Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Equal to Men: Quintus of Smyrna, Posthomerica 1.407-434


Inspired by the Amazon Penthesilea's Fighting, Tisiphone Encourages the Trojan Women to Join Their Men in Battle 

“Amicae, fortem pectoribus animum infigite,

Non minus quam viri nostri, qui pro patria

Contra hostes parentum et nostrae salutis causa propugnant,

Nunquam ab aerumnis respirantes, Agedum et ipsae,

Indita pectoribus fiducia, ad similem nos pugnam accingamus!

Non enim multum a iuvenibus absumus robustis,

Sed quale ipsis est robur, nobis etiam est,

Paresque oculi, et genua, et omnia similia:

Lux etiam omnibus communis, et liquidus aer,

Nec diversum est nutrimentum. Et quid aliud viris, Quo nos praecellant,

Adposuit Deus? Ideo certamen hostile nequaquam defugiamus.

Nonne videtis feminam viris longe praestare

Bellacibus? Cuius neque familia in propinquo est,

Neque urbs sua: sed pro rege externo,

Ex animo belligeratur. Nec magnifacit viros,

Eam pectore virtutem, tam imperterritum complexa est animum.

Nobis autem aliunde aliae ante pedes miseriae obiectae sunt,

Aliis enim cari liberi et mariti ante urbem

Perierunt. Aliae parentes deploramus non ultra superstites,

Aliae ob fratrum et propinquorum necem

Animi se discruciant. Nulla enim a calamitosissima infelicitate

Immunis est. Addite, quod metuendum, ne diem servitute gravem

Videamus. Ideo nulla pugnandi mora

Sit tantopere adflictis. Satius est in proelio

Occumbere , quam ab alienigenis postmodum, necessitate

Tristi coactas, una cum infantibus liberis abduci
Urbe incendio absumta, et viris e medio sublatis.”

‘ὦ φίλαι, ἄλκιμον ἦτορ ἐνὶ στέρνοισι λαβοῦσαι
ἀνδράσιν ἡμετέροισιν ὁμοίιον, οἳ περὶ πάτρης
δυσμενέσιν μάρνανται ὑπὲρ τεκέων τε καὶ ἡμέων,
οὔποτ᾽ ἀναπνείοντες ὀϊζύος—ἀλλὰ καὶ αὐταὶ
παρθέμεναι φρεσὶ θυμὸν ἴσης μνησώμεθα χάρμης:
οὐ γὰρ ἀπόπροθέν εἰμεν ἐϋσθενέων αἰζηῶν,
ἀλλ᾽ οἷον κείνοισι πέλει μένος ἔστι καὶ ἡμῖν:
ἶσοι δ᾽ ὀφθαλμοὶ καὶ γούνατα, πάντα δ᾽ ὁμοῖα,
ξυνὸν δ᾽ αὖ πάντεσσι φάος καὶ νήχυτος ἀήρ,
φορβὴ δ᾽ οὐχ ἑτέρη: δί δ᾽ ἐπ᾽ ἀνδράσι λώιον ἄλλο
θῆκε θεός; τῷ μή τι φεβώμεθα δηιοτῆτα.
ἢ οὐχ ὁράατε γυναῖκα μέγ᾽ αἰζηῶν προφέρουσαν
ἀγχεμάχων; τῆς δ᾽ οὔτι πέλει σχεδὸν οὔτε γενέθλη
οὔτ᾽ ἄρ᾽ ἑὸν πτολίεθρον, ὑπὲρ ξείνοιο δ᾽ ἄνακτος
μάρναται ἐκ θυμοῖο καὶ οὐκ ἐμπάζεται ἀνδρῶν
ἐνθεμένη φρεσὶ θάρσος ἀταρτηρόν τε νόημα:
ἡμῖν δ᾽ ἄλλοθεν ἄλλα παραὶ ποσὶν ἄλγεα κεῖται:
τῇς μὲν γὰρ φίλα τέκνα καὶ ἀνέρες ἀμφὶ πόληι
ὤλλυνθ᾽, αἱ δὲ τοκῆας ὀδυρόμεθ᾽ οὐκέτ᾽ ἐόντας:
ἄλλαι δ᾽ αὖτ᾽ ἀκάχηνται ἀδελφειῶν ἐπ᾽ ὀλέθρῳ
καὶ πηῶν: οὐ γάρ τις ὀϊζυρῆς κακότητος
ἄμμορος: ἐλπωρὴ δὲ πέλει καὶ δούλιον ἦμαρ
εἰσιδέειν: τῷ μή τις ἔτ᾽ ἀμβολίη πολέμοιο
εἴη τειρομένῃσιν: ἔοικε γὰρ ἐν δαῒ μᾶλλον
τεθνάμεν ἢ μετόπισθεν ὑπ᾽ ἀλλοδαποῖσιν ἄγεσθαι
νηπιάχοις ἅμα παισὶν ἀνιηρῇ ὑπ᾽ ἀνάγκῃ
ἄστεος αἰθομένοιο καὶ ἀνδρῶν οὐκέτ᾽ ἐόντων.’

--Quintus of Smyrna, Posthomerica 1.407 - 434; translated into Latin by Laurentius Rhodomannus

"Friends, instill courage into your hearts,
like our husbands, who never waiver in their fight against the enemy to keep us safe.
Come on, now,
let us take up the mantle of bravery, let us join the fight alongside them!
For we are not so different from these men in strength; we also have strength in our bodies. Our eyes are the same, our knees are the same, everything is the same!
We share the same daylight, the same fresh air, the same food. What difference has God given to them, to make them so much better than us?
So let's not shirk our role in this fight.
[Look at the Amazon Penthesilea fighting:]
Don't you see this lone woman holding her own against men on the battlefield? She's not doing this for her family or neighbors. She's not even fighting for her homeland; she's merely fighting as a mercenary for a foreign king, just for her own personal benefit.  She doesn't care whom she fights, she's not afraid, she has virtue in her heart, and a fearless mind. 
But we and other women
are groveling and beset with misery, while our dear children and husbands die in front of us. Some of us weep for parents no longer alive,  some of us weep for a dead brother or neighbor. No one here is free from this wretched suffering.
  And what's more, we must fear the life of servitude at war's end.  So let's stop dithering and fight! It is more fulfilling to die in battle than to die as someone's slave!  Compelled by such sorrowful necessity, we would be taken as slaves from our burning homeland, with orphaned infants in our arms, their fathers dead upon the ground."



QUINTUS OF SMYRNA
MAP:
Name:  Quintus Smyrnaeus
Date:  4th c. CE
Works:  Posthomerica

REGION  5
Map of Roman Empire Divided into Regions Region 1: Peninsular Italy; Region 2: Western Europe; Region 3: Western Coast of Africa; Region 4: Egypt and Eastern Mediterranean; Region 5: Greece and the Balkans

BIO:
Timeline:
 Quintus of Smyrna was a Greek poet who lived during the 4th century CE. His epic poem, the Posthomerica, was a fourteen volume epic depicting the events of the later half of the Trojan War; this epic preserves many literary sources that are no longer extant.
 POST CONSTANTINOPLE GREEK LIT.
ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); ALEXANDRIAN: (4th c. BCE - 1st c. BCE); ROMAN: (1st c. BCE - 4th c. CE); POST CONSTANTINOPLE: (4th c. CE - 8th c. CE); BYZANTINE: (post 8th c CE)