Bodies on Beaches

“The beach is like a cemetery. Look at the sea – it’s beautiful, but deceptive.”

-Words of a woman who came across the bodies of migrants washed up on an Italian beach. (The Guardian, Feb. 27, 2023).

Callimachus 59 (Wilamowitz 58)

Shipwrecked migrant, who are you?
Leonticus found your corpse there, on the shore,
And he buried you right here, in this grave.
He then wept for his own death-doomed life.
For although he’s unsettled, he must,
Like an aquatic bird, still cross the sea.

τίς, ξένος ὦ ναυηγέ; Λεόντιχος ἐνθάδε νεκρόν
εὗρέ σ᾽ ἐπ᾽ αἰγιαλοῦ χῶσέ τε τῶιδε τάφωι
δακρύσας ἐπίκηρον ἑὸν βίον: οὐδὲ γὰρ αὐτός
ἥσυχον, αἰθυίηι δ᾽ ἶσα θαλασσοπορεῖ.

Color photograph of a capsized boat
The image is from the BBC.

Larry Benn has a B.A. in English Literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil in English Literature from Oxford University, and a J.D. from Yale Law School. Making amends for a working life misspent in finance, he’s now a hobbyist in ancient languages and blogs at

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