Classical Texts Library >> Tzetzes, Chiliades >> Book 4







1. Love of a Dolphin
2. Horses of Achilles
3-19. Shared Sympathy of Animals
3. Jackdaws & Starlings
4. Cranes & Geese
5. Deer & Wolves
6. Elephants
7. Lions, Eagles, Dolphins, et. al.
8. Mares
9. Bees
9. Mice, Parrotfish, et. al.
10. Animals Burying Animals
11. Dog of Erigone
12. Dog of Xanthippus
13. Dog of Silanion
14. Dog of Pyrrhus
15. Dogs of Orpheus
16. Eagles
17. Serpents
18. Trees of Geryon
19. Poplars of Phaethon
20. The Bronze Cows
21. Tombs of Cadmus & Harmonia
22. Magnesia & Goldencity
23. Niobe
24. On-a-Leaf
25. Bekos-Moon People
26. The Blitomamman
27. Melitides & the Moronic
28. Mamman-Hider
29. Acco
30. Gry
31. Pirithous & Theseus
32. Anarcharsis
33. The Cymaean Ass
34. Paris
35. Rhesus
36. "For I have not shivered at combat..."
37. "For I wish not to be supposed the best..."
38. Achilles & Lycomedes












[1000] Oppian tells of a dolphin that, for some Lesbian youth,
[1] Falls into inexpressible love, as the youth is synchronizing his singing to him,
How the dolphin carries the youth, as a reins-holder, on its back,
And in every way obeys that youth when he is ordering him,
And carries others on its back, if the youth should order it,
And has inexpressible affection towards the young man himself,
He both folds himself around him and fawns upon him with its tail.
But when the youth was travelling on the destined path,
Even the dolphin was made utterly unseen from the places there.
And about a young Libyan herdsman, Oppian writes this very thing,
[10] And Aelian relates things somewhat like these things,
Except he wrote that the young man was Iassian,
And immensely worn out after gymnastic school
(He says), that young man, carried on the dolphin,
But being heavy, falls on the back of the beast,
And the youth’s spine, pierced at the belly,
Kills him.1 Now the dolphin, recognizing the suffering
From both motionless heaviness and flow of streams of blood,
Lifted straight in mid-air by the convexity of waves,
Flung himself to land with the dear youth.
[20] Now both of them came to an end there, breathing out life.
Even in the times of the second Ptolemy in Alexandria
Aelian says such love happened,
And in Dicaearchia, a city of Italy.

About Arion the Methymnaean
You have the story of Arion behind you,
Being number seventeen, and turning about, behold it.


Patroclus was a reins-holder, a friend of Achilles,
And from one of those who were kinsmen by blood, being older in age.
Wearing all of the equipment of Achilles,
Mounting both the chariot and horses of that man,
[30] As Achilles, Patroclus was crushing in pieces the army of the Trojans.
But happening to be recognized by them as not Achilles, but Patroclus,
Struck by Apollo himself, and secondly, by Euphorbus,
Thirdly, by Hector, he abandoned his life.
“Now the horses of Aeacides, being away from combat,
Were weeping (when first they learned of the reins-holder
Fallen in the dust by man-slaying Hector
On the ground), letting their heads fall, and for them, tears
That were hot flowed to the ground, down from the eyes of the snivelling horses,
With longing for the reins-holder, and their thick flowing hair was being stained,
[40] As it was streaming downwards from the junction beside the yoke for both of them.”


To tell of the shared sympathy of animals
To other animals, and to one another, what telling will suffice?
Speaking, therefore, very little and of things that are few in number,
We will abstain from the magnitude and from long-telling.


Jackdaws and the genus of starlings are mutually loving,
As, if you pour olive oil into some little dish,
By means of their own reflection, you will catch jackdaws,
Appearing as narcissuses, others, and Laconians who are fond of reflections.


Even cranes are mutually loving, travelling in flocks,
[50] And, when winter comes, setting out towards Egypt,
Cranes make a three-angled acute-angled flight within these times,
So that in this way, they can cut through the air rather easily.
And they have both protectors and rear-leaders during their advances.
At any rate, whenever they are about to hasten away towards Egypt,
As they are coming towards the Hebrus, the Thracian river,
First, they flock together in rows and in troops,
And the crane older than all of those there
Hastening around in a rather circular manner and observing the army,
Falling straight down lies dead. Having buried him, the other cranes
[60] Undertake the flight and passage towards Egypt,
Helping one another from eagles and the rest of the obstacles.
Even the genera of geese do entirely the same thing as them.
Now the cranes, beginning to make their passage,
Have the older crane serving as a pilot for them.
But when this crane grows quite weary at what hastens forward after him,
Even they, successively, in stages, make the forward flight.
But on land, flying down at the time of the evening,
The greater number goes to sleep, but a few protect them.
The manner of protecting for them is as such:
[70] The protectors within those times stand on one foot,
Each holding a stone with the suspended foot,
So that, if they drop asleep over it, and the stone has fallen,
They might come to wakefulness, having perception of it.
In this way, the protecting is for them, only in a reciprocal manner.


Even deer watch over a mutually loving sharing.
At any rate, when passing across water, setting their heads
One near to another, they swim. But when the guide is weary,
A different deer serves as a pilot after it, while the first acts as a rear-leader,
And then the rest, successively, marshalled together in rhythm.
[80] But wolves, passing across the streams of rivers,
Hold the tails of one another by the mouth,
So that they might not be diverted by the eddies of water.


For other reasons, even elephants belong to the mutually loving,
Not wholly abandoning one another in the midst of misfortunes.
For when fleeing hunters, first they do not scatter,
But the strong and young ones move along in a circular manner,
Bringing within the circle elders and mothers,
And everyone unweaned, and the childish genus.
They give up food, in the first place, to the older elephants,
[90] When their own fathers are old, they feed them;
Passing across waters, the males thrust
The young to the upper area with their trunks;
The mothers carry those not yet weaned
Either with their trunks or their double teeth.
If ever they go through deep and hard to get out of ditches,
The one stronger and bigger in bigness than all of them,
Standing in the middle, just as a bridge, transports them all.
And they, then, bringing many branches to the ditch,
Rescue the elephant that was providing passage across.
[100] But when newborn elephants fall completely in the deep ditches…
Those falling perish together, killing the babies...
Even far from their fatherland, being carried by those lamenting.


When they are old, lions, eagles, dolphins,
Wild herds, the kind of storks,
And pelicans, are fed by their own offspring,
Which also help them both in walking and in flying,
And in swimming, with regard to the fish-like, as, for instance, the dolphin and seal.


Mares, having mercy for the orphans among the foals,
Suckle and feed them with their own.


[110] Bees are ruled by kings and are managed in an orderly manner.
Whenever their king will initiate flying,
Everyone follows in clusters, having obeyed him.
And while this bee is living, the hive is managed well,
But when he is dead, it hastens away, and is thoroughly confounded.
If, therefore, an old king exists for the hive of these bees,
Mounted on other bees, he is carried away.
But if the king is young and vigorous, he sends himself forth from the hive,
Ordering everyone to undertake their own jobs:
Some of them to carry water, and those ones to collect flowers,
[120] Another group to house build, and others to do other things.
First, they house build the kings’ houses,
Which are rising up over all with regard to both height and width.
Near the king, they make houses for the old bees,
And successively even the remaining homes, fitting together.
And when it is necessary for the king to leave these homes,
As an army they proceed, with both a booming and a clamour.
But when the time for sleep should call the king to fall asleep,
Some flautist re-echoes, and the hive keeps quiet.
For some, it is even the job to carry the dead out of the hive,
[130] And to do other things held to belong to the noblest sympathy.


Even land mice have sympathy for one another.
For when one of them has fallen in the water, giving its tail,
Another of them pulls it up, and saves it from danger.

Even parrotfish do this when falling into traps.
And Anthiae, following anthiae that were seized
By hooks, make every attempt to cut the hook.
But if not strong enough to cut in because of the lack of strength of their teeth,
Lying on it, they weigh down the seized anthias,
So that, by both the surface pressure and their weight...
[140] It might become far from the beast, with the hook cut.

The glaucus, the dog, and the dogfish, being sea fish,
When dread comes upon their offspring:
The glaucus and the dogfish hide together their offspring in the mouth,
But the dog hides its offspring in the belly again,
And again, births them when the fear passes by.

Now the dolphin and the seal, when their newborn are taken,
Are taken together with them and end their lives at the same time.
Even when mothers are taken, their newborns are seized.
And this happens even for wild herds.
[150] Now the land dog honours its first offspring.
And the first-born of a pig drinks from the first udder,
And successively even the rest, according to their own standing.


The dolphin, the elephant, the swallow, bees, and the ant, together,
Bury corpses when it pertains to the dead of the same genus as them.
Bears and mice with them, and with these even flies,
And the hawk throws dust even on an unburied person.


They say that Erigone, a child of Icarius,
Had a very loyal dog, which was raised up with her.
But when Dionysus found wine for people,
[160] As Icarius provided it to Athenian farmers,
These men, drinking it for the very first time and completely absorbed with drunkenness,
Killed Icarius since they thought he drugged them.
When, then, the child has not found her father upon seeking for him,
The dog points him out, as he was investigating for this girl;
When she also is dead, later, the dog was dead with her.

The earlier stories about animals are written
By Aelian and Oppian, together with Leonidas,
And with them, Timotheus, the grammarian of Gaza,
Who, in previous times, was coincident with king Anastasius.
[170] But this story of Icarius with Erigone
Was also written by Aelian, along with several others.
Even Orpheus mentions this story, writing in his Georgica:
“The starry girl is the best with regard to all things,
Even with regard to seeds, and favourable to plants, and in throwing
All shoots in ditches, and with regard to the fruits that they gather for themselves.
But avoid vines, since the daughter of Icarius
Before all hates vats and bitter vines,
Soliciting as many baneful things, by the will of Dionysus,
As the coastal people contrived, overpowered by dreadful drunkenness,
[180] Who slew her and Icarius with rough staffs,
Faltering by gifts of mad dancing Bacchus.”


Attic Xanthippus, the father of Pericles,
Used to have a good and very useful dog, which was raised by him.
So when Xerxes was about to march against Athens,
The Attic men were ferrying little women, children,
And everything whatsoever that was very good, to Salamis.
Now at that time, there used to be sympathy that belonged to even tame animals,
Which both hastened on the sea with their masters,
And mooed mournfully with a very lamentable voice.
[190] At that time, even this above-mentioned dog of Xanthippus,
Seeing its mistress departed on the vessel,
And throwing himself on the water, was swimming nearby,
Until, after fainting from the length of the voyage, he dies.
Whom Xanthippus deemed worthy even of a burial there.
Now the painter from life, Polygnotus or Micon, painted this
In the Stoa Poikile due to kind-heartedness.
Aelian and Plutarch, along with others, write this.
Even Asclepiades speaks in this way, word by word, telling
“What they call a tomb of even a dog that was ill fated.”


[200] The little letter has the entire story,
It does not have the name of Silanion written.
In this way, it is written in the little-passage:
“Both the dogs of Xanthippus and even of some Roman
(A man who was a great general, someone who, ruined in combat
Was lying a ruin for dogs, beasts, and birds)...
Only his dog, being more loyal than all,
Waiting for many days, was protecting the man,
And was concealing the dishonour of that hero,
Until the generals of the Romans, coming later,
[210] Lifting up the man, completely concealed him in the patrimonial tombs.”


The king Pyrrhus the Epirotan once found
A corpse lying unburied and a dog standing beside it.
And at once, he ordered the person to be buried,
But taking the dog, he kept it in the palace,
As it was kind and gentle to all people.
But when the dog at some time saw counted in the rosters
The person who killed its master,
He did not stop barking and scratching at this man,
Until Pyrrhus, in his investigations, learned all that he could,
[220] And punished this man with death by the cross.

Even some chronicler writes that such a thing, entirely similar,
Happened in a few periods of time passed before us.
But there was a salesman, he says, who buried the corpse;
And the salesman then reported the affair to the prefect of the city
Mainly after the distinguishing by the dog appeared,
Then the murderer was both put on a cross and killed.
Since we mentioned dogs affectionate to people,
Now of Calvus, Anacreon, Eupolis, Darius,
And Lysimachus with them, and the dog-leader Nicias,
[230] And the Athenian bitch, and the cowherd Daphnis,
And even the rest: let us say all things to you most clearly.

Of Calvus, a general of the Romans, slain in combat of the same tribe...
No one was able to cut the head of that man,
Until they killed his dog, which was standing beside him.

For Teian Anacreon, going to Teos
With a household-slave and a dog to buy necessities,
When the household-slave went away from the road to relieve himself,
Even the little dog was accompanying him there,
But when, indeed, held by forgetfulness, he left the purse,
[240] The little dog sat down and started to protect it.
And when the people returned to the same place from Teos, unsuccessfully,
The little dog came back from the purse,
And having revealed the entrusted item, he at once expired,
Since, for many days, he remained there without food.

Augeas, a Molossian dog, used to belong to Eupolis.
Augeas killed with its bite Ephialtes, a slave of Eupolis,
Because he beheld the man stealing its master’s plays.
This dog, later, in Aegina, when Eupolis was dead,
Died from longing for that man, waiting there without food.

[250] Of Darius the Second 2, who died from Bessus,
(As the dog of Silanion) another dog stayed beside the tomb.

And a dog dies with Lysimachus the king.
Now when Nicias fell into an oven of coal,
Firstly, standing still, the dogs of this man were bewailing him;
But when no one understood the matter from the wailing,
Gently biting those present on their clothes,
The dogs were drawing them to the oven, thereby revealing the calamity.

A bitch in Athens once revealed temple-looters,
Going, with its barking, as far as the looters’ house,
[260] A dog that they even voted be maintained at the public expense.

With Daphnis, being a cowherd of Syracuse by race,
Five dogs died together, after crying first;
Now for Polus, a tragic actor who was very old,
And Mentor, a dog is cremated together with them when they are dead.
Even with Theodorus, the pre-eminent harpist, a dog was buried together.

Gelon the Syracusan, shouting during his sleep
(For he thought, in his dreams, that he was struck by lightning),
Making an uproar beyond measure, was perceived by the dog,
Which did not stop barking at him until it awakened him.
[270] Even a wolf kept this man safe once from death.
For, when he was sitting against a school while he was still a boy,
A wolf, coming to him, took away his writing-tablet.
But as he ran towards the wolf himself and the writing-tablet,
The school, shaken down, falls down from the foundations,
And killed all of the children together with the teacher.
Now the prose writers celebrate the number of the children
(Timaeus, Dionysius, the Diodoruses, and Dio),
Which is more than one hundred. But I do not know the precise figure.


Orpheus, the son of Menippe and Oeagrus, his father,
[280] Still being a young man and desiring to hunt for birds,
Went to a mountain ridge, were there was a large serpent.
Then, as Orpheus was looking exclusively at the hunting of birds,
The serpent was starting against him, rolling its many coils.
Now his dogs, being tame, running because of his shout,
And colliding with the beast, killed it,
But Orpheus they rescue, because of their affection towards him,
Just as Orpheus himself, in the Lithica, somewhere writes this.


Phylarchus tells how a young man, catching an eagle,
Raised it, and the eagle was accustomed to stay beside him,
[290] So that even once, when the young man was sick, the eagle treated him,
And skilfully tended to the sick man, with very intense eagerness;
But when the young man died and was carried to a pyre,
The eagle was following along with the bringing out of his body.
And when the young man was cremated by fire, even the eagle was cremated with him.
Now an eagle, raised with even a woman, dies with her,
Abstaining from food because of longing for her and ending its life in that way.
Even for Pyrrhus, the king of Epirus, there was
An eagle similar to the eagles mentioned above, though this one rejoiced in hearing
If ever some Pyrrhus the Epirotan should address it.
[300] Even this eagle, when Pyrrhus is dead, dies with him
From an abstention from food and from hunger, and because of longing for that man.
Some eagle rescued even a reaper from death,
Because the reaper himself kept it safe from a serpent,
Cutting up the coil of the beast with his scythe.
Indeed, for of the reapers there, being sixteen in number,
This reaper, sent to draw water, when he brought the water,
Mixing it from an earthen jar for all, was distributing the wine.
But when, after mixing it, even he himself was about to drink this,
That eagle, flying down with a whistling sound, broke his cup into pieces,
[310] After it saw a snake vomit, as it seems, in the vessel.
But the reaper, turning as if vexed at the eagle’s compensation,
After he saw the other people dying, understood the cause.


The little letter has a story of a serpent,
Written in this way in the very phrases used there:
“Some boy in Patrae, having bought a small serpent
Raised it up; which, becoming very large, ran away.
But when, at some time, the young man was seized by plunderers,
And shouted out, the serpent leapt forth against the plunderers,
Whom it even turns to flight, and saves the young man.”
[320] Now this same thing happened to an Arcadian lad.
And in the land of the Judeans, during the times of Herod,
A serpent, very, very large, was sleeping with a girl.
And when she was abroad, the serpent went away, looking for her continually
Until it found her, in this way being affectionate beyond measure.
Even some young hunting Thessalian, Aleuas,
Who had hair in the bloom of youth, and was himself in the bloom of youth even in form,
A very large serpent was in love with; it used to kiss both Aleuas,
And his very beautiful gold coloured hair.
And a serpent was an avenger for Pindus, who was slaughtered by his brothers.
[330] Now learn who Pindus was and from what family origin he sprung:
Lycaon was a king of Emathia,
Whose son, with respect to the calling, was Macedon (from whom Macedonia got its name).
Pindus, a son of Macedon, was in the bloom of youth and high-minded,
And a consummate hunter, always hunting in thickets.
Where, indeed, some serpent was in love with his manliness and beauty.
When, then, three brothers of this man killed him with a sword,
The serpent, in recompense, killed them in return.
The mountain, from the calling of Macedon’s son, was named Pindus.
Horned snakes even distinguish children of the Libyans,
[340] Whether they are of spurious parentage or of pure descent,
Just as the Rhine does for the children of the Celts, and the touchstone does for gold,
And the sparkling of the sun does for the chicks of eagles.
Even newborns among crocodiles are distinguished by hunting (right at once,
Either a fly or even a locust) at once, upon being born.
For of the Libyans, a particular Libyan, who are called Psylli,
If ever they are under suspicion about the work resulting in children,
They close in a little box horned snakes and the baby.
If, then, it is of pure descent, it is watched over untouched;
But if it is of an adulterous bed and a licentious couch,
[350] He knows that the teeth of these snakes are a punishment, a touchstoner.


Geryon was a king of Erytheia,
As we wrote previously with the labours of Heracles,
With regard to most of the herds of cow-feeders of cows blooming with youth.
But as, shooting him with his bow, Heracles killed that man,
Two blooming trees, sprouting well, planted
With his blood, are dropping down around his tomb.


For Helios, diverse are both the wives and children:
From Perse, the daughter of Oceanus: both Aeetes and Circe;
And of Clymene, daughter of Oceanus: Phaethon. But not this Phaethon;
[360] And of Rhodos, the daughter of Poseidon: Cercaphus and Triopes;
And Augeas is a son of Iphiboe; from Creté: Pasiphae;
And of Neaera: Phaethusa together with even Lampetie;
And from Prote, the daughter of Neleus: Phaethon and the Daughters of Sun,
Five girls beautifully-shaped, whose callings you must learn:
Aegle, Lampetie, Phaethusa in addition to them,
And Hemithea with them, together with even Dioxippe.

The mythographers, then, say that this Phaethon,
Taking his father’s chariot, wanted to drive from the chariot-board.
But being ineffective with horses and inexperienced in driving from chariot-boards,
[370] He was thrown from the chariot board and died in the streams of Eridanus.
Now his sisters, the Daughters of Sun, lamenting,
Became poplars at the edge of Eridanus.
But their tear-shedding turned into amber,
And streams down from the poplars even up until this time.
Now this nonsense are the words of mythographers;
Something more allegorical than more in the manner of an orator,
In this way, must be understood by you clearly and more factually.
Phaethon, some son of a king Sun, driving from the chariot board,
Drawn into the worded-above river, drowned in it.
[380] And his female relatives mourned for him passionately.
But since amber-bearing trees are present there,
They fabricated the story that his sisters became poplars,
And that their tear-shedding streams forth as amber.
These facts, stated more in the manner of an orator, in this way, were allegorical.
But Plutarch has solved it in this way, more naturally:
Writing that a sphere of fire was hurled down upon the Celtic country,
And, having fallen, was quenched in the streams of Eridanus.
How great the swarm of foreign people who mention the story!


The little letter writes even about these things in this way:
[390] “And why do I tell you about plants? There is a Rhodian mountain
(With respect to the calling), Atabyrium, previously having bronze cows.
Which used to send out a mooing when harm was coming to Rhodes.”
Pindar and Callimachus write the story.


The little letter writes even this, telling in this way,
“Now for the Illyrians, the tombs of Cadmus and Harmonia
(When some evil and harm arises for the Illyrians)
Used to rattle together a clatter, rolling about with one another,
As if they were feeling pain at the misfortunes and harms.”
Dionysius writes this story.


[400] Magnesia, a stone that is black, heavy, very jagged,
Profitable, advantageous, and very, very useful...
Orpheus, in the Lithica, wrote about its powers,
And with him even many other reasonable people.
This stone draws iron back to itself,
As gold does for quicksilver, and amber for chaff.
If, then, you should wish for magnesia not to draw back iron,
Anoint it by rubbing garlic. But if you wish it to draw again,
Rub it with filings of the desired iron.
But when wanting gold to oxidize, anoint it with the saliva of a dog;
[410] To purify it of the oxidation again, rub it with gold dust.
These are the facts about magnesia and of things of such a sort.
Now they call some form of grass goldencity by calling;
With gold that is pure, when it is scattered on goldencity’s leaves,
Goldencity receives it and is stained, deeply dyed.
But if the gold is alloyed, goldencity does not receive it on its leaves.


Niobe, a child of Tantalus and Euryanassa,
Moreover, the wife of Amphion, and a mother with twelve children,
Just as Homer says, but according to others, a mother of more;
Indeed, for some say that they are fourteen in number:
[420] Sipylus, Agenor, Phaedimus, Ismenus,
Eupinytus, Tantalus, Damasichthon,
Neaera, and Cleodoxa with Astyoche,
Phaetha, Pelopia, Ogyges, and Chloris...
Leto, resenting Niobe (since Niobe was exulting in her children,
And was contending with Leto about being blessed in childbearing),
Gives orders to Apollo and Artemis, her own children,
And they slaughter all of them on the same day:
Apollo with regard to the males, who were hunting on Cithaeron,
And Artemis with regard to the girls, who were sitting down in a house.
[430] But Zeus, then, made into stones all of the people.
And unburied, they were lying down for nine days;
Whom the gods buried on the tenth day.
And Niobe, also turned to stone, was lamenting over them.
These refinements are little myths. But the truth is such:
Niobe was living daintily, was boasting because of her children,
Was thinking she was loftier than and superior to the ether,
Was comparing both herself and her children to the sky,
And was assigning the superiority to both herself and her children,
Saying these things to herself and striding with delusion:
[440] “The sky possesses two large lights,
But I possess so many who are living, chatting, and animated;
Am I not superior to the sky and ether?”
Now the ill-fated woman says such things, living daintily because of her children.
But some avenging fate marches against her,
And on the same day, all of her children die from a plague.
Now they were saying that Apollo and Artemis killed them.
For these things depend on the sun and the moon.
For plague-like things take place from heat and moisture.
Now they said that Niobe was a stone in tears,
[450] Because, being without feeling as a result of every suffering,
She was feeling very keenly, but for tear-shedding only.
And you will regard, in my way, the people at that time as stones
(Those said to be turned into stone by the misfortune taking place at that time)
Whether, in any event, both inhuman and hard-hearted,
They neither ran up to the dead bodies, nor took care of them.
Now gods, that is, kings, buried them on the tenth day:
Whether since even kings attend to suffering,
Or you should regard people, since they are hard, as my stones,
Regard my gods at that time as the elements,
[460] Burying the children of Niobe in such a manner:
Earthquakes, thunder, and breaking of the sea that have happened,
Persuaded unbending people to bury the dead.
Now some say that Niobe was of stone in tears:
Stone was carved with skill, so that it supposedly shed tears.
This is even more than my purposes.
But those people are saying that the stone is contrived.
Receive the little letter after the stories.


(Now this letter partakes of three forms of rhetoric.
Where the judgemental form reproaches or watches over him; and where there is advising:
[470] The deliberative form; and the panegyrical form, where it adds some people
To stories in the manner of an encomium, and others to stories in the manner of a censure.)
To Lachanas the Zabareian: for indeed, by these things you are living daintily more
Than Croesus lived daintily by treasures, and Midas by what was golden;
Than Gyges by the turning back of the ring;
Than Codrus, Megacles, and Alcmaeon by race;
Than the Boreads by hair (Euphorbus likewise);
Than Narcissus, Nireus, and Hyacinth by beauty;
Than Orpheus by music, Amphion by the lyre,
And the Sirens by singing; than, by pipes, Marsyas;
[480] Than, by singing to the cithara, Terpander, and, what is more, Arion;
Than, by a golden lamb, Atreus; by the cow, Minos;
And by the beast killing dog, that Cephalus;
Than, by horse rearing, the Athenians Megacles and Cimon,
Who buried the horses later, when they were dead,
Since alone among horses they were victorious three times during the Olympian games;
Than Aristopatira by the Olympian victories,
Simonides by fifty-five victories,
And Stesichorus by melodies; than, by song, Tyrtaeus;
And by the combat around Cannae, general Hannibal;
[490] Than, by the horse Bucephalus, Alexander the Great,
The horse with which, having purchased it for thirty talents,
Thessalian Philonicus gratifies Philip;
Than, in turn, Antisthenes the Sybarite
(In his cloak, he was bearing himself very proudly,
Which was valued beyond one hundred talents);
Than Darius, having crossed both the Halys, without getting wet
(By the machines of wise Thales, by the crescent-shaped ditch),
And our Bosporus, bridged by the help of Mandrocles;
Than the son of Darius, Xerxes (he was bragging that,
[500] By a deep canal, he made a sea out of Mount Athos,
And made land out of the Hellespont by double bridge-making;
Than Cleopatra, making Pharos dry
By the help of Dexiphanes, the wise man who started from Cnidus;
And Trajan, bridging the Danube with marble
By the help of Apollodorus, the clever man among those being architects;
Than that old wise man Archimedes,
Burning, with machines of mirrors, the vessels of Marcellus;
Than, with regard to might, Heracles, Sampson, and Polydamas
(The Skotoussaean athlete used to brag greatly that,
[510] Devastating, with bare hands, lions as if they were lambs,
And with his feet on foot, being victorious over swift-running chariots,
Even with his hand, he resisted some cave that was collapsing).
I am leaving alone Milo and Aegon, together with Damaxenus;
Than, concerning speed, Iphiclus (he was bearing himself very proudly,
Running from above the husks, and not breaking the ears of corn);
Than Euphemus himself, going about on the sea,
Just as some rustic walker, walking the land;
Than previously, by their changes (they used to be high-minded, long ago),
Proteus and Periclymenus, both Thetis and Mestra;
[520] And, by both dying and living, Castor, Polydeuces,
Aethalides (the son of Hermes), Aristeas with them
(Aristeas, the wise son of Caystrobius),
Along with Theseus, Protesilaus, Alcestis, and Eurydice;
Than, by stopping rain storms and droughts, and by foreknowing all things,
Both Thales and Pythagoras with Anaxagoras;
Than Empedocles, son of Melito, the one even checking the winds;
Than Laius, stopping the plague in the times of Antiochus,
Than Apollonius (it is tedious for me to recount how many things he said);
And before them, Democritus, that all-learned one,
[530] Who, except for the actual loaves of bread, with only their hottest blasts,
For three days entertained Hades, feeding him with them;
Than the Babylonian son of Artabazes...
That high-minded Tritanaechmes was bearing himself proudly
In extraordinary cattle-keeping, and in income of money.
For he had grazing horses, apart from all of the other animals,
Being counted at sixteen thousand,
Eight hundred stallions apart from the ones used in wars,
Dogs hardly, in four districts, able to be maintained,
A day’s income from the rest of the districts
[540] Constituting a whole medimnus full of golden coins.
If you should wish, place with this man even the Erichthonius,
And Job, perhaps; place them with him in an account a number of times smaller;
Even place the Lydian, Pythius, rather than my Job.
And rather than Erichthonius, place him with Tritaechmes;
Indeed, for Pythius himself previously gave to Darius
Both a vine and a plane tree, equally golden;
And secondly, he received Xerxes as a guest with the whole army;
He gave both two thousand talents of silver,
And he gives engraved myriads of gold,
[550] Four hundred myriads in number, except for seven thousand.

Than, accordingly, all of these people together (they were thinking in the ways I said);
Than Chosroes by the fabricated sky;
Ptolemy, being king of an infinite number of cities;
Gaius Julius, as far as even Britannia
Advancing the boundaries of Rome; and that Sesostris,
By being told as ruler of the world and a god by the Assyrians.
So that, telling even the rest, I do not make length of telling...
(I think,) you (exulting rather in the Lachanas-name,
And by being confirmed in the register of the Zabareius)
[560] Are not even judging us worthy of the designation of writing.
Although in this, you are in no way harming free people,
People wealthy-in-soul, being poor in deeds,
Who consider everything pertaining to people to be trumpery,
Thrones, power, leaderships, delusions, and swellings.
For as previously, Cato reared his son in all things,
So my father us (in words, deeds,
And all things) did rear up moderately and decently,
Teaching me to despise, rather more than the rest of things,
Wealth, delusions, leadership, and the first-seat.
[570] For when the fifteenth year was running near,
Watching the newness and unsteadiness of my age,
He was making me lie with him, advising in everything owing,
In the same way as Cato to his son, Solon to Croesus,
And the physician Theodorus to that Chaganus,
Saying the story of how Sesostris yoked the kings,
And how one king, eyeing the tracks made by the wheels, saying “I am not running,”
Made that great Sesostris moderate.
About those men, father used to advise always at night,
Telling to me the leaderships of people and the changes of lives,
[580] Hecuba, Polymestor, Ajax, the rest of them,
Gelimer, Belisarius, and as many men of old;
Even showing, from new things, how many men, always with frequency,
Previously had property, as he used to say, that was great,
But then, were carrying vessels and doing other paltry things.
Showing these men to me, he ordered me to eye life such as it is,
Not to eye life according to the Egyptians, from a wooden corpse,
Nor, to eye life according to the Laconians, making household-slaves drunk;
And forming myths, he was telling them so that they contributed to this.
In this way, every night, at that time, was advice for me,
[590] But day was the teacher of lessons
With moderate blows, and more for one being undisciplined.
And practically, he was filling, then, the advices for me.
For whenever there was need for a bath,
He would order the slaves to put the bedclothes-sack
On the farthest couch, and for the rest of the people to run by,
Although our bathing room happened to be near...
I am leaving aside telling all of the rest of his rearing methods.
Reared, in the way that I was saying, so that by no means do I suppose your life is good,
I do not, in any degree, feel pain at your lack of conversation.
[600] But I am distressed as I look down upon you harming yourself exceedingly.
Indeed, for you are eager to be supposedly more barbaric than barbarians,
More unreasoning than the unreasoning, though being valued by reason,
More without perception than those... those without perception,
By not being mindful, never at all, of the bonds of friendship.

For Darius, the barbarian, going to Babylon
Being a shield-bearer, not a king, in those times,
And receiving from Syloson a gift, a flame coloured upper-garment,
When afterwards, he was in possession of the kingdom,
The barbarian Darius was not unmindful of the gift.
[610] But after an investigation, he makes Syloson the king of Samos,
Saying, “Darius is never unmindful of favours.”
I am leaving alone the act of telling of Belesys himself, Arsaces,
And as much as Xerxes did concerning Histiaeus;
Democedes the physician and Darius I am leaving alone,
By how many gifts, exceedingly beyond measure, he compensated him.
I am leaving alone good Cyrus (the one in Xenophon),
Abradatas the general, and all of the other barbarians,
The very ones who remembered thanks for a good deed.

I am changing the telling to the natures of the unreasoning.
[620] Osymandyas, the great king of the Syrians,
Used to have a wild lion, a comrade in wars,
Because Osymandyas raised him, he was mindful of the favour.
Ptolemy used to have a snake, thirty-five fore-arms long,
Submitting to the words and the voice of that man.

Now another king, in turn, used to have the largest dog,
That once tore apart that man’s bed-partner,
While she was playing with the king, considering her an enemy.

And Artybius the Persian, having brought up the horse,
Used to have it both waging war with him and helping him.
[630] But when Artybius sailed away to Cyprus
And waged combat with Cyprian Onesilus,
As Artybius fell before Onesilus,
The horse, seeing his master fallen,
Standing straight up began to engage in combat with Onesilus;
And striking the man’s shield with his front feet,
He almost would have killed the king of Cyprus,
If the shield-bearers did not cut his feet with scythes.

You have learned from Oppian about the longing of the dolphin
For the Aeolian youth, for the Libyan herdsman,
[640] And, I was telling, in turn, for Arion the Methymnaean.
You know about the wailing of the horses of Achilles,
That were bewailing Patroclus, fallen in combat.

Now the shared sympathy of animals for one another
I am both leaving alone telling how it is unsound, and I am running by it.
You know the longing of the dog of Erigone, I think,
Both of the dogs of Xanthippus and even of some Roman,
(A man who was a great general, someone who, ruined in combat
Was lying a ruin for dogs, beasts, and birds)...
For when the entire army of the Romans was turned to flight,
[650] Only the dog of him, being more loyal than all,
Waiting for many days, was protecting the man,
And was concealing the dishonour of that hero,
Until the generals of the Romans, coming later,
Lifting up the man, completely concealed him in the patrimonial tombs.
Another man, in turn, (travelling with a dog,
In a few periods of time that began entirely before us),
Was taken out by a plunderer. But the dog was staying beside the body,
Until some salesman from the city buries it.
The dog lives with this salesman in the city.
[660] Now being with him at the inn, the dog was tame to all,
Appeasing and fawning upon all people.
But when the bloodstained murderer came to the inn,
The dog, as even a person, was sensible with a just spirit,
He was bringing upon him both implacable barking and biting,
Until the innkeeper himself and all of those present,
Being amazed, were examining with a most unfaltering strength of mind.
And learning that this man was a murderer of a person,
They bring the noble dog to the prefect of the city.
And put on a cross, that bloodstained man was taken out.

[670] I am leaving aside telling of the dogs that rescued Orpheus
And killed the serpent that was proceeding against him.
I am leaving alone the dogs that rescued me many times
(From both my father’s blows and from combat with partners in my youth),
That crushed at one time a combat against Venetianus,
And that, on behalf of myself and together with him, fell out of the open air.
I am leaving alone the act of chatting about the eagle that was lamenting the youth
And that was cremated with him in the death fire.
I am leaving alone these animals, that are manifest to all,
Because of which we always eye the animals beside us that are unreasoning.

[680] Some boy in Patrae, having bought a small serpent
Raised it up; which, becoming very large, ran away.
But when, at some time, the young man was seized by plunderers,
And shouted out, the serpent leapt forth against the plunderers;
Whom it even turns to flight, and saves the young man.
Do not, at any rate, overpower even a serpent with a lack of affection.

And why do I tell about animated things? The trees of Geryon
(The man taken out by Heracles), of this man here,
With the blood, are dropping down around the tomb of this man here.
I am leaving alone the act of delineating the poplars of Phaethon
[690] That stream, in Eridanus, amber-bearing tear-shedding.

There was, previously, a fig-tree beside us, from out of those blooming with fruit;
This fig-tree possessed the calling of the auditor;
For only that very man used to eat up from this tree,
But even I used to eat up some small things, through covert theft.
Suddenly, at the time when the same auditor was dead,
At once, the plant grew cold, on that day,
Letting its leaves hang down trembling and shrivelled,
And all of us were amazed with respect to what instantaneously happened.
But we were marvelling more upon learning everything that happened:
[700] Now it broke on the next day, from the top to the root,
And was utterly dried up, a wonder new and strange.
I swear to the truth, the bright-light light-bringer,
That I have been false neither in other serious things, nor in this.
And why do I tell you about plants? There is a Rhodian mountain
(With respect to the calling), Atabyrium, previously having bronze cows.
Which used to send out a mooing when harm was coming to Rhodes.
Now for the Illyrians, the tombs of Cadmus and Harmonia
(When some evil and harm arises for the Illyrians)
Used to rattle together a clatter, rolling about with one another,
[710] As if they were feeling pain at the misfortunes and harms.
And why do I teach you about these small and narrow things?
Even about magnesia, how it loves (within a friendship) iron?
And the grass, goldencity, how it loves a pure piece of gold?
And the rest of the rest, so that I do not write in vain:
Both Niobe, who was turned to rock, and the monument of Memnon.
You have such extraordinary things, happening with frequency,
As, among landmarks, we eye monuments that are falling down,
Thrones, couches, and the rest of the things that are broken by accident.
May you neither, at any rate, appear to me more lacking in affection than even these things,
[720] Nor falsely-exulting in a little-expectation of life,
But be affectionate with everyone, sociable to everyone,
Humble, gentle, and wholly full of friendship,
Both if you should be winged like Daedalus, like that Icarus,
And if you should expect to touch heaven’s edge with your hands.
Indeed, for what is the little-expectation of the miserable life?
Indeed, for if someone should not fall differently with regard to refluxes in fortunes,
Well, in any event, the innkeeper, death, destroys all of the things,
And hides them in the depth of forgetfulness and amnesia,
But only virtues does a lifetime protect, a lifetime of friendship.

[730] Timotheus, that general, used to be fortunate,
Being exceedingly-wealthy and exceedingly-soft, later poor and being hungry.
And Bellerophon was raised to the sky by the trireme vessel Pegasus,
Later, the plain of wandering was holding the man, blind.
Dionysius was a tyrant of Syracuse, later a teacher in Corinth.
Perseus was previously for you a king, a captive then for me.
There are also Phyton, Psammenitus, Croesus, Gelias,
And exceedingly-wealthy Timon, only later a digger.
Moderate Ajax was understanding, but later out of his senses.
Thersites, previously unharmed, was later a ruin, a laugh.
[740] Tullius Servius, a tattooed household-slave,
Was later a king of Rome. O the turns of fortune!
Hannibal, a great general of the whole of Carthage,
Victorious over the generals Paulus and Terentius,
And then utterly chopping up all of the Roman race,
But a runaway, later, dies from drinking of a drug.
Before Hannibal, there was also Themistocles, drinking bull’s blood.
Eumenes was a wagoner, but was greatly esteemed.
Demetrius Phalereus, great and to be honoured,
But later, in Corinth, dishonourably teaches.
[750] Why do I chat to you about the majority of things, things of those who are rather ancient?
Belisarius is blinded after his generalship.
Holding a wooden drinking cup, he used to shout to be heard by a mile,
“Give an obol to Belisarius the commander,
Whom fortune esteemed, and jealousy makes quite blind.”
In this way, the entirety of the life of people is being turned aside,
Rolling up and down, like a sphere, unstably,
And if it should not have a change issuing from unstable fortune,
Well, in any event, through death it goes down to nothing later.
For where is Alexander, that Macedonian,
[760] Who previously led into slavery the entire land of the barbarians?
And where is good Scipio, where is Gaius Caesar?
Where is the ruler of the world Sesostris, the king yoking kings,
Even being drawn from them, just as other men are drawn by horses?
Where is renowned Babylon? And where, even, is the city of Troy?
Where now, are the formerly wise? Where is the ancient beauty?
And where is the might of Perseus, where is the speed of Heracles?
Where is the sensibility of Palamedes? Where are all ancient things?
All things together are cold dust, ashes, and decay.
Wherefore, there is need for those being moderate to be sensitive of things pertaining to people,
[770] And neither to exult in the cold little-expectations of life,
Nor to ignobly wail from the losses of things,
But there is need for them to consider everything smoke, to be measured in all things,
To lament for those, both known and strangers, who are dying,
And to say the Pindaric thing by themselves often:
“Now what,” then, is “someone? And what is not someone? A person is a dream of a reflection.”
The poor man and rich, we are all dying together;
But these things I said to you, reproaching, as one ought to,
Even advising in things that are proper, sending down delusion,
With words, possibly astringent, but profiting.
[780] But now, with witticisms, let me drive away the sullenness.


Stories (of other letters of ours, and of telling),
And phrases (but newer, of course, than stories),
Everything with a most pellucid order, you must hear willingly.


On-a-leaf is a very small little-grape-bunch
That is able to conceal itself even on a chance leaf.


One story of the Bekos-moon people existing...
Two stories of the Bekos-moon people exist... and learn for me subtly and precisely.
Psamtik, that king of the Egyptians
(As Phrygians and Egyptians were continually still being judged
[790] About the antiquity, something hard to estimate,
Who first came into existence, Egyptians or Phrygians),
Decided most cleverly; and learn the decision.
Taking two little babies, immediately from the hour of birth,
And making every care for them,
He gave them over to trustworthy bodyguards to guard,
Urging on the mothers to suckle them
Voicelessly, with all of their attention, and urging them on to withdraw gradually,
And even to lock the babies’ room at once.
In this way, then, it was being done. And after the third year,
[800] When the bodyguards of the king came,
The little-babies run forward and were demanding bekos from them.
Upon learning this, the king, after assembling the entire people,
Asked if, amid anyone, “Is bekos anything?”
Learning that bread was called bekos amid Phrygians,
He decided that Phrygians were more ancient than everyone,
Since the babies spoke a language without instruction and by nature.

This is the half of this story,
Of Phrygians and even of Egyptians, but the other is of Arcadians;
Upon hearing it from me, write it now in the tablets of your sense.
[810] Some say, as I was saying, that the races of the Arcadians
Are more first-born, in reference to times, than the moon,
Wherefore, as if, of course, the Arcadians are senseless, they call them “before the moon.”
But others, as if the Arcadians are insolent, they call them “before the moon.”
For “to treat with insolence” is called “to be before the moon” by the Arcadians.
But I count these men among those before the moon,
Since the cycles of the moon he found first
(And even the waxing and waning that it undergoes by months),
For the Hellenes: Great Hermes, being from out of the race of Arcadians;
And since, but always before the first day of the new moon,
[820] Boiling acorns with fire, the Arcadians used to eat them up.

You are holding the whole story of the Bekos-moon people,
A story being simple and twofold, and by a type of proverb,
Being told in a well-aimed manner, in reference to both the senseless and the moronic.
But since, just now, I even spoke to you of Hermes, a great man among Hellenes,
So that you do not consider him the one called thrice-greatest,
Hear everything and learn clearly and precisely:
Now Egyptian Hermes is called thrice-greatest,
Who, being contemporary with Osiris, Noah, and Dionysus,
Discovered both reverence for a god and types of letters,
[830] And with skills, even all of them together, adorned his life.
But after years, very near to two-thousand, the Arcadian Hermes lived,
And he discovered amid Hellenes many of the things that are useful.


Previously, they used to call all of the moronic blitomammans,
Both from blitos, being a worthless herb;
And from mamman: even in this way, babies say bread.


The moronic of old were countless in number,
And three are over topping all of them (but in an incomparable way),
Melitides, Coroebus, and with them, Margites.
Those of whom, Melitides, yoked in a lawful marriage,
[840] As he was not lying in bed with his wife,
Was being questioned by some, “how he is not uniting himself with her?”
He was saying, “Do you think I am moronic, that I would do this,
And, from my very mother, be drawn into a lawsuit?”
Such a man was sensible Melitides.
Now Coroebus used to count the to and fro of waves.
But as a clever counter, he used to count up to three,
And undoing the quantity, as though it was of a great sum,
Again, from another beginning, most-wisely counting out,
“One, two, three,” he used to say, through the whole day.
[850] Just as the son of the Country-folk, that most-wise man,
The one whom (through the tribute-exactors’ taunting and ways),
Those wishing to have a helper, brought to the city of Constantine,
So that he might be taught to speak against the taunts of tribute-exactors.
Now being very good-natured, because of a gift of a quantity of money,
He was learning A and B, and even C with them;
Whom those of the same tribe (even receiving him in honour again),
Brought to their fatherland and country;
A clever refutation for a tribute-exactors’ sharpness
(Even though the tribute-exactor is saying both many and various things),
[860] He himself, being the loudest-voiced even among the barbarian-voiced,
Was crying out with frequency, “A, B, and C.”
Now the jackasses were shouting, delighting in that man,
“Our man will chop up this man by his wise words.”
As this man, then, was coming to know A, B, and C,
So Coroebus used to count one, two, and three,
And again, he was surpassing another beginning of the counting.
You have even my Coroebus. Hear about Margites,
In regard to whom, old Homer writes heroic-iambs.
This man, being old and sensible (as a matter of fact, being mind and senses),
[870] Was inquiring, who, becoming pregnant with him as a baby,
Birthed him out of the stomach, “My father or my mother?”


Mamman-hider means the same as blitomamman,
Or your moronic man, who hides together both mamman and bread;
For, it clearly says, “Moronic man, you must hide together your mamman.”


Acco, some moronic woman, who, holding a mirror
And beholding the refection of herself in the mirror,
Supposing it is another woman, addresses it in a friendly manner.
And why do I tell you the details of Acco? A few days previously,
Some attendant at the house of Cotertzes Pantechnes,
[880] Observing a large mirror and, all of a sudden, his own reflection,
Shouted to it: “Did you see my lord?”
And that man, about to run away to the privy,
Was trying to provide the cape of the lord to that reflection.
“As you were not giving a chat, you are conceited,” he was saying,
“Since you do not answer me.” Now a quantity of people, upon seeing this,
Said to this man, “What are you doing?” Still even now they are laughing.


Gry is the dirt of the fingernail and the voice of the pig.
And even gryte is a small little-basin made of clay,
They can be both the small melting-pots of goldsmiths,
[890] And all of the drinking-troughs of goldfinch birds.
Gry, mainly, in any event, wishes to mean everything that is smallest.


Ixion’s son Pirithous (being the leader over the Lapiths,
Being prominent with manliness, youth, and might),
When he heard the babbling of the words of Theseus
(Wanting to receive an experience of the excellence of Theseus’ might),
Drove away Theseus’ oxen that were feeding themselves at Marathon.
Now Theseus, hearing of and not enduring this, at once
Has mounted his horse and is driving against him.
But as the one observed the other, astounded,
[900] They throw their arms around one another and become among those who are most friendly,
When Pirithous said that this was made into a starting-point
Of a friendship and of a very great acquaintance.
“For there was need for us, being such, even to be friends.
But respecting the driving away of oxen: punishment, whatever you should say,
I am ready to receive, unless, in a manner of friendship,
You consider this thing from me to have been well contrived.”
Now in this way, from out of such a manner, they were joined together,
So that even to Hades they both went down, on account of Kore,
So that they might seize her (since Theseus loves her,
[910] And Hades has power over the Molossians), being a girl in the bloom of youth.
Hades, who has held them down, already binds Theseus,
And takes out Pirithous through Cerberus, a very large dog,
Since he knows that that man is also a seizer of his daughter,
But Theseus is a collaborator in a friendly manner.
Later, going to this Hades as a friend, Heracles
Delivers Theseus from the enclosure and the bonds.
You know, now, the allegory of Hades, of Kore,
And of Theseus’ bringing back of the dog Cerberus.
Now Demeter’s girl, whom Hades seized,
[920] Is another allegory, and I said it is in Hesiod.
But telling even who says each story,
Among both popular and common writers (unless, perhaps, among the rare writers),
Both uses up my pages and makes more fatigue.


Scythian Anacharsis, being one of the wise,
Upon going to the house of Solon in Athens,
Was asking Solon to make a friendship with him.
But when Solon is sending him away by telling him these things:
“Make your friends upon going to your fatherland;”
Anacharsis said: “You, therefore, O Solon,
[930] Being in your fatherland, make friendships with me.”
And Solon, in wonder, accordingly becomes a friend to this man.
Plutarch writes the story in his Parallel Lives.


In Cumae, an ass, being large, exceeding asses,
Having put on the skin of a lion, was making great fear.
But when its voice showed the cowardly ass to all,
It is brought, being chopped up by both clubs and sticks,
As if into a slavery proper for lion-like asses.
Just as, somewhere, Aesop writes of the weasel in myths,
That it changed into a female by its request to the gods;
[940] And that, as a bride sitting down in a bridal porch,
It showed the nature of the very weasel, but not of a woman.
For when a mouse appeared there, leaving the porch,
And wholly belonging to that prey,
It showed itself to all as a weasel, but not a woman.
And just as, even again, Aesop says: “Someone (seeing
A monkey passing away on a shipwreck, supposing that it is a person,
And giving his hand) saved it from the sea’s waves.
But when questioning it, ‘Whence do you come?’ He heard that it was Athenian,
And again, he asked if it knows Piraeus.
[950] (Now this Piraeus is the Attic harbour)
Now the monkey said that it knew this Piraeus well
And all of his children together, along with his wife and friends;
Irritated, he instead gave a thrust and the monkey drowned.”
In this way, even in his own words, Lucian writes somewhere:
“Someone belonging to the people in esteem, adorning a monkey with lustrous stoles,
Was making the majority forgetful, as though it was a person.
And some townspeople, a viewer, throwing nuts in its midst,
Proved that that was a monkey and not a person,
Since it was gathering together the nuts by splitting the tunic.”


[960] Paris Alexander, in the epics of Homer,
Is reported—secretly standing on the tomb of Ilus
(Now this Ilus was one son of Tros)—
To shoot with his bow Diomedes at the flat of the foot,
But not after the face, just as a noble man.


Euripides reports that Rhesus, in the drama Rhesus,
Learned about the generals of the Hellenes while investigating
Who was first of them, second, and third according to manliness.
And that, about the deceits of Odysseus: having listened,
But belittling them, Rhesus spoke the very things that, in rows of verse, Euripides tells:
[970] “Not one man, good in soul, deems it worthy, covertly,
To kill the enemy, except for when going after the mouth.”


Homer, in book seven, reports that Hector,
Being about to join a single-combat with Ajax,
As Ajax was mouthing exceedingly and resoundingly,
Homer reports Hector telling to this man: “Son of Telamon, Ajax,
Do not in any way make trial of me, as though I were a feeble child,
Or a woman who does not know warlike deeds.
But I know well both combats and man-killing.”
And successively, Homer reports Hector telling these things,
[980] Until: “For I have not shivered at combat, nor at the din of horses.”
And even still further; but it must be stopped already.


The son of Euphorion, the tragic poet Aeschylus,
In a drama, which is being told as The Seven Against Thebes,
Reports that Eteocles, the king of Thebes,
Was cross-questioning about seven Argive generals:
“Who, at which gate of Thebes, will rattle together the combat?”
And some messenger tells the callings of the Argives,
But against each of the Argives, he marshals a Theban,
Telling proper praises to each of those who were there,
[990] As one man will be marshalled against the so-and-so of the Argives,
And (when colliding, as I suppose) will not be a seller of combat,
But will appear esteemed against the enemy;
And again, it is for another man from among them, he says, as it is for this man:
“The mind, yes, is unboastful, but the hand beholds the activity.
For it wishes not to be supposed best, but to be best.”


The more recent of the race of poets form these things,
— One of whom is Tryphiodorus (both Lycophron and others) —
That Thetis (knowing, from oracles and divinations,
That Achilles, the beloved son of her,
[1000] Would exist for a short time, if he should sail against the Trojans,
[1] And sending him to the virgin daughter of Lycomedes) was hiding him,
Wearing, as they say, womanly clothing.
Even Lycophron, in the Alexandra, tells in this way:
“And a female robe around the body he will endure
To don, beside the beams, touching the rattling of the shuttle.”
Now the more recent poets form these things about Achilles,
But I allegorized them in the book of Augusta.

1. Line 15 begins with the phrase, “Ten akanthan pareisan,” which, preserving the word order, would be translated “the spine pierced.” The spine is understood as belonging to the youth, pierced by the dolphin’s back when the youth fell. Aelian, De Natura Animalium, 6.15, is apparently the source for John Tzetzes’ summary, but uses the Greek word akantha to refer to the spine of the dolphin, which stabs the navel, “ton omphalon kentei,” of the youth. Such a reading would only be possible in John Tzetzes’ summary if “pareisan” should be given a perhaps unprecedented active sense: “the dolphin’s spine, piercing the youth at his belly, / Kills him.”
2. The passage is about Darius the Third, but “Second” seems to be the best way to translate the adjective husteros. The same use of husteros is found in Book III, line 350.
3. Numbering from the original version.
4. The count of stories in the consulted edition resets here, after the long epistle.
5. Numbering from the original version.