A Lyric Version of the Trojan War

Ibykos, fr. 282 (=fr. 1a) Oxyrhynchus papyrus (c. 130 b.c.); lines 1-32

They also destroyed the famous,
blessed, large city of Priam
after leaving from Argos
thanks to the plans of Zeus,
taking on the much-sung strife
for the beauty of fair Helen
in that mournful war;
Destruction climbed the ruined city
because of golden-haired Aphrodite.

Now, I don’t long to sing
of host-deceiving Paris
or tender-ankled Kassandra,
or the rest of the children of Priam
and the nameless day
of the sacking of high-gated Troy,
Nor yet the overreaching virtue
of heroes whom the hollow,
many-banched ships brought
as the destruction of Troy.

Fine heroes and Agememnon was their leader,
a king from Pleisthenes,
a son of Atreus, a noble father.

The learned Muses of Helicon
might take up these tales well;
but no mortal man, unblessed,
could number each of the ships
Menelaos led across the Aegean sea from Aulos,
from Argos they came, the bronze-speared sons of the Achaeans…”


οἳ κ]αὶ Δαρδανίδα Πριάμοιο μέ-
γ’ ἄσ]τυ περικλεὲς ὄλβιον ἠνάρον
῎Αργ]οθεν ὀρνυμένοι
Ζη]νὸς μεγάλοιο βουλαῖς
ξα]νθᾶς ῾Ελένας περὶ εἴδει
δῆ]ριν πολύυμνον ἔχ[ο]ντες
πό]λεμον κατὰ δακρ[υό]εντα,
Πέρ]γαμον δ’ ἀνέ[β]α ταλαπείριο[ν ἄ]τα
χρυ]σοέθειραν δ[ι]ὰ Κύπριδα.
νῦ]ν δέ μοι οὔτε ξειναπάταν Π[άρι]ν
..] ἐπιθύμιον οὔτε τανί[σφ]υρ[ον
ὑμ]νῆν Κασσάνδραν
Πρι]άμοιό τε παίδας ἄλλου[ς
Τρο]ίας θ’ ὑψιπύλοιο ἁλώσι[μο]ν
ἆμ]αρ ἀνώνυμον· οὐδεπ̣[
ἡρ]ώων ἀρετὰν
ὑπ]εράφανον οὕς τε κοίλα[ι
νᾶες] πολυγόμφοι ἐλεύσα[ν
Τροί]αι κακόν, ἥρωας ἐσ̣θ̣[λούς·

τῶν] μὲν κρείων ᾿Αγαμέ[μνων
ἆ]ρχε Πλεισθ[ενί]δας βασιλ[εὺ]ς ἀγὸς ἀνδρῶν
᾿Ατρέος ἐσ[θλοῦ] πάις ἐκ π̣[ατρό]ς·
καὶ τὰ μὲ[ν ἂν] Μοίσαι σεσοφ[ισμ]έναι
εὖ ῾Ελικωνίδ[ες] ἐμβαίεν λογ̣[ ·
θνατὸς δ’ οὔ κ[ε]ν ἀνὴρ
διερὸ[ς] τὰ ἕκαστα εἴποι
ναῶν ὡ[ς Μεν]έλαος ἀπ’ Αὐλίδος
Αἰγαῖον δ[ιὰ πό]ντον ἀπ’ ῎Αργεος
ἠλύθο̣[ν …..]ν
ἱπποτρόφο[ν …]ε φώτες
χ]αλκάσπ[ιδες υἷ]ες ᾿Αχα[ι]ῶν

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