Aeschylus, Eumenides: Some Highlights on Man, Mortality and Law



“Mankind’s delusions so sacred under the sky

Shrink as they melt on the earth without honor.”


—       δόξαι δ’ ἀνδρῶν καὶ μάλ’ ὑπ’ αἰθέρι σεμναὶ

τακόμεναι κατὰ γᾶς μινύθουσιν ἄτιμοι



“This affair is greater than anyone who is mortal can judge”


Αθ.       τὸ πρᾶγμα μεῖζον ἤ τις οἴεται τόδε

βροτοῖς δικάζειν·




“Choose neither the anarchic life nor one of despotism.

God gives strength to the middle in all things.”


μήτ’ ἄναρκτον βίον

μήτε δεσποτούμενον


παντὶ μέσῳ τὸ κράτος θεὸς ὤπασεν


644-651: Apollo on Mortal Life


“After the dust has soaked up the blood

Of a dying man, there is no resurrection.

My father can’t cast a spell on this

But all other things he can turn back and forth

Without losing his breath at all.”


ἀνδρὸς δ’ ἐπειδὰν αἷμ’ ἀνασπάσῃ κόνις

ἅπαξ θανόντος, οὔτις ἔστ’ ἀνάστασις.

τούτων ἐπῳδὰς οὐκ ἐποίησεν πατὴρ

οὑμός, τὰ δ’ ἄλλα πάντ’ ἄνω τε καὶ κάτω

στρέφων τίθησιν οὐδὲν ἀσθμαίνων μένει.



696-7: Athena on the right government


“I counsel the citizens here to revere

Neither anarchy nor despotism

And never to cast fear out of this city.”


τὸ μήτ’ ἄναρχον μήτε δεσποτούμενον

ἀστοῖς περιστέλλουσι βουλεύω σέβειν,

καὶ μὴ τὸ δεινὸν πᾶν πόλεως ἔξω βαλεῖν.



704-706: Athena on the establishment of Trial by Jury


“This court must be established free of personal gain,

Revered, sharp-hearted, a wakeful guard I set over the land

For the sleeping people.”


κερδῶν ἄθικτον τοῦτο βουλευτήριον,

αἰδοῖον, ὀξύθυμον, εὑδόντων ὕπερ

ἐγρηγορὸς φρούρημα γῆς καθίσταμαι.