterly bad manner.
[480] For the blood of Nessus the Centaur, mixed together
From the poisons of the missiles from an arrow of the Hydra
Was something deadly from which none escape, bringing onto the things anointed with it
An immeasurable itching and a biting sensation, and blisters.
Wherefore that little amount destroyed Heracles
The man who cleansed all of the land and sea of evil.

All of the people brought up by accounts of the story
Almost recounted the things inside and outside.
But Quintus, I think, has written these labours
[490] Cutting together with words, Quintus of Smyrna.
The words are in this way, which I will prevail to reveal:
“First in Nemea he destroyed the stout lion.
Secondly, in Lerna, he killed the Hydra with many necks.
For the third, moreover, in addition to those, he killed the Erymanthian Boar.
Fourth after these things, he caught the high-horned stag.
Fifth, he pursued the Stymphalian Birds.
Sixth, he fetched the radiant girdle of the Amazon.
Seventh, he cleaned much of the dung of Augeas.
Eighth, he drove the fire-breathing bull out of Crete.
Ninth, be brought the horses of Diomedes out of Thrace.
[500] Tenth, he drove the cattle of Geryon out of Erytheia.
Eleventh, he brought the dog Cerberus out of Hades.
And twelfth, he carried golden apples to Greece.
The thirteenth labour involved the daughters of Thestius.”

In this way, Quintus himself has written, having arranged among the labours
The false-thirteenth labour, this not existing one.
For you yourself have all of the labours written in,
And the bye-works of the labours. And why do I speak at length?


Samson was a son of Manoah, an Israelite judge,
Born in times and periods of captivity.
[510] This man wished to take Enthamnatha for a wife.
As he was beginning then at some time to chat about marriage,
He killed a lion with bare hands, having met with it face to face.
A little later, he found honey from a honeycomb
In the mouth of the lion, the very lion which he himself destroyed.
And after eating the honey, he put forward a riddle, having contrived it at the wedding feast,
Saying “meat came out of the mouth of the one eating.”
Not having the power to know this riddle, they learned from the bride,
And they fine Samson the problem-contriver
Thirty robes together, and thirty pieces of fine cloth.
[520] As Samson was greatly angry at the affair,
The father of the bride did not give her for marriage.
But Samson, taking three hundred foxes,
And from behind, kindling torches underneath their tails,
And then sending them away, set on fire every ear of corn of the people of the other tribe.
They, in turn, burn the house of the bride and those inside of it.
But when Samson struck together war upon them,
Every one of them, drawn up in battle order against the Judeans,
Were searching for Samson; and the Judeans, bound him
And gave him to the people of the other tribe. But Samson, having broke through the bonds,
[530] Killed a thousand of them with a jawbone of a donkey.
From there, he went to the city of Gaza to a prostitute.
And when the barbarians circled around the man,
In the middle of the night, having lifted the gates of the city on his shoulders
He ran out. Later, he loved Delilah,
And had her as a bed-fellow. The satraps of the barbarians, though,
Present one thousand one hundred pieces of gold to the woman
Who shaved Samson’s locks of hair while he was sleeping.
For the Samson just now spoken about, and Pterelaus and Nisus,
Men who acquired golden hairs on their heads to one result,
[540] Had their strength in these hairs they. When shaved clean of these hairs
(The latter men by daughters—Nisus by the Scylla,
Pterelaus by Comaetho—, and the former man by the Maenad),
Now weakened, they found vengeance from their enemies.
But the affairs of Pterelaus and Nisus I am running over.
After blinding Samson, who was already weakened in the above manner,
The people of the other tribe shut him in a terrible prison.
Some of them, moreover, were holding festivities and choral dances for the suffering of Sampson.
At last, they bring him out from the prison,
Desiring that he behave in a drunken and mocking manner.
[550] But Samson, groaning deeply from his much-affected heart,
Shook down the pillars and the entire household,
And along with himself he also destroyed all of the barbarians together,
Who happened to be much more in number than those who were being destroyed previously,
Whom Samson destroyed while living and flourishing in the might of his strength.


This Polydamas was from the city of Skotoussa.
Known to devastate, with bare hands, lions as if they were lambs,
And with winged feet, to surpass swift-running chariots,
With his hand, he even resisted some collapsing cave.
Diodorus Siculus writes the story.


[560] This Milo was an athlete from Croton,
Contemporaneous with that philosopher Pythagoras.
Six times Milo won the Olympic Games in wrestling.
At one time, while being a leader of war for the people of Croton
And, with his Olympic wreath springing forward in the front like Heracles,
With only ten divisions of ten thousand men of Croton,
Milo killed three hundred thousand men.
Diodorus writes even this story,
Along with Herodotus, and many other prose writers.


Aegon of Croton was a very strong boxer,
[570] Who did not eat less than Idas and Lynceus,
But ate the same amount as Bouthoina and, in any event, Lytiertes;
For eighty loaves of newly kneaded wheat-bread
Aegon the pugilist himself has eaten up in Lacinion.
For the little biscuit is not a loaf, but call it dry stuff,
For a loaf is not any sort of dry stuff, but soft and fresh1.
Even when he was running in the mountains, Aegon was wont to overcome bulls with his feet
And, with his hands, to draw up their hoofs while they were still alive.
Carrying these bulls on his shoulders, he was gratifying
Friends, maidens and women, such as Amaryllis,
[580] As Theocritus relates, writing the words as so:
“And there, at east-facing Lacinion, where the pugilist
Aegon alone devoured eighty loaves,
He even carried a bull from a mountain, having grasped
It by the hoofs, and gave it to Amaryllis. And the women
Cried out loudly, and the cow-herd laughed aloud.”

The affairs of Idas and Lynceus happen to be clear beforehand
As even the affairs of Heracles which were related by me in this work.
For each of these men had eaten a fourth of a bull.
Idas, moreover, had eaten a half cut of a bull,
[590] While Heracles had one entire bull in Lindos,
And the bull of Theiodamas in Dryopis.
Now Lytiertes, being an illegitimate son of Midas,
Was emptying out a whole jar of wine by drinking it,
And munching on loaves of wheat bread, he ate the load carried by three donkeys,
As in the Daphne, Sosibius says with iambics:
“He was a counterfeit illegitimate son of that man.
Of what sort of a mother, the woman who brought him forth knows.
On the one hand, he eats loaves of wheat bread to the order of three whole pack-saddles.
Within a short day, he drinks at once
[600] A ten-amphora jug, though calling it a one-amphora size;
And he works at light things for the loads that he eats”.


Lucian the Syrian recalls the wrestler Damoxenus,
Saying that he happened to be the best among wrestlers,
In no way inferior to Milo and the other wrestlers.


Iphiclus, a son of Phylacus, was the father of Protesilaus.
A man overleaping his peers in speed,
Iphiclus has been interpolated in the myths to run above ears of corn,
And, because of the lightness of his running, he did not break any of the husks;
Orpheus relates this story, saying somewhere:
[610] “Nor was anyone swifter than vigorous Iphiclus,
Who even used to run on asphodel plants, nor still
Does he damage the fruit as he bears his light as air limbs upon a dried crop”.


Euphemus was a son of Doris and Poseidon
(Or really, the son of Europa, daughter of Tityus; or the son of Mecionica,
Who was the daughter either of Orion or Eurotas),
And had, for a wife, Laonome, a sister of Heracles.
Euphemus was the lookout man of the Argo, as Pindar somewhere writes.
But Asclepiades says that from Poseidon, Euphemus
Had a gift, to travel on the sea without harm
[620] (Just as even Orion), and as someone travels on land.
In this way, the more allegorical version is thinkable to you.
Both of these lookout men are also helmsmen.
Though they more than surpassed all of the people who were babbled about long ago,
They were never hurt by sea waves.
Whence they were elaborated upon in such making of myths.


Proteus, a son of Phoenician Phoenicia and of Poseidon,2
Living around Pharos, within what is now Alexandria,
Used to change, with his magical powers, into all things,
Into fire, water, into a dragon, a tree, into every form,
[630] As Homer made clear, writing in the Odyssey.
Lucian, however, says that Proteus was a dancer
And simply imitated, with his dances, the forms of all things.
I say, though, that Proteus was a lecanomancer,
Foreshadowing all things through lecanomancy,
Whatever someone should wish to learn and about whatever someone should ask,
About trees, people and fire, waters and beasts,
Whether a natural philosopher, saying the forms of all things,
Or the most clever rhetorician, having written in ways befitting
Stones, beasts and the rest. But rather more as I said,
[640] I think the man was a lecanomancer and a magician.


Periclymenus, the son of Neleus and Polymede,
Was a brother of Nestor, that Nestor of Pylos.
Periclymenus possesses from Poseidon, his grandfather, this gift,
To change himself into every form of whatever living things he should wish.
Struck by a spear of Heracles, who at one time was waging war against Pylos,
Periclymenus was destroyed, though he had already turned into a fly.
The more allegorical account is in such a manner:
From the soul of Poseidon, who is fitting,
Periclymenus imitated all beasts in the wars,
[650] The quickness of leopards, the great strength of lions,
And the nature of a fly, which is hard to dissuade and full of a longing for bloodshed.
Wherefore even Homer speaks as he delineates the man:
“Both Nestor and Chromius and arrogant Periclymenus.”


They say that Thetis, in fleeing the company of Peleus,
Turned herself into fire, into water, and into the nature of beasts;
And continually still changing into the shape of a cuttlefish,
Peleus has her held down, with whom he was yoked in marriage.
Now here is the more allegorical version: not deeming Peleus worthy,
Thetis turned herself to fall down upon fire, and down upon water,
[660] And to be meat for beasts in inaccessible mountains.
Finally, Peleus has her held her down either while she was hiding herself in darkness,
Like a cuttlefish, hidden by the thick, dark juice of the black ink,
Or even while fleeing from that man beside the sea,
As Euripides has written this in his Andromache.


Mestra was a daughter of Erysichthon Aethon3,
A man of Thessaly by race, being immeasurably hungry
As the result of the fact that he foolishly cut the grove of Demeter.
Mestra, in changing into all living things
And every remaining form, and then in selling herself,
[670] Used to provide victuals to her father, taking away his hunger,
Just as Lycophron somewhere says most mythically in such a way:
“The courtesan fox, who assumed all forms,
And who, with gains made by day,
Used to heal the peaking ravenous hunger of her father
Aethon, a man who was cleaving the ground with foreign ploughshares.”
These verses are rather mythic; it must be interpreted allegorically:
Erysichthon has sold lands and eaten.
Still being wasted by need and guilt-related hunger,
He was trying to live by prostituting his daughter,
[680] With the result that one man gave money, another perhaps a sheep-skin,
Another gave either hares, birds, geese, or swans,
And the rest gave from the rest of their options, so that I do not weave words.
And I think even Palaephatus teaches it in this way,
Though he does not recount the cutting down of the grove of Demeter,
Which we said is a selling of possessions.


They write that Castor and Polydeuces, the sons of Tyndareus,
By an act of Zeus, both happened (or rather just Polydeuces)
—against Lynceus and Idas, the sons of Aphareus,
And for Phoebe and Hilaeira, the daughters of Leucippus—
[690] To join in a strongly contested battle, to determine who can have them.
The courses of the battle were around Taygetus.
Lynceus, who turned out as the most sharp sighted of all people,
Upon seeing Castor and Polydeuces in a hollow of the oak tree,
Kills Castor with his spear, and Polydeuces kills Lynceus,
Though Idas kills Polydeuces, and a thunderbolt kills Idas.
Now the father of Polydeuces, Zeus the astrologer,
Marked out the deceased sons in the stars
And has called Castor and Polydeuces the Twins.
Day by day, they say, these two are both living and dying.
[700] For in this way the stars of the Twins rise.
But others even alter the story a little,
Saying that Polydeuces did not die in battle,
But, for the hereafter, seeks after this gift from Zeus:
Both to be dead and to live with his kinsman Castor,
As somewhere even Pindar says. What, exactly, he relates, I do not know.
For there are sections of words, and they flee my memory.
But the truer account is as I have already said to you before.
Lycophron relates the story, and Euripides,
Simply all of the poets along with Apollodorus.
[710] Even, in addition to them, Stasinus, who writes the words in this way,
Speaking in heroic words: “And straightaway Lynceus
Went to Taygetus, trusting in his swift feet;
Upon going up to the very top, he was looking through the entire island
Of Tantalid Pelops. Quickly, the mighty hero beheld,
With his terrible eyes, both of them inside a hollow oak tree,
Horse-taming Castor, and prize-bearing Polydeuces.”


Aethalides, the son of Hermes, was a clever rhetorician,
Always writing in books, one account being mournful and of funeral orations,
And another account of joyful things.
[720] And according to Democritus himself along with Heraclitus,
Aethalides, crying and laughing at the same time over the unstable nature of life,
Was said to be both dead and alive always, day by day.


Aristeas was a son of Caystrobius,
Of Proconnesus by race, being of those noble in race and of the foremost families.
Aristeas, having slipped into a smith’s shop, dies and falls down dead.
The smith, after immediately closing that shop,
Relates the terrible thing of Aristeas to his kinsmen.
All of them, running with lamentations to the smith’s shop
And opening it up, found nothing, neither a dead nor a living man.
[730] Aristeas, having appeared again after seven years,
Writes an epic poem called The Arimaspea.
Even again he disappears for a second time and dies.
And after two hundred forty years
It was in the time of Herodotus, and again Aristeas reappeared,
Just as Herodotus says; but if it is true, I do not know.
And who made an acquaintance with Aristeas, or who lived so long,
So that in later times he could say: “Herodotus, in your times,
This man is Aristeas of Proconnesus,
Who was dead for a long time, but has presently reappeared again”?
[740] To me, it seems to be downright silly talk and a frigid story.


Theseus was a son of Attic Aegeus and Aethra,
But they used to say that when Theseus was manly, he was a boy of Poseidon;
For they say that all high spirited men together, and all manly
Sons and friends, are lovers of Poseidon.
Theseus once agreed with his friend Pirithous
To seize from Zeus, that is, Zeus the king,
Some girl, and marry her; and at some time, having gone
To a place within the land of the Molossians, whose king was Hades,
Of whom the wife was Demeter, and the daughter was called Kore4
[750] (For the Molossians call all attractive females girls),
And the dog was a threefold Cerberus, causing a shudder from its size;
During the night, they made their attempt to take Hades’ daughter.
But soon they were detained, and Pirithous was eaten
By threefold Cerberus the dog, while Theseus is held fast in a prison.
And as Heracles at some time came to even Hades,
Ordered by Eurystheus to carry away the dog,
He also immediately freed Theseus from his bonds;
Wherefore they said that the latter man ran back from Hades.


This Protesilaus was a son of Iphiclus;
[760] Having left his wife Laodamia, recently a bride,
He is campaigning with the rest of the Greeks against the Trojans.
But having leaped before everyone, he dies first of all.
Now the mythographers say that when Protesilaus was in the bloom of youth,
The girl Persephone had compassion as she saw
Him lamenting his deprivation of Laodamia.
She even asks Pluto to let this man live again,
And he has Protesilaus, who has fled Hades, sent to his wife.
Myths assert these things; but other details of the story
In the following manner, somehow, some people relate as being very real:
[770] That the above mentioned wife of Protesilaus,
After learning of the misfortune and death of her husband,
Makes a wooden image of Protesilaus’ shape,
And had it lie with her because of her desire for him,
Not at all enduring to conceal his absence;
But others said that during the night, an image of Protesilaus was always seen
By his wife, wherefore these stories of wooden images were formed.
But I know that Laodamia, upon learning Protesilaus’ fate,
Immediately donned her bridal mantle
And, with a radiant face, put a dagger into her heart.
[780] She died with her good and newly married husband,
Just as even Evadne, having recently become the wife of Capaneus,
Threw herself into the funeral-pyre because of the desire for her husband.
Lucian and Philostratus write this story,
And some others relate it, both poets and young men.


Alcestis, a child of Pelias and Anaxibia
In her marriage to Admetus, the son of Pheres and Periclymene,
Bore Eumelus and Perimela.
At some time, when Alcestis’ husband Admetus was about to die,
Apollo asked the Fates for this favour,
[790] That Admetus, upon giving someone to die instead of himself,
Rejoice in the presence of the living who were most friendly.
And when the Fates nodded their assent, Admetus looks at everyone,
If in some way someone might consent to die instead of him.
But when everyone rejected him (saying that Admetus should die),
Namely, his father and old mother and entire band of friends,
Alcestis herself eagerly undertook her end on account of him,
And is dying and is covered completely, and would rise again,
For Heracles, running out to the horses of Diomedes,
Is being entertained in the house of the grieving Admetus.
[800] But in no way reporting his misfortune to his friend
Admetus feasted him most splendidly in some house.
But Admetus himself, with mighty grief and misfortunes and lamentations
Was accomplishing the bearing out of the woman’s dead body.
And Heracles, learning the whole thing from some house-slave,
Exceedingly and excessively in wonder at the friendship for the man,
And having compassion for someone deprived of such a woman,
Striking his knee mightily he spoke away from the heart:
“O heart having endured many things and my hand,
Show now what sort of son, I beg you, Tirynthian
[810] Alcmena, daughter of Electryon, brought forth to Zeus.
For it is necessary for me to save the recently dead woman.”
Saying such things to himself, Heracles proceeds secretly to the tomb,
And holding down Hades, who came for the blood,
He did not let go until Hades provided Alcestis to him.
Taking her and turning back, Heracles went again to Admetus.
And while Admetus was weeping, wailing, and beating his chest,
Heracles presented Alcestis still covered in robes,
Saying, “Admetus, guard this woman for me;
For I was holding her as a victory prize for a contest.”
[820] And when Admetus lamented more and did not cease,
Alcestis removes the coverings and reveals herself. And Admetus, recognizing her with difficulty,
With sacrifices began to honour the hero (Heracles) as a god.
These details are rather mythical; it must be interpreted allegorically:
Acting with her sisters, Alcestis, after she killed her father
Unwillingly because of the deceits of Medea, flees to Admetus.
To whom she is even joined in lawful marriage, though she was away from her race.
But her brother Acastus was demanding her (to Admetus’ disadvantage)
So that he could exact vengeance for the murder of his father.
But when Admetus did not give her up, Acastus detained him
[830] After marching against Pherae with a multitudinous army.
And as Admetus was about to be killed by him,
Alcestis gave herself up, so that Admetus was released.
And Admetus started to lament the misfortune and suffering of the woman.
But Heracles, upon appearing, brings the woman back to him,
Having saved her from death and the hands of Acastus.
This allegorical interpretation, my child (it seems to me),
Happens, I think, to belong to Palaephatus the Stoic,
Being something very good and not unsound, just as, for the most part, he writes.
At any rate, this seems to be of another writer, and that up to this point this does not happen to be mine.
[840] For neither do I want alien works to be made my own,
Nor do I want to be made pretty with feathers, by which the myth depicts
That jackdaw with alien, motley plumage.


Eurydice was the wife of Orpheus.
They say that this woman died after being bitten by a snake,
But was brought back to the light again from the nether regions
When Orpheus charmed Hades and Kore with muse-works.
But here is the more allegorical account: either Eurydice, struck by pain,
And swooning from a terrible disease around the heart
(As even both hands react when meet with the bite of dragons),
[850] Was delighted by Orpheus, who drew out her suffering with his musical skill;
Or Eurydice herself, actually bitten by a snake
And running the risk of dying, through the enchantments which Orpheus knows,
And through his shrewdness and music and much learning
(As previously David did to that evil spirit of Saul),
Was made to live by him; wherefore these things were related.
But that Orpheus was able to treat such things,
He himself says in the Lithica, writing the epic verses in such a way:
“But whoever of men a wise heart orders”
(so that somewhat fittingly I may say the greatest number of things last),
[860] “If he should wish to know, he will learn both as many
Secret things as men contrive in their breasts,
And as many things as air-wanderers have screeched among themselves,
Shouting an unutterable song to people,
Eagles, rapid interpreters of great Zeus.
Such a man will know both how to stop on the ground the whistling of the coming dragon,
And to check the poison of creeping snakes.”
In this way, Orpheus used to understand every single treatment.


Accept the group of four stories as one.
Thales, a wise Milesian, one of the heptad of wise men,
[870] Being a pupil of Assyrian Pherecydes,
Was the first to discover eclipses and cycles of the moon,
Living in the times of Lydian Croesus, a man rich in gold,
To whom he even foretold that there would be a lunar eclipse.
When that event happened, Thales brought everyone then into amazement;
For an eclipse of the moon was still not experienced.
Some said that Thales was the discoverer of what I said;
But others attach those things to Endymion:
Wherefore they said that the Moon was in love with the man.
Others, instead of “Endymion,” name “the Arcadians,”
[880] Wherefore some even called those people “before the Moon.”5
Some people, moreover, said that the Arcadians were “before the moon” as though they were insolent.
For among certain groups, “to treat with insolence” is called “to be before the moon.”
Meanwhile, most people attach those things to Thales,
As they attach both to Meton, a son of Pausanias, the terms of twelve years,
And all of the nineteenths of the moon,
And to Ptolemy after Meton and to some quantity of others,
Although before everyone Orpheus wrote all of these things.

Pythagoras was a son of Mnesarchus the Samian.
Not only did he himself foreknow everything well,
[890] But at least even for those wanting to know things about to happen
He left behind remarkable foreknowing little books.

Clazomenian Anaxagoras, in turn,
Foretold that stones would be brought down from the sky;
In the rivers of the Goat6 (this was a city of Thrace)
It even happened in a later time, as Anaxagoras was not mistaken.
And he even put an end to rainstorms and the force of winds,
Just as even everyone of the wise men, of whom I had recently spoken.

And Empedocles, far more than all of the others,
Wherefore they made a “prevented” name for him,
[900] As he had already stopped, at one time, a violent blast of wind.
Empedocles, a son of Melito and of Acragas, by race,
Was a pupil of Pythagoras and, later, of Telauges
(Telauges a son of Theano and Pythagoras).
That Empedocles was competent to do such things,
Learn more clearly while hearing this piece of epic poetry:
“As many remedies as there are, a defence against evils and old age,
You will learn, since for you alone I will accomplish all of these things.
And you will stop the strength of untiring winds, which upon the land
Arising, ruin the plough lands with their blasts,
[910] And again, if you should wish, you will bring in avenging blows,
And you will establish a timely drought out of a dark rain storm
For people, and you will also establish, out of a summer drought
Floods that nourish trees, and the things in the upper air will set themselves on the ground.
And you will bring out of Hades the strength of a ruined man.”
Even these things we had said about Empedocles.
Now since above we spoke about the heptad of wise men,
Let everyone learn them who is wanting to learn:
Solon, Thales, Periander and Pittacus and Chilon
And Bias and Cleobulus, the wisest seven.


[920] Laius was a philosopher in the times of Antiochus;
Both an initiator and a mystic and a wonder-worker,
When a great plague held down Antioch,
Having chiselled in a rock the face of Charon and set it in the city,
Laius expelled the great disease of the Antiochenes.


Apollonius himself, living in the times of Nero,
Of Tyana, entirely wise, foreknowing all things,
At Antioch, yes, truly, even at Byzantium, makes it so that
Gnats and other such things not slip in.
And from long ago and for all of time, upon carving marble storks,
[930] Apollonius drove out of Byzantium the real storks,
Who were throwing dead snakes in the cisterns of the Byzantines,
And with the poison, were killing in masses the people who were drinking.
For once, a barbarian nation was driving against the Byzantines
When the leader of the Byzantines was abroad,
And the barbarians attacked the city in masses.
A woman, being the wife of a man who prevailed over sensible people,
Somehow throwing snakes in dark jugs,
Gave them to all of the citizens of her fatherland
To sling from the wall onto the army of barbarians.
[940] As this is happening, destruction falls on the barbarians,
As if then, the snakes were waging war against them.
When, in the future, the barbarians turned towards their fatherlands,
The snakes waged war against the Byzantines,
Killing many of them with poison shedding bites.
Then, some army of storks drives back the snakes.
But when the storks were throwing the snakes into the very cisterns,
And were making even more destruction for the Byzantines,
Upon arranging the marble storks which I mentioned in a row,
Apollonius himself drives away the real ones.
[950] This man spoke in advance also of an earthquake for the city of Antioch,
Even about Nero himself, the tyrant, he spoke in advance.
The events happen after a little while, something great and something not great.
Both at one time, when Nero was drinking at a table,
A thunderbolt poured out of the sky and seized the cup from his hand,
But in no way was there harm for that tyrant.
And at another time, in turn, arrested with other astrologers,
Apollonius spoke to Domitian, who said that he would kill him:
“You will not kill me, since not to you am I destined.”
What is more, having had his large beard cut off,
[960] Apollonius was thrown in prison, about to be killed;
But with one turn of the scale, he appeared in the vicinity of Dicaearchia.
Then, standing near Ephesus, a city of Ionia,
While Domitian, the tyrant at that time, was being killed in Rome,
As if near that place and looking at all of these things,
Apollonius was shouting often, “strike the sinful man, strike him”.
But when it happened that the tyrant resisted for a little while,
And the enemy was about to attack, Stephan, in turn, was turning pale,
Until some second man, having come to be a helper,
Was encouraging Stephan, and they kill Domitian.
[970] I know countless things of this man Apollonius,
Predictions and wonders, and I can recount all of them at length;
Wherefore I am stopping here my account about this man.
These things that belong to our fathers and a multitude of chronologies they write:
Philostratus and Maximus together and Moeragenes,
And another very, very large multitude, whom I do not have the strength to recount.
It is ill-timed, child, both to investigate something that will cause you needless trouble
(Even clear things lie in some little books),
And to cut fresh into my leaves of paper uselessly in this way.


[980] Abderan Democritus, the son of Hegesistratus,
Was a pupil of Leucippus, who, in turn, was the pupil of Melissus.
As truly being a philosopher who knew all things well,
Democritus always used to laugh at the uselessness of life.
Now the people of Abdera, opined that Democritus was melancholic.
Upon sending gifts worth ten talents to Hippocrates,
They were beseeching that Democritus be healed by the Coan physician.
And the physician, though he was on a sea voyage, and without the things he needed,
Returned back to see Democritus himself.
As Hippocrates himself was healed more than he healed Democritus,
He was even granting thanks to all of the people of Abdera,
[990] Since he knew such a wise man on account of them.
This Democritus, then, having been an entirely wise man,
Did countless other wonders, they say,
And even checked Hades for three whole days
By entertaining him with hot blasts from loaves of wheat bread.
Many men say the things pertaining to Democritus, even Coan Hippocrates.
And some writer of epigrams writes the instance of Hades:
“And was anyone wise like this? Who accomplished such a deed,
As all-learned Democritus revealed?
The man who held death, present in his house, for three days,
[1000] And entertained him with hot blasts from loaves of wheat bread.”

1. What may be a deliberate play on words is not reflected in the translation: "loaf" and "dry stuff" are translations of maza and aza respectively, so that one could read in line 575, "maza is not any sort of aza."
2. The Greek text cryptically reads, "Proteus Phoinikes Phoinikos pais".
3. Aethon is an alternate name for Mestra's father. Both names appear in the text one after the other without any conjunctions.
4. Or "girl", leading us to explanation stated in the next line.
5. "Before the moon" is a translation of the adjective proselenos, where the prefix pro- is usually used in a temporal sense, as if the Arcadians were so ancient, that they existed "before" the moon. The infinitive proselein, in line 882, an alternate spelling of prouselein, "to treat with insolence," may not, in fact, be related to the adjective proselenos.
6. i.e. "Aegospotami".