The Rites of the Dead Adorn Us

Euripides, Suppliant Women 77-86 (Full Greek text on the Scaife Viewer)

“The rites of the dead adorn those who perform them.
This invincible gift of mourning,
Its many labors, moves me,
As a stream rushing forward
Without stopping, flowing out
Of a steep cliff.

The grief over dead children
Plants the pain of mourning
Deep inside women…Alas,
I hope that I forget these pains when I die.”

τὰ γὰρ φθιτῶν τοῖς ὁρῶσι κόσμος.
ἄπληστος ἅδε μ᾿ ἐξάγει
χάρις γόων πολύπονος, ὡς
ἀλιβάτου <τις> ἐκ πέτρας
ὑγρὰ ῥέουσα σταγὼν
ἄπαυστος αἰεὶ †γόων†.
τὸ γὰρ θανόντων τέκνων
ἐπίπονόν τι κατὰ γυναῖ-
κας ἐς γόους πάθος πέφυκεν· αἰαῖ.
θανοῦσα τῶνδ᾿ ἀλγέων λαθοίμαν.

For more reflections on what ancient Greek narratives have to tell us about the importance of burial rites and mourning, see “What the Greek Classics Tell us about Grief and the Importance of Mourning‘ in The Conversation . For more from Euripides Suppliants, tune in this Wednesday, September 23rd, at 3 PM for Reading Greek Tragedy Online from the Center for Hellenic Studies and Out of Chaos Theater.

Achilles with the body of Hector  Jean-Joseph Taillasson/Krannert Art Museum

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