Wednesday, July 03, 2019


He Knew What Was Coming

Simonides, Epigrams 6 (preserved in Herodotus 7.228 and Greek Anthology 7.677; tr. David A. Campbell):
This is the tomb of glorious Megistias, whom once the Medes killed when they crossed the river Sperchius: he was a seer, who recognised clearly that the Spirits of Death were approaching then, but could not bring himself to desert Sparta's leaders.

μνῆμα τόδε κλεινοῖο Μεγιστία, ὅν ποτε Μῆδοι
    Σπερχειὸν ποταμὸν κτεῖναν ἀμειψάμενοι,
μάντιος, ὃς τότε Κῆρας ἐπερχομένας σάφα εἰδώς
    οὐκ ἔτλη Σπάρτης ἡγεμόνας προλιπεῖν.

4 ἡγεμόνας codd.: ἡγεμόνα Heinrich Stein
The river Sperchius is north of Thermopylae. The Spartan leader Leonidas had told the non-Spartan Greek soldiers to leave (Herodotus 7.220), but Megistias refused.

See D.L. Page, Further Greek Epigrams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981), pp. 195-196, and Andrej Petrovic, Kommentar zu den simonideischen Versinschriften (Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. 231-236.

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