The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 11: Zeus Gives the Frogs Crabs to Counter the Mouse Menace

In the last installment, the mice were about to accomplish their dream of frog extinction. Zeus, however, has different ideas

So he spoke and the son of Kronos threw down shining lightning
as thundered first and shook great Olympos.
He frightened all the frogs and mice with his bolt.
The army of the mice did not let up, but still
hoped to eradicate the race of spear-bearing frogs.
Just then Kronos’ son took pity on the frogs from Olympos
and sent helpers straight away to the frogs.

Immediately, the armor-backed, crooked-clawed
Bow-waling, twisted, shear-mouthed, pottery-skinned
Bone-built, broad-backed, with shining shoulders
Crooked-legged, lip-stretching with eyes set in their chest,
Eight-footed, two-headed, spastic creatures who are called
Crabs, who easily cut off the ears from the mice’s faces
along with their feet and hands went forth. The spears sprang back from
the cowardly mice who were frightened and waited no longer
but turned to flight. The sun went down
And the end of this war was accomplished in a day.

284 ῝Ως ἄρ’ ἔφη• Κρονίδης δὲ βαλὼν ἀργῆτα κεραυνὸν
285 πρῶτα μὲν ἐβρόντησε, μέγαν δ’ ἐλέλιξεν ῎Ολυμπον.
286 πάντας μέν ῥ’ ἐφόβησε βαλὼν βατράχους τε μύας τε•
287 ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὣς ἀπέληγε μυῶν στρατός, ἀλλ’ ἔτι μᾶλλον
288 ἔλπετο πορθήσειν βατράχων γένος αἰχμητάων,
289 εἰ μὴ ἀπ’ Οὐλύμπου βατράχους ἐλέησε Κρονίων,
290 ὅς ῥα τότ’ ἐν βατράχοισιν ἀρωγοὺς εὐθὺς ἔπεμψεν.
291 ῏Ηλθον δ’ ἐξαίφνης νωτάκμονες, ἀγκυλοχεῖλαι,
292 λοξοβάται, στρεβλοί, ψαλιδόστομοι, ὀστρακόδερμοι,
293 ὀστοφυεῖς, πλατύνωτοι, ἀποστίλβοντες ἐν ὤμοις,
294 βλαισοί, χειλοτένοντες, ἀπὸ στέρνων ἐσορῶντες,
295 ὀκτάποδες, δικάρηνοι, ἀχειρέες, οἱ δὲ καλεῦνται
296 καρκίνοι, οἵ ῥα μυῶν οὐρὰς στομάτεσσιν ἔκοπτον
297 ἠδὲ πόδας καὶ χεῖρας• ἀνεγνάμπτοντο δὲ λόγχαι.
298 τοὺς δὴ ὑπέδεισαν δειλοὶ μύες οὐδ’ ἔτ’ ἔμειναν,
299 ἐς δὲ φυγὴν ἐτράποντο• ἐδύετο δ’ ἥλιος ἤδη,
300 καὶ πολέμου τελετὴ μονοήμερος ἐξετελέσθη.

And so the battle of frogs and mice has ended?
Don’t fear
for in the New Year
we’ll be posting a commentary to keep you contented.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 10: Carnage; Murine Aristeia; Gods Intervene

In our last episode, the Mice and Frogs joined battle…the fight rages on!

“Platelicker then killed blameless Mudbedder
as he sprung at him with his shield. Then darkness covered his eyes.
When Greenstalk saw this he dragged Smoke-hunter by the foot
overpowered him, and drowned him in the pond as he reached out his hand.
Crumbthief defended his dead friend
and hurled at Greenstalk through his stomach into his liver–
then he fell forward then his soul descended to Hades.
Cabbage-treader saw this and threw a lump of mud at him;
it smeared his face and blinded him a little bit.
When he was enraged by this, he grabbed a heavy rock
Lying on the ground, a burden to the earth, with his stout hand
and he struck Cabbagetreader with it below the knees. His right greave
was completely shattered and he fell from high to the dust.
Croakerson defended him and went straight at the other guy
striking him in the middle of the stomach. The sharp reed
pierced into him and all of his guts poured out
around the spear as it was withdrawn by the strong hand.
When Holedweller saw this from the banks of the river,
He retreated from the battle to stop, since he terribly worn out.
He rushed into the ditches in order to flee the sheer destruction.
Breadmuncher struck Bellowmouth on the top of the foot.
And as he was pressed down he fled driven into the pond.
And when Greenstalk saw him falling half-choked
He went through the champions and hurled his sharp-reed.
He didn’t break the shield and the tip of the spear held fast.
Shining Oregano didn’t hit the four-measured, blameless helm
As he imitated Ares himself
Who alone prevailed through the engagement among the frogs.
And he rushed at him. But when he saw him, he didn’t wait for
The strong heroes, but he dived into the depths of the pond.

There was a child among the mice who stood out from all others
Pieceplunder, the dear son of blameless Grater the Bread-councilor.
He was on his way home; he had ordered the child to refrain from war.
But he was threatening to eliminate the race of the frogs
as he stood nearby desiring to fight with force
First, he split a nut along its middle into two halves
and set them on both his naked hands as defense,
then everyone feared him and scattered around the pond.
He would have achieved his goal since his strength was so great
if the father of men and gods had not taken note.
Kronos’ son pitied the dying frogs;
He spoke this kind of speech as he shook his head.
“O friends, I really see a wonder with my eyes
Pieceplunder worries me not a little as he crosses as
a thief among the frogs. But quickly then
Let’s send war-rousing Pallas and Ares too
who will restrain him from battle though he is mighty.”

So Zeus spoke and Ares responded with a speech:
“Son of Cronus, neither the power of Athena or Ares
Is able to ward steep destruction from the frogs.
Let’s all go as allies. Or maybe you should
brandish your arms. Whoever is best will be caught in this way
As when you killed the stout man Kapaneus
and great Engkelados and fierce tribes of the giants.”

231 Λειχοπίναξ δ’ ἔκτεινεν ἀμύμονα Βορβοροκοίτην,
232 ἔγχει ἐπαΐξας• τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψεν.
233 Πρασσαῖος δὲ ἰδὼν ποδὸς εἵλκυσε Κνισσοδιώκτην ,
234 ἐν λίμνῃ δ’ ἀπέπνιξε κρατήσας χειρὶ τένοντα.
235 Ψιχάρπαξ δ’ ἤμυν’ ἑτάρου περὶ τεθνειῶτος
236 καὶ βάλε Πρασσαῖον κατὰ νηδύος ἐς μέσον ἧπαρ,
237 πῖπτε δέ οἱ πρόσθεν, ψυχὴ δ’ ᾿Αϊδόσδε βεβήκει.
238 Κραμβοβάτης δὲ ἰδὼν πηλοῦ δράκα ῥίψεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,
239 καὶ τὸ μέτωπον ἔχρισε καὶ ἐξετύφλου παρὰ μικρόν.
240 ὠργίσθη δ’ ἄρ’ ἐκεῖνος, ἑλὼν δ’ ἄρα χειρὶ παχείῃ
241 κείμενον ἐν δαπέδῳ λίθον ὄβριμον, ἄχθος ἀρούρης,
242 τῷ βάλε Κραμβοβάτην ὑπὸ γούνατα• πᾶσα δ’ ἐκλάσθη
243 κνήμη δεξιτερή, πέσε δ’ ὕπτιος ἐν κονίῃσι.
244 Κραυγασίδης δ’ ἤμυνε καὶ αὖθις βαῖνεν ἐπ’ αὐτόν,
245 τύψε δέ οἱ μέσσην κατὰ γαστέρα• πᾶς δέ οἱ εἴσω
246 ὀξύσχοινος ἔδυνε, χαμαὶ δ’ ἔκχυντο ἅπαντα
247 ἔγκατ’ ἐφελκομένῳ ὑπὸ δούρατι χειρὶ παχείῃ•
248 Τρωγλοδύτης δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἐπ’ ὄχθῃσιν ποταμοῖο,
249 σκάζων ἐκ πολέμου ἀνεχάζετο, τείρετο δ’ αἰνῶς•
250 ἥλατο δ’ ἐς τάφρους, ὅππως φύγῃ αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον.
251 Τρωξάρτης δ’ ἔβαλεν Φυσίγναθον ἐς ποδὸς ἄκρον.
252 ἔσχατος δ’ ἐκ λίμνης ἀνεδύσετο, τείρετο δ’ αἰνῶς
253 Πρασσαῖος δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἔθ’ ἡμίπνουν προπεσόντα,
254 ἦλθε διὰ προμάχων καὶ ἀκόντισεν ὀξύσχοινον•
255 οὐδ’ ἔρρηξε σάκος, σχέτο δ’ αὐτοῦ δουρὸς ἀκωκή•
256 οὐδ’ ἔβαλε τρυφάλειαν ἀμύμονα καὶ τετράχυτρον
257 δῖος ᾿Οριγανίων, μιμούμενος αὐτὸν ῎Αρηα,
258 ὃς μόνος ἐν βατράχοισιν ἀρίστευεν καθ’ ὅμιλον•
259 ὥρμησεν δ’ ἄρ’ ἐπ’ αὐτόν• ὁ δ’ ὡς ἴδεν οὐχ ὑπέμεινεν
ἥρωας κρατερούς, ἀλλ’ ἔδυνε βένθεσι λίμνης

260 ῏Ην δέ τις ἐν μυσὶ παῖς Μεριδάρπαξ ἔξοχος ἄλλων,
261 Κναίσωνος φίλος υἱὸς ἀμύμονος ἀρτεπιβούλου•
262 οἴκαδ’ ἴεν, πολέμου δὲ μετασχεῖν παῖδ’ ἐκέλευεν•
263 οὗτος ἀναρπάξαι βατράχων γενεὴν ἐπαπείλει•
264 ἀγχοῦ δ’ ἕστηκεν μενεαίνων ἶφι μάχεσθαι
265 καὶ ῥήξας καρύοιο μέσην ῥάχιν εἰς δύο μοίρας
266 φράγδην ἀμφοτέροισι κενώμασι χεῖρας ἔθηκεν•
267 οἱ δὲ τάχος δείσαντες ἔβαν πάντες κατὰ λίμνην•
268 καί νύ κεν ἐξετέλεσσεν ἐπεὶ μέγα οἱ σθένος ἦεν,
269 εἰ μὴ ἄρ’ ὀξὺ νόησε πατὴρ ἀνδρῶν τε θεῶν τε.
270 καὶ τότ’ ἀπολλυμένους βατράχους ᾤκτειρε Κρονίων,
271 κινήσας δὲ κάρη τοίην ἐφθέγξατο φωνήν•
272 ῍Ω πόποι ἦ μέγα θαῦμα τόδ’ ὀφθαλμοῖσιν ὁρῶμαι•
273 [οὐ μικρόν με πλήσσει Mεριδάρπαξ ὃς κατὰ λίμνην ]
274 ῞aρπαξ ἐν βατράχοισιν ἀμείβεται• ἀλλὰ τάχιστα
275 Παλλάδα πέμψωμεν πολεμόκλονον ἢ καὶ ῎Αρηα,
276 οἵ μιν ἐπισχήσουσι μάχης κρατερόν περ ἐόντα.
277 ῝Ως ἄρ’ ἔφη Κρονίδης• ῎Αρης δ’ ἀπαμείβετο μύθῳ•
278 οὔτ’ ἄρ’ ᾿Αθηναίης Κρονίδη σθένος οὔτε ῎Αρηος
279 ἰσχύει βατράχοισιν ἀμυνέμεν αἰπὺν ὄλεθρον.
280 ἀλλ’ ἄγε πάντες ἴωμεν ἀρηγόνες• ἢ τὸ σὸν ὅπλον
281 κινείσθω• οὕτω γὰρ ἁλώσεται ὅς τις ἄριστος,
282 ὥς ποτε καὶ Καπανῆα κατέκτανες ὄβριμον ἄνδρα
283 καὶ μέγαν ᾿Εγκελάδοντα καὶ ἄγρια φῦλα Γιγάντων.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 9: Mayhem in the Melee

In the last episode, Athena expressed her antipathy for frog and mouse alike. The gods (eagerly?) look on as blood spills on both sides

The thundering Olympian eye does not stray
From the toil and moil of the bloody melee
Fur flies on spear and lance
Fragile gills have little chance
As frog and mouse clash in a murderous fray.

“So [Athena] spoke and the other gods assented to her
as they all gathered together in one spot.
Then some gnats brought out great trumpets
to sound the dread song of war. And from heaven
Kronos’ son Zeus thundered the battle’s evil sign.

First, Croakmaster struck Man-licker with a spear
through his stomach mid-liver as he stood among the forefighters.
And he fell down and dirtied his delicate hair.
He thundered as he fell, and his arms clattered about him.
Hole-dweller next hurled at Muddy’s son
And fixed his stout spear in his chest. So black death took him
as he fell and his soul flew from his body.
Dish-pirate killed Beat-eater when he struck him in the heart
And after Bread-muncher struck Sir Croaks-a-lot in the stomach
he fell headlong and his soul flew from his limbs.
When Pond-lubber saw Sir Croaks-a-lot dying
He acted first and crushed Hole-dweller’s tender neck
With a rock like a mill-stone. And darkness covered his eyes.
Grief overtook Basilson and he drove him through with a sharp reed
And he didn’t raise his spear against him. When Manlicker saw this
He took aim at him with his own shining spear
And hurled it: he didn’t miss his liver. And when he noticed
That Spiceeater was fleeing, he rushed upon the lush banks.
He did not let up from battle, no he ran him through.
He fell and didn’t look up again: then the pond was dyed
With purple blood even as he was stretched out on the sand
As he tried to rise with his trailing intestines and loins.
Then he despoiled Cheese-nibbler on the same banks.
When Master-Reedy saw Ham-Carver he fled
And he was driven into the pond while rushing and after leaving his shield.
Water-grace killed king Ham-eater.
Blameless Mudbedder killed Poundweight
by striking him with a stone on the top of his head. His brains
Dribbled from his nose and the earth was spattered with blood.”

197 ῝Ως ἄρ’ ἔφη• καὶ τῇ γε θεοὶ ἐπεπείθοντ’ ἄλλοι,
198 πάντες δ’ αὖτ’ εἰσῆλθον ἀολλέες εἰς ἕνα χῶρον.
199 καὶ τότε κώνωπες μεγάλας σάλπιγγας ἔχοντες
200 δεινὸν ἐσάλπιγξαν πολέμου κτύπον• οὐρανόθεν δὲ
201 Ζεὺς Κρονίδης βρόντησε, τέρας πολέμοιο κακοῖο.
202 Πρῶτος δ’ ῾Υψιβόας Λειχήνορα οὔτασε δουρὶ
203 ἑσταότ’ ἐν προμάχοις κατὰ γαστέρα ἐς μέσον ἧπαρ•
204 κὰδ δ’ ἔπεσεν πρηνής, ἁπαλὰς δ’ ἐκόνισεν ἐθείρας.
205 δούπησεν δὲ πεσών, ἀράβησε δὲ τεύχε’ ἐπ’ αὐτῷ.
206 Τρωγλοδύτης δὲ μετ’ αὐτὸν ἀκόντισε Πηλείωνος,
207 πῆξεν δ’ ἐν στέρνῳ στιβαρὸν δόρυ• τὸν δὲ πεσόντα
208 εἷλε μέλας θάνατος, ψυχὴ δ’ ἐκ σώματος ἔπτη.
209 Σευτλαῖον δ’ ἂρ ἔπεφνε βαλὼν κέαρ ᾿Εμβασίχυτρος,
210 ᾿Αρτοφάγος δὲ Πολύφωνον κατὰ γαστέρα τύψε•
211 ἤριπε δὲ πρηνής, ψυχὴ δὲ μελέων ἐξέπτη.
212 Λιμνόχαρις δ’ ὡς εἶδεν ἀπολλύμενον Πολύφωνον,
213 Τρωγλοδύτην ἁπαλοῖο δι’ αὐχένος τρῶσεν ἐπιφθὰς
214 πέτρῳ μυλοειδέϊ• τὸν δὲ σκότος ὄσσε κάλυψε•
215 ᾿Ωκιμίδην δ’ ἄχος εἷλε καὶ ἤλασεν ὀξέϊ σχοίνῳ
216 οὐδ’ ἐξέσπασεν ἔγχος ἐναντίον• ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε
217 Λειχήνωρ δ’ αὐτοῖο τιτύσκετο δουρὶ φαεινῷ
218 καὶ βάλεν, οὐδ’ ἀφάμαρτε καθ’ ἧπαρ• ὡς δ’ ἐνόησε
219 Κοστοφάγον φεύγοντα βαθείαις ἔμπεσεν ὄχθαις.
220 ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ὣς ἀπέληγε μάχης ἀλλ’ ἤλασεν αὐτόν•
221 κάππεσε δ’, οὐκ ἀνένευσεν, ἐβάπτετο δ’ αἵματι λίμνη
222 πορφυρέῳ, αὐτὸς δὲ παρ’ ἠιόν’ ἐξετανύσθη,
223 χορδῇσιν λιπαρῇσί τ’ ἐπορνύμενος λαγόνεσσιν.
224 Τυροφάγον δ’ αὐτῇσιν ἐπ’ ὄχθαις ἐξενάριξεν.
225 Πτερνογλύφον δὲ ἰδὼν Καλαμίνθιος ἐς φόβον ἦλθεν,
226 ἥλατο δ’ ἐς λίμνην φεύγων τὴν ἀσπίδα ῥίψας.
227 ῾Υδρόχαρις δ’ ἔπεφνεν Πτερνοφάγον βασιλῆα,
228 Λιτραῖον δ’ ἀρ’ ἔπεφνεν ἀμύμων Βορβοροκοίτης,
229 χερμαδίῳ πλήξας κατὰ βρέγματος• ἐγκέφαλος δὲ
230 ἐκ ῥινῶν ἔσταξε, παλάσσετο δ’ αἵματι γαῖα.

The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 7: The Mice Arm and Frogs Respond

(For Part 6, go here)

When the Mice arm themselves for War
No Frog will fear their martial roar.
They make their battle plans,
And arm themselves to a ‘man’
To station their treacherous ambush on the shore.

“In saying this he persuaded everyone to arm themselves
And Ares who loves war armed them.
First they fit their greaves to their two legs
After breaking some pale beans and fitting them well,
beans they nibbled clean by working on them all night.
They had chest pieces made of reed-bound hides
which they made skillfully after flaying a weasel.
Their shield was the middle-section of a lamp. And their spear
Was a well-measured needle, a completely bronze work of Ares.
The helmet on their temples was the husk of chick pea.
Continue reading “The Battle of Frogs and Mice, Part 7: The Mice Arm and Frogs Respond”