Not Without Glory

Homer, Iliad 22.300-305

“But now an evil death is indeed near me, not far off
And unavoidable. Truly, my life was once dear to Zeus’s heart
And Zeus’ son the far-shooter, those two who previously
Used to defend me. But now fate has overtaken me in its turn.
May I not die without a struggle, at least, and without glory,
But after doing something important for people in the future to learn”

νῦν δὲ δὴ ἐγγύθι μοι θάνατος κακός, οὐδ’ ἔτ’ ἄνευθεν,
οὐδ’ ἀλέη· ἦ γάρ ῥα πάλαι τό γε φίλτερον ἦεν
Ζηνί τε καὶ Διὸς υἷι ἑκηβόλῳ, οἵ με πάρος γε
πρόφρονες εἰρύατο· νῦν αὖτέ με μοῖρα κιχάνει.
μὴ μὰν ἀσπουδί γε καὶ ἀκλειῶς ἀπολοίμην,
ἀλλὰ μέγα ῥέξας τι καὶ ἐσσομένοισι πυθέσθαι.

Felice Giani, Drawing, Hector’s Farewell (Addio di Ettore a Andromaca)

The Best Omen

Homer, Iliad 12. 238-244

“Why are you telling me to listen to thin-winged birds?
I don’t care about them at all or worry whether
they go to the right towards the dawn and the sun
Or drift to the left to the dark of dusk.

Let us obey the will of great Zeus who rules
Above all mortals and all gods.
One bird sign is best: defend your country.
Why then are you afraid of war and battle?”

τύνη δ᾽ οἰωνοῖσι τανυπτερύγεσσι κελεύεις
πείθεσθαι, τῶν οὔ τι μετατρέπομ᾽ οὐδ᾽ ἀλεγίζω
εἴτ᾽ ἐπὶ δεξί᾽ ἴωσι πρὸς ἠῶ τ᾽ ἠέλιόν τε,
εἴτ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἀριστερὰ τοί γε ποτὶ ζόφον ἠερόεντα.
ἡμεῖς δὲ μεγάλοιο Διὸς πειθώμεθα βουλῇ,
ὃς πᾶσι θνητοῖσι καὶ ἀθανάτοισιν ἀνάσσει.
εἷς οἰωνὸς ἄριστος ἀμύνεσθαι περὶ πάτρης.
τίπτε σὺ δείδοικας πόλεμον καὶ δηϊοτῆτα;

A white stork

Kallinos, Fr. 1.18-21

“The loss is felt by the whole country when a brave man dies,

A man the equal of heroes;

Someone they see as a fortress before their eyes;

Someone who does the work of many even when alone.”


λαῶι γὰρ σύμπαντι πόθος κρατερόφρονος ἀνδρὸς

θνήσκοντος, ζώων δ’ ἄξιος ἡμιθέων·

ὥσπερ γάρ μιν πύργον ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ὁρῶσιν·

ἔρδει γὰρ πολλὼν ἄξια μοῦνος ἐών.