Wednesday, August 14, 2019


Words Written on Rocks

Herodotus 8.22.1 (tr. A.D. Godley):
But Themistocles picked out the seaworthiest Athenian ships and went about to the places of drinking water, where he engraved on the rocks writing which the Ionians read on the next day when they came to Artemisium. This was what the writing said: "Men of Ionia, you do wrongly to fight against the land of your fathers and bring slavery upon Hellas...."

Ἀθηναίων δὲ νέας τὰς ἄριστα πλεούσας ἐπιλεξάμενος Θεμιστοκλέης ἐπορεύετο περὶ τὰ πότιμα ὕδατα, ἐντάμνων ἐν τοῖσι λίθοισι γράμματα, τὰ Ἴωνες ἐπελθόντες τῇ ὑστεραίῃ ἡμέρῃ ἐπὶ τὸ Ἀρτεμίσιον ἐπελέξαντο. τὰ δὲ γράμματα τάδε ἔλεγε. "Ἄνδρες Ἴωνες, οὐ ποιέετε δίκαια ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας στρατευόμενοι καὶ τὴν Ἑλλάδα καταδουλούμενοι...."

del. Van Herwerden
The Greek doesn't say "the land of your fathers," but simply "the fathers" — see J. Enoch Powell, A Lexicon to Herodotus (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1938), p. 296 ("ancestors"). Cf. the translation of Robin Waterfield ("your ancestral line") and the commentary of Charles Forster Smith and Arthur Gordon Laird (words in brackets added):
πατέρας: the Athenians; cp. l. 14 [μεμνημένοι ὅτι ἀπ᾿ ἡμέων γεγόνατε = "be mindful that you are our sons"] and 7.51.8 [ἐπὶ τοὺς πατέρας], 11 [καταδουλουμένους τὴν μητρόπολιν].
The eponymous ancestor of the Ionians was Ion, an Athenian.

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