Sunday, August 18, 2013


Greater Love Hath No Man

Greek Anthology 7.232 (attributed to Antipater or to Anyte), tr. W.R. Paton:
This Lydian land holds Amyntor, Philip's son, whose hands were often busied with iron war. Him no painful disease led to the house of Night, but he perished holding his round shield over his comrade.

Λύδιον οὖδας ἔχει τόδ᾽ Ἀμύντορα, παῖδα Φιλίππου,
  πολλὰ σιδηρείης χερσὶ θιγόντα μάχης·
οὐδέ μιν ἀλγινόεσσα νόσος δόμον ἄγαγε Νυκτός,
  ἀλλ᾽ ὄλετ᾽ ἀμφ᾽ ἑτάρῳ σχὼν κυκλόεσσαν ἴτυν.
The same, tr. T.F. Higham:
Amyntor, son of Philip, lies
  Entombed in Lydian land;
In battle's iron exercise
  He proved his stubborn hand.
No sickness dragged the veteran here,
  Where Night is journey's end;
He lived and died a targeteer,
  He died to shield a friend.
The same, tr. A.D. Clarke:
Amyntor, Philip's son, in iron fight
Oft tested, doth in Lydian soil abide;
No sickness brought him to the House of Night:
Holding his buckler o'er his friend, he died.
The same, tr. Tony Harrison:
This piece of Lydian earth holds Amyntor,
Philip's son, hardened by battles to iron war.
No lingering disease dragged him off to his end,
killed, with his shield held high above his friend.
The same, tr. Burton Raffel:
Amyntor, Philip's son, lies in this Lydian soil.
His hands were full of iron war.
No sickness led him into the darkness:
He died holding his shield over a wounded friend.
A Latin translation by Hugo Grotius:
Tam bene qui toties pugnavit, Amyntora tellus
  Lyda tegit, sobolem, clare Philippe, tuam.
Non domitus morbo, sed scuto fortiter hostem
  A sociis arcens, ad loca noctis abit.
On holding a shield above a wounded comrade see also the Greek words ὑπερασπίζω, ὑπερασπισμός, and ὑπερασπιστής.

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