Tuesday, April 02, 2024


Family Ties

Sophocles, Antigone 909-912 (tr. Richard Jebb):
A husband lost, another might have been found,
and if bereft of a child, there could be a second from some other man.
But when father and mother are hidden in Hades,
no brother could ever bloom for me again.

πόσις μὲν ἄν μοι κατθανόντος ἄλλος ἦν,
καὶ παῖς ἀπ᾽ ἄλλου φωτός, εἰ τοῦδ᾽ ἤμπλακον,        910
μητρὸς δ᾽ ἐν Ἅιδου καὶ πατρὸς κεκευθότοιν
οὐκ ἔστ᾽ ἀδελφὸς ὅστις ἂν βλάστοι ποτέ.

900-928 secl. Dindorf, 904-920 Lehrs, 905-913 A. Jacob
Commentators compare Herodotus 3.119.3-6 (tr. Robin Waterfield):
[3] Intaphrenes’ wife took to coming to the doors of the palace and breaking down in tears and grief. This behaviour of hers eventually moved Darius to pity, and he sent a messenger out to her. ‘Woman,’ he said, ‘King Darius permits you to choose one member of your imprisoned family to save.’

[4] She thought about it and replied, ‘If, thanks to the king, I have to choose the life of one person, out of all of them I choose my brother.’

[5] When Darius heard what her reply had been, he was surprised and sent another message to her, as follows: ‘Woman, the king would like to know what your reason was for abandoning your husband and children and deciding to save your brother’s life, when he is not as near to you as your children or as dear to you as your husband.’

[6] ‘My lord,’ she replied, ‘God willing, I may get another husband and more children, if I lose the ones I have at the moment. But my parents are dead, so there’s no way I can get another brother. That was why I said what I said.’

[3] ἡ δὲ γυνὴ τοῦ Ἰνταφρένεος φοιτῶσα ἐπὶ τὰς θύρας τοῦ βασιλέος κλαίεσκε ἂν καὶ ὀδυρέσκετο· ποιεῦσα δὲ αἰεὶ τὠυτὸ τοῦτο τὸν Δαρεῖον ἔπεισε οἰκτεῖραί μιν. πέμψας δὲ ἄγγελον ἔλεγε τάδε· "ὦ γύναι, βασιλεύς τοι Δαρεῖος διδοῖ ἕνα τῶν δεδεμένων οἰκηίων ῥύσασθαι τὸν βούλεαι ἐκ πάντων."

[4] ἣ δὲ βουλευσαμένη ὑπεκρίνετο τάδε· "εἰ μὲν δή μοι διδοῖ βασιλεὺς ἑνὸς τὴν ψυχήν, αἱρέομαι ἐκ πάντων τὸν ἀδελφεόν."

[5] πυθόμενος δὲ Δαρεῖος ταῦτα καὶ θωμάσας τὸν λόγον, πέμψας ἠγόρευε· "ὦ γύναι, εἰρωτᾷ σε βασιλεύς, τίνα ἔχουσα γνώμην, τὸν ἄνδρα τε καὶ τὰ τέκνα ἐγκαταλιποῦσα, τὸν ἀδελφεὸν εἵλευ περιεῖναί τοι, ὃς καὶ ἀλλοτριώτερός τοι τῶν παίδων καὶ ἧσσον κεχαρισμένος τοῦ ἀνδρός ἐστι."

[6] ἣ δ᾽ ἀμείβετο τοῖσιδε· "ὦ βασιλεῦ, ἀνὴρ μέν μοι ἂν ἄλλος γένοιτο, εἰ δαίμων ἐθέλοι, καὶ τέκνα ἄλλα, εἰ ταῦτα ἀποβάλοιμι· πατρὸς δὲ καὶ μητρὸς οὐκέτι μευ ζωόντων ἀδελφεὸς ἂν ἄλλος οὐδενὶ τρόπῳ γένοιτο. ταύτῃ τῇ γνώμῃ χρεωμένη ἔλεξα ταῦτα."

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