Friday, May 01, 2020


No Signs of Civilization

Euripides, Cyclops 113-128 (Odysseus and Silenus speaking; tr. Patrick O’Sullivan and Christopher Collard):
OD: What land is this and who inhabits it?
SIL: The mound of Etna, the highest in Sicily.
OD: But where are the city-walls and the fortifications? [115]
SIL: There are none. The headlands are bereft of men, stranger.
OD: Who occupies the land? A race of beasts?
SIL: Cyclopes, who live in caves, not houses.
OD: Whose subjects are they? Or is power shared among the people?
SIL: They're loners; nobody is subject at all to anyone else. [120]
OD: Do they sow Demeter's crop? Or what do they live on?
SIL: On milk, cheese, and the meat of sheep.
OD: Do they have the drink of Bromius, the streams of the grape-vine?
SIL: Absolutely not. For that reason they inhabit a land where there is no dancing.
OD: Are they kind to strangers and do they honour divine laws regarding strangers? [125]
SIL: They say that strangers have the sweetest flesh.
OD: What are you saying? Do they delight in killing and eating men?
SIL: Nobody who has come here has not been eaten.

Οδ. τίς δ’ ἥδε χώρα καὶ τίνες ναίουσί νιν;
Σιλ. Αἰτναῖος ὄχθος Σικελίας ὑπέρτατος.
Οδ. τείχη δὲ ποῦ ’στι καὶ πόλεως πυργώματα; (115)
Σιλ. οὐκ ἔστ’· ἔρημοι πρῶνες ἀνθρώπων, ξένε.
Οδ. τίνες δ’ ἔχουσι γαῖαν; ἦ θηρῶν γένος;
Σιλ. Κύκλωπες, ἄντρ’ ἔχοντες, οὐ στέγας δόμων.
Οδ. τίνος κλύοντες; ἢ δεδήμευται κράτος;
Σιλ. μονάδες· ἀκούει δ’ οὐδὲν οὐδεὶς οὐδενός. (120)
Οδ. σπείρουσι δ’ – ἢ τῷ ζῶσι; – Δήμητρος στάχυν;
Σιλ. γάλακτι καὶ τυροῖσι καὶ μήλων βορᾷ.
Οδ. Βρομίου δὲ πῶμ’ ἔχουσιν, ἀμπέλου ῥοάς;
Σιλ. ἥκιστα· τοιγὰρ ἄχορον οἰκοῦσι χθόνα.
Οδ. φιλόξενοι δὲ χὤσιοι περὶ ξένους; (125)
Σιλ. γλυκύτατά φασι τὰ κρέα τοὺς ξένους φορεῖν.
Οδ. τί φῄς; βορᾷ χαίρουσιν ἀνθρωποκτόνῳ;
Σιλ. οὐδεὶς μολὼν δεῦρ’ ὅστις οὐ κατεσφάγη.

116 ἔστ’ Schenk: εἴσ’ L
117 Kirchhoff: L
120 μονάδες V. Schmidt: νομάδες L
123 ῥοάς Reiske: ῥοαῖς L
No city-walls, fortifications, houses, government, bread, wine, dancing, or hospitality.

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