Saturday, June 5, 2021

Shipwrecked, but building an empire: Cletes, Lycophron, Alexandra 992ff.

 Alii (Graeci) montes inviosTullesios,

Linique maritime iugosum promontorium

Amazonis haereditariam terram conscendent,

Servae mulieris excipients iugum

Quam baltheo cincte aeneo famulam impigrae puellae

Erronem ducet unda in externam terram:

Cuius ultimum expirantis perfossus oculus

Mortem simiformi perniciosam Aetolo

Adferet, hasta cruenta secto.

At Crotoniatae urbem populabuntur quondam

Amazonis, intrepida interfecta virgine

Clete, patriae cognominis regina.

Multi tamen prius terram ab illa mordicus

Mordebunt praecipitati, neque impune

Turres vastabunt Laures filii.

ἄλλοι δὲ πρῶνας δυσβάτους Τυλησίους

λίνου θ᾽ ἁλισμήκτοιο δειραίαν ἄκραν

Ἀμαζόνος σύγκληρον ἄρσονται πέδον,

δούλης γυναικὸς ζεῦγλαν ἐνδεδεγμένοι,

ἣν χαλκομίτρου θῆσσαν ὀτρηρῆς κόρης

πλανῆτιν ἄξει κῦμα πρὸς ξένην χθόνα.

ἧς ἐκπνεούσης λοῖσθον ὀφθαλμὸς τυπεὶς

πιθηκομόρφῳ πότμον Αἰτωλῷ φθόρῳ

τεύξει τράφηκι φοινίῳ τετμημένῳ.

Κροτωνιᾶται δ᾽ ἄστυ πέρσουσίν ποτε

Ἀμαζόνος, φθέρσαντες ἄτρομον κόρην

Κλήτην, ἄνασσαν τῆς ἐπωνύμου πάτρας.

πολλοὶ δὲ πρόσθεν γαῖαν ἐκ κείνης ὀδὰξ

δάψουσι πρηνιχθέντες, οὐδ᾽ ἄτερ πόνων

πύργους διαρραίσουσι Λαυρήτης γόνοι.

--Lycophron, Alexandra / Cassandra 992ff, translated into Latin by Guillermus Canterus (1566)

And others will visit the impassable Tylesian hills,

Or the ocean-washed cliffs of Linos

that neighbors the territory of the Amazon.

The territory that took the yoke of slavery to a slave—

A slave of the bronze-belted Amazon woman* 

[*Penthesilea: As she lets out her last breath,

the loss of her eye, cut by a bloody spear

will bring death to apelike Thersites!].

The sea led Cletes astray into a foreign land.

Yet the inhabitants of Croton will destroy the Amazon’s city, 

and that fearless woman will be killed: 

Cletes, a kingdom named after its queen. 

But before that happens, many will bite the dust by her hand, 

nor will the Lauretans destroy her citadel easily.


Annotatio [Guilelmi Canteri]: Cletes, quae cum Penthesileam heram, quae heic impigra puella vocatur, per mare quaereret, in Italiam tempestate delata, Cletem urbem conditur, cuius reginae dinceps omnes Cletes nomen teunerunt.

NB: Clete, who crossed the sea to follow her lady Penthesilea [who in the text is called “impigra puella,” the swift maiden], but was brought to Italy in a storm, founded a city named Clete, and everyone thereafter took her name.




Name:  Lycophron

Date:  4th century BCE

Works:  Alexandra



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



 Lycophron was a famous Alexandrian author whose works include poetry and tragedies, most of which are unfortunately lost. His poem, the Alexandra [Cassandra], imagines the Trojan prophet Cassandra’s prophecy to Agamemnon about the events that will occur after the fall of Troy.


ARCHAIC: (through 6th c. BCE); GOLDEN AGE: (5th - 4th c. BCE); HELLENISTIC: (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)

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